About Us

This site is the work of four authors. Just to preserve some sanity, we aren't telling you who writes what, because we hardly know ourselves.  We all read, comment on, and approve generally of all the website content.

We're all city planners by education and professional background, and we all volunteer in our home communities on everything from zoning boards of appeals, to social service and community development corporation boards, to neighborhood association leadership.

The most frequent author, Nancy Thompson (right) is a certified community planner. Her professional collaborators bring specialized experience and a critical eye.

Nancy earned a master’s degree in urban and regional planning, and has served as a planning director in city and county governments. Often her department has been responsible for capital improvements, community development projects, and code enforcement too. She currently maintains a consulting practice specializing in neighborhood plans, community development work, and non-profit strategic planning.

She also has made some intellectual travels into media and writing. Nancy is an avid community and neighborhood volunteer herself, having served as an officer and board member in metropolitan, community, and neighborhood level non-profit organizations. Her recent experiences in facilitating neighborhood leadership training also influence the site.

Right now Nancy is tired of proper writing, even though she's won several competitive prizes for formal writing. So she and her three co-authors are really "telling it like it is" for a change. Whenever neighborhood folks are in danger of wasting their time, we say so. We expose any conventional wisdom about community work that doesn't pass the reality test.

At our latest team meeting in Chicago, we took time out to study urbanology in Grant's Park near Buckingham Fountain.  The other three authors, who need to stay anonymous for the moment to keep their employers calm, are shown here among the Segway crowd.  We don't really know who the other Segway tourist that strayed into our little circle might be.

It seems we finally broke our string of gray days for meeting.  Together we had chosen our favorite photo of a rainy but beautiful New York, during the next-to-last face-to-face meeting we held.  We just can't bring ourselves to remove this photo; it represents all that is beautiful about big cities, don't you think?

rainy day New York

You can check out back issues of our almost-monthly newsletter, Quick Notes, on our newsletter archive page.   

The site is full of actionable ideas, whether you are puzzling about a big city, small city, or rural community development experience.

Want to search the site?



> About Us

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required