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Showing posts from April, 2011

Five myths about foreign aid

By John Norris, Thursday, April 28, 11:29 AMForeign aid has few domestic allies. Aid programs weathered steep cuts in the recent budget deal in Congress, and a plan from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) would slash spending on international affairs and foreign assistance by an eye-popping 44 percent by 2016. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has called for the abolishment of aid programs, including to Israel, and protests in the Middle East have evoked sharp questions about the effectiveness and goals of U.S. aid.What’s the point of U.S. foreign aid, and does it do any good? Let’s topple a few misconceptions and find out.1. Republicans hate foreign aid.Former congressman Tom Delay (R-Tex.) once noted that it was difficult for lawmakers to explain to their constituents why they were more interested in helping Ghana than Grandma. Yet every Republican president since Dwight Eisenhower has been a staunch advocate for foreign aid programs.In signing the Foreign Assistance Act of 1974, Gerald Ford resi…

Urban Planners 2.0

Leading Thinkers in Urban Planning & Technology 26 April 2011 - 4:31pm By Chris SteinsIn the last five years, there has been tremendous innovation at the intersection of urban planning and technology. The opening of government data has been a major catalyst, as well as the crowdsourcing, mapping and social networking opportunities afforded by the expanding capabilities of the Internet.As my personal and professional interests meet at this intersection, I am often asked by colleagues to make connections among professionals in the field. Through these networks, and my own research keeping up with the latest news and innovations, I've developed a strong sense of who's who in this field.Over the last year, I have refined this list of 25 leading thinkers and innovators in the field of Urban Planning and Technology. My list includes a broad range of people, from established academics and CEOs to freelance developers and students, from the U.S. and abroad.In alp…

U.S. aid cuts could be “diplomatic suicide’’

Do you agree?

By Andres Oppenheimer

On occasion of the recent anniversary of the earthquake that shook Haiti last year, killing about 300,000 people and destroying thousands of schools and hospitals, I read a statistic that blew my mind — Venezuela has pledged more funds for Haiti’s reconstruction than the United States.

I’m not kidding. The Office of the United Nations’ Special Envoy for Haiti, former President Bill Clinton, said in an earthquake anniversary report that Venezuela pledged $1.3 billion for Haiti’s reconstruction, while the United States pledged $1.1 billion. (So far, Venezuela has forgiven a larger amount of Haiti’s foreign debt, while both countries have disbursed about $120 million each, Clinton’s office says.)

If you are alarmed by these figures, and you think that all prophesies about the inexorable decline of U.S. influence around the world are bound to come true if Washington can’t be the biggest donor in its own neighborhood, get ready: it wi…

The Global Cities Index 2010

From an old Foreign Policy Magazine
We are at a global inflection point. Half the world's population is now urban -- and half the world's most global cities are Asian. The 2010 Global Cities Index, a collaboration between Foreign Policy, management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, reveals a snapshot of this pivotal moment. In 2010, five of the world's 10 most global cities are in Asia and the Pacific: Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, and Seoul. Three -- New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles -- are American cities. Only two, London and Paris, are European. And there's no question which way the momentum is headed: Just as more people will continue to migrate from farms to cities, more global clout will move from West to East. And yet, even as we see the dramatic effects of globalization at work in the rise of up-and-coming cities like Bangalore, Sao Paulo, and Shanghai, what's also remarkable is just how dominant …

The City Paper: Washington, DC

The Economics of Stephen Fuller How a wonky academic became a major player in the local real-estate business
By Lydia DePillis on April 15, 2011 Full Article Photo by Darrow Montgomery It’s never easy to speak third in a lineup of economists. People in the audience fidget. They check their phones and eye the door. But if the third person is Stephen Fuller of George Mason University, a good number of them will stick around to hear the economic weather report. Unless, that is, they’ve already heard him say the same thing at another event that same week—always possible in the small world of Washington-area building industry types. Invariably, the spiel comes packaged with a brilliant white smile and a silver lining.“We don’t know what the next bubble is. If we did, we’d invest in it,” Fuller jokes one December morning to a chandeliered banquet hall outside Baltimore full of Maryland homebuilders, before launching into a battery of slides showing job growth,…

Clinton Climate Initiative, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group Expand Partnership

The William J. Clinton Foundation has announced an expansion of the alliance between the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) — a global coalition of cities working to reduce urban carbon emissions and adapt to climate change — and the Clinton Climate Initiative Cities Program (CCI).CCI and C40 have been working together since 2006, but the new agreement will bring increased resources and improved infrastructure to the combined organization while expanding the number of cities participating in the coalition. According to the New York Times, the newly combined organization is expected to have a budget of about $15 million, a staff of seventy, and will have its main offices in New York, Los Angeles, and London.Although cities occupy just 2 percent of the Earth's land mass, they are home to more than 50 percent of its population, account for more than two-thirds of its energy consumption, and generate over 70 percent of its carbon emissions. Given these statistics, form…

Partners for Livable Communities

Overview Today’s economies are in transition, not only due to the current economic and political climate, but to our physical climate. Pollution, carbon emissions and climate change are realities threatening communities around the world. Local economies unable to adapt to these phenomenon are at risk of becoming obsolete. In 2009, acutely aware of the intimate ties between a region’s economy and other quality of life issues such as social equity and mobility, Partners for Livable Communities embarked on a major new agenda: The Economics of Sustainability, a program incorporating ‘sustainability’ into an ever-evolving definition of livability. This initiative explores how community leaders, faced with the challenge of ensuring the future strength of their economies and local quality of life, can employ creative new agendas that not only help reverse the effects of environmental degradation but leverage the occasion for valuable ec…

Viva la Revolucion!

Viva la Revolucion!
Originally uploaded by heydee
old school to new school pants are still relevant.

Urban poverty and vulnerability to climate change in Latin America

This paper considers who within the urban population of Latin America is most at risk from the likely impacts of climate change over the next few decades. It also considers how this risk is linked to poverty and to the inadequacies in city and municipal governments. It discusses those who live or work in locations most at risk (including those lacking the needed infrastructure); those who lack knowledge and capacity to adapt; those whose homes and neighbourhoods face the greatest risks when impacts occur; and those who are least able to cope with the impacts (for instance, from injury, death and loss of property and income). Adaptation to climate change cannot eliminate many of the extreme weather risks, so it needs to limit their impacts through good disaster preparedness and post-disaster response. This paper also discusses the measures currently …

How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?

By PAUL KRUGMANPublished by the NYTimes September 2, 2009 I. MISTAKING BEAUTY FOR TRUTHIt’s hard to believe now, but not long ago economists were congratulating themselves over the success of their field. Those successes — or so they believed — were both theoretical and practical, leading to a golden era for the profession. On the theoretical side, they thought that they had resolved their internal disputes. Thus, in a 2008 paper titled “The State of Macro” (that is, macroeconomics, the study of big-picture issues like recessions), Olivier Blanchard of M.I.T., now the chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, declared that “the state of macro is good.” The battles of yesteryear, he said, were over, and there had been a “broad convergence of vision.” And in the real world, economists believed they had things under control: the “central problem of depression-prevention has been solved,” declared Robert Lucas of the University of Chicago in his 2003 presidential address to the …