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Archive for the ‘City Planning’ Category

With last week’s heat wave out west, and the return of sizzling temperatures here in Tulsa, it seems an appropriate time to look at AARP’s recent report on Summer Cooling Costs and Older Households and the importance of staying cool. As the report makes clear, turning on the air-conditioner for some families means balancing financial constraints and health concerns. AARP’s analysis is no doubt aimed to better understand the needs of households 65 or older, but the needs of older consumers living on a set income are often analogous to the needs of low-income families.

Logo courtesy of the Center for Disease Control

Logo courtesy of the Center for Disease Control

AARP reports that, over the past decade, average residential electricity costs have increased 40%, from 8.7 to 12.0 cents per kilowatt-hour. To help Americans afford the cost of heating and cooling their homes, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides federal block grants to the states and other jurisdictions. States, however, set their own eligibility requirements and can supplement the grants with their own funds.

Most states seem to use LIHEAP funds to subsidize heating costs.  The AARP report cites LIHEAP Clearinghouse data showing only 29 states, and the District of Columbia, have cooling assistance programs. Furthermore, the average grant for these cooling programs are typically less than half the amount distributed for heating assistance. (more…)

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Brent Isaacs, AICP, Research Specialist for Neighborhood Revitalization Initiatives, is our September guest blogger.

At the end of August, CAP’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiatives was pleased to host Michael Schubert, Principal of Community Development Strategies in Chicago to discuss issues related to the Kendall-Whittier Promise Neighborhoods effort. Mike came to us by way of NeighborWorks America, an organization of which CAP is pleased to be a network member.  Following our visit, he sent us a paper he wrote entitled Schools and Neighborhood Revitalization: An Invitation to New Thinking (Schools and Neighborhood Revitalization.pdf).

I was struck by the tone of this paper because it approached the subject from the perspective of whether neighborhood revitalization contributes to school improvement or academic achievement.  Most of the literature that I have read is from the opposite perspective:  how improving neighborhood schools assists in neighborhood revitalization.  Clearly, while there is a symbiotic relationship between neighborhoods and schools that is not often understood, CAP’s primary interest is in the former perspective. (more…)

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Good news continues to roll in for the Kendall-Whittier and Eugene Field Neighborhoods.  Last December, CAP received a $500,000 Promise Neighborhood planning grant to focus on revitalization in both communities. The inspiration for Promise Neighborhoods is based on the successful model of New York City’s Harlem Children’s Zone, a program featured in Waiting for Superman and various other media. These grants fund programs in high poverty neighborhoods which have a proven capacity to build partnerships and possess the necessary systems to track kids through school, so no one falls through the cracks.

This week, the Tulsa World reported that Tulsa Public Schools pledged to provide longitudinal data to track Kendall-Whittier and Eugene Field students as they progress through school.  This collaboration also includes a pledge to join with other partners in efforts to reform educational strategies. Taken together, this means CAP is in a better position to compete for a $7 million dollar grant to provide cradle-to-career services to children in the Eugene Field and Kendall-Whittier neighborhoods. (more…)

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I haven’t had the time to read all 118(!) pages of this report, but I wanted to share it before it gets swallowed by the paper monster that is my desk right now.  The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System published Putting Data to Work: Data-Driven Approaches to Strengthening Neighborhoods

The report looks at how communities are building and using data systems to target resources.  Individual sections are written by authors from The Urban Institute, LISC, Brookings, The Reinvestment Fund, and other organizations.  The report is part of a broader effort from the Federal Reserve, Urban Institute, The Reinvestment Fund, and LISC to “help communities develop the infrastructure and data sources they need to make strategic policy decisions with respect to neighborhood stabilization.”

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As part of a new project at CAP, each month we will be featuring a guest blogger from across the agency.  Kirk Wester  Director of  Neighborhood Revitalization Initiatives, is our second blogger.

As someone whose job it is to work to revitalize neighborhoods and to bring about systemic change, I am intrigued by the idea of a man named Robert Lupton, PhD. He developed an idea he calls, “Gentrification with Justice.” He starts with the belief that the deterioration of our nation’s urban landscape came as mobility and the capacity for independence paved the way for a mass exodus of resources from urban areas to the suburbs. In his book, Return Flight, he describes a neighborhood in his home of Atlanta, called Summerhill as this shift to the suburbs occurred following the Civil Rights Movement: (more…)

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Wow!  The weather here in Oklahoma has been crazy the last 2 weeks.  We have experienced 75 and sunny, record snow fall, record lows (Can you believe it was colder here than the South Pole?), and back to 70 and sunny.  During the days stuck in my apartment during Snowpocalypse 2011, I had time to make a small dent in my stack of articles and reports.  This post will be a quick rundown of two.  I will probably do longer posts later, when I have more time to invest in proper blog posts. 

(more…)

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PLANiTULSA Final Comments

PLANiTULSA will present a final draft of its comprehensive planning document on Tuesday, January 19. The presentation begins at 6pm at the Central Center at Centennial Park, 1028 E. 6th St.

You can read chapters of the draft plan, which include land use, transportation, economic development, housing, and parks and open space, at www.planitulsa.org.

Audience members will be able to express their opinions throughout the presentation using “clickers.” It’ll be just like sitting at home on a Tuesday night, except you won’t be able to change the channel!

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