April 14: Urban Ideas Worth Stealing | Another exit at OIT | Memorials of the Future

Our partners at Keystone Crossroads are hosting a half-day conference in Harrisburg on May 10th called “Urban Ideas Worth Stealing” featuring keynote speakers Governor Tom Wolf and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, offering an opportunity to learn from urban leaders and doers from other Pennsylvania cities. We’re bringing a solid contingent from the Philadelphia area including Rina Cutler, Paul Steinke, Christine Knapp, Donna Carney, Robert Cheetham, Mark Headd, Faye Anderson, and Rohan Hepkins. The registration deadline is May 3. 

For Throwback Thursday, here’s Tom Wolf’s 2014 blog post for This Old City about the transportation policies he thinks would help PA cities. 

Randy LoBasso at the Bicycle Coalition blog has a cautiously optimistic take on Jim Kenney’s first 100 days document. The Office of Complete Streets and Vision Zero Task Force are still on Kenney’s agenda, and “are two good things, for sure, but as with all good things in government, the city needs to get them funded, something we’re going to be pushing for during the city’s upcoming budget hearings. Because as of now, neither the Office nor Task Force exist, yet.”

Juliana Reyes’s exit interview with Gabriel Farrell, the second high-profile civic tech engineer to leave the Office of Innovation and Technology since Jim Kenney’s new CIO Charlie Brennan came on, offers a peek behind the curtain at the internal culture of city government. “The other big reason that Farrell left the city has to do with the shift in priorities that often comes with a mayoral transition. He felt that the work his team was doing was becoming more reactive — delivering on asks from different departments, like building new one-off sites “

Spruce Hill Community Association voted to extend their boundaries south of Woodland Avenue, to include the area where University of the Sciences is planning a large dormitory complex on the Alexander Wilson school site, reports Mike Lyons. 

Washington, DC’s ‘Memorials of the Future’ design competition is a big improvement on the standard process, which can effectively exclude smaller architecture and design firms who can’t afford to spend so much time on free work, writes Kriston Capps. “’Memorials for the Future’ will first ask for concepts only during the first stage, not full-blown renderings. There is no fee to enter. From the overall pool, the jury…will select three teams, each of whom will be given $15,000 and strategic assistance to develop a complete, site-specific proposal for a memorial.”

A coalition of New Jersey small businesses is taking on the issue of big business subsidies, calling for a moratorium on the state’s economic development subsidies for attraction and retention of companies pending a review of their effectiveness, Tara Nurin reports. “Rather than pour billions of dollars into programs that reward companies for moving around within the state’s borders, Main Streeters argue Trenton should better fund schools and facilitate easier access to small-business capital and credit.”

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