Nowhere Near the End of the Line

21 Mar

With news of sequestration and federal budget cuts, municipalities across the country are feeling as though they have reached the end of the line. Reduced federal funding has many states, counties, and cities slashing services and considering tax hikes. Everyone from senior citizens, to students, to airport passengers are feeling the sting of the cuts, yet there is hope. Reports indicate we’re beating the odds,  however it is time we look elsewhere for new and innovative methods for creating lasting economic development.

This month we examine areas other than the federal government for sources of economic opportunity.  We observe the State of California seeking to make legislative changes to its economic enterprise zones in the hopes of creating more jobs and economic growth.  We see non-profit organizations mobilizing change through research, community engagement, and the brightest thought leaders. Finally, we leave the country all together to visit Latin America and their innovative transportation solutions.

As we look towards the coming of spring, we can also look to places other than the federal government for our needs. We are not at the end of the line, just figuring out how to build more track.

Sincerely yours,

Cecilia V. Estolano | Jennifer LeSar | Katherine A. Perez-Estolano

Revitalization Bills Roundup

20 Mar

While California, as a whole, may be on the path to economic recovery, certain regions of the State look to be in for a much longer and difficult road. Take Imperial County, which has the State’s highest unemployment rate [PDF] at 25% and a poverty rate [PDF] of 23%; or the counties of Merced, Fresno, Madera, Tulare, Kings, and Stanislaus, each of which have unemployment rates higher than the state average and poverty rates between 20-25%.  What new tools can be created at the state level to spur equitable economic development to some of our hardest hit communities? Continue reading

Small Family Foundation with Big Ideas for LA

20 Mar

LA2050 Housing Meetup

What will Los Angeles look like in 2050? While the Los Angeles Times thought 2013 might look like a futuristic Jetsons episode, one small family foundation is also generating big ideas for the future of the City of Angels. Continue reading

Transportation Innovations Down South

20 Mar

The sequester has taken some of the wind out of the sails of efforts at federal transportation reform. With funding sources running dry, potentially game-changing transportation improvements are left on the table or scrapped completely. Those that do pass have to contend with continuing hurdles of opposition. What to do when the feds are scaling back? We’ve decided to pack our bags and head to South America: a place where winter comes in June and transportation innovations come year-round. Continue reading

Global Air Quality

19 Mar

When it comes to air quality, high profile cities such as Beijing often get a bad reputation for having some of the worst air quality in the world. This is not without good reason – recent appalling figures and international pressure have forced Chinese officials to institute strategies to curb pollution in the city. However, when looking at pollution levels globally, sadly China’s capital is not the city that consistently endures that worst pollution levels in the world. Surprisingly, it’s nowhere near the top. Continue reading

LA Considers Citywide Design Guidelines

19 Mar

In early February 2013, the Los Angeles City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee held its first public hearing on the proposed Citywide Design Guidelines that would set a series of enforceable design standards for all new construction or renovations that increase floor area on a particular project. Continue reading

Brooklyn Navy Yard

19 Mar

Revitalizing the manufacturing sector in the U.S. is an important economic development strategy to create well-paying middle class jobs.  Cities throughout the United States are piloting ways to advance this goal.  New York City is developing this strategy through the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a 300 acre, city-owned industrial park along the Brooklyn waterfront.  At its peak, the Brooklyn Navy Yard produced warships for the U.S. Navy. Today, it houses 330 businesses in film, media, design, and cleantech sectors, and employs about 5,800 people. Continue reading