Yesterday was a good day
A lot of the time, I believe people don't understand what I am writing and saying because I don't see much action on the recommendations. And people too often see "critical analysis" as "personal criticism" and reject it.
(This isn't exactly true. I am 5-10 years ahead of the curve on a lot of urban issues, and yes, around 5-10 years later--after I've gone on to other issues or repeated myself like a broken record, public officials, government agencies, and various other stakeholders end up taking or supporting similar positions. But by the time the issue gets to that point, it's long past any recognition or monetization for me.)
1. I am a big proponent of the parks planning group of AECOM, which was the parks planning unit of the firm Glatting Jackson, which AECOM acquired a few years ago. Their work concerning the "integrated public realm framework" is probably the most comprehensive approach to parks planning anywhere (see the past blog entry "Testimony: Agency Performance Oversight, DC Department of Parks and Recreation").
Shockingly, upon my referral and introduction, the NoMA Business Improvement District ended up hiring AECOM's parks planning group to do some brief planning in support of the BID's effort to get monies from the city to invest in adding to and improving that neighborhood's open space and public realm ("D.C. Council Gives Approval To $10.1 Billion Budget" from WAMU radio). Obviously, AECOM sealed the deal on their own. And I also connected them to some people in DC Government.
And I learned yesterday that AECOM is the lead consulting firm for the new DC Parks and Recreation Master Plan. I can't believe it. And I am very pleased.
Because regardless of access to parks space ("D.C. gets high marks for green space" from the Washington Post), the city has a long way to go in terms of great parks delivery and programming.
Although I suppose that DPR and the city could always set a scope that is hyper constrained and narrow, but I am hopeful that will not happen.
2. Yesterday, Atlantic Magazine and AARP sponsored a session in their series of programs on aging issues and cities, called Generations Forum, which featured Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class and Who's Your City, and a professor at University of Toronto and New York University, being questioned by Steve Clemons, Washington Editor at Large at The Atlantic.
Professor Florida said a lot of important things and Steve Clemons had some great questions and insights too. (A video of the program will be put up online. The previous sessions in the series are online already.) I'll be doing a write up of the session in the next day or two.
In response to a point Richard Florida made about local elected and economic development officials focusing on the wrong kinds of big projects (like casinos) I asked a question making the point that there is a difference between what comprehensive plans call "economic development" and what we might term "building a local economy."
I got a great shout out as part of his response:
"Richard is a really important voice in this debate" [about the value of cities].
As well as another shout out later. Other than the sponsors, no one else got this kind of recognition during the conversation.
It was pretty cool.