How the ICF Method Transformed Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
In the 2016 Intelligent Communities Awards, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada was named a Smart21 Community. To build further on this success, the city created a task force to examine Hamilton’s infrastructure, identify gaps in its digital strategy across the municipality, and develop an action plan to make Hamilton a destination for investment.Read more
No Place BUT Home - Part 9: The Boards of Madison Avenue
The Big Apple is the wrong name for New York this summer.
No one knows what will come to New York this autumn and beyond. It will not be the World Series, Tracy Letts’ new play or a fraction of our 65.2 million annual visitors. New York will not be as fine as apple pie by Columbus Day or Thanksgiving. These two holidays might not even be around by Christmas! Without its theaters, restaurants, museums and the everyday energy of vendors and street life, New York is a harsher, more hollow place, and no place for epicureans hungry for its unique slice of American culture.Read more
Have Open Access Networks Seen Their Day?
For the last two decades, there have been varying degrees of interest in the concept of an Open Access Network. What is Open Access? Some party, usually a local government, chooses to build a physical broadband network and then leases access to service providers who wish to connect subscribers.
The model is compelling because the municipality builds a physical network that de-risks service providers, who might otherwise not recognize a reasonable return on investment across the community. This promotes competition in services to the benefit of subscribers. Those economics led to the emergence of several successful Open Access Networks around the world. But today, when the COVID19 pandemic has made clear that broadband is an essential service, it’s quite possible Open Access Networks have seen their day.Read more
No Place BUT Home - Part 8: Heroine's Walk
She hears it every night precisely at 7:00 PM.
But tonight, she was running late for her shift and talking on her phone as briskly as she was scurrying to confront what is left of “The Beast” inside New York Presbyterian Hospital. She and her colleagues – and those of us shouting our thanks at her from balconies, windows & the street - have managed to put this son-of-a-bitch of a virus on the run and bend it with the authority of a blacksmith pounding hot steel to a more desired shape.
No Place BUT Home: Part 7 - Epicenter
“If you’re going through Hell, keep going,” Winston Churchill supposedly said.
For sure, we took that advice in New York. Some of us stayed here but kept going, grinding away in what now is recalled as an exhausting attempt to keep some shreds of the familiar life in the Great City close. But as a friend who left, returned for a few days recently but left again said, “Lou, I could not stay. It’s too heartbreaking.” Many left town to flee far away from what appeared to be Hell. The Epicenter is either the worst place to be or, for some, the only place to be. It depends on your core and your love of your town. You can leave it and still love it. I understand. I just have a hard time grasping or respecting it.Read more
The New Abnormal - A New Series from ICF Discussing the Post-COVID-19 World
We are living in this pandemic era of COVID19. We are all wary of the public realm. Spatial distancing is the new normal. Urban designers, planners and architects are all scratching their heads about what to do both in this rescue and recovery phase and what the reimaging phase might look like with limited resources available after this protracted period of economic decline.Read more
No Place BUT Home: Part 6 - The Tunnel at the End of the Light
It seems appropriate that the USS Comfort shoved off and left New York Harbor a hero and forever a part of the New York legend. It was also right that she left us in the damp, misty fog that engulfed the harbor and the city that day. She did leave behind a black swan, which she could not do anything more about. That is left up to us. Rain or shine, the Pandemic is still very much walking my streets and riding my beloved Q train like a hungry ghost and mass murderer who seems ready to appear at any moment in any household, apartment or CVS checkout line to devour.
Today, Sunday, is a spectacular day. But another strange one. There was no church and even God seems to be at home trying to figure it out. But I believe the governor of New York and the mayor of New York City when they say that the steady decline in new COVID cases and deaths has not happened because this virus is tiring. On the 64th day after the City of New York hung a “Closed for Business” sign, 789 new cases entered our hospitals and 280 New Yorkers died. And as the USS Comfort cuts through smoother waters on her way back to home port, the long trailer serving as a morgue in nearby Lennox Hospital is still double-parked right there. Alternate side of the street rules are not in effect.
COVID-19 Lockdown Finds Hudson, Ohio Prepared to Teach Online
Educational systems around the world are struggling to provide online learning to students who can no longer gather in schools. The challenges range from equipping and training teachers to teach online and adapting course materials to the availability of technology and connectivity, especially for low-income families.
We spoke with Rhonda Kadish, Community Relations Manager for the City of Hudson, about that two-time Top7 Intelligent Community’s learn-at-home strategy.Read more
No Place BUT Home: Part 5 - ". . . And This is a Long Day."
Since COVID came to town, I notice things when I wake up in the morning with an intensity and a clarity that wasn’t there weeks ago. When I look outside of my window, the “worldly dust,” as the Dali Lama once called it, has vanished. I see with terrible clarity. Everything seems illuminated. I have had these moments before. Twice. Both times Death was near and the illusive veil was pierced for me.
What do I see now? The parking garage attendant in a short sleeve shirt waiting for a car to pull in. Bright sunlight. Tulips in front of the Imperial House apartments.
Looking out of my window the world seems normal. There are no viruses flying around with spikes like those animated red balls with the nasty warthog look that the news shows concoct. Yes, there are people being put into refrigerated trucks each day at Lennox Hill Hospital, but you would not know the truck’s cargo unless you knew the truck as it rolled past.Read more
No Place BUT Home - Part 4: Dying Like Grandpa
On Good Friday the number of deaths in the state of New York totaled 7,067. By Easter Sunday morning the number was over 9,000. Today there are over 10,000. Each number is greater than the entire population of the village in rural Upstate New York where I was born, and where my ancestors are buried. I thought about that – and the fact that my street fruit vendor did not have her mask on yesterday when she sold me food – and I woke in the middle of the night sweating and nauseous.
Lyons, New York is 40 miles east of the City of Rochester, where ICF held its Smart21 Conference in October in what feels like another era. If there was any good on Friday, when we are reminded that if there were no Cross there would be “no Crown” to gather around, it was the report that for the fourth day in a row, the rate of new COVID-19 cases was lower. The field hospital at the Javits Center is more lightly populated with patients than we feared. New York is using data to manage the crisis, but the crisis remains deep. But we are managing. The curve is levelling. Our healthcare workers are worn to the bone like infantry soldiers on a Pacific jungle island in World War II. They have emerged as heroes – as heroic as the First Responders of 9/11 – and they continue to come from states like Kansas to be here to fight for us.