Ah the new year! A time when we reflect on all that we've accomplished (hopefully!) in the past year, as well as make (sometimes lofty) plans and resolutions for "the new me." But making successful resolutions that stick is hard work...because it involves making changes, which is no easy feat (especially for cities, since that usually means getting others on board too)! Dropping 15 pounds, quitting smoking, organizing your closet, or creating better places (our wheelhouse!) can be difficult without the right tools and support. Although we can't help organize your closet, we can provide cities with an invaluable tool to achieve their place quality resolutions - to help make your neighborhoods and communities more walkable, livable, irresistible. Here's how...Read More
Happy 4th! Today we profiled five not-totally-obvious amazing walkable places were you can picnic, compete in hot dog eating competitions, enjoy some pretty cool pyrotechnics, and of course, get your steps on on our nation’s birthday :) Oh, and yeah, we ran their State of Place Index & Profile too so you know exactly how walkable - and overall awesome - they really are! (And citymakers, if your city didn't make this list, don't fret, call us, we'll get you your place quality deets, stat!)Read More
Today's post comes from our CTO Andy Likuski, who spent last week attending the New Partners for Smart Growth conference in San Francisco. He shares his experience and makes the case for why autonomous cars will enable us to create more car-free streets.Read More
Today, we open up with another topical conversation (especially given the state of our political discourse): the importance of nuance and how glossing over them can lead us to create false equivalencies and/or overstep, both in terms of promises we make or fears we spur. I wrote about this several years ago when walkability was just starting to hit the mainstream (good) but it was being offered as a panacea for all city problems (not good). But as with politics, the devil's in the details...Hope you enjoy our discussion about what to expect - and what not to - from the built environment in our quest to make cities more healthy, livable, and sustainable.Read More
That my friends, is an "Alternative Fact." We don't normally do this (although nothing about the beginning of this year has been "normal"), but instead of bringing you a new blog post this week, we're revisiting one of last year's most popular posts, prophetically (or ominously) published on the eve of the election - about you guessed it, FACTS - the real kind - and the importance thereof. Due to the new president's senior advisor, Kellyanne Conway's recent interview with CNN's Chuck Todd, where she explained that Sean Spicer, the White House Press Secretary, had simply offered "alternative facts" about crowd size at the inauguration, we felt a reprisal of the discussion of the role of facts was imminently more important than it was when this post was first published. We'd love your comments on how best to ward off "alternative facts!" Please see our original post below...Read More
What were the most pressing challenges and concerns for you awesome, relentless warrior place-makers in 2016? And how can we help you (if you would honor us with the privilege) help you crush them in 2017? Today's blog reveals the top four challenges faced by cities and developers who are creating walkable, livable places based on our discussions with over 100 of you so far! In preparation for the official launch of our newly updated software that helps cities create and justify better places, we want to know if these challenges resonate with you and learn more about your placemaking pains. But most importantly, we want to explore how State of Place can help you identify the kinds of changes that would maximize both quality of life and economic development as well as arm you with the data you need to justify the need to invest in these projects and convince all the naysayers. In other words, we want to help save you time, money, agony - and give you back a little bit of your peace of mind - in 2017...
Ah the new year! A time when we reflect on all that we've accomplished (hopefully!) in the past year, as well as make (sometimes lofty) plans and resolutions for "the new me." But making successful resolutions that stick is hard work...because it involves making changes, which is no easy feat (especially for cities, since that usually means getting others on board too)! Dropping 15 pounds, quitting smoking, organizing your closet, or creating better places (our wheelhouse!) can be difficult without the right tools and support. Although we can't help organize your closet, we can provide cities with an invaluable tool to achieve their place quality resolutions - to help make your neighborhoods and communities more walkable, livable, irresistible. Here's how...
This week's blog will explain why you first have to step on the (place) scale to figure out where you're starting from, explain what the "scale" is telling you, and show you how our data and analytics serve as "walkmap" for you to follow on the "sidewalk" to success!
After hearing the news of Fidel’s death, I immediately logged onto CNN to watch live video coverage. I knew it was only a matter of time before Cubans spilled over into the streets of Miami - banging pots and pans next to, of course Versailles and also, La Carreta, in my very own “Weh-che-steh.” Despite the lack of true public space, Cubans, as they oft - and are known to - do, persevered and took matters into their own hands. They crafted their own space of expression, even though they lacked a physical place in which to do so...But despite the beautiful freedom of expression on display in Miami on Saturday, the lack of public space - true public space - was never more glaring, and disappointing, to me. We - as planners and urban designers - we know better. We failed them. We failed to provide true public space - a cornerstone of our democracy. We failed to do our part in shaping our free Republic.Read More
A few months ago, our awesome Marketing Manger (gently) suggested we ramp up our content marketing (Ok, what she really said was, Mariela, your last blog was like two years ago; get it together!) She urged me to provide urbanists and data-geeks a VIP pass into the inner workings of my brain’s non-stop (near-neurotic) analysis of what makes places great - and not so great - and how (and why) to make them better. So as part of our weekly blog, we’ve decided to start a regular series highlighting our favorite places as well as our favorite-love-to-hate places using State of Place (which is essentially a quantified version of that endless, compulsive inner - and sometimes not so inner - analysis), identifying why they’re great (or why not) and giving you some insider tips along the way! Seeing that Thanksgiving weekend is upon us, we thought we’d start by profiling five awesome, walkable shopping districts, especially suitable for Small Business Saturday. I’ve chosen some of my personal favorites from the five U.S. cities I’ve had the pleasure of calling home at one point or another in order of tenure: Miami, LA, DC, NYC, and Boston. (And for those of you heeding the calls to curb retail spending altogether and instead donating to organizations championing important issues in light of the new political climate, we’ve compiled a list of sustainability-focused orgs for your convenience).Read More
A few weeks ago, I posted about how using State of Place turned me (and my mom!) into an urban detective. Today, as promised, I’m sharing what I actually found. Don’t worry, it’s only slightly technical - but I promise you’ll come away with a much better understanding of how green space influences walkability and how State of Place helped me quantify that.Read More
I've been thinking a lot about the role of "facts" in our society lately...We as a data-driven, evidence-led startup feel it's important to ask the question - what role will facts (and by extension, data, evidence, empiricism) play in a post-Trumpian era? Amidst today’s sound and fury, we wanted to take this time to promise to always serve as a purveyor of facts, a trustworthy and credible source of knowledge, and of course, a data-driven, evidence-based platform to drive (ahem, walk) informed, empirical decisions and reasoned, effective arguments that enhance and promote the power of place...Read More
While Walk Score has clearly laid out their methodology and its limits, as both a preeminent and easily accessible walkability proxy, it’s tempting to try to use what is essentially a measure of the density of destinations as a proxy for walkability, livability, quality of place, and more. But should Walk Score be used to apportion government spending and/or approve development proposals or plans? My colleagues, Julia Koschinsky, Emily Talen, Sungduck Lee, and I recently conducted a study to truly understand when it was and was not appropriate to use Walk Score as a proxy for walkability tied to policy, funding, and/or project approvals.Read More