A podcast for community builders. Discussing ways to grow financially resilient, resource-conscious, and people-friendly cities.
Season 3 Wrap Up — with Kevin Shepherd
We’ve reached the end of 'Go Cultivate!' Season 3! To wrap us up, Kevin details the impacts that the suburban experiment has had on our country and asks the question: what does ‘quality of life’ really mean, and does an auto-centric lifestyle support these outcomes? After defining actionable steps to take in order to address the challenges posed by the suburban development pattern, Kevin emphasizes the importance of finding and connecting with other people and groups in your area to drive meaningful change at the local level. We believe that by working together, we can create more vibrant and inclusive communities that are built to last and benefit everyone.
Meet the Verdooners — with Matt Meals
In this episode we are sitting down with Matt Meals, the newest addition to Verdunity’s engineering team. He and Kevin discuss Matt’s journey to Verdunity, and his perspective on how land use fiscal analysis gives cities the education they need to plan for communities to take root, as well as how it empowers citizens to take active roles in shaping the future of their communities. Throughout the interview, Matthew emphasizes the importance of context and community in engineering and design, and shares how his passion for environmentalism and sustainable energy led him to where he is today.
Leadership and Inclusive Prosperity — with Dr. Kaye Monk-Morgan and Shaun Rojas
In this episode, AJ interviews Dr. Kaye Monk-Morgan and Shaun Rojas of the Kansas Leadership Center (KLC) where Kaye is the President and CEO, and Shaun is the Senior Director of Civic Engagement. Their discussion emphasizes the importance of building a culture of civic leadership and engaging with community members to address their concerns and build stronger, healthier, and more prosperous communities. The conversation also touches on the idea that leadership is an activity rather than a title or position, and the need to develop skills and engage in activities that promote leadership.
Meet the Verdooners — with Maddie Bonney
Time to roll out some new Meet the Verdooners episodes to introduce y'all to the newest members of our team! In this episode, Kevin sits down with Maddie Bonney, our new Planner, and they discuss her personal motivations for pursuing a career in planning, including her desire to improve quality of life and promote self-sustaining economic development. She explains how her values align with Verdunity's focus on fiscal health and local wealth, and they discuss the relationship between the design of our neighborhoods and the mental health of the people living there.
Plangineer to Storyteller — with Andy Boenau
Moving communities beyond status quo is hard. Entrenched practices in zoning, transportation planning, and road design have created places that are unsafe, unhealthy, and inequitable for many, while others who have benefitted from these systems staunchly defend them. In this episode, “Plangineers” Andy Boenau and Kevin Shepherd discuss how their careers evolved from engineering to planning to advocates for change in their respective roles today. They discuss why radical changes to traditional planning and engineering approaches are needed in order to create more inclusive, sustainable, and thriving places. Andy explains the benefits of using storytelling to communicate and simplify concepts to inspire change, as well as how to use online platforms and targeted posts on social media to communicate and test ideas. If you're searching for language and tools to nudge your community forward, Andy is an excellent resource.
Development Bills at 2023 TxLEG—with Michael Kovacs and Tom Yantis
In this episode, Kevin talks with two city management officials about which bills concern them and the unintended consequences that could result if they’re passed. Michael Kovacs, the City Manager of Fate, a fast growing suburb east of Dallas, and Tom Yantis, the Assistant City Manager of Taylor, a community outside Austin that recently landed one of the largest economic development deals in Texas with Samsung have been leaders in adjusting development processes to ensure their cities have the money they need to maintain quality services and infrastructure long-term while keeping housing and taxes affordable. Both cities received national awards for their Comprehensive Plans for embracing principles of fiscal sustainability. These two guys are extremely knowledgeable about how development impacts short and long-term costs and affordability, and how things “work” in Texas, so their input is worth listening to.
Discussions in Austin are ongoing and votes will start happening very soon, so we wanted to get this episode out quickly so it can be shared to inform voters, lobbyists, and especially our representatives in Austin that are casting votes.
Learned a lot
Love the variety of perspectives and experiences you can get on this show. Leaves you inspired to improve your own city
Thanks for the info and entertainment.
Fun and insightful
So far it’s a good variety of discussions about how to make cities more sustainable. They get into details but manage to keep it entertaining.