What I follow To Keep Learning!

I “retired” in August, 2019, but prior to that and continuing now, is a lifelong interest (passion?) in urban/city, regional planning, This expanded to economic/community development – how communities can grow, and expand and sustain their economies., The foundation of this interest was geography, combined with history. In fact, history was my undergraduate major, followed by graduate school and a Master’s in City & Regional Planning. degree.

My next “learning” process was leadership, ingrained from a 38 year career in the US Army and Army National Guard. I somehow advanced to a senior (E-9, Command Sergeant Major) position, hopefully learning along the journey, observing what works and doesn’t in sometimes stressful conditions.

Leadership is need now more than ever in our communities, not only elected officials, but citizens and activists to make a difference.

COVID-19, as stated in prior posts, has questioned all my prior “learning” and experiences, but provides another opportunity to learn again and perhaps make a difference in my community.

Following below are a number of blogs, websites and e-newsletters I follow that provide inspiration for this blog, while helping to advance my learning.

Traditional sites, but changing

American Planning Association

Source: American Planning Association

This is my professional association for planning, a member since 1980 and obtained their professional certification in 1986 (American Institute of Certified Planners). This is the equivalent of a CPA for accountants. You qualify to take the test, after documented the appropriate education and years of experience requirements. Upon passing the test, you must then take courses each year to keep your certification current.


Source: Planetizen

This site compiles news and related data, and commentary about planning from around the US and abroad. The site has a blog, a Job Board and offer relevant on-courses. They provide up to date blog posts devoted to COVID-19, planning and community development responses and best practices. I have been a follower for over ten years.

Main Street America

Main Street America
Source: Main Street America

The National Main Street Center is a national organization that works to strengthen communities through preservation-based economic development in older and historic downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.

It was established as a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1980 as a way to address the myriad issues facing older and historic downtowns during that time. Today, there are over 2,000 communities across the country participating.

While this is a membership only program, access to some materials, studies, and best practices is available to the public. i have used this site to assist my local town as they pursue redevelopment of the downtown,

Focused sites, with new thoughts and ideas!

The next two sites were highlighted in previous posts. Both are and remain key sources of current trends and inspiration for this blog.

Strong Towns

See my May 31 post. I have followed this site for two years.

Strong Towns
Source; Strong Towns


See the June 14 post. I am active member in their Community Cultivators online community. I recently reached out to them for blog and podcast ideas.

Source: Verdunity, Dallas, TX,

Public Square, A CNU Journal

Source: Congress for the New Urbanism

This is a publication dedicated to illuminating and cultivating best practices in urbanism in the US and beyond, part of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU). I like their commentary and articles because it provides a variety of topics to improve “resilient places—places that people love” .

New Journalism

CityLab (Bloomberg)

Bloomberg purchased this site several months ago, but continue the original intent to post timely news and commentary across a cross section of issues, all part of a place – Design Culture Transportation Environment Economy Housing Justice Government. This feeds my interest in economic/community development.

A sister site is CityLab University, providing a series of focused articles to inform and educate about a variety of topics for better understanding of issues and processes affecting communities. A good example – Zoning Codes – “an overview of zoning and defines the key terms related to it in America, so you can better understand the rules that are shaping your city and neighborhood.”

City Observatory

Source: CityObservatory

This is a website and think tank, devoted to data-driven analysis of cities and the policies that shape them. The site writes about transportation, housing, gentrification, place making, economic opportunity, and industry clusters. It also posts about misconceptions about cities, break down the latest urban research, and highlight the innovative ideas that strengthen our communities.

Why These

These sites provide a variety of information, from different sources, consistent with my interests. More importantly, they capture the interconnections of issues, needs and policies that reflect the complexity of our places,

In this 24 hour media cycle, I read these, rather than the TV news. These are now more relevant as communities struggle for needed solutions for their local needs.

Finally, this feeds my need to keep learning, so perhaps I can contribute to solutions, rather then fixing blame.

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