MI Wins Grant From Wean Foundation

| September 15th, 2014 | No Comments »

Click here to read the article. The Raymond John Wean Foundation just announced its 3rd quarter awards. “$75,000 to Virginia Polytechnic and State University’s Metropolitan Institute (MI)for its City of Youngstown Code Enforcement & Blight Remediation Technical Assistance & Capacity Building Project: Relying on extensive experience working with other municipal housing and building code enforcement departments, the MI will directly engage City code enforcement managers and staff in the assessment process and development of new policies and procedures. They will also conduct a series of trainings and workshops.  Phase I of the project will identify civic sector leadership and engagement opportunities for citizens to be more involved in monitoring and addressing blight in their neighborhoods. The Project Team will engage community stakeholders, including Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation and the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative, throughout the life of the project.  The work will be further enhanced by regular briefings with the Mayor

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Russo on Adjunct Faculty Organizing

| August 13th, 2014 | Comments Off

John Russo, MI Visiting Research Fellow, recently wrote and article for the Social Policy website about the social teaching of the Catholic church and how it relates to university adjunct faculty as they unionize.  Click here to read the article. “In political economy debates of the late nineteenth century, the Roman Catholic Church defended workers’ rights to organize and bargain in Rerum Novarum by Leo XIII (1891). Samuel Gompers allegedly claimed that this Encyclical served as the “Magna Carta” for the labor movement. The Catholic Church’s defense of labor unions and workers’ rights continued to be reiterated and re-endorsed throughout various encyclical publications by various Popes during anniversaries of the publication of Rerum Novarum. On the national level, the U.S. Catholic Bishops implemented the teachings of Rerum Novarum in their 1919 Program for Social Reconstruction. In that document, the Bishops clearly affirm the rights of workers and their labor unions.”

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Book Review: The Hidden Potential of Sustainable Neighborhoods

| July 10th, 2014 | Comments Off

Fanny Carlet, a SPIA PhD alumna, has published a Book Review: The Hidden Potential of Sustainable Neighborhoods: Lessons from Low-Carbon Communities in the Journal of Planning Literature, August 2014; vol. 29, 3: pp. 274-275. Ms. Carlet reviewed a book written by Harrison Fraker and commented that “Fraker’s book, replete with practical wisdom and compelling examples of strategic sustainability strategies validated by performance data, explores the efforts of four district-scale urban communities to achieve low-carbon and low energy goals using an integrated approach similar to the EcoBlock concept.” Click here to read the PDF.

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Research Assistant Wanted for MI

| July 9th, 2014 | Comments Off

The Metropolitan Institute is seeking a research assistant! This part-time position will support the Metropolitan Institute’s ongoing evaluation of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Fellowship Placement Pilot Program. The research assistant will work closely and report to both the Research Associate and Principal Investigator of this project. The position involves conducting research as assigned, some administrative/organizational tasks, as well as a range of web-based activities. Click here to read the Research Assistant Job Description. Interested applicants should email a cover letter and their CV/resume to MIVT@VT.EDU  

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Shrinking Cities

| June 12th, 2014 | Comments Off

Joe Schilling was recently quoted by Governing magazine about urban demolition. Link to the quote. “Demolishing, in many cases, is the right thing to do. By celebrating the history and legacy of this building, it’s letting go in a much more humane way.” Joe and visiting fellow Michelle Cullen is participating in the Sustainable Smart Cities Symposium being hosted by The University of Alabama at Birmingham today, June 12, 2014. Joe Schilling  is discussing “Reversing Shrinking Cities, Population Decline, and Urban Vacancy” and is being live tweeted by Brandon S. Bias. Michelle Cullen’s lecture in the afternoon will discuss the “Social and Ethical Implications of Smart City Solutions.” Local governments are increasingly striving to make their cities “smarter” by integrating big data and analytics across city systems and services. While this trend may result in operational efficiencies, it is also causing often unexamined changes in local governance – effecting the way

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Biking to work in Vancouver

| June 1st, 2014 | Comments Off

Ralph Buehler was recently interviewed for a story on ways to increase commuter biking in Vancouver.  CBC News was interested in what it would take to increase the current 1% of area bicycle commuters closer to the 40% that some European cities see. Read the story here or listen to the interview. Ralph Buehler pointed out four critical ways that many European cities differ from Vancouver and that might have a dramatic effect on commuting styles. 1) Train for cycling from an early age 2) Train cyclists and motorists to co-exist 3) Build separate infrastructure for cyclists 4) Hold educational events

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Funeral for a House?

| May 27th, 2014 | Comments Off

Philadelphia, PA is using demolition to control vacant properties in blighted neighborhoods.  An article about one particular property has been picked up by numerous newspapers and news-bloggers due to it’s quirky take on impending demolition. A cultural project called “Funeral for a Home” hopes to use these events as a way of celebrating neighborhood history.  The original article quoted Joe Schilling, “said a funeral “could be very cathartic” for longtime Mantua residents grappling with how the neighborhood has changed and hoping for better things to come.” Read the article here at the Philadelphia Tribune.

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Detroit Home Demolitions

| April 2nd, 2014 | Comments Off

Metropolitan Institute Director, Joe Schilling, was recently quoted in an Associated Press article.  “Home Demolitions Turn Detroit into a Blank Canvas,” reports on the on-going efforts to transform distressed neighborhoods.  John Russo, our visiting fellow, was also quoted. For deeper coverage of MI and Joe Schilling, read the NCR Highlight about us.

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Capital Bikeshare is Good For Business

| March 28th, 2014 | Comments Off

Bikeshare is growing in the region, but what has been the overall effect? We are still learning. Dr. Ralph Buehler, from the Urban Affairs and Planning program, was interviewed on WAMU about his article on Capital Bikeshare. Click here to listen to the interview.

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Precariat Rising with John Russo

| March 25th, 2014 | Comments Off

On April 1st, Dr. John Russo will be discussing the issue of the emerging precariat class in more detail as part of a symposium at Georgetown University. He’ll join Barbara Ehrenreich, acclaimed novelist Justin Torres, DC Jobs with Justice leader Nikki Lewis, and many more for a series of discussions about our increasingly precarious work and lives in this rapidly changing economy. In February, he wrote another post on The Washington Spectator, this time about the precariat class emerging as a point of discussion in the mainstream media.  This post discusses the recent op-ed by David Brooks in The New York Times, The American Precariat.  This looks to be a new issue in the upcoming political campaigns.

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