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Showing posts from November, 2011

Another Climate Change report for Cities

The fourth issue of United Cities is online This issue features a special report on Climate change, sustainable cities and aid effectiveness. The fourth edition of United Cities adresses questions such as: What can cities expect from Durban COP17 meetings? Why local governments can be vital development partners? How can we get citizens to think green? This edition features an interview with the Secretary General of UCLG, Josep Roig and with the President of Metropolis, Jean-Paul Huchon. Read the fourth edition in e-readable format La quatrième édition de United Cities est en ligne
Cette édition contient un rapport spécial sur le changement climatique, les villes durables et l’efficacité de l’aide. La quatrième édition de United Cities répond à une série de questions comme : que peuvent attendre les villes des réunions de Durban sur le changement climatique ? Pourquoi les autorités locales sont des partenaires essentiels du développement ? Comment les citoyens peuvent-ils penser écologique…

On Writing

Your ability to exchange ideas, collaborate with others, and ultimately succeed hinges on the ability to write effectively. Here are some timeless tips, straight from the pens of the world’s most renowned authors, to help you develop both style and substance.


I try to leave out the parts that people skip. ~Elmore Leonard

Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret. ~Matthew Arnold

Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words or he will certainly misunderstand them. ~John Ruskin

Try to always write with your readers in mind. What do they need to know and want to know? If you have nothing to say, or what you say has no meaning for the reader, there is no point in writing it.


I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil. ~Truman Capote

Substitute damn every time you’re inclined to write very. Your edi…

City Finances in America

November 16, 2011 Mayor Urges Detroit to Accept Drastic Action to Fix Finances New York Times By DETROIT — In an address broadcast live on television stations across this city, Mayor Dave Bing told Detroit on Wednesday evening that its finances were in dismal shape and that without major concessions from unions, the privatizing of some city services and layoffs, Detroit would run out of money by early next year.
“Simply put, our city is in a financial crisis and city government is broken,” Mr. Bing said, adding later: “The reality we’re facing is simple. If we continue down the same path, we will lose the ability to control our own destiny.”
He asked for big pay cuts from city workers, a rise in the corporate tax rate and a lowering of payouts from the pension system.
Mr. Bing’s remarks were rare for a mayor, even in long-troubled Detroit, both because of the depth of the problem he outlined and because of the audience he chose to share…

Goodbye, Sidewalks: London Planners Break Down Boundaries Between Cars and Pedestrians

Advocates for livable streets usually push for more sidewalks and bike lanes to protect pedestrians and cyclists from cars. Division is seen as the key to safety and participation. But a new project in London questions the idea of barriers to begin with, envisioning a "shared space" for the intermingling of vehicles and walkers. It may seem chaotic, but planners believe it could foster a more accessible, safer, pedestrian-friendlier thoroughfare by forcing everyone to slow down and be aware of who's on the road.
Exhibition Road in London—a half-mile strip in the city's cultural heart that draws 11 million visitors each year to its numerous museums and cultural institutions—will reopen next month without clear lane markers or curbs. As The Guardiandescribes it, the new design "is about suggestion rather than certainty." Similar projects on other streets in London have decreased accidents involving pedestrians, showing that both walkers and drive…

The Truth about America

Op-Ed Columnist The Inequality Map By Josh Haner/The New York Times Published: November 10, 2011 Foreign tourists are coming up to me on the streets and asking, “David, you have so many different kinds of inequality in your country. How can I tell which are socially acceptable and which are not?”
This is an excellent question. I will provide you with a guide to the American inequality map to help you avoid embarrassment.
Academic inequality is socially acceptable. It is perfectly fine to demonstrate that you are in the academic top 1 percent by wearing a Princeton, Harvard or Stanford sweatshirt.
Ancestor inequality is not socially acceptable. It is not permissible to go around bragging that your family came over on the Mayflower and that you are descended from generations of Throgmorton-Winthrops who bequeathed a legacy of good breeding and fine manners.
Fitness inequality is acceptable. It is perfectly fine to we…

Extra Aid

Foundations Play an Increasing Role in International Development Although foundations have boosted their involvement in global issues over the past decade, questions remain as to whether philanthropy is equipped to play a larger role in international development, the Guardian reports.
According to The Index of Global Philanthropy and Remittances 2011 (35 pages, PDF), a new report from the Hudson Institute, official development assistance from Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development members totaled $120 billion in 2009, private capital investment in developing countries totaled another $258 billion, and global remittances — transfers of money by workers in foreign countries to their home countries — totaled some $174 billion. While the $53 billion total from philanthropic sources lags those figures, it represents a significant chunk of total funding for international development activities.
According to Dr. Noshua Watson, a research fellow at the UK-based In…

Cooking the Books

Fight over Argentina’s inflation rate pits government against private economistsBy , Published: October 31Washington Post BUENOS AIRES — Graciela Bevacqua’s work, compiling inflation figures that turn out to be sharply at odds with Argentine government statistics, clearly irritates officials. First came a $125,000 fine, followed by a criminal complaint against her team of 20 university students.
These days, with the government basking in President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’sresounding reelection victory last month, Bevacqua and a smattering of economic consultancies that compile inflation figures make up a lonely dissidents movement.
Facing government sanctions, most continue to calculate their own inflation figures. But they do it quietly, their findings used mainly in private reports issued to clients, economists sanctioned by the government said in interviews.
“I feel that I am carrying out serious research and providing an alternative to the government p…