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Created and Called

August 14, 2014 No Comments 5

(This is the third post in a series from contributor Jim Mullins on environmental stewardship. Read Part 1 and Part 2.) Environmental stewardship isn’t an elective reserved for the granola Christians, but it’s an integral part of being human—and being obedient to God. Plants, animals, and humans are all created by God, but are distinct. They are not the same thing, nor do they carry the same amount of value. Humans are unique among the created order, because humans are image bearers of God. Many people resist the idea of environmental stewardship, because they would rather spend their time, talents, and treasure “helping people rather than trees.” This is a false dichotomy for a number of reasons. First, humans need trees in order to survive, so to plant a tree is to care for other people. (This will be the focus of the next post in this series.) Second, humans were created as stewards of God’s creation. To care for plants, animals, water, and land is an integral part of our experience as humans, as image-bearers. Ignoring our call from God to care for the earth is actually de-humanizing. Genesis 2:15 says, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” From this verse we see that creation care is a vital part of being human, a reason why we were created. We have been given the privilege of not just looking out for our own interests, but for seeking the flourishing of every creature in God’s garden. We see God’s concern for creation, and his mandate for his people to care for creation, reflected not only in the mandates of Genesis 1 and 2, but also in many of the laws he gave to his people. For example, scripture explicitly commands: To not pollute the land:...

(This is the third post in a series from contributor Jim Mullins on environmental stewardship. Read Part 1 and Part 2.) Environmental stewardship isn’t an elective reserved for the granola Christians, but it’s an integral part of being human—and being obedient to God. Plants, animals, and humans are all created by God, but are distinct. They are not the same thing, nor do they carry the same amount of value. Humans are unique among the created order, because humans are image bearers of God. Many people resist the idea of environmental stewardship, because they would rather spend their time, talents, and treasure “helping people rather than trees.” This is a false dichotomy for a number of reasons. First, humans need trees in order to survive, so to plant a tree is to care for other people. (This will be the focus of the next post in this series.) Second, humans were created as stewards of God’s creation. To care for plants, animals, water, and land is an integral part of our experience as humans, as image-bearers. Ignoring our call from God to care for the earth is actually de-humanizing. Genesis 2:15 says, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of...

(This is the third post in a series from contributor Jim Mullins on environmental stewardship. Read Part 1 and Part 2.) Environmental stewardship isn’t an elective reserved for the granola Christians, but it’s an integral part of being human—and being obedient to God. Plants, animals, and humans are all created by God, but are distinct. They are not the same thing, nor do they carry the same amount of value. Humans are unique among the created order, because humans are image bearers of God. Many people resist the idea of environmental stewardship, because they would rather spend their time, talents, and treasure “helping people...

(This is the third post in a series from contributor Jim Mullins on environmental stewardship. Read Part 1 and Part 2.) Environmental stewardship isn’t an elective reserved for the granola Christians, but it’s an integral part of being human—and being obedient to God. Plants, animals, and humans are all created by God, but...

(This is the third post in a series from contributor Jim Mullins on environmental stewardship. Read Part 1 and Part 2.) Environmental stewardship isn’t an elective reserved...

(This is the third post in a series from contributor Jim Mullins on environmental stewardship. Read Part 1 and Part 2.) Environmental stewardship isn’t an elective reserved for the granola Christians, but it’s an integral part of being human—and being obedient to God. Plants, animals, and humans are all created by God, but are distinct. They are not the same thing, nor do they carry the same amount of value. Humans are unique among the created order, because humans are image bearers of God. Many people resist the idea of environmental stewardship, because they would rather spend their time, talents, and treasure “helping people...

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Interview: Kimber Lanning of Local First Arizona

August 7, 2014 No Comments 11

Kimber Lanning has been part of the localist movement for a long time, certainly back before it was cool. She founded Local First Arizona in 2003 and continues to serve as Executive Director, tirelessly working to cultivate strong, vibrant communities and inspire a higher quality of life in metro Phoenix and throughout Arizona. She has recently been named the winner of the 2014 Citizen Leadership Award from the International Economic Development Council. As Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said, “This award is a milestone in a changing economy, one that is now recognizing the work of Local First Arizona and other Local First initiatives as a viable part of economic development.” I spoke with Kimber about the localist movement, what motivates her to do her work, and what she hopes Phoenix will look like five years from now and further down the road. FP: I think it’s safe to say you're already speaking to a sympathetic audience, but give us the elevator speech anyway. Why local? KL: Buying local is about empowering people with their dollars. We’re teaching people that three times more of the money stays in the local community when they choose to spend locally. In addition, jobs are created when the local shop owner hires a local graphic designer, web developer, or payroll service provider. We need to be mindful that the way we spend our money directly impacts quality of life in the community where we live. FP: It seems one of the challenges you might face is the idea that buying local is a lifestyle novelty for those who can afford it. Can you debunk that notion? KL: There are a lot of different ways to go local. And of the things I’d like to highlight is our new program, Fuerza Local. It’s an accelerator program for entrepreneurship for low income Latinos....

Kimber Lanning has been part of the localist movement for a long time, certainly back before it was cool. She founded Local First Arizona in 2003 and continues to serve as Executive Director, tirelessly working to cultivate strong, vibrant communities and inspire a higher quality of life in metro Phoenix and throughout Arizona. She has recently been named the winner of the 2014 Citizen Leadership Award from the International Economic Development Council. As Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said, “This award is a milestone in a changing economy, one that is now recognizing the work of Local First Arizona and other Local First initiatives as a viable part of economic development.” I spoke with Kimber about the localist movement, what motivates her to do her work, and what she hopes Phoenix will look like five years from now and further down the road. FP: I think it’s safe to say you're already speaking to a sympathetic audience, but give us the elevator speech anyway. Why local? KL: Buying local is about empowering people with their dollars. We’re teaching people that three times more of the money stays in the local community when they choose to spend locally. In addition, jobs are created when the local...

Kimber Lanning has been part of the localist movement for a long time, certainly back before it was cool. She founded Local First Arizona in 2003 and continues to serve as Executive Director, tirelessly working to cultivate strong, vibrant communities and inspire a higher quality of life in metro Phoenix and throughout Arizona. She has recently been named the winner of the 2014 Citizen Leadership Award from the International Economic Development Council. As Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said, “This award is a milestone in a changing economy, one that is now recognizing the work of Local First Arizona and other Local...

Kimber Lanning has been part of the localist movement for a long time, certainly back before it was cool. She founded Local First Arizona in 2003 and continues to serve as Executive Director, tirelessly working to cultivate strong, vibrant communities and inspire a higher quality of life in metro Phoenix...

Kimber Lanning has been part of the localist movement for a long time, certainly back before it was cool. She founded Local First Arizona in...

Kimber Lanning has been part of the localist movement for a long time, certainly back before it was cool. She founded Local First Arizona in 2003 and continues to serve as Executive Director, tirelessly working to cultivate strong, vibrant communities and inspire a higher quality of life in metro Phoenix and throughout Arizona. She has recently been named the winner of the 2014 Citizen Leadership Award from the International Economic Development Council. As Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said, “This award is a milestone in a changing economy, one that is now recognizing the work of Local First Arizona and other Local...

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Befriending the Friendless

August 4, 2014 No Comments 4

Observed from the outside it may seem to be nothing more than an otherwise familiar and perhaps even banal philanthropic engagement: feeding the homeless on the grounds of an urban church. But for Larry Garcia, pastor of Academia Church in Goodyear, it is an opportunity to embody the goodness and grace of God’s kingdom. Just as Jesus sat down and ate with the personae non gratae of his day—tax collectors, sinners, women of questionable morals—so also Garcia and friends associated with his ministry have been getting together every Saturday afternoon in the gymnasium at Bible Baptist Church in Phoenix, which has agreed to make its centrally located facility available for weekly use. But Garcia and friends don’t simply show up to feed the hungry; they sit and eat with them too. As Garcia told me, he’s not interested in evangelizing the homeless—many of whom are already Christians—nor in offering them advice about “fixing” their lives. Rather, he simply wants to show goodwill to those who, more often than not, may simply be passed by and ignored. It’s about stretching out a welcoming hand, showing a warm smile, and listening to whatever they may have to say, if they wish to say anything at all. nemes2-1000 “Jesus calls us to love the poor,” Garcia says. “So this is in obedience to Jesus’ mission and call.” But for Garcia, it has become something more. “A lot of people think that we’re doing something for them, but in many ways it rehumanizes us as well,” he says. “It works both ways: we help and we’re helped.” One of the more impressive aspects of this meal ministry—which is simply referred to as HOPE—is the quality of food provided. Sometimes the HOPE team will prepare the meal on the spot, as the gymnasium is...

Observed from the outside it may seem to be nothing more than an otherwise familiar and perhaps even banal philanthropic engagement: feeding the homeless on the grounds of an urban church. But for Larry Garcia, pastor of Academia Church in Goodyear, it is an opportunity to embody the goodness and grace of God’s kingdom. Just as Jesus sat down and ate with the personae non gratae of his day—tax collectors, sinners, women of questionable morals—so also Garcia and friends associated with his ministry have been getting together every Saturday afternoon in the gymnasium at Bible Baptist Church in Phoenix, which has agreed to make its centrally located facility available for weekly use. But Garcia and friends don’t simply show up to feed the hungry; they sit and eat with them too. As Garcia told me, he’s not interested in evangelizing the homeless—many of whom are already Christians—nor in offering them advice about “fixing” their lives. Rather, he simply wants to show goodwill to those who, more often than not, may simply be passed by and ignored. It’s about stretching out a welcoming hand, showing a warm smile, and listening to whatever they may have to say, if they wish to say anything at...

Observed from the outside it may seem to be nothing more than an otherwise familiar and perhaps even banal philanthropic engagement: feeding the homeless on the grounds of an urban church. But for Larry Garcia, pastor of Academia Church in Goodyear, it is an opportunity to embody the goodness and grace of God’s kingdom. Just as Jesus sat down and ate with the personae non gratae of his day—tax collectors, sinners, women of questionable morals—so also Garcia and friends associated with his ministry have been getting together every Saturday afternoon in the gymnasium at Bible Baptist Church in Phoenix, which has agreed...

Observed from the outside it may seem to be nothing more than an otherwise familiar and perhaps even banal philanthropic engagement: feeding the homeless on the grounds of an urban church. But for Larry Garcia, pastor of Academia Church in Goodyear, it is an opportunity to embody the goodness and...

Observed from the outside it may seem to be nothing more than an otherwise familiar and perhaps even banal philanthropic engagement: feeding the homeless on...

Observed from the outside it may seem to be nothing more than an otherwise familiar and perhaps even banal philanthropic engagement: feeding the homeless on the grounds of an urban church. But for Larry Garcia, pastor of Academia Church in Goodyear, it is an opportunity to embody the goodness and grace of God’s kingdom. Just as Jesus sat down and ate with the personae non gratae of his day—tax collectors, sinners, women of questionable morals—so also Garcia and friends associated with his ministry have been getting together every Saturday afternoon in the gymnasium at Bible Baptist Church in Phoenix, which has agreed...

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From Microbes to Mexican Wolves

August 1, 2014 1 Comment 3

(This is the second post in a series from contributor Jim Mullins on environmental stewardship. Read Part 1.) You wake up, eat some eggs for breakfast, spend time reading scripture, take a shower, put on clothes, get into your car, and drive off to work or school—all of this before 8 AM. God is the owner of the chicken that laid those eggs for your breakfast, the tree from which the paper in your Bible was made, the water that poured through your shower drain, the soil of the cotton farm that provided fabric for your t-shirt, and the air outside of your car’s exhaust pipe. Everything belongs to God. It’s his, not ours. This is the first thing we must acknowledge if we are to be faithful stewards of his creation. It’s important that we watch documentaries, read statistics, and reflect on the very specific issues that are connected to the condition of the earth. However, we must first and foremost understand why we should care for the environment. There are many robust theological reasons for this, but we must start with the reality that the world belongs to God, not us. We get the privilege of being stewards. Two Dangers Rivers, trees, soil, and animals are good, but they are not God. Centering our lives around any of these things is what the Bible calls idolatry and this greatly dishonors God. When discussing topics like environmental stewardship, it’s vital to acknowledge the distinction between the creation and the Creator. However, a lack of respect and care for creation is often the fruit of a different kind of idolatry: self-worship. Instead of idolizing nature, we end up worshiping ourselves, acting as if we are the owners of the world and we can do whatever we want with the physical creation. This is a human-centered view of...

(This is the second post in a series from contributor Jim Mullins on environmental stewardship. Read Part 1.) You wake up, eat some eggs for breakfast, spend time reading scripture, take a shower, put on clothes, get into your car, and drive off to work or school—all of this before 8 AM. God is the owner of the chicken that laid those eggs for your breakfast, the tree from which the paper in your Bible was made, the water that poured through your shower drain, the soil of the cotton farm that provided fabric for your t-shirt, and the air outside of your car’s exhaust pipe. Everything belongs to God. It’s his, not ours. This is the first thing we must acknowledge if we are to be faithful stewards of his creation. It’s important that we watch documentaries, read statistics, and reflect on the very specific issues that are connected to the condition of the earth. However, we must first and foremost understand why we should care for the environment. There are many robust theological reasons for this, but we must start with the reality that the world belongs to God, not us. We get the privilege of being stewards. Two Dangers Rivers, trees, soil, and...

(This is the second post in a series from contributor Jim Mullins on environmental stewardship. Read Part 1.) You wake up, eat some eggs for breakfast, spend time reading scripture, take a shower, put on clothes, get into your car, and drive off to work or school—all of this before 8 AM. God is the owner of the chicken that laid those eggs for your breakfast, the tree from which the paper in your Bible was made, the water that poured through your shower drain, the soil of the cotton farm that provided fabric for your t-shirt, and the air outside of...

(This is the second post in a series from contributor Jim Mullins on environmental stewardship. Read Part 1.) You wake up, eat some eggs for breakfast, spend time reading scripture, take a shower, put on clothes, get into your car, and drive off to work or school—all of this before 8...

(This is the second post in a series from contributor Jim Mullins on environmental stewardship. Read Part 1.) You wake up, eat some eggs for breakfast,...

(This is the second post in a series from contributor Jim Mullins on environmental stewardship. Read Part 1.) You wake up, eat some eggs for breakfast, spend time reading scripture, take a shower, put on clothes, get into your car, and drive off to work or school—all of this before 8 AM. God is the owner of the chicken that laid those eggs for your breakfast, the tree from which the paper in your Bible was made, the water that poured through your shower drain, the soil of the cotton farm that provided fabric for your t-shirt, and the air outside of...

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6 Tips for Thriving in Arizona this Summer

July 29, 2014 No Comments 29

The rates at chic Scottsdale resorts start to fall out of the stratosphere. Our friends from Canada and the Midwest disappear. You can golf at world-class courses for less than the cost of a meal at Chipotle. You start to hyperventilate when your electric bill arrives. Yes folks, it is summertime in Phoenix. The only happycampers are liberated school children and families who are actually “camping” in Hart’s Prairie or the beautiful White Mountains. For many Phoenicians, summer is about endurance. Suffering from heat exhaustion, we stare at the calendar, hoping that winter will come soon. We know that when January comes, the Valley temperatures will be the envy of the nation. I’m not here to argue that Phoenix isn’t hot. But I am going to propose six strategies for enjoying—not just surviving—summer in the Valley. Here we go: 1. Take a lesson from the Spaniards. Enjoying a late afternoon siesta, people in Spain re-emerge on the streets in the late evening for food, festivities, and community. Muy inteligente? I think so! This adjusted life-schedule could easily revolutionize the rest of your summer. Your late afternoon nap will give you the rest you need to enjoy the cooler evening hours. What to do with newly acquired evening energy? Perhaps you could enjoy a night hike, go bowling, or have a fierce water balloon fight with friends in your backyard! 2. Refuse the temptation of heat “isolation.” If you’re not careful, the toasty Phoenix weather can turn even a socialite into a homebound hermit. Whether on foot, driving, or on mass transit, traveling around the valley in August to meet up with friends can be a sweaty endeavor. However, don’t let this be your excuse to spend your entire weekends alone binging on Netflix. Resign yourself to the warmth and make plans to be out with...

The rates at chic Scottsdale resorts start to fall out of the stratosphere. Our friends from Canada and the Midwest disappear. You can golf at world-class courses for less than the cost of a meal at Chipotle. You start to hyperventilate when your electric bill arrives. Yes folks, it is summertime in Phoenix. The only happycampers are liberated school children and families who are actually “camping” in Hart’s Prairie or the beautiful White Mountains. For many Phoenicians, summer is about endurance. Suffering from heat exhaustion, we stare at the calendar, hoping that winter will come soon. We know that when January comes, the Valley temperatures will be the envy of the nation. I’m not here to argue that Phoenix isn’t hot. But I am going to propose six strategies for enjoying—not just surviving—summer in the Valley. Here we go: 1. Take a lesson from the Spaniards. Enjoying a late afternoon siesta, people in Spain re-emerge on the streets in the late evening for food, festivities, and community. Muy inteligente? I think so! This adjusted life-schedule could easily revolutionize the rest of your summer. Your late afternoon nap will give you the rest you need to enjoy the cooler evening hours. What to do with...

The rates at chic Scottsdale resorts start to fall out of the stratosphere. Our friends from Canada and the Midwest disappear. You can golf at world-class courses for less than the cost of a meal at Chipotle. You start to hyperventilate when your electric bill arrives. Yes folks, it is summertime in Phoenix. The only happycampers are liberated school children and families who are actually “camping” in Hart’s Prairie or the beautiful White Mountains. For many Phoenicians, summer is about endurance. Suffering from heat exhaustion, we stare at the calendar, hoping that winter will come soon. We know that when January comes,...

The rates at chic Scottsdale resorts start to fall out of the stratosphere. Our friends from Canada and the Midwest disappear. You can golf at world-class courses for less than the cost of a meal at Chipotle. You start to hyperventilate when your electric bill arrives. Yes folks, it is summertime...

The rates at chic Scottsdale resorts start to fall out of the stratosphere. Our friends from Canada and the Midwest disappear. You can golf at...

The rates at chic Scottsdale resorts start to fall out of the stratosphere. Our friends from Canada and the Midwest disappear. You can golf at world-class courses for less than the cost of a meal at Chipotle. You start to hyperventilate when your electric bill arrives. Yes folks, it is summertime in Phoenix. The only happycampers are liberated school children and families who are actually “camping” in Hart’s Prairie or the beautiful White Mountains. For many Phoenicians, summer is about endurance. Suffering from heat exhaustion, we stare at the calendar, hoping that winter will come soon. We know that when January comes,...

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7 Ways to Ensure Food Security in Our Community

July 22, 2014 2 Comments 5

The other day I received a newsletter from the Association of Arizona Food Banks. The statistics listed rattled me—a reminder that it is good to use the tiny bit of soap box power I have to discuss this increasingly serious social issue. One in five Arizona adults is hungry, and the rate is even higher for kids—one in four. In other words, they do not know where their next meal will come from. This means some 1.17 million people in our state are living meal-to-meal. Seniors. Babies. The working poor. That’s a lot of folks, and it is easy to be overwhelmed. A few simple ways you can help with food security in your community— regardless of where you live: 1. Find a local food bank and volunteer. Do what they need most. Maybe it is marketing, or sorting shelves. Maybe you are a great writer and can help with grants. 2. When you grocery shop, make a habit of buying an extra jar of peanut butter and can of tuna. These are inexpensive staples that are always in need. 3. See if your state hunger association has a tax credit program. In Arizona, you can donate up to $400 to AAFB and get the full amount back toward your state taxes. So, you give $400 to them and the state essentially matches it. Win/win. 4. Plant a garden. Find a place to donate a bit of your harvest. Produce is a luxury for families used to eating out of food boxes. 5. Consider keeping staples in your car to distribute, in lieu of money for homeless folks. These bags may include a bottle of water and a granola bar. 6. When you go out to eat, box up half of your meal for the guy sitting on the corner. Or—take it home and don’t be wasteful. Only...

The other day I received a newsletter from the Association of Arizona Food Banks. The statistics listed rattled me—a reminder that it is good to use the tiny bit of soap box power I have to discuss this increasingly serious social issue. One in five Arizona adults is hungry, and the rate is even higher for kids—one in four. In other words, they do not know where their next meal will come from. This means some 1.17 million people in our state are living meal-to-meal. Seniors. Babies. The working poor. That’s a lot of folks, and it is easy to be overwhelmed. A few simple ways you can help with food security in your community— regardless of where you live: 1. Find a local food bank and volunteer. Do what they need most. Maybe it is marketing, or sorting shelves. Maybe you are a great writer and can help with grants. 2. When you grocery shop, make a habit of buying an extra jar of peanut butter and can of tuna. These are inexpensive staples that are always in need. 3. See if your state hunger association has a tax credit program. In Arizona, you can donate up to $400 to AAFB and get the...

The other day I received a newsletter from the Association of Arizona Food Banks. The statistics listed rattled me—a reminder that it is good to use the tiny bit of soap box power I have to discuss this increasingly serious social issue. One in five Arizona adults is hungry, and the rate is even higher for kids—one in four. In other words, they do not know where their next meal will come from. This means some 1.17 million people in our state are living meal-to-meal. Seniors. Babies. The working poor. That’s a lot of folks, and it is easy to be overwhelmed....

The other day I received a newsletter from the Association of Arizona Food Banks. The statistics listed rattled me—a reminder that it is good to use the tiny bit of soap box power I have to discuss this increasingly serious social issue. One in five Arizona adults is hungry, and the...

The other day I received a newsletter from the Association of Arizona Food Banks. The statistics listed rattled me—a reminder that it is good to...

The other day I received a newsletter from the Association of Arizona Food Banks. The statistics listed rattled me—a reminder that it is good to use the tiny bit of soap box power I have to discuss this increasingly serious social issue. One in five Arizona adults is hungry, and the rate is even higher for kids—one in four. In other words, they do not know where their next meal will come from. This means some 1.17 million people in our state are living meal-to-meal. Seniors. Babies. The working poor. That’s a lot of folks, and it is easy to be overwhelmed....

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Tempe on the Rise

July 21, 2014 No Comments 2

Ray Stern, staff writer for the Phoenix New Times, has written a fascinating piece called Tempe Rising: The Landlocked College Town Explodes with New Development—as Planned. Stern takes a look at how Tempe has evolved over the years, with consideration for what the future may hold. He explores a bit of Tempe's history—including how it came to be land-locked—and takes a look at the role Tempe Town Lake is playing in the city's "smart growth" approach to urban development. Here's an excerpt: Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell, wearing a hardhat and orange vest over his business attire, stands on a platform overlooking construction workers 100 feet below, showing a time-lapse video of the site on a smart phone to a few reporters and fellow council members. "Wait 'til you see the haboob!" he yells over the noise with a smile. The dust storm he references is a blip in the fast-forward scenes of the rising Marina Heights—the extensive digging, the laying of concrete, the skyward eruption of one of the main towers. Mitchell, son of Harry Mitchell, is having a spate of good luck as a politician. He's mayor at a time when the hard work of those who came before him is paying off. He takes on the expected jubilant attitude during the tour of the State Farm site. "This is a boom!" he says of new crop of construction cranes across his city. "But it's just the beginning. This will benefit generations to come." You can read the full story...

Ray Stern, staff writer for the Phoenix New Times, has written a fascinating piece called Tempe Rising: The Landlocked College Town Explodes with New Development—as Planned. Stern takes a look at how Tempe has evolved over the years, with consideration for what the future may hold. He explores a bit of Tempe's history—including how it came to be land-locked—and takes a look at the role Tempe Town Lake is playing in the city's "smart growth" approach to urban development. Here's an excerpt: Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell, wearing a hardhat and orange vest over his business attire, stands on a platform overlooking construction workers 100 feet below, showing a time-lapse video of the site on a smart phone to a few reporters and fellow council members. "Wait 'til you see the haboob!" he yells over the noise with a smile. The dust storm he references is a blip in the fast-forward scenes of the rising Marina Heights—the extensive digging, the laying of concrete, the skyward eruption of one of the main towers. Mitchell, son of Harry Mitchell, is having a spate of good luck as a politician. He's mayor at a time when the hard work of those who came before him is paying off. He takes...

Ray Stern, staff writer for the Phoenix New Times, has written a fascinating piece called Tempe Rising: The Landlocked College Town Explodes with New Development—as Planned. Stern takes a look at how Tempe has evolved over the years, with consideration for what the future may hold. He explores a bit of Tempe's history—including how it came to be land-locked—and takes a look at the role Tempe Town Lake is playing in the city's "smart growth" approach to urban development. Here's an excerpt: Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell, wearing a hardhat and orange vest over his business attire, stands on a platform overlooking construction workers 100 feet...

Ray Stern, staff writer for the Phoenix New Times, has written a fascinating piece called Tempe Rising: The Landlocked College Town Explodes with New Development—as Planned. Stern takes a look at how Tempe has evolved over the years, with consideration for what the future may hold. He explores a bit of Tempe's history—including...

Ray Stern, staff writer for the Phoenix New Times, has written a fascinating piece called Tempe Rising: The Landlocked College Town Explodes with New Development—as Planned. Stern...

Ray Stern, staff writer for the Phoenix New Times, has written a fascinating piece called Tempe Rising: The Landlocked College Town Explodes with New Development—as Planned. Stern takes a look at how Tempe has evolved over the years, with consideration for what the future may hold. He explores a bit of Tempe's history—including how it came to be land-locked—and takes a look at the role Tempe Town Lake is playing in the city's "smart growth" approach to urban development. Here's an excerpt: Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell, wearing a hardhat and orange vest over his business attire, stands on a platform overlooking construction workers 100 feet...

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Good Things Are Happening Here

July 21, 2014 No Comments 6

Over the past few years, since joining the Arizona Cardinals, I have been fortunate enough to live in Phoenix. As I settled in and got to work with the team, little by little I got to know my new city. I found some new favorite restaurants, I made new friends, and found a church community to belong to. But even though I called Phoenix home, I’ve since come to realize I hadn’t yet really seen Phoenix for what it is. It wasn’t until I broke my leg and was sidelined from the game that I really began to explore this city. And you know what I discovered? I found out that good things are happening here. With the help of my friends at EVB Live, I traversed just about every corner of the Valley as part of Sam in the City, discovering fascinating new places and meeting the people who make our city great. Whenever possible, I did what I could to be part of it. I ate some crazy food and learned about wolves at the Arizona State Fair. I spent some time reading with kids at UMOM New Day Center. I got to know some remarkable kids with autism at St. Dominic Savio Academy in Tempe. I cooked food for breast cancer survivors at Sapporo in Scottsdale. And then there was the Phoenix Open golf tournament, the Barrett-Jackson auto auction, baseball spring training… and I could go on and on and on. No doubt about it—good things are happening here. And that’s why I’m so excited about Flourish Phoenix. This is a storytelling project all about encouraging, inspiring, highlighting, and celebrating the people, organizations, and events that together make this city great. I couldn’t be more excited to be in Phoenix—a city that is flourishing in many ways, but one that can flourish even...

Over the past few years, since joining the Arizona Cardinals, I have been fortunate enough to live in Phoenix. As I settled in and got to work with the team, little by little I got to know my new city. I found some new favorite restaurants, I made new friends, and found a church community to belong to. But even though I called Phoenix home, I’ve since come to realize I hadn’t yet really seen Phoenix for what it is. It wasn’t until I broke my leg and was sidelined from the game that I really began to explore this city. And you know what I discovered? I found out that good things are happening here. With the help of my friends at EVB Live, I traversed just about every corner of the Valley as part of Sam in the City, discovering fascinating new places and meeting the people who make our city great. Whenever possible, I did what I could to be part of it. I ate some crazy food and learned about wolves at the Arizona State Fair. I spent some time reading with kids at UMOM New Day Center. I got to know some remarkable kids with autism at St. Dominic...

Over the past few years, since joining the Arizona Cardinals, I have been fortunate enough to live in Phoenix. As I settled in and got to work with the team, little by little I got to know my new city. I found some new favorite restaurants, I made new friends, and found a church community to belong to. But even though I called Phoenix home, I’ve since come to realize I hadn’t yet really seen Phoenix for what it is. It wasn’t until I broke my leg and was sidelined from the game that I really began to explore this city. And...

Over the past few years, since joining the Arizona Cardinals, I have been fortunate enough to live in Phoenix. As I settled in and got to work with the team, little by little I got to know my new city. I found some new favorite restaurants, I made new friends, and...

Over the past few years, since joining the Arizona Cardinals, I have been fortunate enough to live in Phoenix. As I settled in and got to...

Over the past few years, since joining the Arizona Cardinals, I have been fortunate enough to live in Phoenix. As I settled in and got to work with the team, little by little I got to know my new city. I found some new favorite restaurants, I made new friends, and found a church community to belong to. But even though I called Phoenix home, I’ve since come to realize I hadn’t yet really seen Phoenix for what it is. It wasn’t until I broke my leg and was sidelined from the game that I really began to explore this city. And...

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The Power of Murals

July 18, 2014 No Comments 0

Sarah Goodyear writes for CityLab about a large-scale art project in a Brooklyn neighborhood as a way of considering what murals might accomplish beyond beautifying the neighborhood: From the sidewalk, Patrick Dougher watched the girl as she studied the painting, which looked so fresh it might still have been wet. Dougher is the program director of Groundswell, a nonprofit organization that creates murals all around New York City with teams of artists and young apprentices. “That’s what I love about where this one is,” says Dougher. “It’s a bus stop. Think how many hundreds of people are going to see it every day.” Visibility is key for Groundswell’s projects, and its work in Brownsville—a neighborhood most often tagged with words such as “tough” and “troubled”—is no exception. The vivid image on the wall on that corner is the most outward expression of the positive effect that Groundswell hopes to have on this perennially underserved community, home to more public housing projects than any other New York neighborhood and plagued by a persistently high crime rate. One in 12 young Brownsville men between the ages of 16 and 24 is in prison. The work began last year when Groundswell, in partnership with the NYC Department of Probation and the Pitkin Avenue Business Improvement District, won a National Endowment for the Arts grant of $100,000 for “Transform/Restore: Brownsville.” The two-year project will ultimately create five new murals in Brownsville, enlisting crews of young people to come up with the concepts for the art, design the murals to fit the allotted spaces, and then make them a reality. Some of the youth, who work under the supervision of Groundswell artists, are on probation, while others are Groundswell veterans who were originally referred to the program by teachers or community organizations. About 40 probationers will be involved by project’s end. The...

Sarah Goodyear writes for CityLab about a large-scale art project in a Brooklyn neighborhood as a way of considering what murals might accomplish beyond beautifying the neighborhood: From the sidewalk, Patrick Dougher watched the girl as she studied the painting, which looked so fresh it might still have been wet. Dougher is the program director of Groundswell, a nonprofit organization that creates murals all around New York City with teams of artists and young apprentices. “That’s what I love about where this one is,” says Dougher. “It’s a bus stop. Think how many hundreds of people are going to see it every day.” Visibility is key for Groundswell’s projects, and its work in Brownsville—a neighborhood most often tagged with words such as “tough” and “troubled”—is no exception. The vivid image on the wall on that corner is the most outward expression of the positive effect that Groundswell hopes to have on this perennially underserved community, home to more public housing projects than any other New York neighborhood and plagued by a persistently high crime rate. One in 12 young Brownsville men between the ages of 16 and 24 is in prison. The work began last year when Groundswell, in partnership with the NYC Department of Probation...

Sarah Goodyear writes for CityLab about a large-scale art project in a Brooklyn neighborhood as a way of considering what murals might accomplish beyond beautifying the neighborhood: From the sidewalk, Patrick Dougher watched the girl as she studied the painting, which looked so fresh it might still have been wet. Dougher is the program director of Groundswell, a nonprofit organization that creates murals all around New York City with teams of artists and young apprentices. “That’s what I love about where this one is,” says Dougher. “It’s a bus stop. Think how many hundreds of people are going to see it every day.” Visibility is...

Sarah Goodyear writes for CityLab about a large-scale art project in a Brooklyn neighborhood as a way of considering what murals might accomplish beyond beautifying the neighborhood: From the sidewalk, Patrick Dougher watched the girl as she studied the painting, which looked so fresh it might still have been wet. Dougher is the program...

Sarah Goodyear writes for CityLab about a large-scale art project in a Brooklyn neighborhood as a way of considering what murals might accomplish beyond beautifying the neighborhood: From the...

Sarah Goodyear writes for CityLab about a large-scale art project in a Brooklyn neighborhood as a way of considering what murals might accomplish beyond beautifying the neighborhood: From the sidewalk, Patrick Dougher watched the girl as she studied the painting, which looked so fresh it might still have been wet. Dougher is the program director of Groundswell, a nonprofit organization that creates murals all around New York City with teams of artists and young apprentices. “That’s what I love about where this one is,” says Dougher. “It’s a bus stop. Think how many hundreds of people are going to see it every day.” Visibility is...

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Are Cities Becoming More Like Villages?

July 18, 2014 No Comments 0

It's no secret that more and more people around the world are living in cities. Some choose dense urban areas for the amenities and lifestyle options available there. Others follow job opportunities. In some parts of the world, it's not uncommon for people to flee natural or manmade disasters in the rugged countryside, hoping to find a better life in the city. Whatever the reason, cities continue to grow. Despite everything new city dwellers may stand to gain, however, one significant casualty is a sense of trust. In big cities especially, we're conditioned not to trust strangers. And when we're surrounded almost exclusively by strangers, as many of us are, trust is very difficult to build. But if you ask Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, all of that stands to change. Uri Friedman of The Atlantic has summarized a talk Chesky recently gave at the Aspen Ideas Festival, in which he described this trend as "the Internet moving into your neighborhood." Friedman writes: Now, he argues, trust, mediated by technology, is making a comeback, along with the paradigm of the village. It's what's motivating millions of people in tens of thousands of cities around the world to book lodging with semi-screened strangers through his service. Choose your buzzword: the sharing economy, the peer-to-peer economy, the trust economy. Whatever you call it, it's what's propelled not just Airbnb, but also new car services like Uber and Lyft and labor services like TaskRabbit. In other words, the proliferation of these technology-driven tools that help us navigate life in big cities around the world are also helping to re-instill a sense of trust among people. Friedman goes on to make this interesting observation: What I find most interesting, though, is that Chesky sees village-like networks sprouting in cities at a time when urbanization is also going in the polar opposite direction. More than half of the world currently...

It's no secret that more and more people around the world are living in cities. Some choose dense urban areas for the amenities and lifestyle options available there. Others follow job opportunities. In some parts of the world, it's not uncommon for people to flee natural or manmade disasters in the rugged countryside, hoping to find a better life in the city. Whatever the reason, cities continue to grow. Despite everything new city dwellers may stand to gain, however, one significant casualty is a sense of trust. In big cities especially, we're conditioned not to trust strangers. And when we're surrounded almost exclusively by strangers, as many of us are, trust is very difficult to build. But if you ask Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, all of that stands to change. Uri Friedman of The Atlantic has summarized a talk Chesky recently gave at the Aspen Ideas Festival, in which he described this trend as "the Internet moving into your neighborhood." Friedman writes: Now, he argues, trust, mediated by technology, is making a comeback, along with the paradigm of the village. It's what's motivating millions of people in tens of thousands of cities around the world to book lodging with semi-screened strangers through his service. Choose your...

It's no secret that more and more people around the world are living in cities. Some choose dense urban areas for the amenities and lifestyle options available there. Others follow job opportunities. In some parts of the world, it's not uncommon for people to flee natural or manmade disasters in the rugged countryside, hoping to find a better life in the city. Whatever the reason, cities continue to grow. Despite everything new city dwellers may stand to gain, however, one significant casualty is a sense of trust. In big cities especially, we're conditioned not to trust strangers. And when we're surrounded almost exclusively...

It's no secret that more and more people around the world are living in cities. Some choose dense urban areas for the amenities and lifestyle options available there. Others follow job opportunities. In some parts of the world, it's not uncommon for people to flee natural or manmade disasters in...

It's no secret that more and more people around the world are living in cities. Some choose dense urban areas for the amenities and lifestyle...

It's no secret that more and more people around the world are living in cities. Some choose dense urban areas for the amenities and lifestyle options available there. Others follow job opportunities. In some parts of the world, it's not uncommon for people to flee natural or manmade disasters in the rugged countryside, hoping to find a better life in the city. Whatever the reason, cities continue to grow. Despite everything new city dwellers may stand to gain, however, one significant casualty is a sense of trust. In big cities especially, we're conditioned not to trust strangers. And when we're surrounded almost exclusively...

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