100. Celebrate the Best Week Ever: Best Wednesday Ever Block Party

“Cities fail and succeed at the scale of human interaction.” – Ethan Kent Many great opportunities to participate in the Best Week Ever will undoubtedly flood your emails and Facebook events all week.  While there are many reasons to love South Bend, I find no better reason than its people.  Our neighbors and community support…

99. Identify and Remedy Literary Deserts

Unite for Literacy in partnership with ESRI, has developed a nationwide heat map that shows locations of book deserts. Literary deserts — where children and parents lack access to quality books — are prevalent in low-income urban neighborhoods across the United States. From the look of South Bend’s literacy heat map (shown above), only the Granger area…

96. Plant More Flowers

“Though the word beautification makes the concept sound merely cosmetic, it involves much more: clean water, clean air, clean roadsides, safe waste disposal and preservation of valued old landmarks as well as great parks and wilderness areas. To me…beautification means our total concern for the physical and human quality we pass on to our children…

95. Rethink the Light Pole

Standard light poles come in all shapes and sizes. Often, the style of the light poles is used to convey location (historic districts use more historic looking fixtures).  Recently, grid free lighting has become increasingly discussed in municipalities because of the high cost to operate.  Occasionally, you might come across a wind or solar powered…

94. Display Public Art At Gateways

The City’s entrance gateways are the first impression people have of South Bend. Much effort has been made in improving the curb appeal of the City’s gateways, from the Roundabouts at the north and south ends of town to the West Sides Main Streets projects. Using art at the gateways has many benefits. First, the…

93. Establish A Street Typology for All Urban Streets

There’s a difference between roads and streets.  If you search for either on Google you get very different results.  Once we come to the conclusion that we want our streets to do more – have greater capacity for multimodal transportation, manage stormwater, calm traffic – there’s a myriad of infrastructure options that a city can…

91. Establish a Neighborhood Solar Co-op

What if an entire neighborhood had all of its electricity needs met?  Attractive place to live, right?  Now imagine the impact to a neighborhood previously high in “Vacant and Abandoned” property.  This sort of investment could systemically benefit the community.  Converting the residents from passive consumers of energy to active producers would be both empowering…

90. Create Energy Grants, like Facade Grants

The Downtown South Bend organization provides easy to access selection of grants, including exterior renovation grants, aimed at encouraging growth and vibrancy in the downtown area. While Indiana Michigan Power has its custom rebate program and NIPSCO has its energy efficiency programs, these can be daunting to try and navigate if you aren’t familiar.  Having a program similar…