CFC status update & things to do
An update on the current status of the US Carfree City (CFC) project. A possible plan for the future. Suggestions of areas where individuals can help.
Here are my thoughts about where things are right now, and some areas where I think we can use help. I also highlight issues that may need addressing.
David Ceaser and Gus Yates are the main guys behind the project to this point, so David or Gus, please correct things if my suggestions are contrary to your plans.
A review of the general strategy for the project :
The first goals:
To demonstrate to lending institutions and decision-makers that there is a large number of people actively interested in creating and living in a carfree city
To provide a mechanism for those people to have input to the location and design of the carfree city
Can be addressed through the web site and advertising and are the purposes of a new form Gus & I hope to have ready in a week or so. Preview the form
Concern: What kind of traffic can our current web-serving arrangement handle and will it be sufficient?
Question: How do we plan to advertise?
Goal #2 is something that is supposed to be a basic part of current urban planning practice, and there are people who research and use "participatory planning processes" that we could learn from or who could help us.
To do: Compile list of participatory resources. Contact students / researchers / professionals in this area about our project. Secondary in importance to getting a number of registered prospective CFC residents?
To develop methods for overcoming logistical, regulatory, legal, financial and cultural obstacles to carfree development in the United States
Will require people of influence in the planning / urban development community and other spheres (political, financial, what else?). It is not to soon to begin making connections in this area. As the project grows, these connections will be easier to make.
Question: is the scope of the project too narrow (simple car-free)? I don't think so, but it may be interesting to see how some PR / planning / political types frame it.
To do: Start advertising this project in planning venues. Develop a list of email lists to post on and organizations to contact (Smart Growth, New Urbanism, what else?). It seems we could do the same for political and religious and other areas (this project has broad appeal).
Question: How many planners or students in planning do we have on the list? Would everyone on the list fill out the support survey if they have not yet done so? Should public introductions be made? I recommend using carfreeuniverse.org. It is easy: join, login, and add the subject "building the carfree city" (use the ctrl key) to the subject list in the "introduction" document.
Question: How to organize our efforts and respect people's time? Should we make separate email lists for certain topic areas: web site admin, participatory planning, advertising, advisory board, non-profit status? That way people who are only interested in one area won't get bombarded with unnecessary email.
Question: Do any of you have experience with non-profit status? Do you have suggestions of other umbrella groups to apply for sponsorship with?
Question: Is handling the 501c3 status ourselves definitely something we want to avoid doing for now? Another group I'm aware of ( yoism ) is about to complete their application, and suggest the IRS instructions are understandable and reasonable.
The Tides Center application looks for whether the organization has any current funding prospects (they help manage the funding/accounting/auditing).
To do: Seek out grants that we can apply for. Maintain a list of organizations that we could apply to for funding. Start applying. This, along with spreading the word and developing a group of individuals committed to furthering this project are probably pre or co requisites to being accepted by an umbrella organization.
Question: We need a plan of what to do with any money we bring in. What suggestions do you have?
Web site hosting
That's all I have. I'm interested in your input.
I'll be working on these questions and gathering information and putting it on carfreeuniverse.org with a subject of "building the carfree city" I encourage you to do the same. That way it will be easy to manage and display and comment on all the links and documents related to this project.
 Univercity's vision statement : "Our goal is to create a vibrant, self-sustaining community known for its well planned neighbourhoods, its strong links to the university and its deep respect for the natural heritage of Burnaby Mountain." is one example. There are whole books written on creating vision statements (Dee Hock and David Cooperider come to mind).