Flooding Hits Hardest in Chicago’s Communities of Color

This has been a wet summer. Thunderstorms, hail, and flash flooding have all hit Chicagoland lately. The Chicago Tribune recently reported that over the past decade, only coastal cities with hurricanes have received more federal aid for flooding. And according to the Third National Climate Assessment, heavy, sudden storms – the kind most likely to overwhelm our local sewers and create flooding – are predicted to worsen as a result of climate change. Flooding has severe impacts on health and... Read the rest of this entry »

 

Celebrating Summer, Sustainability, and 40 Years

By Deniz Whittier, CNT Young Innovators Building on past years’ success, the Young Innovators fifth annual summer fundraiser welcomed a diverse group of participants and experts. We had 40 guests attend a splendid afternoon with the weather on our side as we enjoyed locally- and ethically-sourced treats and insightful conversations. We kicked off the event with an overview of actions planned  by CNT stakeholders for improving current climate and transportation challenges. Special... Read the rest of this entry »

 

RainReady Robbins Resilience: Outlining a Roadmap to Community Success

CNT’s mission to make cities work for everyone is realized in small part through the buy-in and support of local communities we serve alongside. With collaboration and support from individuals in the RainReady Robbins Steering Committee, CNT recently published a report on the pricing of residential drinking water in Robbins, Illinois. The primarily African-American residents of this community pay a higher rate for water than 80% of all municipalities in the region. The Village of Robbins is... Read the rest of this entry »

 

Beyond the Bill – Reflections on Achieving Community Affordability

Toward the end of March, CNT presented at Flint’s 3rd annual Environmental Justice and Resiliency summit. The summit featured four days’ worth of panels, interactive sessions, and trainings on topics ranging from trauma-informed art therapy to creating a blue-green economy in Flint. CNT was pleased to share the stage with Amy Hovey of the C.S. Mott Foundation, Leah Wiste of Michigan Interfaith Power and Light, and the City of Flint’s former CFO Hughey Newsome and Water Superintendent Rob... Read the rest of this entry »

 

Leveraging Technology to Address Urban Issues

Last week, I had a chance to introduce the Center for Neighborhood Technology to two new groups of potential friends and partners. First, we were visited by a group of Google product managers from across the nation. Many of CNT’s online interactive tools are based on Google Maps, and our conversation quickly focused on how we use these tools to identify and address urban issues. We had innumerable questions for each other: how can we partner to better calculate local transportation-related... Read the rest of this entry »

 

Buffalo, NY: A Rust Belt City’s new approach to tackling lead in drinking water

  Buffalo’s aging infrastructure poses a lead problem. But a one-stop-shop model could unite previously siloed agencies toward a solution. Like many old industrial cities in the Great Lakes region, Buffalo, New York—located on the shores of Lake Erie—has a lead poisoning problem. Children in Erie County, many living within the City of Buffalo’s limits, test positive for lead poisoning at rates much higher than New York State average. Given Buffalo’s old housing stock—the city has... Read the rest of this entry »

 

We Met, We Shared, and Together We Innovate!

On Tuesday, December 4, CNT opened our offices to partners and friends both old and new. We rearranged our space to display our current work – see diagram below – and spent three nonstop hours describing it.  Around 150 people came through (we weren’t keeping close count), talked to our staff and board about our priorities and projects, and connected with other friends. Most commonly overhead conversation snippets at the open house: I really like that AllTransit tool. (Thanks,... Read the rest of this entry »

 

Welcoming CNT’s Managing Director for Urban Resilience

I’m thrilled to announced that CNT has hired a new Managing Director for Urban Resilience. First, about the position: This is a new title that reflects our future direction as an organization. The Managing Director will oversee CNT’s water program – including RainReady, the Great Lakes Water Infrastructure project, and related efforts – and will tie our water work closely to other urban systems. To effectively address environmental justice and the threats caused by climate change, we need to... Read the rest of this entry »

 

Preserving Affordability of Water Services in Great Lakes Cities

In 1960, Gary, IN was a town of 178,000 residents with a strong economy and a water and sewer system to match. Today, Gary’s 78,000 residents are struggling with aging, oversized systems while facing a 36% poverty rate and a median income of $29,000. Gary’s Sanitary District has worked to keep bills down to preserve the affordability of wastewater services, but this has meant delaying necessary investments and reactively managing infrastructure failures that compromise water quality, cause... Read the rest of this entry »

 

Planning for Scaling Up RainReady With IBM's Corporate Service Corps + Earthwatch Institute

As the new CEO of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, a top priority is finding new partnerships. But I didn’t expect that one would emerge in my first week on the job. Through an opportunity made available through the Earthwatch Institute and IBM, CNT is part of a cohort of four nonprofits – also including the Alliance for the Great Lakes, Openlands, and Teach for America – that received pro bono assistance from IBM’s Corporate Service Corps. Over the past month, IBM’s management... Read the rest of this entry »

 

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