Saturday, October 29, 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 National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Education, the American Philosophical Society, the Institute of Medicine, and the British Academy. In June 1996 he was selected by Time magazine as one of America's 25 Most Influential People. He is a recipient of the 1998 National Medal of Science, the highest scientific honor in the United States, and was awarded the Talcott Parsons Prize in the Social Sciences by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003.

He is the author of numerous publications, including The Declining Significance of Race, winner of the American Sociological Association's Sydney Spivack Award; The Truly Disadvantaged, which was selected by the editors of the New York Times Book Review as one of the 16 best books of 1987, and received The Washington Monthly Annual Book Award and the Society for the Study of Social Problems' C. Wright Mills Award; When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor, which was selected as one of the notable books of 1996 by the editors of the New York Times Book Review and received the Sidney Hillman Foundation Award; and The Bridge Over the Racial Divide: Rising Inequality and Coalition Politics. He is the co-author of There Goes the Neighborhood: Racial, Ethnic, and Class Tensions in Four Chicago Neighborhoods and Their Meaning for America and Good Kids in Bad Neighborhoods: Successful Development in Social Context . Most recently he has written More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City.

Other honors granted to Wilson include the Seidman Award in Political Economy (the first and only noneconomist to receive the Award); the Golden Plate Achievement Award; the Distinguished Alumnus Award, Washington State University; the American Sociological Association's Dubois, Johnson, Frazier Award (for significant scholarship in the field of inter-group relations); the American Sociological Association's Award for Public Understanding of Sociology; Burton Gordon Feldman Award ("for outstanding contributions in the field of public policy") Brandeis University; and the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Award (granted by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Los Angeles).

Professor Wilson is a member of numerous national boards and commissions, and was previously the Chair of the Board of The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and of the Russell Sage Foundation.






The Design of Cities, Intelligent or Otherwise

URBANIZED (2011)

Swiss Dots
Downtown Detroit as seen in the documentary "Urbanized."

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 facing some of the world’s important cities. Their itinerary may not take them everywhere you want it to, but it also turns up some unexpected vistas along with familiar ones.

Here is Paris, yes, and New York (looking especially gorgeous in the movie’s final shot), and here are the slums of Mumbai and the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. But have you heard about the bike lanes of Bogotá, Colombia? About the walkways threaded through the townships on the outskirts of Cape Town? About the new housing projects that are replacing the informal settlements in Santiago, Chile?

All of that was news to me, but even viewers with deep knowledge of modern urban planning are likely to learn something from the carefully selected images and thoughtful interviews that make up most of “Urbanized.” This is the third film in Mr. Hustwit’s trilogy of documentaries on the role of design in the modern world, and it can be thought of as the conceptual shell that contains the other two. The first, “Helvetica,” is about the shape of the printed word, and in particular the font named in the title. “Objectified” concerns itself with the shape and packaging of the things we buy, sell and carry. In both cases a phenomenon likely to be taken for granted is shown to have a complex back story, a set of often unexamined reasons for being the way it is.

“Urbanized” is less focused on the history of cities than on the way they are adapting to the challenges of the present and future, notably climate change and population growth. This slant leaves some inevitable gaps — the David-and-Goliath battle between Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs is mentioned, but important earlier figures like Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted are not — and there is a distinct bias in favor of Jacobs-influenced new urbanism and against other approaches to city planning.

Defenders of mid-20th-century Brasília and early-21st-century Phoenix are heard from, but the prevailing argument in “Urbanized” is that these cities are examples of how to do it wrong. The Brazilian capital is seen as a monument of modernist arrogance, while Phoenix represents soul-killing standardization and the reckless overconsumption of carbon-based fuel. Against these follies, the case is made for pedestrian-friendly metropolitan cores, bicycle lanes and an ethic that combines the knowledge of experts with the desires and innovations of local residents.

Mr. Hustwit relies more on the testimony of professionals than on the wisdom of ordinary people, but that is in keeping with the overall mood of the film, which is lively, curious and pedagogical. Like a really good class taught by a team of enthusiastic professors, “Urbanized” supplies grist for many late-night arguments or solitary ruminations. It is worth venturing out of your room, climbing on your bike or boarding a low-emissions bus and fighting your way through a crowd to see.

URBANIZED
Opens on Friday in Manhattan.
Produced and directed by Gary Hustwit; director of photography, Luke Geissbühler; edited by Shelby Siegel and Michael Culyba; released by Swiss Dots. At the IFC Center, 323 Avenue of the Americas at Third Street, Greenwich Village. Running time: 1 hour 25 minutes. This film is not rated.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

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 senior researcher at the Brookings Institution, who conducted the analysis of census data. “For the first time, more than half of the metropolitan poor live in suburban areas.”
As a result, suburban municipalities — once concerned with policing, putting out fires and repairing roads — are confronting a new set of issues, namely how to help poor residents without the array of social programs that cities have, and how to get those residents to services without public transportation. Many suburbs are facing these challenges with the tightest budgets in years.
“The whole political class is just getting the memo that Ozzie and Harriet don’t live here anymore,” said Edward Hill, dean of the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University.
This shift has helped redefine the image of the suburbs. “The suburbs were always a place of opportunity — a better school, a bigger house, a better job,” said Scott Allard, an associate professor at the University of Chicago who focuses on social welfare policy and poverty. “Today, that’s not as true as the popular mythology would have us believe.”
Since 2000, the poverty roll has increased by five million in the suburbs, with large rises in metropolitan areas as different as Colorado Springs and Greensboro, N.C. Over the decade, Midwestern suburbs ranked high; recently, the rise has been sharpest in communities the housing collapse hit the hardest, like Cape Coral, Fla., and Riverside, Calif., according to the Brookings analysis.
Nearly 60 percent of Cleveland’s poor, once concentrated in its urban core, now live in its suburbs, up from 46 percent in 2000. Nationwide, 55 percent of the poor population in metropolitan areas is now in the suburbs, up from 49 percent.
Poverty is new in Parma Heights, a quiet suburb of cul-de-sacs and clipped lawns, and asking for help can be hard. The Parma Heights Food Pantry, which began serving several dozen families a month in 2006, and now helps 260, draws a stream of casualties from the moribund economy. Many never needed food relief before.
Like Mary W., 59, who has worked all her life, most recently at a tire company in Cleveland, and was always the one to remind colleagues to donate to charity. Now she is the one who receives it.
When she first came to the pantry, “I cried my eyes out,” said Mary, who asked that her last name not be used because she did not want her children to know about her financial troubles.
At Vineyard Community Church in Wickliffe, another Cleveland suburb, Brent Paulson, the pastor, said he had to post an employee in the driveway the day the church’s food bank was open to coax people inside, they were so ashamed to ask for help.
In a sign of just how far the economic distress had spread, one volunteer saw his former boss come to the pantry, Mr. Paulson said.
The Cleveland Food Bank, which serves six counties, doubled its distribution between 2005 and 2010. “There’s this sense of surprise,” said Anne Goodman, the director, “this feeling that this has got to be a mistake. It has got to be a bad dream.”
Calls to the United Way social services hot line from suburban areas in northeast Ohio more than doubled from 2005 to 2010, outstripping the increase in cities. “We are seeing a rise in need in places we never expected it,” said Stephen Wertheim, director of the hotline, First Call for Help.
Poverty has been growing in the suburbs for years — along with the population. But the 53 percent increase in poverty far outstripped the 14 percent population increase in the past decade, speeding the change in their status as upper-middle-class enclaves. They have been attracting immigrants following construction jobs and families from cities seeking inexpensive housing as suburbs aged.
Federal vouchers to get poor people into private housing also contributed, Ms. Kneebone said. Cleveland was No. 15 among the country’s top 100 metropolitan areas for increase in suburban share of vouchers.
Urban problems have appeared. In Penn Hills, a suburb of Pittsburgh where people have always driven, poor residents walking near yards and bus stops have created trouble with litter, said Alexandra Murphy, a Princeton doctoral student studying suburban poverty.
Warrensville Heights, a suburb southeast of Cleveland, was pristine when Fran Matthews moved there in 1987, with good schools, manicured lawns and middle-class neighbors, she said. Now for-sale signs dot overgrown yards. Break-ins are on the rise, though crime is still far lower than in the city. Over all, the suburban poverty rate — 11.4 percent in 2010 — is still far below the city rate of 20.9 percent, according to Ms. Kneebone.
“Now when you come home, you have to look around before you get out of the car,” Ms. Matthews said.

The changes have affected the school system, she said, and her grandson now attends a charter school in Cleveland.
The double punch of the recession and the foreclosure crisis — which hit Cleveland and its suburbs particularly hard — has dragged middle-class people down the income ladder. As defined by the Census Bureau, the poverty line for a family of four was $22,314 last year.
“This community is middle class, but right on the line,” said Brad Sellers, a retired professional basketball player who grew up in Warrensville Heights and is running for mayor. “Any dramatic downturn can send you over the edge.”
The unemployment rate among black Americans was 16 percent in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — nearly double the national rate, a painful statistic in a suburb that is majority black.
“Where’s that 9 percent?” Mr. Sellers asked. “Not here.”
Some communities resist the idea that poverty exists. When Ann George, who runs the Parma Heights pantry with stalwart volunteers, speaks at churches and community gatherings, “I see the skepticism on people’s faces,” she said. “They say, ‘This is Parma Heights, not Cleveland.’ ”

Graphic
  Other suburbs are adapting. In Maple Heights, Mayor Jeffrey Lansky embraced the idea of a food bank, setting aside a space for it in 2008 and having the Fire Department help renovate it. The Cuyahoga County Public Library now runs after-school homework centers with snacks from the food bank, aimed at the growing population of poor children.
Edward FitzGerald, the executive of Cuyahoga County, argued that the increase in the suburban poor population could help lead to a fundamental change in local government. For years Cleveland had most of the population — and resources — but policy should reflect the flip in favor of the county, he said.
And with the state slashing funds, counties and the suburbs they contain will have to ramp up social services and economic development on their own, many for the first time.
“You’re talking about governing systems that have never really done this before,” Mr. FitzGerald said.

Monday, October 24, 2011

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 to work in partnership with local governments and businesses so that cities can invest in the kind of 21st century infrastructure and export capabilities they need to compete and win in today’s global economy.

Through JPMorgan Chase’s $10 million underwriting, the Global Cities Initiative will provide leaders from the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas with in-depth research, analysis and guidance on what their economic development resources are, how best to leverage these resources and how to build economic relationships with their international peers and operate in today’s global environment. Over the next five years, the Global Cities Initiative will annually bring together key civic and business leaders through three major U.S. regional conferences and one international conference that will drive discussions, consensus and action about best practices and strategies for regional economic growth.

“As cities have struggled to maintain vital services, J.P. Morgan continues to show its willingness to provide support throughout the economic downturn,” Jes Staley, CEO of the Investment Bank said. “This initiative will help our city and local governments plan and lay the foundation for sustained growth in a rapidly changing global economy. Mayor Richard Daley’s success and experience in leading one of our great cities for 22 years, coupled with his leadership and work through the Richard J. Daley Global Cities Forum, makes him ideally suited to guide The Global Cities Initiative as it develops customized solutions individual cities can use in building their economies.”

Mr. Daley added, “I am honored to be part of this extraordinary initiative. My years serving the people of Chicago gave me a first-hand view of both the enormous economic potential and the unique challenges facing America’s great cities. We need our cities better positioned for innovation and growth if our nation is to succeed. A program that puts a laser focus on identifying strategies for urban economic development is exactly what we need right now to help kick-start national economic recovery.”

Bruce Katz, vice president and founding director of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, underscored the importance of the data and analysis: “Too often local leaders lack the data necessary to make informed decisions on business investments and regulatory policies. We will be able to provide a city-by-city overview of the key metrics for economic development and help leaders retool their industries to be better prepared to compete in the global market.” Katz will direct the project at the Brookings Institution.

Los Angeles Mayor and President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Antonio Villaraigosa added, “At a time when major urban areas throughout the U.S. are facing tremendous challenges, city leaders need to be at the center of bringing private and public sector partners to the table to maximize their regions' economic development potential. The Global Cities Initiative will provide cities with a forum to have these critical conversations while simultaneously providing cities with a road map for competing in an increasingly international marketplace and creating 21st century jobs."

The Global Cities Initiative brings together JPMorgan Chase’s long standing commitment to investing in cities and Brookings’ vast collection of metro-focused research to help civic and business leaders leverage their area’s greatest economic development resources and compete in the global marketplace. The Initiative will seek to link U.S. metros to trading partners abroad - capitalizing on the growing ranks of a global middle class that is creating new markets for US goods and services. Brookings will undertake unprecedented levels of research and analysis into metropolitan economies. Findings from the Initiative 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 development in cities both at home and abroad. This work will provide U.S. metropolitan leaders with tangible ideas for how to expand their competitive position globally and domestically, building on policy and practice innovations from across the nation and around the world.

About JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Former Mayor Daley, the Brookings Institution and its representatives and the Global Cities Initiative will not solicit business on behalf of JPMorgan Chase or its affiliates. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM - News) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.3 trillion and operations in more than 60 countries. The firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers, small business and commercial banking, financial transaction processing, asset management and private equity. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com

About the Brookings Institution


The Brookings Institution is a private nonprofit organization devoted to independent research and innovative policy solutions. For more than 90 years, Brookings has analyzed current and emerging issues and produced new ideas that matter - for the nation and the world. The Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings provides decision-makers with cutting-edge research and policy ideas for improving the health and prosperity of metropolitan areas, including their component cities, suburbs, and rural areas.    

$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 development in both U.S. cities and those abroad. The research is expected to provide U.S. metropolitan leaders with tangible ideas for how to expand their competitive position globally and domestically, building on policy and practice innovations from across the nation and around the world.
"Our nation's cities hold incredible, untapped potential for economic growth and job creation," said JPMorgan Chase chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon. "We need to put capital and knowledge to work in partnership with local governments and businesses so that cities can invest in the kind of 21st century infrastructure and export capabilities they need to compete and win in today's global economy."
“JPMorgan Chase & The Brookings Institution Announce Innovative Global Cities Initiative.” JPMorgan Chase Press Release 10/20/11.
Primary Subject: Public Affairs
Location(s): International, National

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Adams Morgan

Behind the Name: Adams Morgan


2011_1023_John Quincy Adams School.jpg
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 -- this time with some excerpts straight from the pages of the past.
First, Celestino Zapata and Josh Gibson's 2006 book, Then and Now: Adams Morgan, offers a crisp introduction to the neighborhood:
Adams Morgan is a study in contradiction. It is named for two once-segregated schools, yet it is remembered for the biracial cooperation of their principals and others to improve the community. It prides itself on being the polar opposite of the homogeneous cookie-cutter suburbs, yet it itself was once a suburb. It rightfully decries and fears gentrification as being right around the corner, though it has been doing so for nearly five decades, and despite the fact that before the neighborhood was rich it was poor, but before it was poor, it was originally rich.
According to Nilsson, in the 1950s, there were two neighborhood elementary schools: John Quincy Adams Elementary, the school for white students, and Thomas P. Morgan, the school for black students.
In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled in Bolling v. Sharpe -- the same day the Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education -- that segregation in D.C. schools was unconstitutional. In 1955, Washington integrated its schools.
As part of an effort to encourage the community to respect racial and cultural differences, Florence Cornell, principal of Adams, and Bernice Brown, principal of Morgan, came together to create the Adams-Morgan Better Neighborhood Conference, armed with the vision of a healthier, more integrated neighborhood.
The first mention of the Adams-Morgan Better Neighborhood Conference in the Washington Post was on October 21, 1956:
An unusual program, first of its kind in Washington, is being mapped to roll back deterioration in a Northwest neighborhood, housing perhaps 30,000 persons. The cooperative venture, cutting across racial lines, is an attempt to couple energy of residents, resources of the District government, and Federal funds into an attack on blight that has not yet become irreparable.
Sponsor of the “stitch-in-time-saves nine” program is the Adams-Morgan Better Neighborhood Conference. Members are citizens and school, civic and church organizations in the area.
Around the same time, a civic association called the Adams-Morgan Community Council was established to improve neighborhood schools. Its first mention in the Washington Post was on May 2, 1961 in “Today’s Events Scheduled in Washington Area.” The council met at 8:00 pm at the Adams-Morgan Field Office, 1811 Columbia Road NW. You might recognize the address. The location now serves Sunday Drag Brunch. The Adams-Morgan name stuck, along with the hyphen, which persisted for years. From a Washington Post story on September 28, 1980:
There is nothing typical about Adams-Morgan, tucked as it is between gritty Florida Avenue and lush Rock Creek Park. The last vivid vestige of an American melting pot in Washington, it is a city within a city, an independent movement, a village crossroads where different races, ages and economic groups mix together in a cultural stew.
The Post dropped the hyphen in the summer of 2001. On June 24, one of its copy editors, Chris Hopfensperger, wrote:
For decades the hyphen has tied together the two names as well as the neighborhood's racial factions. The Post, though, has seen the syntax on the wall. Adams Morgan is almost universally accepted as the area's name, and The Post's editors have accepted it into the paper's stylebook. The paper hopes this will silence the debate."
Now, if we could just get rid of that errant apostrophe.
Contact the author of this article or email tips@dcist.com with further questions, comments

a torrid love affair...




Adjective
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.
DERIVATIVES
torridity |təˈriditē| noun
torridly adverb
ORIGIN late 16th cent.: from French torride or Latin torridus, from
torrere ‘parch, scorch.’

Friday, October 21, 2011

Green and Gorgeous!


verde
Originally uploaded by heydee

Development Journal Impacts

The following represents a first attempt at a “league table” for development studies journals.
From : http://ict4dblog.wordpress.com/2010/06/17/development-studies-journal-ranking-table/
Rank Journal Citation Score
1 World Development 6.04
2 Journal of Development Studies 4.90
3 Oxford Development Studies 4.06
4 Development Policy Review 3.20
5 Studies in Comparative International Development 2.40
6 Sustainable Development 2.39
7 European Journal of Development Research 1.90
8 Development and Change  1.89
9 Information Technology for Development 1.58
10 Information Technologies and International Development 1.55
11 Journal of International Development 1.46
12 Development 1.33
13 Third World Quarterly 1.30
14 Public Administration and Development 1.21
15 Development in Practice 1.03
16 Progress in Development Studies 0.88
17 Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries 0.81
18 African Development Review 0.79
19 Gender and Development 0.58
20 Enterprise Development and Microfinance 0.45
21 Canadian Journal of Development Studies 0.45
22 IDS Bulletin 0.40
23 Information Development 0.37
24 Forum for Development Studies 0.17
25 Journal of Third World Studies 0.11
     
  Comparator Journals  
  Journal of Development Economics 10.90
  Human-Computer Interaction 4.06
  Environment and Planning D 3.42
  Information Systems Journal 2.89
  The Information Society 1.64
  Mountain Research and Development 0.91
Basis
- Selection was on the basis of development studies journals that appear in various other tables or lists.  However, development economics journals (inc. Economic Development and Cultural Change, Journal of Development Economics, Review of Development Economics, and The Developing Economies) were not included.  If you have suggestions for additions (or deletions), then let me know.
- Citation score is calculated by taking papers published in each journal in 2008 and identifying how many times each paper is cited in Google Scholar.  The average number of cites per paper was then divided by the average number of years since publication.  Very roughly, then, the score equates to average number of GS citations per paper per year.
- All papers published in 2008 were used if less than 20 were published; a sample of at least 20 building outwards from the mid-year issues was used if more than 20 were published.
- One anomalous paper, with over 10 times the citations of any other (a pattern not seen in any other journal), was omitted from African Development Review.  Had this been included, ADR would place seventh.
- This exercise will be repeated and expanded in future years.  What is presented here should only be seen as a first, fairly rough-and-ready set of figures.  The original data used for the calculations can be found here.
Notes
- The raw figures shown here should not be compared with the impact factor scores under Planning and Development provided in ISI’s Journal Citation Reports.  The rankings can be compared.
- Different disciplines have different citation habits and norms.  Specifically, if economists cite more highly, then those development studies journals that include a greater proportion of development economics papers may gain a greater overall citation score.
- Conversely – and requiring further investigation – in compiling the figures, I got some sense that papers in special issues tend to receive fewer citations.  Journals that have a lot of special issues may receive a lower overall citation score.
Reflections
- These average figures provide no guidance on whether your individual paper would be cited more highly if published in one journal or another.  However, the rankings could be used to provide guidance or evidence on the general impact of a selected journal.  (Of course recognising that overall impact is about more than just citations.)
- The figures suggest that, beyond the obvious top two of JDS and World Development, there may be some mismatch between previous subjective ratings and actual impact.  For example, Oxford Development Studies and Development Policy Review rank 3rd and 4th here, yet are unrated by most other journal rating schemes.
- There is a moderate mismatch with the ISI JCR 2008 impact factor ranking.  Most notably, four of the top ten journals here do not appear at all in the ISI list including the two top-cited ICT-for-development journals.
Other Data
- The table below gives details of other ranking and rating data on development studies and some development economics journals.

High->Low Aston 2008 (4->0) CNRS 2008 (1*->4) Ideas 2010 (/731) SJR 2010 (/118) WoK 2010 (/43) ABDC 2010 (A*->C) ABS 2010 (4->1) SoM 2010 (4->1) Heeks 2010 (/25)
African Development Review       65 43     2 18
Canadian Journal of Development Studies       78 42       21
Development     666 28         12
Development and Change 2 2   15 19 B 2   8
Development in Practice       32         15
Development Policy Review     270 10 8       4
Economic Development and Cultural Change     117   24 A 3 4  
Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries                 17
Enterprise Development and Microfinance                 20
European Journal of Development Research     438 48         7
Forum for Development Studies                 24
Gender and Development       73         19
IDS Bulletin       70 37       22
Information Development                 23
Information Technologies and International Development                 10
Information Technology for Development                 9
Journal of Development Economics     43   36 A* 3 4  
Journal of Development Studies 2 2 152 2 26 A 3 4 2
Journal of International Development 1 3 292 22   B 1 1 11
Journal of Third World Studies       86         25
Oxford Development Studies     192 58       1 3
Progress in Development Studies       30         16
Public Administration and Development       62 39 A 2 2 14
Review of Development Economics     129 26 32     1  
Studies in Comparative International Development       23 31 A     5
Sustainable Development       9 11       6
The Developing Economies     474   35 B      
Third World Quarterly   2   29 30 A 2   13
World Development 3 1 134   9 A 3 3 1
High->Low Aston 2008 (4->0) CNRS 2008 (1*->4) Ideas 2010 (/731) SJR 2010 (/118) WoK 2010 (/43) ABDC 2010 (A*->C) ABS 2010 (4->1) SoM 2010 (4->1) Heeks 2010 (/25)

Key

- ABS – UK Association of Business Schools: http://www.the-abs.org.uk/?id=257

- Ideas – citation data from RePEc project of paper downloads: http://ideas.repec.org/top/top.journals.simple.html (economics and finance research)
- SJR – Scopus-based citation ranking: http://www.scimagojr.com/journalrank.php?category=3303&area=0&year=2008&country=&order=sjr&min=0&min_type=cd (development journals)
- SoM – Cranfield School of Management: https://www.som.cranfield.ac.uk/som/dinamic-content/media/SOM%20Journal%20Rankings%202010%20-%20alphabetical.pdf
- WoK – 2008 impact factor in ISI Journal Citation Reports under Planning and Development
- All other data from Harzing’s Journal Quality List: http://www.harzing.com/jql.htm

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

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 private schooling and therefore do well in university entrance exams. And it is usually doled out with little oversight from either governments or students, who generally have too little information about quality to push for improvements, and don’t have the power to make a difference anyway. University staff in most countries are unsackable civil servants, while rectors are elected and hence tend to run on a platform of continuity.
The São Paulo state universities that are pulling ahead of the pack are doing so with the help of generous state funding, which allows them to scoop up the region’s best researchers. They are also specialising. Brazil is emerging as what Demos, a British think-tank, describes as a “natural knowledge economy”: one that boosts the value of its plentiful commodities by the application of technology, such as making biofuels from sugar cane. That in turn makes it possible to gather a critical mass of researchers in one place.
One of the big three ranking organisations, Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), has produced a ranking of Latin American universities, the top ten of which we published in the print issue. The full list is available here. Other ranking organisations are looking carefully at the region too. Times Higher Education, a specialist weekly magazine, says it has enough data to produce a Latin American ranking. But it is still working on its methodology: its global top 200 makes up just 1% of the world’s higher education institutions, which all compete in the same global market for students and professors. Including many more institutions would mean having to find new ways to compare a much more diverse bunch. Until the magazine is sure it can do it fairly, says Phil Baty, its deputy editor, it will move cautiously.
QS relies much more heavily than the other ranking organisations on measures of reputation, which allows it to move swiftly into new regions. However, that carries the disadvantage of potentially over-rating large institutions, especially those whose names include countries or capital cities, such as the University of Buenos Aires or the National Autonomous University of Mexico. They have hundreds of thousands of students apiece and sound like you must have heard of them, even if you have not. Still, a start has now been made on opening the region’s universities to greater scrutiny. That can only help them to improve.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bond Stars

Muni Bonds Are Stars, for Now

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 city fiscal woes could lead to waves of defaults. That hasn’t happened, and, she said, the funds have turned in “a great performance since then.”
Still, muni bond funds had a net outflow of $1.01 billion in August, the Investment Company Institute said late last month.
In Ms. Sjoblom’s opinion, the funds are appropriate for anyone seeking tax-exempt income in a regular account, not a retirement account. Investors should be prepared to hold them at least a year, or preferably several years. Given today’s low-yield environment, she said, investors should focus on no-load funds with low expenses, like those from Fidelity, Vanguard and T. Rowe Price.
Investors should be aware of three other considerations when choosing a muni fund:
• Interest paid by state and local governments and agencies is generally tax-exempt for in-state residents, but when people own bonds from another state — say, a Californian who invests in Texas bonds — their home states often tax the out-of-state interest. So many fund groups offer state-specific funds.
• Capital gains that are incurred either when a portfolio manager trades holdings — or when an individual shareholder sells — are taxable.
• Some municipal bonds, while exempt from regular taxes, are not exempt from alternative minimum taxes, so investors who face a perennial A.M.T. obligation should select funds with little or no A.M.T. exposure.
Regina Shafer, who manages three municipal bond funds — short-term, intermediate-term and New York — for USAA in San Antonio, another no-load, low-expense organization, said, “Our goal is to provide as much tax-free income as possible and to try to be very tax-efficient and avoid taxable capital gains.”
The market has changed greatly since 2008, she said. Before that disastrous year, she said, muni bond insurers guaranteed bonds’ triple-A ratings, “so an investor didn’t have to think” much about individual holdings. Now credit research is important, she said, and there is more interest-rate volatility, which brings opportunity.
Ms. Shafer called muni bonds “a safe asset class” over all, pointing out that municipalities have taxing authority, unlike corporate issuers. Yields on munis in the 10- to 20-year range are actually higher than those of comparable Treasuries, which are taxable, making many munis very attractive right now, she said.
In a similar vein, Jason T. Thomas, chief investment officer of Aspiriant, a national fee-only wealth management firm, said, “By almost every measure, municipal bonds are priced attractively relative to U.S. Treasuries and U.S. corporate bonds.”
He contends that concerns about munis are overblown. The market is diverse, he said, and defaults have historically been rare, with 10-year cumulative default rates for all municipals of less than one-tenth of 1 percent.
Aspiriant uses short-, intermediate- and long-term municipal funds from Vanguard and a commingled separate account for clients.
In the high-yield part of the market, research and active management are crucial, he said, and his firm uses the Nuveen High Yield Municipal Bond fund, which Morningstar says had a total return of 10.05 percent for the first nine months of this year.
The 10-year cumulative default rate for high-yield munis is just over one-half of 1 percent, he said, citing studies that have found that muni defaults often share these characteristics: They are issued by smaller entities for risky or nonessential projects like a municipal golf course, are not rated, or are rated by only one rating agency and are nongeneral obligation bonds.
On the other hand, he said, these factors reduced the risk of defaults: a low current cost of debt service, opportunities for increased revenue like raising property taxes, efforts by governments to cut expenses, and the relatively high security of states’ general obligation bonds. And while states’ costly obligations for their pension plans are often cited as a worry, he said those obligations are long term in nature, giving plan sponsors time to make needed adjustments.
Barnet Sherman, portfolio manager of the TIAA-CREF Tax-Exempt Bond fund, called munis “a tremendous value, a core part of a fixed-income portfolio.” His fund holds only investment-grade issues, no junk. The best returns come from long-term investments, he said, adding that munis are desirable because they finance schools, ports, hospitals — “the fabric of a community.”

Downgraded Debt Defying Default Lures Wells Capital:

Muni Credit

October 11, 2011, 5:33 PM EDT
By 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 $1.1 billion, are a quarter of 2010’s, Bank of America Merrill Lynch data show.
Lyle Fitterer, who helps oversee $26 billion of municipal bonds for Wells Capital in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, said he purchased DeKalb County bonds after Standard & Poor’s cut its rating for the Georgia county, part of metropolitan Atlanta, by five levels to BBB from AA- in March. The company then withdrew the grade, citing a lack of information.
Officials in DeKalb, which saw a 20 percent decline in taxable property values since 2008, reacted to the S&P actions by passing a 26 percent property-tax increase in July.
‘Immediate Feedback’
“They got an immediate feedback,” County Commissioner Jeff Rader said of the response to S&P’s move. He said he would be “very vigorous” in boosting budget reserves.
“Often, there’s action taken to mitigate the situation,” John Dillon, chief municipal-bond strategist at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Purchase, New York, said about responses to multiple downgrades. “Usually management snaps to attention.”
Wells bought DeKalb parks and greenspace tax-district general-obligation bonds due in 2014 in May. That month, the yield traded as high as 3.4 percent, exceeding that of an index of BBB rated tax-exempts due in three years by as much as 1.27 percentage points, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The debt traded at a 2 percent yield on Sept. 20, 26 basis points more than the index at the time. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.
“The outlook is tainted by what they see in the rear-view mirror,” Fitterer said in a telephone interview. “Unless you’re forecasting a double dip in the U.S. economy, you may see some improvement in these credits on an ongoing basis.”
Muni Yields
Ten-year tax-exempt bonds yielded 2.53 percent at 5 p.m. in New York today, according to Bloomberg BVAL Index data, the highest since Aug. 2. The yield rose by the most last week since November as municipalities increased borrowing and Treasuries declined.
Municipal securities have risen 3.9 percent in price this year, compared with 5.9 percent for Treasuries, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch indexes.
It’s rare for municipal governments to be downgraded more than one or two levels. Moody’s Investors Service had none exceeding that in 2007, a year before the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapsed credit markets.
Super-downgrades of three levels or more are driven by bond raters catching up to a municipality’s fiscal condition and are often “telegraphed” in financial statements, said Matt Fabian, a managing director at Concord, Massachusetts-based Municipal Market Advisors.
Profit in Research
An investment firm with a large research staff can profit by knowing when to sell before such downgrades, Fabian said.
“You can read the financials and you can get ahead of potential ratings changes,” Fabian said in a telephone interview.
Anne Van Praagh, managing director at Moody’s in New York, said fiscal conditions of some local governments can deteriorate more quickly now than in previous recessions. So far this year, out of 10,000 local-government bonds, Moody’s has cut seven by three grades or more.
“The credits that fall into speculative grade are the ones where you have a confluence of factors,” Praagh said in a telephone interview.
That includes lack of political will, she said. Scranton, Pennsylvania, may be an example. Its rating was cut three levels by S&P to non-investment-grade BB- from BBB- on Sept. 30 and withdrawn on Oct. 3.
The council had reduced various taxes proposed by Mayor Christopher Doherty in the city’s $70 million budget by $3 million, resulting in “a huge hit to our financials,” said Ryan McGowan, Scranton’s business administrator. The community is now facing a $6.7 million projected budget deficit, he said.
Still, Scranton’s likelihood of default stands at 0.81 percent compared with an average 2.4 percent for BB- rated corporate bonds, according to S&P data.
--With assistance from Michelle Kaske and Andrea Riquier in New York. Editors: Jerry Hart, Pete Young, William Glasgall
To contact the reporters on this story: Romy Varghese in Philadelphia at rvarghese8@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

BBC on Planning GREEN

Urban planning needs green rethink


Martha Schwartz
VIEWPOINT
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.

Inflatable globe statue (Getty Images)
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 are often relegated to presiding over green roof technology.
This is most ironic, because landscape architecture is, in fact, the profession that deals with the "green" part of the agenda.
The reason for the focus on buildings, as opposed to that of the surrounding landscape, is down to the fact that the uses of resources and energy can be addressed with a degree of simplicity and directness.
Meanwhile, landscape architects are left outside looking in on the discussion because our professional remit rests outside these technologically oriented and building-focused discussions.
This is problematic because the nature of our profession is to focus on pressing environmental issues in a holistic fashion, in what I call the Softer Side of Sustainability.
This approach involves creating a sense of place, identity and belonging, in order to develop sustainable communities and - I hope - improve the environment.
Living landscape
We seem to have forgotten that sustainability itself is a cultural notion, and that a building or a place must have value to people if it is to be used sustainably.

Exchange Square, Manchester (Image: BBC)
Encouraging people to live side-by-side more closely will help the local ecology to flourish

It is therefore vital that landscape architects assert this both in our advocacy and in our actual work; for so long as we trail behind the architects by topping their buildings with green roofs, we are simply fiddling while Rome burns.
The landscape is the canvas upon which we live our lives, join together as communities and build our cities.
Embedded and integral to the landscape are the ecological systems that must be understood and respected, as well as the infrastructural systems connecting us all together.
I am not simply referring to gardens and majestic wildernesses; in fact, the most sustainable form of human habitation is the city.
This is where we collectively need focus our activities, and this is also where landscape architects can be of real use.
Encouraging people to live side by side more closely will help the local ecology to flourish, because the community can utilise superior water stations and sewage treatment plants, as well as improving electricity consumption patterns.
Cities also inspire a collectivisation of wealth, allowing local governments to better build and equip schools, libraries, and performing arts buildings.
So the reward of collectivisation can be true sustainability. City inhabitants, from a variety of backgrounds, can be quickly made aware of environmentally friendly ways to live.

This planning process should include measures to encourage compaction of the urban landscape, along with more efficient public transportation
This, in turn, can result in people influencing one another as they incorporate progressive lifestyle changes into the fabric of their diverse daily lives.
Landscape architects ought to help to make cities better places for all who live within them through the establishment of good connectivity and open spaces, the promotion of public transportation and, very importantly, ensuring water is used responsibly, with run-off being managed and put back into the ground.
In addition, landscape architects ought to ensure developers plant as much as possible so that we have an abundance of trees and permeable surfaces.
Careful and inspired design can make all the difference between a place that is viewed as no real significance to anyone, and a place that attracts people, creates vitality, and is cherished by its inhabitants.
The design of Exchange Square in Manchester, UK, is a good example of how careful attention to a community's history and a site's geology can foster the sort of intellectual and emotional investment in a place that leads to real sustainability.
Exchange Square is a wonderful outdoor living room created from a space that was formerly an ignored and ugly traffic intersection, bombed by the IRA in 1996.
The revamped square is now hugely successful; a vibrant and well-used space for everything from watching soap operas during the lunch hour to greeting the Queen.
10-minute rule
Currently, some urban authorities, such as New York, fall short of implementing the issues around the Softer Side of Sustainability, but they are heading in the right direction.

New York street (Getty Images)
New York is one city that is heading in the right direction
For example, PLAN NYC, the sustainability agenda for the eastern US concrete jungle, includes a proposal to ensure that all New Yorkers live within a 10-minute walk of a park.

But this reference to parks is the only mention of the landscape in the NYC sustainability agenda.
PLAN NYC is certainly a marvellous commitment to improving the lives of citizens by giving them access to fresh, green, open spaces. But it does not push the envelope quite far enough.
It does not advocate the vital commitment to landscapes that reflects the most forward visual thinking, through dynamic, inspirational design, and structured attentiveness to community histories.
The role of landscape architecture is once again one of green embellishment, adding parks here and there, rather than sustainability agenda-setting through thought-provoking design.
Although NYC embraces its image as the centre of the global contemporary art scene, it has supported neither adventurous architecture nor landscape architecture.
For the best examples of this, we have to look to areas like Germany's Duisberg Nord Parc in the Ruhr Valley, or the beautiful green spaces of the Park Andre Citroen in Paris.
So how are we to implement The Softer Side of Sustainability?
First, we should incorporate the expertise of landscape architects into the planning process leading up to the establishment of sustainability agendas such as PLAN NYC.
This planning process should include measures to encourage compaction of the urban landscape, along with more efficient public transportation.
Secondly, we should increase sustainability education for students of landscape architecture, architecture, and urban development.
Finally, American builders should learn from the design overviews used in much European urban planning, but extend their minds to reflect the sophistication of landscape thinking.
Three straightforward steps, but they are key to deciding whether cities can develop effectively for the 21st Century, or remain mired in yesterday's thinking.


Martha Schwartz is a US-based landscape architect specialising in master plans, art commissions, urban renewal, reclamation and redevelopment
The Green Room is a series of opinion pieces on environmental topics running weekly on the BBC News website

'Green' exercise quickly 'boosts mental health'


Oak tree on a hill
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 study found.
Looking at men and women of different ages, the researchers found the health changes - physical and mental - were particularly strong in the young and the mentally-ill.
Green and blue
A bigger effect was seen with exercise in an area that also contained water - such as a lake or river.
Study leader Jules Pretty, a researcher at the University of Essex, said those who were generally inactive, or stressed, or with mental illness would probably benefit the most from "green exercise".
We would like to see all doctors considering exercise as a treatment where appropriate
Paul Farmer, Mind
"Employers, for example, could encourage staff in stressful workplaces to take a short walk at lunchtime in the nearest park to improve mental health."
He also said exercise programmes outdoors could benefit youth offenders.
"A challenge for policy makers is that policy recommendations on physical activity are easily stated but rarely adopted widely."
Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, said the research is yet further evidence that even a short period of green exercise can provide a low cost and drug-free therapy to help improve mental wellbeing.
"It's important that people experiencing depression can be given the option of a range of treatments, and we would like to see all doctors considering exercise as a treatment where appropriate."
Mind runs a grant scheme for local environmental projects to help people with mental illness get involved in outdoor activities.

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