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Here are three projects which demonstrate architecture's power to build and sustain communities

A decade after the global economic collapse, urban development is booming.

This is good news for architects. Indeed, 2018 promises to be a favorable year for the profession: a spectacular array of sleek museums, posh hotels and some of the world’s tallest towers are slated for completion.

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Women Cracked Wartime Codes. They Can Fix Tech Today, Too.

Before she died in 2016 at age 94, Ann Caracristi, the first female deputy director of the National Security Agency, liked to reminisce about the absurd stereotypes that women had to contend with back when she entered public service during World War II. Chief among these — she found it somewhat amusing — was the notion that women are not as intellectually gifted as men.

Genius is a male trait, it was widely believed in the 1940s. The thinking went that men are the brilliant sex, while women are better suited for tedious tasks requiring humble virtues like patience and focus. Typing, for example. Or filing. Or — in the case of Caracristi, whom I interviewed for a book on female code breakers — sorting and categorizing. In 1942, newly graduated from Russell Sage College, Caracristi was recruited to work in the stuffy attic of a former girls’ school in the Washington area that had been converted to a secret military code-breaking office. The staff, many of them young women like her, sorted reams of intercepted Japanese messages and pioneered new techniques.

Caracristi’s own brilliance soon announced itself: She and her female boss, a schoolteacher from West Virginia, broke a code that enabled the American military to pinpoint the location of Japanese troops. Caracristi would rise to become one of the most storied women in the National Security Agency.

More than 70 years after that war ended, it is astonishing to see doubts re-emerge about women’s ability to do high-level intellectual work. Far from being put to rest, old prejudice has found new expression in naysayers like James Damore, the Google engineer, now fired, who suggested in an infamous memo that women are shut out of top jobs in Silicon Valley because they are not “biologically” suited to the brain work of tech.

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3 Ways Cities in the Same Metro Area Can Benefit from Working Together

Who cares about Arlington, Va.?

Or rather, the question for Intelligent Community Forum Co-founder Robert Bell was something like: How can we make people care enough about Arlington to make them want to locate a business there, when Washington, D.C., is just one river away?
It’s a common problem for a city official trying his or her hand at economic development for a community that exists in the shadow of a much larger city. These places are often bedroom communities — a place to live, not a place to work. So why would a business choose to locate there when there's an urban core so close by?

Bell had a thought for Arlington, and all the cities like it: Perhaps the proximity to a big city could be a strength instead of a weakness.

“There’s a much bigger picture when you sell, and you can work with your competitors, if you will,” Bell said on June 15 at the 2016 Intelligent Community Forum Summit in Columbus, Ohio.

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Richardson Launches Initiatives To Increase Participation In Local Economy

Vice Mayor and Ninth District Councilman Rex Richardson pushed a series of initiatives through the City Council Tuesday night, including an effort to bring micro-loans here.

Richardson announced the plans, calling it Everyone In, last week at a press conference. Richardson said the proposals come largely from the Blueprint for Economic Development released in April. One of the focuses in that report was economic inclusion.
"Economic inclusion means that every Long Beach resident has pathways of opportunity to fully participate in the economic life of our city as employers, entrepreneurs, consumers and citizens," Richardson wrote in a release. 

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Bankole: Dan Gilbert lays out 'inclusive' vision for Detroit

For those who say more needs to be done to include the many city residents who feel left behind by downtown Detroit’s renaissance, Dan Gilbert has a message.

He agrees.

“The city is one organism. If the neighborhoods don’t do well, downtown won’t do well,” the billionaire investor and founder of Quicken Loans and Rock Ventures said in a recent interview. “The reverse could be true. It’s not true right now. They’ve both got to work together because they both feed off each other.”

Gilbert, who owns more than 100 buildings downtown and has been a driving force in the current revival of downtown, sat down for a 40-minute interview in his Detroit office that touched on inclusion, poverty and other challenges facing Detroit’s comeback. And though the interview preceded Tuesday’s re-election of Mike Duggan as mayor, the developer sounded every bit the public/economic policy guru.

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These D.C. Nonprofits Are Creating a One-Stop Shop for Minority Entrepreneurship Resources

When the teams at humble impactChanging Perceptions and DC Community Carrot took stock of their individual resources and course offerings, they were struck by how similar they all were.

Each one helped the non-traditional entrepreneur get their business off the ground. Instead of competing with one another, the three decided to combine forces for a new initiative called EmpowerME, or Empower More Entrepreneurs, announced today.

“When we looked at the content we use to instruct participants in our three programs, we were struck by how similar our instruction is,” Harry Alford, CEO of humble impact, said in a release. “EmpowerME marks our commitment to expand the scope of our combined program offerings in ways that reduce costs while supporting the needs of Opportunity Youth, returning citizens, and people of color who seek to become the successful business owners they deserve to be.”

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Sioux Falls, South Dakota aims to improve neighborhood services with the help of open data

The City of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, wants to make it easier for residents to see and understand what’s happening in their city. A new open data policy, a major component of that work, is now open for public comment.

In July 2017, Sioux Falls applied for and was selected to join What Works Cities, with the goal of improving open data practices to make public information more accessible and to engage residents around government priorities and services. The first area of municipal government to undergo the work was neighborhood services, including code enforcement. Housing has always been a focus at the city but a changing demography is making innovative problem-solving a more pressing need.

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Detroit’s neighborhoods full of opportunities for black developers

Neighborhood development just might be the next great frontier for Detroit’s development boom, offering considerable opportunity for African-American developers, construction workers and other related trade workers. Much more opportunity than they ever got downtown.

With so much focus now on Detroit’s neighborhoods — largely as a response to unyielding criticism that the neighborhoods appeared to be slipping into an afterthought compared to the excitement generated surrounding the golden 7.2 square miles of downtown and Midtown — it’s not surprising that last Saturday’s ARISE Detroit! Eighth Annual Neighborhoods Conference, held at Wayne County Community College downtown campus, drew such a large attendance. In addition to the community workshops, the primary focus this year was on the critical importance of neighborhood development, what it means for Detroit’s future, and what it means for African-American economic inclusion in the revitalization of this city.

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A tool for growth that benefits everyone

Metro areas around the nation look to Nashville as a model of economic development done well. Its output grew by nearly 25 percent from 2010 to 2015, transforming its downtown and bringing with it an unprecedented boom in high-wage jobs in the professional-services and health-care industries. Yet over the same period, earnings for the average worker fell by nearly 2 percent -- an even greater decrease than the national average. Half of the region's families still make less than the $50,000 a year required to be self-sufficient. Different versions of this story are playing out in every region, from transitioning industrial centers like Indianapolis to knowledge capitals like San Diego. Bridging these growing gaps by making economic growth more inclusive is the defining economic and social challenge facing cities. Yet despite being the most influential voices and agenda-setters on economic issues in many regions, regional economic development organizations (EDOs) have generally avoided wading into this issue.

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MIT Inclusive Innovation Awards stress optimism

Digital technologies have helped create immense wealth and societal progress, but not everyone has shared in that prosperity.
The MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy created the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge to highlight and support businesses and nonprofits that use technology to improve economic opportunities for people with low- and mid-level incomes. The winners of the second annual challenge, who will split more than $1 million in prize money, were announced Thursday evening at an event held at Boston’s City Hall Plaza during the HUBweek festival. Read more.

Small European nation becomes a “living lab” for urban innovation researchers

When you think of innovation hubs around the world, Andorra, a tiny country tucked between Spain and France, may not come to mind. But, for several years, the 180-square-mile nation of 77,000 people has served as a “living lab” for researchers from MIT Media Lab’s City Science Initiative to prototype, deploy, and test urban innovation. Read more.

AOL's Steve Case says 'smart cities' are the next big thing

AOL co-founder and former CEO Steve Case told FOX Business on Wednesday the next big opportunity is in the third wave of the internet. “The third wave is now happening. It’s really integrating the internet in seamless ways throughout health care and energy, food, agriculture, transportation [and] smart cities,” Case told Maria Bartiromo on “Mornings with Maria.” In his opinion, “we are kind of peak Silicon Valley,” and despite “some tough big brother privacy issues surrounded around cyber terrorism bringing down some of these smart cities,” a more inclusive innovation economy will begin to emerge. Read more.

U of T research looks at link between innovation and economic segregation of U.S. urban areas

A new study co-authored by the University of Toronto’s Ruben Gaetani suggests that innovation is leading to the economic segregation of urban areas in the United States. The study by Gaetani, an assistant professor in the department of management at U of T Mississauga, and Enrico Berkes of Northwestern University, has a baseline finding “as remarkable as it is disturbing,” writes University Professor Richard Florida of U of T in an article for CityLab, the website he co-founded. Read more.


Helping African-American developers rebuild Detroit

A new $5 million program offered by Capital Impact Partners will provide financing and training opportunities for African American real estate developers in Detroit grow their businesses. JPMorgan Chase is investing $500,000 into The Equitable Development Initiative in an effort to increase the number of minority developers in Detroit. The two-year pilot program is part of a larger movement to encourage small, minority-owned business to work on larger products and be successfully while doing it. According to Black Enterprise, the program allows black developers to be a major part of Detroit's economic recovery. Read more.


Two words are missing from the economic development conversation

People were investing in their communities long before government intervened with its own notions of what “good economic development” looks like. Yet today, when we talk about models for strengthening the financial health of U.S. cities, we mostly talk about large infrastructural projects that expand the tax base. We talk about major capital investment, but little about investment in a city’s people. It’s time to change the collective understanding of what we call “economic development.” It’s time to permanently attach the words “inclusive” and “equitable” to the very framework of economic development. Read more.
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