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Focus Archive - March 2012

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.

New ‘Case Studies in County Governance’ Report Released (March 28)
The National Center for the Study of Counties recently released its latest study, Responding to the New Realities: Case Studies in County Governance. More from NACo's County News.

Building Digital Communities: New Resources Available (March 28)
With the release of Building Digital Communities: A Framework for Action and its companion primer Building Digital Communities: Getting Started, communities have a new resource to help set a vision for the future. More from ICMA.

Death to the McMansion (March 28)
How charm and convenience can make our communities more resilient—and save our economy. More from Slate.

Social Media Still Has Skeptics in Government (March 28)
Social media and networking websites have spanned the globe, but these free-to-use online services continue to be greeted with skepticism within some government workplaces. More from Government Technology.

Building Knowledge through CityLinks (March 28)
Local government professionals worldwide have a new forum for sharing knowledge about three interrelated urban challenges: climate change, food security, and water and sanitation. More from ICMA.

The Quest to Make Regulatory Reform Work in Seattle (March 28)
Early last year, Mayor Mike McGinn convened a roundtable group of Seattle business, environmental and neighborhood representatives to consider land use regulatory reform with jobs in mind. More from The Atlantic Cities.

County Jails Join Internet Video Visitation Trend (March 28)
County jails from Minnesota to Florida are starting Internet-based video visitation systems that allow people to visit jail inmates from anywhere around the world. More from NACo's County News.

U.S. Poised For Passenger Rail Boom (March 28)
Of planes, trains, and automobiles, only one can accommodate America’s growing need for urban and intercity transportation, according to a panel of transportation officials who gathered recently in Chicago. More from Forbes.

Greening Government's Fleet of Big Trucks (March 28)
Street sweepers, snow plows and fire trucks will soon be cleaner and more fuel efficient under new emissions standards. More from Governing.

Where the Green Jobs Are (March 28)
Green jobs are often said to be a key growth area of the future. But according to a new report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, just 3.1 million people, 2.4 percent of all American workers, were employed in "green goods and services" jobs in 2010. More from The Atlantic Cities.

'New Normal' Budgeting for 2013 (March 22)
Tax revenues are up, but deferred costs are waiting to be paid. More from Governing.

Research Shows Cities Still Working Through Recession and Recovery (March 22)
New research from the NLC shows that the nation still has a considerable way to go before the recovery will find its way into every community. More from Nation's Cities Weekly.

A ‘Picture-Perfect’ Regulatory System (March 22)
We need rules and regulations, but nothing beats voluntary compliance. There are ways to make that happen. More from Governing.

City Seats: 14 Examples of Unconventional Urban Furniture (March 22)
Why shouldn’t public furniture be visually interesting, comfortable and even interactive as well? More from Web Urbanist.

The U.S. Housing Hangover is Finally Wearing Off (March 22)
Six years into the U.S. housing downturn, the worst finally seems to be over. More from Slate.

ULX: The Art of Affordable Housing (March 22)
Ten affordable housing developments take creative design approaches to providing appealing environments while controlling costs. More from Urban Land.

Emergency Communications Best Practices (March 22)
Budgetary issues challenge local governments to do more with less in managing complex communication requirements. More from ICMA.

Chelan County PUD Fiber Network (March 22)
Bringing high speed broadband to rural areas can be a challenge for public agencies, but many residents know that economic growth depends upon good connectivity. More from Community Broadband Networks.

Solar Satellites (March 22)
New satellite cities could draw energy from the sun, wind, and earth—and say no to cars. More from Urban Land.

Uncle Sam, the Energy Miser (March 22)
The federal government takes the lead in net-zero building construction. More from Planning.

Are Local Government Cuts Nearing An End? (March 15)
Labor Department data released today shows local government payroll cuts coming to a halt, with employment levels virtually unchanged since November. More from Governing.

Intentionally Unreasonable Government (March 15)
Transforming the way government works means no longer clinging to bygone processes. One way to break out of the mold is with a “disruptive hypothesis.” More from Governing.

County Governments Seek to ‘Source’ the Crowd (March 15)
Increasingly, counties are using crowd sourcing through their websites to solve problems, solicit ideas and improve upon county-originated proposals and programs. More from NACo's County News.

From Data to Decisions (March 15)
A recent report from the IBM Center for the Business of Government, From Data to Decisions: The Power of Analytics, argues that a cornerstone of successful performance management is support from leadership and good use of analytics.

Local Government’s Success in Maintaining Public Trust (March 15)
Although it is never possible to satisfy all constituents all the time, there are things that can be done at the local level to build trust and confidence. More from Public Management.

Kansas City, Mo., Brings City Hall to the Home (March 15)
A new website for citizens in Kansas City, Mo., showcases the concept that online platforms could be far more effective in engaging a much wider spectrum of participants. More from Digital Communities.

Sustaining Police Operations (March 15)
Most administrators recognize that one of the difficult measurements of leadership is focused upon department goals and objectives during chaotic financial times. More from The Police Chief.

Free Tool Helps Cities Assess Impact of Switching to LED Street Lighting (March 15)
The U.S. Department of Energy recently released an economic cost-benefit analysis tool to help cities and utilities estimate the costs and impacts associated with switching to light-emitting diode (LED) street lighting. More from Nation's Cities Weekly.

Portland Struggles to Remain a Leader in Public Transit (March 15)
Reduced revenue and federal funding, combined with unsustainable employee costs, are making it difficult for the Oregon city to stay on top. More from Governing.

Climate Plans That Aren't Helping Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions (March 15)
A new study in the Journal of Urban Economics looked at the climate plans and greenhouse gas emission reductions of cities in California to find that there doesn’t seem to be any causal connection between greenhouse gas reductions and climate action plans. More from The Atlantic Cities.

Building More Effective Delivery of Economic Development Projects (March 07)
Given the huge expense associated with economic development and the limited government resources to pay for it, elected and appointed government officials, business leaders, and citizens need to search for alternatives that will effectively deliver economic and community development at a lower cost. More from Government Finance Review.

Project Has Citizens Making Budget Choices (March 07)
A pilot effort is under way in four New York City council districts to give constituents some say in which capital projects are funded. Amid successes and snags, there are signs the initiative is getting citizens more engaged in government. More from City Limits.

The Resurrection of the Corner Store (March 07)
Some of our most beloved historic neighborhoods could not be built today, because zoning and building codes have evolved to prohibit their key characteristics. A "back to the future" reform would include allowing home-based businesses, permitting small commercial, expanding accessory dwelling units and being more flexible about minimum parking requirements. More from The Atlantic Cities.

Arcata, California, Encourages and Benefits from E-Democracy (March 07)
Arcata, California (pop. 17,231) facilitates and encourages citizen participation through an online program that allows citizens to provide comments on council agenda items prior to council meetings. More from ICMA.

The Official Guide to Tactical Urbanism (March 07)
Guerrilla gardening. Pavement-to-parks. Open streets. These are all urban interventions of a sort – quick, often temporary, cheap projects that aim to make a small part of a city more lively or enjoyable. More from The Atlantic Cities.

Time to Stop Snubbing the Suburbs? (March 07)
Is it time to stop snubbing the suburbs? Diversity, greater density, more shopping and transportation choices are all part of the new identities of the communities around Seattle. More from Crosscut.

TED’s Headline Initiative: The City 2.0 (March 07)
This year, the high-profile TED Prize was awarded not to a person but a concept: the creation of an open-source platform connecting citizens, political leaders, urban experts, companies, and organizations. More from Citiwire.

Bicycles Belong: A Growing American Way (March 07)
Would you prefer to live in a community where you had to drive everywhere for everything, or would you prefer to live in a community where you could walk, ride a bicycle, take public transportation, or drive to get to where you want to go? More from Citiwire.

Cities Give Google Cloud-Based Email Mixed Reviews (March 07)
Some cities have switched to the cloud with ease, but Los Angeles, for example, had to abandon it for law enforcement because of outdated security policies. More from Governing.

It’s Time to Love the Bus (March 07)
America needs to accept the fact that its most despised form of transport is also its hope for the future. More from Salon.

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