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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: August, 2017
Aug 17, 2017

Topic:

Reusing and Revitalizing Retail Spaces

In This Episode:

02:57  Guest Michele Reeves is introduced.
04:03  Michele tells of the impact she’s seeing from the decline of retail.
06:52  Michele talks about what to do with vacant retail spaces and what some of the obstacles are.
10:48  Michele addresses huge parking lots.
13:32  Michele expresses her thoughts regarding retail space based on sales tax revenue rather than need, and market studies.
18:16  Michele speaks of strategies to make community corridors a destination.
21:56  Michele shares what local businesses can do to have a more dynamic experience that can compete or complement e-commerce offerings.
28:54  Michele states how people can get in touch with her.

Co-host:

Kate Meis joins the Infinite Earth Radio as the co-host for this episode. 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.

Guest and Organization:

Michele E. Reeves is an urban strategist with significant private sector experience revitalizing districts.  Her qualifications, derived from over 16 years of work in various facets of renewal, include facilitating public/private partnerships, marketing unknown or undesirable districts, pre-development consulting, siting manufacturing facilities, strategizing acquisitions and development with private sector investors, and creating retail leasing plans. Michele founded Civilis Consultants to assist mixed-use districts, small businesses, property owners, and public sector organizations to recognize and leverage their strengths, identify and accomplish economic development goals, and craft their unique stories to create compelling, multi-faceted brands. Michele has a bachelors degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

Follow Michele on Twitter

Take Away Quotes:

“It’s kind of funny.  Even that phrase ‘decline of retail’—I would call it sort of a change in retail.  And I think one of the things I would just say fundamentally about retail—there’s kind of a saying we have inside retail that retail’s about reinvention, and that’s always true.  Retail is always changing, and it’s always finding new avenues and expression for itself.”  

“I think the biggest impact that these changes in retail are having is that it’s leaving us—it’s a retail problem and a real estate problem because one of the biggest things it’s doing is leaving us with these really challenging land-use issues and a lot of vacant buildings that are, in some cases, difficult to reuse.”

“A lot of times the biggest obstacle to reusing these spaces as mixes of different kinds of space, whether it’s church space—which is another common reuse of old Walmarts or Kmarts—or whether it’s manufacturing or light manufacturing, or wholesale, or Internet sales and distributorship, mostly the zoning often stops these spaces from being something else.”

“Everything that you do that’s brick and mortar, everything that’s in person is really going to have to have fundamental elements of a really positive experience, expertise and knowledge, and service that you can’t get through the online experience.”

Resources:

CIVILIS Consultants

Local Government Commission

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

Aug 10, 2017

Topic:

Planning and Creating Age-Friendly Communities

In This Episode:

00:57  Co-host Paul Zykofsky and guests Kathy Sykes and Bill Armbruster are introduced.
01:24  Kathy shares why she’s interested in the field of aging and public health.
01:47  Bill discusses why he’s interested in the field of aging and public health.
02:56  Why is planning for an aging population so important?
04:43  What can we learn from the change in how communities have developed and from the past generation?
06:57  Kathy states what the USEPA’s interest is in this issue of an aging population.
07:49  What are some aspects of the issue of rural versus urban communities?
10:48  Does AARP or the USEPA have a guide for communities on how to think about, and what they should be doing, in terms of planning for an aging population?
14:05  Are there examples of places that have embraced planning for an aging population?
17:07  How does one get started in planning an age-friendly community?
20:36  How much could be saved in seniors’ health costs if age-friendly communities were created?  

Co-host:

Paul Zykofsky directs the Local Government Commission’s (LGC) programs related to land use and transportation planning, community design, and health and the built environment. In the past 20 years, he has worked with over 300 communities to improve conditions for infill development, walking, bicycling, and transit. Mr. Zykofsky provides technical assistance to communities throughout the nation on issues related to smart growth, infill development, transit-oriented development, street and sidewalk design, health and the built environment, and public participation in the planning process. Mr. Zykofsky is a co-author of Building Livable Communities: A Policymaker’s Guide to Transit Oriented Development and Emergency Response: Traffic Calming and Traditional Neighborhood Streets. In 2006, Mr. Zykofsky co-wrote (with Dan Burden of Walkable Communities) the section on “walkability” in the American Planning Association’s Planning and Urban Design Standards.

Guests and Organizations:

Bill Armbruster manages the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, which is a program within AARP Livable Communities. He has been with AARP since 2000, joining as an associate state director for AARP New York. In that role he served the upstate and western region of the Empire State and was responsible for the development, implementation and assessment for community outreach programming. That body of work included livable and age-friendly communities initiatives, partner development and grassroots volunteer organizing for a 30 county region both near and far from his Rochester home base. In addition to his work at AARP, Bill has extensive experience in corporate wellness programs, occupational rehabilitation and ergonomics, pain treatment and physical therapy.

Kathy Sykes is Senior Advisor for Aging and Public Health at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Since 1983, Kathy has held policy positions in the U.S. Senate and Congress and in federal agencies: U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, with Congressman Obey and at the NIOSH within CDC and for almost 20 years at the Environmental Protection Agency, where she developed the Aging Initiative that focused on environmental health issues and the built environment. She also serves on Washington, D.C.'s the Mayor's Age-Friendly Task Force. She is a fellow of the GSA and currently Chair of the Social Research Policy and Practice Section. Ms. Sykes holds a master's degree in Public Policy and Administration and a certificate in Health Services Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Take Away Quotes:

“We’ve got a huge demographic shift that’s occurring right now.  I’m part of the baby boomers, and there’s an awful lot of us, and our population over 65 will double by the year 2050.”—Kathy

“I think a lot of communities aren’t ready.  A lot of communities plan for the 35-year-old, and they think about youth, and families is where they plan, but they haven’t planned for those people who hit 50, 65, and now even, it’s not uncommon to be 90, over 100.”—Bill

“We now have many more people who are able to get involved at their community level to make a difference for people of all ages but also to make communities think about the people who are moving at slower paces.”—Kathy

Resources:

The AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities

Local Government Commission

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

Aug 3, 2017

Topic:

Fresh Water, Climate Change, and Community Resilience

In This Episode:

02:10  Guest Rebecca Wodder is introduced.
03:19  Rebecca expresses how the first Earth Day impacted her life and career path.
05:06  Rebecca tells if fresh water has always been the focus of her environmental career.
05:48  Rebecca talks about how water affects climate change.
09:18  Rebecca explains the degree to which our fresh-water supply is being threatened.
11:28  Rebecca describes the Clean Water Rule.
14:41  Rebecca shares which industries are most impacted by the 2015 Clean Water Rule.
16:26  Rebecca addresses natural capital and social capital.
18:33  Rebecca speaks about New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina.
21:39  Rebecca states where people can learn more about her work.
23:10  Rebecca mentions the wisdom she would pass along to her younger self on Earth Day 1970.
25:52  Rebecca makes known if she’s more hopeful now than she was in the past.

Guest and Organization:

Rebecca Wodder is a nationally known environmental leader whose conservation career began with the first Earth Day. As president of the national advocacy organization, American Rivers, from 1995 to 2011, she led the development of community-based solutions to freshwater challenges. From 2011 to 2013, she served as Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior. Previously, Rebecca was Vice President at The Wilderness Society, and Legislative Assistant to Senator Gaylord Nelson. In 2010, she was named a Top 25 Outstanding Conservationists by Outdoor Life Magazine. In 2014, she received the James Compton Award from River Network. In her writing and speaking, Rebecca explores how communities can enhance their resilience to climate impacts via sustainable, equitable approaches to rivers and freshwater resources.  She serves on the boards of River Network, the Potomac Conservancy, and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Take Away Quotes:

“When the first Earth Day came along…my high school chemistry teacher asked if I would organize this event for the community.  We really didn’t know what it was supposed to be about, but we knew it was intended to engage people and help them recognize the environmental issues that were so prominent at the time…The first Earth Day was just a great event in my life because it showed me how I could  combine my passion for making a difference with my academic interests in science and biology.”

“Water is the way that we experience weather, and weather is the way we experience climate change in our daily lives.”

“Ultimately, the reason that we have a blue planet, the reason there is life on this planet is because of water.  It is the fundamental reason for life.”   

“One of the things that is so important about small streams is that they are the head waters, they are the sources of our drinking water, and something like one-third of all Americans get their drinking water—it starts with these small streams.”

Resources:

Island Press Urban Resilience Project

A Community Approach to Climate Resilience

The Community Resilience Reader

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