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EP 59: Street Photography, the City and You

After a little downtime, we're back -- and let's pick up with a fun one. On this episode, we continue our quest for ways to better connect with or figure out the city you're in -- whether it's your hometown or a place you've never been before. Here, we're documenting and learning the secrets of the city through street photography, as guided by notables from around the world. Hear from Craig Reilly (Street Photography International co-founder, Olympus ambassador), Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin...


EP 58: The Map Is Wrong

The FCC's map of broadband availability in the U.S. is a basis for policymaking, funding decisions and planning to close service gaps for communities. But what if we told you that map, as many can testify, is pretty inaccurate? How? Why? What's the fallout, here? As fast internet service increasingly solidifies itself as necessary infrastructure, it's vital we have accurate data to shape our policymaking and funding decisions. So what's going on here? We dig in on this episode. (Stick...


EP 57: 'We Can't Arrest Our Way Out of This'

A little while back, we began talking with police chiefs for a video series on what they're doing to tackle the surging opioid problem locally -- and sat upright at the different approaches of chiefs Tom Bashore in Nashville, N.C., and Bill Hollingsed in Waynesville, N.C. They're seeing results, even as one of the chiefs said this approach initially was out of his comfort zone. So we made an episode to explain it all, step by step. (This joins with the video series and other resources now...


EP 56: The Best Food Delivery Ever

We revisit the intersection of drones, local government and public need with a trip to Holly Springs, North Carolina, a small town innovating nationally with a pilot project to see commercial food delivery by way of drone. As you can imagine, it's stuffed with logistical and policy questions. Sushi delivery in Iceland Holly Springs press release Timeline, "Forget self-driving car anxiety: In the early days...


EP 55: Games Over Gangs (Encore)

Here's an encore of a favorite: Games Over Gangs. Those dang video games. Can't pull the kids away from them. And there's one city using that to its advantage -- with an innovative partnership that's actually teaching video game development to local youths from a rough neighborhood (yes, they jumped at the offer to become game developers), affording them a break from an anxious environment and setting them up with a sweet professional skill that can open big doors: computer coding, which has...


EP 54: A Day at the Beach (The Wild Intersection of Gov't and Summer Vacation)

It's summer, and beach towns all along the coast are each receiving thousands and thousands of visitors from across the U.S. Take Atlantic Beach, N.C., for example. It has a year-round population of about 1,500, but in the summer months that number surges to roughly 50,000. How in the world does such a small community -- with limited staffing and resources -- prepare for that? How can it provide adequate services, like police or even enough public water, amid outsize demand? What's the...


Episode 53: Back Into the Alley

Muni Replay! Here's one of our most popular episodes. Meanwhile, we're headed to the coast to record a special live episode, which we'll bring you soon! When you think of downtown alleys, what comes to mind? Bad associations, maybe? The place to avoid at night? Ever since childhood, Americans have had the general impression that alleyways are dark, dirty, dangerous -- the right setting for noir crime stories. And that might often be the case. But some U.S. cities are starting to embrace...


EP 52: Driverless Cars 2

Let's catch up on driverless cars, shall we? Last year, we did a primer on autonomous vehicles and policy implications, but it seems like a lot can change in short time with this technology. What's the latest? How does the public feel about it? What are some example scenarios of how we as people might interact with autonomous vehicles in our day-to-day? Brooks Rainwater of the National League of Cities has the research and joins us to flesh it out. NLC report, "Autonomous Vehicles: Future...


EP 51 - City Hall Beat

The local media landscape is pretty fluid right now: extinct or shrunken newspapers, online-only outlets, freshly grown media entities that may or may not be objective. What's all this mean for local government? Is a reliable, objective media purely about watchdog dynamics? What about when local government needs to get its messages out? What happens when the local government IS the news source? It's too big a topic to solve on a podcast episode, but it's worth the talk. Episode 44: Chief...


Preview of Episode 51

A preview of Episode 51.


EP 50: Talking Dialects

For our 50th episode, we're taking a break from the frequent talk of policy, economics and technology to tour the local dialects of the United States, the spoken identifiers of a city or region. Why do people in Chicago, or St. Louis, or the Outer Banks of North Carolina sound the way they do? What's in a voice? And what's happening that's changing those dialects or accents forever? Walt Wolfram and "Talkin' Tar Heel" - Edward McClelland and "How to...


Preview of Episode 50

A preview of Episode 50.


Episode 49: Bee Downtown (Rebroadcast with Updates)

***REBROADCAST with UPDATES*** We've all heard about the hard times that honeybees are going through and the huge implications for us all. But how do cities fit into all this? There's a surprising compatibility between cities and bees, and a role local governments can play. This episode comes just ahead of National Pollinator Week (June 19-25, though some honor it all month). To celebrate, we're joined by Bee Downtown, Bee City USA, and other voices covering the North Carolina cities of West...


EP 48: Bridging the Urban-Rural Divide

Of all the political, economic and cultural concerns of today, the “urban-rural divide” is no slouch. But sometimes it’s oversimplified, devoid of nuance, or turned into an adversarial narrative (i.e. “urban vs. rural”), instead of carefully analyzed for greater-good fixes. On this episode, we delve into a recent report that pulls apart that narrative and gives us a different way of looking at this “divide,” and shows us how urban and rural may be more linked than one might think. Christiana...


Preview of Episode 48

Out on April 17. Thanks.


EP 47: Leaping the Digital Divide

The people say it's time to close the broadband gap, and really find a way to make internet speeds adequate for the modern age, for everyone, from areas in cities where the service isn't enough, to rural areas that lack access altogether. A new report shows us how to get there. On this episode, we hear from the report's authors along with state- and local-level leaders who endorse the plan as essential to connect residents with the gigabit pace of the world. Full report this episode was...


Preview of Episode 47

A preview of Episode 47. Look for it April 3.


EP 46: Doggonomics

How do dogs figure into economic development? It's no joke. Ask the analysts who take economic vitals from man's best friend. Ask the industries that profit majorly from pet ownership. Or ask the Town of Benson, which em-barked on a dog-focused project to fetch economic bone-efits. Quartz piece connecting dogs and economic development - Dog elected mayor -...


Let's Hear Your Feedback and Ideas (New Episode Next Week)

We'll be back with a new episode next week, but I'm also working on a a lot of other episodes and new ideas. I want to hear from you on what should be different about this podcast, as we've been doing it for a couple years now and it's time to solicit comment. Feel free to keep sharing ideas for episodes while you're at it. Thanks. -Ben


EP 45: Crime as a Public Health Issue

When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looks into the ailments of a particular community, it’s safe to assume the concern is infection or some similar local threat to human bodily health. So when the CDC started investigating the youth violence plaguing Wilmington, Del. -- a first-of-its-kind study -- it was different. But not inconsistent. Increasingly, communities and their governments are reframing their approaches to crime, by considering it a treatable public health...