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Your October Useful Community Plus
October 07, 2021

This Month: Painted Intersections, Community Land Trusts, Vacant Lots, Inspiration!

Visit us at the Useful Community Development Website.

October, 2021

Hi there! A couple of online events in the next couple of weeks led us to accelerate our newsletter schedule for October. We aren't planning to email you every few days.

Enjoy the really wonderful examples of asphalt art collected by Smart Cities Dive. Commonly asphalt art means painting a street or intersection surface. Couldn't one of your streets really use some color? Check out the photos and be inspired to start fooling around in a photo app to see what would happen if you colored some asphalt in your town.

Smart Growth America has issued a new report on the economic benefits of form-based codes. (If this alternative to zoning or overlay of zoning is unfamiliar to you, our page introducing form-based codes is a valuable introduction.) See more about the "Zoned In" report, and a link to read it. In brief, places that adopt form-based codes, in which the form of the building is emphasized over the land use that occurs inside, were found to perform better economically. They will present a webinar on October 18.

If you are interested in keeping or making housing affordable, be aware of the first International CLT Festival that runs through December of this year. (CLT stands for Community Land Trust. For an explanation of this somewhat complex tool, see our page on urban community land trusts.) This European-led series of virtual events looks promising and already includes an event for rural U.S.A. next week. This has been a great reminder that we left our writing on rural community land trusts unfinished, so we hope to complete that before the next newsletter comes out!

So far in this young month, we answered one question:

How empty property registration relates to curb appeal

We've sent you this information before, but there are new subscribers and revised community needs all the time.

Smaller towns and communities could really benefit from seed project funding from Community Heart & Soul. They offer a $10,000 grant, requiring a $10,000 local match. You can do this! Even if you think the local match isn't feasible right now, visit their website, learn about their model, and embrace the hope that it offers.

The Chicago Architecture Biennial, an architecture exhibition with associated programming, changed its focus this year from downtown Chicago to challenged neighborhoods. The biennial will run through December 18 and features installations on vacant lots in 12 neighborhoods that need a lift. From Lincoln Park to Pilsen to Bronzeville, the architects offer intriguing ideas about enlivening these dead spaces.

Here's information about visiting the festival or reading the festival essay; our advice is take the self-guided tour if you can be in Chicago during that time frame. If you can't visit Chicago personally, watch for plenty of images to pop up on social media.

The next newsletter will be sent on a Thursday in November. Feel free to reply to us with comments. If you are asking a question you would like answered, please use the public-facing community development questions page on the website.

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