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Good ideas for cities

The GOOD blog has been on a roll lately. For more than a month, the web site has posted one Idea for Cities each day, sparked by a brainstorm on the future of cities inaugurated at the CEOs for Cities Velocity conference in September 2009.

Among my favorites:

DIY Cities: This proposed open platform that would connect "citizen service-providers and problem-solvers with opportunities to serve." This idea reminded me very much of two of the 11 principles of Placemaking: the community is the expert, and you can't do it alone.  

Google Analytics for Government: Here's a welcome notion on a snowy day in Chicago: more sunshine! "Cities could make the success of governance measurable and known. Rather than waiting for the next election to recognize and promote results (or lack thereof), cities could do it transparently. City stats, charts, and powerful infographics would provide a call-to-action for citizens."

Wide-walks: I'll admit my bias on this one: I don't drive much, but I walk (and run ... both for my health and the bus!) a heckuva lot. Walking in the city is enjoyable largely because there's always so much to keep my attention: shop windows, outdoor cafes, dogwalkers and their pooches, flowers, the list goes on. Lots of Chicago's sidewalks are nice and wide, but some could use more space to breathe, in order to develop the kinds of amenities that encourage people to take the toe-heel express. That's one reason why sidewalk improvements were among the recommendations to come out of Reconnecting Neighborhoods, a Chicago neighborhood planning effort MPC will continue to help implement in 2010.

If you've got some time over the holidays, get inspired by checking out the rest of the Ideas for Cities. And if you have a good idea for improving your city, GOOD is inviting you to add it to the comments section of the blog or tweet it to @GOOD with the hashtag #cityideas. They'll publish the best ones.


  1. 1. Josh from Hyde Park on December 22, 2009

    My favorite is Preservation ReFARM. There's no reason we can't use more vacant lots and parks to produce food in cities and urban areas. What if 5% of the Chicago Park District's tree plantings were fruit-bearing? What if you could raise bees or chickens behind your house? The more local our food is, the more jobs we create here and the less our food has to travel.

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