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Metroparks Toledo recently hosed an outdoor expo at Middlegrounds Metropark, a free peek at a few of the ways that locals can play in the sprawling park system. As they move ahead with plans to open two new city-centric green spaces next year, it’s also a way to extend a hand to a downtown community where they’re arriving as a relatively new neighbor. Some who attended the expo at Middlegrounds weren't just taking advantage of  the sunshine, they also wanted to let everyone know the outdoors are for everyone. Kelly Milewski, Environmental Education Specialist for Metroparks Toledo said "Even if you have a disability we want to put you in a tree or in a canoe just like anybody else would be able to. At our parks, we want to make sure everybody's inclusive, everybody's welcome, and everybody feels welcome here." Follow this link to read more. Sourced from: WTOL & The Toledo Blade
As city leaders pointed out with the release of NLC’s Housing Task Force report, American cities, towns, and villages are experiencing a severe shortage of housing for low-income residents. According to a new report from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, the supply of low-rent housing units has declined significantly since 2011. In all, approximately 4 million housing units renting for less than $800 per month have been lost, three-quarters of which vanished between 2014 to 2017. Each year, many of these affordably priced homes become unavailable to low- and extremely low-income families due to conversions from rental to ownership units or deterioration, or because expiring subsidies make affordable rentals eligible to be re-positioned as market-rate housing. Follow this link to read more. Sourced from: Cities Speak
According to the USDA, the U.S. wastes 30 to 40 percent of its food supply each year. In Franklin County, that amounted to 152,000 tons of food waste. The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio is looking to cut that number in half by 2030. One of their plans is to encourage "rightsizing" portions in employee training at local restaurants. This would reduce waste from restaurants that consistently over serve. Follow this link to listen to the discussion. Sourced from: WOSU 
Each year, the National League of Cities celebrates the cities with populations of 50,000 or less. Across the country, small towns, villages, and cities are the heartbeat of communities. While a large proportion of the United States continues to be urban, a growing majority of Americans live in small towns with populations between 2,500 and 50,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. These are the places where government is personal and strong foundations for community are built. Follow this link to read more. Sourced from: Cities Speak
For the first time in our country’s history, we are living in some of the most diverse communities. Our families span multiple generations and our cities, towns, and villages are catering to a variety of people’s needs. These generational needs invite an approach that values equity – an intentional process by leaders to create a playing field where all are welcomed. When cities, towns, and villages think about generational needs, it’s important to take into account the power dynamics that create systems, policies, and practices that advantage one group of people over another. Follow this link to read more. Sourced from: Cities Speak
On July 1 the City of San Francisco effected a ban on facial recognition technology—the first of its kind in the nation. Aimed at leading with transparency, accountability and equity, the ban passed as part of the city’s Stop Secret Surveillance Ordinance. While the city stopped testing facial recognition technology in 2007 and has not been using the software in the years leading up to the ban, this legislation is significant because it expands upon action taken by other cities to require board of supervisors approval for any law enforcement or city agency use or purchase of new surveillance technologies. It is also the first ordinance of its kind to specifically address facial recognition technology, which has seen increased use and controversy in recent years. Follow this link to read more. Sourced from: Cities Speak
Think of a tree-lined street in the midst of a busy city. It feels like something of a treasure: hushed, cool, and sheltered from noise and sidewalk glare. These leafy streets cannot afford to be seen as a luxury, argues a new report from The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Trees are sustainability power tools: They clean and cool the air, regulate temperatures, counteract the urban “heat island” effect, and support water quality and manage flow. Yes, they look pretty, but they also deliver measurable mental and physical health benefits to concrete-fatigued city dwellers. So with evidence to back up all the benefits of urban greenery, TNC set out to answer, in this report, the question of how cities can develop innovative financial structures and policies to plant more trees. Follow this link to read more. Soured from: Fast Company
The Morrill Act of 1862, signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln, granted federal land to states to support the development of America's first public universities. Land-grant institutions that were created include such prominent ones as Cornell, Maryland, Michigan State, MIT, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, Texas A&M, West Virginia University, Wisconsin, and the University of California, four dozen of America's largest and best public universities. Add to this historically black colleges and universities and tribal colleges, and the total comes to more than 110 institutions. Follow this link to read more. Sourced from: Governing 
Next Street wrapped up the first phase of the City of Columbus small business ecosystem assessment, a six-month project to better understand the state of small business in Columbus and provide a starting point for the city to define its role in supporting business owners. Mayor Andrew Ginther and the City of Columbus want to leverage small business to create more economic opportunities throughout the city. In a recent episode of Columbus Television’s City Chat, Next Street’s Stephen Nunes joined Henry Golatt from the city’s Office of Small Business & Entrepreneur Development to talk about the takeaways from the first phase of the assessment. Nunes and Mr. Golatt also speak to how they will continue to partner over the next several months to turn the research into an action plan. Follow this link to watch the interview. Sourced from: Next Street 
The city of Charlotte, North Carolina, welcomes approximately 100 new residents per day, making it the 9th fastest growing city in the country. And it’s no wonder: The city truly is, what some call, a “place of opportunity.” Charlotte is a hub for many things, most notable of which is jobs. The city boasts the second largest banking market in the U.S. and is home to many other top-notch industries and employers. But more importantly, Charlotte is a livable city, with a decent cost of living, a host of professional sports teams and an international airport that can fly you all over the world, from Rome to Hawaii. But like many other growing cities throughout the country, Charlotte has an inadequate supply of affordable housing and is experiencing rapid gentrification in many of their neighborhoods. Follow this link to read more. Sourced from: Cities Speak