Wednesday, October 29th, 2014
A recent CNN Money series showcased the most innovative cities in America. Chicago came in at #4, in part because “…[Chicago’s] Center for Neighborhood Technology has contributed to innovations on the local level, like car-sharing and energy efficiency in homes.” Wow. We’re honored! But wait, there’s more: CNT also had a hand in projects in Minneapolis and Cleveland, two more cities on the most innovative list.
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Tuesday, September 30th, 2014
Is there such thing as too much parking? For many Americans, the answer may be a quick “no.” But it’s actually not that simple.
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Monday, August 4th, 2014
Like food deserts, transit deserts have demonstrable demand but a dearth of supply. Those who live in transit deserts face restricted mobility and limited access to jobs and amenities.
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Friday, June 20th, 2014
Photo by Frederick Dennstedt/Flickr Creative Commons License
The State of California will devote billions of dollars in new cap-and-trade revenue to fund projects intended to further curb climate impacts. In addition to investments in high-speed rail and public transit, millions of dollars will support affordable transit-oriented development (TOD). CNT research helped make the case that building affordable housing near transit can significantly reduce GHG from auto emissions.
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Monday, March 31st, 2014
Statement from Kathryn Tholin, CEO
Today, I joined my fourteen fellow members of the Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force in unanimously approving and delivering to Governor Quinn a series of recommendations to improve our regional transit system.
Our report details a mixed history of advances and missed opportunities, of good intentions and poor executions, of leadership and mismanagement. However, the most important takeaways from the Task Force report are not things that happened in the past, or the current state of the transit system. We must learn from history and understand our present situation, yes, but our focus should be on how we can take what we know and use it to shape the future of transit in our region.
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Monday, March 17th, 2014
Members of CNT’s stormwater team with the IAFSM award
On March 13, CNT received the 2014 Public Awareness and Outreach Award from the Illinois Association for Floodplain and Stormwater Management (IAFSM). The unanimous decision by the awards committee was based upon CNT’s “outstanding research, publication of The Prevalence and Cost of Urban Flooding, media coverage of that report, and the Gross Gathering events which were held in the Chicago area last year.”
The award was presented at the IAFSM annual conference in Rosemont, IL. Harriet Festing, CNT Water Program Director, and Hal Sprague, CNT Water Policy Manager, received the award.
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Monday, February 24th, 2014
Photo by Jay Kleeman/Flickr Creative Commons License
Communities across the country are suffering the repetitive and often chronic impacts of urban flooding. Many are struggling to respond to the real-time needs of residents who simply want the flooding to stop.
For a municipality, the default response is to upgrade storm sewer storage infrastructure. While this can expand capacity, it can be extremely expensive, take many years to complete, and may be ill-designed to tackle the kind of localized flooding that gets into people’s homes, basements, and backyards.
The Village of Winnetka, IL (one of Chicago’s near-north suburbs), where approximately one in four properties are affected by flooding, is grappling with such a decision right now.
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Monday, January 13th, 2014
December 1913 map of the railroads in Chicago.
Some of his ideas drove the regional economy, some drove prosperity away
Nearly a hundred years ago, Carl Sandburg dubbed Chicago the “City of Big Shoulders.” In the same 1914 poem, he also identified the city as a “Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler.” Daniel Burnham recognized this, too. His Plan of Chicago called for investment in rail infrastructure, leading business leaders and governments to plat towns around the tangled web of train lines that converge in northeastern Illinois. Over time, those communities grew and prospered.
Throughout the last 60 years, however, a combination of relatively cheap fuel and massive investment in highways literally drove us away from these compact, rail- and transit-served communities. Sprawl severed the connections between transportation, land use, and economic growth. Suburban communities outmaneuvered each other to snag fleeting retail centers. Jobs and people scattered, each getting farther away from the nation’s second-largest train system.
For this, oddly enough, blame Burnham.
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Tuesday, December 17th, 2013
CNT celebrated a milestone in 2013: 35 years of solutions for sustainable cities. Here are just a few of our 35 contributions from our 35th year:
- Location Affordability: Helped the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) develop the new Location Affordability Portal, advancing awareness of the combined costs of housing and transportation.
- Location Efficiency: Collaborated with King County Metro Transit to develop the Right Size Parking Calculator, an online tool that allows decision makers to estimate the true need for parking in multi-family residential buildings and reduce overbuilding of parking in location-efficient areas.
- Urban Flooding: Published The Prevalence and Cost of Urban Flooding, a revolutionary analysis of insurance claims data from flood damage in Cook County. Press coverage locally in a front-page story in the Chicago Tribune, nationally by Atlantic Cities and others.
- Community Organizing: Hosted three Gross Gathering events throughout Chicago, and created a corresponding online forum, to give urban flooding victims the opportunity to share their stories and connect with resources that can help keep their basements and backyards dry.
- Housing Near Transit: Released The New Real Estate Mantra: Location Near Public Transportation, written by CNT and commissioned by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), which found that residential real estate sales prices for properties located near transit are healthier and more resilient than in the broader metropolitan region. Press coverage locally on WBEZ and in cities nationwide.
- Transit Leadership: Lent our voice to improve the governance of Chicago’s regional transit system through CEO Kathryn Tholin’s appointment to the Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force.
Check out the full list of highlights, and consider making a donation today to sustain our work into 2014 and beyond.
Friday, November 22nd, 2013
Several excellent books on urbanism and sustainability hit the shelves in 2013. Many of these new titles feature examples of CNT’s research and thinking.
Leigh Gallagher’s The End of the Suburbs cites CNT’s work in location efficiency, including our Housing and Transportation (H+T®) Affordability Index and Location Efficient Mortgages (LEMs), particularly in the context of the housing crash, the degree to which it was centered in inconvenient suburbs, and how the high cost of transportation contributed to the inability of places and households to recover. Happy City, by Charles Montgomery, includes examples of community costs from the H+T Index, as well as a pair of maps we provided to show that the places in Atlanta with low CO2 emissions from transportation were also the places with low household transportation expenditures.
Our work is also mentioned in Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube’s Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, and in Jeff Speck’s Walkable City, where we are credited with developing a world-changing view due to our remapping of transportation-related GHG emissions from GHG/acre to GHG/household. Two of our former Board members, Sadhu Aufochs Johnston and Julia Parzen—along with Steven S. Nicholas—recently released The Guide to Greening Cities. And, there are at least two more books coming out for which we supplied maps and other data. Looks like our holiday gift list is set.