NYC –> Shanghai, 29 days: Iowa Concerts and Sweet Corn

August 12th, 2013. 29 days.

Some of you may be wondering what exactly I’m doing in Iowa.

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Here’s a quick sneak peak. On the left is West Union, IA, population, 2500+ people. This is a pic of their new outdoor amphitheater. They were having a cool outdoor concert on it last Thursday. On the right is a new art sculpture in Woodbine, IA, population 1600+ people. Both have undergone amazing transformations (especially given their quite small populations) as part of the Green Pilot Community program directed by the Iowa Economic Development Authority – from facade redesigns, to rain gardens to geo-thermal energy systems!! This week was my “post” data collection visit – I visited both towns two years ago for about two weeks total for the “pre” data collection visit, before the projects had gone into full effect. I’ve mostly been focusing on “advanced” people watching (observing behavior patterns), interviews and focus groups this visit. But we will also do resident and business surveys, traffic observations, and of course, a State of Place assessment – the first before and after of its kind! So excited to measure the results of this now world-renowned project – although I can already tell you it’s had a sizable impact on the residents I visited with (that’s Iowa speak for interviewed) this week! What’s been most interesting about this experience is that the issues that these small towns struggle with RE sustainability (e.g. naysayers and NIMBYs, funding, education, participation, etc.) are not all that different from those that NYC faces, and even those that Shanghai faces! It’s all connected. We are all connected…

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