Links to organizations and individuals working to break down the barriers to community. The list starts with organizations in Madison, Wisconsin. For those living outside of Madison, use this list to find analogous groups in your community. Select national groups are also presented here.

> The Grassroots Community
> Schools, Housing, Government
> The Environment-Community Link
> Outdoor Lighting

See also: Placemaking Partners |Living Partners

The Grassroots Community
UrbanThoreau's president, Michael D. Barrett, has long been active in fighting the spatial barriers between communities created by highway sprawl. Here is an essay, written in 1998 for the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, in response to Wisconsin Department of Transportation's 20-year highway sprawl plan and its effects on our communities.

Sustaindane – A local organization dedicated to bringing together the various environmental conservation organizations. They have a very active online forum and publish an annual Madison Green Pages– a listing of all environmental organizations in the region.

Madison Neighborhoods – This site was produced by the City of Madison to help residents get involved in their neighborhoods. Of particular interest is the link to neighborhood associations and neighborhood plans.

The Atwood Community Center – One of the best examples of a non-governmental neighborhood center. It is the community fulcrum that leverages the strengths of a mixed-income, diverse, convivial neighborhood. Despite being in one of the poorest census tracts in the region, this neighborhood still sends more of its kids on to four year colleges than many surrounding–wealthier–areas; much of the credit goes to the after-school programs offered by the Atwood Community Center.

WORT Radio – The center of on-air community in Madison, Wisconsin. WORT supports progressive community efforts with well-produced shows of community activists of all stripes. Then, expect to hear everything from West African, to Country & Western music in the same evening!

Danenet – Danenet is the local web non-profit that gets non-profits up on the web. From our observations, they tend to be partial to progressive, community-oriented causes.

The Isthmus – Madison's alternative weekly is a standout example of a for-profit media enterprise that takes it's position in the community seriously– for the good of the community! The links page captures a lot of the quirkiness that goes into community building in Madison. The quirkier, the better, as far as community is concerned!

The Bicycling Community Page – For many of us, a bikeable place is a livable place, and vice versa. Madison bicyclists are hell-bent on putting this community on two wheels.

Madison cab drivers – Even cabbies are driven to make a better community. Find out how this "army of maniacs" is using "collective knowledge and observations to a good purpose." This is a good example of how active this community is on all fronts.

Indymedia – Tired of the same old, self-referential media? Check out Indymedia, a news source which prides itself on covering the community activist news; i.e., the news the corporate media is too afraid to cover.

Chicago's Center for Neighborhood Technology – Provides a national model for bringing out the undervalued, underutilized strengths of urban areas in an effort to build sustainable communities.

Farm to Table – The Farm to Table organization connects Manhattanites with the hinterlands. Farmers and big city folk alike benefit.

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Schools, Housing, Government & Community

David Rusk on Cities – David Rusk is a brilliant researcher and captivating speaker on the intertwined fates of our cities and regions. According to Rusk, most urban ills can be boiled down to housing, sprawl and school policies.

Village Manager Association – the details the history of good municipal policy in Oak Park, Illinois. Oak Park was faced with all the perils of demographic change that wrecked many a close-in suburb. They innovated to accommodate diversity while keeping the wealth in the community. It is also a stand-out example of citizens holding their representatives to high standards!

Progressive Dane
Working to elect citizen politicians who don't mind working with their constituents. This is as grass-roots as politics gets. And it is effective to boot!

The Madison Times – A minority-owned community newspaper that "focuses on positive and success stories in the African American, Latino, Southeast Asian, and American Indian communities, and in other communities of color." It also provides the best in-depth coverage of school issues of any paper– daily or weekly– in Madison.

The Isthmus' Daily Page Archive – An article which analyzes the trials & tribulations of this generally successful school district as it struggles to accommodate a diverse population.

Department of Defence Dependents Schools– A stellar example of a school system that has a fifty-year history of integrating all incomes and races into a high performance school system can be found on US military bases around the globe. Here are some of their secrets as revealed by a former Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) System teacher. She makes much of the pedagogic technique, which may indeed be a major part of the success of these schools in integrating a student population that is nearly half black, Hispanic and other minorities. But a critical component to the success as noted in a 1999 Wall Street Journal article (author interviewed here on NPR), is communityinvolvement, something fostered by DoDDS. It also points up the need for significant investment in schools.

60 Minutes investigated the reasons why DoDDS students consistently rank in the top fifth of national standardized tests, despite the fact that stereotypical income and race indicators would suggest a radically different outcome. (Hint: There aren't any drill sargeants in these schools.)

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The Environment-Community Link
Four Lakes Group Sierra Club – An environmentalorganization that represents most of Southwest Wisconsin, including Madison. They do local conservation and activism, put out newsletters, host an active outings calendar and hold monthly educational programs. Though the parent organization is based in San Francisco, this group gets active on a local level.

Danenet – Local cyclists (environmentalists putting their beliefs in action!) in Dane County Wisconsin have put together a resource for bike advocates (and others) to contact local officials about a more environmentally sound transportation policy.

Co-housing –"Clotheslines and community" as discussed in a short essay on a co-housing listserv.

Urban Options – Located in East Lansing, Michigan is a great example of a local initiative to tie in quality urban life, community, places and energy efficiency.

Shaping Dane – Where geek-meets-community. Dane County's (Wisconsin) geographic information specialists are making their trade accessible to the commonfolk to help create a better place.

The International Council of Environmental Initiatives – Known affectionately as 'ick-lay,' is the organization making it easy for local governments to implement environmentally-friendly developments.

The Environmental Protection Agency's Global Warming Site – A wealth of information about causes & effects, as well as, and most importantly, actions communities and individuals can take to head it off.

World Wide Learn– Presents an overview of environmental education programs at universities the world over.

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