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Category Archives: Reporting

After three long months of planning, a red-eye, video editing, and a little tweeting, my four-part post on the Center for Community Preservation and Planning is finally finished, online, and already starting to bounce around the Internet.

If you haven’t already heard, I happened to grow up in a small town in Georgia with uncharacteristically excellent long range land use planning. They weren’t always like that, and it didn’t happen over night. Lucky for me, it evolved over the exact same time that I went from working after school in a real estate office, through studying urban planning at MIT, to now.

So when the MIT Community Innovator’s Lab sent this tweet:

What else could I do?

The weekend after midterms, I hoped on a red-eye to ATL and interviewed about 13 people on a Friday and Monday. I spent Saturday and Sunday in the Center for Community Preservation with the director, Kay Lee, and driving around my hometown videotaping the things I loved and hated about it. I highly recommend it.

Now, all four blogs posts, all with video, are up on the MIT site.

Strategic Planning in Rural Georgia: An intro to the community, with both an incredibly proximity to Atlanta and a lot of rural charm.

Comprehensive Planning Classroom: How the community leverages students for cheap labor and fresh ideas.

What can public agencies gain from collaboration?: or “How the electeds came around.”

Planning for Growth in a Recession: The tastiest food for thought – now that the relentless development pressure has relented, how do you keep the planning pressure on? Will growth ever come back, and if it does, will it be the same? How do you plan for the unknown, while struggling to keep people at the table?

This is all fine and good, but then, via by Twitter:

WHAT? Kaid is the director of the Sustainable Communities at the Natural Resources Defense Council. His post is titled “A Rapidly Sprawling Community Tries to Save Itself”. The next day, his article was blogged on the Atlantic’s Cities. An excerpt:

Well that’s pretty exciting. I’ll spend another two weeks in Covington over the winter break, so and flying back in late January to support their annual Leadership Collaborative. This time, I know to bring a tripod.


I’m a serious grad student now (or a few days from it), but getting headlines on planning sites always make me happy.

Check it:

It’s alive!

For months, I’ve been trying to get someone in the City of Oakland to take the lead and create a parklet permit. To little avail. Finally, I got someone from the Public Works and Planning departments to say parklets are the other departments’ responsibility. I put the quotes in a draft article and sent the draft to both departments. Two hours later, they responded that a committee was being convened to create a cross-department process.


Of course, the real heros are Sal at Actual Cafe for funding his own parklet (and building most of it himself) and the excellent people in the City of Oakland, many who wanted to do this all along but needed the impetus to make it happen. Still, I look forward to doing my grad school homework in the parklet at Actual Cafe this fall.

I reported on this process in Streetsblog and Oakland Local. There are lots of pictures of the completed Actual Cafe parklet at the Bike Away From Work Party in Streetsblog and Oakland Local, too.

As a new staff reporter for Oakland Local, I’m still getting the hang of the equipment. Carrying around a camera (with a battery) isn’t natural, and I only have a pocket-sized camera. I don’t quite know how to use a microphone. Regardless, I’ve managed to luck out a few times.

My favorites from 2011Q1.