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Showing posts from October, 2011

My Favorite Authors: William Julius Wilson

William Julius Wilson is Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor at Harvard University. He is one of only 20 University Professors, the highest professional distinction for a Harvard faculty member. After receiving the Ph.D. from Washington State University in 1966, Wilson taught sociology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, before joining the University of Chicago faculty in 1972. In 1990 he was appointed the Lucy Flower University Professor and director of the University of Chicago's Center for the Study of Urban Inequality. He joined the faculty at Harvard in July of 1996.

Past President of the American Sociological Association, Wilson has received 44 honorary degrees, including honorary doctorates from Princeton, Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, Dartmouth, the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and New York University. A MacArthur Prize Fellow from 1987 to 1992, Wilson has been elected to the …

The Design of Cities, Intelligent or Otherwise


Swiss Dots Downtown Detroit as seen in the documentary "Urbanized."
New York Times By A. O. SCOTT Published: October 27, 2011 Those of us who live in cities — more than half the world’s population, according to many recent estimates — experience them mainly at eye and street level. Each urban environment has its own character and can therefore seem more like the result of natural processes than of complex human intentions. A city develops organically, through the complex interplay of economics, biology and countless local, individual decisions, but also by means of planning on the part of architects, engineers and politicians.

The mingling of design and happenstance is, to some extent, the deep subject of “Urbanized,” Gary Hustwit’s fascinating, idea-packed new documentary. In this remarkably concise film — which could easily have sprawled to 15 hours on public television — Mr. Hustwit and his crew survey both the challenges and promises facin…

What Poverty Looks like in America

Outside Cleveland, Snapshots of Poverty’s Surge in the Suburbs
Dustin Franz for The New York Times The recession and the foreclosure crisis hit the suburbs of Cleveland, like Warrensville Heights, particularly hard. More Photos »
PARMA HEIGHTS, Ohio — The poor population in America’s suburbs — long a symbol of a stable and prosperous American middle class — rose by more than half after 2000, forcing suburban communities across the country to re-evaluate their identities and how they serve their populations.
When Randall Park Mall opened in 1976 in North Randall, Ohio, it was the largest indoor mall in the country. The two million-square-foot retail space officially closed in 2009. More Photos »
The increase in the suburbs was 53 percent, compared with 26 percent in cities. The recession accelerated the pace: two-thirds of the new suburban poor were added from 2007 to 2010.
“The growth has been stunning,” said Elizabeth Kneebone, a se…

More on JPMogran and Cities

JPMorgan Chase & The Brookings Institution Announce Innovative Global Cities Initiative

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley to Chair

Press Release Source: JPMorgan Chase & Co. On Thursday October 20, 2011, 9:06 am EDT

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- JPMorgan Chase announced today that it is giving $10 million to the Brookings Institution to underwrite the Global Cities Initiative: A Joint Project of Brookings and JPMorgan Chase aimed at helping civic and business leaders identify and leverage their city’s greatest economic development resources. Utilizing his extraordinary hands-on experience in building global relationships on behalf of the city of Chicago, JPMorgan Chase also announced that former Mayor Richard M. Daley has been appointed as a senior advisor to the firm to chair the Global Cities Initiative.

“Our nation’s cities hold incredible, untapped potential for economic growth and job creation,” said JPMorgan Chase CEO and Chairman Jamie Dimon. “We need to put capital and knowledge…

$10 Million for Global Cities Initiative

JPMorgan Chase has announced a $10 million grant to underwrite a joint project with the Brookings Institution that aims to help civic and business leaders identify and leverage their city's greatest economic development resources.
The Global Cities Initiative aims to provide leaders from the one hundred largest metropolitan areas in the United States with information, policy ideas, and the strategic partners necessary to build economic relationships with their international peers and operate in today's global environment. In an effort to drive discussion, consensus, and action, the initiative will host three regional conferences in the U.S. and one international conference each year for the next five years.

As part of the effort, Brookings will conduct research and analysis into metropolitan economies, and what they find will serve as a platform for a series of joint forums, which will help promote the exchange of ideas and best practices for delivering jobs and deve…

Adams Morgan

Behind the Name: Adams Morgan

Photo by cstein96. A neighborhood's name is part of its identity. Adoption of it, or aversion to it, can say a lot about where a place is going -- and where it came from.
D.C. seems perpetually allergic to "NoMa." I've observed -- more than a decade after its Soho-inspired birth -- visceral reactions to the moniker (smirks, raised eyebrows, instinctive eyerolls). It prompted me to question where other D.C. neighborhood names have sprung from.
Serendipitously, I stumbled upon a book in the Washingtoniana that explores, among other fascinating histories, the genesis of Washington neighborhood names. It’s Dex Nilsson's, The Names of Washington D.C.
Today, we’ll look at Adams Morgan.
Some of you may have heard Adams Morgan's story before -- we touched on it several years ago, and a few other local blogs and columnists have as well. It’s a great story, and I hope you won’t mind me rehashing it for those who don’t know it --…

a torrid love affair...

very hot and dry : the torrid heat of the afternoon.
• full of passionate or highly charged emotions arising from sexual
love : a torrid love affair.
• full of difficulty or tribulation : Wall Street is in for a torrid
time in the next few weeks.
torridity |təˈriditē| noun
torridly adverb
ORIGIN late 16th cent.: from French torride or Latin torridus, from
torrere ‘parch, scorch.’

Green and Gorgeous!

Originally uploaded by heydee

Development Journal Impacts

Ed in LAC

Latin American universities Pulling rank Oct 10th 2011, 16:24 by H.J. | SÃO PAULO
THE current issue of The Economist includes an article about the state of universities in Latin America. The region as a whole has low education standards. Its students do extremely poorly in the OECD’s PISA evaluations, which test what 15-year-olds are able to do in the basics: reading and understanding a text in their own language, and applying mathematical and scientific ideas to everyday situations. It also has a particularly perverse way of doling out cash, spending proportionally less on primary education, which benefits everyone, and more on tertiary, which is the reserve of the few. (Brazil spends more than five times as much per university student as it does per primary-school pupil, by far the highest ratio in the world. In second place, Mexico spends three times as much.)
That money goes mostly to the children of well-off families, who are able to afford privat…

Bond Stars

Muni Bonds Are Stars, for Now By JAN M. ROSEN NYTIMES  Published: October 8, 2011 DESPITE warnings of defaults near the start of this year, municipal bond funds have turned in a Cinderella performance so far, even as many stock funds lost ground.

Total returns for some muni funds were in the 10 percent range for the calendar year, although their 12-month returns were generally lower. Analysts and fund managers see continued good performance for intermediate and long-term muni funds, along with periods of high volatility.
Miriam Sjoblom, lead bond fund analyst at Morningstar, said, “Muni bonds have had a great year, but yields across all levels are near all-time lows.” As a result, she said, “yields are likely to rise, so prices could fall.”
Many fund shareholders have been “buying and selling at the wrong time,” Ms. Sjoblom said. There was a surge of sales last November, December and January, she added, amid fears that state and cit…

Downgraded Debt Defying Default Lures Wells Capital:

Muni CreditOctober 11, 2011, 5:33 PM EDTBy Romy Varghese Oct. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Wells Capital Management is among investors buying bonds of localities whose credit ratings have been cut more than two levels in so-called super-downgrades, betting they’ll recover from the worst financial conditions in 26 years and avoid defaults.
Cities, counties and towns, whose tax income shriveled in the deepest recession since World War II, make up 24 percent of all multiple-level downgrades in 2011 compared with 9 percent in 2010, according to Municipal Market Advisors, a research firm that started tallying the ratings changes last year. To stay solvent, localities cut costs and raised revenue. Three of five delayed or canceled capital projects in fiscal 2011 and 41 percent boosted fees, the National League of Cities said in a survey, which called fiscal 2010 the worst financially in 84 years. Local-bond defaults are only 1 percent of 2011 tax- exempt failures, which, at $1.…

BBC on Planning GREEN

Urban planning needs green rethink
Martha Schwartz
The focus on greening homes and offices is ignoring the wider landscape of our towns and cities, argues Martha Schwartz. In this week's Green Room, she says 21st Century urban spaces must undergo a green revolution.

The landscape is the canvas upon which we live our lives, join together as communities and build our cities
When it comes to environmental concerns, there has been altogether too much fragmented talk of buildings.
We have consistently failed to recognise that buildings are situated in wider landscapes that desperately need greater attention.
As I go about my work as a landscape architect, I regularly deal with our profession's role within the green agenda.
Unfortunately, I have found that we lag behind architects when it comes to participating in the conversation around sustainability; in fact, we ar…

'Green' exercise quickly 'boosts mental health'

Green space is important for mental heal..... the BBC reporting Just five minutes of exercise in a "green space" such as a park can boost mental health, researchers claim. There is growing evidence that combining activities such as walking or cycling with nature boosts well-being.
In the latest analysis, UK researchers looked at evidence from 1,250 people in 10 studies and found fast improvements in mood and self-esteem.
The study in the Environmental Science and Technology journal suggested the strongest impact was on young people.
The research looked at many different outdoor activities including walking, gardening, cycling, fishing, boating, horse-riding and farming in locations such as a park, garden or nature trail.
The biggest effect was seen within just five minutes.
With longer periods of time exercising in a green environment, the positive effects were clearly apparent but were of a smaller magnitude, the stud…