The U.S. Cities With the Most Leftover to Spend ... After Paying for Housing

Interesting article by Richard Florida in the Atlantic Monthly

The U.S. Cities With the Most Leftover to Spend ... After Paying for Housing

"The comments on my recent post on America's most economically advantaged metros got me thinking."

"The variation across metros is huge. In cities at the top of the economically advantaged list, the average person has between $3,500 and nearly $4,000 left at the end of each month after paying for housing. "

Click to read Richard Florida in the Atlantic Monthly.



Merry XMAS and/or Holidays Happy New Year

Merry XMAS and/or Holidays 

Happy New Year

Light bulb war a dim idea

AP Photo
Industry: Light bulb war a dim idea
Big Business usually loves it when the GOP goes to war over federal rules. But not when it comes to light bulbs.

This year, House Republicans made it a top priority to roll back regulations they say are too costly for business. Last week, the GOP won a long-fought battle to kill new energy efficiency rules for bulbs when House and Senate negotiators included a rider to block enforcement of the regulations in the $1 trillion-plus, year-end spending...

Click to read the article

Thanks to Chris Jornlin for sharing 


Income Inequality

File:Gini since WWII.svg

Income inequality is rising in the United States as shown by the graph above and a CBO study completed in 2011. Read the article on Wikapedia at:


The Beige Book


The “Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions by Federal Reserve District,” report commonly known as the Beige Book, is published eight times per year. Each Federal Reserve Bank gathers anecdotal information on current economic conditions in its District through reports from Bank and Branch directors and interviews with key business contacts, economists, market experts, and other sources. The Beige Book summarizes this information by District and sector. An overall summary of the twelve district reports is prepared by a designated Federal Reserve Bank on a rotating basis.


Hong Kong in Honduras

An ambitious development project aims to pull a Central American country out of its economic misery. Can it work?

TRUJILLO is a sleepy backwater, but one with a lot of history. The beautiful bay surrounded by lagoons and mountains on the northern coast of Honduras was where Christopher Columbus set foot on the American continent during his fourth voyage in 1502. But in a few decades, it might be known for something entirely different: being the Hong Kong of the West. Scores of skyscrapers and millions of people could one day surround the natural harbour. The new city could dominate Honduras, today one of the poorest and most crime-ridden countries in Central America, becoming a magnet for most of the region’s migrants.
The prospect may sound fantastic, but this is the goal of an ambitious development project that Honduras is about to embark upon. In a nutshell, the Honduran government wants to create what amounts to internal start-ups—quasi-independent city-states that begin with a clean slate and are then overseen by outside experts. They will have their own government, write their own laws, manage their own currency and, eventually, hold their own elections.
Thanks to Bill Whited for sharing.


Social Marketing

Social Marketing

Social Marketing is a low cost and effective way to market your organization, business or yourself. There are many different ways to use the internet and social marketing to promote your business and organization. The following is one way.

Start with a simple blog, which is short for web log. It is a simple web site. You try to make your blog interesting to your intended reader. You can just have entries originated by you, but it will probably be more interesting if you add content from other similar web sites. It takes a little time to figure how to do it, but essentially you are linking other similar web sites, blogs, twitter, facebook, linkedin and other sites to your blog. As they write new content it appears on your site. My examples below:

Simple One Page Blog:

More Complex Blogs: 

First step for you? Create your Blog. For blogging I prefer blogger.com which is free and part of google, but there are numerous other free and low cost services. You can get up and blogging in a few minutes, although it will take some time to learn the tricks. Try it, you will like it.

Start slow and easy.You can write many blogs if you wish. You may wish to have one that is just your resume or brochure that does not change very often.  My example is:

The address of the blog is a little long. You can purchase a .com address to make the address easier to remember, and have it automatically forward to your blog. This costs about $75 for ten years from GoDaddy or Google or other sources. My examples below:

After you have your blog up and running you will want to join other social networks which will compliment your blog. There are many different social networks. These are the ones I use.


Use the same or very similar name for all the systems. If you are marketing a company or yourself, use the name of the company or your name.

After you have your blog working, write a short blast on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin, directing people to the blog. Update all of them each time you write a new blog entry.

You will want to reach out and find others in your group and link with them. You want to let them know what you are doing without becoming obnoxious about it.

Use the blog as the main focus - Put information on the blog that your target audience will find interesting.  I use the other services to point people to the blog.

My Examples - And I am older then dirt. 
If I can do it  - you can. 

So simple even a cave man can do it.




Pictures are worth a 1,000 words. A photo of yourself can be used.  If you look like me, a distant fuzzy shot is best. I am a city planner, hence the map.

You can also use direct email to your contacts.  I usually just send a link to my blog to my contacts so if they are interested they can go to the blog, or if not, just delete the email.  You should send the email to an undisclosed@list.com with the actual addresses to a bcc address - that way spammers won't pick up the addresses and harass your email contacts.

It is your choice whether you use a simple email format or one with an attractive photo or letterhead - the attractive letter head looks nice but takes longer to open and will not work on everyone's computer.

Social marketing is evolving rapidly, but you can get underway quickly with no cost and a little effort. It takes a reasonably computer savvy person a couple of hours to get all this up and running, and then some time to develop a little skill.

The buttons at the bottom of the entry make it easy for people to send your blog address to their friends on Facebook, Buz, or Twitter. 
I will be glad to help you get going if you need help. Have fun.

309 634 5557

Urban Forests

Poor air quality leads to health problems according to the American Society of Landscape Architects. The video explains how urban forests provide environmental benefits.

"Urban forests reduce energy use by providing shade in the summer and wind breaks in the winter, reduce stormwater runoff, remediate soils, and provide animal and plant habitat."


Source: American Society of Lanscape Architects, December 15, 2011

Small Homes, Sustainability

Sustainability equals a smaller footprint - small homes, small cars. These are too small for most people. And of course if they are used as a second home they increase our footprint - not decrease it.



For six years, Dee Williams has been living in her tiny Tumbleweed home and championing the cause for the Small House Movement.
"I sold my big house and got rid of most of my stuff, limiting myself to about 300 things -- that was everything from heels and a toothbrush, a couple of dinner plates, and a two-ton jack. I then bought a set of plans from Tumbleweed. Four months later I had my tiny dream house."

Puget Sound Tranquility

"I have been living in the house for about a year now and absolutely love it. It is perfect for just one person, with the occasional visitor coming over for a cozy dinner around my tiny table. While most homeowners spend their own free time cleaning the house, my cleaning routine rarely takes 20 minutes. I am happy to have as much free time, friend time, and happy hour time as possible to myself!"
   -Brittaney Yunker, Homeowner at 25 years old

Read more here.

Tiny House Workshops

Join tiny house guru Jay Shafer as he describes how he's built over a dozen tiny homes. He walks you through the process from the foundation to the roof. Jay shares his personal stories of using a composting toilet, driving his house, and finding free places to live.

You'll also go in depth on the principles of designing a tiny house, and Jay gets hands on with your own designs - giving you personal advice for your specific needs. Learn more about the workshops.


Popular Tumbleweeds

89 sq feet
Construction Plans $859
Build-It-Yourself $19,950
Ready-Made House $45,997
117 sq feet
Construction Plans $859
Build-It-Yourself $21,250
Ready-Made House $49,997
750 or 847 sq feet, 2 or 3 bdrms
Construction Plans $695
Build-It-Yourself $49,000

Small House Book on sale
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Master Planning Institute - Department of Defense


The United States Department of Defense spends more than $10 billion annually on design and construction at its sites across the globe, making it the largest developer in the world. Installation planners play a key role in this development process and installation planning is increasingly important. Moreover, in light of global realignments, the DoD will task many installations with additional missions. Also, emerging threats require the application of appropriate Force Protection measures at all scales. And requirements for sustainable design add another layer of complexity to the planning process. 

Students who attend courses in the DOD Master Planning Institute will learn how to integrate planning history, theory, and application in their own work. They will learn how to make real plans, develop compelling graphics, and connect their planning efforts with DOD policies. These hands-on courses are appropriate for all DOD personnel and contractors interested in learning about the planning process and in learning ways to make and improve master plans.


Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation
Holidays in the Heart of Saginaw
Frank Lloyd Wright House Up For Auction
Pulling Up Stakes—and Foundations!
Great Ideas for Gifts
Video of the Month
December video
Featured Articles
December2011-Preservation-R.jpgPreservation Round-Up: Historic vs. Historical, and More
december-ice-cube.jpgIce Cube Talks LA, Urban Freeways, & Mid-Century Modernism
December-2011-Walkable-Neig.jpgLiving in a Walkable Neighborhood. Testify!
December-2011-Cupcake-Wars.jpgMain Street Round-Up: Cupcake Wars Edition
Connect With Us
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Preservation Magazine
Membership Matters
National Trust Members receive special rates and packages at our Historic Hotels of America. Join or give a gift membership today!
Learn More
Holidays in the Heart of Saginaw
One Saginaw, Mich., building has beaten the odds to become a successful model for neighborhood revitalization, and a destination for visitors and residents alike.

Pulling Up Stakes—and Foundations!
Sometimes historic property owners have to relocate entire houses to protect them from destruction. Learn more about some pros and cons of house moving. 

Frank Lloyd Wright House Up For Auction
The Laurent House in Rockford, Ill., was the only Frank Lloyd Wright residence originally commissioned to be wheelchair accessible. Now the 1950s house is up for auction. Read an interview with John Groh, founding member of the Laurent House Foundation, as he talks about the future of this gem.


Grassroots Planning

Can grassroots planning save what's best of a rapidly suburbanizing community?

Residents of Newton County, Georgia, started from scratch and learned as they went along — eventually finding the right kinds of help and resources.

Kaid Benfield, New Urban Network
 Rusty Tanton, creative commons license)

Not long ago, Newton, County, Georgia, was classic rural America:  a few small towns, some historic buildings, and a lot of farming.  But the county has had the good (or bad, depending on your point of view) fortune to be 30 miles from the center of one of the world’s most rapidly expanding cities, Atlanta.  And it is smack in the path of the tsunami of suburban sprawl that is emanating outward from the Georgia capital.

Click to read the article


XMAS Gift for the person who has everything.

Radio Controlled Flying Fish

Click to see the video

Closing Down Municipal Police Departments

A number of municipalities have closed down their police departments. The County usually takes over police enforcement. This lowers costs, but also results in less police in the community. This trend will likely continue as more municipalities face debt problems.

Click to read the article.


Border Wars

Interesting article on Chuck Eckenstahler's blog about economic development wars among States. We spend a lot of time and money in competition among governments seeking job producing investment.



Migration – Geographies in Conflict

Interesting article in the Urbanophile

Replay: Migration – Geographies in Conflict

"It’s an interesting puzzle. The “cool cities”, the ones that are supposedly doing the best, the ones with the hottest downtowns, the biggest buzz, leading-edge new companies, smart shops, swank restaurants and hip hotels – the ones that are supposed to be magnets for talent – are often among those with the highest levels of net domestic outmigration. New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Miami and Chicago – all were big losers in the 2000s. Seattle, Denver, and Minneapolis more or less broke even."