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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: January, 2017
Jan 26, 2017

Topic:

The Inevitable Future of Transportation

In This Episode:

01:10 Mike shares how to register for the 2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference.
01:16 Mike describes the Infinite Earth Lab program and how to sign up.
02:17 Lisa Nisenson is introduced.
02:39 Ryan Snyder is introduced.
03:06 Ryan explains what an autonomous vehicle is.
03:54 Lisa gives her sense of what the timing is for autonomous vehicles to come and what the state of the technology is.
04:47 Ryan discusses autonomous technology and cab services.
05:47 Mike comments that those who will save money because they won’t have to pay drivers will move faster.
06:13 Ryan replies with his perspective that commercial vehicles will move first toward autonomous vehicles.
06:39 Lisa mentions that there are different phases for incorporating autonomous vehicles.
07:32 Ryan gives his view of potential implications in terms of infrastructure and community design.
08:53 Lisa shares her thoughts of potential implications in terms of infrastructure and community design.
10:08 Ryan talks about the shape and size of autonomous vehicles.
11:31 Lisa also talks about the shape and size of autonomous vehicles.
12:15 Ryan speaks of lane size in relation to autonomous-vehicle size.
13:21 Lisa speaks of lane size in relation to autonomous-vehicle size.
14:00 Lisa provides the benefits of moving to autonomous vehicles.
14:49 Ryan discusses the benefits of moving to autonomous vehicles.
17:06 Lisa identifies some of the challenges in moving to autonomous vehicles.
17:39 Ryan states some of the challenges in moving to autonomous vehicles.
18:49 Mike discusses the inevitable job loss.
24:14 Ryan expresses what the transportation system looks like 30 years from now, if the technology and the vehicles work correctly.
25:00 Lisa adds her perspective on what the transportation system looks like 30 years from now, if the technology and the vehicles work correctly.
26:05 Ryan adds additional comments on the transportation system.

Guests/Organizations:

Lisa Nisenson has 20 years of experience and leadership in smart growth, sustainable development and civic engagement. She founded an award-winning tech startup, GreaterPlaces, will release a mobile app in May and is working with Alta Planning + Design to integrate technology into health, active communities.

GreaterPlaces is an award-winning website, forthcoming mobile app and consulting firm. The demand for smart city + emerging transportation is growing, even as cities, suburbs & towns invest more in walkable, bikeable and sustainable design. The mission of GreaterPlaces is to help you create a greater community by providing a visual, organized trove of placemaking and community planning solutions.

Ryan Snyder is Principal with Transpo Group, a transportation planning and engineering firm that prepares sustainable transportation plans. Ryan is a widely known presenter, activist, and educator and has established himself as one of the forefront experts of the Complete Streets movement.

Transpo Group is a specialty transportation planning and engineering services firm with offices in Washington, California, and the Middle East. Transpo plans and designs transportation systems for people — not just drivers of cars and trucks, but also the pedestrians and cyclists who share these systems. They create connected solutions that enable a sustainable tomorrow for communities of all sizes, and still get everyone safely where they need to go today. Their team of engineers, planners, and technical resources includes- a full range of skilled experts that have assisted clients with transportation planning and traffic engineering services since 1975.

Take Away Quotes:

“There are, what we call, five levels of autonomous vehicles that have been identified. The first level is where you just have your basic sort of technology that we’ve had for years—for example, cruise control, and now we’re getting adaptive cruise control and lane assist and park assist. Level two is where you combine two of those together and can use them simultaneously. Level three is where the driver can let the car do the driving most of the time but has to intervene at certain intervals. Level four is full self-driving, except that it’s kind of restricted as to where it can go. And level five is unrestricted, fully self-driving.

“I’m pretty certain that within ten to fifteen years we will see a significant number of fully self-driving vehicles on our streets and roads.”

“One of the big things that we are looking at is, what happens in areas with heavy pedestrian and traffic, because in the first sort of rah-rah statements people had—yay, cars will stop for pedestrians and the death rate will be lower—but what is missing is what happens when there’s a hundred cars and two hundred pedestrians for whom crossing in the middle of the street now carries little risk because they won’t get hit, and all of a sudden traffic comes to a halt and there’s gridlock?”

Resources:

Register for the 2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 2-4, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri! Add our brand new Infinite Earth Lab training to your conference registration and receive a special discount.

Sign up to attend the FREE training - Equitable Development in Practice– Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 1:30 Eastern

GreaterPlaces

Transpo Group

Jan 19, 2017

Topic:

What’s Driving the Affordability Problem

In This Episode:

01:53 Mike shares how to register for the 2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference.
02:04 Mike describes the Infinite Earth Lab program and how to register to be involved.
03:00 Jeff Bellisario is introduced.
03:21 Shannon Peloquin is introduced.
03:51 Jeff reflects on what he finds so compelling about community development.
06:06 Shannon shares how affordable housing and community development motivate her.
07:49 Jeff conveys how significant the affordability problem is in the San Francisco Bay Area.
09:39 Shannon also states how significant the affordability problem is in the San Francisco Bay Area.
11:25 Jeff addresses the drivers of the affordability problem.
13:13 Shannon gives her perspective of what’s driving the affordability problem.
14:13 Jeff discusses the population of San Francisco and job growth in that area.
16:26 Shannon supplies her thoughts of what San Francisco needs to do to alleviate the housing affordability crisis.
18:39 Jeff weighs in with his opinion of what San Francisco needs to do to alleviate the housing affordability crisis.
19:52 Shannon discusses financial incentives to create commercial development.
22:46 Jeff adds to the discussion of financial incentives.
23:30 Shannon describes what’s currently happening in the San Francisco Bay Area to create housing.
24:24 Shannon mentions if there have been any housing-shortage studies done in the Bay Area.
25:19 Jeff contributes to the topic of housing-shortage studies.
26:20 Shannon identifies what needs to happen to make progress on the affordable housing issue.
28:19 Jeff tells his thoughts on what needs to happen to make progress on the affordable housing issue.

Guests/Organizations:

Jeff Bellisario is a Research Manager for the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. He supports a wide range of Institute research through project management, research design, and analysis. His research interests lie at the intersection of community development and finance, and his past projects include analyses of Bay Area housing programs, public-private partnerships for infrastructure, and the economic impacts of transportation investments. Prior to joining the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, Jeff worked in Chicago in various portfolio management and investment analysis positions for John Hancock Financial Services and State Farm. Jeff holds an MPP degree from the UC-Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy and a BS in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He enjoys long runs through the hills of the East Bay and cheering on his favorite baseball team, the Chicago Cubs.

The Bay Area Council Economic Institute is a public-private partnership of business, labor, government and higher education, that works to support the economic vitality and competitiveness of California and the Bay Area. Its work builds on the twenty-year record of fact-based economic analysis and policy leadership of the Bay Area Economic Forum, which merged with the Bay Area Council in January 2008. The Bay Area Council and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) are the Institute’s leading institutional partners. The Economic Institute also supports and manages the Bay Area Science and Innovation Consortium (BASIC), a partnership of Northern California’s leading scientific research institutions and laboratories.Through its economic and policy research and partnerships, the Economic Institute addresses major issues impacting the competitiveness, economic development and quality of life of the region and the state, including infrastructure, globalization, science and technology, and governance. Its Board of Trustees, which oversees the development of its products and initiatives, is composed of leaders representing business, labor, government, higher education, science and technology, philanthropy and the community.

Shannon Peloquin is an Associate Partner in McKinsey’s San Francisco Office and a leader in their Infrastructure, Electric Power & Natural Gas (EPNG), and Aerospace & Defense practices. Prior to rejoining McKinsey in 2012, Shannon worked in the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) Office of the Chairman. She holds an M.B.A. from Stanford and a Bachelor of Science in Business in Marketing and Non-Profit Management, summa cum laude, from the University of Minnesota.

McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm that serves leading businesses, governments, non governmental organizations, and not-for-profits. They help their clients make lasting improvements to their performance and realize their most important goals. Over nearly a century, they’ve built a firm uniquely equipped to this task.

Take Away Quotes:

“Just to throw a couple numbers out, average rents in San Francisco are over $3,500 a month; median home prices are over $1.3 million; and these are numbers that you don’t see anywhere else—maybe Manhattan. So in San Francisco, it’s an issue of there not being enough housing supply to meet all of the demand.”

“What does ‘affordable’ mean? We use ‘affordable,’ and when I talk about ‘affordable,’ it is households that are spending more than 30 percent of their pre-tax income on housing-related expenses…What is ‘affordable’ housing? That is kind of also based on kind of a standard, call it two bedroom, one bath for a family or a household of four.”

“When we look at San Francisco and we use that affordability threshold, what we found is that more than 70 percent of San Francisco households are cost-burdened, and when we say ‘cost-burdened,’ it’s they are spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing-related expenses.”

Resources:

Register for the 2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 2-4, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri! Add our brand new Infinite Earth Lab training to your conference registration and receive a special discount.

Sign up to attend the FREE training - Equitable Development in Practice– Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 1:30 Eastern

Local Government Commission

Bay Area Council Economic Institute

Bay Area Council

McKinsey & Company

McKinsey’s Infrastructure, Electric Power & Natural Gas (EPNG)

McKinsey’s Aerospace & Defense

Jan 12, 2017

Topic:

Leaving a Lasting, Tangible Impact

In This Episode:

01:44 Mike shares how to register for the 2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference.
01:54 Mike tells how to register for the Equitable Development training from Infinite Earth Academy.
02:31 Kate Meis is introduced.
02:53 Kate expresses what she is most excited about for this year’s Conference.
06:24 Kate conveys the time frame for the projects to be done in St. Louis.
07:01 Kate mentions some of the key topics of the Conference.
09:05 Kate identifies some challenges of continuing the momentum towards smarter, more sustainable communities.
12:49 Mike discusses environmental policies and the effects of moving to a carbon-neutral economy.
14:26 Kate comments about what smart growth looks like.
16:04 Kate describes her thoughts on what she sees are the most promising developments that are impacting smarter and more sustainable communities.
19:43 Mike mentions the arrival of self-driving cars and trucks and that driving is one of the biggest employers in the U.S.
22:35 Kate weighs in on the topic of job automation.
23:46 Mike replies how the economy won’t function and that we shouldn’t be afraid of technology.
24:34 Kate responds that we should rethink what change means for our education system and workforce training.
25:31 Kate relates what the change in administrations might mean for smart growth and sustainability efforts.
32:00 Mike talks about the high demand for walkable, smart-growth communities and about the shifting economics of energy markets.
33:04 Kate agrees about the market momentum.
33:54 Mike tells how to register for the Conference in St. Louis.

Guest:

Kate Meis is the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kate is a champion for local governments, a recognized leader in local climate change adaptation, mitigation and clean energy efforts, and an ardent coalition builder. She obtained a Masters of Science degree in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis, and has a Sociology Bachelor’ s degree from California State University, Sonoma.

Organization:

For over 35 years LGC has connected cutting-edge leaders from across the nation. Together they are advancing transformative policies and implementing innovative solutions for sustainable communities. LGC works to build livable communities and local leadership by connecting leaders via innovative programs and network opportunities, advancing policies through participation at the local and state level, and implementing solutions as a technical assistance provider and advisor to local jurisdictions. With roots in California and a national reputation, LGC offers inspiration, information, and partnership for local and regional champions dedicated to building thriving communities that integrate civic engagement with environmental, social and economic priorities.

Take Away Quotes:

“This year I’m really looking forward to having a tangible impact in the community we’re going to be in in St. Louis. So, in the past we’ve gone, we’ve had a great few days, we’ve done local tours, we’ve engaged our local partners through a local advisory committee, and we’ve made some great partnerships and some great connections, but we had never really utilized all these experts we’re bringing together across the nation to leave a lasting impact in our host city. So that’s our priority this year.”

“We will also be working with some art organizations in three neighborhoods to provide some technical assistance and in critical areas that they identify, and then also working with some local youth to build and install three large, what they’re calling, mandalas in each neighborhood. So they’ll be painted on wood and weatherized, and they’ll be really large installations that focus on themes of transportation and urban renewal.”

“In the U.S. we have roughly four times more parking spaces than vehicles, so I see huge potential to open up that space and to really have communities invest in housing people rather than our cars. And I think the timing is really right for that sort of a revolution: we have seen the pace of car use slowing, people up until now are pretty maxed out on their commute distances, we see millennials turning away from the car, and, like I said, we are seeing ride sharing increasing pretty exponentially.”

Resources:

Register for the 2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 2-4, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri! Add our brand new Infinite Earth Lab training to your conference registration and receive a special discount.

Sign up to attend the FREE training - Equitable Development in Practice– Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 1:30 Eastern

Local Government Commission

Jan 5, 2017

Topic:

Advancing Racial, Social, and Environmental Equality

In This Episode:

01:23 Mike announces the Infinite Earth Lab training program.
02:44 Mike explains this episode of Infinite Earth Radio.
03:11 Robert Garcia is introduced.
04:07 Robert explains when he realized fighting for civil rights would be his life’s work.
05:37 Robert describes the victory of the Bus Riders Union versus the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
07:51 Robert shares why Title VI of the Civil Rights Act is an important tool in the battle for environmental justice.
12:24 If those who receive federal funding violate the agreement of Title VI, what can the federal government do?
16:19 Robert explains why The City Project is focused on equal access to natural resources.
21:00 Robert discusses his efforts to restore the Los Angeles River.
25:07 Robert shares what it was like for The City Project to be involved in creating new national monuments.
28:47 How will the communities with newly restored natural areas going to benefit from the investment and the restoration and not become displaced?
33:33 Robert shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
33:59 Robert describes the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
34:19 Robert explains what California, our national parks, our natural resources and monuments look like 30 years from now.

Guest:

Robert García is a civil rights attorney who engages, educates, and empowers communities to seek equal access to public and natural resources. He is the Founding Director and Counsel of The City Project, a non-profit legal and policy advocacy organization in Los Angeles, California. Robert graduated from Stanford University and Stanford Law School and is an Assistant Professor at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science.

Robert has extensive experience in public policy, legal advocacy, mediation, and litigation involving complex social justice, civil rights, human health, environmental, education, and criminal justice matters. He has influenced the investment of over $43 billion in underserved communities, working at the intersection of equal justice, public health, and the built environment. He served as chairman of the Citizens’ School Bond Oversight Committee for five years, helping raise over $27 billion to build new, and modernize existing, public schools as centers of their communities in Los Angeles. He has helped communities create and preserve great urban parks and preserve access to beaches and trails. He has helped diversify support for and access to state resource bonds, with unprecedented levels of support among communities of color and low-income communities, and billions of dollars for urban parks. He served on the Development Team for the National Park Service Healthy Parks, Healthy People Community Engagement eGuide.

Robert served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund. He received the President’s Award from the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice for helping release Geronimo Pratt, the former Black Panther leader, from prison after 27 years for a crime he did not commit. He represented people on Death Row in Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi. Stanford Law School called him a “civil rights giant” and Stanford Magazine “an inspiration.” Robert served on the Justice and Peace Commission for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles under Cardinal Roger Mahony. He is an immigrant who came to the U.S. from Guatemala at age four.

Mr. Garcia’s Publications

Organization:

The City Project, a non-profit legal and policy advocacy team in Los Angeles, California. The City Project works with diverse allies on equal access to (1) healthy green land use through community planning; (2) climate justice; (3) quality education including physical education; (4) health equity; and (5) economic vitality for all, including creating jobs and avoiding displacement.

President Barack Obama and federal agencies are catapulting The City Project’s work on green access to the national level. As the President recognized in dedicating the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, “Too many children, . . . especially children of color, don’t have access to parks where they can run free, breathe fresh air, experience nature, and learn about their environment. This is an issue of social justice.” Conservation isn’t about locking away our natural treasures. “It’s about working with communities to open up our glorious heritage to everybody — young and old, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American — to make sure everybody can experience these incredible gifts.”

The National Park Service and the US Army Corps of Engineers agree. Their studies on green access and the Santa Monica Mountains, the San Gabriel Mountains, and the Los Angeles River rely on The City Project’s analyses to document that there are disparities in access to green space for people of color and low-income people in Los Angeles, that these disparities contribute to health disparities, and that environmental justice requires agencies to address these disparities. The City Project worked with Ranking Member Raul Grijalva and the House Natural Resources Committee to organize the historic forum on environmental justice, climate, and health. The forum included seven Members of Congress and community advocates at the L.A. River Center in 2015.

Take Away Quotes:

“I am a civil rights attorney. I am an environmental justice and health attorney. We consider environmental justice the environmental arm of the civil rights movement, and we focus most specifically on equal access to parks and recreation—we have since we started The City Project in 2000—and many people wonder, how is that a civil rights issue? But, in fact, access to parks has been a central part of the civil rights movement ever since Brown versus Board of Education.”

“We’ve always recognized that equal access to public resources is a core part of the battle for justice and dignity for all.”

“Residential segregation contributes to many of the disparities that we see in cities and rural areas—disparities in fair housing, decent housing; disparities in health; disparities in access to green space; disparities in quality education; disparities in the kinds of jobs you have access to; disparities in transportation to get to the jobs and schools and parks; and in general, disparities in infrastructure.”

“It’s not only the parks that have been created—and there are many—and it’s not even the planning process and the compliance with the law—which is rewarding; ultimately, we measure success by the smiles on children’s faces from playing in parks and schools that did not exist before. And that’s what we’re the most proud of.”

Resources:

The City Project – Equal Justice, Democracy, and Livability for All

Donate to The City Project

Read The City Project’s Fact Sheet

The Loneliness of Being Black in San Francisco – NY Times

2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference

Register for the Conference!

Get on the Infinite Earth Lab Waiting List!

"Using Civil Rights Tools to Address Health Disparities" - Policy Report, The City Project, 2015 
Learn about civil rights tools and the 5-step compliance and equity analysis

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