cities

Like all newly elected politicians, the class of mayors being sworn in as the year begins has made many grand promises.

From New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's pledge to provide universal pre-kindergarten classes, financed through taxes on wealthy individuals, to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's push for a $15 minimum hourly wage, their agenda looks decidedly liberal.

New mayors in cities such as Boston, Minneapolis and Pittsburgh have also been talking about the importance of racial inclusion and the need to address income inequality.

HPD

The 2013 crime statistics from the city of Hartford are in. And police say most major crime numbers are down.

Chion Wolf

One hundred seventy three acres of office space in Simsbury is up for sale, formerly The Hartford, but now what? It’s not a new story. Decades ago, many corporate headquarters moved from cities to the suburbs into sprawling campuses surrounded by trees. Now with downsizing and cost cutting, many of these suburban “temples” sit empty. 

Yale University / Creative Commons

First, let's check the numbers. About 12 percent of New Haven commuters report walking to their jobs, which ranks the Elm City eighth nationally -- that's right alongside Washington D.C. and Boston.

C.M. Stieglitz / Creative Commons

Wednesday marks the 125th birthday of New Haven native Robert Moses, a powerfully influential shaper of the modern city. Moses famously carried out most of his work in appointed positions in New York City, both as head of the Triborough Bridge Authority and through public housing projects. 

Moses is credited with transforming New York City -- and many cities that followed suit or took his advice, like Hartford -- into a place dominated by the automobile. He frequently recommended demolishing older, poor neighborhoods in order to carve a path for an elevated highway.

Chion Wolf

It’s our monthly broadcast, live from our iConnect downtown storefront. Today we kicking off an evening of pop-up shopping: the Small Business Night Out featuring over 15 vendors. We also preview a community conversation looking at how we are shaped by our surroundings.

MGM Resorts International appears to have cleared a key hurdle in the quest to build a resort casino in Springfield, Massachusetts.  The results of a 10-month investigation by Massachusetts gaming industry regulators were released today.

Town of Simsbury

One hundred seventy three acres of office space in Simsbury is up for sale, formerly The Hartford, but now what? It’s not a new story. Decades ago, many corporate headquarters moved from cities to the suburbs into sprawling campuses surrounded by trees. Now with downsizing and cost cutting, many of these suburban “temples” sit empty. 

This is final story in a three-part report on Philadelphia schools in crisis.

Shayna Terrell is in a good mood: It's report card night at the Simon Gratz Mastery Charter high school in North Philadelphia, and parents are showing up in good numbers.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was thrust into the international spotlight after he admitted to smoking crack. Since then, a caricature of the politician has emerged: a bumbling, error-prone addict, whose everyman persona has helped him maintain his popularity in Canada's most populous city.

City of Hartford

There are two office buildings in downtown Hartford that have long been vacant. Now, developers are about to buy them and turn them into something the city's core desperately needs: housing.

Hartford's recent wave of downtown investment has yielded a few lessons. One is that the city needs more rental housing downtown. More housing brings more people, and more people are what's needed to make a healthy downtown tick.

If an American city had a mayor as embarrassing as Rob Ford of Toronto, whose problems with drugs and alcohol have caused an international sensation, it could get rid of him.

Probably.

Recalls of local elected officials have become more common in the U.S. over the past few years.

(This post was last updated at 5:52 p.m. ET.)

After a chaotic session that saw Mayor Rob Ford lash out at the public and topple a colleague, the Toronto City Council voted to strip Ford of most of his duties and slashed his budget to 40 percent of what it used to be.

Friday was a busy day in the crime-fighting world. As a superhero might say, you never know when a dastardly plot will emerge. And sometimes you're outnumbered. But not in Gotham, and not today — because an entire city seemed to stand with Batkid, aka a 5-year-old boy named Miles, whose wish to be a superhero has been granted.

Expos1225 / Creative Commons

A renewed effort is underway to examine the potential for market-rate housing in downtown Springfield. On Thursday, the city along with Laurie Volk of Zimmerman/Volk Associates released a study showing strong promise for the success of housing in the area where a casino development may take place.

Global Jet, Creative Commons

Is Hartford still the insurance capital of the world? I conducted a non-scientific poll of the internet (aka Googled it) and came upon a few articles from the past decades: "Hartford: Insurance Capital of the World or Has-Been?" (ouch), and "Hartford is No Longer the Insurance Capital."

According to the internet, it seems we're doomed. 

There's a question that's looming over the new skyscraper at the World Trade Center site in New York: Should it count as the tallest building in the country?

The developers say yes. But by some measures, the Willis Tower in Chicago — formerly known as Sears Tower — can still lay claim to the title.

Now, an obscure organization known as the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat is preparing to settle the debate.

There's a good deal of analysis to be done.

But, for now, here are the results

WNPR

Cities and towns across the state held elections Tuesday. East Haven Republican Mayor Joseph Maturo, Jr. was re-elected Tuesday, defeating Democrat Jack Stacey. In Danbury, incumbent Republican Mayor Mark Boughton won a seventh term against Democrat Paul McAllister. 

Melissa Bailey / New Haven Independent

New Haven residents will decide today who will be the city’s next mayor. State Senator Toni Harp is facing Alderman Justin Elicker. The winner will replace the retiring Mayor John DeStefano, who served 20 years in office.

"Yes I have smoked crack cocaine... Probably in one of my drunken stupors."

That's what embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford just dropped on the media during a surprise press conference just after noon ET on Tuesday.

According to The Toronto Star, Ford qualified:

" 'I am not an addict,' he told the media.

" 'I wasn't lying. You didn't ask the correct questions,' Ford explained to why the admission was so long in coming.

Lara Maltz Rozza

Hartford broke ground on a new skate park this week. Skaters have dubbed it "Heaven" and say it will be a space for skaters, bikers, and artists.

The park is located just above the I-84 tunnel a few blocks from the XL Center. For years it's been an informal hangout spot for skaters and artists. And now, Hartford is ready to formalize "Heaven" as the city's first official skate park.

B:Hive

Five million dollars in state funding has been awarded to more than 20 organizations that will promote start-up businesses in Connecticut through the state's entrepreneurial ecosystem. CT Next was launched a year ago to try to create a climate that would support entrepreneurs and foster successful startup businesses. But the first year got off to a slow start, and there was disagreement about who should take the lead in developing the ecosystem.

Hearst had San Simeon. Kane had Xanadu. UConn President Susan Herbst has Scarborough Street (in addition to the expensively refurbished president's mansion in Storrs). 

You can hardly blame her for wanting a pied à terre somewhere. It's nice to be able to get away from a campus which, as far as I can tell, is up in arms against her.

Officials in Springfield, Massachusetts are looking to create an entirely digital public library

   The director of the Springfield City Library is pursuing funding to use a recently closed branch library as a place where people could sit at computer terminals to access the internet and take out hand-held electronic reading devices on-loan loaded with downloaded books--but visitors would not find any paper copies of books. 

For years, Newark, N.J., had the reputation of being a crime-ridden, low-income city. Former Mayor Cory Booker helped change that perception.

Thursday, the Democrat was sworn in as a U.S. senator, and it's unclear what that means for the city's future.

While Booker brought attention — and funding — to Newark, he couldn't completely tackle the violence that has persisted for years. As mayoral candidates begin making their cases, crime is a common theme.

'Now A City Of Hope'

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Says He Will Not Resign

Nov 3, 2013

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he is "going to ride this storm out."

Of course, he is referring to the scandal that has overtaken his term as mayor of Canada's largest city. As Mark reported, for months now, there have been reports that there is a video out there that allegedly shows Ford smoking crack cocaine.

(Click here to jump to our latest updates.)

A lone gunman walked into one of the nation's busiest airports Friday in Los Angeles and opened fire with an assault rifle, killing at least one transportation security officer and wounding another, police and TSA officials say.

In the two years since a tornado tore through Springfield, Massachusetts a volunteer effort has spearheaded the planting of thousands of new trees.  The work is being done as the U.S. Forest Service conducts a study on the environmental impacts from the loss of the urban tree canopy.

More than 4,400 new trees have been planted in Springfield in the last two years in an effort to restore, largely for later generations, the shade trees that lined streets and filled public parks prior to the June 1, 2011 tornado.

Voters in Massachusetts overwhelmingly approved legalizing medical marijuana in 2012. But many local communities are putting temporary bans in place as the deadline for final applications for state licensed marijuana treatment centers approaches.

About a third of the state’s 351 cities and towns have put in place moratoriums on medical marijuana treatment centers, according to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office. Springfield is the largest city in the state to adopt a moratorium. It was approved by the city council Monday night.

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