From the Good Ideas (and Work At It) File: Hackathon Learning from Latin America

When I queued this article by Susannah Vila to Engaging Cities a week or so ago, I knew it also needed to end up in the Good Ideas file.  Even if you're not doing civic hacking in your community, anything that you're doing to pull in a broad cross-section of participation (the way you gotta …

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From the Good Ideas (or maybe the I-told-you-so) File: Consultants’ Disruption

I rail in the book a couple of different places about bad, dishonest or plain useless practices in local government consulting - my chosen line of work for more than 20 years.  My biggest beef, whether talking about 1960s architects with big capes or snake oil salesmen handing out simplistic answers at national conferences, has …

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20% off Print version of Local Economy Revolution now through March 31

Sometimes I don't know what's going on with those people, but we'll take it... I just received the following message from Lulu.com, who produces the print version of The Local Economy Revolution:    Celebrate International Waffle Day! This morning, while eating our plate of waffles, the toaster left an amazing message on one of our syrupy …

Continue reading 20% off Print version of Local Economy Revolution now through March 31

Random Excerpt: The problem with Life on the Playground-style government

Every week I open The Local Economy Revolution: What's Changed and How You Can Help  to a random location and copy that section out here. Interested in what you read? Check out the book for print or e-reader here.   And tell 'em I sent you.  Well, actually, don't, because that means you telling me that I sent …

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From the Good Ideas File: A Conference on What Went Wrong

I've seen an occasional conference session popping up here and there lately, but never a whole conference on how our great ideas, big projects and good intentions blew up all over us. So it looks to me like the Urban Research Network has done something pretty interesting here.  This social-sciences-researchers-with-an-activist-bent network is looking for dignified …

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Good Ideas File: Resilience is Local

This article on planning and design for ecological resilience in the face of the increasing occurrence of extreme weather events, echoes a strong thread in physical planning across the world.  But in the book, I also talked about the need for economic resilience -- the ability of a community to bounce back from the shocks …

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Random Excerpt: Changing Your Community Will Take a While — So you Might as Well Get Started.

Every week, I crack open The Local Economy Revolution to a random location and copy that section here.  Intrigued by what you read?  Check out the full book here.  You'll be glad you did. Really.    It will take a while…so you might as well get started   In a true display of democracy, a …

Continue reading Random Excerpt: Changing Your Community Will Take a While — So you Might as Well Get Started.

From the Good Ideas File: Design and build your own car… or washing machine… or whatever

A side effect of the attention that I have been paying to the Downtown Project in Las Vegas lately is that I stumbled across this incredibly awesome little company called LocalMotors.  Local Motors -- I'm not making this up -- enables you to design. build and sell your own vehicle.  It's a crowdsourced co-creation platform …

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From the Good Ideas File: A Garage that does more than Green, it builds ecosystem

People who have been paying attention to the bottom-up indie revitalization that's been going on in Detroit might have heard of the Green Garage -- or maybe I just read a lot of obscure stuff.  Hm. I'm gonna admit that when I first heard about the Green Garage, my reaction was, "nice good, needed, yes, …

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From the Good Ideas File: The Smart Chicago Collaborative – A New Model for Civic Innovation in Cities

As you might have noticed if you've read the book, the Local Economy Revolution doesn't propose any easy answers.  The prevailing message of the book is probably that effective community economy revitalization takes hard, interconnected work at a whole range of factors, including both conventional "economic" issues and those that we too often haven't considered …

Continue reading From the Good Ideas File: The Smart Chicago Collaborative – A New Model for Civic Innovation in Cities