Thinking Beyond Costs, Water Systems Innovation

Over and over again we hear that infrastructure in the U.S. has a terrible report card and millions, billions, even trillions of dollars are needed to fix it. Discussed less, however, are the benefits of investing, in particular to upgrade infrastructure beyond the replacement of 100-year-old pipes. We also don’t hear about the high costs of pursuing business as usual—what are we losing by continuing to do things the same way, rather than adapting to changing local needs with systems... Read the rest of this entry »

No Longer Too Cheap to Meter: Water Infrastructure, Equity, and Affordability

The cost of living has been rising across the U.S. even as incomes stagnate. While increases in big ticket items like housing and health insurance make the news, growing water bills have gained less attention. Water was relatively inexpensive for so long that many communities only began to meter usage in recent years. But costs are on the rise and without some proactive solutions the situation is only going to get worse. In municipalities with growing populations or service areas,... Read the rest of this entry »

NAS Shines Spotlight on CNT's RainReady

This month, CNT was thrilled to provide its expertise on the topic of urban flooding and highlight its multi-partner work in Chatham and the Village of Midlothian to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) as it explores the issue of urban flooding nationwide.  Founded in 1863, NAS has served as a private, nonprofit organization providing leading research and guidance on issues of science and technology on a national level. The organization brings together experts from diverse fields to... Read the rest of this entry »

Industrial EcoDistricts Present Major Opportunity as Manufacturing Returns to Urban Communities

There are over 950,000 more manufacturing jobs in the U.S. today than in 2010. This resurgence presents a major opportunity for communities. As a segment of manufacturers turns away from the inefficiencies of sprawling suburban industrial parks and re-onshores production from overseas locations there is growing demand for urban locations. But cities that want to take advantage of manufacturing’s return need to be fully prepared. An EcoDistrict approach to industrial revitalization can help keep... Read the rest of this entry »

Withdrawing from Paris Agreement a Mistake

President Trump’s recent announcement that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change was a disappointing step backward for the nation on one of the greatest global challenges of our era.  The impacts of climate change are already happening today—we are seeing flooding communities, droughts, and an increasing frequency of so-called “100 year storms.” Turning a blind eye in the hopes of resurrecting an antiquated, outdated carbon-based economy is not going to make the... Read the rest of this entry »

It's Time to Rethink That Infrastructure Question

It will cost about $4.6 trillion to bring U.S. infrastructure to a state of good repair, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers Infrastructure Report Card released last week.  If by some miracle our civic leadership raised all that money and hired the engineering and construction firms to do the work, we'd end up with thousands of examples of state-of-the-art 1950s investments. Let's not do that. Instead, let's acknowledge the costs of outdated approaches that wasted... Read the rest of this entry »

Transportation Lockbox Constitutional Amendment

That old adage about things looking too good to be true applies to the Transportation Lockbox Constitutional Amendment. At first glance, the opportunity to assure more transportation funds to repair Illinois’ crumbling infrastructure was just that! Closer examination reveals a number of deficiencies. Ordinarily constitutional amendments emerge out of a broad civic discussion where their impacts can be evaluated from many perspectives and the wording revised to achieve the intended objective... Read the rest of this entry »

New economic development framework shows how cities can reduce poverty by 25 percent with smarter investments

CNT is excited to release our Urban Opportunity Agenda today. This new framework for economic development turns the traditional job creation model on its head, generating economic growth from the ground up by systemically reducing the cost of living and doing business in a place. In communities across the country, high poverty rates, stagnant wages, and the rising cost of living are dragging down local economies. In contrast, new efficiencies and targeted investments can provide a win-win,... Read the rest of this entry »

You Did it! FEMA to Study Urban Flooding

We have some incredible news! Thanks to your efforts, and the leadership of Representative Mike Quigley and Senator Dick Durbin, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been asked to conduct a national study of urban flooding. The Congressional directive is included in an appropriations bill signed by President Obama, and specifically requires FEMA “to evaluate the latest available research, laws, regulations, policies, best practices, procedures, and institutional knowledge... Read the rest of this entry »

Why Keeping the Promise Will Be a Game Changer for Building an Equitable Chicago

Many of Chicago’s most desirable neighborhoods are anchored by CTA stations, which has pushed rents sky high. But we need to stop and think – should access to the CTA only be available to those who can afford high rents? Doesn’t it hurt our entire city when resource-strapped households are hit with the double whammy of unaffordable rents and costly auto ownership? We support the proposed Keeping the Promise ordinance, designed to reform the Chicago Housing Authority, because we believe that... Read the rest of this entry »