TABLE of CONTENTS February 2012

Cover Story

Did the Stimulus Do Anything for Transparency?

BY Ryan Holeywell

The economic impact of the stimulus is unclear and highly debated. But one thing is for sure: it's done more to promote government transparency than any piece of legislation in recent memory.


The Future of Federal Spending

A slew of different players are considering major changes to how federal spending is tracked and all of their efforts will likely impact state and local governments. BY Mike Maciag

Denver Health Becomes Profitable After Using Toyota as a Template

Lean manufacturing has made Denver Health a model for public health care. BY Dylan Scott

How Game Theory is Reinventing Crime Fighting

Elected officials across the nation from both political parties have begun to examine ways to replace a tough corrections policy with a smart one. BY John Buntin

Old Architecture Buildings Pit Preservation vs. Progress

A new generation of old structures is raising fresh questions about the rehabbing of architectural gems. BY Jonathan Walters

Water Shortage Tests El Paso's Conservation Efforts

El Paso began preparing for shortages two decades ago. Now, it's seen as a leader in confronting a crisis that many expect to spread beyond Texas. BY Dylan Scott

Restored Streetcars Now Desirable

To the delight of many, old streetcars are being restored to their former glory and put back into transit service in New Orleans, Philadelphia and Portland. BY Tod Newcombe



Conservatives Question the War on Drugs

Some surprising political figures like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have started questioning how effective U.S. drug policy is. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Economic Development

Downtown Revitalization During a Recovery: Great Idea or Huge Mistake?

Only time will tell if Kansas City’s unusual and possibly risky move will pay off. BY Caroline Cournoyer

Elected as a Democrat, Now Governing the City Like a Republican

Some liberal leaders are pursuing a conservative economic agenda. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Infrastructure & Environment

Promoting Road Safety in New York City via Haiku and Pop Art

New York City streets are getting a little more literary. The city Transportation Department has partnered with an artist, John Morse, to create a series of graphic, pop-art signs encouraging drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to be more careful. BY Tina Trenkner
Infrastructure & Environment

TED Prize Winner: City 2.0

For the first time, the TED Prize (which includes a cash prize) is being awarded to an idea, not a person. But cities will benefit. BY Caroline Cournoyer

Government Cloud Computing May Sustain Public Records

The fate of, which housed hundreds of thousands of public data when its funding got cut, may contain the outlines of a model for sustaining digital records. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Potomac Chronicle

The Plastic Bag Ban: A Battle of Socio-Economic Policy

This latest skirmish shows how localities, not the feds, are driving eco-policy. BY Caroline Cournoyer

What the End of the Sustainable Communities Grants Means For Planning

A popular grant that funds the often-thankless work of forming master plans and zoning codes is no more. BY Ryan Holeywell
Health & Human Services

Are Consumer-Driven Health Plans Really Saving Money?

CDHPs are slowly becoming the next big thing in health-care cost control, but studies show that they only save about 1 percent over traditional plans. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Energy & Environment

Curbside Composting Added to a Major City: Is It Yours?

Nearly 100 cities now divert food waste from landfills. It’s far from becoming the norm, though, considering most major cities still don’t even have curbside recycling. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Economic Engines

Why Does Our Infrastructure Resemble a Third-World Country’s?

One explanation may be our budgeting process. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Urban Notebook

Springfield, Mass., Wants to Become a Resurgent City

And it’s looking to tap the secret of other cities’ success in the post-manufacturing age. BY Caroline Cournoyer


Health & Human Services

School-Based Health Centers Reap Benefits

Studies have found that SBHCs improve students’ health-care access and school success. Now, the Obama administration is helping more states finance them. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Smart Management

'Constraints Management' Breaks Down Barriers to Efficiency

Government efficiency initiatives come and go. But Utah has had continued success with one in particular. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Tech Talk

Cities Give Google Cloud-Based Email Mixed Reviews

Some cities have switched to the cloud with ease, but Los Angeles, for example, had to abandon it for law enforcement because of outdated security policies. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Public Money

GASB's New Hornet's Nest: 'Economic Condition' Reporting

Should financial projections be "required supplementary information"? BY Elizabeth Daigneau

L.A. Councilman Curbs the ‘Mansionization’ of Studio City

Paul Krekorian crafted a compromise to curb the building of large homes on small lots that satisfies all stakeholders. BY Caroline Cournoyer