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Akron Beacon Journal /

May 01, 2019

Small wins bring big change to Akron

So great to see our work with Reimagining the Civic Commons / Akron Civic Commons highlighted. We aim for small actions that have big impacts in communities.

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Reimagining the Civic Commons

April 18, 2019

We’re measuring the impact of investments in public places. Here’s what we’ve learned.

How do you measure the value a park has on a neighborhood? From a gathering place, to increasing property values, to improved air quality, and more, we worked with Reimagining the Civic Commons and City Observatory to create tools to capture the social impacts of civic spaces like parks. The four key outcomes we looked at are civic engagement, mixing of incomes and backgrounds, environmental sustainability, and attracting neighborhood investment. Read more about the real impact of a place here

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January 14, 2019

Our DIY Toolkit For Measuring the Civic Commons Is Now Available

Reimagining the Civic Commons releases our toolkit for measuring the social impact of public spaces. These tools, which are now available for download here, enable anyone to better understand the performance of public space investments in their communities.

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September 06, 2018

Cool Places to Cool Off

"And perhaps most impactfully, these makeovers are inspiring cities to rethink the role and potential of their public pool systems. When city leaders start to look at public pools not just as places to cool off, but as cool places, nearly anything is possible."

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June 28, 2018

"Cooling Off" in NYC

Three cheers to the fine folks at NYC Parks for making a splash with their #CoolPoolsNYC initiative at 5 public pools throughout the city! Cool Pools is designed to "increase attendance, improve quality of life, and bring neighbors together to interact with their local community pools --and each other -- in fun new ways" Take a trip to check out one of NYC's 5 cool pool locations this summer!

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Inside Philanthropy

June 05, 2018

Measuring the Impact of Public Space on Neighborhood Well-Being

"The reason monitoring all of these potential outcomes is so interesting is that city infrastructure projects can have any number of consequences, intended or otherwise. They can accelerate real estate values, price out or alienate longtime residents, bring in new businesses, or flood the area with tourists. As cities and their donors have paved (unpaved?) the way for trail systems in Philly, a huge city park in Tulsa, or a floating performance space in New York, serious questions about these implications have followed. This project marks an attempt to put some numbers to those implications. "

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Reimagining the Civic Commons

May 17, 2018

Measuring what matters in the commons

Our baseline metrics reports for the Civic Commons initiative are out in the world! Following up on a first year of data analysis, we'll be going back out this summer and fall to see what impact the first roster of built projects (including Detroit's Ella Fitzgerald Park, HomeBase, and Memphis's Mississippi River Park) are having on their communities.

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September 15, 2017

Pittsburgh's EcoInnovation District leaps forward

Citylab featured our EcoInnovation District plan and just this week it was formally adopted by the Planning Commission! Our local partners have already organized a task force to tackle implementation. Next up, a revamped zoning code for the district that will serve as a template for zoning changes city-wide.

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Reimagining the Civic Commons

December 15, 2016

Reimagining the Civic Commons

The strength and vibrancy of cities has always taken root in the public assets we share collectively as citizens. To build social capital, encourage civic engagement, and prosper, cities need common ground, spaces where citizens of all backgrounds can mix. Yet in the past century, support for public assets – our libraries, parks, recreation centers, pools, and schools - has declined. Assets and organizations that once defined our shared experience as citizens have, in many cases, suffered from decades of disinvestment and decline, decreasing our sense of trust, empathy, and connection to our neighbors, a trend that has come to epitomize our era. Reimagining the Civic Commons is a national effort initiative to demonstrate how public assets can once again drive prosperous, equitable, and connected communities. Working in Akron, Chicago, Detroit, and Memphis over the next three years, our charge is to help each community measure the social, economic, cultural, and environmental impact of their work. Building from our recent work on Philadelphia’s Rebuild initiative, we look forward to being partners in the work of the Civic Commons, developing new tools and methods for understanding the dynamics of public space, and discovering new ways of unlocking the potential of our common ground to revitalize communities. Reimagining the Civic Commons is made possible by the generous support of the JPB Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and local funders.

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