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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: February, 2016
Feb 25, 2016

Topic:
Moving Equity from a Buzzword to a Metric


In This Episode:
3:32 Topic for this episode is introduced.
3:56 Introduction of Joan Vanhala.
4:13 Introduction of Shauen Pearce.
5:04 Shauen and Joan explain why a scorecard tool that ensures benefits to everyone is necessary.
6:44 What are the five categories that are incorporated into the tool?
7:48 Are there a set of underlying principles or values that drive the whole scorecard?
10:33 How is this tool used?
15:04 To what degree was the development community involved in the creation of this tool, and how have they embraced it?
18:13 How can people learn more about the equitable-development principles and scorecard tool?
18:55 Why is this work important, and what is the motivation to do this work?
24:52 Shauen and Joan share one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
25:50 Shauen and Joan explain the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
26:26 Shauen and Joan share what the world looks like 30 years from now.


Guests:
Joan Vanhala is a Coalition Organizer at the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability. Joan joined the Alliance in February 2008. Joan has an accomplished career that includes: expertise in community organizing to achieve lasting results through effective partnerships; leadership development to sustain organizing efforts for long-term community strength; and the inclusion of racial equity as a necessary component of grassroots community development. Her work in leadership development includes creating curriculum and leading classes in organizing, conducting community best practices workshops and providing one-on-one technical support to community leaders. Before joining the Alliance, Joan worked for the Seward and Longfellow neighborhoods to develop and implement restorative justice programs for juveniles. She previously worked as the Native American Educational Services college campus director and a program manager for the Community Leadership Development Program at Family & Children's Service. As a community organizer for the Phillips neighborhood, Joan led several successful campaigns that resulted in Green Institute/ReUse Center, Midtown Greenway Coalition, Franklin Avenue revitalization, public art projects created by neighborhood youth, and an energized citizen participation process in neighborhood planning and development. Joan has a degree in Community Organizing, Leadership Development: Methods and Practices from Metropolitan State University.

Shauen Pearce is the Executive Director of the Harrison Neighborhood Association. She is an educator, organizer, and strategist with training in critical analysis, program development, campaign organizing, and capacity development. Shauen has over 15 years of success in policy and administrative leadership in the public and private sectors. Growing up in a society marked by corruption, violence, and displacement, Shauen is inspired by the struggles and successes of wise elders and visionary leaders. She enjoys the intersections of life, encouraging everyone to think critically and selflessly about embracing justice and harmony through fearless community building.


Organizations:
The Alliance for Metropolitan Stability is a coalition of advocacy and community organizing groups formed in 1994. We work together to advance racial, economic and environmental justice in economic growth and land development in the Twin Cities region.We believe the people and places of our region are deeply connected. We work to ensure that our regional investments like housing, transit and economic development benefit everyone--especially low-income people and people of color, who are often left behind when resources are allocated. We bring grassroots organizations together to build more power and create a region that allows everyone in the Twin Cities region to thrive.

The Harrison Neighborhood Association is working to create a prosperous and peaceful community that equitably benefits all of Harrison Neighborhood’s diverse racial, cultural and economic groups. We work to foster community awareness to improve the quality of life within our community, to provide a forum for information and communication within our community, to educate residents in the use of effective procedures for resolving problems or initiating improvements and to unite all efforts within the community in raising and acting on issues of common concern, directed toward improving the quality of life.


Take Away Quotes:
“The tool is really necessary to move community, government, and developer into more of a partnership approach to making sure our communities benefit the people who’ve been invested in them for years.”

“Essentially, the overarching principle is that we believe that all public subsidies should result in concrete benefits to low-income communities of color and that they’re part of defining what those benefits are.”

“So the community that fought for the benefits ends up being displaced by the development over time, and so the peace here is that the scorecard and the principles are meant to frame, really, the culmination of that fight to ensure that communities, which are actually the majority of this country, communities that are on the front lines, continue to benefit from all of the hard work that they’ve been doing to make sure that we have healthy, equitable, connected neighborhoods across the country.”

“The true test of the success is the willingness on all parts, on all parties, to really invest the time to have that authentic conversation and that dynamic dialog where community might have a vision, the developer knows how to realize the vision, and the government is providing—and also including planning expertise—but also providing investment so that people can end up with a project that everybody is proud of.”

 

Resources:
The Equitable Development Scorecard

http://www.hnampls.org/scorecard/

Alliance for Metropolitan Stability

http://www.metrostability.org/

Harrison Neighborhood Association

http://www.hnampls.org/

 

Feb 18, 2016

Topic:  
Revitalization in Baltimore after Freddie Gray

Guest:  
Mel Freeman is the former Executive Director of Citizens Planning & Housing Association, a regional organization whose mission envisions a well-planned Baltimore region with equity among jurisdictions, where citizens respect diversity and have access to responsive government and quality housing in vibrant neighborhoods. Currently, Mel is leading his own consulting firm, Freeman Consulting Group, where he continues to work to advance community-led planning processes that provide residents and organizations with the tools to self-manage change within their own communities. His approach is grounded in the belief that people change neighborhoods themselves not by waiting on others to lead the way.

Organization:  
The Citizens Planning & Housing Association (CPHA) is the catalyst for civic action to bring about a healthy, inclusive Baltimore, with economically vibrant communities and opportunities for all people. The organization does this by bringing together people and neighborhoods to create innovative solutions to challenging, community-wide problems; empowering citizens with information and skills for advocacy and organizing; and championing solutions through legislative and policy reforms. Their programs include Community Association Support and Leadership Training, Policy Research and Legislative Pressure, Citizen Outreach and Organizing, and more.

Website – http://www.cphabaltimore.org/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/bmorecpha
Twitter – https://twitter.com/bmorecpha

Take Away Quotes:
“There is a big fear of the word gentrification, do we have to have other folks who don’t look like us in our neighborhoods to increase the value of our communities?”

“There is never enough public money, ever! So private investment needs to happen in these communities.”

“We do need change in communities, but we also need to secure the families that are there.”

“You can’t get anything done unless you’re out there talking to people, and trying to really understand what their needs are.”
“Nobody in their neighborhood uses this train, hundreds of cars drive to this train station and then those people go to work, and those jobs are for them, not for us.”

“What we have to do is get out in these communities and talk about what is for them, and not have them constantly thinking that the next thing that happens in their community is not for them, it is for them and they need to know that.”

Feb 18, 2016

Topic:
Building Strong Neighborhoods and Communities


In This Episode:
2:27 Introduction of Frank Woodruff and Beth McConnell.
3:16 Frank explains if the goals of equitable development and smart growth are at an impasse.
4:35 Beth shares if she sees the issue of smart growth and equitable development as being at odds with each other.
5:25 Beth and Frank give suggestions for how we can move past the impasse.
7:21 Beth gives an example of a place where they think smart growth and equitable development are coming together in a synergistic way.
8:50 Beth explains if her model can be important to other communities.
9:20 Beth shares the challenge in Philadelphia that the Philadelphia Land Bank seeks to solve.
11:25 Beth shares what needs to happen to streamline the process of reacquiring properties and how that works with the Philadelphia Land Bank.
13:01 Frank tells how to encourage private investment in neighborhoods while protecting the public interest.
16:53 Beth shares if she’s encountered a place where people have figured out how to live together.
18:05 Frank and Beth share one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
18:54 Frank and Beth explain the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
19:12 Beth and Frank share what the world looks like 30 years from now.


Guest:
Frank Woodruff is the Executive Director of the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA). Frank joined NACEDA in September 2010, becoming executive director in January 2012. During a time of significant political and economic challenges for community development, Frank saw this as an opportunity to take NACEDA to a new level of success and sustainability. As our country emerges from the great recession, he believes community and economic development will be a critical tool for those communities and neighborhoods that are organized, demanding, and capable of instituting change. 

Beth McConnell is the Policy Director for the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC). PACDC represents more than 100 member organizations, including nearly 50 community development corporations, who work to develop affordable housing, revitalize commercial corridors, and stabilize Philadelphia's neighborhoods. Beth works to advance a policy agenda that helps them do their great work.


Organization:
The National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA) is a national alliance of community development associations. Its member organizations are champions, stewards, and thought leaders for community development at the state and local level. With 43 association members in 28 states, more than 3,500 community-based organizations are represented by their members.

The Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC) is dedicated to advocacy, policy development and technical assistance for community development corporations and other organizations in their efforts to rebuild communities and revitalize neighborhoods. Through their policy and advocacy work, they strive to create a more supportive environment for community development activities and to enable members to more effectively meet the needs of lower income residents and advance neighborhood revitalization. In addition, they aim to build the capacity of CDCs through resource and information delivery, a sharing of ideas and practices among CDCs, technical assistance, and promotion of the community development industry. The PACDC’s vision is to see vibrant and diverse neighborhoods across Philadelphia that equitably meet the needs of all community members, preserve and enhance community assets, and foster a stronger city and region.

Today, Philadelphia has approximately 32,000 properties that are vacant and tax delinquent, 8,000 of which are publicly owned and the remainder are in private hands. Most of these – about 24,000 – are vacant lots. The structures are in various stages of disrepair; some can be stabilized and occupied, and others must be demolished. The Philadelphia Land Bank is a powerful tool to return vacant and tax-delinquent properties to productive use. It will simplify the process of transferring properties from public agencies to private owners. It can also acquire privately owned vacant parcels that are roadblocks to revitalization by foreclosing on them. And the Land Bank’s ability to clear liens from titles will make properties more attractive to potential new owners.


Take Away Quotes:
“We have strategies. There are things that we can do to mitigate those impacts. For example, if you are a property owner in that neighborhood and you can’t keep up with the increase in your property taxes, because your home value has gone up but your income sure has not, we can freeze people’s property taxes to allow them to stay in their home and stay in that neighborhood and enjoy the benefits of an improving community.”

”I think when people have a place to come and voice their concerns, are listened to and respected and are taken seriously, I think you can address a lot of these issues around neighborhood change.”

“The community-building process, through whatever model, works best when communities are engaged with each other across cultures and across ethnicities and across differences, and one way to do that is through the arts.”

“In thirty years, I would like to live in a world where when I turn on the news at night our differences are bringing us together and not tearing us apart.”

 

 

Resources:
National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations

http://naceda.org/


Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations

http://pacdc.org/


Philadelphia Land Bank

http://www.philadelphialandbank.org/


PACDC Magazine

http://www.phillylandbank.org/sites/phillylandbank.org/files/u3/PACDCMagazine_15webHi.pdf


Beyond Gentrification Toward Equitable Neighborhoods: An Equitable Development Policy Platform for Philadelphia

http://www.phillylandbank.org/sites/phillylandbank.org/files/u3/PACDC_EcDevPlat_Full%20Platform.pdf


Land Bank Defeatism Solves Nothing by Beth McConnell, Policy Director for the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC)

http://progressivephillyrising.org/why-the-land-bank-is-reform-philadelphia-needs/

 

Feb 11, 2016

Topic:  
Anchor Institutions and Community Wealth Building
 
Guest:
Ted Howard is the co-founder and Executive Director of The Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland. In July 2010, Mr. Howard was appointed the Steven Minter Senior Fellow for Social Justice at The Cleveland Foundation where he was a member of a team that developed the comprehensive job creation and wealth building strategy, which resulted in the Evergreen Cooperatives Initiative.


Full Bio – http://democracycollaborative.org/content/ted-howard
 
Organization:  
The Democracy Collaborative is a national leader in equitable, inclusive and sustainable development through their Community Wealth Building Initiative. This initiative sustains a wide range of Advisory, Research and Field Building activities designed to transform the practice of community/economic development in the United States.

Website
http://democracycollaborative.org

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/democracycollaborative

Twitter
https://twitter.com/democracycollab
 
Take Away Quotes:
“Rooting wealth in communities is the future of economic development in America”

“Ownership and control of capital is a key determinant of power in any economic system”

“There are 50 million or more people living in poverty in the US.”

“For profit with a social mission and a broadly shared ownership structure – that is what community wealth building is about.”

“A job alone is not enough…how do you create assets in addition to income.”
 
Additional Resources:
The Spy Who Saved Cleveland
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/02/what-works-cleveland-115324

Evergreen Cooperatives
http://evergreencooperatives.com

The Cleveland Foundation
http://www.clevelandfoundation.org

The Cleveland Clinic
http://my.clevelandclinic.org

Feb 11, 2016

Topic:
Equitable Opportunities for All People and Communities

In This Episode:
1:50 Introduction of Ron Sims.
3:36 Ron describes his background and his motivation for his work on the environment and social justice.
5:26 Ron talks about the history and current status of the name change of King County.
9:21 Clarification that the official name is still King County, but it is now named after Dr. Martin Luther King, but the area also recognizes the role that other races and cultures play.
12:03 Ron will be giving the keynote address at the 2016 New Partners to Smart Growth Conference and a panel discussion.
12:26 Ron shares the major themes of his keynote.
14:02 Why do you think those who have been focused on improving the built and natural environments are only now realizing that the key to improving our physical environment is greater economic and social inclusion for underserved and disadvantaged communities?
17:09 Where have you seen the biggest advances on issues of access to economic and social inclusion?
23:40 Ron discusses how we can make investments that will fundamentally make a difference.
29:00 Ron shares what the Equity and Social Justice Initiative is trying to accomplish and how it’s working.
33:38 Ron shares one change that would lead to more sustainable and more equitable communities.
33:58 What one action could our listeners take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future?
34:12 What does Martin Luther King, Jr. King County, Washington look like 30 yrs from now?


Guest:
Ron Sims is a civic volunteer active in health, education, environmental and social equity issues. Appointed by Governor Jay Inslee, Sims serves as the chair of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board. The board is responsible for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Washington State.

Sims is on the Board of Regents of Washington State University. He was appointed to the board by former Governor Chris Gregoire. The Board of Regents is the university's governing body. Sims is on the Board of Directors of the Washington Health Alliance, formerly the Puget Sound Health Alliance, a nonprofit organization he helped found where employers, physicians, hospitals, patients, health plan providers and others from throughout the region come together to improve healthcare quality.

Sims served as the Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 2009 to 2011. He was appointed by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. As the second most senior official at HUD, Sims managed the day-to-day operations of an agency with 8,500 employees and an operating budget of nearly $40 billion.

Prior to his appointment at HUD, Sims served for 12 years as the elected Executive of Martin Luther King, Jr. County (also known as King County), in Washington State, the 13th largest county in the nation with over 2 million residents and 39 cities, including the cities of Seattle, Bellevue and Redmond. As County Executive, Sims was nationally recognized for his work on the integration of environmental, social equity, and public health policies that produced groundbreaking work on climate change, health care reform, affordable housing, mass transit, environmental protection, land use, and equity and social justice. Born in Spokane, Washington in 1948, Sims is a graduate of Central Washington University.

Organization:
The Equity and Social Justice Initiative of King County, Washington recognizes that economy and quality of life depends on the ability of everyone to contribute. They will work to remove barriers that limit the ability of some to fulfill their potential. They are committed to implementing their equity and social justice agenda, to work toward fairness and opportunity for all.


Take Away Quotes:
“It’s something my parents taught: always work collaboratively—you can be surprised at who your friends are.”

“If smart growth does what it’s supposed to do and really changes how we impact the lives of other human beings, we would see some really radical changes and results in every community because, all of a sudden, you would see people flourishing.”

“The people who now are in the smart-growth movement, the opportunity’s never been greater to see a transformation of this country in ways that are going to be stunning.”

“King County adopted an ordinance, and the ordinance basically says one never makes somebody else’s life worse. And our goal is to make sure that everybody would have a high quality of life, no matter what neighborhood they’re in.”


Resources:
King County, Equity and Social Justice
http://www.kingcounty.gov/elected/executive/equity-social-justice.aspx

New Partners for Smart Growth Conference
http://NewPartners.org

Local Government Commission
http://www.lgc.org/

Feb 4, 2016

Topic:  
Investing in Opportunity

Guest: 
Alan Jenkins is Executive Director of The Opportunity Agenda. a communications, research, and policy organization dedicated to building the national will to expand opportunity in America.

Full Bio – http://opportunityagenda.org/alan_jenkins_extended_biography

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/pub/alan-jenkins/5/634/570

Organization:  
The Opportunity Agenda. Is a communications, research, and policy organization dedicated to building the national will to expand opportunity in America.

Website – 
http://opportunityagenda.org

Facebook – 
https://www.facebook.com/opportunityagenda

Twitter – 
https://twitter.com/oppagenda

LinkedIn – 
https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-opportunity-agenda

Take Away Quotes:
“The ideal of opportunity is the notion that everyone deserves a fair chance to achieve his or her full potential.”

“Where the door of opportunity was cracked open a bit, Americans of all backgrounds have always rushed to get in the door.”

“Ultimately it’s up to all of us to make sure that we move from concern, to action, to solutions and that those solutions are lasting.”

Additional Resources:
American Opportunity Communication Toolkit: 
http://opportunityagenda.org/american-opportunity-communications-toolkit

Compact for Home Opportunity: 
https://opportunityagenda.org/compact_home_opp

Opportunity for Black Men and Boys:  
http://opportunityagenda.org/black_male

Feb 4, 2016

Topic:
Incorporating Environmental and Economic Justice and Equitable Development


In This Episode:
02:28 Introduction of Mustafa Ali.
02:52 Introduction of Carlton Eley.
03:23 What brings Mustafa and Carlton to their work and what motivates them to work on issues of equity, environmental justice, and community revitalization?
08:53 How would Mustafa and Carlton assess the progress made by the Smart Growth movement over the past 15 yrs?
12:58 Carlton explains why his focus of embedding the principles of environmental justice into the planning process resonates with him.
17:52 Have we exhausted the equitable-development discussion?
25:01 If you could implement one change or pick one leverage point that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities, what would it be?
27:45 Carlton explains what someone could do to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
30:27 Mustafa explains if you can achieve sustainability without achieving social justice.
32:11 Mustafa and Carlton explain what the world looks like thirty years from now, if they are successful in the work that they are currently doing.


Guests:
Mustafa Ali has been a national speaker, trainer and facilitator on social and environmental justice issues for the past 17 years. During that time, Mustafa has worked with communities on both the domestic and international front to secure environmental, health, and economic justice. He currently serves as Senior Advisor to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy on Environmental Justice and Community Revitalization. Carlton Eley is an environmentalist, urban planner, and lecturer. While working to normalize environmental justice during the planning process, he has become an accomplished expert on the topic of equitable development in the public sector. He currently serves as Senior Environmental Protection Specialist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


Take Away Quotes:
“No one should be creating activities, programs, policy without there being a strong voice from the communities of those folks who are not only being impacted by the choices that are being made but also can be strongly benefitted and can actually help to move their communities to a much stronger place.”

“So when you actually get away from Washington—and I wish that more federal officials did that—and actually spend time on people’s porches, having a conversation with them, learning what they’re dealing with on a daily basis; in their kitchens, hearing about the things that are going on in their lives and how, if they could only get traction, things could change and move in a much more progressive and proactive way, that does something to you because it’s no longer just about theory. It’s about real people who are having real lives and who are looking for real opportunities.”

“We need to make sure that we are developing public policy that really works for those segments of the population that may be underserved and vulnerable.”

“Once you have some knowledge…it begins to change the way that you view your world and the role that you play in it and the opportunities that exist.”


Resources:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
http://www3.epa.gov/

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