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NationSwell

Alan Thompson

Hallie Steiner

4 February 2019

Denver, Colorado, United States

Video

Under 3 Minutes

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After a highly successful pilot run, Denver formally instituted Denver Day Works, an initiative that pays homeless residents to clean up and landscape the city during the day. So far, the program has helped over 150 p...

FastCompany

Adele Peters

24 January 2019

Thessaloniki, Greece

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Under 800 Words

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Diverting trash from the landfill and into productive use is one way to help close the loop on consumer waste. In the Greek city of Thessaloniki, the Zero Waste Lab is turning plastic waste into new furniture for publ...

Apolitical

Anoush Darabi

16 January 2019

Aarhus, Denmark

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Taking its cue from digital engagement strategies of cultural institutions across Sweden, the Danish city of Aarhus, Denmark is making the redevelopment of an area called South Harbour more equitable and inclusive. Us...

Christian Science Monitor

Story Hinckley

11 January 2019

Lawrence, Massachusetts, United States

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Grants from the US Environmental Protection Agency empower local communities—and workers—to redevelop abandoned industrial sites. These sites, known as brownfields, are often left in disuse because of the presence of ...

Yale Environment 360

Vaishnavi Chandrashekhar

8 January 2019

Mumbai, India

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In booming cities across India, residents and nonprofits are fighting to save trees from rampant development. One protest in Delhi brought 1,500 citizens out, stalling a proposal to fell 14,000 trees in the city. And ...

BBC

Susila Silva

25 December 2018

Wisconsin, United States

Radio

Over 15 Minutes

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Around the world, people are putting out Little Free Libraries—a small birdhouse like box for people to take, leave, or swap books. These libraries have helped create easy access to book ownership and reading as well ...

WEWS-TV

Kevin Barry

7 November 2018

Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Broadcast TV News

Under 3 Minutes

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The Cleveland-based Buckeye Ministry and Missions Alliance has “adopted” five city blocks clearing vacant lots and helping to rehabilitate homes. Their efforts have had a material impact on the appearance of the neigh...

Governing

David Kidd

1 November 2018

Baltimore, Maryland, United States

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As Baltimore's population has rapidly declined in the past few decades, outmigrants have left a trail of over 16,000 vacant homes. After decades of underwhelming initiatives, the city thinks it might have found a part...

The Philadelphia Citizen

Roxanne Patel Shepelavy

31 October 2018

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

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800-1500 Words

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In Philadelphia, the City Bright initiative is working to pay individuals experiencing homelessness to help clean up the streets in city neighborhoods. While it might not pay much and is not a silver bullet solution, ...

BBC

Tim McDonald

29 October 2018

Singapore

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Singapore maintains its state of cleanliness through fines, public education, and an army of low-paid cleaners. Fifty years ago, the Keep Singapore Clean campaign was the first time the government used fines as a meth...

Next City

Rachel Kaufman

12 October 2018

New York, New York, United States

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Under 800 Words

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New York City has launched City Canvas, a program to commission artwork to beautify sidewalk sheds set up to protect pedestrians in construction sites. Arts organizations partnering with the project will pick location...

La Voz de Guanacaste

Noelia Esquivel

25 September 2018

Tamarindo, Costa Rica

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Under 800 Words

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The Tamarindo Integral Development Association (ADI) has achieved success in a seemingly mundane task: taking charge of vacant lots. The ADI first borrowed use of vacant lots to start a farmers market and a soccer sch...

Pacific Standard

Maria Dolan

18 September 2018

Seattle, Washington, United States

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Austin, Texas and King County, Washington are both participating in a new experiment by non-profit City Forest Credits (CFC) that uses creative financing to fund green spaces and tree-planting in cities. More specific...

The Diplomat

Didem Tali

10 September 2018

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

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A Mongolian man named Ulziitogtork transformed a former granite mine that was filled with rubbish into a park/community center for children that sits on top of an artificial lake. Children used to play in the mine, wh...

ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Ellie Honeybone

9 September 2018

Northam, Australia

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A project to paint murals on silos across Western Australia has brought artists from around the world for work. These murals--some 36 meters high--have created stunning public art and cultural tourism for often strugg...

OZY

James Watkins

6 September 2018

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

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Under 800 Words

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Local residents of Biskek, Kyrgystan have turned old tires into art, bringing beauty and character to a space to a post-Soviet city that was previously dark and impersonal. The upcycling of the old tires littering the...

Next City

Jared Brey

30 August 2018

Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, United States

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An Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania art project "gently" demolished a historic, vacant building and reassembled it as a communal space. This is an example of "creative placemaking," a method to both preserve the character of...

The Washington Post

Katherine Shaver

27 August 2018

Washington, District of Columbia, United States

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How do you make a public space inviting so people will gather, but also safe from the growing danger of attackers using vehicles to ram large numbers of people? Many cities have responded to such attacks with concrete...

The New Yorker

Eric Klinenberg

23 August 2018

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

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By cleaning up thousands of abandoned buildings and vacant lots, the city of Philadelphia caused sharp declines in violence and other crime in a program that has become a model for cities nationwide. The cleanup progr...

Bloomberg CityLab

Linda Poon

20 August 2018

Dallas, Texas, United States

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In a Dallas neighborhood, environmental organizations are teaming up to plant a tree canopy that will address multiple environmental and public health concerns, while also cooling down the city's urban heat island eff...

FastCompany

Eillie Anzilotti

15 August 2018

Newburgh, New York, United States

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Under 800 Words

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In New York, an intentional form of housing development is keeping affordability in mind. Neighbors for Neighborhoods provides funding for locals to redevelop blighted property from land banks and rent it out as affor...

The New York Times

Patricia Leigh Brown

10 August 2018

Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States

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Gathering Place is the name of a new park in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is a large-scale creative park project that, rather than receiving funding from the local government, was funded entirely through a local philanthropic ...

Bloomberg CityLab

Mark Byrnes

9 August 2018

Buffalo, New York, United States

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Over 3000 Words

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Buffalo’s Albright-Knox Art Gallery created the position of public art curator in 2014. Since then, a combination of public and private funding has created site-specific public art across the city bringing prominent a...

Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Carla Jean Whitley

2 August 2018

Trinidad, Colorado, United States

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One small town in Colorado has spurred economic development by implementing a strategy that focused on the revitalization of creative industries. As a result, Trinidad, CO, has seen a twofold increase in lodging tax i...

Bloomberg CityLab

Linda Poon

30 July 2018

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

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800-1500 Words

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In Philadelphia, a study has found that turning vacant lots into parks and green spaces helped reduce rates of depression in the poorest neighborhoods. These findings complement previous evidence that providing access...

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