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Focus Archive - April 2011

Please note that Focus section links were valid at the time of their original posting. However, since Web sites and addresses change frequently, we cannot guarantee that all links will remain operative.

Libraries Can Lead in the Digital Age (April 27)
Some American cities have been building new landmark library buildings. But there’s been little thought and debate about what goes on inside. More from Citiwire.

Cities Versus Suburbs is the Wrong Debate (April 27)
The issue is where are walkable urban places being built, and they are being built in both central cities and the suburbs surrounding them. More from The New Republic.

Seniors and the City (April 27)
Most experts agree little is being done to make cities more age-friendly, but some cities are taking steps. More from Governing.

The Right Price for Parking (April 27)
This video from Streetfilms looks into parking and explores why underpriced parking can be bad for cities. More from StreetFilms.

Guide to Help Local Governments Plan for Energy Emergencies (April 27)
To help local officials plan for and respond to incidents and emergencies that result in energy outages, Public Technology Institute (PTI) has released Local Government Energy Assurance Guidelines Version 2.0.

Surveillance Cameras in Parks Assist Police, Concern Others (April 27)
Park goers might expect to see the eyes of owls and squirrels while walking through public parks; what they may not expect to see are surveillance cameras looking at them as well. More from Government Technology.

The Rise of the Recall Election (April 27)
Angry voters are increasingly using recall elections to remove local leaders. More from Governing.

White House Unveils New Intergovernmental Approach to National Preparedness (April 27)
The Obama Administration recently released a policy directive that outlines an all-hazards approach to homeland security based on federal, state and local government coordination, along with private sector and citizen participation in preparedness. More from Nation's Cities Weekly.

Peak Oil and Climate Change (April 27)
A new report from the Post Carbon Institute, Local Government in a Time of Peak Oil and Climate Change, outlines action that local government can take to prepare for and address the challenges that peak oil and climate change will bring to local communities.

In Praise of the Urban Sandbox (April 27)
Computer games aren't just games anymore, they're learning experiences. More from Planning.

Who do You Trust? (April 20)
How do you feel about the media and government? Do you trust your elected officials to be open and transparent about decisions? Join City Club, Seattle, on Friday, April 22, 2011 at 12:15 pm for a lunchtime forum and discover who your neighbors and community members trust.

The New American Dream: Denser, Smaller, Closer, But Still Private (April 20)
Americans are dreaming new dreams and making new choices, when it comes to choosing where and how they want to live. More from The Atlantic.

The 10 Best U.S. Cities for Public Transit (April 20)
Here’s a list of the 10 Best U.S. Cities for public transportation from U.S. News & World Report a magazine famous for their college rankings. Also listed are the three worthy runners up. More from Shareable.

Web Sightings - Emergency Services (April 20)
The recent earthquake and devastating tsunami in Japan have heightened awareness of the need for emergency preparedness. April is Washington State Disaster Preparedness Month, and this month we’ve selected some resources on emergency services and disaster planning.

MRSC Subject Pages

Several MRSC pages bring together important information on emergency management, communication services, and disaster planning:

Federal Resources

Washington State Resources

Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Needs (April 20)
A new report from the Transportation Research Board, A Guide for Assessing Community Emergency Response Needs and Capabilities for Hazardous Materials Releases, provides step-by-step guidance on assessing hazardous materials emergency response needs at the state, regional, and local levels.

Open Gov West 2011 (April 20)
Open Gov West (OGW) is a two day conference designed to help governments, technologists, and civic sector organizations explore open government and gov 2.0 topics.

Bicycle Cities (April 20)
Biking is receiving new attention in the United States as a way to reduce commuter trips by car in urban centers. More from Urban Land.

A Best Practices Guide to Information Security (April 20)
A report from the IBM Center for the Business of Government, A Best Practices Guide to Information Security, can be used to evaluate an established program, or to set up a new one.

New Toolkit to Help Cities Connect Residents to Financial Mainstream (April 20)
A new NLC toolkit, “Bank On Cities: Connecting Residents to the Financial Mainstream,” provides municipal leaders with a step-by-step guide for launching “Bank On” initiatives that help working families avoid high-cost check cashing and other fringe financial services. More from Nation's Cities Weekly.

Places that Work: Holland’s Sidewalks (April 20)
Holland, MI, has added a new amenity to its kind and gentle downtown: A gas-powered hearth rises up from the sidewalk near the corner of 8th Street. More from Metropolis.

Cities Use Brownfields to Go Solar (April 20)
New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia increasingly view their contaminated inner-city brownfield sites as natural locations for large-scale solar installations. More from Sustainable Cities Collective.

Pipeline Planning Mini Grants (April 14)
Cities and counties in Washington that have transmission pipelines within their jurisdiction (or in the city UGA) are encouraged to consider applying for available $3,000 grants to cover part of the costs of drafting and adopting ordinances/regulations that promote pipeline safety. These funds are exclusively for local governments in Washington, and the application process is not complicated.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Making a Paperless City Council (April 13)
Sacramento, Calif., has joined the growing number of cities whose council agenda materials are completely electronic. More from Government Technology.

The Rush to Build Walkable Urban Grocery Stores (April 13)
Downtowns and urban neighborhoods are seeing new grocery store development, with a revolution in store design, location in mixed-use projects, parking solutions, and role within neighborhoods. More from Urban Land.

The Power of No (April 13)
This is the time for state and local leaders to take a 'no new spending' pledge. More from Governing.

Five Keys to Successful Retail in a Transit-Oriented Development (April 13)
Fruitvale Village installs professional and community services in some ground-floor spaces, filling empty retail spots. More from N ew Urban Network.

Innovation's Hurdles (April 13)
When seeking to implement innovations that challenge cultural norms, the culture often pushes back with strong resistance by sending out "status quo" messages. More from Governing.

How Mountain View Revived its Downtown (April 13)
A short, step-by-step guide to revitalization of a town once known as a dormitory for high-tech workers. More from New Urban Network.

Prevent the Project to Nowhere (April 13)
A simple project planning document written before embarking on any public-sector undertaking can save a boatload of anguish down the road. More from Governing.

Law Enforcement’s Newest Weapon: Internet Scanning and Use of Social Media for In-Progress Crime (April 13)
Social media and smartphone technology are changing the way the world communicates and have become tools for law enforcement to do its job. More from The Police Chief.

Health Care Reform One Year Later: What to Expect (April 13)
One year after passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, many insurance reform provisions have gone into effect, including ones related to health benefits that counties provide to their employees. More from NACo's County News.

Multitasking Creates Mediocrity and Mistakes (April 13)
We humans think we are excellent multitaskers. In fact, however, we are simply delusional. More from Bob Behn's Performance Leadership Report.

Whitepaper on Priority-Driven Budgeting (April 06)
A whitepaper from the Government Finance Officers Association, "Anatomy of a Priority-Driven Budget Process" describes factors that have led governments to adopt priority budgeting and to identify the essential concepts and steps in such a process, including the adaptations individual governments have made to customize priority-driven budgeting to local conditions.

Shoreline, Washington’s Story: Property Tax Increase Approved (April 06)
In the November 2010 election, 72.9 percent of Shoreline, Washington’s voters turned out to approve a property tax increase by 56.5 percent. More from Public Management.

Management by Fear: Part 1 (April 06)
Yelling at systems doesn't improve systems. Bribing systems doesn't improve systems. Fixing systems improves systems. When we don't do the hard work to fix the systems, the only option is to game the system. More from Governing.

Performance Contracting: Turning Talk into Action (April 06)
When state and local governments contract out services they need to make certain that the contractors deliver what was promised – and not just in terms of a set number of hours or effort, but rather the actual quality and results of the work done. More from the IBM Center for the Business of Government.

Treat "Comprehensivitis" with Small Wins (April 06)
A task force inevitably creates a comprehensive report designed to solve the massive problem in the long-term but fails to fix any one of the immediate problems in the short-term-and thus fixes no problem in the long-term. More from Bob Behn's Performance Leadership Report.

New Web Resources Added for Green County Projects (April 06)
A new NACo Green Government Database provides short case studies and links to successful county programs, plans, policies and capital projects to provide quick reference for county elected officials and staff on sustainability best practices. More from NACo's County News.

Effectively Engaging the Public (April 06)
There's more to keeping in touch with constituents than public hearings. More from Governing.

How to Design a Neighborhood for Happiness (April 06)
The way we design our communities plays a huge role in how we experience our lives. More from Shareable.

Misunderstanding Historic Preservation (April 06)
While it’s widely accepted that architects design our buildings, and planners organize our cities, the role of preservationists merits less appreciation. More from Next American City.

A Desire Named Streetcar (April 06)
What the oldest operating transit system in the U.S. can teach us about planning for tomorrow. More from Architect.

Creating a 'Line of Sight' (April 01)
When employees have a line of sight, they can see the connection between their everyday work, and something larger. More from Governing.

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