January 13, 2017

Is there a formula to make cities recession-proof?

Get inspired by these three stories on innovation and ingenuity in America

Analysis showed that Austin, Texas, had ample employment and earning opportunities since the Great Recession. Photo by Flickr user Jeremy Keith.

Road to recovery: Nearly a decade since the start of the Great Recession that gripped the country, and with a new era about to begin in Washington, the personal finance website WalletHub released its study on the most recession-recovered cities in the U.S. Analysts looked at 18 key economic indicators—from unemployment and homeownership rates to the inflow of college-educated workers and the number of businesses—and analyzed the change between pre- and post-recession levels in 505 cities of varying sizes. Texas dominates the list, with the top spots in the large, mid-size, and small city categories with Austin, Brownsville, and Midland, respectively. Is there a formula for making cities “recession proof”? Marylin P. Watkins of the University of Washington told WalletHub, “People want to live and work in places with good schools, strong infrastructure, and vibrant cultural and business districts.” Other factors included: reliable public transit, safe drinking water, community centers, and living wages. Cities that were deemed least recession-recovered include Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Detroit.

Chopping food waste in half: In 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency announced a goal to cut in half the amount of food waste the country produces by 2030. One of the first steps in the plan is to educate Americans on how to reduce food waste, starting with the launch of a new online hub, FurtherWithFood.org. A partnership between 12 organizations, the new site will feature best practices for preventing waste, research, and information on government and community initiatives to combat the problem. According to the USDA, the U.S. wasted nearly half of the food it produces. “Curbing the enormous amount of food loss and waste in this country would help put food on the table for people in need, conserve natural resources, and make space in families’ food budgets for healthier choices,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press release.

Civic engagement 101: Arlington County, Virginia, sits just across a river from the seat of the most powerful levels of government in the country in Washington, D.C. But county officials want to encourage its citizens to exercise their own power to effect change in their community. Now in its 18th year, Arlington County is accepting applications for its Neighborhood College, an eight-week program for locals who want to learn how to become a community advocate and get involved in county government. Civic engagement is the lifeblood of Arlington,” said Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette. “The Neighborhood College program helps people who are passionate about our community and their neighborhoods better understand the County’s processes, and learn skills that will help them work effectively for constructive change.”

Margaret Myers

Margaret Myers

Margaret Myers is the editor of The Renewal Project.