Monday, March 5, 2012

The 2012 NAPC Conference: "Storytelling for Solutions"

The 2012 NAPC Conference -- and this blog -- are back!

It's been too long since I updated this blog, and for that, I'm sorry. It's my hope to do several posts leading up to the NAPC Conference, entitled "Storytelling for Solutions," and that you'll come back and visit often.

We're also going to fire up the Twitter feed (@N_A_P_C) again as well.

The NAPC Forward YouTube page should have some new additions as well.

It promises to be a great conference (and I'm not just saying that because I worked on the agenda) -- I hope you'll check it out today and register!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Our Dysfunctional Relationship with Hard Work

A big introduction for this is not necessary. Mike Rowe is the host of a Discovery Channel show called "Dirty Jobs".

He recently testified
before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Please watch his iReport video for CNN. Leave any thoughts you may have in the comments, or click here to email me.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Economic Update and Other Business

The New York Times tells us that we're looking at a strong jobs report in the U.S.

The United States economy added far more jobs than expected in April as the recovery continued to pick up steam.

The Department of Labor said Friday that 244,000 jobs were added last month after a gain of a revised 221,000 in March. The unemployment rate rose to 9 percent in April from 8.8 percent in March.

However, as we Dr. Heidi Shierholz told us at #NAPC11, there's still a very long way to go. (Find her PowerPoint here; find her latest video from the Economic Policy Institute here.)

Speaking of video, if you haven't already, take the time to watch some of our video vignettes from the 2011 NAPC Conference. You can also find a some interviews, a most of the conference presentations on the NAPC Forward YouTube page.

I'd love to keep that thing updated between now and the next conference. If you have some good video to upload, let me know and we'll work on it together.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Community Analyst - A Mapping Tool that Anyone Can Use

Hello all. If you have not seen it yet, please check out the new Community Analyst tool that was recently unveiled by esri.  This tool allows anyone, regardless of mapping experience, to develop interactive maps for your website where data for zip codes or census blocks is revealed to viewers as they scroll their mouse over the various areas.  The tool can also be used to create shaded maps to highlight concentrations of certain populations.  There are a variety of data linked to the mapping tool including the American Community Survey 2005-2009 estimates.  The beta version of Community Analyst is available for free for 90 days. I recommend that you at least try it on and pass it on to your colleagues.  This is invaluable for organizations that do not have staffers with GIS skills. 

Below is a map that I created using the tool that shows concentrations of the Hispanic population in Travis County, Texas by zip code. Darker reds indicate higher concentrations with the darkest red showing zip codes where Hispanics represent AT LEAST 40% of the population.  Just an example of what the tool can do.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

2010 Census Analysis from DuPage, Illinois

Great to see Phil Smith, Project Director for Human Services Planning at the DuPage Federation on Human Services Reform at #NAPC11, the 2011 National Association of Planning Councils Conference.

Phil has written up some information about demographic changes in the DuPage and West Cook, Illinois areas, and provided some interesting and informative visuals. Unfortunately, I was not able to upload his Excel spreadsheet due to the limitations of the Blogger software. You can email me here if you'd like to see it, or Phil has his contact information below.

There have been a number of stories in the local and the national media about the racial and ethnic demographic shifts indicated in the recent 2010 Census release. I have attached four files that provide additional detail on these shifts. The first three files are maps (produced by Ruth Anne Tobias at NIU) that show changes in the DuPage and West Cook area by municipality. They are fairly self explanatory, but note that the total percent change of the population of each municipality is also shown on the map to give additional perspective of the race/ethnic changes.

The fourth file is an extensive Excel workbook (with several tabs) that provides detail at the township level for Chicago and suburban areas. Note that I analyzed suburban Cook county as well as the West Cook area that is shown on the maps. There are two charts embedded in each tab. The first chart shows the change in the percent of the population for each race/ethnicity. As an example, if Hispanics made up 10% of a township's population in 2000 and 25% in 2010, the change is 15%. I believe that this more fairly shows the perceived change in race/ethnic make-up than showing the percent change in a population number (i.e., if the base is small, a large percent increase may not mean much). The second chart in each tab just shows the change in the numbers, which is also useful for seeing where people are moving to and from. All of the raw data for these charts are provided in the spreadsheets.

As an overall observation, it seems pretty clear that race and ethnic populations have been locating and moving around quite a bit. One big story in the Chicago region is the loss of population in Chicago (down over 200,000), and that a large portion of this (over 181,000) is a reduction of the Black population. Some media stories noted the large increases in the Black population in the south suburbs, but the attached numbers show that these increases only account for a little over one-fourth (26.6%) of the Chicago loss (see Rich, Thorton, Bloom, and Worth Townships). In fact, the increase in the Black population in all of the five counties in the attached analysis only accounted for 56.2% of the Black population loss in Chicago. So, the question is where did they all go? The answer is probably "everywhere." Another big story is about the increases in the Hispanic population, which appears to be occurring everywhere. Even the high-growth areas of Will and Kane Counties saw increases, not just in White population but in racially and ethnically mixed populations as well.

I hope you enjoy and/or find the attached information useful. Contact me if you have any questions or if there is any further analysis you would like me to do for you.

Phil Smith
Project Director, Human Services Planning
DuPage Federation on Human Services Reform
146 West Roosevelt Road
Villa Park, Illinois 60181
Tel: (630) 530-7802

This space is available to you! If you'd like me to post or re-post something you've produced in your organization, and it is pertinent to the work and mission of the NAPC -- or you think folks involved with NAPC would find it interesting, let me know. I'll be happy to consider it for posting here.

Monday, April 18, 2011

#NAPC11 -- Thank You For a Great Conference, NAPC!

Well, I made it home from what I called #NAPC11 -- that was our Twitter hash-tag as well, and since I was tweeting through the whole thing on behalf of NAPC, it was just easier to remember that.

The Conference -- formally entitled the National Association of Planning Councils 2011 Conference: Communities in Transition -- was amazing.

On Friday afternoon, we heard from Irv Katz, the Executive Director of the Human Services Assembly. He talked a lot about what we could call "the state of the union" with respect to human service organizations and planning councils.

As a communications guy, I found his remarks about the need to better market our collective message to be very interesting. More on this in a minute.

We also heard from Tom Pollak, the Program Director at the National Center for Charitable Statistics. He had to wait for us to go buy a projector -- a mission on which I gladly helped Claudia Gooch of The Planning Council in Norfolk, VA -- and was very gracious about the whole thing.

One of the great things about this conference is how much gets done in so little time.

On Saturday, there were three roundtable breakfasts, and unless you could figure out how to eat three breakfasts in a short amount of time, you had to pick between the Canadian Caucus (since we covered health reform in-depth this year, our Canadian friends... well, let's just say they realized they have a lot to be thankful for), the strategic use of public benefits, and disaster preparedness. I sat in on that one with my colleagues from Pinellas County at the Health and Human Services Coordinating Council, Joe Baldwin and Denise Groesbeck -- kind of in the name of Florida solidarity.

The morning got off to a lightning-speed start. Xiaoyi Huang (@XiaoyiH), an Assistant VP for Policy at the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, talked about implementing health care reform, and what local communities need to know.

Guess what came up?

That's right: messaging.

After Ms. Huang's little eye-opener, we went in to a panel on implementing health care reform, with Allen Lomax of the Community Indicators Consortium, Lauren Shirey of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, Candace King of the DuPage Federation on Human Services Reform, and Joe and Denise from the HHSCC.

Following that, there was a great Annual Meeting. Some folks spoke very eloquently about Browning Spence, who had been President of the NAPC. I was not one of them, and fumbled my way through some comments about a friend, colleague, and mentor who meant a lot to me, to the Juvenile Welfare Board, to the NAPC, to Pinellas County and Florida... and to his family.

We had the Annual Judith Rothbaum Award as well. The award recognizes excellence in using social indicators for community action. The Award is supported by the United Way of Central Oklahoma in honor of the late Judith Rothbaum. The winner this year was Joe Ahern of the Center for Community Solutions.

I'm not going to lie to you: one of the highlights of the event for me last year as well as this year is the economic report from Dr. Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute. I have to give her credit: she really tries to put a good face on things (hard to do in these economic times).

We also heard from Demetra Smith Nightingale of The Urban Institute. She had good information about what these sometimes confusing economic trends may mean for local planning.

Following that (I told you it was a long day) was a panel discussion led by John Begala of the Center for Community Solutions, Martha Blaine of the Community Council of Greater Dallas, Ben Warner of the Jacksonville Community Council, Inc., and Tracy Viselli of ACTion Alexandria.

Sunday was a pretty fantastic day as well. Phil Dessauer of the Community Service Council in Tulsa, Oklahoma led a book discussion of "The Watchman's Rattle -- Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction." Claudia Gooch, Ben Warner and other NAPC Members talked about indicators over breakfast as well.

In the 9:00 a.m. hour, we started talking about immigration (an issue with which I am woefully unfamiliar). I may have learned more from Margie McHugh at the Migration Policy Institute on this issue in about an hour than I ever have. And Frank Sharry of America's Voice talked a great deal about how you talk about immigration.

There's that messaging piece again.

Vanessa Sarria of the Austin Community Action Network moderated a great panel on local responses to immigration issues. Both Kate Hanley of the Tempe Community Council and Cheryl Little of the Florida Immigration Advocacy Center had remarkable stories to tell about immigration... and deportation.

After the conference ended, there was a NAPC Board Meeting.

I am pleased and honored to tell you I'm a Board Member -- and I've got some work to do.

The Board was good enough to entrust me to help put together our program for next year: NAPC 2012.

Pretty exciting stuff.

Three things I can tell you about it right now: I'll work day and night to help make sure it's as good an event as this year.

I'm going to engage good people like Katie Ross of JCCI, who did great work interviewing folks for our YouTube channel, and make sure they're involved next year.

And we're going to talk about messaging.

There is a lot to do before next April.

For now, though, I'm going to take a breath, and regain my bearings here in Florida.

After all, there's no place like home.

Friday, April 15, 2011

#NAPC11 Day One

A really interesting and informative first day here at #NAPC11 -- that the Twitter hash-tag you can use to find tweets from Ben Warner (@BenWarner ), me (@bkirby816) @JWBPinellas, @N_A_P_C, and others on the NAPC 2011 Conference: Communities in Transformation. I did a very brief vlog (that's "video log") of day one and have uploaded it to the NAPCForward YouTube channel. Watch for more great stuff to be uploaded to the YouTube channel soon. And follow along on Twitter: just find the #NAPC11 hash-tag (hint: you can search for it, and you'll find the tweets for all of us who are using it). Tomorrow is a full day -- see you there!