Blog Review

Over the years, I continue to follow websites, blogs and podcasts about urban planning and related topics – economic/community development, housing, transportation, public engagement and civic leadership.

These have maintained my passion in planning, and dramatically changed my mindset and motivation to start this blog.

This is another blog review, following a previous review of Strong Towns (https://placesense.net/2020/05/31/blog-review-strong-towns/).

Verdunity is a Dallas Texas consulting firm, started in 2011, motivated by Strong Towns founder Chuck Marohn writings.

The Name

The name comes from their vision, approach and company culture philosophy:-

“The ‘VERD’ portion of our name represents what inspires us:

Fiscally Productive Places

Natural Systems and Green Infrastructure

Economic Gardening and Incremental Development

The ‘UNITY’ represents where and how we work:

Communities and Neighborhoods

Locally-Led Initiatives

Partnerships

Verde + Community became Verdunity – a better future, by design.”

What They Do

They are not your typical planning and engineering firm. I know, having worked for two engineering firms as a planner. Talk about a duck out of water! What sets them apart is this (emphasis added):

“Verdunity provides progressive city leaders with fiscally-based planning, engineering and community engagement services that prioritize civic vitality and long-term sustainability over short-term results. Our core purpose is to ensure prosperity for everyone by helping communities build neighborhoods where people at all stages of life and means can survive and thrive.

We believe that the way we have been building our places is not sustainable, and that America’s approach to how we build our communities and neighborhoods must change – immediately. We are committed to leading this change through the work we do and the lives we lead.”

Credit: National Charrette Institute at MSU

Their core services:

COMMUNITY CONSULTING & EDUCATION SERVICES through
Workshops, Strategic Planning and Staff Augmentation

PLANNING SERVICES
Fiscal Models & Analysis, Comprehensive Plans, Downtown, Corridor and Area Plans, Neighborhood Revitalization Strategies and Citizen Led Implementation – Cultivate Community Program (CCP)

ENGINEERING SERVICES
Neighborhood Street Design, Site Development and Design, Active Transportation, Low Impact Development + Green Infrastructure

How they work

They spread the word (their passion and expertise) through the following venues:

Go Cultivate! Blog and Podcast, Workshops and Walkshops, Go Cultivate! Online Network, andUniversity Guest Lectures Keynotes & Presentations.

The Inspiration

The Blog/Podcast and the Online Network were my initial introduction, but the following captures why I joined and actively contribute to the Go Cultivate! Online Network (it’s free!):

Is your community struggling to find the resources to keep up with growing infrastructure, service and amenity needs and expectations? Do you feel like you’re spinning your wheels implementing policies and procedures you know won’t lead to the type of community your residents desire? Is there tension within your local government because you’re all coming from different starting points? Then you understand that business as usual is broken, and status quo has to go.

UMass Lowell Blog

I see this in my community as we continue to develop with no understanding of the implications, to the detriment of our environment and financial security. I now spread the word to my community’s elected leaders and planning staff that this cannot be sustained. COVID-19 is a harsh wake -up call for change, requiring bottoms up, collaborative process.

This likely reads like previous posts. But this other related blogs and research convinces me more than ever the need to do things differently and experiment, We can and must do better for our places.

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