April 24, 2006
Young people are making waves at City Hall:
Policymaking is starting at puberty these days. Berkeley and other cities are drawing teenagers into government in a bid to create politically active -- rather than apathetic -- adults. Although no one tracks the numbers, nine government agencies from San Francisco to Santa Cruz are making room for teenagers on boards and commissions, along with cities across the country.
The phenomenon is called "youth civic engagement,'' and it is being driven in part by celebrity endorsements of political and social causes, moral issue campaigns by religious groups and the growing sophistication of teens who are informing themselves through the Internet.
January 25, 2006
Surprise! San Francisco's youth population continues to decline and there appears to be a link to the quality of the city's schools. The Chronicle ran an article linking middle class flight to the suburbs to school quality in San Francisco. Some parents blamed the school lottery system mandated by the Consent Decree that sought to create more integrated schools, but recently expired - parents do not want to be forced to send their children to a school outside their neighborhood or that they don't like. The article also seeks to reassure middle-class parents that SF schools are a safe and good choice for their students.
Fact: Metropolitan revitalization depends on the return of the middle class to the urban interior.
Fact: Urban neighborhoods are often extremely segregated by class and wealth.
Neighborhood schools continue this segregation, and, now, without the Consent Decree to at least attempt to integrate students by economic and social factors, San Francisco's schools are becoming more and more segregated themselves. How can the middle class be coaxed back or convinced to stay without providing a "separate but equal" parallel school system? Why does the failure of public schools to provide an excellent education for low-income families not receive attention, but the fears of middle class residents sparks instant response?
Asking rhetorical questions doesn't solve much, but reinstating the Consent Decree or similar integrative legislation could certainly break down class barriers across neighborhoods. Then, we'd need "urban school chic" to come into the style lexicon for middle class values... Ha.
November 01, 2005
Built on a 5-acre block abandoned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the Tierra del Sol apartments and school marks a first in the San Fernando Valley and in California: it blends affordable, five-bedroom apartments with a charter school for grades K-5.
September 28, 2005
Emeryville's proposed Center for Community Life is a partnership between the city and the school district to create a new focal point for the city at the current site of the Emeryville Middle/High School and an existing Caltrans depot.
September 13, 2005
Katrina drew the public eye, literally via news media, to the staunch, tenacious place of poverty within American democracy.
But after a decade of improvement in the 1990s, poverty in America is actually getting worse. A rising tide of economic growth is no longer lifting all boats. For the first time in half a century, the third year of a recovery (2004) also saw an increase in poverty. In a nation of nearly 300 million people, the number living below the poverty line ($14,680 for a family of three) recently hit 37 million, up more than a million in a year.
August 26, 2005
The local housing authority in Macon county is adding a school liason and assistant to it's staff in an effort to further connect families to schools.
Real estate developer The Cannon Co. recently received financing from CharterMac and Related Capital to renovate Walton Trail Apartments in Atlanta. Under the plan, Cannon is joining forces with the Atlanta Youth Project to offer after-school educational programs for resident youths. The project centers around a 7,000-square-foot children's adventure center intended to help families raise children in a safe, quality and affordable environment.
August 11, 2005
Faith-based initiatives are a core component of the administration's domestic agenda, and it has pursued their adoption vigorously. This study focuses on how these efforts have been received at the state and local levels, whether and how they have changed the involvement of faith-based organizations (FBOs, for short) in public programs, and what we know and need to know about the nature of the services FBOs deliver.
- Approximately 60 percent of U.S. cities with more than 25,000 residents now impose impact fees to fund infrastructure needed to service new housing and other development (GAO, 2000). In 89 jurisdictions selected for study in California, the state in which impact fees are most heavily used, the average amount of fees imposed on singlefamily homes in new subdivisions in 1999 was $19,552, with fees ranging from a low of $6,783 to a high of $47,742 (Landis et al., 2001). Although California jurisdictions impose fees higher—perhaps much higher—than those in other jurisdictions, impact fees are an increasingly important cost of development, especially in the fastest growing areas of the United States.*
Notes to come...
August 08, 2005
Newsom recently spoke of the under-construction Plaza Apartments as a future blue-print for green affordable housing in SF:
"Cities are consuming 75 percent of the Earth's national resources and in turn contributing to 75 percent of everything that's wrong with the global environment," Newsom said. "That being said, it seems incumbent on us as mayors at the local level to recognize our responsibility to address the issues of global warming, environmental justice and stewardship."
July 08, 2005
Always interesting when the NY Times picks up an article on a local issue here in the Bay Area. McClymonds High School in West Oakland has an on-site health clinic...
June 28, 2005
UCSF has embarked on a mission to build 160 affordable units for staff housing concurrent with the Mission Bay development project in San Francisco. Not only is it unprecedented for a UC school to attempt to house staff on such a scale (the overall construction will include >430 units for graduate students and junior professors), but the goal of these affordable units is to house service workers, such as food workers, custodians, and administrative assistants.
June 24, 2005
June 16, 2005
Activists demanded living wages for construction workers involved in the renovation of the Oakland Central Train Station and the development of the 29 acre site it is a part of in West Oakland (market rate ~1500 units, 15% affordable). Now, an affordable housing developer in San Marcos has established that affordable housers are not required to pay "prevailing wages" like public works developers, but only market wages. How does the "prevailing wage" compare to "living wage" and the "market wage" . . . ? Regardless, building affordable housing, yet not offering "prevailing wages" does seem a bit hypocritical -- one commentator in the article points out that the workers need to be able to still afford to live in the housing once it's built, but cutting wages does not guarantee those workers a housing unit for themselves. In fact, the waiting lists for affordable housing in the Bay Area can be quite extensive. The journalist's opinion of the holding is clear in the article's title.
June 07, 2005
Much like the Packard Foundation's ABCD (Affordable Building for Children's Development) Initiative.
There are seven child-care, preschool and/or Head Start programs at various apartment complexes throughout the Coachella Valley that were built by the housing coalition.
May 21, 2005
That the federal government, including HUD, has a long history of having precipitated and perpetuated housing discrimination, there can be no question. At their inception, federal housing programs incorporated many of the prevailing practices of the private housing market and were explicitly discriminatory as a result. And as new housing programs have evolved, successive administrations, Democratic and Republican, have repeatedly missed opportunities to combat discrimination... Federal programs to assist low-income renters have helped concentrate poor, minority families in poor, minority neighborhoods, limiting housing choice and fostering social division.
May 06, 2005
Harvard Design Magazine takes a look at the changing role of "citizen planners" . . . how has the community development process changed over time, and where is it headed?
For designers who would be urbanists, the challenge is to move beyond the general knowledge of citizens engaged in planning their communities. The future of urban design now lies in the development and use of information systems and tools that all players in the community-making process will use. Understanding and supporting these knowledge bases and tools so they are integral parts of the democratic planning process is one of the great opportunities for the planning and design professions and portends a shift of historic proportions with regard to the means by which cities are planned, designed, and built, a shift as important as the design of any piece of infrastructure. As opposed to advocating urban design education for the masses or leading the people to the city on the hill of good design, planners, architects, and landscape architects, acting as urban designers, must associate themselves and their specialized activities with everyday people to do everyday planning.
May 05, 2005
May 03, 2005
Whether newcomers to the United States or third-generation Americans, first-time Latino home buyers are overcoming cultural and institutional barriers, such as distrust of banks and lack of traditional credit, that for decades prevented many from buying homes. They are purchasing condos and single-family houses in Southern California, from the Inland Empire to the Antelope Valley, and helping to gentrify some neglected neighborhoods.
May 02, 2005
Larson, Rick and Real Enterprises, Inc., Who's Minding the Store? A Guide for Educators Working with School-based Enterprises: Activities and Strategies for Creating and Operating Innovative and Productive Learning Experiences, Berkeley, CA: National Center for Research in Vocational Education, June 1995 (MDS-1254).
This guide is intended for use by educators who are working with school-based enterprises or contemplating the establishment of an SBE in their school. It seeks to help schools, students, and teachers develop enterprises that:
- place students in positions of responsibility for management and operations.
- provide an opportunity for students to learn entrepreneurial skills, group problem-solving, and effective decisionmaking.
- encourage creativity and innovation and help students learn a broad range of academic and career-oriented skills.
- provide an opportunity for students to learn about a number of aspects of the business, not just the specifics of a particular job within that business.
- operate responsibly from ethical, social, and economic perspectives.
- promote academic achievement.
Notes in the extended...