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A Door Opens For Albuquerque As It Wins Big Living Cities Grant

Industry: Commerical Building

Albuquerque recently selected for a $100,000 Living Cities Grant for long-range transportation, innovation, and job-growth strategies, which could attract millions more.

Albuquerque, NM (PRUnderground) June 1st, 2014

Albuquerque was recently selected for a $100,000 Living Cities Grant to support long term planning of transportation, innovation, and job-growth strategies.  Other recipients in this round of applicants included New Orleans, San Antonio, San Francisco and Seattle.  Past recipients have attracted nearly 19 million dollars as a result of receiving this grant.

Albuquerque received the $100,000 Integration Initiative grant from the New York-based Living Cities, Incorporated to plan out its long-term transportation, innovation and job-growth strategies.  Robin Brule, coordinator of the Living Cities effort from Albuquerque’s City Hall, says this is much more than $100,000.

“What this is really about is, ‘Ok, we’ve got this huge overarching goal: how do we figure out where are assets are, our key strengths, our key opportunities and where do we lift up where there are barriers or impediments to us achieving those things,’” says Brule, who is in charge of coordinating the Living Cities effort from City Hall.

The Living Cities concept brings together nearly two dozen of the largest international financial institutions and charitable groups, with the single idea of helping the nation’s urban core address its problems, plan strategically for the future and grow.

Living Cities boasts a sterling membership roster that includes the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Bank of America, among other participants.

In other words, for cities that win Living Cities’ ultimate approval, money isn’t a problem: five cities making it to the last round of the group’s process received between $12 million to $20 million each.

But in some ways, money isn’t the main issue: the Living Cities’ Integration Initiative, notes Nadia Owusu, is really about “creating opportunities for low-income people and improving the cities where they live.”

The Living Cities approach, continues Owusu, who is a senior associate with the group, places an emphasis on “investments, research, networks, and covenings,” all of which are designed to foster support for innovative and local approaches to real-city issues.

If it’s lucky, Albuquerque could join such past recipients as Minneapolis-St. Paul, which received $16 million through Living Cities for, among other things, developing transit-accessible affordable housing; or Detroit with $17 million for reusing vacant land and developing sustainable corridors; or Baltimore, which received $19 million for improving impoverished neighborhoods and focusing on job creation.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry said the initial $100,000 Living Cities grant is in response to the city’s focus on revitalizing its downtown, building a bus rapid transit system on Central Avenue, and the creation of the University of New Mexico’s “Innovate ABQ” initiative at the corner of Broadway Boulevard and Central.

In a statement, the Mayor added that the grant provides the city with what he called “an extraordinary opportunity” to bring leaders together “to address challenges and seek solutions right here at home.” FULL ARTICLE HERE.

For more information on Albuquerque’s Living Cities Grant project contact Breanna Anderson, Deputy Director of Communications at the Albuquerque Mayor’s Office at (505) 768-3037 or bre@cabq.gov.

 

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