Go Cultivate!

By Verdunity

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Description

A podcast for community builders. Discussing ways to grow financially resilient, resource-conscious, and people-friendly cities.

Episode Date
Navigating Different Stages of Growth
01:01:08

Kent Cagle has been a city manager in Texas for over 20 years, and has worked in local government in Texas for nearly 35. He has worked in cities that are growing rapidly, and ones that are built out and having to determine how they can balance a budget with limited resources. He is the current city manager in Killeen, Texas and oversaw the city's recent Comprehensive Planning effort. Kent shares a great deal of knowledge on how he has navigated the changing landscape of local government and provides some useful insight on how to actually get things done. Hint: he's very pragmatic about it all.

 

In this episode:

City of Killeen – 2022 Comprehensive Plan

Kent Cagle – City Manager

Contact Kent

Monte Anderson

City of Leander

City of Duncanville

City of Carrollton

City of Plano

 

 

Sep 06, 2022
The Rosetta Stone of Zoning - with Sara Bronin
00:50:16

If just about anyone tells you that they totally understand zoning codes, they are probably lying to you. Well, unless they are today's guest. Sara Bronin is a Mexican-American architect, attorney, and policymaker specializing in property, land use, historic preservation, and climate change.  She's a professor of planning and law at Cornell University, and she was recently nominated by President Biden to Chair the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, pending Senate confirmation.  She founded and directs the National Zoning Atlas, a tool that aims to depict critical aspects of zoning codes nationwide in an online, user-friendly map. If there is one thing we love discussing here at Verdunity, it's zoning and how it can be improved. You won't want to miss this episode.

Links to things discussed in this episode:

Cornell Chronicle 5/17/22 National Zoning Atlas launched to make America's patchwork of codes accessible and comprehensible

National Zoning Atlas website

Bloomberg, 2/2/22 Why the U.S. Needs a National Zoning Atlas

Strong Towns, 3/30/22 Is It Time for a National Zoning Atlas?

Connecticut Public Radio/WNPR, 1/28/21, Report: The Vast Majority of Connecticut Zoning Blocks Affordable Housing

The Connecticut Mirror, 1/28/21, Data suggests dozens of towns are violating CT Supreme Court decision on exclusionary zoning

The Connecticut Mirror, 2/3/21, The Zoning ATlas – an important resource as Connecticut rethinks housing policies

Hartford Courant, 1/27/21, New zoning map shows how hard it is to build multifamily housing in Connecticut; most of state is restricted to single-family homes

https://parkingreform.org/resources/mandates-map/

The Day, 1/31/21, Study: Connecticut zoning regulations restrict expansion of affordable housing

Sara Bronin - audio/print/video works

Desegregate Connecticut website

Energy Policy Now podcast: Zoning Rules Stifle Urban Clean Energy. Can The Rules Be Rewritten?

Courier Journal, 6/9/20, Opinion: In fight for justice, zoning laws that exclude low-income people must be changed

PBS Newshour, Roads to Recovery

Next City, 6/10/22, New Digital Atlas Hopes to Demystify Urban Zoning

Governing, 6/19/22, Project Highlights Relationship Between Zoning and Affordable Housing

Aug 02, 2022
Embracing Incrementalism - with Colleen Askew
01:01:38

Incremental improvement is a key element to the success of any place. The biggest projects, developments, and infrastructure also come with the biggest collection of dangers and places that something can go wrong. Starting from the bottom and working to solve an immediate need in the most effective way possible can also solve big problems over time, we just need to embrace that way of thinking. Kevin and Colleen Askew discuss just this (and more). 

Jul 06, 2022
Resurrecting a Dying Downtown - with Jason Duff
01:13:32

Jason Duff is the Founder of Small Nation which encompasses a group of companies, leaders, and investors who develop places, spaces, and dreams for small towns and small-town entrepreneurs across the county.  Jason and his team at Small Nation have completely revitalized the town of Bellefontaine, Ohio.  In 10 short years, they have turned a dying town around and helped make it a Best-in-State destination. If you want some serious inspiration for how your downtown can be enlivened with passion and hard work, this is a must-listen. 

Mentioned in This Episode:

About Jason & Small Nation:

https://smallnationstrong.com/

Jason’s Work:

Downtown Proponent Breathes Life Into One Small Town, Hopes to Repeat Feat

https://ddc.downtowndevelopment.com/2022/03/01/downtown-proponent-breathes-life-into-one-small-town-hopes-to-repeat-feat-2/?doing_wp_cron=1647274596.8421850204467773437500

BG Leaders Look at Bellefontaine’s ‘Hustle Hard’ Approach Used to Rescue that Downtown

http://bgindependentmedia.org/bg-leaders-look-at-bellefontaines-hustle-hard-approach-to-rescue-that-downtown/

Bellefontaine - The Resuscitation of a Dying Small Town

https://smallnationstrong.com/case_study/bellefontaine/

Articles by Jason:

The Best Entrepreneurs Spend Less Time Marketing And More Time Building Social Media Engagement

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2017/09/13/the-best-entrepreneurs-spend-less-time-marketing-and-more-time-building-social-media-engagement/?sh=19dd88f76e2c

Other Resources:

Incremental Development Alliance

https://www.incrementaldevelopment.org/

Building Small: A Toolkit for Real Estate Entrepreneurs, Civic Leaders, and Great Communities, by Jim Heid

https://www.jheid.com/small/

How to Get Started as a Small-Scale Developer 

https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2017/11/1/how-to-be-a-small-scale-developer

Seeing Small

https://www.mainstreet.org/HigherLogic/System/DownloadDocumentFile.ashx?DocumentFileKey=e921d7c8-92fe-b822-1975-1254a2f6ee61&forceDialog=0

4 Tested Techniques to Catalyze Small Town Redevelopment

https://meetingoftheminds.org/4-tested-techniques-to-catalyze-small-town-redevelopment-27017

A Common-Sense Approach to Reinvigorating Small-Town America

https://www.ruralbusiness.com/a-common-sense-approach-to-reinvigorating-small-town-america/

Jun 07, 2022
Rethinking Budgeting – with Andrew Kleine & Shayne Kavanagh
01:06:46

Andrew Kleine is the author of "City On the Line" and is working tirelessly toward a future in which municipal budgeting produces the results that leaders are looking for. Shayne Kavanagh, the Senior Manager of Research for the Government Finance Officers Association, has spent his career looking at how government policy interacts with the fiscal health of the places in which he works.

To some, municipal budgeting is a black box, but today's conversation aims to make this sometimes-confusing topic a little more transparent. Can the budgeting process be communicated to the public in a way that actually helps them understand and be a part of the process? The answer is yes. Kevin, Shayne, and Andrew look seriously at how we can we take a data-first approach to planning for the future and come up with ways for our budgets to actually produce meaningful results in our communities.

Lots of great content to check out after you listen to this episode:

https://www.gfoa.org/rethinking-budgeting
https://bloombergcities.jhu.edu/category/budgeting-equity

Some books worth checking out:

City on the Line by Andrew Kleine
Trying Hard is Not Good Enough by Mark Friedman
The Price of Government by David Osborne and Peter Hutchinson
The Art of Explanation by Lee LeFever
Data Story by Nancy Duarte
Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam

May 03, 2022
Demystifying Affordable Housing — with Deborah Myerson
01:05:40

Have you ever heard the phrase "affordable housing" used by 5 different people,  but it seems like every one of them is talking about something slightly different? This episode will help shed some light on this sometimes confusing, always complex subject. AJ and Deborah go deep and we are here for it.

Lots of great content to check out after you listen to this episode:

Deborah’s Business: 

https://dmyersonconsulting.com/

Mentioned in This Episode:

How Did They Do It? Discovering New Opportunities for Affordable Housing

https://dmyersonconsulting.files.wordpress.com/2021/04/how-did-they-do-it-jan-2017.pdf

Few American Cities are Truly Dense. We Can Do Better.

https://www.governing.com/community/few-american-cities-are-truly-dense-we-can-do-better

Public Meetings Thwart Housing Reform Where it is Needed Most

https://www.governing.com/now/public-meetings-thwart-housing-reform-where-it-is-needed-most

Some of Deborah’s Work:

Invisible Neighbors: How To Include People Left Out of B-town’s Neighborhoods 

https://limestonepostmagazine.com/invisible-neighbors-left-out-of-neighborhoods/

Best in American Living (Blog)

https://bestinamericanliving.com/?s=deborah+myerson

Prospects for New Housing Cooperatives: Feasibility Study for Housing Cooperatives in the Northern Rockies

https://dmyersonconsulting.files.wordpress.com/2020/09/prospects-for-new-housing-cooperatives-executive-summary-1.pdf

Multifamily Housing Development: Ten Case Studies of Innovative Projects

https://uli.bookstore.ipgbook.com/multifamily-housing-development--ten-case-studies-of-innovative-projects-products-9780874203868.php

Other Relevant Tools and Articles:

Are We Doing This Right: Granny Flats Edition

https://www.verdunity.com/podcast/episode-37

The Affordable City: Strategies for Putting Housing Within Reach (and Keeping it There) by Shane Phillips

https://islandpress.org/books/affordable-city

Supportive Housing: A Community Solution

https://www.csh.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/BeyondNIMBYpdf.pdf

The Radical Way Cities are Tackling Affordable Housing

https://www.fastcompany.com/90618596/the-radical-way-cities-are-tackling-affordable-housing

Local Tools to Address Housing Affordability: A State-By-State Analysis

https://www.nlc.org/resource/local-tools-to-address-housing-affordability-a-state-by-state-analysis/

Cooperatively Owned Builder Sees Affordable Housing, Climate Action in ‘Granny Flats’

https://nextcity.org/urbanist-news/cooperatively-owned-builder-sees-affordable-housing-climate-action-in-grann

Apr 05, 2022
The Battle Over Broadway – with Kea Wilson
01:14:01

In the heart of San Antonio, Texas lies 2.2 miles of 7-lane stroad that connects to I-35.

Originally part of a state owned loop, the Texas Transportation Commission (TTC) approved a transfer of ownership to the City of San Antonio in late 2014. Since then, the City has undertaken a public engagement process to determine how best to adjust this road to better suit its citizens.

Leaders in San Antonio are proposing to reduce travel lanes to two in each direction and add protected bike lanes, widen sidewalks, and plant street trees to make the thoroughfare accessible to all types of traffic. But the state has decided that is unacceptable, and in January rescinded the transfer on the grounds that an official Project Acceptance letter was never issued. The Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott has opposed similar Road Diets in Austin, and has referred to these types of projects as a "war on cars".

Kevin, and Kea explore this back and forth between the state and local leaders and discuss reasons why there is such a disparity between what direction is being given from the top-down, and the push for reform from the bottom-up. 

Links:

TxDOT votes to take control of Broadway, short-circuiting city's redevelopment plans

State moves to take back Broadway and stop city's redevelopment project

Lower Broadway Transformed: What's Coming and on the Drawing Board

TxDOT Ends Program That Converts Paved Roads to Gravel | The Texas Tribune

 

Mar 01, 2022
Vibrant Downtowns - with Catherine Sak
01:11:16

What makes a great downtown? What do we sometimes miss that can influence the way new visitors feel about our downtown? AJ interviews Catherine Sak, Executive Director of Texas Downtown to get the answers to these questions.

If you care about your downtown, or are just a lover of downtowns generally this episode is for you. Catherine and AJ get into when you need to drop Truth Grenades on the members of your community who aren't helping your downtown to be as successful as it can be, and how important a downtown is to your sales tax revenue. There's also some interesting discussion about small commercial districts in neighborhoods and how those places are deserving of our time and attention.

Links:

Texas Downtown website: https://www.texasdowntown.org/

The Value of U.S. Downtowns and Center Cities: 2020 Summary: 
https://downtown.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IDAVODT20_Compendium_2020_ExecSum_021921.pdf.pdf?utm_source=ida&utm_medium=publication&utm_campaign=button

Key Elements of Successful Downtowns: https://ced.sog.unc.edu/2019/01/key-elements-of-successful-downtowns/

Here's What *Not* to Do to Your Small-Town Main Street: https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2020/12/2/heres-what-not-to-do-to-your-small-town-main-street

Main Street America - Resources: https://www.mainstreet.org/howwecanhelp/resourcecenter/webinarseries

Recast Your City: How to Save Your Downtown with Small-Scale Manufacturing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdnIvp9Udv0

The Heart of the City: Creating Vibrant Downtowns for a New Century by Alexander Garvin

Resilient Downtowns: A New Approach to Revitalizing Small- and Medium-City Downtowns by Michael A. Burayidi

Feb 03, 2022
Serving You Better: 3 Reflections from 2021 and Initiatives for 2022
00:45:24

In this first Podcast of the year Kevin takes an introspective look look back at Verdunity’s last year and gives a preview of what we expect to be up to in 2022. Listen in to Kevin giving some thought to

  1. What prosperity is.
  2. How we are building cities we can’t afford to live in or maintain.
  3. How clear it’s becoming that there is hope at the neighborhood level.

As we look forward to 2022 we hope you will join us for some upcoming workshops we will be holding around the state of Texas. Stay tuned, chances are we will be coming somewhere near you!

Items mentioned in the podcast:

Podcast Survey

Episode 23 – Co-creating the city you want to live in, with Ben Orcutt

"Buckle Up, Baby" – with Chuck Marohn

Fiscally Informed Planning - with the City of Taylor, Texas

Building community wealth with Monte Anderson

Episode 28 – A small city does the math on new development

Jan 11, 2022
Fiscally Informed Planning - with the City of Taylor, Texas
01:41:18

Does your community say it values fiscal responsibility but continue to make development decisions that increase infrastructure and service liabilities without a plan to pay for them in the future? If so, a fiscally-informed comprehensive plan process like the one Verdunity helped Taylor, Texas prepare might be beneficial. Taylor is a small town in Central Texas who’s heyday came and went in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. Originally a major hub for commerce in Williamson County, Taylor stagnated due to a number of factors including having I-35 routed significantly west of town bypassing the community entirely. Now in the early part of the 21st century Taylor is poised for major growth as more people move outside of Austin. Major employers have taken notice – Samsung has just inked a deal for the single largest silicon chip manufacturing facility in the US to be built at the edge of Taylor. Having just completed the first major rewrite of their comprehensive plan in 20 years Mayor Brandt Rydell and Assistant City Manager Tom Yantis discuss why the city wanted financial resilience to be at the center of their planning process, the role Verdunity’s fiscal analysis played in informing decisions and building alignment in the community, and why it’s important to have these conversations in your community before you jump into investing valuable time and dollars into code updates or capital improvement projects.  

Envision Taylor Comprehensive Plan (PDF)  

Envision Taylor Comp Plan Promotional Video (5 big ideas)

Samsung to Choose Taylor, Texas, for $17 Billion Chip-Making Factory - WSJ

Dec 07, 2021
"Buckle Up, Baby" – with Chuck Marohn
01:26:06

The Go Cultivate! podcast is back! In this episode Kevin introduces Marshall Hines who will be helping out with episodes going forward and they talk about what to expect from us in the future. Chuck Marohn (of Strong Towns) and Kevin Shepherd (of Verdunity) discuss how they came to engineering in the first place, what led them to discover some problems in the profession, and their divergent paths to solving them. It turns out to be a critical conversation between two engineers recovering from the dogma of their chosen career with thoughtful advice for the rest of us. You'll also hear how Chuck and Kevin think about Bottom Up action applies to larger infrastructure projects and planning efforts. 

Items mentioned in the podcast:

Confessions of a Recovering Engineer

Strong Towns

Careers at Verdunity

Episode 47 – Chuck Marohn and the Revolution We Need

Episode 10 – Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns

Nov 02, 2021
Aligning City Budgets with Desired Outcomes – with Andrew Kleine
01:11:07

Andrew Kleine is the Former Chief Administrative Officer for Montgomery County, MD, and before that, he was the budget director for the City of Baltimore. He’s the author of one of our favorite books, City on the Line: How Baltimore Transformed Its Budget to Beat the Great Recession and Deliver Outcomes. He describes the city's implementation of outcome-based budgeting during his time there. It’s an excellent resource for any city looking to implement an outcome budgeting approach.

Learn more about Andrew (or get in touch with him): @awkleine on Twitter / andrew@andrewkleine.com / cityontheline.com

Mentioned in the show:

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

(This episode features music from No Future, Tours, and Custodian of Records.)

Dec 16, 2020
2020 Wrapup & survey
00:06:59

2020 is almost over, and it's time for our annual assessment of how we're doing and what we want to focus on in the upcoming year. In this short update, Kevin and AJ talk about Verdunity's commitment to serving our listeners, followers, and partners and how we use listener feedback to inform what we write and talk about. To help us make the podcast and other content as relevant and helpful as possible, we're asking our friends and followers to complete a quick survey. Click HERE to let us know what podcast episodes and blogs were your favorites, what your biggest challenges are, and what information and topics you'd like us to cover in upcoming episodes!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Verdunity-GoCultivate2020

Thank you for listening to the Go Cultivate! podcast. We look forward to continuing to share content to help you cultivate meaningful improvement in yourself, your neighborhood, and your community!

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

Dec 11, 2020
Infrastructure funding! – with Jim Proce
01:01:13

Kevin speaks with Jim Proce, City Manager for the City of Anna, Texas, about a pressing issue many cities are facing: the struggle to find the money needed to maintain and replace streets and other infrastructure built back in their growth years. Also discussed in this episode:

  • The difference between street maintenance and replacement, and how they're each typically funded
  • How cities typically prioritize maintenance and CIP projects
  • How Jim is approaching his job in a city that is in the midst of its fast-growth phase

To see some of Jim's CIP process mentioned in the show, follow this link.

Find  Jim on LinkedIn

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

(This episode features music from No Future, Jim Croce, and Custodian of Records.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-76

Sep 30, 2020
Are We Doing This Right? // Sidewalks Edition
01:14:25

In this installment of the 'Are We Doing This Right?' series, we take on the humble sidewalk. We packed a lot into this episode, including:

  • How the use of the street right-of-way has changed over time
  • Who “pedestrian infrastructure” is really for
  • The common use of the term “pedestrian” and its implications
  • The bizarre ways sidewalks get paid for (and who that impacts most)
  • The recent resurgence in walking awareness
  • Elements of successful sidewalks
  • Scoring streets for their sidewalk quality
  • How shared space eliminates the need for the sidewalk
  • And of course, we answer the question, “Are we doing this right?”

Want to do some further research on the topic? Head on over to the show page for this episode to find a list of resources we found helpful in compiling this show.

--

The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

(This episode features music from No Future, Freddie Kepperd, Peter Grudzien, Dionne Warwick, and Jellybean.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-75

Sep 23, 2020
'Smart growth' and fiscal sustainability
01:04:20

In this episode, Kevin is joined by a trio of folks from Smart Growth America: Vice President for Economic Development Chris Zimmerman, Deputy Director of Economic Development Jeri Mintzer, and visiting Director of Research Michael Rodriguez

We discuss Smart Growth America's fiscal sustainability research and its implications for communities of all sizes, as well as some things the group would like to see all levels of government doing differently to build a stronger foundation for the communities of tomorrow. 

--

The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

(This episode features music from No Money and Custodian of Records.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-74

Sep 16, 2020
Reflecting on 40 years of growth in North Texas – with John Lettelleir
01:02:16

Kevin sits down with John Lettelleir, Director of Development Services for the City of Frisco, Texas. John has been with the City of Frisco since 1998, when the population was around 25,000, and has seen it grow to more than 200,000 residents. John brings a unique perspective on planning for and managing fast population growth in North Texas. 

Kevin and John discuss the recent repeal of the Plano Tomorrow comprehensive plan and the impact it may have on planning in North Texas in the coming years. They also talk about the challenges that come with managing growth, the long-term fiscal impacts of growth, and  advice for leaders in other cities who find themselves in similar situations.

--

The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

(This episode features music from No Money and Custodian of Records.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-73

Sep 02, 2020
Building a culture of fiscal sustainability – with Noel Bernal & Helen Ramirez
01:10:02

Noel Bernal and Helen Ramirez, are the city manager and assistant city manager (respectively) for the City of Brownsville, Texas. In this wide-ranging interview, they discuss some of the ways they're using the lens of fiscal sustainability to guide investments, prioritize infrastructure projects, and make land use decisions. (Last year, Verdunity conducted a land use fiscal analysis for Brownsville, which was used as the launch point for a more intentional budgeting process, the creation of a new Unified Development Code, and investment in revitalization of their historic downtown.)

Noel and Helen also give some insights on building an effective and unified leadership team. 

--

The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

(This episode features music from No Money, Tours, and Custodian of Records.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-72

Aug 26, 2020
Are We Doing This Right? // Budgeting Edition
00:59:33

This time on our ‘Are We Doing This Right?’ series, we take a look at the local budgeting process. Here’s what you can expect from this episode:

  • A quick rundown of common presumptions
  • An overview of the way budgeting processes work in most towns and cities
  • A discussion of the “seven deadly sins” of public finance (as told by friend of the show Liz Farmer), 
  • Some of the most common criticisms of city budgeting processes and outcomes
  • A bit of perspective from AJ on what budgeting processes actually look like from inside a local government 
  • A snapshot of some popular types of budgeting approaches that are out there (from line-item, to zero-based, to participatory, to outcome-based, and everything in between)
  • A list of best practices for creating a truly accessible budgeting process, plus examples of cities that have taken big steps in this direction
  • A final discussion about budgets as exercises in making choices
  • And, of course, we answer the titular question—are we doing this right?

Want to do some further research on the topic? Head on over to the show page for this episode to find a list of resources we found helpful in compiling this show.

--

The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

(This episode features music from No Money, Custodian of Records, Scott Joplin, and The Kinks.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-71

Aug 19, 2020
Safeguarding small business during the pandemic – with Kennedy Smith
01:08:37

In this episode, Kevin speaks with Kennedy Smith, Senior Researcher at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), about strategies that city leaders can use to help local businesses weather the pandemic—and the post-pandemic world. Kennedy has just authored a report titled 'Safeguarding Small Business During the Pandemic: 26 Strategies for Local Leaders.'

The 26 actions outlined are grouped into three main priority areas that address immediate, short-term, and longer-term actions to guide community leaders:

  1. First: Provide quick relief to keep businesses afloat
  2. Next: Help businesses adapt and pivot
  3. Later: Fix systemic problems that the pandemic has laid bare

We're big fans of ILSR, and we encourage you to check out the rest of their work as well!

--

The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

(This episode features music from No Money, Custodian of Records, and Petula Clark.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-10

Aug 13, 2020
Connecting housing & community health – with Becky Gray
01:04:18

In this episode, Kevin speaks with Becky Gray, Director of Housing for Chaffee County, CO, to discuss the County's early efforts to build a more resilient regional housing system.  We follow up on their work since the County hosted Kevin and Monte Anderson for a workshop last year. 

Curious about the original radio show discussed in this episode, featuring Kevin and Monte? We aired it as a podcast episode last year. 

Note from your producer: The audio quality in this episode is not quite what it usually is! We had an issue with the normal recording and had to fall back on the recording of the video call (which we're very glad we had). We think this episode is still definitely worth listening to, despite it all! 

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

(This episode features music from No Money, Custodian of Records, and Isaac Horwedel.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-69

Aug 05, 2020
A recovery toolkit for local leaders – with Rachel Quednau
01:03:58

Our friends at Strong Towns have put out a new resource for folks in local government called The Local Leader's Toolkit: A Strong Towns Response to the Pandemic. Jordan speaks with Rachel Quednau of Strong Towns and then with Verdunity's AJ Fawver to discuss some of its key points.

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

(This episode features music from No Money and Custodian of Records.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-68

Jul 29, 2020
Are We Doing Doing This Right? // Comprehensive Plans Edition
01:10:36

For this month’s edition of ‘Are We Doing This Right?’, we’re turning our attention to the comprehensive plan. There’s a lot to talk about, including:

  • History! Where did comp plans come from?
  • How to know when your city’s comprehensive plan is outdated (or even harmful)
  • An alternative vision for what comprehensive plans could be… from all the way back in 1967
  • Why some comprehensive plans just sit on the shelf gathering dust
  • What it means for comprehensive plans to “fail”—and what causes failure (from AJ’s experience)
  • Some examples of comprehensive plans we like, for one reason or another
  • Are comprehensive plans really necessary?
  • Best practices for comprehensive plans

Want to do some further research on the topic? Head on over to the show page for this episode to find a list of resources we found helpful in compiling this show.

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

(This episode features music from No Money; Custodian of Records; and Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, & Emmylou Harris.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-67

Jul 22, 2020
Who gets to participate? – with Shari Davis & Derrick Braziel
00:58:01

In this episode we’re joined by Shari Davis, Executive Director of the Participatory Budgeting Project, and Derrick Braziel, co-founder and Development Director of MORTAR Cincinnati.

On today’s show, we follow the money. We discuss public budgeting processes, the moral weight of budget decisions, and the opportunities we have to make these documents “living, breathing reflections of community need and community-driven investment.” Participatory budgeting (PB) is a process by which all people in a community can play a role in shaping the kinds of projects their governments spend money on. We discuss what this means in general, and what role PB plays in rethinking public safety and economic development. 

We also discuss the reality for many Americans—especially in communities of color—who have a business idea but lack the connections to necessary tools and resources to get off the ground. Derrick started MORTAR to help people from marginalized groups get the training and resources to start and grow their own businesses. In addition to the programs MORTAR runs, Derrick discusses some of the policies they pushed for locally that have helped ensure the viability of the Cincinnati's Black-owned businesses.

In addition to this background, we discuss:

  • Some of the biggest barriers to challenging the status quo in city governments
  • Trust and mistrust in local government
  • Fighting for systemic change while also experiencing trauma
  • How COVID-19 and the growing movement for Black lives have affected the ways Derrick and Shari are thinking about their work—and what’s possible
  • The importance of narrative shift when conditions shift—and the importance of sharing stories that seldom get told
  • What we mean by “safety”—and who we’ve too often left out of the discussion
  • Investing in the broader ecosystem of social justice
  • How PB is a tool to build the infrastructure for what reinvestment in community looks like
  • Whose talent we’ve historically been leaving off the field in our communities—and what the implications are for today’s recovery efforts
  • The challenges associated with discussing changes to policing and first response
  • How we might make society more democratic and participatory as a whole
  • Key takeaways for local government leaders
  • Book recommendations! (See below)

Links to things mentioned in this show:

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

(This episode features music from No Money & Custodian of Records)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-66

Jul 08, 2020
Are We Doing Doing This Right? // Bike Networks Edition
00:47:24

We're back with another edition of Are We Doing This Right?—this time to ask that question about bicycle networks. If it seems like the conversation surrounding bike networks is straightforward, it's not quite. We dip our toes in what is a much, much bigger and richer discussion, and do our best to examine some of what we're getting right and wrong about bike networks. This one could have lasted for hours, but we had to cut it off well before exhausting our notes! We may have to return for a part two. 🤔

For links to some of the things we discussed (and many more we didn't have the chance to get to), head over to the show page for this episode.

(Update: We fixed a weird little audio glitch that happened in the middle of the episode.)

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

(This episode features music from No Money, Custodian of Records, and Marcos Valle.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-65

Jun 24, 2020
Advocating for Texas cities – with Bennett Sandlin
00:53:07

Today’s episode features a conversation with Bennett Sandlin, the Executive Director of Texas Municipal League. We talk about:

  • what a Municipal League is and what they do;
  • the ongoing dialogue between local governments and state officials in Texas about resource gaps, property tax caps, and annexation;
  • how COVID-19 has had an impact on city budgets;
  • ways TML is available to help all of their member cities, including the many small, rural communities throughout the state; 
  • what to expect at TML’s annual convention coming up (tentatively) this October in Grapevine, TX.

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Want to take advantage of our COVID-19 discounts? Head over to verdunity.com/covid for more information on our assessments, fiscal analysis, and workshops.

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

(This episode features music from No Money and Custodian of Records.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-64

Jun 17, 2020
Building vibrant communities – with Quint Studer
01:02:03

Quint Studer is the author of Building a Vibrant Community, which we discuss in this episode.  His most recent book, The Busy Leader’s Handbook, became a Wall Street Journal bestseller. He is the founder of Studer Community Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on improving the quality of life in his hometown of Pensacola, Florida. He is also the founder of Vibrant Community Partners, which coaches communities in building out a blueprint for achieving growth and excellence. Quint speaks and works with communities across the country, helping them execute on their strategic plans, create a better quality of life, and attract and retain talent and investment.

Quint also talks about four areas he feels are critical to building communities that thrive, some of his takeaways from his community work, and why small and midsize communities have a great opportunity to lure talent away from the big cities.

Check out:

Vibrant Community Blueprint

The Busy Leader's Handbook

Pensacola Metro Dashboard (Studer Community Institute)

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

(This episode features music from No Money and Custodian of Records.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-63

Jun 10, 2020
Emerging stronger
00:05:57

Most cities lack the resources to keep up with infrastructure and service demands, yet daily decisions continue to prioritize growth and short-term wins over long-term costs and impacts.

If you’re in local government and are looking for ways to get more out of your existing resources—while building community trust and making immediate progress—we've been working on something we think will help you do just that.

We’re hosting a free, 10-part training webinar series called Emerge Stronger, where we're walking through the process we use to help city leaders align vision, policies, and investments with what citizens are willing and able to pay for. These interactive webinars are taking place every other Friday through September.

If you missed the first webinar (hosted May 22), where we talked about how you can assess the plans and other tools that your city already has at its disposal, you can still watch that one here

The next webinar will take place on Friday, June 5, at 1:30pm Central. Register here! In this one, we'll talk about how you can assess and maximize the various resources your community has available. In particular:

  • How to use land use fiscal analysis to quantify the costs and revenue productivity of your city’s land, buildings, and infrastructure—and how it can be used to align your city’s development pattern and service model with what residents are willing and able to pay for
  • How to align and inspire your existing staff to maximize engagement and achievement of priority outcomes
  • How to identify and tap into other partners in the community such as school districts, philanthropic groups, local businesses, and other “implementers”

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Want to take advantage of our COVID-19 discounts? Head over to verdunity.com/covid for more information on our assessments, fiscal analysis, and workshops.

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

(Music in this episode is from Custodian of Records)

Jun 03, 2020
Talking tax bases & sustainable development – with Patrick Lawler and Chad Janicek
01:09:18

In this episode, Kevin chats with Patrick Lawler and Chad Janicek, the co-founders of ZacTax, an online sales and hotel tax analysis platform for local governments. Before making the jump to ZacTax full-time, Patrick and Chad both worked in local government, most recently as City Manager and ACM for Hudson Oaks, TX. They share our passion for helping communities move toward a more sustainable development and operations model, and using data to inform decisions. 

We talk about what led them to create the early version of ZacTax while they were working at the city, how the software has evolved, and what their data is showing about the impact of COVID-19 on city finances. 

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

(This episode features music from No Money, Custodian of Records, and Harlem Hamfats.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-62

May 28, 2020
From local advocate to elected official – with LeVette Fuller
01:03:57

LeVette Fuller, Shreveport councilmember and co-founder of Re:Form Shreveport, joins the show to talk about her journey from citizen advocate and "land-use nerd" (her words) to local elected official—plus a few specific challenges the city has faced during her tenure.

Some of what we cover in this show:

  • LeVette's background in community advocacy and how Re:Form Shreveport was started
  • What motivated her to run for City Council
  • How actually serving on Council compares to what she thought it would be like
  • An example of a key issue and how she handled the research, response (voting), and reaction
  • The importance of downtown to the city's identity and culture
  • The role that horizontal expansion and annexation has on city services and budgets
  • How last year's budget process compares to what they're going to be dealing with in their upcoming FY21 budget
  • Advice for other people thinking about running for Council

Mentioned in the show: The Memphis 3.0 Plan

Follow LeVette on Facebook (that's her official councilmember page) and Twitter.

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

(This episode features music from No Money, Custodian of Records, and Isaac Horwedel.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-61

May 22, 2020
Credit downgrades, budget shortfalls, & federal relief — with Liz Farmer
00:51:20

In this episode, Kevin speaks with Liz Farmer about the current economic situation and how it compares (so far) to the 2008 recession. They discuss the magnitude and impact of unemployment, recent credit downgrades for cities and states, and the ramifications of projected budget shortfalls for Medicaid, pensions, and infrastructure. They also delve into the Federal Relief Bill and what it covers, as far as state and local agencies go. And finally, Liz gives her thoughts on what recovery looks like, plus some advice for local leaders while navigating this crisis.

Liz Farmer is a fiscal policy expert and journalist whose writing centers on the ways state and local governments spend taxpayer money. Her areas of expertise include budgets, fiscal distress, tax policy, and pensions. In the past, you may have read her excellent work for Governing (including the Finance 101 series); nowadays, you can find all of her writing at Farmers Field

Follow Liz on Twitter & LinkedIn.

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

(This episode features music from No Money, Custodian of Records, Cosmic Dan & the Mole Men, and Isaac Horwedel.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-60

May 06, 2020
Are We Doing This Right? // Parking Minimums Edition
01:05:36

We’re back with another edition of our series “Are We Doing This Right?” This time around, we take a closer look at parking minimums. They might seem like a harmless feature of your zoning ordinance, but they play a huge role in shaping the physical environment of your community. Intentionally or not, parking minimums adversely affect the viability of public transit and local businesses, housing affordability, regional ecological health, and the fiscal strength of the cities that enact them.

In this episode, we dig into the history and consequences of minimum parking requirements, and then we talk about practical steps cities and towns can take to move beyond them. And of course, we always close by answering the question, “Are we doing this right?” (You might have guessed by now what the answer is on this one.)

Your hosts for this episode: Jordan Clark & AJ Fawver.

Want to see links to things we discussed in this episode? Head on over to the show page on our website.

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

(This episode features music from No Money, John H. Glover, Custodian of Records, Cosmic Dan & the Mole Men, Yung Chomsky, and Midnight Star.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-59

Apr 29, 2020
Reclaiming the streets — with John Simmerman
00:49:49

John Simmerman, founder of Active Towns and host of the new Active Towns podcast, joins the show for a second time. John and Jordan discuss how the coronavirus is changing the way people are interacting with their neighborhoods, and some of the creative things cities are doing to enable more people to safely get outside and stay active.

John explains how this crisis offers an opportunity for us to build and sustain a culture of activity while cars are off the streets and demand for accessible active spaces grows.

Toward the end of this episode, John mentions a handful of resources for those looking for inspiration right now:

COVID19 Livable Streets Response Strategies (Google Sheets database)

Local actions affecting walking and biking during social distancing (Google Sheets database)

Better Block Foundation

Street Plans

Let’s Not Overthink This: Opening Streets is Easy, Says Urban Planner Mike Lydon

Milan’s Car-Free Blueprint for Life After Lockdown

Streetsblog

NACTO – Rapid Response: Tools for Cities

CNU 28 – A Virtual Gathering

PeopleForBikes Foundation

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Follow Active Towns on Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Vimeo

John’s personal Twitter

You can also reach John at john@activetowns.org.

Don't forget to subscribe to the Active Towns podcast!

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

(The music in this episode is from No Money, Custodian of Records, & Isaac Horwedel.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-58

Apr 23, 2020
Small development, trust, & strong local economies – with R. John Anderson
00:59:32

R. John Anderson, co-founder of Incremental Development Alliance, joins the show to talk about the small developer movement, the CARES Act and its impact on small businesses right now, and what cities can do to cultivate a stronger small business ecosystem.

You can learn more about IncDev at incrementaldevelopment.org and on the IncDev Facebook page. John also founded and maintains the excellent Facebook group "We Do Incremental Development" (formerly "Small Developers & Builders") for anyone interested in small-scale, incremental development. 

John shares some of his thoughts over at his blog, RJohnTheBad.com

John is also Principal at Anderson|Kim Architecture + Urban Design.

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

(The music in this episode is from No Money, Custodian of Records, & Isaac Horwedel.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-57

Apr 15, 2020
Leveraging federal emergency management funding: COVID-19 edition — with Laura Clemons
01:05:15

Disaster recovery & resilience specialist Laura Clemons rejoins the program to talk about taking advantage of federal disaster relief funds to build more resilient cities and towns in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Laura previously joined us to talk about how smaller cities should be preparing for natural disasters—not just how to mitigate them but also how to effectively take advantage of (and not miss out on) federal funding. In this episode, Laura talks about the same process, but tailored to pandemic response. As before, this episode is absolutely full of practical tips for leaders of municipalities of all sizes.

As we mention in the discussion, we're here to talk if you have questions on how to respond to this new reality. Email Kevin at kevin@verdunity.com or Laura at lclemons@collaborative-communities.com. 

See the show page for this episode for links and resources from Laura.

Learn more about Laura's work: Collaborative Communities

Follow Laura on Facebook

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

(The music in this episode is from No Money, Custodian of Records, & Isaac Horwedel.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-56

Apr 10, 2020
How local governments should respond to the small business crisis — with Basel Musharbash
00:46:45

The COVID-19 crisis has been a disaster for small businesses across the country. In this episode, Kevin speaks with Basel Musharbash about why an aggressive local government response to the small business crisis is essential—and what legal strategies cities and towns should be using immediately to help them survive and eventually recover.

In this episode we discuss the key takeaways from Basel’s recent blog post: Directing Capital to Small Businesses Affected by COVID-19: Legal Strategies for Texas Local Governments.

In it, Basel outlines three specific strategies that local governments can use to leverage public, private, and philanthropic resources toward liquidity for small business:

  1. Using Chapter 380 authority to establish emergency loan or grant programs funded by public and private capital;
  2. Using procurement authority to purchase goods and services from businesses using “time warrants,” which can be sold to local banks or factors for liquidity; and
  3. Using Chapter 380 authority to seed “public purpose” investment funds combining public, private, and civic capital to enhance the availability of debt and equity financing for local business.

Disclaimer from Basel: Please note that the Texas constitutional requirements for the issuance of city and county debt apply to time warrants, even though those requirements are not addressed in the podcast. Local officials should always consult their city attorney or bond counsel prior to issuing debt.

ALSO: It wasn't mentioned in the show, but Basel compiled a terrific resource for local governments—The Manual of Aid to State and Local Governments Under the CARES Act. It’s a comprehensive guide to the coronavirus relief bill for states and localities.

Basel Musharbash is an attorney with the Patel Law Group. His practice focuses on real estate, corporate, and community development matters. He also writes about lawyering for sustainable, integrated, and democratic communities on his blog, Lawyering For The Town. You can follow Basel on LinkedIn.

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

(The music in this episode is from No Money, Custodian of Records, & Isaac Horwedel.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-55

Apr 07, 2020
Where do cities go from here? Lessons for the Corona Crisis
00:52:40

In this episode, Kevin and Jordan discuss (some of) the flaws of the prevailing approach to development that are being exposed and magnified by this growing crisis. We also highlight a few opportunities that cities have for doing things differently from here on out. (It turns out that being resilient is exponentially more important in a disaster.) 

This will not be our last discussion on these matters! Crises require swift, bold, and informed actions—and they also offer us an opportunity to rethink what we previously took for granted. We'll be continuing to explore some things that cities can be doing in the short term to respond to the new reality, and we'll also be talking more in depth about what, specifically, a more resilient approach looks like for those planning, building, and running our cities. 

Have suggestions or questions? Let us know and we will cover them in upcoming episodes: podcast@verdunity.com.

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

Apr 01, 2020
Engaging local government leaders! – with Kirsten Wyatt
00:55:26

In this episode, Kirsten Wyatt, co-founder & executive director of Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL), joins us to talk about how her organization is doing just that.

If you enjoy this episode, make sure you find the partner episode over on the GovLove podcast, where Kirsten interviews AJ and Kevin.

Follow Kirsten on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

(We recorded this episode before things really got flipped upside down in the past few days with the coronavirus. If you still want to "go out and cultivate," as we suggested at the end of the show, take all the precautions! We'll be back soon with another episode. Stay safe, be kind, and look after your neighbors, your loved ones, and yourself.)

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

--

(Music in this episode is from No Money and Custodian of Records.)

https://www.verdunity.com/podcast/episode-53

Mar 16, 2020
Effort is the enemy of apathy – with Jeff Siegler
00:48:02

Jeff Siegler, founder of Revitalize, or Die, joins the podcast to talk about the importance of place, how cities can encourage effort (and discourage apathy), how we can cultivate civic pride, and much more. 

Find out more about Jeff's work at RevitalizeOrDie.com. While you're there, make sure to check out his videos! He's also on Twitter (@jeff_in_one_ear) and Facebook (@RevitalizeOrDie).

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

--

(Music in this episode is from No Money, Custodian of Records, and Coleman Hawkins.)

https://www.verdunity.com/podcast/episode-52

Mar 02, 2020
Building a bus system that works – with Jerome Horne
01:09:31

In this episode, we speak with Jerome Horne, ridership experience specialist for IndyGo, about Indianapolis's ongoing transit transformation and some of the key elements in building a reliable and effective bus system. Indianapolis makes a great case study for car-dependent cities looking to overhaul under-performing transit systems or even start from scratch.

Some of the topics we cover in this episode include:

  • Reasons to prioritize the bus over the train
  • The ridership vs. coverage dilemma
  • Why frequency means freedom
  • Getting the details right: bus stop spacing, amenities, and schedules
  • Why grids are better than hub-and-spoke systems
  • How to do public engagement that actually reaches the people who use (or would use) transit (and how Indianapolis did it)
  • Why it matters who you send to public meetings in different neighborhoods
  • How this transit makeover got funded (and why it succeeded where other cities' transit measures failed)
  • The Red Line, Indy's first BRT (bus rapid transit) line that launched in September 2019: what has gone well and what hasn't
  • Challenges so far, relating to: running the US's first-ever all-electric BRT fleet, introducing a new fare system, and finding enough drivers to staff the expanded system
  • Should transit be free to use?
  • IndyGo's new CEO, transit agency culture, and why it's important for transit decision-makers to use they system they run
  • Transit-related book recommendations!

Find Jerome on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Check out the incredible International Micro Museum of Transit, curated entirely by Jerome. And if you're up to it, take a peek inside New Urbanist Memes for Transit-Oriented Teens (you don't have to be a teen to join).

*Note: We had some issues with the audio files on this episode. You might notice the occasional brief skipping. :( We think it's still very listenable, but we apologize for the less-than-ideal sound on this one!

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

--

(Music in this episode is from No Money & Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers.)

https://www.verdunity.com/podcast/episode-51

Jan 28, 2020
What did we learn about housing in 2019? — w/ Daniel Herriges
00:53:51

Friend of the show Daniel Herriges, senior editor at Strong Towns, joins us to talk about some important housing-related stories from 2019 and what lessons they hold for those of us who care about housing equity. 

In this episode, we discuss:

  1. An emerging trend of (re)legalizing certain types of missing middle housing in some cities and states.
  2. A peculiar story about a mixed-use project in San Bruno, CA, that was eventually killed after three years of concessions—and, more importantly, what it can teach us about the conflicting incentives that our desire to maintain control can create.
  3. A fascinating new study on the impact that building new market-rate housing may have on freeing up affordable housing in the same city—and why we should think more ecologically about the ways that cities and housing markets work.

Further reading on the stories we discussed in this episode:

You can follow Daniel on Twitter at @DanielStrTowns and read his latest writings on Strong Towns.

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

--

(Music in this episode is from No Money & Tours.)

https://www.verdunity.com/podcast/episode-50

Jan 07, 2020
Are We Doing This Right? // Food Trucks & Pop-ups Edition
01:02:42

For the December installment of 'Are We Doing This Right?’ on the Go Cultivate! podcast, we’re diving deep into the world of pop-up retail and food trucks. The whole concept is a lot older than you (might) think. Join us for a walk through some of the history, regulatory and social issues, and much, much more.

Your hosts for this episode: Jordan Clark & AJ Fawver.

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-49

Dec 20, 2019
Affordable housing & incremental development
01:05:39

It's a crossover episode! Kevin Shepherd (along with our friend Monte Anderson) was recently interviewed on an episode of Chaffee Housing Report from KHEN in Salida, Colorado, and we're delighted to share it on our feed. In this hour-long chat, Kevin, Monte, and the hosts discuss affordable housing, the fiscal impact of development patterns, incremental development, and much more. 

Want to host a workshop in your city on any of the topics discussed here? We're putting together our 2020 schedule right now. Send us an email to info@verdunity.com.

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

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(Music in this episode is from Scott Joplin & Custodian of Records.)

Dec 11, 2019
Chuck Marohn and the revolution we need
01:13:08

In this episode, we welcome back Chuck Marohn, Founder and President of Strong Towns, to talk about some of the themes from his brand-new book Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity.

Here's a sampling of what Chuck and Verdunity's Kevin Shepherd talk about in this show:

  • What Chuck says when people ask him “okay, well what specifically should we do?”
  • What the role of the professional class is in generating cities that can’t pay for their growth
  • What it means for cities to do a comprehensive plan or a zoning code in a way that is consistent with Strong Towns thinking (and how Chuck’s thinking is still evolving on that issue)
  • The importance of feedback loops and what those should look like for city staff
  • How Chuck responds to the criticism that sometimes the incremental approach doesn’t work when you’re trying to build large-scale systems

Don't forget to pick up a copy of Chuck's book, and also make sure to check out all three of their fantastic podcast streams: The Strong Towns Podcast, Upzoned, and It's the Little Things.

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

--

(Music in this episode is from Custodian of Records & Coleman Hawkins.)

Dec 05, 2019
Are We Doing This Right? // Public Engagement Edition (Part 2)
00:32:14

For the November installment of 'Are We Doing This Right?’ we’re tackling public engagement. What does it look like when it’s done well? What are some pitfalls to look out for? Who and what is it for, exactly? It shouldn’t come as a surprise that there’s no one-size-fits-all right answer to public engagement. But we think there is such a thing as the right approach.

In this double episode, we dig into literally everything you need to know about public engagement. Just kidding; we probably left a few things out. But we do think this sets a good starting point for moving toward a more productive and inclusive (and, importantly, ongoing!) public engagement process. And the good news is: there are so many good examples out there already!

You can find recommendations for further reading at the show page for this episode.

This is Part 2 of our discussion. You can find the other episode in the same feed as this one!

Your hosts for this episode: Jordan Clark & AJ Fawver.

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

--

(Music in this episode is from No Future & Rick Springfield.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-45

Nov 27, 2019
Are We Doing This Right? // Public Engagement Edition (Part 1)
00:56:52

For the November installment of 'Are We Doing This Right?’ we’re tackling public engagement. What does it look like when it’s done well? What are some pitfalls to look out for? Who and what is it for, exactly? It shouldn’t come as a surprise that there’s no one-size-fits-all right answer to public engagement. But we think there is such a thing as the right approach.

In this double episode, we dig into literally everything you need to know about public engagement. Just kidding; we probably left a few things out. But we do think this sets a good starting point for moving toward a more productive and inclusive (and, importantly, ongoing!) public engagement process. And the good news is: there are so many good examples out there already!

You can find recommendations for further reading at the show page for this episode.

This is Part 1 of 2. You can find the other episode in the same feed.

Your hosts for this episode: Jordan Clark & AJ Fawver.

--

The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

--

(Music in this episode is from No Future & Custodian of Records.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-45

Nov 27, 2019
Engineers have feelings, too!
01:20:10

In this episode, AJ and Kevin sit down with Mike McKay, Assistant City Engineer for Lubbock, Texas, for a wide-ranging discussion on the past, present, and future of the engineering profession, and its role in the way we’ve built our cities.

Some of the ground we cover in this episode:

  • The relationship between engineers and planners—how it could improve, and what each side should understand about the other
  • What it means for our cities to be sustainable, and whether we’re on the right track in any meaningful ways
  • Whether street standards and specification should have flexibility
  • What the ideal Capital Improvement Plan looks like
  • Long-term maintenance costs, and whether engineers tend to consider them when evaluating new development
  • The overemphasis on auto-based mobility, and where that leaves planners and engineers who want to make life easier without a car
  • How to increase support for additional infrastructure funding when cities are struggling to find the money
  • Ways to modify design approaches to be more considerate of long-term maintenance costs and to minimize up-front construction costs
  • How the different staff members in a city’s development process can better collaborate
  • Advice for cities in the early stages of growth
  • Lessons learned from Mike’s long engineering career

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

--

(Music in this episode is from No Future, Custodian of Records, & Gary Numan.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-44
 

Nov 20, 2019
Are We Doing This Right? // Placemaking Edition (Part 2)
00:34:38

This is Part 2 of our 'Are We Doing This Right?' discussion on placemaking! This time, we delve deeper into some criticisms of placemaking as it is commonly applied.

Your hosts for this episode: Jordan Clark & AJ Fawver.

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the Community Cultivators Network.

--

(Music in this episode is from No Future & Dr. John.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-43

Nov 07, 2019
Are We Doing This Right? // Placemaking Edition (Part 1)
01:04:34

Placemaking is one of those ubiquitous urbanist buzzwords these days. Yet it can be difficult to get a broadly agreed-upon definition. We discuss what is actually means (as far as we can tell), what trends it came about as a response to, and why it might look different depending on the location. We run through some of the key elements of (the different forms of) placemaking, and a few notable (good and bad) examples of where it's been done.

This is Part 1 of a two-part discussion. In Part 2, we'll get more familiar with some of the different criticisms of placemaking and its outcomes. 

Your hosts for this episode: Jordan Clark & AJ Fawver.

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

Join us (and your peers!) in the  Community Cultivators Network.

--

(Music in this episode is from No Future, Custodian of Records, & Sludgefest.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-42

Oct 30, 2019
Parcel data, Detroit, and you — with Jerry Paffendorf
01:21:11

The fascinating Jerry Paffendorf, CEO & co-founder of Loveland Technologies, joins the show to talk about the ways that fine-grained parcel data can be a tool for making cities more equitable and transparent. We also discuss Detroit’s history and present, where its majority Black population is undergoing a historic loss of property ownership due to a flawed tax foreclosure problem—as well as what Jerry’s team is doing to help arm residents with information they need. And of course, we geek out a bit on the history and long legacy of the U.S. public land survey, as well as the centrality of city form in generating (or constricting) possibilities for the next generations of society. 

[Editor’s note: We had a few brief instances of audio issues in this episode. It’s noticeable but (we hope) not overwhelming.]

Mentioned in the episode:

Measuring America: How the United States Was Shaped by the Greatest Land Sale in History by Andro Linklater 

Your hosts for this episode: Jordan Clark & Felix Landry

Learn more about Jerry’s work at Landgrid.com, or send them an email at team@landgrid.com. You can follow Jerry on Twitter, too: @wello.

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

--

(Music in this episode is from No Future and The B-52's)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-41

Oct 23, 2019
How smaller cities should prepare for disasters — Laura Clemons
01:10:58

Federally declared disasters impact countless communities every year, and the vast majority are small municipalities with very limited resources. We brought on Laura Clemons, a disaster recovery and resilience specialist, to talk about what smaller cities ought to do (and sometimes not do!) before, during, and after a disaster.

We discuss what cities should be planning for now to take advantage of federal funding opportunities should a disaster strike. This episode is full of practical tips for city officials across the country. You never know when your town could get hit with a disaster (and they don't usually tend to be the flashy events the media fixate on). But if you have a reliable and up-to-date plan in place, you can avoid the additional misfortune of losing your chance to rebuild in a more resilient and equitable fashion.

Mentioned in the show: FEMA's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program

Learn more about Laura's work: Collaborative Communities

Follow Laura on Facebook

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

--

(Music in this episode is from No Future, Custodian of Records, and Etta James)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-40

Oct 09, 2019
So your city's on its way to going broke — Lynda Humble
00:56:57

Verdunity CEO Kevin Shepherd sits down with Lynda Humble, city manager of Bastrop, Texas, to talk about what she learned from a fiscal model of the city's development pattern, how that reshaped discussions with City Council and citizens, and how it is informing Bastrop's overhaul of plans and codes that don't align with its goal of fiscal sustainability.

(Spoiler: they learned the city would soon go broke if it kept its current approach to growth.)

Lynda and Kevin also discuss the immediate and long-term fallout from the 86th Texas Legislative Session for Texas cities, and Lynda gives advice to city managers working in communities with similar situations.

By the way, if you want to learn a bit more about the most impactful laws passed in that Texas Legislative Session, check out the webcast we recently did on the subject.

And to hear earlier episodes we did with Bastrop leadership, look up episode 3 and episode 24.

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

--

(Music in this episode is from No Future, Custodian of Records, and Cosmic Dan & the Mole Men.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-39

Oct 03, 2019
Are We Doing This Right? // Tiny Homes Edition
01:07:57

Tiny homes have been growing in popularity over the past decade. To some, they’re an opportunity to shed unnecessary “stuff” and fully embrace a minimalist lifestyle. To others, they’re a critical part of addressing the homelessness crisis in this country. But in most cities in the U.S., it’s not exactly clear where they fit in with housing regulations.

In this installment of our “Are We Doing This Right?” series, we take a look at some of the common assumptions about tiny homes, how people are using them, what laws are applicable to them (and what’s often left unclear), which cities have embraced them, and whether other cities should follow their lead.

As always, we pull from our experience working within cities (AJ’s, anyway) and a wide body of literature on the subject to build an informed understanding of the role tiny homes can play in our communities. We look at each topic through the lens of the social and environmental impact it can have, as well as how it relates to your city’s financial and economic health.

For additional reading recommendations on this topic, head on over to the show page for this episode.

Your hosts for this episode: Jordan Clark & AJ Fawver.

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

--

(Music in this episode is from No Future, Custodian of Records, & David Byrne.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-38

Sep 25, 2019
Are We Doing This Right? // Granny Flats Edition
00:56:44

Cities across the country face a shortage of affordable housing, despite a nationwide glut of single-family homes. Accessory dwelling units (ADUs)—often referred to as granny flats or other quaint-sounding names—have emerged as one way to quickly add affordable units to single-family neighborhoods, without tearing down existing homes.

Yet, in most cities, they remain illegal to build. And while some cities have re-legalized them, they often put in place so much red tape that few units end up actually getting built.

In this episode, we cover:

  • the myriad arguments in favor of building more ADUs
  • some common pushback and reasons why ADU allowances aren’t more common
  • the types of people who would benefit from and/or occupy ADUs
  • how some cities are discouraging the construction of ADUs even when they technically allow them
  • suggestions for what your city can do to enable and encourage residents to build ADUs

Want to research this further? Here are some of the resources we found helpful:

The ABCs of ADUs: A guide to Accessory Dwelling Units and how they expand housing option for all ages

All About Accessory Dwelling Units

AccessoryDwellings.org

Santa Cruz Implements “Granny Flat” Program

Why tiny ADUs may be a big answer to the urban housing crisis

American Planning Association KnowledgeBase: Accessory Dwelling Units

BuildingAnADU.com

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"Are We Doing This Right?" is a new series where we dig deeper into an issue that affects cities across North America, bust (or uphold) a few myths, set some context, and give our frank opinions about whether or not we could be doing things better. Check out the other episodes with "Are We Doing This Right?" in this podcast feed if you dig this one. And we're always taking submissions: podcast@verdunity.com.

Your hosts for this episode: Jordan Clark & AJ Fawver.

The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

And if you haven't yet, sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not lame! (Each week we collectively curate a list of the things we read that caught our attention. Then we hand-package your copy, spank a first-class stamp on that baby, and drop it right in your email inbox.) Sign up here!

--

(Music in this episode is from No Future, Blue Note Sessions, Chuck Jackson, Custodian of Records, & Fred Rogers.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-37

Sep 04, 2019
Property tax caps aren't helping
00:49:43

Texas is the latest state to pass or amend legislation capping the amount cities’ revenue from property taxes can increase year to year. Bills like Texas’ SB2 are passed with the intent of limiting the amount homeowners have to pay in property tax and keeping them from getting priced out of their homes.

That stated goal is a noble one (on its face), but there’s another side to the equation, and that includes the increasing costs cities have to provide basic services and maintain aging infrastructure, fund education and support programs intended to cultivate growth and opportunities for residents and businesses.

In states where cities rely on property tax revenue as the primary funding source to cover these needs, the property tax caps limit cities’ ability to generate revenue to keep up with these liabilities, and it’s resulting in growing deficits, deferred infrastructure maintenance and cuts to basic services. Additionally, studies of early adopters such as California, Michigan and others have shown that these caps also impact social justice and wealth inequality as well.

In this episode, we discuss the fallout from this type of legislation in states across the country—and what cities can do in response.

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Sign up for our weekly email digest. It's not your grandmother's e-newsletter. We round up our favorite reads from the week, alert you to new podcasts and blogs, and give you the scoop on upcoming events you won't want to miss.

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For our Texas friends:
Don't miss out on our live Q&A on the 2019 Texas legslative session. We'll answer your questions about this and other new laws and discuss how they will affect your community. Sign up here!

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Want to discuss this further? If you're in local government or part of a local agency, sign up for our FREE online community—the Community Cultivators Network. Join us and like-minded peers across the country to talk about the biggest challenges you face. We're discussing new things every week, and the experience only gets better with more awesome change agents taking part!

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

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(Music in this episode is from No Future & Custodian of Records.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-36

Aug 15, 2019
Are We Doing This Right? // Single-Family Zoning Edition
01:04:06

Across the country, cities big and small are facing a housing affordability crisis, yet many single-family houses sit vacant. Many of the same cities have serious infrastructure funding shortages. We examine the role of single-family zoning in shaping these issues and more—and we explore why there is momentum building to re-legalize other housing types, such as duplexes and fourplexes.

"Are We Doing This Right?" is our new podcast series where we dig deeper into an issue that affects cities across North America, bust (or uphold) a few myths, set some context, and give our frank opinions about whether or not we could be doing things better. (Hint: we usually think we could be doing things better than we currently are, but we always try to find examples of places that already are doing a good job.)

Your hosts for this episode: Jordan Clark & AJ Fawver.

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

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(Music in this episode is from No Future, Custodian of Records, & Malvina Reynolds.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-35

Jul 23, 2019
Building community wealth with Monte Anderson
00:59:46

Small developer Monte Anderson joins the show for a second time to go a bit more in depth about his Dallas-area projects that give small-time entrepreneurs a place to make a living and build wealth for the community.

If you haven't yet, supplement this episode with parts 1 & 2 of our interview with Monte from Season 1.

And if you're in local government, and you want to ask Monte any follow-up questions on the examples we talk about in this show, you need to do two things: 1) Join the Community Cultivators Network, and 2) show up on July 31st for our live Q&A webinar.

Mentioned in the show: Monte's tri-party loan agreement

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The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

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(Music in this episode is from No Future & Custodian of Records.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-34

Jul 09, 2019
Are We Doing This Right? // Fire Departments Edition
01:03:01

We’re starting a new series on the Go Cultivate! podcast called “Are We Doing This Right?” Once a month we’ll pick a topic – some element of the way we design or operate our cities – and honestly ask the question: Are we doing this right? We’ll explore common assumptions, bust (or uphold) a few myths, and try to get toward a sense of what we might be able to do differently (based on the experiences of those who have already tried it themselves).

This month’s topic: Fire departments.

Fire departments. Public safety. You hardly hear one of these phrases without the other following shortly behind. The idea, of course, is that fire is an ever-present threat to human safety, no matter where you are. The fire department—and the development codes that work along side it—are supposed to make the city safer as a whole.

A pretty uncontroversial notion, right?

Well, we wanted to take a closer look at the ways fire response is informing the physical form of our communities. Is there any chance that our attempts to optimize for fire response make our cities less safe in other ways? 

For the most part, the history of fire fighting truly is a history of making cities safer places to be. Much of the progress centered on issues such as codifying building exits and reducing flammable materials. Starting a few decades ago, though, we started seeing the incorporation of emergency vehicle access requirements into city zoning codes. The idea being, in the event of fires still occurring, we should make it easier for fire response vehicles to get to the scene, set up, and control the fire. What that translated to was an increased focus on removing any obstacles that might get in the way: fewer obstacles in the way should equal a faster response time, and with fires, saving time could mean saving lives.

The idea makes sense. We should want fire fighters to get to the scene of a fire as quickly as possible. But, as we’ll see, the way we’ve chosen to go about that has left us in a tricky spot.

In this episode, which kicks off our new series "Are We Doing This Right?," we explore the ways that fire standards have influenced the design of streets in our cities, and how our cities may actually be ending up less safe overall as a result. What got us here in the first place, and how might we approach fire response and public safety in a more holistic manner?

Listen in to hear us discuss, and then let us know your thoughts! And if you want to do some further reading, we've got a list of resources on the show page for this episode.

--

The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

--

(Music in this episode is from No Future & Custodian of Records.)

verdunity.com/podcast/episode-33

Jun 18, 2019
Who do you trust? [Part 2]
00:45:45

Welcome back to Part 2 of our discussion about trust and distrust between the public and planners. If you haven't listened to Part 1, we'd recommend starting with that. :)

Who you're hearing in this episode: Jordan Clark (your host), Daniel Herriges of Strong Towns, and Verdunity's Felix Landry.

The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

You can also find us on social media. Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

--

(Music in this episode is from NO MONEY & Custodian of Records.)

May 16, 2019
Who do you trust? [Part 1]
00:46:43

What happens when the public doesn't trust planners? What does that even mean? And how can we work to build trusting, responsive, two-way relationships between community members and the folks in local government?

On today’s episode, we’re returning to two common themes from this show: "change" and "trust.” Changes to the failed status quo of city building and trust between the people who live in a city and the ones pulling the levers of power.

So much of the business as usual in cities is leaving them bankrupt, making them more fragile socially, environmentally, and economically—and because of this, our discussions have centered on some of the ways to establish a more resilient approach to land use, development, and community building. But change is always hard, it’s often scary, and it usually generates pushback from someone. And much of this stems from a lack of trust, maybe even more so than a lack of having the “facts."

This is a discussion about why there is so often a breakdown of trust in cities, and how city leaders—and we’re especially thinking about this from a planning and development standpoint—can build trust with the community they serve.

Who you're hearing in this episode: Jordan Clark (your host), Daniel Herriges of Strong Towns, and Verdunity's Felix Landry.

The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Find more about this and other episodes (and our blog) at verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

--

[Jordan’s note: Yes, I used “who” and not “whom” in the title. Most people don’t use whom anymore in cases like this. Language evolves.]

(Music in this episode is from NO MONEY & Custodian of Records.)

May 10, 2019
Announcing Season 2!
00:10:31

Would you like to spend 10 minutes listening to us announcing what you can expect from the next season of the Go Cultivate! podcast? Then, boy, are you in luck! Later this week, we're releasing the first episode of the new season. Make sure you're subscribed!

ALSO: If you are a city (or other municipal) employee of any sort, and you want to be a beta tester for our online community before we officially launch, then click here! Otherwise, keep an eye out for our official announcement.

(Music: NO MONEY & Tours)

May 06, 2019
UPDATE! New opportunities, y'all
00:12:35

Hope y'all have been coping during our short hiatus. We'll be back with more episodes before you know it. Promise!

We're checking back in to let you know about a couple pretty cool opportunities:

1. WORKSHOPS!
If you've followed this podcast for a while and want to dig deeper into the complex challenges facing cities of all sizes—and the realistic actions you can take to make meaningfull progress with limited resources—then we have good news!

Our new workshop series is designed to help city leaders diagnose, understand, and explain their city’s financial situation—and get a clear idea of how to close their resource gap. Want to bring us to your town? Visit our Workshops page.

Or if you're in the Houston area, consider joining us on May 24 in League City, Texas for our "Cultivating Financially Resilient Communities" workshop! Learn more and get tickets at verdunity.com/workshops/league-city. Early registration ends Friday (4/19), in case you'd like to save a few bucks.

2. ONLINE COMMUNITY!
We're also starting something totally new, and we need your help to make sure it reaches the amazing potential we think it has. We're launching a focused online community (NOT on Facebook!) for our friends within city governments who are frustrated by the status quo, and who want to learn, discuss, and share actionable steps cities can take to become stronger & more resilient—socially, economically, environmentally, and fiscally.

Want to be a beta tester?
Sign up here: verdunity.com/online-community-test

**

We'll be back soon!

Go Cultivate! is a project of your friends at Verdunity. Check out more episodes and blog posts at verdunity.com/go-cultivate

(Music: Blank & Kytt)

Apr 18, 2019
30 – [PART 2] Revitalization without gentrification?
00:37:22

We're back with the second part of our interview with Derek and Bianca Avery, incremental developers and community builders with COIR Holdings. In this episode we talk more about the history and very present effects of redlining in American cities and why Derek and Bianca first look for those neighborhoods to invest in. We then discuss some specific things cities can do to set the environment for responsible, incremental development.

For part one of this interview, check out episode 29.

This is also the last episode of Season 1 of this podcast! We'll be back after a short hiatus with more episodes and some pretty exciting news.

**

The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Learn more at verdunity.com. Find more about this and other episodes, and our blog here.

(Music in this episode is from Custodian of Records & Tours.)

https://www.verdunity.com/podcast/episode-30

Mar 21, 2019
29 – [PART 1] Revitalization without gentrification?
00:34:00

On this episode, we talk with Bianca and Derek Avery of COIR Holdings about what it means to be a responsible developer – especially at a time when many people are skeptical of the profession. We talk the difference between a "spreadsheet developer" and a "community developer," and the possibility of "revitalizing" a neighborhood without generating displacement. Then we dig into their holistic approach to sustainable community development that is focused on creating mixed-income neighborhoods.

This is part one of our interview. Part two will be available next week!

**

The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Learn more at verdunity.com. Find more about this and other episodes, and our blog here.

(Music in this episode is from Custodian of Records.)

https://www.verdunity.com/podcast/episode-29

Mar 14, 2019
28 – A small city does the math on new development
01:07:25

Hey listeners! If you're a Strong Towns follower, don't forget that March 10 is the deadline to submit your city to the 2019 #StrongestTown contest. Verdunity is proud to be a sponsor of this year's contest. Even if you don't submit, it's a great way to learn how other cities are incrementally building financial strength and improving lives. Sign up here!

**

[EDIT: The original release of this episode had some audio we meant to clip out. We've gotten that taken care of now! Re-download your episode if it's still showing up. You'll know it when you hear it. :-P Sorry about that!]

Today's show (interview starts at 8:15):

We’ve talked before about the importance of understanding your city’s true financial situation. For the majority of cities across the country, their development pattern has put them in a long-term budget shortfall.

Our guests today are a pair of city leaders who are doing everything they can to make sure their development decisions strengthen their financial situation, rather than jeopardizing it. 

Michael Kovacs and Justin Weiss are the city manager and assistant city manager for the City of Fate, Texas, a small city on the outskirts of Dallas.

We talk about their transition from business as usual city management to the realization that their city’s development pattern was actually setting them up to go broke—and the way they conveyed that to staff and council to get them on board with making some pretty drastic changes.

We also talk about the spreadsheet model they have been using in negotiation with developers, to steer any new development in a direction that puts them in a better long-term financial position. And we talk about their economic development strategy, which is focused on a small core footprint in the center of the town, and is geared toward small, local businesses rather than courting big outside corporations. 

Link to the Curbside Chat videos mentioned in this episode: https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2018/7/27/a-strong-towns-crash-course

**

The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Learn more at verdunity.com. Find more about this and other episodes, and our blog here.

(Music in this episode is from Custodian of Records and Tours.)

https://www.verdunity.com/podcast/episode-28

Mar 05, 2019
27 – Making the jump toward more active towns, with John Simmerman
00:56:46

We're excited to bring you a conversation with Active Towns founder John Simmerman (@JohnSimmerman), who's been on a long journey to document what cities are doing to become safer and more comfortable places to walk, bike, and be active.

John joins Jordan Clark on the podcast talk about his findings since beginning his Active Towns Tour in 2012, including:

  • The best ways to encourage cycling among the "less confident" majority of the population
  • How cities can navigate potential "bikelash" by trying out small, temporary accommodations
  • The "hardware" and "software" assets that every city needs
  • How an "active transportation" network can serve as way more than just "exercise"

If you dig what John's about, and you want to find out more, follow his updates on Vimeo, or find Active Towns on social media: @ActiveTowns on Twitter and facebook.com/activetowns.

ALSO: Don't forget that John's Indiegogo campaign wraps up at the end of February. If you'd like to make a contribution, you can do that here.

The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Learn more at verdunity.com. Find more about this and other episodes, and our blog here.

(Music in this episode is from Custodian of Records.)

https://www.verdunity.com/podcast/episode-26

Feb 25, 2019
26 – Should states be setting a limit on city property taxes?
00:57:48

Today we're talking about a push by state lawmakers in Texas to put a cap on how much cities can raise their property tax rates from one year to the next. This proposed legislation would have huge repercussions, severely undercutting cities' ability to collect enough revenue to pay for needed services. To help us dive deeper into what this means for city governments, we're joined by Mayor Connie Schroeder of Bastrop, Texas.

Though this episode is specifically about the legislative battle in Texas, the discussion absolutely has relevance for cities and citizens across the country. As we've talked about repeatedly, so many cities are facing a resource gap between what they have on hand and what they really need. We feel strongly that cities (and the people who make them up) would suffer unnecessarily should their state legislatures restrict their ability to collect revenue.

Have some thoughts on this episode? Let us hear it! Email info@verdunity.com.

Here's the link to Texas Municipal League's "Our Home, Our Decisions" campaign that Mayor Schroeder mentioned in the episode. Be sure to catch the two videos they produced.


Attention Podcast Land!

Could you take a moment to help us make this podcast more relevant or interesting to you? We're running a quick (nearly pain-free!) little questionnaire to learn more about what you'd like us to dive deeper into, and what things we could stand to work on.

Just go to this Google Form. It'll take you 5 minutes, tops, or your money back. ;) We really appreciate it.


The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Learn more at verdunity.com. Find more about this and other episodes, and our blog here.

(Music in this episode is from Custodian of Records.)

Show page: https://www.verdunity.com/podcast/episode-26

Feb 20, 2019
[B-Side] 25 - Dollars, decisions, and your city's future
00:36:13

We're back with the B-Side to episode 25! That discussion ran too long for one episode, so we're back to talk about some specific ways cities could tie their zoning codes, subdivision ordinances, transportation plans, and economic development decisions to a rigorous fiscal analysis.


Attention Podcast Land!

Could you take a moment to help us make this podcast more relevant or interesting to you? We're running a quick (nearly pain-free!) little questionnaire to learn more about what you'd like us to dive deeper into, and what things we could stand to work on.

Just go to this Google Form. It'll take you 5 minutes, tops, or your money back. ;) We really appreciate it.


The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Learn more at verdunity.com. Find more about this and other episodes, and our blog here.

(Music in this episode is from Custodian of Records and Tours.)

Feb 18, 2019
25 - Dollars, decisions, and your city's future
00:52:20

In this episode, we follow up on last week's chat on the crucial challenge facing city administrators across the country—their city's resource gap. We talk about how city leaders can understand whether their current processes and daily decisions are moving them toward or away from long-term fiscal health. We say often that in many cities, "business as usual is broken." But that doesn't mean city administrators have to throw everything they know out the window. We explore some new ways cities can put the tools they already possess to work to close their resource gap.

We got so wrapped up in talking about this that we had to split it into two parts. Check out the 'B-Side' (coming soon) for some more specifics on how cities might tie their zoning codes, subdivision ordinances, transportation plans, and economic development strategies to their goals of financial strength.

Joining Jordan Clark on this episode are Kevin Shepherd, CEO of Verdunity, and Felix Landry, urban planner at Verdunity.


Attention Podcast Land!

Could you take a moment to help us make this podcast more relevant or interesting to you? We're running a quick (nearly pain-free!) little questionnaire to learn more about what you'd like us to dive deeper into, and what things we could stand to work on.

Just go to this Google Form. It'll take you 5 minutes, tops, or your money back. ;) We really appreciate it.


The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Learn more at verdunity.com. Find more about this and other episodes, and our blog here.

(Music in this episode is from Custodian of Records.)

https://www.verdunity.com/podcast/episode-25

Feb 14, 2019
24 – Your city's resource gap (and what you can do about it)
00:45:51

Running a city is hard work, and it’s even harder when there aren’t enough resources to cover basic service and infrastructure needs. More and more cities are finding themselves in this tricky spot, and it’s easy for city leaders to feel helpless.

In this episode, we talk about the challenges facing city administrators (as well as their staff) who are increasingly stretched thin by their city's growing resource gap. Then we discuss what they can do about it.

There are plenty of tools (related to land use, growth management, economic development, etc.) that cities across the country are using to become more fiscally viable. But these involve changes to the status quo, and change often generates pushback. This episode is about clarifying and communicating your city's resource gap so that you can build consent for taking measures that cultivate greater financial resilience.

We discuss:

  • The importance of quantifying your city's real resource gap.
  • How you can use fiscal strength as the common language for framing your community's decisions on planning, development, housing, economic development, street design and maintenance, and more.
  • How you can put fiscal analysis to use to communicate the resource gap to the broader community—and the 3 options it presents you with.

Attention Podcast Land!

Could you take a moment to help us make this podcast more relevant or interesting to you? We're running a quick (nearly pain-free!) little questionnaire to learn more about what you'd like us to dive deeper into, and what things we could stand to work on.

Just go to this Google Form. It'll take you 5 minutes, tops, or your money back. ;) We really appreciate it.


The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Learn more at verdunity.com. Find more about this and other episodes, and our blog here.

(Music in this episode is from Custodian of Records and Tours.)

https://www.verdunity.com/podcast/episode-24

Feb 05, 2019
23 – Co-creating the city you want to live in, with Ben Orcutt
01:07:22

Attention Podcast Land! Could you take a moment to help us make this podcast more relevant or interesting to you? We're running a quick (nearly pain-free!) little questionnaire to learn more about what you'd like us to dive deeper into, and what things we could stand to work on. (Do we say "um" too much? Great, now you're listening for it...)

Just go to this Google Form. It'll take you 5 minutes, tops, or your money back. ;) We really appreciate it.


Ben Orcutt is a bike-advocate-turned small business owner and candidate for city council of Anderson, Indiana. He joins (one-time Anderson resident) Jordan Clark on this podcast to discuss the importance of believing in your neighborhood, how cities could help clear hurdles for citizens who want to contribute, and what we stand to gain by focusing on authenticity and transparency in local government.

Ben has spent years demonstrating—through his neighborhood businesses as well as his advocacy and volunteer work—what is possible when you invest your time making repeated small bets on your community. After being approached by many of his neighbors and peers to take that approach to city government, Ben is now running for a seat on Anderson’s City Council. Ben is the first to tell you he’s still learning, that he doesn’t possess all the answers. But he is serious about asking questions, about observing local needs, and about trying new things out incrementally to see if they make a difference. And if you ask us, that’s exactly the kind of person we need in positions of city leadership.

Check out Ben's campaign page here.

Near Anderson? Visit Buckskin Bikes for all your bike needs, and then hop over to Jackrabbit Coffee for your caffeine fix.


The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Learn more at verdunity.com. Find more about this and other episodes, and our blog here.

(Music in this episode is from Custodian of Records and Tours.)

https://www.verdunity.com/podcast/episode-23

Jan 29, 2019
22 – Scaling the city: Have we gotten size all wrong?
01:05:01

We design our homes to the scale of a human being. We used to design our neighborhoods that way. So what happened? And does it matter how we size our streets or our cities?

In this episode, Jordan Clark and Felix Landry discuss the implications—economic, equity, human, and more—of designing cities to primarily accommodate moving objects that are ten times bigger than human beings. We wrap things up by talking about some of the ways we can start addressing the various problems created by an out-of-whack transportation network (starting at the 51:45 mark).


This podcast is brought to you by your friends at Verdunity. For more episodes, check out verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

(The music in this episode is from Custodian of Records)

Jan 18, 2019
Let's chat: Do apartments require more police?
00:27:46

We hear this a lot: Apartments bring higher crime, which means more police, which means higher police costs. But is that really the case?
Join Felix Landry and Jordan for a quick discussion about Felix's latest piece for the Verdunity blog.


The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of your friends at Verdunity. If you like this addition to the podcast feed, or if you hate it—or if you really want us to riff on a particular subject—let us know: info@verdunity.com.

Find us elsewhere in cyberspace: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn

(Music in this episode is from Blank & Kytt)

Jan 15, 2019
21 – The favorites episode!
01:09:56

It's a full house on the podcast today. Felix Landry, Tim Wright, and Kevin Shepherd join Jordan to talk about our favorite reads and listens from the year.

Here are links to the stuff we talked about in the show:

Tim's picks:

Felix's picks:

Jordan's picks:

Kevin's picks:

Jan 10, 2019
20 – Building a culture of engagement and trust, with Re:Form Shreveport
01:06:34

In this episode, Jordan speaks with Tim Wright, Levette Fuller, Luke Lee, and Chris Lyon of Re:Form Shreveport. We discuss how they are building a more trusting relationship between the people of Shreveport and City staff and officials, why and how to avoid a "criticize-first" mentality, lessons for city governments on embracing neighborhood-led change (or co-creation) instead of top-down planning, the role of local business, and MUCH more.

If you're a city leader or just a neighbor looking for some inspiration to take action heading into 2019, this chat is a great place to start!


The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Learn more at verdunity.com. Find more about this and other episodes, and our blog here.

(Music in this episode is from Custodian of Records and Tours.)

Jan 02, 2019
19 – Monte Anderson on incremental development (Part 2)
00:39:37

Here's what we discuss in part 2 of our interview with Monte Anderson:

  • Three things a small developer (or a small entrepreneur) needs [2:00]
  • Why Monte says low-interest loans are more effective than “giveaways” [4:00]
  • Why too much business and not enough space is better than the opposite [7:15]
  • Assessing the fiscal productivity of small developments as opposed to large-scale developments [9:05]
  • "It’s a lot easier to train a carpenter to be a business man than it is to train a business man to be a carpenter.” [16:55]
  • Why planners and developers should stay on the ground in planning a place, and testing while planning [20:10]
  • The importance of being nimble in the face of unexpected change [22:45]
  • A model for un-subsidised homeless housing [25:35]
  • The importance of good leadership from mayors and city managers [30:10]
  • How to get community banks on board with small development [31:45]
  • The importance of mentoring, and why "money is the best mentoring glue you can have” [35:10]

The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Learn more at verdunity.com. Find more about this and other episodes, and our blog here.

(Music in this episode is from Custodian of Records and Tours.)

Dec 24, 2018
18 – Monte Anderson on incremental development (Part 1)
00:58:08

We’ve talked about the value of small investments on this podcast before, and in this episode we sit down with someone whose name is synonymous with small, incremental development—Monte Anderson, CEO of Options Real Estate. Monte is a developer, small-business booster, and co-founder of the Incremental Development Alliance.

In part one of this discussion, we talk about the ways Monte is trying to help communities build wealth one incremental development at a time, how small development can address affordable housing needs, the importance of finding a low-risk entry point for people who want to own their own business, and much more.

In this episode:

  • How desperation got Monte into the business of small, incremental
    development [4:00]
  • Why committing to a place or a purpose “changes all the rules” [7:00]
  • Monte’s early work in Duncanville, TX, and how the City responded to
    big developers and businesses refusing to come to town [7:55]
  • How small developments can provide viable affordable housing – and
    how they compare to large apartment buildings [10:45]
  • How the Incremental Development Alliance is helping local people own
    and operate their own buildings [15:15]
  • Small doesn’t mean low-quality [20:00]
  • Learning as you go: why finding a low-risk entry point is essential
    for building discipline and understanding business—and not going
    bankrupt while doing it [22:10]
  • How the retail apocalypse and the internet are shaping the future of
    small towns [24:10]
  • How a vacated shopping center became the thriving DeSoto Market Place
    retail incubator (and did not become a dollar store) [26:40]
  • Partnerships vs. incentives [29:40]
  • Mentorships for tenants [31:20]
  • The importance of shaking up the outside of a repurposed strip center
    or big box [34:20]
  • Why Monte tends to prefer shop owners in who physically make
    something [37:10]
  • Tyler Station – how an old manufacturing facility was turned back
    into a “creative village” and pillar of the neighborhood
  • How to encourage collaboration in a shared creative space [46:30]
  • Realizing that social interaction keeps us human [50:00]
  • The value of social integration in a living space [52:50]

Links to things discussed in this episode:

More on the DeSoto Market Place:

More on Tyler Station:

Extra:


The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Learn more at verdunity.com.
(Music in this episode is from Custodian of Records and Tours.)

Dec 21, 2018
17 – Embracing the "messy" city, with Kevin Klinkenberg
01:03:04

In this episode we speak with Kevin Klinkenberg, an urban designer, planner, architect, and writer on all things cities. We discuss what city leaders can learn from the messiness of cities past, why small scale development is better for our communities (and why these days it's so hard to actually do), how to balance top-down and bottom-up action, zoning recommendations for cities that want to become walkable, and more.

  • [2:00] Kevin’s background and involvement with Congress for the New
    Urbanism
  • [5:00] Why he got into writing, where it’s taken him, and his focus
    on practical advice for cities
  • [9:15] Why he chose to relocate to a walkable city
  • [10:15] Involvement in the Savannah (GA) Downtown Master Plan, and
    what other cities can learn from Savannah
  • [14:30] What is a "Messy City”? And what is the value of embracing
    messiness as opposed to order?
  • [22:00] If the benefits of walkable cities are so clear, why is it so
    hard to change the way cities are getting built?
  • [29:30] The importance of fiscal analysis in showing cities the
    (current & long-term) value that walkable neighborhoods and
    small-scale development present – and the fragility inherent in
    large-scale development
  • [32:05] Challenging city leaders to not be the ones who put their
    city’s future in jeopardy
  • [33:00] What Kevin K would do if put in charge of a suburban city?
    The need to balance a “messy” approach with vision-setting and
    planning
  • [39:50] The “can-do” spirit that he sees in much of the country, and
    why some places draw that out into action more than others
  • [42:10] Kevin’s top three zoning code recommendations for cities who
    want to built walkable neighborhoods
  • [44:00] What is “missing middle” commercial development—and why
    should you care?
  • [49:30] The financing challenges with building small spaces, despite
    their greater long term resiliency
  • [51:45] What advice would Kevin give to a planning director who wants
    to communicate the need for a smaller-scale, messier city-building
    approach
  • [54:00] The need to "know your own community” and which ways of
    framing the issues will get the best response
  • [57:00] Kevin’s reading recommendations (see below for links)

Links to things discussed in the podcast


The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Learn more at verdunity.com.

(The music in this episode is from Custodian of Records and Tours.)

Dec 14, 2018
16 – Economic development: questioning the status quo
00:42:33

We're following up on the economic development discussions of the last two weeks. Where is the status quo approach to economic development leaving our cities and our citizens? How do recent changes in economic trends affect the ways cities attempt to do business? What does a more localized, sustainable, and people-focused version economic development actually look like?

Links to things discussed in the show:

Unfortunately, we've had to push off our next webinar. But, you CAN watch the recording of our most recent webinar: How to Cultivate (Real) Fiscal Sustainability + Community Engagement. And we'll still take your questions! Just send them to info@verdunity.com.


The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Learn more at verdunity.com.

(The music in this episode is from Custodian of Records.)

Dec 10, 2018
15 – Is debt a bad thing for cities?
01:10:54

[Some of you may have had a sound issue at the beginning of this podcast. We've fixed it but it still might show up for some listeners. Sorry about that!]

This is the second of a short series on city growth. Are there good ways or bad ways to grow? In this episode, we're asking: What should a city's relationship with debt look like? Are there bad debts? Are there good debts for a city to take on?

Felix Landry (Verdunity's resident city planner and data geek) is back on this week's episode to talk with Jordan about the following:

  • Can we say that taking on debt is good or bad, whether in personal life or as a city using tax dollars?
  • What are most cities currently using debt to finance?
  • Are there types of debt that are more risky than others? Are some uses of debt a better bet?
  • How does a city's development pattern increase or decrease its likelihood of needing to take on debt? And how does debt inform the city's land use pattern?
  • How does debt play into a city's economic development scheme?

It's a full episode, and despite its length, we still didn't get to cover nearly as much as there is to say about the subject of debt and cities. We'd love for you to inform the way this discussion progresses. Do you have thoughts? We want to hear from you. Email us: info@verdunity.com.


The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Learn more at verdunity.com.

(The music in this episode is from Custodian of Records.)

Nov 30, 2018
14 – Amazon HQ2 / CA wildfires / Genuine community engagement
00:59:33

Today is a bit of a Thanksgiving grab-bag. Kevin and Jordan discuss:

  • what cities (of any size) can learn from the Amazon HQ2 contest about economic development and “being your best you” [1:10]
  • what the California wildfires should be telling cities about the implications of their development patterns [19:20]
  • whether “criticize then commit” is a philosophy city leaders can employ in citizen engagement [30:20]

We also take a few moments at the end [50:00] to let you know about a few cool things we’re working on.

  1. You can sign up for our brand-new Cultivate Journal, a monthly roundup of our best podcast episodes, written pieces, things we’ve read, and upcoming live events.
  2. Join us on Friday, Nov. 30 [THIS IS A NEW DATE!], for a free live webinar: Dollars and Sense: How to Cultivate (Real) Fiscal Sustainability + Community Engagement
  3. In 2019 we’re launching our Go Cultivate! Online Community. If you share our goal of building and managing cities in a more collaborative, fiscally-informed, and people-friendly fashion—and you want to discuss ways to deal with your city's challenges with like-minded peers—then this is your place. Sign up here and we’ll let you know when it’s officially open.

This podcast is brought to you by your friends at Verdunity. For more episodes, check out verdunity.com/go-cultivate.

(The music in this episode is from Custodian of Records)

Nov 21, 2018
13 – Is fast growth a bad thing?
00:54:37

This is the first of a short series on city growth. Are there good ways or bad ways to grow? In this episode, we're asking whether there is such a thing as growing too fast or too slow.

Jordan speaks with Verdunity's Felix Landry about both the financial and social/cultural implications of fast growth vs. slow growth. We discuss the ways building standards can help or hurt, what it means to love a place, whether cities have knobs that can speed up growth or slow it down, whether it matters that you build a whole block out at once or over time, why scapegoating renters is off-base, and much more.

Have thoughts on this discussion? We want to hear from you. Email us: info@verdunity.com.


The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Learn more at verdunity.com.

(The music in this episode is from Custodian of Records.)

Nov 09, 2018
12 – What cities can learn from socially-engaged art
00:51:24

Jim Walker is CEO, cofounder, and lead artist at Big Car Collaborative, an Indianapolis-based art and design organization "brings art to people and people to art, sparking creativity in lives to support communities." Jim and Jordan talk about the role of artists in making neighborhoods more loving, vibrant, and homelike—and the ways partnerships are always messy but always necessary in making good things happen.

Here’s a further sample of our conversation topics:

  • Why community building is about the personal connections between people
  • Big Car’s role as a “neighbor-to-neighbor” project, as well as its role as a hub for arts, cultural events, making things, and as an example of putting an old place to new use with minimal infrastructure
  • Pop-up testing sites as a way of exposing the City of Indianapolis to new ideas
  • Why and how Big Car Collaborative started out in the bathroom of a (former) nunnery
  • How artists make a neighborhood desirable and often end up getting pushed out—and how Big Car is trying to buck that trend by building a long-term home for artists in the Garfield Park neighborhood of Indianapolis
  • Why “socially-engaged art” is about "making things happen," rather than just “making things"
  • What it means to invest in the people in a neighborhood
  • The Tube Factory – an example of adaptive building re-use that flexes to be what the neighborhood wants it to be
  • Partnering with the City, philanthropic organizations
  • Where the name “Big Car” comes from
  • Why collaboration (both internal and external) is messy but essential to making something happen – and how it leads to unexpected places
  • Why so many partnership difficulties revolve around money
  • Partnerships generally happen between people, rather than entities
  • What it’s like partnering with a City through changes in administration
  • Demonstrating that artists can (and should) be voices at the table in city decision making
  • How to make sure pop-up placemaking turns into “placekeeping” that benefits people in the neihgborhood
  • How Jim thinks you can start something like Big Car in your own community (hint: it should be fun)
  • The importance of working on projects with friends – and the opportunities to find a friend group through community work
  • Jim’s book recommendations!
  • Why a place can be a home instead of just a house
  • How planning and design could be different if we spent lots more time out in the physical places we’re working in

Follow Jim on Twitter: @walkerjj
Learn more about the seriously kick-ass Big Car Collaborative at bigcar.org. And check out the Tube Factory Artspace at tubefactory.org. (If you are planning to host an event in Indianapolis, this is the place to be!)


The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity. Learn more at verdunity.com Find our other episodes and blog posts at GoCultivate.org.

(The music in this episode is from Custodian of Records.)

Nov 02, 2018
11 – How might a city become fiscally sustainable?
01:06:23

Kevin and Jordan discuss the beginnings of a framework for getting any city in better fiscal shape – all while building trust and collaboration with residents of all neighborhoods. Buckle in! We made Kevin the mayor of a city for this episode.


The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of VERDUNITY. Learn more at verdunity.com Find our other episodes and blog posts at GoCultivate.org.

(The music in this episode is from Custodian of Records.)

Oct 26, 2018
Let's chat: Neighborhood identity and community involvement
00:25:51

We're trying something new here. The Verdunity office is always buzzing with good discussions about what's on our minds that week. So, instead of keeping them all to ourselves, we'll be dropping short, spur-of-the-moment conversations like this one into the feed from time to time. It might be something we've read that day, an interaction we've had with a community leader, or just something we ate (hopefully not).

Today, Tim Wright (the brand-newest member of Verdunity!) and Jordan Clark chat about neighborhood identity and community involvement.


The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of your friends at Verdunity. If you like this addition to the podcast feed, or if you hate it—or if you really want us to riff on a particular subject—let us know: info@verdunity.com.

Find us elsewhere in cyberspace: Twitter and Facebook

(Music in this episode is from Blank & Kytt)

Oct 24, 2018
10 – Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns
00:51:43

Kevin sits down with (fellow engineer) Chuck Marohn from Strong Towns to talk about recognizing our delusions, admitting failure, and embracing the "chaos" of bottom-up action at the local level.

Here are some highlights from the discussion:

  • When optimism becomes delusion for city administrators.
  • The ways that many engineers and other professionals have built up natural defense mechanisms to avoid acknowledging failure and fallibility.
  • The common myth in Texas and other high growth areas that "fast growth will continue indefinitely and it will solve all our problems"—and the two possible ways it could end.
  • Not learning lessons from major events: droughts and near-bankruptcies.
  • The social and economic results of "slash-and-burn city development."
  • Why city leaders should be more supportive of the short-term "chaos" of bottom-up action—and more wary of the long-term chaos of rigid order.
  • How affluence makes people and cities less adaptive—and how small, early failures can build resilience.

Links:


The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of VERDUNITY. Learn more at verdunity.com. Find our other episodes and blog posts at GoCultivate.org.

(The music in this episode is from Custodian of Records.)

Oct 16, 2018
09 – City planning: it takes village (Part 2)
00:37:19

This is the second of a two-part interview with AJ Fawver, director of planning for the City of Lubbock, Texas. (Follow her on Twitter: @planningguru. Read her blog on ELGL here.)

In part two, we talk about the world of strengths assessments and communication styles—and how they can be applied to make organizations like city government more effective and empathetic. Then Kevin asks AJ what she as a planner wants people other roles in the city to know. They run through advice and input for elected officials, city management, economic development folks, engineers, and citizens.


The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of VERDUNITY. Learn more at verdunity.com. Find our other episodes and blog posts at GoCultivate.org.

(The music in this episode is from Custodian of Records.)

Oct 08, 2018
08 – Nine lessons for building stronger communities
01:05:30

We thought this would be a quick chat. It wasn't that quick, but we do think it's a good start to a deeper discussion on ways cities can better serve and engage citizens – and build a more sustainable community in the process. In this episode we walk through Kevin's most recent post on the blog.

Here's a rundown of the nine lessons Kevin spells out in his post and this discussion:

  1. Quality of life is measured at the neighborhood level. (IBM paper discussed in the episode can be found here.)

  2. Citizens often have a lot of ideas for things (big and small) that will improve quality of life in their neighborhood.

  3. Every citizen has time, talent or treasure they’d like to invest in their neighborhood/community.

  4. Small tactical or pop-up projects are more effective when connected to a bigger purpose.

  5. Code changes are needed for small developers to thrive.

  6. The challenges facing cities are too big for local agencies to address alone.

  7. The average citizen does not understand the financial gap many cities are facing or the relationship between development patterns, revenues and service costs, and property tax rates.

  8. Communities need a common language and a single metric to frame discussions, inform decisions and prioritize investments.

  9. The community engagement process should be an ongoing effort and not limited to public hearings on a project-by-project basis.


The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of VERDUNITY. Learn more at verdunity.com. Find our other episodes and blog posts at GoCultivate.org.

(The music in this episode is from Custodian of Records.)

Oct 03, 2018
07 – City planning: it takes a village (Part 1)
00:39:23

This is the first of a two-part interview with AJ Fawver, director of planning for the City of Lubbock, Texas. (Follow her on Twitter: @planningguru. Read her blog on ELGL here.)

Here's a sampling of what Kevin and AJ get into:

  • The difference between land use planing and zoning—and what they’re good for. And some ways that their application hasn’t been good for cities.

  • Dealing with the common perception (in various cities) that planning departments exist to hinder growth or development

  • The ways that money enters the equation in decision making, for planners, for city administrators, for elected officials, and even for citizens. And the ways that it often doesn’t but should.

  • Why it’s so common for (vocal) residents in cities to oppose things like apartments and assisted living facilities.

  • AJ also addresses the politics of having discussions about development patterns with residents and elected officials.


The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of VERDUNITY. Learn more at verdunity.com. Find our other episodes and blog posts at GoCultivate.org.

(The music in this episode is from Custodian of Records.)

Sep 28, 2018
06 – How to start a productive conversation in your community
01:16:03

Kevin sits down with Tim Wright, co-founder of Re-Form Shreveport, to talk about about the conversations and actions that incrementally help make a community stronger. Tim gives insight into ways to build momentum and trust, through his roles as both a civil engineer and as a neighbor in a new city.

--

1:00 – Introducing Tim Wright and Re-Form Shreveport

4:50 – Teasing our involvement in the upcoming Strong Towns Regional Gathering (join us for that!)

13:05 – Beginning of Kevin’s discussion with Tim

15:26 – Why Tim (and Kevin) joined the Strong Towns movement

17:45 – Key challenges for an engineer who is concerned about social and fiscal sustainability

21:27 – The soft skills today’s engineer’s need to have

23:35 – On discussing the adverse effects of sprawling development with other engineers and city officials (vs. the benefits of infill)

25:45 – “Do you know what a block of your street costs?” and “Do you think your city has enough money to fix it when it needs to be replaced?”

31:50 – What it means to “Re-form Shreveport”

39:33 – Putting the principles of a people-friendly, fiscally-sustainable approach into action

51:00 – Starting small, by making Shreveport’s Highland Park a true place

54:24 – Harnessing citizens’ ideas for ways their neighborhoods could be better (and then implementing them)

1:00:07 – Advice for someone in a new city who wants to make a difference

1:02:11 – Takeaways from the discussion

1:06:38 – An impromptu discussion on resource shortages and what that means for the wellbeing of cities and citizens

--

We'd love to see you at the Strong Towns Regional Gathering in Plano (or the free Curbside Chat in Arlington)!

For more on our podcasts and blog, visit GoCultivate.org. This podcast is a project of the nice folks (whose voices you're listening to) at VERDUNITY.

(Music from this episode is from Custodian of Records)

Sep 19, 2018
05 – Math, maps, and money: How fiscal analysis can change the conversation in communities
01:28:35

VERDUNITY's Felix Landry joins the show to discuss the importance of understanding the fiscal consequences of our development patterns, as well as the ways that cities can use map-based fiscal analysis to make more holistic land use decisions.

3:29 – Beginning of interview

5:00 – How Felix stumbled into looking at the economics of cities

7:00 – Pro formas—why don't city planning departments have them? (And more questions Felix had during his time in a his city's planning department)

12:00 – Confusion on how to go about applying fiscal analysis in planning work

17:53 – Insolvency issues and how fiscal analysis can be a common language for analyzing cities holistically

20:20 – How your city isn't like a hamburger joint

22:30 – What exactly do we mean by fiscal analysis?

25:25 – The backwards way most cities decide what gets built

26:50 – What would fiscal analysis actually look like for cities?

31:56 – How fiscal analysis maps can show us otherwise unseen trends

33:25 – Which development types are loss leaders for cities, and what it means if those areas make up too much of a city

37:32 – The gym analogy: treadmills vs. swimming pools

39:42 – Other analogies Felix likes to use for understanding development types and fiscal consequences: personal heath and grocery stores

50:05 – What happens when citizens insist on both an unproductive development pattern and a lower tax rate?

53:50 – Differences between modern-day suburbs and pre-war suburbs

1:17:00 – How cities can apply fiscal analysis to decision making? We discuss applications to zoning ordinances, comprehensive plans, economic development, and more.

1:20:20 – What Felix is reading these days

1:22:19 – Wrap-up with Kevin and Jordan

Show page: https://gocultivate.org/podcast-episode-05/

For more on our podcasts and blog, visit GoCultivate.org. This podcast is a project of the nice folks at VERDUNITY.

(This episode features music from Custodian of Records)

Sep 15, 2018
04 – Using the arts to connect neighbors and cultivate inclusivity
01:14:14

Joanna Taft of the Harrison Center discusses the role of the arts, place, and story to humanize, connect, and empower a neighborhood. We talk about how a neighborhood can change and improve in inclusive and equitable ways, and how important it is for people to feel known and loved in their community and their homes. Central to it all is being a neighbor to your neighbors. This is a jam-packed discussion you can't afford to miss!

2:15 – Brief recap of our Cultivating Strong Towns workshop in Shreveport

9:30 – Introducing Joanna Taft & the Harrison Center

14:15 – Beginning of interview: Joanna's role as a neighbor, helping her neighborhood grow stronger through the arts, education, entrepreneurship, youth development and more

15:00 – What "community building" means to Joanna, and how her thinking on the matter has evolved over the years

18:00 – Harrison Center's neighborhood partnerships, and how residents' concerns about being left out of their neighborhood's story and evolution led her organization to try a new approach to storytelling

22:45 – "Preenactment," or reimagining a neighborhood the way it ought to be

28:00 – How Joanna's team collected stories and concerns from the neighborhood

32:00 – Changing behaviors and attitudes, not just the physical makeup of a neighborhood, and how Joanna uses the concept of preenactment in her personal life

38:00 – Preenactment as a response to the question: "How do we revitalize in an inclusive way?"

39:05 – The centrality of art and place in building vibrant, equitable, and human neighborhoods

43:05 – Cultivating a generation of arts patrons at Herron High School

48:10 – Partnerships with the City of Indianapolis

50:15 – Some of the challenges (and unique opportunities) that come from working directly with a city government

52:50 – The role of relationships and how other cities could set themselves up to be welcoming to grassroots community building

54:00 – The Harrison Center's City Gallery: "Could the arts actually help with the abandoned housing issue?"

57:45 – Porching! How the simple act of inviting neighbors onto your front porch can begin to change your neighborhood

1:00:25 – How to start a grassroots community building movement in a neighborhood without much current involvement

(We had some audio quality issues on this episode. Sorry about that! Hoping to have those fixed for the next one.)

Links:

The Harrison Center

PreEnact Indy

City Gallery

Music in this episode is from Custodian of Records and Tours

Sep 07, 2018
03 – "No is an acceptable answer"
00:48:59

Many citizens think their local government has enough money to maintain its infrastructure and keep up services, because they pay taxes. The reality is most cities do not, and it can be challenging for city leadership to communicate this to citizens. Today's guests are bucking that trend of silence.

We talk to three key leaders (Mayor Connie Schroeder, City Manager Lynda Humble, and Hospitality & Downtown Director Sarah O'Brien) from the City of Bastrop, TX, about what managed growth means to the future of their city.

They discuss Bastrop's resource constraints and affordability challenges, why they are openly talking about their infrastructure funding gap when many cities' leaderships are reluctant to do so, and why cities need to be doing the math on the eventual costs of repairing roads and subdivisions. Find out more about their Building Bastrop initiative, which aims "to streamline the development process and create fiscally sustainable standards for future projects."

Your city may go by a different name, but it's likely facing many similar challenges to those in Bastrop, and it could certainly learn from this refreshing approach to sustainable development.

Follow Bastrop's progress on Twitter (@CityofBastropTX) and facebook.com/bastroptx

Show page: https://gocultivate.org/podcast-episode-03/

Aug 28, 2018
BONUS: A student's perspective on engineering
00:20:51

Kevin sits down with VERDUNITY's summer intern Nadia Whitehouse for a brief chat on the ways the engineering profession is changing, and what it means to bring a resource-conscious, people-first attitude to engineering school. They also get into some of the ways Nadia sees the world differently after a few months with the VERDUNITY crew.

Aug 24, 2018
02 – Dollars and sense: the future of civil engineering
00:51:17

An in-depth discussion with VERDUNITY's Kevin Shepherd, P.E., on the past, present, and future of the civil engineering profession—and the lasting fiscal and social impacts their work has on communities.

1:30 – What does is mean to be considered a "creative engineer”?

5:15 – What the conventional approach to civil engineering misses, and how Kevin’s thought process changed as his career progressed

9:50 – The impact of considering financial implications in the design process, vs. the assumption that “the money’s always going to be there”

15:00 – What is the engineer’s role and responsibility with regard to financial viability?

16:20 – Why Kevin left his big A/E firm to start VERDUNITY, and how he approaches his work with cities

17:55 – Why desperation makes cities more interested in fiscally viable infrastructure decisions

23:20 – How city planners tend to think differently than engineers, and the constraints on how much impact they can have

25:00 – Why a conventional approach to engineering is so prevalent, despite its broad lack of sustainability

27:50 – Why exactly did we start designing and building in such a destructive way to begin with?

32:00 – We can't let the planning profession off the hook, either

33:30 – Why other engineers used to think Kevin was crazy, and now they’re getting curious—and why it’s hard for engineers at big, status-quo-affirming companies to shift their organization’s approach

37:00 – Guiding cities and technical professionals to a more fiscally-informed and people-friendly approach to city-building

39:30 – What does it actually look like to give a city recommendations for a more financially viable infrastructure project?

43:00 – A “plangineer’s” approach to spanning silos and working at different scales

45:50 – Return on investment for infrastructure projects


Episode page: gocultivate.org/podcast-episode-02.

Learn more about VERDUNITY here.

(This episode features music from Custodian of Records and Tours)

Aug 22, 2018
01 – What to expect on the Go Cultivate! podcast
00:41:54

In the first episode of Go Cultivate!, we discuss what it means for a city to be financially resilient, resource-conscious, and people-friendly. Then, we talk about 5 key groups of community leaders.

1:03 – Why Go Cultivate? And what's up with the name VERDUNITY?

5:00 – Revisiting the purpose of the podcast: "helping community leaders grow financially resilient, resource-conscious, and people-friendly cities.

5:51 – "Financially resilient"

7:00 – "Resource-conscious"

8:00 – "People-friendly"

11:40 – What is the status quo and what keeps the status quo in place?

16:32 – Community leaders: five broad groups

17:52 – Elected officials

22:21 – City administrators

23:50 – City technical staff

25:28 – Economic development

27:17 – Implementers!

27:50 – The importance of making citizens feel like their contribution is welcome – and what a city might look like when they don't

31:36 – Implementers as allies to official city leaders

35:21 – The connection between working on yourself, your neighborhood, and your community


(The music in this episode is by Custodian of Records)

https://gocultivate.org/podcast-episode-01

Aug 09, 2018