Talking Open Space

On May 28, I presented to the quarterly meeting of a land conservationPOS  collaborative that has brought together groups including the Metropolitan Council, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the McKnight Foundation, Trust for Public Land, and 1000 Friends of Minnesota. Embrace Open Space has released an analysis of five years of Hennepin County housing sale data, which illustrates the influence of nearby open space on home values. The analysis has identified that a typical Hennepin County home located near open space is roughly $15,000 more valuable than a comparable property located elsewhere. The study follows a related analysis of Washington County sale data, released in 2007, which reached similar findings.

As part of the program, I will present context for the study, describing the range of economic, fiscal, and ecological benefits that flow from parks and other conserved lands, in cities, suburbs and in rural places. I also expect to discuss how open space produces benefits that cross sectors – for example, open space has been shown to produce improvements to health and serve as transportation infrastructure (as with greenways), as well as meeting recreation needs. 

View the Donjek five-page summary here.

Photo: Post Office Square in Boston; courtesy of Flickr.

Donjek Project: Public-Private Partnership Plan for Proxima.us

I am pleased to announce the launch of Donjek client Proxima.us, a software development and maintenance enterprise. Proxima’s founders, Mike Bougie and Patrick Lynch, are experienced software designers who hail from small towns, and have established Proxima to create top-quality software in rural areas of the United States. 

Proxima2 Outsourcing information technology (“IT”) services to India and elsewhere is widely assumed to be a permanent fact of life, but in fact many U.S. companies are becoming less satisfied with the costs and benefits of working internationally to fill these needs. A recent survey of chief financial officers by Information Week magazine revealed that while 79% outsourced IT work overseas last year, only 42% anticipated doing the same this year.

The benefits of reduced wages abroad have narrowed and many U.S. clients have experienced inconsistent quality of service. More important, international outsourcing exposes clients to risks to data records and intellectual property, as well as financial risks associated with currency and interest rate fluctuations.

Proxima’s service couples highly skilled and educated programmers working in rural America, with clients who desire top-quality IT assistance, personal contact in a domestic time zone, and legal protection in place under U.S. law.

Donjek’s role has been working with Proxima to develop a public-private partnership plan, illustrated above. Watch for this company’s development in Minnesota and elsewhere, as its market shifts and they create professional IT jobs in rural America.