Category: Future-Proofing Cities — Series by AJ Fawver

Culture Shifts Require Being, Not Doing

It is often said that getting things done is about less talking and more doing. I know I have been guilty of using that as a mantra on a regular basis. However, what if we adopted a new mantra? Something along the lines of “less doing and more being”? Hear me out on this. I … Continued

Rethinking Optics

These days, there are so many things done in local government that are all about perception. Perhaps it’s the way they “pivot” in response to an unexpected turn of events. Maybe it is striking the right “tone” in the language they use as advised by the public information staff. In some cases, it is the … Continued

Why Your City Might Be Failing at Public Engagement — And How to Do Better

During the many years I spent in city government, there were hundreds of conversations that revolved around one central frustration: the lack of attendance at public engagement events and the lack of responsiveness from the community. Trust me, many of the staff doing the work of putting together plans and ordinances are not excited to … Continued

Simplicity in Four-Steps

There is a never-ending supply of theories on how government should operate and function. Philosophies and theories are constantly evolving. Meanwhile, cities continue to struggle with cohesion, consensus, and execution. A lack of continuity and consistent practices are a frequent complaint of residents, and the pet projects of the few replace the needs and desires … Continued

Being Busy is Not Equivalent to Being Successful

Governments are often obsessed with quantifying and measuring. The rationale makes sense; after all, how better to determine performance and effectiveness? In an industry that is known for both tangible and intangible results, an understanding is crucial. This is further demanded by a desire for accountability and transparency by citizens, the need to evaluate programs … Continued

Skillful Stewardship in Times of Crisis

If there ever were a time to focus on ways to “future-proof” cities, COVID-19 certainly presented it. City governments are being tested, and frustrations and fears are everywhere. It is sobering to consider what daily life will look like six months from now. Nevertheless, we must move forward. This is not a dissertation on how … Continued

Real Talk about Residential

Cities aren’t cities without people. That’s, of course, why residential zoning makes up such a large part of every community. The talk of 2019 in planning circles largely focused on single-family zoning reform that made headlines in cities like Minneapolis and Seattle and led to sweeping changes in states like Oregon and Virginia. The realization … Continued

Aligning Actions with Purpose

When you work in a city, you know all about purpose, right? After all, there’s a purpose statement in every ordinance, every plan, every department. They are part of our budget books, our preambles, and the parts that rarely get read. Over decades, cities adopt plans and codes under the most honorable of intentions. Then, … Continued

Planning & Shaping Cities With AJ Fawver

This is a new monthly blog by AJ Fawver, the Planning Director in Amarillo, Texas. She’ll share her perspectives on land use, planning, and community development in this series. Learn more about AJ from her GovLove interview! You can access all of the posts in the series and learn more about AJ on the Future-Proofing Cities … Continued

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