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Infinite Earth Radio – weekly conversations with leaders building smarter, more sustainable, and equitable communities

Infinite Earth Radio is a weekly podcast produced by Skeo and the Local Government Commission and hosted by Mike Hancox and Vernice Miller-Travis. Each week they interview visionary leaders, dedicated government officials, savvy businesses and forward thinking individuals who are working to build smarter, more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous communities through social and economic inclusion that values the contribution of all citizens and seeks meaningful lives for everyone. You will discover new leading edge strategies for lifting up and building great 21st century communities, along with cutting edge strategies for revitalizing under resourced communities and empowering excluded populations. Smart Growth, Prosperity and Sustainability are not possible without social, civic, and economic inclusion for people of all economic, social, and racial backgrounds.
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Infinite Earth Radio – weekly conversations with leaders building smarter, more sustainable, and equitable communities
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Now displaying: Page 1
Feb 15, 2018
Topic:
Smart growth and the real estate industry
 
Guest & Organization:
Hugh Morris has practiced urban planning for twenty-five years with a focus on transportation issues.  After graduating from UCLA with a Masters in Planning, he spent five years with a transportation consulting firm working on transit plans, travel demand forecasting models, and travel surveys.  He spent the next two years working for an energy efficiency think tank where he focused on transportation issues, including investigating the real cost of our transportation system.  The next ten years were spent working with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy helping communities convert abandoned railroad corridors into hiking/biking trails.  His principle area of focus was urban trails that were used for trip making as well as recreation.  He has spent the last twelve years with the Smart Growth Program at the National Association of Realtors where he helps local Realtor associations around the country to become advocates for smart growth style development in their communities.
He has had two papers presented at and published by the National Academy of Science’s Transportation Research Board.  Additionally, he has contributed to the American Planning Association’s publication titled “Planning and Urban Design Standards” as well as “Trails for the 21st Century: a planning, design, and management manual” published by Island Press.
 
Resources:
Feb 8, 2018

Topic:

Holistic Approaches to Climate Challenges

Guest & Organization:

Senator Bob Wieckowski represents the 10th Senate District in the California State Legislature. The district stretches from southern Alameda County into Santa Clara County and shares the member’s focus on job creation, clean technologies, protecting our environment and reducing unnecessary regulations.

Mr. Wieckowski chairs the Environmental Quality Committee and Budget Subcommittee 2 on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy and Transportation.  He is also a member of the Senate committees on Judiciary; Budget and Fiscal Review; Transportation and Housing; and Ethics.  He was appointed by Senate President Pro Tem to serve on the Energy and Environment Committee of the Council of State Governments West and in 2017 became the first Californian to chair the committee. The Senator is a state leader in advocating for climate adaptation programs and has participated on state and regional panels examining green infrastructure investments.

A strong voice in the Legislature for consumers and low-income earners, he received the “Champion of Justice” Award from the East Bay Community Law Center for fighting against abusive debt collectors and oppressive wage garnishments.  Statewide organizations have selected him Legislator of the Year and the California Judges Association gave him its “Scales of Justice Award” for his steadfast support for increased court funding. Tech America also named him “Legislator of the Year.”

Mr. Wieckowski is a small business owner and a bankruptcy attorney.  He has helped hundreds of families and seniors persevere through economic hardship, keep their homes and live with dignity.  He received his B.A. from the University of California and his J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law. Senator Wieckowski lives in Fremont with his wife, Sue.

Resources:

California Senate Standing Committee on Environmental Quality

California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research – Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program (ICARP)

California’s Climate Adaptation Strategy – January 2018 – Safeguarding California Plan

Local Government Commission 

 

Feb 1, 2018

Topic:

Wildfire recovery in wine country

Guest & Organization:

Chris Coursey grew up in a military family, and by the time he graduated from college had never lived in any city for more than three years. He came to Santa Rosa in 1980 to take a job that he thought would be a brief stop in his rising journalism career. Instead, he found a community that has sustained him for 37 years, and a city that has become his home town. He worked for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat for 27 years, covering a variety of subjects and writing a column sharing his personal thoughts on a wide range of community issues. In 2007, he was hired by the SMART rail district to manage communications and community outreach in advance of the successful 2008 sales tax election. He left SMART in 2011 to establish a consulting business focusing on freelance writing and public relations. 

He was elected to the Santa Rosa City Council in 2014. In December 2016, he was selected by his fellow Council members to serve as Mayor. His term expires in December 2018. 

Tennis Wick has served as Sonoma County’s Permit & Resource Management Department Director since November 2013.  The agency balances environmental protection and sustainable development of Sonoma County’s natural resources through the agency’s planning, engineering, building, well and septic, code enforcement and customer service authority.   

Before joining the County of Sonoma, Wick worked as a principal at Berg Holdings responsible for government affairs, site acquisition, design and entitlement.  Previously, Tennis practiced as a partner at the engineering and planning consulting firm CSW/Stuber-Stroeh Engineering Group, Inc.  He began his career with the County of Marin where he led current planning as Development Chief.   

Wick is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (10447) and the American Planning Association.  Tennis Wick holds a Juris Doctor degree from Golden Gate University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with a Public Service Emphasis from the University of California, Santa Barbara. A long-time Petaluma resident, Tennis Wick has been civically active twice serving as a City Planning Commissioner and as Board President of the Friends of the Petaluma River, Petaluma Peoples Service Center and the Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce.  Wick is also a member of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau and the Sonoma County Alliance. Tennis is part owner of Hen House Brewing Co.  He and his wife Holly have four grown daughters and are active in endurance sports, cooking and gardening. 

Resources:

Santa Rosa and Sonoma County Fire Recovery: www.sonomacountyrecovers.org 

Local Government Commission  

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018 

Jan 25, 2018

Topic:

Supporting the next generation of young leaders

Guest & Organization:

Danielle Metzinger is a Learning and Development Specialist at CalSTRS, and serves as Membership Lead for NxtGov including administering the new NxtGov Ambassador Program. Danielle’s interest in public service led her from the nonprofit to the public sector in 2013 when she began her career at the State of California. Since then she’s collaborated on several initiatives to develop the state workforce and improve civil service. Danielle is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Organization Development from University of San Francisco.

Angelica Quirarte, “Angie,” is the Assistant Secretary for Digital Engagement at the CA Government Operations Agency (GovOps) and the founder of NxtGov. She started her career in public service as an Executive Fellow in 2013 and has been leading efforts in open data and web user-centered design through the management of data.ca.gov and ca.gov. She was part of the team that launched the Lean Academy,  partially project managed the Civil Service Improvement Initiative, and most recently helped coordinate the creation of the new Department of Tax and Fee Administration. Angie was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and migrated to the Bay Area with her parents and two younger brothers when she was 10 years old. She has a BA in History of Public Policy from UC Santa Barbara.

Resources:

NxtGov

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018

Jan 18, 2018

Topic:

Homelessness and water resource protection

Guest & Organization:

Mike Antos is a Senior Watershed Manager for the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority, facilitating the One Water One Watershed program and leading engagement with members of disadvantaged communities for collaborative watershed management. Mike holds a PhD in Geography from UCLA where he remains a member of the Water Resources Group of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. He is on the advisory board of the Loyola-Marymount University Center for Urban Resilience, a founding board member of the Mediterranean Cities Climate Change Consortium, and is a Fellow of the Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation. Mike serves as co-chair of the American Water Resources Association Integrated Water Resources Management technical committee, and sits on the Technical Advisory Council of California’s Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resilience Program.

Resources:

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 106: Water and Homelessness with Mike Antos 

One Water One Watershed 

Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) 

Local Government Commission  

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018 

Jan 11, 2018

The intersection of homelessness and water management 

Guest & Organization:

Mike Antos is a Senior Watershed Manager for the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority, facilitating the One Water One Watershed program and leading engagement with members of disadvantaged communities for collaborative watershed management. Mike holds a PhD in Geography from UCLA where he remains a member of the Water Resources Group of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. He is on the advisory board of the Loyola-Marymount University Center for Urban Resilience, a founding board member of the Mediterranean Cities Climate Change Consortium, and is a Fellow of the Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation. Mike serves as co-chair of the American Water Resources Association Integrated Water Resources Management technical committee, and sits on the Technical Advisory Council of California’s Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resilience Program.

Resources:

One Water One Watershed 

Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) 

Local Government Commission  

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018 

Local Government Commission 

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018

Jan 4, 2018

Yes in my back yard (YIMBY)

Guest & Organization:

Sonja Trauss is the founder of the San Francisco Bay Area Renters' Federation – an unincorporated club of pro-building, pro-density renters. Born and raised by a labor and delivery nurse and legal aid attorney in Philadelphia, PA, Trauss learned at an early age the importance of representing the city's most vulnerable populations. 

As an undergraduate at Temple University, she worked for the local Neighborhood Advisory Committee, where she first learned about the mechanics of municipal government. During the financial crisis, she worked as a paralegal for Philadelphia Legal Assistance, helping to defend low income homeowners from foreclosure. She earned her master’s degree in economics in 2011 at Washington University in St. Louis where she then relocated to the Bay Area. As a renter – in El Cerrito and West Oakland, and now in Soma (South of Mission) – she has experienced the Bay Area's housing and transit issues. 

Trauss started the San Francisco Bay Area Renters’ Federation (SFBARF) in 2014 as a response to the anti-growth, anti-newcomer mindset driving housing prices higher in the Bay. Higher housing prices displace many of the most vulnerable long-term residents, making it harder for people to move there, and increase the cost of living for everyone. SFBARF has been nationally recognized as a pioneer in the YIMBY movement to densify our cities, and drive housing prices lower by increasing the number of available houses. 

Trauss is currently running for supervisor and aims to raise her son in a neighborhood that's greener, denser, more pedestrian-friendly, inclusive and more welcoming for everyone, regardless of their origins or present condition.

Resources:

YIMBY Action 

California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund (CaRLA) 

Sonja Trauss for Supervisor 2018 

Local Government Commission  

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018 

Dec 28, 2017

The dignifying power of design

Guest & Organization:

An architect by training, John Cary has devoted his career to expanding the practice of design for the public good. John's first book was The Power of Pro Bono and his writing on design, philanthropy, and fatherhood has appeared in The New York Times, CNN, and numerous other publications. John works as an advisor to an array of foundations and nonprofits around the world and frequently curates and hosts events for TED, The Aspen Institute, and other entities. Deeply committed to diversifying the public stage, he is a founding partner in FRESH, a next-generation speaker’s bureau that represents young women and people of color. For seven years, John served as executive director of nonprofit Public Architecture, building the largest pro bono design program in the world, pledging tens of millions of dollars in donated services annually. 

Resources:

Design for Good: A New Era of Architecture for Everyone by John Cary 

Island Press Urban Resilience Project 

Download the Island Press APP! Learn more about the APP here, and find it on Google Play and Apple App Store

Dec 21, 2017

Topic:

Adapting to a changing climate 

Guest & Organization:

Ellie Cohen, President and CEO of Point Blue Conservation Science since 1999, is a leader in catalyzing collaborative, nature-based solutions to climate change, habitat loss and other environmental challenges. She and Point Blue’s 160 scientists work with natural resource managers, ranchers, farmers, local governments and others to reduce the impacts of environmental change and develop climate-smart conservation approaches to benefit wildlife and people.  

Ellie is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Observer Organization representative for Point Blue. She is Immediate Past Chair and Steering Committee member of the CA Landscape Conservation Cooperative, an invited member of the SF Bay Area's Resilient by Design Research Advisory Committee, and co-founder of the Bay Area Ecosystems Climate Change Consortium.  Ellie was honored with the Bay Nature 2012 Environmental Hero Award for her climate change leadership.  

Ellie received her undergraduate degree in Botany with honors at Duke University and an MPP from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government where she was honored with the first Robert F. Kennedy Public Service Award. She speaks regularly on the urgent need to include nature-based approaches in the climate change solutions toolbox. 

Learn More about Ellie and her work here.  

Jonathan Parfrey is the Executive Director and Founder of Climate Resolve, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, founded in 2010, that is dedicated to creating practical solutions to meet the climate challenge while making Southern California more livable and prosperous today and for generations to come by inspiring people at home, at work, and in government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution, as well as prepare for climate change impacts. 

Climate Resolve is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, founded in 2010, that is dedicated to creating real, practical solutions to meet the climate challenge while building a better city for Angelenos. Their mission is to make Southern California more livable and prosperous today and for generations to come by inspiring people at home, at work, and in government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution, as well as prepare for climate change impacts. 

Resources:

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 096: Bonn Chance with Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists 

City Climate Planner from the World Bank 

City Climate Planner Certificate Program 

Carbon-Free City Handbook (a publication released at COP23 at the UN 2017 climate conference in Bonn, Germany that helps city staff implement climate policies and actions that resolutely place their communities on an aggressive path toward sustainable, low-carbon economies)  

Point Blue Conservation Science 

Climate Resolve 

Local Government Commission  

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018 

Dec 13, 2017

Dwayne S. Marsh serves as Vice President of Institutional and Sectoral Change at the new Race Forward. The new Race Forward is the union of two leading racial justice non-profit organizations: Race Forward and Center for Social Inclusion (CSI). He also serves Deputy Director of Government Alliance on Race & Equity (GARE), a core program of the new Race Forward. 

Prior to GARE/Race Forward, Marsh was, for six years, a senior advisor in the Office of Economic Resilience (OER) at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, he helped advance sustainable planning and development through interagency partnerships, departmental transformation, and funding initiatives managed through OER. He was OER’s principal coordinator for a $250 million grant program and led the development of capacity building resources that reinforced the work of pioneering grantees in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Under his leadership, OER prioritized equity as a foundational principal for its planning and investment initiatives. 

Marsh brings to GARE/Race Forward his expertise and considerable experience in coalition building for regional equity and leadership development for policy change. He provides technical assistance and capacity building knowledge to equitable development initiatives that address continuing disparities in affordable housing, transportation investment, and environmental justice. 

Before HUD, Marsh spent a decade at PolicyLink, the national organization committed to economic and social equity. Before PolicyLink, he directed the FAITHS Initiative for eight years at The San Francisco Foundation, building a nationally renowned community development and capacity building program that continues to this day. 

Resources:

Race Forward  

Center for Social Inclusion (CSI) 

Local Government Commission  

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018 

Dec 7, 2017

Steve Frisch is President of Sierra Business Council and one of its founding members. Over the last 20 years, Sierra Business Council has leveraged more than $100 million of investment in the Sierra Nevada and its communities through community and public-private partnerships. Sierra Business Council also manages the Sierra Small Business Development Center focusing on advancing sustainable business practices and linking new and expanding businesses to climate mitigation and adaptation funding.

Sierra Business Council pioneers and demonstrates innovative approaches and solutions to increase community vitality, economic prosperity, environmental quality, and social fairness in the Sierra Nevada. In the Sierra Nevada, change and challenge create opportunities. Through innovation, integrity, and respect, Sierra Business Council harnesses these opportunities by implementing projects that model proactive change. Their goal is a diverse, inventive, and sustainable region where the economy is vibrant, the land is thriving, and the communities offer opportunity for all. They act as steward leaders of the region, taking responsibility for the care and responsible management of our place, guided by the triple bottom line that considers the economy, environment, and community simultaneously.

Resources:

Infinite Earth Radio – Climate Adaptation Series with Steve Frisch and Jonathan Parfrey

  •  Episode 36 – Part 1
  •  Episode 37 – Part 2
  •  Episode 38 – Part 3
  •  Episode 39 – Part 4

Sierra Business Council

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018

Nov 30, 2017

Celebrating our 100th episode by kicking off the conversation about the upcoming New Partners for Smart Conference

Guest & Organization:

Matthew Dalbey is the Director of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities. The Office of Sustainable Communities (OSC) supports locally led, community-driven efforts to revitalize local economies and attain better environmental and human health outcomes. OSC collaborates with other EPA programs; federal agencies; regional, state, and local governments; and a broad array of nongovernmental and private-sector partners to help communities become stronger, healthier, and more livable. OSC helps to meet communities at their needs by collaborating with other agencies and programs to use federal resources effectively and efficiently and better leverage public and private investment. This work directly supports EPA’s mission of protecting human health and the environment, contributing to clean air, clean water and other important goals in communities all across the country.

To help communities learn about and implement development strategies that protect human health and the environment, create economic opportunities, and provide attractive and affordable neighborhoods, the Office of Sustainable Communities:

Resources:

EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018

Nov 23, 2017

How wildfires will shape our future

Guest & Organization:

Edward Struzik is an award-winning writer and photographer. His previous books include Firestorm, Future Arctic, Arctic Icons, and The Big Thaw, among others. A fellow at the Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, his numerous accolades include the prestigious Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy and the Sir Sandford Fleming Medal, awarded for outstanding contributions to the understanding of science. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta.

Learn More About Ed

In Firestorm, journalist Edward Struzik visits scorched earth from Alaska to Maine, and introduces the scientists, firefighters, and resource managers making the case for a radically different approach to managing wildfire in the 21st century. Wildfires can no longer be treated as avoidable events because the risk and dangers are becoming too great and costly. Struzik weaves a heart-pumping narrative of science, economics, politics, and human determination and points to the ways that we, and the wilder inhabitants of the forests around our cities and towns, might yet flourish in an age of growing megafires.

Resources:

“Firestorm: How Wildfire Will Shape Our Future”

Island Press Urban Resilience Project

Download the Island Press APP! Learn more about the APP here, and find it on Google Play and Apple App Store!

Nov 16, 2017

Topic:

The role of sports in increasing social mobility and improving communities

Guest & Organization:

Lisa Wrightsman is the Regional Program Manager of Street Soccer USA Sacramento and the Founder and Coach of Sacramento Lady Salamanders. Lisa earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication with a concentration in Digital Video from California State University, Sacramento. She was a member of the University's NCAA Division I Women's Soccer team and currently holds multiple program records as well as recognition as a member of the All-Decade team. After college she played over five years of semi professional soccer for the Elk Grove Pride.

Today her passion for soccer is seen in her social entrepreneurship initiatives with Street Soccer USA; a nationwide non-profit that uses soccer to break the cycle of homelessness and domestic abuse. Lisa is the founder and current Director and Coach of Street Soccer USA’s Sacramento Lady Salamanders. She started this program in 2010 and has since seen tremendous results and growth of the program as it has proven to successfully reverse the effects of addiction and domestic violence in 92% of team participants. Street Soccer USA uses this team platform to create a training curriculum of job preparation, life skills, and other specialized services, ultimately connecting participants directly to jobs, education, and housing.

Lisa was recognized in 2015, as one of Sacramento Business Journal’s top 40 Under 40 young professionals. She is a Senior Fellow of the Nehemiah Emerging Leader’s Program. Since 2010 Lisa has coached the USA Women’s Street Soccer team at the Homeless World Cup and in 2016 was selected as Women's Coach of the Tournament. Most recently Lisa was selected as a 2016 Change-Maker by TEDx Sacramento where she shared her story of resilience, hope, and how to be a catalyst for change

Resources:

Street Soccer USA

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018

Nov 9, 2017

Topic:

Making the connection between planning and public health

Guest & Organization:

Anna Ricklin, AICP is the Manager of the Planning and Community Health Center at the American Planning Association (APA) in Washington, D.C. Anna works with APA members and partners to research, educate, and promote planning practice that improves public health through increased physical activity, healthy eating, and access to health and human services. With a background in public health, transportation planning, and nutrition, Anna is an emerging leader in applied research, strategic planning, and coalition building for healthy communities. She has worked in the fields of health impact assessment, community outreach and active transportation, including transit and bicycle planning. She has a MHS from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a BA in Anthropology from American University.

The Planning and Community Health Center leads the first nationwide program linking public health and planning practice. Community design directly effects human health. Development patterns, zoning, and land use impact walkability and transportation options, access to services, the availability of healthy foods, and vulnerability to hazards. Planners can help create places that offer choices for everyone to be healthy and safe. APA’s Planning and Community Health Center provides tools and technical support to members so they can integrate health into planning practice at all levels. Areas of focus include active living, healthy eating, and health in all planning policies. They implement their aims through applied research, place-based investment, and education.

Resources:

American Planning Association’s Planning and Community Health Center

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018

Nov 2, 2017

Guest & Organization:

Alden Meyer is director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists and the director of its Washington, DC, office. He provides general oversight and strategic guidance for the organization’s advocacy on energy, transportation, agriculture, and arms control issues. Mr. Meyer is also the principal advocate for UCS on national and international policy responses to the threat of global climate change. In addition, he works extensively on renewable energy and electricity policy.

Mr. Meyer has nearly 40 years of experience in energy and environmental policy at the state and national levels. He has testified before Congress on global warming and energy issues, and has authored numerous articles on climate change, energy policy, and electric utility and nuclear power issues for environmental and general interest publications. He has also served on several federal advisory panels, including the U.S. Secretary of Energy's advisory board.

Mr. Meyer is an expert on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change process, and the key design issues that will likely comprise the next global climate agreement, slated to be signed in 2015. Mr. Meyer has attended the climate negotiations since they first started in 1990 and his expertise has helped shape U.S. and UN policies. 

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet’s most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.

Learn More about Alden and the Union of Concerned Scientists

 

Resources:

COP 23 Bonn

Climate Action Business Association (CABA)

 

Union of Concerned Scientists

Oct 26, 2017

Topic: 

The Connection Between Race and Energy

In This Episode:

01:35  _Guest Denise Fairchild is introduced.

02:12  Denise explains what energy democracy is and why it’s important.

05:31  Denise shares how energy shapes our political system.

08:11  Denise talks about the ownership and distribution of energy.

11:03  Denise touches on how a community ownership of energy would work and gives examples of models.

17:01  Denise tells why production decentralization matters and if distributive production meets all of our needs.

21:22  Denise gives the connection between race and energy.

24:30  Denise describes how confronting racial issues will drive a new energy democracy.

28:29  Denise agrees to come back on another episode to discuss the parallels between the fossil fuel interests and the struggle to end slavery.

30:48  Denise shares where people can go to buy her book.

Guest and Organization:

Denise Fairchild is president and CEO of Emerald Cities Collaborative, a national nonprofit organization of business, labor, and community groups dedicated to climate resilience strategies that produce environmental, economic, and equity outcomes. She is co-editor of the new book Energy Democracy: Advancing Equity in Clean Energy Solutions.

Take Away Quotes:

“It’s interesting that we are really seeing the reason for economic democracy when we look at what’s going on in Puerto Rico right now.  It is the prime example about how the burning of fossil fuel is leading to climate crisis, that’s led to the loss of life and property, showing that the fossil fuel economy, the extractive economy, not only impacted our environment but our economy.”

“Our current economy, our dirty energy economy, is also impacting issues of equity.  Dirty energy lifts up the racial inequality that exists in our current capitalist economy.  Those that are most challenged by and vulnerable to the impacts of dirty energy are low-income people.”

“Energy democracy’s addressing the challenges of a centralized monopoly over energy where profit matters more than planet and people.”

“If you can put the source of energy on your rooftop or in a community, two or three miles from where energy’s going to be used, you’re going to save 20 or 30% more in terms of the cost of transmitting energy.”

Resources:

Emerald Cities Collaborative 

http://emeraldcities.org/ 

Energy Democracy: Advancing Equity in Clean Energy Solutions

https://islandpress.org/books/energy-democracy

Island Press Urban Resilience Project

 

Download the Island Press APP!  Learn more about the APP here, and find it on Google Play and Apple App Store!

Oct 19, 2017

Topic:

Making Urban Streets More Bicycle and Pedestrian Friendly

In This Episode:

01:07  Guest Grace Kyung describes Trailnet.
01:16  Grace shares what motivated her to become a bicycle and pedestrian planner.
02:31  Grace tells what she’s learned and what we need to do to make communities more bikeable and pedestrian friendly.
05:18  Grace explains what traffic calming is.
06:25  Grace states how, at a local level, to start making communities more pedestrian friendly.
10:05  Grace addresses the obstacles to redesigning bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly streets.
14:42  Does St. Louis have a capital improvement plan that tells where the city will invest in infrastructure and when it will happen?
15:41  Grace continues with strategies for making communities more pedestrian friendly.
18:12  Grace tells where people can go to learn more about Trailnet.
18:24  Grace mentions how communities can learn about becoming more pedestrian and bike friendly.

Guest and Organization:

Grace Kyung is the Special Projects Director at Trailnet, a non-profit improving walking, bicycling, and transit as a way of life. Grace provides technical assistance on how to improve the built environment to increase accessibility for all ages and abilities throughout the state of Missouri. Grace enjoys the challenges and opportunities of using tactical urbanism approaches to engage and educate stakeholders about safer street designs. Grace is interested in using place-based approaches to create healthy equitable communities. Before moving to St. Louis, Grace received a Masters in Public Health and Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. While a student, Grace ran a successful campaign to bring in a permanent funding source for bicycle-related projects at the university, led social justice campaigns, planned student service trips, and served on a local non-profit board. Grace serves as co-chair on the Healthy Communities Collaborative an interest group of the American Planning Association. She is focused on bridging the connection between public health and urban planning to address transportation and equity concerns. Grace enjoys conversations about how to create livable communities where people come first. Grace is a multi-modal commuter who loves riding her bike to find doughnuts and a good book to read.

For more than 25 years, Trailnet has brought together friends, organizations and people from many communities to create positive change in the St. Louis bi-state region by encouraging healthy, active living. Trailnet works to improve the quality of life for our families, neighbors, and communities. Their work and their partnerships directly impact local citizens, schools, businesses, communities, and nonprofit agencies throughout their region.

Take Away Quotes:

“So with how we’ve built our cities, and especially within the city of St. Louis, our streets are just overbuilt. We just have really wide travel lanes, and it’s just what people have gotten used to, so more people don’t feel comfortable walking or biking outside because it’s not as safe.”

“With the paradigm of how things have been, if we’re going to make actual shifts to address what the larger concerns are, we need to start looking at, from a community’s perspective, more of a grassroots level what’s going on with these communities, how are decisions made that the cities are built that way; and if we are trying to promote more walkable or bikeable infrastructure, is that through changing policies or is that how the city funds these sort of projects, and how do we work with the city in creating new structures?”  

“In St. Louis, we’ve been having these deeper-level discussions of talking about ways that we can work with the community to understand even what they want in the first place and seeing how we can bring them the resources in order to walk or bike places.”

“It’s shown [nationally] that 12% of fatal crashes involve people walking; in St. Louis, that figure is 36%.”

Resources:

Trailnet

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018

Oct 12, 2017

Topic:

Transforming a Community Through the Power of Art

In This Episode:

01:44  Guests Linda Steele and Roseann Weiss are introduced.
02:44  Vernice shares her interest in place-making strategies through art and artistry.
03:39  Roseann tells of the work that is happening in St. Louis.
04:59  Linda tells of the work that is happening in Memphis.
07:24  Linda shares her background.
09:02  Roseann shares her background.
11:32  Linda gives her thoughts on what her work’s role is in building stronger, more vibrant communities.
17:28  Roseann gives her thoughts regarding art and culture being the component that connects people in St. Louis.
22:12  Roseann states if her work could be coupled with the urban vitality and ecology initiative in the Wells-Goodfellow community.
26:01  Linda states if reclaiming the arts and culture and the blues-jazz-gospel history in Memphis is a driver for revitalization.
28:27  Vernice shares her thoughts on the importance of capturing the history of the physical place where people live.
29:27  Linda and Roseann provide the one policy that she would advocate for to advance community revitalization from the arts and culture space.
29:49  Roseann states what an individual can do to contribute to the work that she’s doing.
30:37  Linda states what an individual can do to contribute to the work that she’s doing.
31:05  Linda shares what art and culture place making looks like 30 years from now.
31:35  Roseann shares what art and culture place making looks like 30 years from now.
32:27  Roseann identifies where listeners can go for further information.
32:40  Linda identifies where listeners can go for further information.

Guest and Organization:

Roseann Weiss is the Director of Artist and Community Initiatives for the Regional Arts Commission. The Regional Arts Commission leads, strengthens, and gives voice to a creative community where every citizen can be proud to live, work, and play in a world-class region. In short, we are proud of our St. Louis cultural identity and want to do whatever we can to grow, sustain, and promote that identity in the future. We are at the forefront of helping transform St. Louis into a more vibrant, creative, and economically thriving community through the arts – and want everyone to know just how special the creative community is within the region.

Linda Steele is Founder & CEO of ArtUp, an innovative startup based in Memphis, Tennessee that uses arts, culture and design strategies to redevelop and revitalize disinvested communities. Linda spent 3 years incubating the work of ArtUp at local arts agency and United Arts Fund, ArtsMemphis including launching the game changing Fellows Program which has received the Robert E. Gard award from Americans for the Arts and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Linda has worked in various arts and cultural organizations including performing arts center, museums, and arts education organizations. Linda is a graduate of Amherst College where she has served as a Wade Fellow and Harvard University.

Take Away Quotes:

“About 20 years ago, we started something called the Community Arts Training Institute…we believe that it should be cross-sector, and that has been the beauty at the Regional Arts Commission of the CAT Institute in that it’s been cross-sector. So, we train not only artists of all disciplines, but we train their community partners as well—so, social workers, community activists, teachers, politicians, have all gone through the CAT Institute, and we know have 350 alumni working within our community.”—Roseann

“Memphis is considered the poorest major city in the nation, and also, it has one of the poorest, if not poorest, zip codes in the nation.  So there’s a lot of segregation in terms of not only racial and cultural segregation but certainly socioeconomic as well.”—Linda

“I think it’s a very bold statement to say that arts and culture can actually address issues and challenges such as poverty, unemployment, blight, and crime.”—Linda

Resources:

Regional Arts Commission

ArtUP

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 1-3, 2018

Oct 5, 2017

Topic:

Looking at the Past, Present, and Future of the Environmental Justice Movement

In This Episode:

02:06  Guest Peggy Shepard is introduced.
02:24  Peggy shares of her experience as a journalist.
06:34  Peggy relates how she made the transition from being in a political space to being in the environmental justice space.
08:25  Peggy gives her response to those who say that environmental and climate justice are new concepts.
09:30  Peggy states what the biggest environmental justice threats were in 1991 and what the threats are now.
10:25  Peggy informs us how racism is intertwined with environmental injustice.
12:22  Peggy tells if there has been progress in lessening the targeting and the disproportionate impact on populations of people of color from environmental threats.
13:53  Peggy describes the Northern Manhattan Climate Action Plan.
17:28  Peggy says if it was easier to get people’s attention about climate resilience issues after living through Superstorm Sandy.
19:18  Peggy identifies the political and social objectives that WE ACT is trying to accomplish.
23:47  Peggy elaborates on the power of speaking for ourselves.

Guest and Organization:

Peggy Shepard is co-founder and executive director of WE ACT For Environmental Justice and has a long history of organizing and engaging Northern Manhattan residents in community-based planning and campaigns to address environmental protection and environmental health policy locally and nationally. She has successfully combined grassroots organizing, environmental advocacy, and environmental health community-based participatory research to become a national leader in advancing environmental policy and the perspective of environmental justice in urban communities — to ensure that the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment extends to all. Her work has received broad recognition: the Jane Jacobs Medal from the Rockefeller Foundation for Lifetime Achievement, the 10th Annual Heinz Award For the Environment, the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award from the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, and an Honorary Sc.D from Smith College.

Take Away Quotes:

“That report [Toxic Waste and Race] has been reconfirmed around this country in so many other research studies that race is the primary predictor of where a toxic waste facility is and that income is the secondary predictor.”

“People really want energy security.  They want to feel that they can help reduce greenhouse gasses by using alternative energy sources but also secure their energy future by being able to have a little more autonomy over energy—how they use it and what kind of energy they use.”

“We are working from the ground up, and we know that community organizing is essential but that you can’t really organize a community to be empowered and advocate on their own without information.  So we have a…nine-week environmental health and leadership training program that we put all of our members through…We’re making sure that they are informed about air pollution, water quality, children’s environmental health, toxics, climate change, energy, the whole host of issues that evolve to have importance at varying times in communities.”

Resources:

WE ACT For Environmental Justice

Island Press Urban Resilience Project

Download the Island Press APP! Learn more about the APP here  and find it on Google Play and Apple App Store!

Sep 28, 2017

Topic:

Disaster Preparedness, Recovery, and Resiliency for Smaller and Rural Communities

In This Episode:

01:37  Guest Laura Clemons is introduced.
01:44  Laura tells how she became interested in community resiliency and disaster work.
02:50  Laura explains the difference between an advocate and an activist.
04:24  Laura describes how individuals may be able to help after a disaster.
07:36  Laura identifies how to mobilize people, before disaster hits, to develop a more resilient community.
09:23  Laura shares how to communicate to people that they have the ability to create networks of resiliency.
11:56  Laura mentions how the process lends itself to focusing on certain issues or if it’s open to any issue.
14:13  Laura states where people can go to learn about her diagnostic tool and her work.
15:14  Laura walks us through the process of attacking problems and being an activist on frustrating issues.
18:59  Laura expresses how to intervene in the division between urban and rural.

Co-Host:

Kif Scheuer is the Climate Change Program Director at the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kif is a solution-oriented sustainability professional with a strong history of engaging diverse audiences in real-world climate protection efforts through innovative, market-focused research and analysis, creative program design, effective project implementation, and compelling public advocacy and education. In 2013 Kif organized the first California Adaptation Forum, which attracted over 800 attendees and served to kick start the statewide conversation on adaptation. Kif led the development and growth of one of the LGC’s key coalitions – the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation, a statewide network focused on addressing adaptation at the regional scale.

Guest and Organization:

Laura Clemons is the founder and CEO of Collaborative Communities Management Company, LLC, (CCMC) and serves as the company’s head project team leader. Ms. Clemons is a LEED Accredited Professional with a specialty designation in Building Design and Construction and has been working in the sustainable built environment since 2008. She transitioned into disaster recovery after the devastating tornados of April 2011 and has combined her diverse background into being a foremost expert on resiliency.   

She has been working with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) since 2014 on a comprehensive approach to Hurricane Sandy recovery that is designed to protect over 350 acres of Sandy damaged NYCHA property from increasing climate change risks including storm surge, sea level rise and rain inundation. Her strategy for stormwater management is that it be achieved through creative land re-engineering to maximize perviousness and drainage while embracing Placemaking. Currently she is invested in helping flood ravaged communities across Texas and Louisiana rebuild in a safer, more sustainable way.  

CCMC is based in Austin, Texas but works with clients across the U.S. They provide a range of local constituencies with logistical support for environmentally sustainable and socially conscientious community revitalization in both pre- and post-disaster scenarios. CCMC serves in both a consultative and project management role ensuring that all project participants operate on budget and schedule and that the client gets a project with multiple co-benefits.

CCMC was created because of the widely acknowledged need for hands-on, focused coordination of various groups involved in creating projects and programs that benefit communities. They approach holistic resiliency solutions through partnership building and collaboration. They have a sensitivity to diversity and inclusion with special attention paid to the most vulnerable populations.

Take Away Quotes:

“What I really focus on when I talk to people—whether it’s at conferences or it’s with clients that I meet with in a post-disaster situation or just neighborhoods that want to try and be better—it’s about personal activism and figuring out how you can unleash your inner activist.  Find the things in the world that you can change and figure out who the other people are that feel the same way that you do, connect with them, and find your tribe, expand your tribe, include more people, and then it turns out that big changes can happen at the individual level.”

“I think that a lot of people in rural communities and small towns are very used to doing for themselves and then their neighbors.  We’re fairly resilient in that way and taking care of each other and sort of springing to action when something needs to be done.”

“These networks just started springing up because there were a lot of people like me: we’re not trained to be first responders or disaster recovery experts; we assume that there’s someone that knows how to do this.  The truth is, it’s just about doing it and figuring it out as you go.”

“When I use the term ‘expand your tribe,’ what it simply means is, if there’s something that you don’t understand, that you’re suspicious of, or that you’re scared of—maybe you even have legitimate reasons to be scared of it; more times than not, you don’t have a legitimate reason—it’s ‘cause you’ve heard something from somebody or you saw something that led you to believe, but it’s not about your firsthand experience, take your fear and convert it to curiosity, and that’s the first step.”

Resources:

Collaborative Communities Management Company, LLC  

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 1-3, 2018

 

Sep 21, 2017

Topic:

It’s “Just” Rain: Weather Events Impacting Rural Communities

In This Episode:

02:41  Laura explains the impacts of extreme weather in smaller rural communities.
05:48  Laura states some of the resources that help small communities recover from a weather event.
08:49  Laura talks about what a disaster declaration is.
10:30  Laura tells if the weekly average of a federal disaster declaration is an increase from past years.
14:36  Laura mentions some strategies that communities can engage in when a disaster hits.
19:35  Laura states how to integrate weather events into planning.
22:46  Laura tells how communities can learn what they should be doing to be prepared.
23:41  Laura comments on how consultants on your behalf get paid.

Co-Host:

Kif Scheuer is the Climate Change Program Director at the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kif is a solution-oriented sustainability professional with a strong history of engaging diverse audiences in real-world climate protection efforts through innovative, market-focused research and analysis, creative program design, effective project implementation, and compelling public advocacy and education. In 2013 Kif organized the first California Adaptation Forum, which attracted over 800 attendees and served to kick start the statewide conversation on adaptation. Kif led the development and growth of one of the LGC’s key coalitions – the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation, a statewide network focused on addressing adaptation at the regional scale.

Guest and Organization:

Laura Clemons is the founder and CEO of Collaborative Communities Management Company, LLC, (CCMC) and serves as the company’s head project team leader. Ms. Clemons is a LEED Accredited Professional with a specialty designation in Building Design and Construction and has been working in the sustainable built environment since 2008. She transitioned into disaster recovery after the devastating tornados of April 2011 and has combined her diverse background into being a foremost expert on resiliency.   

She has been working with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) since 2014 on a comprehensive approach to Hurricane Sandy recovery that is designed to protect over 350 acres of Sandy damaged NYCHA property from increasing climate change risks including storm surge, sea level rise and rain inundation. Her strategy for stormwater management is that it be achieved through creative land re-engineering to maximize perviousness and drainage while embracing Placemaking. Currently she is invested in helping flood ravaged communities across Texas and Louisiana rebuild in a safer, more sustainable way.  

CCMC is based in Austin, Texas but works with clients across the U.S. They provide a range of local constituencies with logistical support for environmentally sustainable and socially conscientious community revitalization in both pre- and post-disaster scenarios. CCMC serves in both a consultative and project management role ensuring that all project participants operate on budget and schedule and that the client gets a project with multiple co-benefits.

CCMC was created because of the widely acknowledged need for hands-on, focused coordination of various groups involved in creating projects and programs that benefit communities. They approach holistic resiliency solutions through partnership building and collaboration. They have a sensitivity to diversity and inclusion with special attention paid to the most vulnerable populations.

Take Away Quotes:

“There’s a lot of philosophical discussion about climate change and climate adaptation, and when I go to conferences, I see a lot of people talking about Katrina and Sandy.  It is very disappointing to me because I work in disaster recovery, and I see the events that are happening: we’re averaging a federal declaration about one a week.  And when I poll most audiences and ask people, how often do you think we are having a disaster, they say, like, one a year, maybe two a year.”

“We’ve done a good job in this country of building dams.  However, when you have a place that’s seeing a lot of rain, everyone’s upstream of someone, and I think we failed to recognize that.”

“I show up super late, usually very late in the process, where there’s already millions of dollars of missed opportunity of how these small communities could have not just been made to be safer but they could pivot into how this folds into their economic development strategies, how are they attracting new businesses, how do they build new houses or get a new factory to move to town.”

“The risks that we know of, we’re comfortable planning for.  It’s the risk that you don’t know about that will bite you.”

Resources:

Collaborative Communities Management Company, LLC  

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 1-3, 2018

Sep 14, 2017

Topic:

California’s Cap-and-Trade Program

In This Episode:

01:16  Guest Arjun Patney is introduced.
02:11  Arjun describes his work at the American Carbon Registry.
04:28  Arjun explains how the California carbon market works.
07:26  Arjun tells what was exempt from the market.
08:42  Since California is a large exporter of agricultural product, did that have a part in the decision making?
09:22  Arjun gives his thoughts on why the agricultural sector is less regulated than the industrial sector.
09:56  Arjun tells why there’s been less-than-expected revenue for various programs.
12:37  Arjun talks about making the cap-and-trade legislation a bipartisan issue.
15:29  Arjun states what was done in this legislation to address concerns about people who might bear burdens disproportionately.
17:46  Arjun touches on the future of carbon market legislation.  

Co-Host:

Michael Green is the Executive Director of the Climate Action Business Association (CABA). He is also co-host here on Infinite Earth Radio. Michael is a seasoned advocate for climate policy and environmental action and has played strategic roles in several of the largest national, as well as international campaigns dedicated to fighting climate change. Since 2012, he has served as a representative to the United Nations focusing on international climate science and policy. As an activist, he has played strategic roles in several of the largest national, as well as international campaigns dedicated to fighting climate change. In his role at CABA, Michael manages staff and oversees the development of all program areas. He sits on the Board of Boston area non-profits as well as a policy advisor to national business associations on topics ranging from energy policy to climate adaptation. Michael is a Northeastern University graduate with degrees in international affairs and environmental studies, course work at the University of Edinburgh’s MSc Program in Environmental Protection and Management and Harvard Business School’s CORe Program.

Climate Action Business Association (CABA) is a membership-based organization in Boston, Massachusetts, that helps businesses take targeted action on climate change. We provide our member businesses with the resources and tools needed to work within their business on sustainability efforts, political advocacy and building a community of shared values.

Guest and Organization:

Arjun Patney is the Policy Director of Winrock’s American Carbon Registry, which engages with regulators in California and other jurisdictions to help ensure that market-based climate change mitigation programs address the full range of emissions reduction opportunities. In this way, he advances greenhouse gas mitigation that delivers economic opportunities as well as environmental and social benefits. Patney’s diverse experience in the environmental field spans technical, policy and business spheres. Practical sustainability solutions have been the common thread of his work in the U.S. and Asia, whether he was negotiating carbon credit deals, implementing environmental management systems, engineering spill controls, or helping foreign clean tech companies enter Asian markets. Patney previously established the U.S. carbon trading desk at the multinational corporation Cargill and subsequently worked with USAID to advance international forest carbon markets. He received a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an M.S. in environmental management and policy from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.

Winrock has long recognized the threat posed by climate change. The American Carbon Registry (ACR), founded in 1996 and operated by Winrock, is dedicated to the belief that markets are the most effective tools to tackle climate change. As such, ACR has developed transparent and science-based methodologies to incentivize carbon reductions in agriculture, transportation and other industries. ACR is also a partner in assuring that California’s landmark Cap-and-Trade Program can manage, verify and credit carbon offsets effectively.

Take Away Quotes:

“American Carbon Registry, or ACR, is broader than just California. We did exist long before the California market was established. We were actually the first voluntary greenhouse gas registry in the world.”

“The Cap-and-Trade Program here covers most of the economy—some 80, 85% of the economy—and it covers emissions from power generation, including imports; it covers industry…and transportation and heating fuels, meaning all of the gasoline for use in the vehicles is also covered by the program, which is a first for a cap-and-trade program.”

“Agriculture, conventionally in this country, has not faced the same types of environmental regulation as the industrial sectors of our economy.”

Resources:

Climate Action Business Association (CABA)

American Carbon Registry at Winrock International

 

Sep 7, 2017

Topic:

Incorporating Green Infrastructure into Street Design

In This Episode:

01:57  Guest Corinne Kisner is introduced.
02:10  Corinne shares about the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO).
02:33  Mike tells about NACTO’s soon-to-be-released book, “The Urban Street Stormwater Guide.”
03:17  Corinne explains why sustainable stormwater management matters and why transportation officials should be concerned about stormwater management.
05:12  Corinne gives the benefits of using green stormwater infrastructure in street design.
06:49  Corinne comments on green stormwater systems making cities more desirable and more attractive as places to live.
08:30  Corinne gives the characteristics of successful city projects.
11:03  Corinne shares the elements that help make green infrastructure work within a street design.
13 :07  Corinne states the challenges that cities face in stormwater street design.
14:02  Corinne supplies what should be kept in mind when designing or implementing a stormwater street project.
15:08  Corinne talks about underserved communities using green infrastructure as a community-building, community-investment strategy.
17:16  Corinne tells if there is a role for green stormwater infrastructure in areas that have a drier climate.
17:47  Corinne makes known how green infrastructure projects can positively change a city’s growth and development.
19:06  Is green infrastructure more expensive or less expensive than traditional infrastructure approaches?
20:35  Is the book currently available, and where can people go to buy the book?
21:25  Corinne discusses what needs to happen next to get more cities to implement green infrastructure as part of their normal course of business.

Guest and Organization:

Corinne Kisner is the Director of Programs at the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO). In this role, she facilitates networks of peer cities working to build safe, sustainable transportation systems and equitable, active cities through better street design and transportation policy. Corinne directs the annual Designing Cities conference and facilitates city policy initiatives on issues such as Vision Zero, planning for automated vehicles, and integrating green stormwater infrastructure into multi-modal street design. Corinne also oversees NACTO’s communications, external partnerships, and leadership development program for city transportation officials.

Previously at NACTO she served as the Designing Cities Program Manager (2014-2015) and a Designing Cities Fellow (2013), coordinating the Urban Street Design Guide endorsement campaign, growing a national network of bike share professionals, writing case studies of local street design projects, and directing and managing the 2014 Designing Cities conference in San Francisco, the 2015 Designing Cities conference in Austin, and the 2016 Designing Cities conference in Seattle.

Prior to joining NACTO, Corinne held a Mayoral Fellowship at the City of Chicago, worked as the Sustainability Associate in the Center for Research & Innovation at the National League of Cities, and worked at the Climate Institute in Washington, DC. She received a Taubman Scholarship to pursue a Master of Urban Planning degree from the University of Michigan and holds a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

NACTO’s mission is to build cities as places for people, with safe, sustainable, accessible and equitable transportation choices that support a strong economy and vibrant quality of life.

Take Away Quotes:

“NACTO is an association of 55 member cities and transit agencies across North America, formed to help exchange best practices and ideas in city transportation and raise the bar nationally to what city transportation can do in cities.”

“We’ve been seeing cities across the country really thinking critically about the design of streets and how that plays in to city goals for sustainability and equity and access and really livable, vibrant cities.”

“The network of cities that we work with are starting to think critically, too, about how streets play a role in the stormwater infrastructure, in the stormwater network within the city.  Most streets are very impervious, meaning that water can’t absorb through the concrete or the asphalt into the ground, and so you just get enormous volumes of stormwater runoff running across streets and into storm drains.  That really separates water from the natural cycle and causes water pollution and is very expensive to treat and manage.”

Resources:

National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)

Island Press Urban Resilience Project

 

Aug 31, 2017

Topic:

National Engagement Starts with Local Engagement

In This Episode:

01:18  Guest Mindy Romero is introduced.
02:14  Mindy shares if there’s a resurgence of civic engagement.
05:52  Mindy tells if there’s an opportunity to translate national engagement to a local level.
08:48  Mindy speaks about building trust with communities whose local policymakers aren’t demographically reflective.
12:26  Mindy states if she’s seen strategies where communities have attempted to create more accessible pathways.
17:10  Mindy gives her thoughts on how trust plays into voter turnout and if there are strategies to increase voter turnout.
22:07  Mindy addresses measuring the quality of the engagement.
27:08  Do events like what happened in Charlottesville make us stronger?
30:06  Mindy provides where people can find out more about her work.

Guest & Organization:

Mindy Romero, Ph.D. is the founder and director of the UC Davis California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP).  Romero is a political sociologist and holds a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, as well as an M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from UC Davis.  Her research focuses on political behavior and race/ethnicity, and seeks to explain patterns of political underrepresentation.   

Romero has been invited to speak about civic engagement and political rights in numerous venues, testifying before the National Commission on Voting Rights and the California Legislature, among others.  Her research has been cited in major news outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, Politico and the Huffington Post.  She has also been a frequent guest on National Public Radio, Capital Public Radio, and several other NPR-affiliated stations in California.  She is a regular op-ed contributor to the Sacramento Bee.   

Romero works with a wide array of policymakers, elected officials, voter education groups and community advocates to strengthen political participation and representation.  To this end, she has served on a number of boards and commissions.  She is currently a member of the Public Policy Institute Statewide Survey Advisory Committee, President of the Board of the non-profit organization, Mutual Housing California, and Vice-Chair of the Social Services Commission for the City of Davis.

The California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP) is a non-partisan civic engagement research and outreach initiative for the state of California and the U.S. Founded and directed by Mindy Romero, it is housed at the UC Davis Center for Regional Change. The CCEP provides data and analysis to inform public dialogue about representative governance. We believe that inclusive civic engagement can help overcome disparities in social and economic well-being, and can improve health, education and employment outcomes for all Californians. The CCEP has become a go-to source for electoral and civic engagement research, including the examination of nationally relevant election reforms such as automatic voter registration, online voter registration and vote centers. Legislators, public agencies, advocates, researchers, media (state and national) and community leaders use its pioneering research to track disparities and opportunities in civic participation by place and population.

Take Away Quotes:

“I think it’s important, no matter what the numbers actually look like, the fact that we’re having these conversations, the fact that we are bringing more awareness to the importance of engagement, period—no matter, by the way, what side you fall on.  We’re seeing engagement on all ends, I think, of the political spectrum.”

“When it comes to looking at our history, we know that, not just in terms of voting but in other forms of political engagement and civic engagement, that participation is low.  We have some of the lowest turnout rates in the world, and if we look at some of the standard measures of engagement—protesting, or sending money to campaigns, or writing to your congressperson, or joining a board or a commission, or that sort of thing—participation is really low, and it’s really uneven across subgroups of the population.  Those of color, and those that are young, participate even less.”

“We need to continue to push for more engagement and more representative engagement.”

“I would say that the local level is absolutely critical… at the local, that’s where you can make the case to people that if they’re worried about how their family is doing, their economic wellbeing, the quality of their water, affordable housing—these decisions are influenced by the federal level certainly, at the state level, but very much at the local level.  And you can create that narrative to really show people what that connection is and how voting, participating, having a voice, speaking up at the local level can actually have a real, tangible, visible, immediate effect in people’s everyday lives.”  

Resources:

California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP)

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018

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