Some of you will recall that when I took over as CEO of the Center for Neighborhood Technology this Fall, I noted that our team was expecting a Cubs World Series victory this year. Now that we’ve achieved that historic goal in Chicago, reaching our other organizational strategic goals are taking center-stage. We feel inspired by what this city can accomplish, when we put our hearts and minds to something.
At CNT, our mission for 38 years has been to ensure urban economic development happens in a way that is intelligent, equitable, and sustainable. We want to make sure that when cities plan for energy, water and transportation system upgrades and changes and develop the built environment, that they are thinking about impacts on the broader ecosystem and working to mitigate any unintended consequences. Climate resilience has also been a long-standing priority for CNT, decades before the rest of the world caught up to the fact that a warming planet would endanger all of us, the planet at large and our infrastructure systems.
The way CNT stays ahead in these discussions and serves as a guiding force on related policy and community planning discussions is by honing our ability to collect and utilize big data and information. Once again, CNT was working with big data before it was a big thing. Today, our Urban Analytics team, led by Linda Young, is a triple-platinum-rated organization that continually wins awards for its ability to leverage systems thinking and sophisticated technology to evaluate both current and future states of urban “well-being” and infrastructure development.
Last week, for instance, Planetizen recognized CNT’s AllTransit Database as one of the “Top Websites of 2016” for planning, land use, and urban design. AllTransit is the largest source of transit connectivity, access, and frequency data in the United States. This is what Planetizen had to say about it: “Similar to WalkScore and ParkScore, users enter a location and AllTransit provides a score. The Planetizen office, located in Los Angeles above a Metro Purple Line stop and a high frequency rapid bus line, scores a 9.8. AllTransit informs us that our office has access to 9,363 transit trips per week within a half-mile, 17 transit routes within a half-mile, and 982,791 jobs within a half-hour transit trip. The AllTransit interface also produces a map of our transit shed and a ‘Comparison Snapshot’ that shows just how much more transit access is available in our location compared to, for example, the rest of the country (a 3.1 AllTransit score), the rest of Los Angeles (an 8 AllTransit score), and the rest of the jurisdiction of the Southern California Association of Governments (a 5.7 AllTransit score). Thus, AllTransit reveals the details of a well-designed, well-operated transit system.”
CNT’s Urban Analytics team has developed similarly well-designed and usable Indexes, Websites and Databases in recent years on Housing & Transportation, Housing Affordability, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and more. We recently completed our third right sized parking web tool for the District of Columbia Department of Transportation, and won a Transportation Research Board 2016 Best Paper Award for Transportation and Land Use for the related article co-authored by CNT Chief Research Scientist Peter Haas. The goal is to consistently leverage a wide swath of existing data in a way that presents a systemic view of issues that can inform a range of audiences, from impacted citizens to policy officials and city planners working in these domains, to other industrial professionals and entrepreneurs. We grasp the “big picture” on infrastructure systems and how they impact peoples’ lives, and we want others to have that same level of access and understanding.
In 2017, CNT will be updating its equitable transit oriented development (eTOD) Social Impact Calculator, which measures the social impact of housing near transit, as well as releasing groundbreaking new tools to help homeowners and communities address increased stormwater and urban flooding.
As always, we appreciate your support and engagement with CNT. We are in growth-mode moving into 2017, expanding our energy, transportation and water work, in particular, and looking for ways to increasingly integrate our Urban Analytics tools into these practice areas. If you are interested in working with us or joining our Young Innovators group, please contact Paul Cusimano at firstname.lastname@example.org