Yes, we really are all confident idiots

At one point during South by Southwest, [talk show host Jimmy] Kimmel’s crew approached a poised young woman with brown hair. “What have you heard about Tonya and the Hardings?” the interviewer asked. “Have you heard they’re kind of hard-hitting?” Failing to pick up on this verbal wink, the woman launched into an elaborate response …

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A Must-Read: Ellen Harpel’s 6 steps to smart incentives use

There are very few people that I will Tweet or post sight unseen (which apparently gives me another piece of weirdness cred).  Ellen Harpel of SmartIncentives.org is about the only one for which I will do that consistently.  Her understanding of the potential and failures of economic development incentives (a topic that I gave a …

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How can cities meaningfully impact entrepreneurship? Help from mayors and Kauffman

I've written plenty before -- in the book and at the main blog -- about how one-shot solutions, like throwing up a small business incubator, often don't help, and may hurt. This article summarizing the recent Kauffman Foundation’s Mayors Conference on Entrepreneurship shed some additional light on this topic, including this: One common error by local lawmakers is …

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Tax Breaks for Tech Hiring: well….

As most readers know, I am an avid tech startup junkie with a strong interest in how tech companies are both reacting to and themselves remaking economies, both through their works and products and through the fundamentally different approach that people trained in the tech world bring to decision-making, innovation and problem-solving -- issues that …

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So…what _Is_ urban planning’s Knowledge Domain (and what is missing? Hint: important stuff)

This piece of research from Tom Sanchez and Nader Afzalan is insightful for both what it includes and what is does not include.  Tom and Nader examined the reported areas of expertise among hundreds of academic urban planners and graphed the resulting prevalence various areas of expertise, as well as the commonalities in areas of …

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From the Good Learnings File: the Power of Small Wins

This week, the nonprofit organization CEOs for Cities will be facilitating a national meeting of business and community leaders from across the country to explore cross-sector innovations and learning about how to significantly "move the needle" on urban issues.  And it's not a small gathering -- 400 people from 75 cities is nothing to shake …

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Are You an Institutional Radical? (no, don’t duck…)

I spend a lot of time in blogs and publications that aren't exactly household names, and the brilliance of what you find there is often stunning.  Cormac Russell is revered among a certain subset of the community development world for his work on articulating Asset-Based Community Development principles.  As benign as that sounds, it's often …

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From the Now You Know file: This Is What Marketers Think of You and Your Neighbors (via Next City)

I've done a lot of market studies over the years -- usually for places where the "market" seemed to have run for the hills.  In disadvantaged urban neighborhoods, Appalachian villages, and crumbled first-ring suburbs, I have a long history of being the person who gets brought in when people go, "We've got something...something...right??" The problem is …

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From the Good Ideas File: 5 Pillars of a Citywide Revitalization Strategy

One of the challenges in the back of my head most of the time is the questions of needing to find a better, more integrated and more holistic way to plan for the future of cities.  I don't have a full answer yet, but I know that a big piece of it has to be more …

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from the Good Ideas File: using what you got in Covington, Kentucky

My parents were Depression children who learned early on that things that other people abandon can have value.  I wrote about my dad's penchant for curb-picking in one of the most personal essays in the book -- and I described his tendency to show me some piece of foundry casting or industrial leftover, describe a …

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