Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mexico's Bond Market

 
Mexico's New Regulatory Envorinment

Beginning in 1997, the Mexican Ministry of finance (SHCP) created reforms to open its access to buy and sell government securities. These reforms included the improving of regulatory bodies within finical systems through the creation of the National Banking and Securities commission (CNBV ), the National Financial Services (CNSF) and the National Savings System for Retirement (Consar), through the umbrella agency, the Federal regulatory Improvement Commission (Cofemer).   These regulatory bodies helped to create a solid foundation for Mexico’s internal municipal bond market, which became operational in 2001.  

These structural considerations encouraged the use of credit ratings and structured finance in order to leverage retirement accounts (AFORES) to be used as guarantees for financing infrastructure within states and municipalities. The traditional method for issuing government debt was only operational through the auctions that big investors, who only had access.  Now retail debt through a system call CETES Direct gives small investors the opportunity to buy government securities without intermediaries.  

Bond issuers

Bond issuers are generally, the offices that  process the bonds for issuing through a process of underwriting.   When a bond issue is underwritten, one or more securities firms or banks, forming a syndicate, buy the entire issue of bonds from the issuer and re-sell them to investors. The security firm takes the risk of being unable to sell on the issue to end investors.  Issuers help to identify the type of loan a subnational government needs, adjusts their public finances, and helps to find the type of guarantee that will be provided and negotiates with the appropriate banks to syndicate the loan. Therefore ordinary investors can  invest in the bond within the Mexican “wall street” as any other type of low risk investment government security investment.

Friday, May 02, 2014

What are some examples of Government Faliure?


The following provides a justification for either government intervention on market failures or the antithesis, suggesting a need for less government intervention due to government failure.

a. Interstate Highway Grants are federal grants for states to maintain and construct the interstate highway system. First, we must analyze whether road construction could be provided by a purely-private market. Roads could and are made in the open market; they are both excludible and rivalries. In order to make them non-rivalry, toll roads are built. But if the ideal is to ensure that the highway connects every state in the union, this makes inter-state highways a non-excludible and non-rivalries type of market. Therefore, if you believe that it is important to unify the country through the inter-state highway system, this is a perfect example of how government can intervene into the market place to provide a public good. That is not to say, many people object to the formula devised by Congress which assess the allocation of the resources, which could be conceived as a government failure, depending upon your state’s specific appropriation.

b. Environmental Protection creates a positive externality for all of us and for future generations. The EPA’s regulations on the environment especially for water and air pollution protects the American people from harmful and potentially life threatening diseases and lifestyles. Air pollution, for example is a public good, a non-exclusive- non-rivalry market. Factories would over pollute as much as they wanted without the consequence of paying a fine. Plus if they over polluted there would be a negative externality for those living in the area and had to breath in the bad air. Furthermore, many people may have an Intertemporal Resource Allocation, or consume today all the products from our forests, coral reefs, fish stocks, oil, species, etc., all the without harvesting regulations and preservation acts to take care of them. Yet with all these overarching benefits to America, some business argue there is over supply of regulation, they find the bureaucracy over cumbersome and even other have difficulties applying for permits suggesting potently bloating of the system.

c. Media Regulation is the FCC’s regulation of the electromagnetic spectrum to allocate permits for companies to use specific frequencies for radio and TV stations. The frequencies themselves, without the regulation, fall in with the tragedy of the commons or a common pool resource problem because they are is rivalry and they are not excludible. Scientists suggest that is an infinite number on the spectrum and therefore should be regulated. Furthermore, it can be argued that the FCC prevents a monopoly of media provided to the public. The FCC’s regulations were copied from the ICC model discussed further later.

d. TANF is the US welfare program to assist children living in poverty. Child poverty is a problem of Acceptability of Preferences. Americans, for one reason or another, deems it unacceptable. Often suggesting it’s Moral Unacceptability because children do not predicate where they are born. Furthermore, providing aid to children can be considered a positive externality or a tax benefit to needy families who fall below the poverty line. The government aid also helps the local economy of where the families live and spend the money.

How to Run a Constitution....


In the book, To Run a Constitution, John Rohr advises us that the word “administration” is not mentioned once in the constitutions. Yet today, when we think of the American government we think of the bureaucracy that manages and implements (and sometimes establishes) many of the policies that run our country. Therefore when Richard Neustadt argued that the notion of the “separation of powers” is miss leading was because in the US we have separate administrative institutions sharing these powers. That is again to say, that today’s bureaucracy not only sets policy, it manages and implements it too.

We learn from Rohr, the notion of the “separation of powers” originates from the Federalist vs. Anti-federalist arguing over power, and finally suggesting that not one authority within the federal government should be omnipotent. Rather there should be a balance between the executive, judiciary and the legislative bodies. America’s Founding Fathers created the laws of checks and balances that could over-ride congress, the president and the judiciary’s roles in government.

Yet, the first problem framers encountered was to manage the separation of power within the Treasury department. They analyzed how the three separate powers could manipulate and influence its operations. This was the first administrative agency in which the framers needed to create direct lines of control. Ultimately, the framers nominated that congress, the most representational body of government, to control the bureaucracy through committee, which still exits today.

Woodrow Wilson, with his interpretive view of the constitution, established the politics-administration divide, making him the father of modern American public administration. In his 1889 prolific essay and subsequent lectures, Wilson proclaimed, “Administration was the most obvious part of government…which proceed the independent of legislation and even of constitution”(Rohr 68). He stated that the constitution is a political act but that administration predicates the good will of the people. This notion is what concerns Neustadt.

Furthermore with Wilson’s new deal programs in the plight of the great depression, created the largest expansion of government in US history. Therefore more emphasis was needed to be place on whether the “bureaucratic administration” separated itself from politics or not. Therefore if the administration was not separate from politics, it may be omnipotent to a particular issue. The courts and congress are highly involved in the administrative actions of most bureaucracies.

Frank Goodnow believed in Wilson’s legislative supremacy. The example provided in Rohr’s book was the fight over the establishment and implementation of policies within the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). Goodnow described how Thomas Cooley managed to regulate and expand the ICC while navigating the political games in Washington, which legitimized his work. Further work by the various agencies, legal battles and the like substantiate this work.

Ultimately the “separation of powers” question depends on whether the administrative-state blends the powers of constitutional legitimacy predicated on one’s belief in the separation of politics and administration and what type of constitutional review they take.

What is the relationship between capitalism and democracy?


Lindblom’s Politics and Markets highlights the relationship between capitalism and democracy. Writing in 1977, he makes a comparative analysis of the American system of government with other world political and economic systems. Particularly he is concerned with the privileged position of business in a democracy, its efforts towards growth and the indoctrination of Americans to incorporate a pro-business bias.

Lindblom divides the political economy into a government/people and business/market dichotomy. Suggesting that it is the will of the citizen voters who are both consumers of goods and policy. They make up the collective decision making in a polyarchy. Lindblom argues that decisions are more complex than rational choice economics suggest, particularly in the political realm. Therefore, politicians use persuasion to sway voters to believe in what would be good for them. This persuasion is often tainted due to the types of controls they might have, such as wealth, organization and access, etc.

Lindblom believes that businesspersons hold a privileged position within a democratic society. They exist in a market system where “…income and wealth, deference, prestige, influence and power, among other things…” define someone. (Lindblom, 175) Furthermore they are obligated to the American people because they are responsible for the wellbeing of our society to assist in its economic growth. An effort to build the economy helps businesses. “Urban renewal, for example, comes to the aid of retailers, banks, theaters, public utilities, brokers, and builders.” (Lindblom, 177)

This is in contrast to a communist system, which is led by strict government action of how to build and strengthen its economy. In a democracy, policy circles and interest groups make decisions. Businesspersons have the incentive to encourage development through their sectors and create interest groups to represent them. This lobbying would be unnecessary in a communist system and may provide waist for the actual development of a country. Lindblom is not only analyzing the US, but he is seeking to contrast it from other world powers of the time, like Russia and China and their levels of development and growth.

Lindblom suggests that liberal pluralism focuses on how interest groups shape policy. Yet, public policy should be dependent on the market/business decisions. People vote in representation and they may be pro-development or people-focused. These two areas polarize the American people’s vote. What molds their opinion is indoctrination, provided by education, to vote pro-business.

Finally, Lindblom highlights the efforts of public education and popular education to further disseminate this privileged position for the business community.  He argues that in a society there is three control methods: exchange through markets, authority by government or persuasion by preceptoral systems. The last item is what dominates in America. The role of the media is important in a democratic system. It helps with the indoctrination of the people to vote more pro-business. This inherently, promotes business to dominate and promote growth for the country.

Inter-governmental Relations in the US


The Price of Federalism according to Paul Peterson (1996) is the cost of doing business for a government when various levels (national, state and local) are segmented the bureaucracy. For him, modern federalism in the US has evolved far away from what the forefather’s originally envisioned. Today each level of government has its own independently elected political leaders and its own separate taxing and spending capacity.
Functional theory argues that the appropriate level of government should be used to provide the public services to the people. By and large, it argues that economic development policy should be managed at the state and local governmental levels, while the national government should be in charge of redistributing wealth. This is a more normative view of how government “should” operate. On the other hand, Legislative theory says that modern federal system is shaped by political needs and legislatures are responsible for its design. Politicians strive to distribute benefits and push off costs. This is a more realist argument, which focuses on the pork politics of the politicians and how much re-allocation of the national treasury is allocated for a particular locality.
Ultimately, Peterson argues that although traditional functionalism is theoretically superior, realistically legislative affairs intervene into the policy making process thus costing America more. He describes the problems with modern federalism as the costs of welfare; the creation of fiscal inequalities; and the expensive of providing public services in central cities.
In regards to welfare policy, Peterson identifies distinctive areas of functionality for government funds separated into developmental vs. redistributive grants. Developmental funds are designated for infrastructure, roads, mass transit, sanitation systems, public parks and institutions to protect the public like for health and education. Redistribution is aid that helps the elderly, disabled, unemployed, sick, poor, and indirectly helps economic development. Functionalism argues that local governments are equipped to design and administer development problems because market forces and political processes discipline them better. As defined in public choice theory, it is the marginal resident and business that determines the market value of property in a locality (page 18). Citizen choices at the local level will select the optimal level of market-based outcome for the basic services. Although citizens are likely to eschew income tax and relay on property taxes, user fees and misc. taxes to pay for public goods, political pressure is minimal at the local level.
Yet if local governments are allowed to provide both development and redistributive policies, areas will concentrate between the rich and the poor creating huge inequalities. Concentration of poor unable to pay for basic services will grow and rich municipalize will promote politics of Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY). Therefore Peterson argues that the national government should be in charge of redistribution. Likewise, legislative theory acknowledges that national federalism is shaped by political needs of legislatures responsible for their jurisdictions. Politicians lobby for resources and claim credit and shift the burden to other levels of the federal system, which could create a distorted allocation of resources. These contradictions result in fiscal inequalities of national benefits.
Finally, Peterson argues that inter-cities receive a grunt of the burden. He suggests that diseconomies of scale that occur in big cities government are less likely to offer market-based information. With more density, cities have increased inequality and must pay more for maintenance and management but have the diminishing costs of providing public services. Big cities problems are hard to tackle. They are ridden with crime, welfare dependency, poor schools and high unemployment rates. Similar to developing countries, big cities have large amounts of inequality. Functionalists expect territorial inequities in fiscal resources among states to be distributed through federal grants. Yet, Peterson is less optimistic that legislative theory can offset fiscal inequalities at the state and local levels by federal grants.
            Peterson empirically tests whether state’s political and institutional history will have a legacy of fiscal consequences, suggesting that more professional states will spend more. He uses coefficient of variation (CV) to measure the differences between states by the following independent variables: population density, taxable resources, poverty rates, and population living in urban areas, minority percentage, partisanship, and professionalization of state politics. He concludes that social costs of federalism are considerable. States with higher poverty rates spend no more on redistribution than those with lower poverty rates. Redistributive expenditures are not responsive to social need, all things being equal, and actually are reduced in states with higher percentages of minorities.
Additionally, Peterson tests for the possible “welfare race to the bottom.” He studies states provision of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) reforms. In the 1990s President Clinton shifted welfare policies from categorical grants (funding for specific policy outcome) to block grants, which provided state’s discretion for federal funding. Peterson argues that while categorical grants have a redistributive purpose (programs with specific target populations and needs), block grants help development objectives (because they are managed by each state). He argues that in order to have progress, the state government needs to have more of a say how federal aid should be distributed. He is an advocate of the block grants program.
Contrary evidence of this political divide was provided in the McFarlane and Meier (June 1998) article, which evaluated the cost effectiveness of re-allocating categorical/entitlement programs into block grants. They looked at family planning and evaluate the long-term outcomes of the policy after the national government changed its funding mechanism allowing the states to decide how to implement the program. They argue that spending was reliant on the state’s political and historic legacy; more conservative states wouldn’t pay for birth control,  while more liberal one would. Furthermore they suggested that it is of the countries best interest to have better family planning to help curb unwanted pregnancies, which will ultimately also relieve future
poverty rates.
Ultimately, Peterson argues the direction of the price of federalism. Functional theories suggest the price is diminishing with each level of government outperforming the next. Legislative theory anticipates the price with climb and for sees higher levels of government taking credit for financing popular development programs. Peterson argues for its decline and suggests movements different between Great Society programs and the Reaganomics. He adds that each level of government is increasingly focused on the policy area in which it has the greatest competency (i.e. local governments with economic development/national government with redistribution). Legislative theory increased levels of federal development grants between 1957-1977 (pg 83). Yet tax indexation, congressional centralization, fiscal deficits and budgetary crisis have imposed greater political costs on legislative spending proposals. But ultimately, it’s up to the readers to decipher their own verdict.

What is liberation management?


Whereas Kettl (2005) has argued that the attempts at governmental reform has been prompted by efforts at efficiency and cost reduction, Light (1997) suggests that too many reforms have come and gone and have not made any major impasses. Regardless of which you believe is more relevant, one could argue that the national bureaucracies have had to changed their behaviors to meet the various rigor required by these reforms.
In the Tides of Reform, Light agues that there has been too much management reform in government. He groups them into four major categories: scientific management, war on waste, watchful eye and liberation management. He contends that political leaders want to make their mark on the administration and promote reforms to manage mounting bureaucracies. (Although it is well known that every forty years, the US has seen major progressive-style increases in budget. For instance the creation of the 1880s progressives, the 1930s New Deal, the 70s style Great Society, etc.)  Regardless, there are many “tides” of reform promoted either through presidents or by congress to decrease the waist and manage the bureaucratic system to behave more effectively and efficiently.
First, scientific management is one of the founding theories within public administration theory. It stands for the business-like management of government, making tight hierarchal controls with chains of command and specialization of groups to get things done. The acronym of PODSCORB (P-Planning, O-Organizing, D-Directing, S-Staffing, C0-Cordinating, R-Reporting B-Budgeting) integration in public administration came through the scientific management movement. This was the first in the field of PA, which suggested that government could be more effective if it was driven by business management principles.
Next was the “war on waste,” which emphasized inspectors, auditors, cross-checkers and reviewers. This was the first response to fight off “pork” politics. It sought to scare government employees to follow the books and rules set by top management of the agency. It promoted that inspectors and the general media could find waste through audits and investigations. This created headliners for congress to seize and exploit their competencies to manage the growing bureaucracy.
The watchful eye, followed in its footsteps, suggesting that citizens should watch the corrupt behavior of government through sunshine rules, which provided public access to agency procedures and practices. It emphasized that experts could provide key insights and created new roles for citizen participation.
Finally, Light describes liberation management highlighting Al Gore’s initiative to let “managers manage” and promoted networking to improve performance. Kettl in his book The Global Public Management Revolution, among others, later referred to this tide as New Public Management. It has clearly dominated the PA literature for the past quarter of the century.
Kettl argues that this movement began with the progressive governments of New Zealand which used prioritization and corporatism to provide government services; created performance contracts for its employees; out-sourced items; created performance based budgeting and strategic plans to force government to be more cost effective. Kettl argues that these reforms reached the US but were implemented more incrementally and created a less drastic effect. He states that it began with the Hoover Commission, continuing through the administrations of Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton Administration. He emphasizes NPR in promoting decentralization, downsizing, cost effectiveness, work better at jobs, shrink the role of government and promote information technology to do the job.
National bureaucracies have changed as a result of these reforms. For example, Golden (April 1998) and Yackee and Yackee (Feb. 2006) studies the “notices and comments” section within the rulemaking process highlight the US government agencies incorporating the watchful eye reforms. The added time for bureaucratic rule making allows citizens and business associations to be apart of the process. Furthermore, Light quotes Barzelay and Armajani to refer to the post bureaucratic paradigm of how the American people after the 1950s went beyond thinking that scientific management dictates the bureaucracy, but rather agencies needed to be more customer driven (pg 193-4). This suggests that the main paradigm from 1880s to the 1950s was that government should follow management’s lead to scientific management and the shift focused on the reemphasis of NPR and liberation management. 
A final example illustrates the war on waste reforms, with the creation of Office of Management and Budget and its various reporting mechanisms, evaluations and audits has modified each bureaucratic agency to do more report writing than ever. Furthermore, one can argue that the contemporary public servant is no longer a street-level bureaucrat  (Lipsky 1983) taking care of the public good, but rather a report-writing, contracting officer who prepares for audits, evaluations and budget submissions. Ultimately the evaluation of these jobs is at the heart of the study of public administration.

What is liberalism and how do we study it?


In the End of Liberalism, Lowi (1979) makes a sweeping argument that in the 20st century the United States political system has been “captured” by interest group politics and has ended traditional liberalism—defined as the opposition to fight against capitalist economic domination. He argues that this new political culture to fight for “left leaning” or “conservative leaning” favors has drawn an end to socialism/Marxism. Instead the US draws on partisan politics of democrats and republicans appease public interest groups for political favors. He argues that neither left nor right leaning groups have the complete interest of the public. Rather the sense of commons is lost within the American political system.
            Furthermore, Lowi argues that the “automatic economy” of the post industrial revolution has also converted into the “automatic society.” He stresses that the capitalist ideology has transformed a sense of pluralism. People are more passive and are “content” with more consumerism. The competition with their neighbors over the latest consumer goods overrides their need to help their brothers in need. Ultimately, the end of statism has lead to the embrace of positivism government. Lowi suggests that administration is the central key to positivism. He argues it’s the most rational unit to manage interests. These interests are what make up society and “interest-group liberalism.” Furthermore, democracy is designed to manage conflict.
What’s more Lowi continues and adds that the US government has taken over society by monopolizing direct financial domination, licensing and underwriting risk. Lowi suggests that the government has omniscient power to control the controllers. The state of permanent receivership suggests that policies can be modified without an “immediate transfer or funds, therefore no treasure or congressional or budgetary clearances” (pg. 290). He suggests that the receivership of regulation and discretionary fiscal policy is now in the hands of the government and there are few strings to pull to manage the complete system. Notwithstanding, this awesome power was recently tests and denied with the most recent bailout of the banking sector.
If we take Lowi’s main thesis of interest-group liberalism to describe the role of today’s democracy, we can accept that liberalism is optimistic about government and will develop an expansive role to build what is good for society. In addition we will agree that public interests amalgamate the desires of groups through the struggle of democracy. Therefore the way to have your interest met is to be involved with the system. Participation is the proxy for managing the awesome power of government. In that vein, we can agree with Lowi that there is an intrinsic bias towards business because they are more organized and have more influence on government. Conservatism or business interest are heard more often than the public good because they are richer, more organize and therefore more powerful.
Empirical evidence furthermore agrees with Lowi’s thesis of interest-group liberalism. Golden (April 1998) evaluates the rulemaking process and the notices and comments section within three US government agencies,  EPA, NHTSA and HUD,  to evaluate who participates in the policy process. She finds that the business interests were dominated within the rule-making process at EPA and NHTSA, but had mixed results at HUD with some participation by other government agencies, public interest groups and citizen advocacy groups. Yackee and Yackee repeated Golden’s study in Feb. 2006 and found similar conclusions. They looked at OSHA, ESE, FRA and FHWA from 1994-2001 and also found that the business interest enjoyed disproportional influence over rule making output despite the supposedly equalizing effect of the notice and comments procedures. Therefore one could argue that the public does not get equally represented in the administrative policy process, but business has an upper hand at influencing the government.

The study of the bureaucracy


The study of the bureaucracy is at the heart of public administration, given that it is the organism that executes the policies created by politicians. Since the Pendleton Service Act of 1883, there has been a distinctive political/administration dichotomy or the separation of power between political leaders and the merit-based appointment of professional permanent civil servants. Elected officials are chosen by ‘the people’ they represent and their actions are held “in check” by periodic elections, which is not the case for bureaucracies. The theory of representational bureaucracy argues that policy implementers should also represent the public and can do so by having an equal proportion working within the various agencies.
 Furthermore the theory of political control of the bureaucracy comes from principle-agent theory. It is associated with matters of compliance or responsiveness of elected officials’ wishes. Politicians will attempt to control the activities of bureaucrats by influences policies and platforms. Therefore academics study the outcomes of policies and evaluate their relationship to agencies influence. Related is the theory of bureaucratic capture, which argues that the agencies are ruled by elites and suggests that there is too much political control of bureaucracies.
Seeing as bureaucracies are ultimately organizational structures managed by humans, their behavior is studied in bureaucratic politics. Since bureaucrats are not elected, the public should scrutinize their actions to ensure they are working for the public good and not for their own benefits. Wilson (1989) studied how and why bureaucratic discretion was exercised to produce government action. He distinguishes between managers and executives to examine administrative compliance. In addition, it is theorized that bureaucracy’s reputation is based on an agency’s autonomy. Once an organization has become legitimate, based on the uniqueness of its purpose, it will be able to forge new relationships with other public agencies and a broad range of political actors. This required political legitimacy (Carpenter, 2001) enables the bureaucracy to later demonstrate its capacity to provide the public with “benefits, plans, and solutions”.
Empirical work to test these theories is vast and somewhat inconclusive with various scholars finding a wide range of conclusions. For example, Ringquist (1995) addresses the issue of political control by studying the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and efforts by the politicians to alter agency outputs. He evaluates EPA enforcement actions and policy outcomes under the Clean Water Act from 1974-1987. He finds that for political control of bureaucracy to be lasting, it must be institutionalized. Agency’s political appointees must share the same political values and goals as the management and agents attempting to control their efforts. Finally, Ringquist confirms Gormley (1989) theory that the more salient policy area, the more likely to have political involvement (e.g. air pollution vs. water pollution).
From the opposing view, Balla (1998) evaluates if administrative procedures enhances political control of the bureaucracy toward policy choices preferred by legislator-favored constituencies. His interest is whether the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) was able to “stack the deck” and influence the outcome of notice and comment process or vice versa. He finds that the agencies were responsive to physicians and didn’t necessarily imply congressional influence over the decision making process. 
Moe (Nov. 2005) searches for the source of bureaucratic power. He argues predominate theory overlooks the role that bureaucrats have used to control politicians. He theorizes that the rank and file bureaucrats can also exercise power in elections to coordinate their behavior through collective action to change policy outcomes. He studies teacher unions in California, NEA and AFT like that of the AFL-CIO, and found that although politically active, unionized teachers provide evidence of influencing their outcomes.
While Moe’ findings did not make definite claims about this power-relationship, O’Leary (Oct. 1994) study of the Department of Interior (DOI) attempts to implement a bill pertaining to an irrigation project in Nevada did find bureaucrats undermine higher-ranking administrators. In her qualitative study, Department of Wildlife employees ignored agency protocol and formed partnerships with outside groups like the Chambers of Commerce, environmental, conservation, and Native American groups to lobby support and change the bill. Her study found bureaucratic administrators specialized environmental matters were not only able to outpace Washington’s laws, but also use their specializations for the public good.
Finally, to conclude, Coleman Selden, at el. (July 1998) examined bureaucratic representation of racial and ethnic minorities in government agencies by studying the policy outcomes of Farmer’s Home Administration (FmHA) and whether or not they reflected minority interests. They found minority interests were pursued in policy outcomes and it was dependent on the bureaucrat’s education, their perception of work role, age, and political party identification. These finds suggests that the normative theory of representative bureaucracy does not necessarily produce favorable policy results for those groups represented. People might have interests that they strive for which does not necessarily focus on their gender, race, ethnicity or the like. A bureaucrat’s public dedications to a specific issue may override their concern with their own minority identification. Therefore this suggests, empirical evidence is important to validate theoretical opinions within the literature, because they might produce unexpected outcomes.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Wheaton World Tour

Wheaton World Tour, April 5, 2014, 2 pm

After talking to the restaurants, we are moving back the start time of the Wheaton World Tour to 2 pm. We will meet at Siagonese Vietnamese, about a 5 minute walk from the Wheaton Metro. So far, we have about 40 people coming, and if you haven't yet signed up, we'd love to have you in our merry band! Feel free to click through and sign up.

We will be hitting the best cheap eats, and most hidden dive bars known to...us.
For the kids, there will be a foods of the world scavenger contest. For the adults, there will be a beers of the world scavenger contest.

Here is our tour so far (list subject to change):

Sigonese Vietnamese
Kantuntas (Bolivian)
Dessie Ethiopian
Nava Thai
La Rumba (Texy-salvador-Mex)
Limerick Irish Pub

Here is the map: https://goo.gl/maps/5dJj8

All of this is walkable from the Wheaton Metro (it ends a block away). There is parking throughout the area, if you’d like to drive. To bike from DC, you can take the Sligo Creek Trail.

Added bonus: if you take the metro, you will go up the longest single run escalator in the eastern hemisphere.


Click here to sign up
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1dVRHeZ-eLoQZ8qN_NjhywiZiqBgfedLf6d1trOgB6WM/viewform

Invitacion


"Misión de Estudios a España" que se llevará a cabo en la Ciudad de Madrid los próximos 24 de Mayo al 2 de Junio del año en curso.

Esta Misión de Estudios está siendo organizada por la institución que me honro en presidir y que es una organización mexicana, sin fines de lucro, dedicada a la capacitación y al fortalecimiento de la capacidad de gestión de los Gobiernos Municipales de nuestro País y sus funcionarios, tanto de elección como de designación.

La Misión está orientada a Presidentes Municipales, Síndicos, Regidores y funcionarios de primer nivel y en el transcurso de la semana de trabajo nos adentraremos en temas como la gestión municipal en España, la integración Europea, la Seguridad Pública y las Obras y los Servicios Públicos.

Para mayores informes así como para registrarse a Misión de Estudios, pueden visitar nuestro portal en la siguiente dirección: Fortalecimiento Municipal, AC (http://fortalecimientomunicipal.org/inicio)

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Transit Oriented Development (TODs) in Miami Dade County





3. Apply the TOD model for Miami’s FEC corridor

Transit Oriented Development (TODs) is defined as “residential and commercial centers designed to maximize access by transit and non-motorized transportation, and with other features to encourage transit ridership.”[9] A TOD neighborhood has a center with a rail or bus station, surrounded by relatively high-density development with progressively lower-density spreading outwards. It has been sited, along with smart growth and mix-use development, as answers to new problems of urban sprawl, pollution, and loss of farmlands and wetlands by the “New Urbanism” movement.[10]
The basic premise of the TOD model is to create a mixed-use neighborhood accessible to other areas in the city.[11] Mixed-use development has shops, schools and other public services integrated among homes that can include condos, townhouses, single-family or multi-family located in a concentrated area. The shops are typically below the condos or apartments in large building with overhangs. In these neighborhoods there is plenty of open public space, like parks and ball fields, accessible by walking. Shops include restaurants, small clothing stores, hardware or supermarkets, etc. The area is designed to create high quality of space/place in order to have a higher quality of life.
The integration with quality of life and transit-oriented development comes from urban sprawl. The time used in cars by many Americans have degreased time they are able to spend with their families. If services were located closer to home it would mean less trips in the car. In addition, living and working closer to home eliminate the time to travel to and from work allowing more personal time to spend with your family or otherwise. In addition TOD provides solutions to pollution, for example eliminating those car trips helps diminish emissions into the air. The idea is to stop the further audacious development of roadways, public infrastructure such as electric, water and gas, currently paid for by US taxpayers. The smart growth initiative urges to use the same money into developing higher quality urban centers instead of over extending and developing America’s hinterlands.
The ideas of TOD and smart growth come from 1960s prolific writer Jane Jacobs. The new urbanists have adopted many of her principles. She promoted the idea of rebuilding cities as a holistic approach. Her legendary book, The Death and Life of the Great American City, written in 1961 described Greenwich Village in late 1950s.[12]  Jacobs, not a planner, but knew the city was going through huge urban renewal, when the city government proposed to develop a highway through a poor areas of the city. Not only writing a book, she also fought back city hall to stop the development.
Jacobs developed four major tenets to help create economic diversity in neighborhoods and corridors. First cities should shorten blocks. She argued, that if city blocks were shorter and with more corners, it would create an opportunity for the pedestrians to run into neighbors more frequently. Linearity, she added, distracts communication between neighbors. Next, she focused on urban design. For her it was important for people to want to live in a community. In order to have that community by in, city officials should take pride to create beatification projects where they live. Next, Jacobs suggested having 24/7 cities. She argued that where activity is located and there are more eyes on the streets, there is inversely less crime. Finally, Jacobs argued for higher concentration. The high density creates higher quality of life for its users. People will have different reasons like shopping, living, eating, work and enjoying entertainment to share the same space and build community.
Taking the TOD model and Jacobs urban ideas and applying them to the Florida East Coast (FEC) railway/ corridor as an integrated community develop plan should include various development plans. [13] The FEC study looked at the inner-city redevelopment area consisting of nearly 1400 acres, from 14th to 79th streets. The regional neighborhoods in the FEC/Mid-town area include Buena Vista, Wynwood, Edgewater and Little Haiti. (But first a caveat, this essay will not go into specific detail, as the writer is a new resident to south Florida and the Miami area and doesn’t have first hand experience to the community in which this apply, which is essential with any community development plan.) The primary urban issues of the FEC corridor are transit, housing, and economic development.[14]
First, transit is the way people move from their homes to their jobs, go shopping and seek entertainment. Using a smart growth approach, the new mid-town neighborhood should be designed for cycling and walking. In addition, the area should include a tri-rail system for local transportation including above the ground metro system, trolleys and on-time buses. It should include hubs that link passengers to additional cities and urban areas like downtown Miami, Coral Gables, Kendal, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Furthermore, the transportation hubs should link to major airports, seaports, and bus and train stations. The urban design of the middle-town of Miami should have its streets with good connectivity and feature fluid traffic, eliminating awkward intersections, miss-match streets, and boulevards without sidewalks.
Specific neighborhoods within the mid-town district would have a diameter of one-quarter to one-half mile in size. Each new section would be presented with a physical gate to characterize the area. This creates community pride.[15] Once residents are proud of their location they will work hard to revitalize their area. Small capital improvements with neighborhood gates could make all the difference in rebuilding Miami’s mid-town.
Finally, in order to tackle parking management and beatification, the city should reduce the amount of land devoted to parking. In Ballston, Virginia, where I most recently worked, all parking was below ground or adjacent to the schoolyard or the shopping center. The city encouraged the people to arrive by foot to alleviate cars in the area. The federal government supported this policy with transportation vouchers to public employees who use mass transit, like city buses, metro or chartered buses.
Next, the city of Miami in order to develop the mid-town neighborhoods should engage in Mixed-use development that includes houses, shops, schools and other public services. Jane Jacobs promoted “diversification” within in the economy and the regional spaces. The city should offer housing in this new area for a diversity of customers. It should include condos, single-family, multi-family homes, and rental property and town homes, etc. The integration of classes and types of people creates a sense of community. In addition, people can stay in their geographic area as their lifestyles change, from single, to family-life, to retirement without having to leave their community. Not only by managing the land use, with permits and smart code, the government can also provide housing vouchers to subsidize the area.[16] This helps prevent full gentrification or the complete exodus of lower-income residents from the area.
Finally when developing the Florida East Coast (FEC) railway, the city of Miami should think of possible economic development opportunities for its new and existing residence. In order to follow the TOD concept, residents should be able to remain in their neighborhood to work or be able to transport themselves without a car to their workstations. Miami’s high service economy of nearly 80 percent should focus on developing service type jobs.
 The regional neighborhoods in the FEC/Mid-town area including Buena Vista, Wynwood, Edgewater and Little Haiti are highly disadvantaged. One Web site suggested that the corridor is “comprised of a mix of industrial, warehouse, commercial and residential uses with a disproportionate share of vacant parcels and underutilized buildings. Most of the neighborhoods within the corridor have double-digit unemployment rates due to the loss of 19,150 jobs in the area between 1980 and 1995. The corridor contains 70% of the city's remaining land zoned for industrial and warehouse uses.”[17] Therefore city officials must be very careful when redeveloping this area and it should focus on creating jobs for its residence.
For example the city could bring in big box stores in the neighborhood hubs and begin area shopping centers. Next the city could promote growth with service jobs providing the regional transit system, subsidized by the city and national government. The city could uses encourage the creative class professionals outlined above to create emerging clusters, i.e. motion picture, furniture and plastics industries, hubs, guilds, incubators and the like. Finally the city should set up job banks with regional offices in each of the neighborhoods. Linking the job banks with employment databases, equivalent university and technical college programs will increase the likelihood for people to find jobs. Additionally, social service centers should be adjacent to the job banks to assist the needed with childcare, distribute health and welfare provisions and monitor the progress of the workers. Although gentrification is a possible externality, it may be overcome with an effective redevelopment strategy including housing vouchers, community solidarity and carrying development professionals in the area.


[1] FIU Metropolitan Center study of Monroe County, Statistics presented in this section come from PowerPoint presentation from class. The original PPT was prepared for the Partnership For Community Housing of Monroe County.

[2] Florida, Richard, Rise of the Creative Class, Basic Books: 2002.
[3] Jacobs, Karrie, “Why I Don’t Love Richard Florida,” Metropolis Magazine, Posted February 22, 2005, http://www.metropolismag.com/cda/story.php?artid=1151
[4] ibid
[5] ibid
[6] Jacobs, Jane, The Death and the Life of Great American Cities, New York Vintage Books, 1961.
[7] Ellerman, David, “How do We Grow? Jan Jacobs on Diversification and Specialization,” Challenge, vol. 48, no. 3, May-June 2005.
[8] Porter, Michael. “The Competitive Advantage of the Inter-City,” Harvard Business Review: May-June 2005.

[9] From our class notes and from the trade Web site: http://www.transitorienteddevelopment.org/
[10] For comprehensive descriptive text and several stimulating links visit the Smart Growth Web site http://www.smartergrowth.net
[11] For comprehensive descriptive text and several stimulating links visit the New Urbanism Web site located http://www.newurbanism.org
[12] Jim Kunstler's (author of Geography of Nowhere) interview of Jane Jacobs for Metropolis Magazine in Toronto, Canada in March 2001: visit http://www.kunstler.com/mags_jacobs1.htm. Also for a discussion on Jacobs interpretation of economic development, see “How do We Grow?” by David Ellerman, published in Challenge, vol. 48. no. 3, May/June 2005.
[13] For the Metropolitan Center’s FEC study results visit: http://www.miamigov.com/economicdevelopment/pages/ProjectsInitiatives/FECExecutiveSummary.asp
[14] Our textbook: Edward Blakely and Ted Bradshaw in Planning Local Economic Development: Theory and Practice (Sage Publications: 2002).
[15] From our textbook: Edward Blakely and Ted Bradshaw in Planning Local Economic Development: Theory and Practice (Sage Publications: 2002).
[16] See http://www.smartcodecentral.org/about2.html
[17] Visit http://gislab.fiu.edu/gisrsal/frames/fec/home.html for an interactive map of the area.

Workforce housing Crisis in South Florida

1. “People follow jobs” and workforce housing Crisis in South Florida

Whereas FIU Metropolitan Center studies for Palm Beach and Broward Counties demonstrated a clear correlation between hosing demand and the economy of South Florida, their most recent study of Monroe County, the summer vacations place of Key West, shows ever further dismay. Startling statistics describe an aging population growing, as the working class is migrating out. For example, in 2006 the influx of newcomers continued (eight percent since 2005), but the overall Monroe County population decreased by six percent from 2000 to 2006.[1]
The ratio of paid workers is low relative to the national average. Monroe County’s per capita income only increased from $26,102 to $36,564, or six percent from 2000-2006, whereas the rest of the country saw a great booming economy. And interesting, household earning social security income increased 16 percent in the same time period. It can be said that more Americans are retiring and moving to Key West, while the working population of the community is leaving. But why would they leave the sun and fun of South Florida?
The Metropolitan Center suggests it’s not affordable. With raising housing costs and low paid salaries for services jobs, workers are not inclined to stay. The community’s schoolteachers, registered nurses, police and sheriff's patrol officers are making a median income of $52,000 per year. Yet, at these salaries people are unable to afford homes to live in.
Using normal baking standards, at that income rate, the average consumer is able to pay, with a five percent down payment, on a single median income home approximately $150,000, but in Monroe County that same house costs $550,000 leaving nearly $400,000 as an affordability gap. For multi-family homes it’s about the same. And rental properties leave the situation even bleaker: whereas at the same rate, monthly affordable rent (set at approximately 30 percent of monthly income after taxes) is approximately $1,300 and spaces available are approximately $2,500 leaving another gap of $1200.
            The irony becomes vindictive when you see the increase in the housing supply. From 1990-2000 Monroe County’s housing inventory increased from 46,215 to 51,617 units or 12 percent growth. Both new single-family (6,235 units) and multi-family (4,408 units) homes were constructed. In addition to condos and other vacation living spaces. Of course the problem becomes clear, as the workforce is forced out of the expensive homes in Monroe County, and the aging population is increasing to live their later years, there is no one there to take care of them. Also the vibrant young community is becoming old and rancid. Therefore, the county government needs to act. It should look at this series of recommendations including the interrelationship amount economic development, housing, transportation and land use in order to change the cycle and create a young vibrant society again.
            First essential recommendation is looking at the housing prices. What will go up must come down and the US is currently on the verge of a recession dictated by the housing prices nation wide. But regardless if the single median income home costs $550,000 were reduced to $400,000, it still would be unattainable to the average working class sales manager. So the county needs to develop local subsidies for regional housing. It can do this in several ways including:  capping rental property to make it more affordable, taxing the landlords of the new condo buildings to pay for workforce housing; and legislating an affordable housing law. If developers and real estate owners are unwilling to pay the tax, the city could enforce that each new building built have X number of units to the workforce population or for people who make below a certain income. The taxed funds could go into a land trust for the city to bid contractors to build its own rental properties, but this should be done at last resort, because there is an increased surplus at this moment of homes.
            The land trust could also be used to improve the local infrastructure. For example it could build better roads for areas outside of the main cities. That way, workers could purchase or live outside the area and drive in. But this doesn’t create a very high quality of life for them, as they will have to be living in their cars instead of enjoying the SOFL sun.
            Future issuance of building permits on the land should also be analyzed. The city government should be more vigilant to where the developers want to build. With a housing supply boom, it is up to the government to decide cites locations for the new constructions through issuing building permits in the appropriate locations. Now that the islands are productive, it is up to the state to manage its resources better.
Another possibility is vouchers offered to workers in particular fields to live in newly constructed buildings. Similarly to school vouchers, the housing voucher offered either by the State of Florida or the Federal government though the offices of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), could assist to off set the costs. A new formula would need to be developed and regulated for who would receive the housing voucher, ensuring the public good of housing meet the workforce demand.
If these housing vouchers were located in local areas where the city centers are located, new mix-use urban spaces could be developed in Key West. The city could create a new vibrant feel—eliminating the need for cars and recreating the true retirement community. This economic development model, creating the retirement community for the future, could spur further growth for the area. In so much that after the first housing crisis is addressed, the model for development, focusing on retirement homes, nurses, doctors and other workers would be attached to move to the area for work as will the retries will want to move to the ideal community to spend their latter days, could produce higher levels of growth.
Working with developers, maybe the best avenue for growth. New mix-use, smart growth concepts will also draw new business into the community. Where as the current housing shortage could turn into an asset if the community creates short term measures for long-term development ideas.
The city government and advantageous engaged people can build the foundation for changing policy. They need to create collaborations, partnerships and alliances between the developers, city government, NGOs, CBCs and organize a lending consortium for the working class to attain affordable mortgages. They can also help by creating an employer assisted housing program and use public education with these sad statistics do generate support.
Additionally, the Metropolitan Center has suggested creating employer-assisted housing (EAH), which engages the employer to pay with a collaborative model for their workers to live in the area. Furthermore, the county can legislate to build rental housing in targeted locations with aggressive land acquisition, regulatory incentives and provide positive economic befits to do so. Finally, the city maybe establish an affordable housing preservation programs whereby they target neighborhoods to rehabilitate existing old homes, by providing purchasing/rehabilitation incentives like tax relief.
If the old adage of “people follow jobs,” is added to the economic development model of catering to the elderly with an attainable quality of life, Monroe County has little to fear. The people, including the government, must make sure they are in control of its own development. It can off set the short-term housing crisis with legislating housing taxes for the working class. Also a land trust can be set up to create housing vouchers. The government can later develop permits for mixed use and smart growth development. Additional resources can aid to build infrastructure; fixing roadways can help attached more people to travel to the area as well as transport the working class. But of course, a consolidated and coordinated working plan is necessary as well as patients, because development takes time. If action is not taken, the housing gap could develop into an employment gap. Currently this is not the case. A pro-active population can control the situation with the various measures listed above to not only have a prosperous society but also one that can afford to live where they work.

Miami Dade's Struggles for Economic Development


1. “People follow jobs” and workforce housing Crisis in South Florida

Whereas FIU Metropolitan Center studies for Palm Beach and Broward Counties demonstrated a clear correlation between hosing demand and the economy of South Florida, their most recent study of Monroe County, the summer vacations place of Key West, shows ever further dismay. Startling statistics describe an aging population growing, as the working class is migrating out. For example, in 2006 the influx of newcomers continued (eight percent since 2005), but the overall Monroe County population decreased by six percent from 2000 to 2006.[1]
The ratio of paid workers is low relative to the national average. Monroe County’s per capita income only increased from $26,102 to $36,564, or six percent from 2000-2006, whereas the rest of the country saw a great booming economy. And interesting, household earning social security income increased 16 percent in the same time period. It can be said that more Americans are retiring and moving to Key West, while the working population of the community is leaving. But why would they leave the sun and fun of South Florida?
The Metropolitan Center suggests it’s not affordable. With raising housing costs and low paid salaries for services jobs, workers are not inclined to stay. The community’s schoolteachers, registered nurses, police and sheriff's patrol officers are making a median income of $52,000 per year. Yet, at these salaries people are unable to afford homes to live in.
Using normal baking standards, at that income rate, the average consumer is able to pay, with a five percent down payment, on a single median income home approximately $150,000, but in Monroe County that same house costs $550,000 leaving nearly $400,000 as an affordability gap. For multi-family homes it’s about the same. And rental properties leave the situation even bleaker: whereas at the same rate, monthly affordable rent (set at approximately 30 percent of monthly income after taxes) is approximately $1,300 and spaces available are approximately $2,500 leaving another gap of $1200.
            The irony becomes vindictive when you see the increase in the housing supply. From 1990-2000 Monroe County’s housing inventory increased from 46,215 to 51,617 units or 12 percent growth. Both new single-family (6,235 units) and multi-family (4,408 units) homes were constructed. In addition to condos and other vacation living spaces. Of course the problem becomes clear, as the workforce is forced out of the expensive homes in Monroe County, and the aging population is increasing to live their later years, there is no one there to take care of them. Also the vibrant young community is becoming old and rancid. Therefore, the county government needs to act. It should look at this series of recommendations including the interrelationship amount economic development, housing, transportation and land use in order to change the cycle and create a young vibrant society again.
            First essential recommendation is looking at the housing prices. What will go up must come down and the US is currently on the verge of a recession dictated by the housing prices nation wide. But regardless if the single median income home costs $550,000 were reduced to $400,000, it still would be unattainable to the average working class sales manager. So the county needs to develop local subsidies for regional housing. It can do this in several ways including:  capping rental property to make it more affordable, taxing the landlords of the new condo buildings to pay for workforce housing; and legislating an affordable housing law. If developers and real estate owners are unwilling to pay the tax, the city could enforce that each new building built have X number of units to the workforce population or for people who make below a certain income. The taxed funds could go into a land trust for the city to bid contractors to build its own rental properties, but this should be done at last resort, because there is an increased surplus at this moment of homes.
            The land trust could also be used to improve the local infrastructure. For example it could build better roads for areas outside of the main cities. That way, workers could purchase or live outside the area and drive in. But this doesn’t create a very high quality of life for them, as they will have to be living in their cars instead of enjoying the SOFL sun.
            Future issuance of building permits on the land should also be analyzed. The city government should be more vigilant to where the developers want to build. With a housing supply boom, it is up to the government to decide cites locations for the new constructions through issuing building permits in the appropriate locations. Now that the islands are productive, it is up to the state to manage its resources better.
Another possibility is vouchers offered to workers in particular fields to live in newly constructed buildings. Similarly to school vouchers, the housing voucher offered either by the State of Florida or the Federal government though the offices of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), could assist to off set the costs. A new formula would need to be developed and regulated for who would receive the housing voucher, ensuring the public good of housing meet the workforce demand.
If these housing vouchers were located in local areas where the city centers are located, new mix-use urban spaces could be developed in Key West. The city could create a new vibrant feel—eliminating the need for cars and recreating the true retirement community. This economic development model, creating the retirement community for the future, could spur further growth for the area. In so much that after the first housing crisis is addressed, the model for development, focusing on retirement homes, nurses, doctors and other workers would be attached to move to the area for work as will the retries will want to move to the ideal community to spend their latter days, could produce higher levels of growth.
Working with developers, maybe the best avenue for growth. New mix-use, smart growth concepts will also draw new business into the community. Where as the current housing shortage could turn into an asset if the community creates short term measures for long-term development ideas.
The city government and advantageous engaged people can build the foundation for changing policy. They need to create collaborations, partnerships and alliances between the developers, city government, NGOs, CBCs and organize a lending consortium for the working class to attain affordable mortgages. They can also help by creating an employer assisted housing program and use public education with these sad statistics do generate support.
Additionally, the Metropolitan Center has suggested creating employer-assisted housing (EAH), which engages the employer to pay with a collaborative model for their workers to live in the area. Furthermore, the county can legislate to build rental housing in targeted locations with aggressive land acquisition, regulatory incentives and provide positive economic befits to do so. Finally, the city maybe establish an affordable housing preservation programs whereby they target neighborhoods to rehabilitate existing old homes, by providing purchasing/rehabilitation incentives like tax relief.
If the old adage of “people follow jobs,” is added to the economic development model of catering to the elderly with an attainable quality of life, Monroe County has little to fear. The people, including the government, must make sure they are in control of its own development. It can off set the short-term housing crisis with legislating housing taxes for the working class. Also a land trust can be set up to create housing vouchers. The government can later develop permits for mixed use and smart growth development. Additional resources can aid to build infrastructure; fixing roadways can help attached more people to travel to the area as well as transport the working class. But of course, a consolidated and coordinated working plan is necessary as well as patients, because development takes time. If action is not taken, the housing gap could develop into an employment gap. Currently this is not the case. A pro-active population can control the situation with the various measures listed above to not only have a prosperous society but also one that can afford to live where they work.
2. Build and Retain a Creative Class in Miami

Outlined in the Metropolitan Center’s Target Industry Study, which provided an assessment of growth and competitive of existing industries in Miami, identified the motion picture, furniture and plastics as places for potential industrial development. All of these industries could be categorized as the Creative Class. In order for the city of Miami to take advantage of these findings, it should to take into account Richard Florida’s creative class argument regarding the new economy, clustering and new social capital and network energy. In addition, economic development specialist should review Jane Jacobs’ argument of economic growth for cities as the shift from specialization to diversification. Michael Porters’ argument of competitive advantage of the city is also relevant. Finally, the city of Miami should also engage the comprehensive plan to create a strategic plan for growth, development and revisualization.
What Florida is so successful at doing is quantifying the qualitative information most hipsters, designers and artist already knew. Richard Florida, a professor at George Mason University, pulls data from various sources including census data to form the emerging “creative class” of professionals.[2] This includes “people in science and engineering, architecture and design, education, arts, music and entertainment whose economic function is to create new ideas, new technology and/or new creative content.” Then in his book The Rise of the Creative Class, he argues they share a class, like the working class of the 1950s or the service class of the 1990s. He adds that both geography and non-traditional forms of social capital are important elements for this group to grow.
Basically he describes a new way to dissect today’s economy and provides evidence of how its effects social and cultural modalities of American life. Of prominent importance is the venture capital, which stimulates this class to create new ideas. Also relevant is the social capital, people talking to one another in a specific geographical area helps spur economic growth and development.
One great criticism to his work is this amalgamation of various professionals into one group.[3] He addresses this in The Next American City journal article by saying “The Rise of the Creative Class has little to do with making cities yuppie-friendly, though leftist critics have tried to frame it (and belittle its message) in that way.”[4] No, Florida insists, as Karrie Jacobs’ point out: “My core message is that human creativity is the ultimate source of economic growth. Every single person is creative in some way. And to fully tap and harness that creativity we must be tolerant, diverse, inclusive.”[5]
In that same vein, it can be argued that, Florida's book appeals to the narcissist in all of us, suggesting that we are all creative and want to apart of what is beautiful and individualistic, as art is. Yet the massification of the book has brought the developers into the intercity by droves leaving little for the individuality that originally lead the movement by artist, hipsters and the like. But Florida’s argument of creating an enabling environment in a cities location is good for economic development as well as diversification and rebuilding of a city’s center.
Richard Florida’s book is heavily influenced by Jane Jacobs who was the unknown social activist that rewrote history with her book “The Death and the Life of American Cities.”[6] With foundations starting the “New Urbanism” movement, Jacobs’ books provided prolific non-academic attempts to change the way cities where designed and managed. Renowned for her idea of public spaces she pressured hard for cities to be open and friendly community places. She also focused her attention on the economic development of cities. Defying neo-classical economics belief that economies where developed by macro economies, she argued in Cities and the Wealth of Nations that cities could promote growth. This argument as pushed further when she added biology of into defining the difference of development and growth—terms often intertwined in economic literature.[7] She also promoted diversification instead of the specialization. She may have been the first to describe spin-offs. Suggesting that the dynamics of development are not static but their effects generate not just specialization but additional parent-child generations of new knowledge.
Furthermore, Michael Porters’ argument of competitive advantage of a city and his push towards creating development clusters is also relevant. The guru of clusters, Porter uses local economic development (LED) theory to describe how to revitalize inter-cities of America.[8]  He describes developing inter-cities because of their extreme forms of inequalities, high barriers to entry for new businesses with deep bureaucracy that are protected by tribal like interest groups. Porter’s last policy recommendation for inter-cities is to promote the community development activities like enterprise zone initiative.
The objective of cluster analysis is not only to determine the interrelated industries, but also the emerging firms which do not have a high quantitative analysis under the location quotients or shift/share analysis. Arguable, the Metropolitan Center identify Miami’s market strengths and found the following clusters were emerging, i.e. motion picture, furniture and plastics industries.
Therefore what strategies should the city of Miami use to develop its industrial policy? First off, the study has evoked economic development theory and Jane Jacobs “to create from within” argument. In addition, Richard Florida suggests cities should advertise quality of place and attract new talent to migrate to these areas. For example, the city of Miami should not need to attract new business, but looking within its community to see where its competitive advantage lies. Furthermore, Michael Porter’s model includes the accessibility of human resources and where the creative class of artist and designers do not necessarily have to have high levels of college education—but rather creativity, the motion picture, furniture and plastics can fit this niche. Of course one needs to view this definition very liberally to what the creative class is and how it can truly “develop” the city of Miami. But several steps can be made to strengthen this area.
Therefore policy recommendations could be: 1) start developing the FEC corridor as mix used space; 2) create workers guilds in the identified geographic areas of motion picture, furniture and plastics industries; 3) set up an incubators, industrial parks and tax-free areas for locals to meet and interact; 4) design user-friendly open spaces for artist to display their work and create community support; 5) promote products by hosting trade shows and fairs. Finally as the study suggests the city should develop a Business Development Office within the City’s Department of Economic Development to provide economic assistance for small business in the FEC Corridor and develop a Mayor’s Invention Award to advertise the Mayor’s progressive work in this area.
The notion of place based development and attraction for where you live is important to attached new entrepreneurs in the creative class to the area. Whereas the city cannot directly encourage people to migrate to Miami, it can do produce beautification policies which enhance the local environment for artists in the media industry, iron crafters, plastics modeling developers, or the like to do business in Miami.
Finally if prosperous, according the Florida, individuals will naturally migrate to where their industry hub is located.





3. Apply the TOD model for Miami’s FEC corridor

Transit Oriented Development (TODs) is defined as “residential and commercial centers designed to maximize access by transit and non-motorized transportation, and with other features to encourage transit ridership.”[9] A TOD neighborhood has a center with a rail or bus station, surrounded by relatively high-density development with progressively lower-density spreading outwards. It has been sited, along with smart growth and mix-use development, as answers to new problems of urban sprawl, pollution, and loss of farmlands and wetlands by the “New Urbanism” movement.[10]
The basic premise of the TOD model is to create a mixed-use neighborhood accessible to other areas in the city.[11] Mixed-use development has shops, schools and other public services integrated among homes that can include condos, townhouses, single-family or multi-family located in a concentrated area. The shops are typically below the condos or apartments in large building with overhangs. In these neighborhoods there is plenty of open public space, like parks and ball fields, accessible by walking. Shops include restaurants, small clothing stores, hardware or supermarkets, etc. The area is designed to create high quality of space/place in order to have a higher quality of life.
The integration with quality of life and transit-oriented development comes from urban sprawl. The time used in cars by many Americans have degreased time they are able to spend with their families. If services were located closer to home it would mean less trips in the car. In addition, living and working closer to home eliminate the time to travel to and from work allowing more personal time to spend with your family or otherwise. In addition TOD provides solutions to pollution, for example eliminating those car trips helps diminish emissions into the air. The idea is to stop the further audacious development of roadways, public infrastructure such as electric, water and gas, currently paid for by US taxpayers. The smart growth initiative urges to use the same money into developing higher quality urban centers instead of over extending and developing America’s hinterlands.
The ideas of TOD and smart growth come from 1960s prolific writer Jane Jacobs. The new urbanists have adopted many of her principles. She promoted the idea of rebuilding cities as a holistic approach. Her legendary book, The Death and Life of the Great American City, written in 1961 described Greenwich Village in late 1950s.[12]  Jacobs, not a planner, but knew the city was going through huge urban renewal, when the city government proposed to develop a highway through a poor areas of the city. Not only writing a book, she also fought back city hall to stop the development.
Jacobs developed four major tenets to help create economic diversity in neighborhoods and corridors. First cities should shorten blocks. She argued, that if city blocks were shorter and with more corners, it would create an opportunity for the pedestrians to run into neighbors more frequently. Linearity, she added, distracts communication between neighbors. Next, she focused on urban design. For her it was important for people to want to live in a community. In order to have that community by in, city officials should take pride to create beatification projects where they live. Next, Jacobs suggested having 24/7 cities. She argued that where activity is located and there are more eyes on the streets, there is inversely less crime. Finally, Jacobs argued for higher concentration. The high density creates higher quality of life for its users. People will have different reasons like shopping, living, eating, work and enjoying entertainment to share the same space and build community.
Taking the TOD model and Jacobs urban ideas and applying them to the Florida East Coast (FEC) railway/ corridor as an integrated community develop plan should include various development plans. [13] The FEC study looked at the inner-city redevelopment area consisting of nearly 1400 acres, from 14th to 79th streets. The regional neighborhoods in the FEC/Mid-town area include Buena Vista, Wynwood, Edgewater and Little Haiti. (But first a caveat, this essay will not go into specific detail, as the writer is a new resident to south Florida and the Miami area and doesn’t have first hand experience to the community in which this apply, which is essential with any community development plan.) The primary urban issues of the FEC corridor are transit, housing, and economic development.[14]
First, transit is the way people move from their homes to their jobs, go shopping and seek entertainment. Using a smart growth approach, the new mid-town neighborhood should be designed for cycling and walking. In addition, the area should include a tri-rail system for local transportation including above the ground metro system, trolleys and on-time buses. It should include hubs that link passengers to additional cities and urban areas like downtown Miami, Coral Gables, Kendal, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Furthermore, the transportation hubs should link to major airports, seaports, and bus and train stations. The urban design of the middle-town of Miami should have its streets with good connectivity and feature fluid traffic, eliminating awkward intersections, miss-match streets, and boulevards without sidewalks.
Specific neighborhoods within the mid-town district would have a diameter of one-quarter to one-half mile in size. Each new section would be presented with a physical gate to characterize the area. This creates community pride.[15] Once residents are proud of their location they will work hard to revitalize their area. Small capital improvements with neighborhood gates could make all the difference in rebuilding Miami’s mid-town.
Finally, in order to tackle parking management and beatification, the city should reduce the amount of land devoted to parking. In Ballston, Virginia, where I most recently worked, all parking was below ground or adjacent to the schoolyard or the shopping center. The city encouraged the people to arrive by foot to alleviate cars in the area. The federal government supported this policy with transportation vouchers to public employees who use mass transit, like city buses, metro or chartered buses.
Next, the city of Miami in order to develop the mid-town neighborhoods should engage in Mixed-use development that includes houses, shops, schools and other public services. Jane Jacobs promoted “diversification” within in the economy and the regional spaces. The city should offer housing in this new area for a diversity of customers. It should include condos, single-family, multi-family homes, and rental property and town homes, etc. The integration of classes and types of people creates a sense of community. In addition, people can stay in their geographic area as their lifestyles change, from single, to family-life, to retirement without having to leave their community. Not only by managing the land use, with permits and smart code, the government can also provide housing vouchers to subsidize the area.[16] This helps prevent full gentrification or the complete exodus of lower-income residents from the area.
Finally when developing the Florida East Coast (FEC) railway, the city of Miami should think of possible economic development opportunities for its new and existing residence. In order to follow the TOD concept, residents should be able to remain in their neighborhood to work or be able to transport themselves without a car to their workstations. Miami’s high service economy of nearly 80 percent should focus on developing service type jobs.
 The regional neighborhoods in the FEC/Mid-town area including Buena Vista, Wynwood, Edgewater and Little Haiti are highly disadvantaged. One Web site suggested that the corridor is “comprised of a mix of industrial, warehouse, commercial and residential uses with a disproportionate share of vacant parcels and underutilized buildings. Most of the neighborhoods within the corridor have double-digit unemployment rates due to the loss of 19,150 jobs in the area between 1980 and 1995. The corridor contains 70% of the city's remaining land zoned for industrial and warehouse uses.”[17] Therefore city officials must be very careful when redeveloping this area and it should focus on creating jobs for its residence.
For example the city could bring in big box stores in the neighborhood hubs and begin area shopping centers. Next the city could promote growth with service jobs providing the regional transit system, subsidized by the city and national government. The city could uses encourage the creative class professionals outlined above to create emerging clusters, i.e. motion picture, furniture and plastics industries, hubs, guilds, incubators and the like. Finally the city should set up job banks with regional offices in each of the neighborhoods. Linking the job banks with employment databases, equivalent university and technical college programs will increase the likelihood for people to find jobs. Additionally, social service centers should be adjacent to the job banks to assist the needed with childcare, distribute health and welfare provisions and monitor the progress of the workers. Although gentrification is a possible externality, it may be overcome with an effective redevelopment strategy including housing vouchers, community solidarity and carrying development professionals in the area.


[1] FIU Metropolitan Center study of Monroe County, Statistics presented in this section come from PowerPoint presentation from class. The original PPT was prepared for the Partnership For Community Housing of Monroe County.

[2] Florida, Richard, Rise of the Creative Class, Basic Books: 2002.
[3] Jacobs, Karrie, “Why I Don’t Love Richard Florida,” Metropolis Magazine, Posted February 22, 2005, http://www.metropolismag.com/cda/story.php?artid=1151
[4] ibid
[5] ibid
[6] Jacobs, Jane, The Death and the Life of Great American Cities, New York Vintage Books, 1961.
[7] Ellerman, David, “How do We Grow? Jan Jacobs on Diversification and Specialization,” Challenge, vol. 48, no. 3, May-June 2005.
[8] Porter, Michael. “The Competitive Advantage of the Inter-City,” Harvard Business Review: May-June 2005.

[9] From our class notes and from the trade Web site: http://www.transitorienteddevelopment.org/
[10] For comprehensive descriptive text and several stimulating links visit the Smart Growth Web site http://www.smartergrowth.net
[11] For comprehensive descriptive text and several stimulating links visit the New Urbanism Web site located http://www.newurbanism.org
[12] Jim Kunstler's (author of Geography of Nowhere) interview of Jane Jacobs for Metropolis Magazine in Toronto, Canada in March 2001: visit http://www.kunstler.com/mags_jacobs1.htm. Also for a discussion on Jacobs interpretation of economic development, see “How do We Grow?” by David Ellerman, published in Challenge, vol. 48. no. 3, May/June 2005.
[13] For the Metropolitan Center’s FEC study results visit: http://www.miamigov.com/economicdevelopment/pages/ProjectsInitiatives/FECExecutiveSummary.asp
[14] Our textbook: Edward Blakely and Ted Bradshaw in Planning Local Economic Development: Theory and Practice (Sage Publications: 2002).
[15] From our textbook: Edward Blakely and Ted Bradshaw in Planning Local Economic Development: Theory and Practice (Sage Publications: 2002).
[16] See http://www.smartcodecentral.org/about2.html
[17] Visit http://gislab.fiu.edu/gisrsal/frames/fec/home.html for an interactive map of the area.

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