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being an immigrant or living in a "slum" is a feature not a bug
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Five steps for a high well-being society

Five steps for a high well-being society | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it
It’s now eight years since David Cameron first declared that “it's time we focused not just on GDP, but on GWB - general well-being” and in that time the UK has become a global leader by measuring national well-being – but we have yet to make the leap from measurement to action.

. . . 

A new report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Wellbeing Economics, for which NEF acts as the secretariat, explodes both of these myths. The group, which includes parliamentarians from across the political spectrum, argues that well-being matters more, not less, in difficult economic times:  we care about recessions because we care about unemployment, and we care about unemployment because we care about people’s well-being. And they show that well-being offers a real alternative to business-as-usual policy making, from the way we run the economy to the way we run our schools.

 

The report is based on a nine-month inquiry which explored well-being in relation to four diverse policy areas. In each of these, the evidence threw up both some distinctive policy priorities and some fresh approaches to old problems. The report makes five key recommendations for building a high well-being society:

 

1) Focus on stable jobs, not growth

2) Promote shorter, more flexible working hours

3) More green spaces in our cities

4) Mindfulness training for doctors and teachers

5) Invest in arts and culture


Via Flora Moon
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Bicycle Superhighway in the city of Copenhagen

Bicycle Superhighway in the city of Copenhagen | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

As the Times reports, the city of Copenhagen has launched the first of 26 planned suburban commuter arteries built exclusively for bicycles: long, well-paved, carefully maintained bike paths to link its suburbs with the inner city, up to 14 miles long and requiring the cooperation of 21 separate municipal governments.


These are the numbers the Times reports. Remarkably, the story makes no mention of the extraordinary figure for cycling’s modal share in Copenhagen, so I will: fully 37 percent of Copenhagen residents — and 55 percent of downtown dwellers — use bikes as their primary mode of transportation.


Read more -> Three reasons why Copenhagen is the world leader in urban sustainability


Via Laurence Serfaty, Wa Gon, David Hodgson, Anne Caspari
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ARTFARMS: A New Approach to Urban Vacancy and “Zombie Cities”

ARTFARMS: A New Approach to Urban Vacancy and “Zombie Cities” | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Andrea Salvini is is a co-curator for Artfarms and a Brooklyn-based architect with a growing reputation for his work in sustainability.


Artfarms, a pilot project that came out of Terrains Vagues, an organization started in 2011 by architect David Lagé, focuses on design strategies for vacant urban places. It began with a simple observation: the East Side of Buffalo feeds a widespread negative perception that discourages urban redevelopment. Terrain Vague’s belief is that cultural concepts can succeed where conventional approaches have not.


Artfarms is a collaboration with local artists and urban farmers, the latter group having transformed these once-residential, abandoned lots into small farms. Artfarms takes the farming concept a step further by using the farmers’ land for outdoor art installations, which will become part of the landscape both as a cultural layer and a destination within the neighborhood.


Via Ana Valdés
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Jeffrey Sachs on Immigration

Jeffrey Sachs on Immigration | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

"Continued immigration, across cultural and economic divides, is not only inevitable but also broadly beneficial. Immigrants deepen the ties that hold our world together. Today's migrants don't abandon their homelands, but bridge their homelands with their adopted countries. They make links, economic, cultural, and social. Immigration needs to be steady and sure, neither a floodgate nor a trickle. A floodgate would disrupt the long-term processes of social trust and institution building in the host and source countries. A trickle would allow a build-up of global pressures and illegal population movements to an intolerable degree." ~ Jeffery Sachs at Columbia University, New York in 2007.


highlights from his speech.

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Abd Al Malik, a Rapper, Pushes for a New French Identity of Inclusion

Abd Al Malik, a Rapper, Pushes for a New French Identity of Inclusion | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

IN his early life, before he left the violent projects of Strasbourg, before he was acclaimed as a rapper and a poet, Abd Al Malik was a confusion of identities — “schizophrenic,” he says. A Catholic altar boy turned Muslim proselyte, he was at once thug and scholar, dealing hashish and reading philosophy, picking pockets after Sunday Mass.

 

As a teenager, he lost friends to heroin, murder and suicide; rattled and angry, he sought explanations in “On the Shortness of Life,” by the Greek thinker Seneca. At 16, Mr. Malik says, he renounced crime, burned everything he had bought with “dirty money” and fell in with a rigid Muslim sect. Later he gravitated to Sufism, the mystical strain of Islam.

...

“There’s really a lag between how France sees itself and what France really is,” he said, speaking with the same precise syllables and crisp consonants that distinguish his music. “So long as we haven’t realized that diversity is part of French identity, at a certain point we’re telling ourselves that a Frenchman, after all, is a white man, Christian, who’s between 25 and 45. And everything that doesn’t fit that description is tossed aside.”

 

France is “not capable of recognizing, directly, her own children,” he said. “From my point of view, this is our country’s major problem.”

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Why Millennials Don't Want To Buy Stuff

Why Millennials Don't Want To Buy Stuff | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Compared to previous generations, Millennials seem to have some very different habits that have taken both established companies and small businesses by surprise. One of these is that Generation Y doesn't seem to enjoy purchasing things.


The Atlantic's article "Why Don't Young Americans Buy Cars?" mused recently about Millennials' tendency to not care about owning a vehicle. The subtitle: "Is this a generational shift, or just a lousy economy at work?"


What if it's not an "age thing" at all? What's really causing this strange new behavior (or rather, lack of behavior)? Generational segments have profound impacts on perception and behavior, but an "ownership shift" isn't isolated within the Millennial camp. A writer for USA Today shows that all ages are in on this trend, but instead of an age group, he blames the change on the cloud, the heavenly home our entertainment goes to when current media models die. As all forms of media make their journey into a digital, de-corporeal space, research shows that people are beginning to actually prefer this disconnected reality to owning a physical product.

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Creative City: Four Projects Bringing Arts and Culture to Dubai

Creative City: Four Projects Bringing Arts and Culture to Dubai | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

A cultural and creative resurgence in cities is needed to spark economic recovery and urban renewal. Dubai Media City is a freezone "designed to allow foreign companies to set up base without the need for a local Emirati partner in ownership."


Dubai’s emerging ‘grassroots’ creative and artistic scene is thought to be critical to forming a balance between corporate and community creativity.  Here are four projects that are having an effect:


1. The Pavilion Downtown Dubai - This area is said to be "tailored for micro-business ventures", offering free Wi-Fi coffee bars and communal workspaces, or more specifically "incubator spaces" which are "flexible, cheap workspaces for start-ups, artists, freelancer and young entrepreneurs."


2. #SoleOfTheCity - This initiative involved people taking photos of ‘their Dubai’ and tagging the images for social media, resulting in an exhibition at the Jam Jar gallery in June 2012. Small-scale creative initiatives like this are said to be "critical in fostering a ‘buzz’ within a city".


3. Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre - This rather "unassuming" center is lies underneath the the largest indoor ski slope on the planet and offers a "hive of activity, with large numbers of children and students filling the numerous art rooms." It is marketed as an “entertainment and educational centre”.


4. Al Serkal Avenue - Old industrial buildings are being turned into "Dubai’s bohemian quarter". A collection of galleries and communal coffee house is an attempt to "mix the innovate milieu of a production cluster, with the buzz of a consumption hot-spot."

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Dani Rodrik on National Identity

Dani Rodrik on National Identity | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

"As the philosopher Peter Singer has put it, the communications revolution has spawned a “global audience” that creates the basis for a “global ethics.” If we identify ourselves with the nation, our morality remains national. But, if we increasingly associate ourselves with the world at large, our loyalties will expand, too. Similarly, the Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen speaks of our “multiple identities” – ethnic, religious, national, local, professional, and political – many of which cross national boundaries.


It is unclear how much of this is wishful thinking and how much is based on real shifts in identities and attachments. Survey evidence shows that attachment to the nation-state remains quite strong.


A few years ago, the World Values Survey questioned respondents in scores of countries about their attachments to their local communities, their nations, and to the world at large. Not surprisingly, those who viewed themselves as national citizens greatly outnumbered those who regarded themselves as world citizens. But, strikingly, national identity overshadowed even local identity in the United States, Europe, India, China, and most other regions.

 

The same surveys indicate that younger people, the highly educated, and those who identify themselves as upper class, are more likely to associate themselves with the world. Nevertheless, it is difficult to identify any demographic segment in which attachment to the global community outweighs attachment to the country."

 

Dani Rodrik is a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a leading scholar of globalization and economic development.

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Beyond Cultural Identity - Young Yun Kim

The author finds it particularly problematic that cultural identity is commonly conceived as a fixed and exclusive entity with an inherently positive moral imperative. An alternative, dynamic view is thus presented emphasizing continuing development beyond the perimeters of one's ascribed or primary cultural identity. In this approach, the concept of "intercultural identity" is employed as an extension of, and a counterpoint to, cultural identity. Grounded in an open systems perspective, the identity development beyond one's primary culture is explained in terms of the internal stress-adaptation growth dynamic, a psychological response to the challenges of interfacing with differing cultural identities. Such intercultural challenges are described as the very force that "pushes" an individual in the direction of greater intercultural learning, perceptual refinement, and a self-other orientation that is at once individuated and universalized.

 

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Seoul seeks to become 'Sharing City' via @wwjimd

If you have books piled up at home that you enjoyed reading but now you don’t know what to do with them, you can put them in bookcases set up near the guard’s office of your apartment building. You can also borrow books from other residents.


This is the idea of the “Sharing City,” where people share things, space or information which they possess but are not using.


Seoul Metropolitan Government said Thursday it will promote the idea to raise the social value of individuals’ goods, space, time, information and abilities by facilitating the process of sharing without causing a burden.


“The world is paying attention to an economy based on sharing, not possession. By expanding the sharing culture which we used to have in the past, community culture can be revived. It can also help us save social expenses spent for safety and welfare,” Mayor Park Won-soon said in a press briefing.

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Tijuana Rebuilds on Its Art

Tijuana Rebuilds on Its Art | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

ANY city whose most widely known symbol is a painted donkey is used to being the butt of jokes. But Tijuana, often derided as a lowbrow center of debauchery and more recently as a hub of drug-related violence, is transforming itself through something that has quietly always been a strong suit: culture.


Sure, Tijuana’s seedy side still exists. But its faltering economy has slowly recovered, and the violence that plagued the city has sharply receded. In its place, a thriving cultural community that already encompassed a major Mexican institution, the Centro Cultural Tijuana, as well as music, dance and visual arts groups, has expanded. In this chaotic, messy, visceral place, the resurgence has been from the ground up, and art has landed in unexpected places.


“There is the feeling that the city has retaken itself,” said Teddy Cruz, an architect and professor at the University of California, San Diego, whose work has examined Tijuana. “There’s a kind of a vibrancy that is really unique in recent times. There’s something about the city taking back its spaces.”

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Empathy, Education, and Musical Chairs: brains are actually primed for both competition and cooperation

Empathy, Education, and Musical Chairs: brains are actually primed for both competition and cooperation | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

...As it turns out, however, recent scientific advancements in the field of neuroscience are showing that actually, these parents--and everyone else who believes that people are only inherently competitive--are wrong. Instead, human brains are actually primed for both competition and cooperation: which side of us emerges as more dominant is dependent on our culture....

 

But of course, right now, our culture does not nurture empathy and cooperation. Instead, in schools, our homes, in the media, and in every aspect of our lives, we value competition...

 

Multiple fields of scientific research, including neuroscience, primatology, evolutionary biology, cognitive ethology (the study of animal behavior in naturalistic settings), social psychology, and subfields in philosophy have produced enough evidence over the past two decades to confirm that our greatest hope for the future rests in understanding the real possibilities of human biology, and beginning to translate these findings into our culture (de Waal, 2009).

 

by Nadine Dolby

img via wikipedia


 


Via Edwin Rutsch
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Refugees Find Sanctuary in Urban Gardening

Gardens and farms serve more purposes than just as pretty scenery or means of agricultural production. These green spaces are also serving as places of sanctuary and opportunity for refugees who have just come to the U.S. through the International Rescue Committee (IRC). A 6-year old program called New Roots helps "refugees get used to their new countries by allowing them to do something that is familiar and empowering: growing things."

 

New Roots already has more than 400 refugees tending their 17 farms in nine cities across the country. The program's benefits are twofold, empowering those recently displaced from their native countries and aiding efforts to supply more fresh food to urban communities.

 

"Food is one of the most significant, visceral ways we are connected to culture," states New oots' national coordinator Ellie Igoe. "Refugees have been disconnected from those kinds of rituals. When that happens, we suffer emotionally. And so when we're able to get back to those things, it enlivens us."

 

Full Story: Urban gardens allow refugees to plant roots
Source: USA Today, August 13, 2012


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The Practice of Bioregionalism

The Practice of Bioregionalism | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Bioregionalism is a concept that can be used to describe any tendency, whether it calls itself "bioregional" or not, that seeks to empower people to live economically self-sufficient and ecologically sustainable lifestyles based in local communities. As such, bioregionalism attempts to articulate in contemporary terms a way of life that has been practiced by humans throughout most of their history—that is, the idea that societies should be organized on the basis of local communities, which attempt to provide for their basic needs on the basis of resources available at the local level.

 

Many indigenous peoples continue to organize their societies in this way and their cultures are increasingly threatened by attempts to exploit their resources (the underlying theme of the movie Avatar, incidentally). There is also an attempt to pull local communities that are relatively self-sufficient at present into the global market by seeing them as a source of cheap labor and markets. While some are no doubt attracted by the idea that they may eventually be able to live the same kind of lifestyles as people in developed countries, there is also a great deal of resistance among those who would prefer to maintain their traditional cultures and lifestyles.

 

Richard Evanoff, professor of environmental ethics at Aoyama Gakuin University in Japan, recently wrote the book Bioregionalism and Global Ethics: A Transactional Approach to Achieving Ecological Sustainability, Social Justice, and Human Well-being.

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NPR Gets Big Bucks To Form Race, Ethnicity Coverage Team

NPR Gets Big Bucks To Form Race, Ethnicity Coverage Team | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

LAS VEGAS -- National Public Radio, criticized in recent years for a lack of diversity of its staff and coverage, is using a $1.5 million grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to put together a six-person team to report stories on race, ethnicity and culture.

 

The national radio program producer and digital news provider was accepting the two-year grant Thursday at UNITY 2012 Convention in Las Vegas, where hundreds of minority and gay and lesbian journalists gathered for the quadrennial convention assembled by UNITY Journalists Inc.

 

NPR said in a news release that it is using the money to "launch a major storytelling initiative focused on the racial, ethnic, ideological and generational issues that define an increasingly diverse America." The team will include two digital journalists, a correspondent, two reporters and an editor. The team will have a web site and blog within NPR.org.

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Mariana Soffer's comment, August 3, 2012 6:09 AM
I use NPR a bit, it has a lot of interesting music and podcast I download them sometimes
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El Salvador’s Historic Gang Truce May Show Pathway to Peace in the U.S. - COLORLINES

El Salvador’s Historic Gang Truce May Show Pathway to Peace in the U.S. - COLORLINES | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it
Activists in the United States are watching closely as El Salvador works to address the root causes of gang violence.

 

In mid-June members of rival gangs Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13, and Barrio 18 in El Salvador marked 100 days of an historic gang truce. 

 

[...]

 

Rodriguez, the longtime writer, adds that restorative justice is about asking perpetrators and victims to restore what was taken away.

 

“You can’t restore lives or property damage, but you can restore trust,” Rodriguez says. “One of the ways you can do that is by getting gang members themselves to commit to community and to change. We’re not just talking about the least violent. It’s a very important concept. It has worked when we’ve done it in different parts of the US with people who were once some of the most violent. It works to restore trust within civil society and those that are on the margins of society. We want to get them back in. It’s another way to go, rather than just punishing people.”

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Globalization: preventing the sameness of the world

This video, animated by Warren Lehrer with Brandon Campbell, features the words of Eugene Hütz–leader of the gypsy-punk-cabaret band Gogol Bordello—sharing his views on ‘globalization’ and putting forward an alternative vision of what he calls “multi-kontra culture.” This video with sound production and arrangement by Judith Sloan is the newest manifestation of Warren Lehrer and Judith Sloan’s multi-media project, Crossing the BLVD: strangers, neighbors, aliens in a new America, which documents and portrays new immigrants and refugees in the United States.

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Migration as Ecology: How Culture Evolves

Migration as Ecology: How Culture Evolves | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

“In 2008, 20 million persons have been displaced by extreme weather events, compared to 4.6 million internally displaced by conflict and violence over the same period,” reports the IOM. And by the middle of the century (that’s just about the time that immigrants will constitute one-fifth of the U.S. population), there might be as many as 200 million environmental migrants–sometimes called “climate refugees“–around the world, moving within or across borders.

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