Today, a year ago, I started this blog. One hundred and fifty posts later I’m facing yet another “writer’s block”. As an exercise to get myself to start writing quickly (it is almost midnight), I try to remember the important events of the last year: certainly the highlight would have to be the arrival of my son. I have to admit that I almost dropped this blog a few weeks into it because I figured I wouldn’t have enough time, being a new parent; but felt a weird remorse thinking that I would set a poor example to my kid. It doesn’t matter that he is not among my readers, the fact is I kept going because of him. Before I knew, the research that went into writing this blog started to increase my awareness of the world around me, allowing me to craft new ideas of what the perfect future should look like. Now I realize that I was just trying to be a little bit more responsible for the sake of my family.
This journey feels a little bit like going around the world in 80 days. Connecting with people [...]
It takes a few passionate citizens to make a difference in a city. And it only takes a few cities to make a difference in the world. So it is very encouraging to see events like Open Cities being organized with a grassroots approach -applying all the good lessons that have created thriving technology communities using the barcamp model- with the ideal of findings ways to create better, more open cities:
Inspired by the open source software movement, people around the world are increasingly embracing open business, culture and education. Open Cities are places that accelerate this process, encouraging investment, implementing policies, creating spaces and holding eents that encourage all that is “open”. In doing so, they thrive economically while at the same time producing a new generation of artists, teachers and inventors who understand the power of the collective. They are hubs in the global growth of open societies and economies.
The first instance of this idea, dubbed Open Cities Toronto 2007 is taking place in Toronto, Canada as is aimed at creating a model for others to repeat. It is taking place on June 23rd and 24th and already gathering an impressive list of influential thinkers.
As I [...]
Next week the Mayors from 40 of the world’s largest cities will gather in New York to review progress, share best practices, identify collaboration opportunities and set action plans to fight climate change. The C40 Large Cities Climate Summit program will include topics such as Beating Congestion, Decentralized Energy, Efficient Water Supply, Climate Change in the context of Economic Development, Green Buildings, Waste Management & Low Carbon Economies.
In big city I had pointed out how the action of the largest cities is what really matters when dealing with global problems. 10% of the world’s population live in 100 of the largest cities alone. Through management of their infrastructure, landfills, treatment plans, legislation of local land use policies to drive development in the right direction, regulation of automobiles and their energy plants, the overall impact they can exercise is significant.
The delegates attending will represent (bold indicates among 10 largest cities in the world):
Melbourne, Sydney (Australia)
Curitiba, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo (Brazil)
Beijing, Shanghai (China)
Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)
Delhi, Mumbai (India)
Mexico City (Mexico)
Johannesburg (South Africa)
Seoul (South Korea)
Barcelona, Madrid (Spain)
London (United [...]
The Toronto Star has been running a series entitled War on Poverty. Although the focus of the series is on the local problem (as it should be), the issues and ideas are likely to be global. To the main question as to Why is the gap between rich and poor widening, the newspaper suggests:
Part of the explanation is that the share of corporate profits as a percentage of GDP has increased at the expense of wages. According to the Bank for International Settlements, wages as a share of national income in the United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Switzerland declined from 63 per cent in 1980 to less than 59 per cent last year. In the same period, corporate profits as a share of GDP in those countries increased from around 11 per cent to more than 15 per cent. That means a greater financial share wound up in the hands of corporate owners and less in the hands of workers.
In canadians & globalization I had posted about the reactions of the public to the theme, which represent well the situation reflected in some of the [...]
Continuing with the annotation of the special report on cities by The Economist. If you haven’t, please read part 1 first.
Failures at the top: concludes that the single most important factor contributing to the success of a modern city is its government. All great cities, or cities that have gone through important renewal were characterized by influential thinkers taking the lead with passion.
In the 1980s Chicago lost companies, jobs and people, and seemed destined to languish in gradual decline in much the same way as Cleveland, Detroit and Pittsburgh. But energetic government led by a mayor, Richard Daley, whose ambitions start and end with his home town, has truned the city round.
My post on big city refers to the efforts of Mayors in some of the largest cities around the world, but I believe in the ability of the common citizen to commit her energy to improving our city life. If you don’t believe it, just check the manifesto for global cities in which I account of a small group of bloggers in Pittsburgh contributing great ideas to turn their city round.
In place of God: explores the soul of a city, an elusive concept that some [...]