Back to Back Issues Page
Your July Useful Community Plus
July 13, 2023

This month: Don't Be Boring, Much More

Visit us at the Useful Community Development Website.

On our travels this summer, we saw many worthy examples of urban and town design, which we will share in the coming months. This one from Copenhagen would brighten up a tunnel near you, don't you think?

Here are the new pages we've built on our website since the last newsletter. First, we finished a piece on power mapping for neighborhoods. This tool can help your neighborhood think through a campaign to change the minds of decision makers.

The rest of these are answers to questions from our readers:

What is a capital stack in housing development?

What happens if HOA rules contradict the deed restrictions?

New HOA enforces previously ignored setback

Is it appropriate for a city to shut off water because of a code violation?

Resident thinks Depue Illinois should change its name. (Do you agree?)

You might need to check out this timely look at various sources for air quality mapping in light of the wildfire smoke that's been irritating millions of community residents this summer.

If you need some new tools and perspectives on rural economic development, ChangeLab has published what they call a strategy brief on the topic. It's a little wonky, but community leaders will find inspiration for thought and action.

We enjoyed reading this thoughtful article on the real reason Americans are addicted to lawns. It might not be what you think.

An easy project to start community dialogue or just perk up the summer is asking people to shoot photos of their community for one hour and then gather afterward to look at the photos and discuss them. See the linked article for how one community did this.

Check out some interesting research on types of housing that are built most economically. This useful thought experiment found two "sweet spots" in density. This is worth a serious discussion among planning commissioners, housing advocates, and elected officials.

If you live in the U.S. Midwest, we recommend the very worthwhile Growing Sustainable Communities Conference, the largest and longest-standing sustainability conference in the Midwest. It will be held Tuesday, April 23, 2024 – Wednesday, April 24, 2024 in Dubuque, Iowa. To keep an eye on this one, email

We'll be back with the next issue of Community Development Plus on a Thursday soon. In the meantime, feel free to reply to this email if you have a comment. For questions, please use the public-facing page to ask your question. We answer them on a page that becomes viewable on our website.

Back to Back Issues Page