Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Discourage driving??

How to Discourage Driving

Updated June 29, 2011, 10:52 AM

Edward Glaeser is the Glimp professor of economics at Harvard University and the author of "Triumph of the City." He contributes to The Times's Economixblog.

Should urban planners try to make life miserable for drivers, in order to discourage gasoline consumption and encourage an urban pedestrian renaissance? Planners should try to create pleasant, foot-friendly places, but they should also facilitate fast commutes. If we want to discourage driving, the right way is to use congestion charges and gas taxes, not by arbitrary annoyances that stymie drivers.

Don't stymie cars with arbitrary annoyances. Use congestion charges and higher fees for street parking.

The hodge-podge of anti-car planning interventions contains many policies that are eminently defensible on their own merits. Barring cars from some pedestrian zones in Zurich or Midtown Manhattan makes sense, not because these areas deter driving, but because they create usable, pleasant spaces. There are good reasons to protect urban space from the car, but that isn’t the same thing as barring driving for the sake of barring driving.

The case for taxes, relative to the arbitrary inconvenience of excessive traffic stops, is that they create revenue rather than just wasting time. Both tools can deter driving by causing pain to motorists. But a congestion charge generates an offsetting boost in revenues, which can be used to provide public transit or anything else. Congestion charges are also flexible — in minutes they can be raised or lowered to respond to changing local conditions — while physical fixes are more enduring.

parkingGregory James Van Raalte/

The issues around parking are similar. We should not arbitrarily limit (or encourage) the private provision of garage spaces, but drivers should pay for the full social costs of their parking. Since the space on a New York street is worth at least as much as the space underground, it should cost as much to park on the street as to park in a garage.

It is terrible to unnecessarily waste the time of drivers or anyone else, but we should charge drivers for using the valuable space of city streets.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Don’t Cry For Argentina

June 23, 2011, 1:20 pm

Don’t Cry For Argentina

OK, I guess I don’t quite see how Argentina’s default, of all examples, can be viewed as a cautionary tale for Greece:

IMF World Economic Outlook database

Argentina suffered terribly from 1998 through 2001, as it tried to be orthodox and do the right thing. After it defaulted at the end of 2001, it went through a brief severe downturn, but soon began a rapid recovery that continued for a long time. Surely the Argentine example suggests that default is a great idea; the case against Greek default must be that this country is different (which, to be fair, is arguable).

I was really struck by the person who said that Argentina is no longer considered a serious country; shouldn’t that be a Serious country? And in Argentina, as elsewhere, being Serious was a disaster.

Grants for Green Affordable Housing Projects

Request For Proposal
Posted on June 23, 2011
Deadline: Open

Enterprise Green Communities Offers Charrette and Sustainability Grants for Green Affordable Housing Projects

An initiative of Enterprise Community Partners, Enterprise Green Communities provides funds and expertise to enable affordable housing developers to build and rehabilitate homes that are healthier, more energy efficient, and better for the environment.

In addition to loans and other funding options, Green Communities offers Charrette and Sustainability grants to help cover the costs of planning and implementing green components of affordable housing developments, as well as tracking their costs and benefits.

Charrette grants provide up to $5,000 per project for affordable housing developers to engage in integrative design. A Green Communities charrette involves an intense working session that brings together a diverse group of housing development professionals as well as residents, technical experts, funders, policy makers, and community stakeholders to integrate sustainable green design principles into affordable housing developments. By supporting charrettes at the schematic design phase, Enterprise seeks to help developers establish green goals as early as possible so that the most cost-effective green strategies can be incorporated in the building and site plans. Projects applying for pre-development charrette funds must be in the early stages of planning or schematic design phase of development.

Sustainability Training grants (post-construction) of up to $5,000 each are provided for affordable housing developers to maximize the health, economic, and environmental benefits of green development throughout a project's life cycle. The grant program provides an opportunity to transfer the design knowledge that informed the Green Communities planning and construction process to residents as well as operations and management staff. Funding may be used to cover the cost of implementing a training program and related tools that support green resident engagement and operations. Projects must have completed construction at the time of application and be occupied prior to the grant award.

For both programs, eligible applicants are nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations, tribally designated housing entities, and for-profit entities participating through joint ventures with qualified organizations.

Visit the Green Communities Web site for complete program information, project eligibility guidelines, and application procedures.

Link to Complete RFP

Primary Subject: Community Improvement/Development
Geographic Funding Area: National

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mexico City Award

Deutsche Bank Urban Age Award Mexico City

193 applications – the 4th Deutsche Bank Urban Age award in Mexico City received the highest number of applications since its establishment in 2007 (2007 Mumbai 73; 2008 Sao Paulo 133; 2009 Istanbul 87).

The submissions reflect the vibrancy and creativity of México City dwellers in facing the social and urban challenges of their city. From a plurality of social and geographical backgrounds the projects indicate that strong and diverse alliances are being built to improve the urban environment and quality of life. The support of universities, local authorities and government programs as well as the cooperation of different community organizations has been an important ingredient for the success of the projects.

Besides the large number of submissions, the Mexican projects are of a general high quality and fall into a diverse range of categories such as education, culture, environment, sanitation, public space, local economies and social integration.

The jury, composed of international urban experts and local figures with knowledge of city’s diverse urban communities, met in Mexico City on 22–24 June to select the winner. Mexican members include architect Jose Castillo as Chair; actress Vanessa Bauche; political analyst and public intellectual Denise Dresser; architect Enrique Norten: artist Betsabeé Romero. They were joined by the former Mayor of Washington DC’s Anthony Williams and Ricky Burdett, the Director of LSE Cities at the London School of Economics.
After the selection of 24 high quality submissions, the jury visited a selection of projects to inspect their implementation on the ground and evaluate their impact on the urban environment and local communities, also to confirm their adherence to the Deutsche Bank Urban Age’s Award selection criteria.

The winner was announced on July 22, 2010 in the presence of Marcelo Ebrard, Mayor of Mexico City. The Ceremony will take place at Centro Cultural Indianilla.

More Information:

Friday, June 03, 2011

The only boy living in New york

Tom, get your plane right on time.
I know your part'll go fine.
Fly down to Mexico.
Da-n-da-da-n-da-n-da-da and here I am,
The only living boy in New York.

I get the news I need on the weather report.
I can gather all the news I need on the weather report.
Hey, I've got nothing to do today but smile.
Da-n-da-da-n-da-da-n-da-da here I am
The only living boy in New York

Half of the time we're gone but we don't know where,
And we don't know where.

Here I am..........

Half of the time we're gone but we don't know where,
And we don't know where.

Tom, get your plane right on time.
I know you've been eager to fly now.
Hey let your honesty shine, shine, shine now
Like it shines on me
The only living boy in New York,
The only living boy in New York.

Here I am...................

Here I am.................

Simon And Garfunkel The Only Living Boy In New York Lyrics

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