What American Cities Can Learn From Their Small-Town Neighbors

Rural farmland near Gibson, Iowa (Credit: James Arentson)
We all want equitable solutions to the problems we face, but increasingly, urban and rural Americans are speaking different languages and operating within separate ideological silos. It’s not enough to build a bridge between silos when what we need is to meet on the ground between them. Only on common ground can urban and rural Americans learn effectively from each other and collaborate as a force of collective wisdom toward greater national success. The greatest potential for attaining the balance that... Read more

Pennsylvania Cities Find Creative New Uses for Old School Buildings

The main building of the Seminary Ridge Museum in Gettysburg previously served as a school and a war-time hospital (Source: Seminary Ridge Museum)
Shifting demographics, diminishing resources, and the costs of maintaining large and aging facilities have all contributed to the steady stream of school closures in Pennsylvania — even when those buildings had historic backgrounds and architectural importance. Conversion into residential space is the most common fate of old school buildings in Pennsylvania. Read more... Read more

Boston Mayor Wants to Waive Building Height Rule This One Time

Boston (Luciof)
Boston’s in the midst of a debate that touches on everything from city revenues and state laws to housing and public parks. At the center of it all: one tower that would rise over 700 feet on prime real estate. If built, the high-rise will cast shadows on the parks. However, with millions of dollars for the city at stake, the former is not a real problem when compared to the good the money could do for parks maintenance and... Read more

Baltimore Hopes to Create Model for Safe DIY Artist Spaces

Outside Baltimore's Bell Foundry artist live/work space (Baltimore Sun)
Baltimore’s Bell Foundry, a two-story theater, art venue and live-work space, was shuttered the week after the fire in Oakland claimed the lives of 36 people. Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh soon after created a task force to create a network of safe and affordable spaces for Baltimore’s artists. The task force has moved forward quickly, creating three working groups to identify artists’ space needs, study code and regulatory issues, and come up with creative financing options for new development. Read... Read more

Climate & Cultural Resilience Grants

seattle-hirabayashi-place
Five grants of $100,000 each are available to local organizations around the country working to build more resilient communities. Enterprise Community Partners requests proposals that use creative placemaking strategies to strengthen the connection between cultural and climate resilience. Grantees will identify a local climate resilience challenge and propose projects in which residents, artists and other creative and cultural practitioners collaborate to address the challenge and other concerns such as equity, racial equity, economic disparities, health disparities and community engagement and... Read more

‘We Failed’ To Design Park That Benefited Neighbors, High Line Creator Says

A view of the Chelsea Grasslands on the High Line (Tim Schenck)
The creators of the High Line “failed” to design a park that benefited the neighborhood around it, one of its co-founders said. Instead of asking what the design should look like, the co-founder said he wish he’d asked, “What can we do for you?” Since the park opened in 2009, it has attracted millions of visitors and garnered widespread praise, but it’s also been accused of putting gentrification into “hyperdrive” and “destroying” the neighborhoods it traverses. Read more... Read more

Preservationists Say Tax Incentive Protects Historic Buildings in Phoenix

The Westward Ho in Phoenix (Uriel Padilla / The Republic)
National threats to the Historic Tax Credit has local activists worried about its future as an economic development tool in downtown Phoenix. According to a document provided by Arizona Preservation Foundation Board of Directors, the Historic Tax Credit (HTC) encourages private investment in the rehabilitation of historic buildings. Read more... Read more
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