The Other Housing Crisis: Finding a Home in Rural America

Thirty percent of rural Americans have substandard housing—and it’s expensive. But these communities are finding ways to give low-income residents homes of their own.

by Melissa Hellmann

posted on “Yes! Magazine” Sep 22, 2016

For Debbie Green, purchasing a home was a dream come true. The 56-year-old resident of rural Elkins, West Virginia, suffers from five types of debilitating epileptic seizures, and had been renting a friend’s mobile home at a discounted rate. Unable to work, she got by on monthly disability payments of about $900, but was still struggling to pay her utility bills. Sometimes, at the end of the month, she had only $4 in the bank and wondered if she would need to cu…

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Is Barcelona the Smartest City in the World?
as appeared in “FutureStructure”
by Laura Adler 
February 19, 2016

This story was originally published on Data-Smart City Solutions.

Cities around the world are beginning to understand the huge potential of the Internet of Things (IoT). In Barcelona, those possibilities have started to become the reality. Starting in 2012, the city deployed responsive technologies across urban systems including public transit, parking, street lighting, and waste management. These innovations yielded significant cost savings, improved the quality of life for residents, and made the city a center for the young IoT industry.

Spain was among the countries hardest hit by the 2008 recession, and recovery t…

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Rebuilding America's Aging Downtowns Needs to Anticipate the Future

by Francis P. Koster, Ed.D.

14 smaller “mom and pop” stores died each time Wal-Mart, Target, and Kmart opened a new store.[1]  Between 1962 and 2013 alone these giants established more than 8,000 stores.[2] Most of these “car accessible” big box stores were located on interstate exits; most of the walkable smaller shops were located in the older “downtown”.   Good-by downtown.

While this was going on, one out of every two United States manufacturing jobs vanished [3]  - either overseas, or due to automation, or both.  This was a double whammy, because each highly paid local worker circulated enough money throughout the local economy, to “trickle dow…

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Polluted Schools Damage Brains

Polluted Schools Damage Brains

by Francis P. Koster, Ed. D.

Since the passage of the Clean Air Act in 1970, America has become much healthier.   According to the New England Journal of Medicine, our average lifespan increased almost three years between 1978 and 2001, and as much as 4.8 months of that can be attributed to cleaner air.[1] For people living in more polluted areas, like Pittsburgh and Buffalo, clean air increased life expectancy by 10 months.[2]  Every dollar spent on that effort returned more than thirty in savings in medical and other costs![3] 

Some would argue we should now turn our attention to other pressing national issues, like our education system.  Critics complain that schools are not doing t…

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Note:  This column was first published in the Charlotte, North Carolina Charlotte Observer on October 5, 2014.  An impressive explaination of how community metrics can be used to improve eduction, it is reproduced here with the permission of the paper and the author.

New Approach Tackles Dropout Rate
by Mary Lynne Calhoun Ed.D.

The “united” in United Way of Central Carolinas has taken on a new, powerful meaning with the adoption and implementation of the Collective Impact model of philanthropy.

We’re all familiar with the essential work of United Way in raising funds to support the work of human services agencies to address our community’s most pressing needs. Collective Impact intensifies the power of th…

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