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Data Geeks, Unite! (Or How to Become a State of Place Ambassador)

Data Geeks, Unite! (Or How to Become a State of Place Ambassador)

Blake Roberts, one of our Ambassadors, recently spoke with our CMO, Anna, about his planning background and why he's advocating for more data-driven, evidence-based planning (via State of Place, of course). Find him at the APA California 2017 conference (and join his tour on Sunday afternoon) and flag him down anytime to chat about Cali planning and State of Place! And scroll down to find out how to become one of our ambassadors.

These Streets Are Made for Walking...

These Streets Are Made for Walking...

Hello IDAers, Winnipegers, place lovers! I am SOOO bummed not to be joining you in person this year - especially after actually winning the IDA raffle for a free conference ticket! But not to worry as - one, our CTO, Andy Likuski will be your resident place-loving data-geek and two, we are reprising last year's better-know-your-IDA-conference-host-city blog series where we use State of Place to do a deep-dive on the lucky city's urban design assets and needs (based on over 290 built environment features - think Walk Score on steroids). IDA 2016 brought you a piece the Atlanta Beltline's walkability. This year, we stepped it up a bit and played a little game of SimCity to assess just what would be the impact - place-wise and money-wise - if the (infamous) intersection of Portage and Main in Downtown Winnipeg were to indeed be reopened to pedestrians. Check out our analysis below! 

Why Data Isn't Just for Geeks (or Traffic Engineers) Anymore

TLDR: Skip right to the podcast.

One of our favorite customer quotes of all time comes from West Palm Beach's Downtown Development Agency's Executive Director - the formidable, outspoken, and ever-innovative Raphael Clemente. When discussing the toughest challenges he faces "getting it [great placemaking] done" he bemoaned the neverending battles he constantly has to fight with traffic engineers and regional and state transportation planners to try to convince them why he wants to create more pedestrian-friendly street designs or more often, stop them from making streets that much more auto-oriented. He expressed that his "opponents" came armed with data to defend the car-focused status-quo. His beautiful pictures depicting amazingly, walkable utopias - on their own - didn't quite cut it. But adding data to that vision - that was "like bringing a gun to the gunfight, finally allowing [him] to level the playing field."

Data is becoming a key part of the equation (pardon - sort of - the pun) - whether you're trying to "fight the good fight" or more generally are trying to incorporate more data-driven, evidence-based approaches to planning and design. This week, our Founder & CEO, Mariela Alfonzo discussed the role of data in the future of city-making with Parksify's Ash Blankenship. 

If you're a city-maker who 1) needs to bring that gun to the gunfight to make the case for great places or 2) wants to understand how best to leverage the power of data to create more walkable, livable, SMARTer, cities, spend some QT with Mariela below! 

If for whatever reason you're "anti-data," I have two thoughts: 1) Um, seriously? Feel a sudden-onset of FOMO coming on soon, anyone?? 2) I guess you want your city to become a "zombie" (for #GOT fans, that's a city full of wights - half-dead creatures - just mindlessly doing what they are told). Yeah, now you totally have to listen! Believe me, you'll thank me later! 

TLDL (too long didn't listen)? Scroll through key quotes below to understand why not all data is created (or interpretted) equally...

Second Time's Like a Charm?

Second Time's Like a Charm?

Yes, yes, I know. It's the third time's a charm...but one, I'm Cuban (technically Cuban-American but I grew up in Miami so that makes me pretty much Cuban and explains why I suck at American idioms... apparently, Italian cousins are not the same thing as Irish twins, but I digress); and two, second time is technically a more accurate (and you know how we feel about precise data at State of Place!) way to describe this video reprisal (below) of my amazingly received keynote at the WALK21 Conference last fall, which we're presenting today (just happened across it on YouTube - yay! - while I was googling myself over Memorial Day weekend...no lie) in lieu of a written blog this week.

Naysayers gonna "Nay?" Learn How Data Can Help Get Them to YAY!

Naysayers gonna "Nay?" Learn How Data Can Help Get Them to YAY!

3 Cities. 5 Presentations. Dozens of Demos! That's been life for the past 3 weeks for Mariela, our Founder and CEO! You'd think she would be tired but she's caught a bad case of Keynote-itis and is keen (sorry, that's a lot of alliteration!) to keep it going. So we're doing three days of 30-minute demos! If you want to find out why the New Cities Foundation just named her an Associate Fellow for Placemaking (yeah, that did just happen!) or better yet, want to learn how to quickly quell those pesky naysayers that have been holding back your placemaking and walkability plans AND decrease your consulting costs to boot, plan to spend some QT with Mariela next week! She'll show you how to use data to "fight the good fight" and reduce your consulting costs to boot!

 

Meet 6 Amazing Cities Trying to Make the Case for Great Places!

Meet 6 Amazing Cities Trying to Make the Case for Great Places!

On today's blog, read about how our six WINNERS want to use State of Place to make the case for great places. From helping make the case for complete streets applications to showcasing the economic benefits of revitalizing car-oriented main streets, we're honored by your excitement and enthusiasm for State of Place. We can't wait to help these communities make the case for great places. Scroll below to find out more about these six amazing projects and sign up for a demo to find out more!