Home » Archive

Articles in the The Environment Category

Economic Development, Featured, Good Ideas, The Environment, Urban Planning »

[7 Mar 2014 | No Comment | ]
Lansing Area Logistics to “Go Green”

Scheduled to launch in Greater Lansing on Earth Day, 2014 (Tuesday, April 22nd), Go Green Trikes, LLC (Facebook webpage link) is the brainchild of local green business entrepreneur, Yvonne LeFave. Utilizing heavy-duty electric-assisted cargo trikes capable of carrying loads of up to 600 pounds, Go Green Trikes will provide prompt and sustainable delivery services throughout the urban heart of Greater Lansing – essentially an area bounded by I-96 on the south and west, I-69 on the north and Van Atta Road to the east. Here’s a maplink of the service area.
These are …

Book Review, Economic Development, Featured, Good Ideas, Green Jobs, Public Transportation, Sprawl, The Environment, Urban Planning »

[18 Feb 2014 | No Comment | ]
“Bikenomics” – An Instant Classic for Planners and Bicycling Advocates

Certain books become a classic in their field of study because of their comprehensive nature (i.e. The City in History). Others do from their advocacy and groundbreaking nature (i.e. Silent Spring).  In the case of Bikenomics: How Bicycling Can Save the Economy, both of these reasons apply. Author Elly Blue has written “the” definitive book on bicycle planning that clearly identifies the societal, physical, environmental, and economic benefits of bicycling, while also completely debunking the myths, fables, urban legends, half-truths, and outright lies spread by naysayers and automotive apologists.
Facts are funny things. They tend …

Architecture, Economic Development, Editorial, Featured, Good Ideas, Real Estate, The Environment, Urban Planning »

[13 Dec 2013 | No Comment | ]
Does your community suffer from power pole blight?

I don’t know about your community, but here in Greater Lansing there seems to be an intense love affair between public utilities and power poles. “Holy pincushions, Batman, you’d think they’d all been raised by a family of porcupine.”
In some places, the primary roadway corridors look like a long, linear parade of power pole blight.  Sadly, all too often this leaves communities in the region with disjointed and unpleasant streetscape aesthetics to overcome. I know Greater lansing is not alone, as I have seen power pole blight across many parts …

Architecture, Art, Brain Drain, Economic Development, Editorial, Education, Featured, Good Ideas, Green Jobs, Public Transportation, Sprawl, The Environment, Urban Planning »

[29 Oct 2013 | No Comment | ]
Ten Lessons from Boulder, Colorado

 
I had the great pleasure of visiting Boulder, Colorado for the first time over an extended weekend. As an urban planner, I was able to take away many useful lessons for Rust Belt communities from the lovely city abutting the Front Range. Granted, not every place can be set aside majestic mountains, but every community does have unique attributes.
Here are what I would quantify as the top ten. Many of these are remarkably similar to the ten lessons from European industrial cities published earlier this month.

Cherish, protect, enhance, and enjoy …

Economic Development, Featured, Good Ideas, Real Estate, The Environment »

[5 Sep 2013 | One Comment | ]
On the Waterfront: The Possible Future of Youngstown’s Riverfront

For many legacy cities in the former Industrial Heartland of America, waterfronts were never much more than alien spaces. Cargo shipping, steel mills, chemical companies, and other industrial concerns ruled rivers and lakefronts. Manufacturing enterprises even rendered waterways into toxic dumping grounds in the decades before the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Water Act. This is especially true of the former steel city of Youngstown, Ohio.

For most of the twentieth century, miles of massive steel mills covered both banks of the Mahoning River, which snakes through the city of Youngstown.

Book Review, Brain Drain, Economic Development, Featured, Great Lakes, Headline, Labor, Politics, Race Relations, The Environment, U.S. Auto Industry, Urban Planning, Urban Poverty »

[3 Jun 2013 | No Comment | ]
A literary triumph – “Nothing But Blue Skies” by Edward McClelland

It is difficult to describe how truly outstanding the book entitled Nothing But Blue Skies: The Heyday, Hard Times, and Hopes of America’s Industrial Heartland is to read. As a nearly lifelong Rust Belt resident, I can attest to the fact that Edward McClelland’s newly released book simply nails our industrial heritage, decline, and hopeful potential squarely on the head. From nationally known politicians like Dennis Kucinich or Coleman Young to the everyday blue-collar laborer toiling in our mills and factories, Mr. McClelland personifies the Rust Belt like no other book I have ever read on the subject. As a Lansing native, he has personally witnessed the dramatic (and sometimes catastrophic) changes just in his lifetime. In Nothing But Blue Skies, Mr. McClelland takes the reader on a quasi-chronological step-by-step sequence of events that shook the Rust Belt down it its very core.

Architecture, Art, Economic Development, Featured, Good Ideas, Public Transportation, Real Estate, The Environment, Urban Farming, Urban Planning »

[20 May 2013 | No Comment | ]
Repurposing “streets with no name”

In a number of cities, there are certain derelict streets that are nearly denuded of dwellings or businesses. Desolate and forlorn, these streets resemble something out of a post war apocalypse. Detroit may be the poster child du jour of such stark and sad emptiness, but there are many other examples across the Rust Belt and elsewhere. What to do with neglected streets has long been a source of planning discussion and conjecture.  In some instances entire abandoned neighborhoods have or are being converted to urban agriculture or community gardens.  …

Economic Development, Headline, The Environment »

[15 May 2013 | No Comment | ]
In Youngstown, Shale Frenzy Nudges Out Other Important Issues

This post originally appeared in The News Outlet.

It’s a Saturday morning and I’m picking up trash in downtown Youngstown.

Lo and behold, what blows down W. Federal Street, landing at my picker? A newspaper called ‘Shale Play’ which covers Northeast Ohio shale activity exclusively.

Wondering where this came from – and assuming it was somewhere downtown – I walked to the post office where most of the local and regional newspapers bins are located.

Brain Drain, Economic Development, Editorial, Great Lakes, Headline, Politics, Real Estate, The Environment, U.S. Auto Industry, Urban Planning »

[24 Apr 2013 | No Comment | ]
Economic development soul-searching

The title of this post may be a bit controversial, but can also be sadly true. Far too often, it seems a blind eye is turned toward the sins of the past just to generate new economic investment. A perfect example is portrayed in the past week’s (April 17th edition) of City Pulse by an article entitled “A Tax Break Won’t Change This.” While tax breaks are being offered to GM for additional investment in Greater Lansing, a ginormous vacant parking lot blights the near south side of the city, not to mention additional deteriorated sites along Saginaw Highway on the west side of town.

Brain Drain, Education, Green Jobs, The Environment, Urban Planning »

[1 Mar 2013 | No Comment | ]

 
 
 
 
 
 
Published annually by Fourth Economy Consulting of Pittsburgh, the Fourth Economy Index identifies those counties that are “ideally positioned to attract modern investment and managed economic growth.” The index is broken down into micro (<25,000 population) small (25,000-49,999), mid-sized (50,000-149,999), and large (150,000-499,999) counties based on population.  The following five metrics are utilized as foundations for determining future economic success:
·         Investment
·         Talent
·         Sustainability
·         Place
·         Diversity
 
 
 
 
 
Below is a list of the Top 10 large counties as determined by the Fourth Economy Index – six of which are Rust Belt counties (shown …