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July 15, 2016

University of Illinois Extension coordinated students in a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) School of Architecture studio class to work with with Peoria’s Southside Neighborhood, to help community leaders and residents examine the relationship between health, design, and the built environment. Students presented design ideas for a vision of a safe, connected, vibrant Southside Neighborhood in Peoria. The planning and design process was aided by multiple visits to the community in which students spoke to key leaders, walked the neighborhood, and engaged in discussions with community residents regarding potential design solutions.

When groundskeepers for the State of Washington's capitol campus were asked how they would improve efficiency, they came up with an unorthodox idea: Stop cutting the grass. The grounds crew explained that by spending less time mowing, they would have more time for other things, like making the rest of the state government campus more sustainable. Letting the grass grow also helps carry out Gov. Jay Inslee’s goals for improving the state’s environmental practices. Cutting back on mowing and other maintenance could reduce the amount of water used as well as the amount of fertilizer, pesticides and fossil fuels required for the upkeep.

On a Monday night, Main Street in Lyons, Nebraska, is closed — for a movie, according to signs on the barricades. A crowd has gathered on the brick pavement. Suddenly, what appears to be an empty storefront begins to move. People watch with anticipation as the facade leans forward, lowering toward the street. After the façade comes down, a stand of bleacher seats slides forward from the empty building, creating outdoor seating for 80 people. Lyons’ Storefront Theater has become a reality. “Theaters were a big thing, even in the 60s. That was the place to be on Saturday night,” says Bill Hedges, a longtime Lyons resident and amateur filmmaker.


August 15-18 - Midwest Community Development Institute, Moline, IL
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