Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Urban News Vol. 50

For the 50th installment of Urban News, I'd like to take a look a very worthwhile program that not only helps stabilize at-risk neighborhoods, but also reintroduces the neglected trade school concept to area youth failed by mainstream educational programs. In addition, I've got some links from around the country on diverse topics related to urbanism and transit-oriented development.

by Gary McLendon, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Article Key Points:
  • VOA's Neighborhood Revitalization Program is teaching young adults home renovation skills
  • Participants work 40-hour weeks learning trades while earning $8 per hour
  • Participants also receive budgeting skills and resume writing training
  • The program is assisting homeowners by providing labor for minor repairs
  • Senior project manager hope to see a trickle-down effect on other similar properties
  • Program is funded by a $50,000 grant from RochesterWorks

Now this is an excellent way to serve two social deficiencies with potenially permanent benefits. One factor working against the improvement of impoverished neighborhoods is the absence of community standards with regard to property maintenance. Another is a lack of emphasis on education, and more specifically, education in an appliable line of work discouraged by curricula and modern culture.

While I consider other things that begin with 'trickle-down' to be arrogant insanity, I'm willing to give trickle-down home improvement a fair shake. Since moving to the city, I've invested in a new energy-efficient furnace, windows, and doors. The pride I have in my neighborhood and in the city manifests itself in my mind as a type of duty to keep my townhouse in excellent condition. I realize its easy for me to brag about capital improvements but no so simple to finance them. This is where a program like this picks up the slack. Something like window installation would be an excellent extension if bulk standard sized windows could be obtained from a factory direct supplier at a reasonable cost. It would also extend the benefits of the program into a 3rd social realm, that of improved efficiency/decreased energy use.

The following is a collection of links I rounded up today on New Urban themes, enjoy!

Just wanted to say that I'm making some good progress with my Sketchup rendering of the Humboldt-Winton corner site. I believe I'm going to turn that project into an interactive series of posts and take reader input into account. Hopefully the process will be interesting and informative.

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