This past Valentine’s Day, Newark, New Jersey, hoped that couples would express their devotion to each other by buying and cohabiting the city’s available vacant land. On February 14, the city launched the vacant land component of its Live Newark program through which it’s selling municipally-owned vacant lots for only $1,000 to couples (regardless of sexual orientation) looking to reside for five years in residences that they build or rehabilitate. The city has attached these strings to promote family development in the community and to dissuade institutional or all-cash investors.
Eden Prairie, Minnesota, will begin training community members of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds to provide assistance during disaster situations or prevention activities. The Cultural Services Unit will address the increasing diversity of the community to ensure that identified members can assist firefighters and police officers with search-and-rescue operations, translating, door-to-door outreach, and ensuring officers follow cultural norms. The program will begin training twenty residents in April.
The University of Iowa and the Iowa Department of Transportation have unveiled the TraumaHawk app to enhance communication between first responders and emergency room staff. In a severe car crash, there is a race against time to get the right treatment to people who are hurt, and while paramedics are trained to assess injuries and get them to the proper place of care, hospitals lose time when they cannot see the accident scene or what paramedics are doing. The app allows first responders, especially troopers who have passed duties over to arriving paramedics, to send photos of accident scenes to give ER physicians and nurses a better sense of the severity of a patient's injuries and where impacts likely occurred, allowing them to plan accordingly for the patient’s arrival. Use of the app is currently undergoing pilot testing in certain areas of Iowa.
To a help fledgling businesses get off the ground without a hitch, the Delaware Department of State has launched a website designed to help new business owners and entrepreneurs navigate a host of approval processes and other requirements. Business First Steps assembles an index of nearly 200 industries, professions, and products that require state, county, or municipal registrations, licenses, certifications or permits, as well as links to various applications, forms, codes, and regulations. The website has been in development for over a year and required close coordination among state agencies.
Cities across the country are using multifaceted public policy approaches to stem the tide of pedestrian deaths. While the issue has always been a concern, transportation officials are beginning to make it a priority when planning their capital investments and running their departments. Interventions include using data to identify problematic intersections, giving pedestrian’s “head starts” at certain crosswalks, enforcing speed zones around pedestrian activities, shortening crosswalks, and creating pedestrian safety islands.
Several weeks ago, the Obama administration became the first White House to release its budget through GitHub and other data-sharing sites. The move, which releases the data underlying the budget in machine-readable format, allows data gurus to use the data to create their own visualizations or data products and examine unpublished details below the high-level information published in the budget.