Author Archives: urbandemos

Keeping Cities Strong: A Mayoral Forum with the Presidential Campaigns on Transportation, Water & Energy

From our friends at NYU Wagner:

Date: 10/13/2016
Time: 12:00pm – 1:30pm
Location: SVA Theatre, 333 West 23 Street, New York NY 10011

Join NYU Wagner and the U.S. Conference of Mayors for a discussion with the presidential campaigns on why infrastructure is key to both economic security and public safety.

In their “2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure,” The American Society of Civil Engineers states that “Every family, every community, and every business needs infrastructure to thrive. Infrastructure encompasses your local water main and the Hoover Dam; the power lines connected to your house and the electrical grid spanning the U.S.; and the street in front of your home and the national highway system.” A strong and safe infrastructure is critical to support healthy and vibrant cities. Yet, many of our roads, bridges, water, and sewer systems in the U.S. are in serious disrepair. As infrastructure across the country continues to age and deteriorate, and as we become increasingly reliant on energy, cities are struggling to afford basic maintenance, much-needed upgrades, and new projects. It is imperative that the next President address these issues.

Surrogates representing both the Trump and Clinton campaigns will present their candidates’ views on infrastructure. Distinguished mayors from cities across the country will then question and discuss the candidates’ positions.

Read more at NYU Wagner

Just Utilities: Organizing for Solutions to the Household Energy Crisis

JustUtilsCoverThe grassroots community organization Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson has published an excellent report in connection with their fight for affordable, sustainable, and just utility rates and energy policies in the Poughkeepsie, NY area:

“Energy utility affordability is a widespread and severe national crisis for low-income people of color. It is a strategic, yet currently neglected, organizing issue for building power to win racial, environmental, and economic justice.

Drawing from their experience developing a cutting-edge Utilities Justice campaign, the leaders of Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson – Homes For All campaign partners and core members of the Right To The City Alliance – share their organizing model, advance replicable policy solutions and document the extent of the local, statewide and national energy utility crisis.”

Download the full report for free from the Homes For All national campaign.

Why Cities and Universities Need a New Kind of Dialogue

From a recent article by Diana Graizbord, Jamie McPike, and Nicole Pollock:

“This year the City of Providence Department of Innovation collaborated with Brown University on the Providence Business Engagement Initiative. To kick off the Initiative, students in an applied policy research course utilized City licensing data, open meetings records, and census data to identify neighborhood business clusters and determine an appropriate outreach and engagement methodology. Three student groups then collected the stories of over 50 small business owners, community leaders, and city officials. These stories were used by Department of Innovation to inform changes in the City’s business licensing process and to enhance the City’s Start Up in a Day program. The success of this partnership would not have been possible without ongoing, iterative dialogue that allowed both partners to reevaluate and renegotiate project plans and goals, manage expectations, and ensure that project deliverables were relevant and useful. . . .

What we found was that both partners had specific goals and priorities, but both were open to adapting and changing these as the project evolved. By focusing first on establishing a dialogue rather than a set of binding terms, the partnership became more nimble, able to shift and move in new directions as new ideas arose. This flexible style of collaboration required a foundation of mutual trust; the dialogue that we established early on helped the partnership to withstand the uncertainty and challenges that emerge in a project committed to innovation. . . .”

Read the full article at The Huffington Post.

Introducing our Summer Blogger: Ayesha Sharma

Ayesha Sharma, a rising Junior at Bates College, has joined the Urban Democracy Lab staff as our summer blogger.  Watch out for her dispatches from New York City in the coming weeks.  Ayesha describes herself as follows:

“I’m a second generation Indian-American studying Anthropology and Gender Studies at Bates College. I’m most intellectually and emotionally driven by inequality affecting a variety of humans and non-humans. While difficult to name a few, some of the impacts of broad and problematic systems which trouble and motivate me are emotional violence, and the loss and robbery of personal identity through forced assimilation. I use they/them and she/her pronouns. ”

Welcome, Ayesha!


Book Talk — Dreams Deported: Immigrant Youth and Families Resist Deportation

DreamsDeported160513From our friends at 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers:

Join us for a panel discussion of the immigrant rights movement and the book Dreams Deported: Immigrant Youth and Families Resist Deportation, edited by Kent Wong and Nancy Guarneros. Dreams Deported: Immigrant Youth and Families Resist Deportation is a UCLA student publication featuring stories of deportation and of the courageous immigrant youth and families who have led the national campaign against deportations and successfully challenged the president of the United States to act.  Continue reading