First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Faith and Communities initiative aims to fight the childhood obesity epidemic by encouraging children to stay active and learn healthful habits. Elements of the Let’s Move campaign include empowering parents to set foundations for healthful lives, carving out time during and after school for physical activity and providing access to healthier foods. Safe Routes to School supports Let’s Move by providing knowledge on healthful habits as well as safer sidewalks within a community for children to use. To find out more about the Let’s Move initiative, visit http://www.letsmove.gov/.
Cape Girardeau, Missouri has received a grant from the National Safe Routes to School fund to improve local sidewalks and make traveling to school easier for children. They will use the $176,449.40 they have been awarded to create new sidewalks and add signs and lights around popular walking routes. As many of the public schools and the library are within close proximity to each other, the goal of the project aims to connect all these important buildings with clean, safe sidewalks. This project supplements major township renovations to many schools.
Feet First is a non-profit dedicated to improving walkability standards throughout Washington State. They offer tutorials and educational seminars on topics such as “Develop a Social Marketing Plan” and “Drop-off and Pick-up Zone Improvement Consultation”. They also provide maps of walking routes surrounding schools! Visit their website here!
America Walks and the National Center for Safe Routes to School have developed a webinar on succesfully recruiting and retaining support for SRTS events. The hour-long webinars will take place on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 at 1:00 pm and will feature talks from Wendi Kallins, Director of the Marin County SRTS Program, and Maria Lourdes Perez, Director of the Ceres Partnership for Healthy Children. Kallins will offer tips on gathering volunteers for your event as well as inciting continual enthusiasm among members. Lourdes Perez will the speak on effective ways to recruit non-English speaking parents. Register for this event here!
The Chicago Department of Transportation has developed an online resource to facilitate Safe Routes to School programs.
The Chicago Safe Routes to School Toolbox provides coordinators with ideas and guidelines for organizing and promoting events both within and outside the Chicago area. The Toolbox includes valuable educational, encouragement, and enforcement tips, as well as contact information and assessment worksheets. The Safe Routes to School Toolbox is available in hardcopy or can be downloaded here.
Developed by the Geographic Virtual Urban Environments (GeoVue) program at the University College of London’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA), MapTube is an online resource for sharing, viewing, and contributing to maps online. OpenLayers and OpenStreetMap are used as open source mapping tools as well as Google Maps. All maps are viewable to the public, but if you would like to overlay or “mash” maps, you need to create an online account.
The University of Maryland School of Architecture received a $500,000 federal grant from the United States Department of Commerce to map out university research projects in order connect researchers and students to technology-based job opportunities.
As co-principal investigator Scott Dempwolf states, “What this tool does is allow economic developers to explore how companies and people at universities are connected by different inventions and technologies by the place where they’re located, [and] that’s really useful in figuring out how to best support innovation.”
For more information on this 3D modeling and mapping project, visit the the Diamondback Online.
Source: Diamondback Online
Dar Es Salaam is one of the fastest growing cities in the world, so local authorities with support from the World Bank and Twaweza, a regional NGO, are using information and communication technologies (ICT) to document the Tandale Ward just west of the city’s center. Before the city begins building roads, streetlights, solid waste disposal facilities, and water drainage systems, students from the Ardhi University School of Urban and Regional Planning (SURP), Ground Truth (the creators of Map Kiberia), and residents of the Tandale are working to collect and map public data points using free and open source software and technologies such as Open Street Map.
Using these planning and mapping tools, cities in the developing world are moving toward sustainable futures in growth and development. As Joshua Goldstein from the World Bank concludes, the progress made in the Tandale Ward show how developing cities “can use low cost technology to create new opportunities for accountability, enable data-driven government policy making and create a more inclusive and open development process.”
What has come out of this project?
Interactive map of Tandale Ward
Ramani Tandale–a website that where community members can report community water, health, education, accessibility, and security concerns
On Saturday, September 10, 2011 the Franklin High School student group SOCIO (Scholars, Organizing Culturally Innovative Opportunities) went out into their community to document the conditions of sidewalks and crosswalks in Somerset, New Jersey around the Pine Grove Elementary School. Working with Dr. Wansoo Im and student volunteers from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, the SOCIO students then inputted the data they collected into an interactive map to assess the safety of walking routes to school.
The IMSOCIO team created a web-based interactive map, which can be viewed at www.imsocio.org/srts, that documents sidewalk, crosswalk and road conditions in the immediate area of Pine Grove Elementary School.
The walkability audit is an important step in making the community and township officials aware of the conditions of sidewalks and crosswalks and the extent to which these conditions are limiting students from walking or biking to school because of serious safety concerns.
The interactive mapping application and funding for this project were provided by VERTICES, LLC, a planning/IT consulting company in New Brunswick, New Jersey.