Predictions for 2010: Round One

Predictions for 2010: Round One

Last year, we invited a few thinkers and leaders to make predictions for 2009. You can take a look back at some of the predictions for 2009 from Ben Adler here and from Carol Coletta here. This year, we reached out to many of our writers, friends and the members of the Next American Vanguard to see what they think 2010 holds for America’s urban areas. This is the first installment of the responses we got; check back next week for another round. We’d also love to hear your thoughts, which you can post in the comments section below. Here’s some food for thought:

If 2009 was the year of economic crisis and recovery in cities, what will 2010 be the year of?
What sort of projects/initiatives are underway in your city that will begin to show results in 2010?
Who do you think will emerge as a power player in your city, or in national urban affairs?
Why is there reason to be hopeful about our cities’ futures?

And now, the predictions:

Aaron Lande
Advocacy Associate, Sustainable Communities, U.S. Green Building Council

As the federal government continues to look into how to promote sustainability in our nation’s cities, there will be an evolving discussion of the definition of “sustainability” as it applies to cities. What does it mean to be a sustainable city?

Michael Freedman-Schnapp
Senior Policy Associate, New York Industrial Retention Network

Cities throughout the U.S. will attempt to create affordable housing out of stalled luxury projects, but the number of projects completed won’t be nearly enough to address the urban housing crisis.

A second round of federal stimulus leads to massive investment in low-carbon transportation systems and well-paying green jobs will sprout in cities across the U.S.

Lyz Crane
Director of Program Development, Partners for Livable Communities

I think that with the continued decline of funding and resources available to social and economic development interests in cities, there will be an increase in the number of cross-sector partnerships and that
they will ultimately prove to be more effective and efficient than older models of doing business.

Andrew Dahl
Assistant to the Economic Development Director for the City of Minneapolis.

2010 will be the year of energy efficiency. With few major economic development deals to look forward to, cities will launch varied energy efficiency programs to reduce their own expenses, free up discretionary income of their residents, and help their business’s bottom lines.

All major cities this year received an extra allotment of the CDBG through the Recovery Act, called the Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant, which can only be spent on fairly specific energy uses. Currently, cities are also competing for an extra, much larger, portion of these funds being distributed competitively. Here is Minneapolis’s plan.

I think this will be the big issue since there aren’t many other big deals to be had – companies aren’t expanding or relocating very much – and there’s less and less money available for
cities to spend on other ambitious projects. This is the one thing that’s well-funded and an easy sell. I think this nation-wide push will really transform the way cities do business, both within their own enterprises and in collaboration with other organizations. We’re working more closely now than we ever have with our utilities, unions, non-profits, banks, state government, even our neighbors in St. Paul.

Sylvie Gallier Howard
Independent Consultant, Consulting services in non-profit management, organizational capacity building and fundraising

2010 is going to be the reality check year for cities. Last year was the crisis year, but we also had stimulus funds to help patch some holes. Next year, cities and states will be balancing their budgets without the extra infusion. On top of it, unemployment will probably plateau at some point in 2010, so the needs will continue to have climbed. To put a positive spin on it, belt-tightening often contributes to community-building and an increased sense of solidarity. So hopefully next year will not only be a reality check, but also a year of increased civic engagement and collaboration.

Tags: governancenext city vanguardnext american city

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