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being an immigrant or living in a "slum" is a feature not a bug
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Rapidly Urbanizing Populations Face Unique Challenges

Rapidly Urbanizing Populations Face Unique Challenges | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

A characteristic feature of Asian urbanization is the prevalence of “megacities” that are home to more than 10 million people. In 2011, there were 23 such cities worldwide, 13 of which were Asian. By 2025, the total number of megacities is expected to reach 37—with 21 in Asia alone. Specifically, Southeast Asia is home to the most densely populated cities: approximately 16,500 people per square kilometerare squeezed into the region’s urban areas.

 

Cities, especially in the developing world, must find a way to provide essential services to their ever-increasing populations. When cities fail to meet these essential needs on a large scale, they create areas known as slums, where households typically lack safe drinking water, safe sanitation, a durable living space, or security of a lease. According to UN HABITAT, 828 million people in developing-world cities are considered slum dwellers—one in every three residents. Slum populations are expected to grow significantly in the future, and UN HABITAT projects that 6 million more people live in slums every year.

 

The World Health Organization identifies the rapid increase of urban populations, especially slum populations, as the most important issue affecting health in the 21st century. The agency cites overcrowding, lack of safe water, and improper sanitation systems as the primary factors contributing to poor health among the urban poor. Slums often become breeding grounds for diseases like tuberculosis, dengue, pneumonia, and cholera, and slum dwellers contract water-borne or respiratory illnesses at much higher rates than people in rural areas do.

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Ron Finley: A guerilla gardener in South Central LA

Ron Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA -- in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where "the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys."

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FOOD FIGHT - Earth Amplified feat. Stic.Man of Dead Prez

‎"We feel the greatest hope for fundamental change starts with the foundation for the future -- our youth -- so the Food Fight team combined music and film with a school curriculum, to help teachers engage students on the most pressing issues we face, in a unique way.

The flaws of our global economy are best exposed by looking at our food system -- soil-depleting and oil-depleting factory farming, economic policies that contribute to starvation abroad, and disease and obesity at home, all packaged with a marketing campaign to enforce the "buy first, ask never" social contract -- just buy what they say to buy, and eat/shut up.

 

If we care about our kids, ourselves, and our planet, it's time to expose the truth on a broader scale, and hope enough Food Fighters step up to make the changes we need."

 

SHARE IT? Accompanying FREE CURRICULUM, LYRICS & SONG DOWNLOAD at http://SosJuice.com/foodfight ;

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The Public Realm: the Importance of Public Spaces in Our Neighborhoods

The Public Realm: the Importance of Public Spaces in Our Neighborhoods | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

The public realm is once again being understood as a critical element in making cities work for the health and well-being of their citizens. Public health professionals have joined with design professionals and others in recognizing that quality urban design and a well designed public realm are key ingredients for the health and wellness of the community. Richard Louv, in his book, “The Last Child in the Woods,” has given the need for our connection to nature, and the lack of it, a name: “Nature Deficit Disorder.”


There is also a growing awareness that the quality of the public realm is a critical element in quality economic development. People want to be in places where they can feel comfortable and enjoy. These spaces can be parks, plazas, and our canyons and even pleasant sidewalks. And they want these things nearby to where they live and work.


By Michael Stepner / SDMetro 

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TXChildrenInNature's curator insight, July 24, 2013 8:43 AM

Creating community spaces is part of the Texas Children in Nature stratigic plan.  There is much to learn from how other states are approaching how ways they are creating more natural spaces in their communities.

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Can we bypass global gridlock?

Can we bypass global gridlock? | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Forget jet-packs experts say that car-share schemes and electronically governed 'smart autos' are the answers to ever-increasing city congestion...


In an effort to map out the implications of such growth, the Guardian, in association with Ford, assembled a panel and audience of experts to discuss the future of sustainable transport. The seminar was streamed live on the internet so remote viewers could follow the discussion.


The panel discussed a number of questions, such as: can society possibly function with so many people driving so many cars?; is global gridlock inevitable?; will the transport of basic items such as food and medicine become a fraught and unpredictable challenge? Audience members were invited to participate in the discussion and ask the panel questions of their own.  (...)


Sylvain Haon, secretary general of Polis, a network for European local authorities focusing on transport policy, noted, the use of cars in cities may already have peaked. Researchers have measured drops in journeys over the past decade in several European cities such as London, Stockholm, Vienna and Zurich. The same trend is evident in Australian cities and even in the US, with Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco showing declines from very high levels of car use in the mid-1990s.


In the case of London at least, the change has come about partly through improved alternatives and partly through policies that make urban driving even less inviting than it might otherwise be. As the seminar heard, putting control of city transport under a single authority was vital, allowing the funds from congestion charging to be ploughed into alternatives to the car.


The resulting increases in walking and cycling also promise health benefits beyond better roads and cleaner air. Robin Stott, an audience member, cited medical studies that predict the world will contain a billion obese people by 2030 – a trend that might be countered by just a little more exercise.

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Can cities help you forget your troubles? C’mon, get happy!

Can cities help you forget your troubles? C’mon, get happy! | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

We’re starting to get our arms around some of the bigger public health issues connecting society with the built environment, particularly on the obesity, diabetes and depression fronts.


Now, we’re starting to get our arms around some of the bigger public health issues connecting society with the built environment, particularly on the obesity, diabetes and depression fronts. Proponents of gross national happiness to augment gross national product would like to see our society focused on conserving instead of consuming and connectivity instead of distrust. (...)


And it’s interesting how some things go full circle, with a healthy society making for a healthy economy. ‎60% of East Coast developers say, “to stay competitive, they are shifting away from bigger traditional home designs to conservative pedestrian-oriented mixed-use neighbourhoods.” People get more enduring happiness from experiences in their neighbourhood than possessions in their home. (...)


“A good city is like a good party – people stay much longer than really necessary because they are enjoying themselves,” per Jan Gehl, author of a City for People, and leader of Copenhagen’s transformation to a bikeable, walkable city. Gehl encourages urban design from the perspective of the five senses, taken at walking speed. This eye-level approach does much to address the needs — and the happiness — of the individual.

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Urban forestry for green city

Urban forestry for green city | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

According to World Health Organization (WHO) there should be 9 sq. meter green space per city dweller for ensuring better life. In developed countries, normally, they have more trees (more than 20 sq. meter green spaces per city dweller) to meet the ecological balance for human well-being compared to cities in developing countries, which often fall below the minimum standard of open green spaces set by WHO. For example, most of the cities of China have 6.52 sq. meter green coverage per head.


Department of Environment (DoE) pointed out that air pollutant (SOx, NOx and CO2) levels in Dhaka city are about 4 to 5 times higher than the prescribed levels of Air Quality Standard (AQS) in Bangladesh. Such pollutants remain and persist with air due to lack of tree coverage. Several research in US shows that trees can remove pollution by intercepting airborne particles. Another study of BAPA (2002) pointed out that air pollution causes headache, burning of eyes, pain in throat, bronchitis, breathing problems, heart disease, anemia, mental problems, kidney disease and even cancer. According to experts, about 33% of Dhaka dwellers suffer from hearing problems due to noise pollution. In US one research estimate suggests that 7db noise reduction is achieved for every 33 meter of forest. Therefore, vegetation can play an important role in attenuating noise and absorbing sound energy.

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Urban living: Good for the planet, but bad for our brains?

Urban living: Good for the planet, but bad for our brains? | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Scientists have begun to examine how the city affects the brain, and the results are chastening. Just being in an urban environment, they have found, impairs our basic mental processes. After spending a few minutes on a crowded city street, the brain is less able to hold things in memory, and suffers from reduced self-control. While it’s long been recognized that city life is exhausting … this new research suggests that cities actually dull our thinking, sometimes dramatically so.


Via David Hodgson
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What GNH (Gross National Happiness) measures

Gross National Happiness #GNHin  Butan measures: compassion,social sustainable development, fairness of distribution, environmental conservation.

 

They want to be 100% organic & biodynamic. They pledge to be carbon neutral. They also measure material and inmaterial dimension of education and are moving from a monarchy to a democracy. All the hierarchy reports from the point of view of GNH.

 

GNH is Not hippie happiness but: a transformative approach, a non-dual perspective (understading of the oneness of people and land) and a systemic approach (considering all levels of the system). Bottom up and top down. They are also creating a Center to apply GNH.

 

Tho Ha Vinh and Julia Kim on Gross National Happiness (GNH) in Bhutan, at the Presencing Global Forum 2012 in Berlin...


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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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Witnessing Acts of Compassion Prompts People to Do Good: Study | Epoch Times

Witnessing Acts of Compassion Prompts People to Do Good: Study | Epoch Times | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

In a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Karl Aquino and his team found that after witnessing exceptional altruistic acts, people are more likely to perform charitably themselves.


“They have some sort of emotional reaction—they’re inspired, they feel somewhat awed by the behavior, they may get severe physiological reactions. A lot of these changes can then lead them to try to do good things for others.”


“A lot of the media, when they try to get people to do good, they focus on highlighting the suffering others are experiencing or terrible things people are experiencing,” he says.


“So we suggest an alternative technique may be to highlight examples of extraordinary goodness. They’re rare by definition; they don’t happen every day. But if we could identify these and make them much more prominent, then it could get people to think differently about their lives and about others, which may influence them to do good.”


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"The Quantified Community" by Esther Dyson | Project Syndicate

"The Quantified Community" by Esther Dyson | Project Syndicate | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it
Just as monitoring devices and software enable people to measure and improve their own health and behavior, communities can quantify their performance by collecting and analyzing untapped data.

 

In the same way, I predict (and am trying to foster) the emergence of a Quantified Community movement, with communities measuring the state, health, and activities of their people and institutions, thereby improving them. Just consider: each town has its own schools, library, police, roads and bridges, businesses, and, of course, people. All of them potentially generate a lot of data, most of it uncollected and unanalyzed. That is about to change.

 

A news company could encourage contests within neighborhoods or with other communities to become healthier, fix more potholes, reduce the rate of traffic accidents, or curb drunk driving. Just as competition with other individuals is part of the Quantified Self movement, so competition with other communities will be part of the Quantified Community movement.


Via Peter Vander Auwera
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The power of intermittent fasting

The power of intermittent fasting | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Scientists are uncovering evidence that short periods of fasting, if properly controlled, could achieve a number of health benefits, as well as potentially helping the overweight, as Michael Mosley discovered. (...)

 

Calorie restriction, eating well but not much, is one of the few things that has been shown to extend life expectancy, at least in animals. We've known since the 1930s that mice put on a low-calorie, nutrient-rich diet live far longer. There is mounting evidence that the same is true in monkeys.

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Smart growth community living increases physical activity in children

Smart growth community living increases physical activity in children | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

"Smart growth" neighborhoods show a 46% increase of physical activity in kids Physical inactivity is a leading cause of death and disease globally.


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Your Brain Really Wants To Be In Nature

Your Brain Really Wants To Be In Nature | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it
If (like me) you’ve been sitting at your desk for too long, then you really ought to get up, find the nearest park, and go for a nice walk.

 

Writing about the paper, Richard Coyne (Researcher at Heriot-Watt University, in Edinburgh) says the work shows the public benefits of investing in greenery:

 

"Our study has implications for promoting urban green space to enhance mood, important in encouraging people to walk more or engage in other forms of physical or reflective activity. More green plazas, parkland, trees, access to the countryside, and urban design and architecture that incorporates more of the atmosphere of outdoor open space are all good for our health and wellbeing."

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Green Roofs Help Brighten Up Hospital Stays

Green Roofs Help Brighten Up Hospital Stays | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Two hospitals recently transformed their roofs into living gardens, reducing their carbon footprint while also providing a healing green space for patients.


Last fall, Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital in Hershey, Pa., and Aultman Hospital in Canton, Ohio, became the latest medical facilities to add green roofs to their buildings, not only for aesthetic reasons but also to provide better insulation and stormwater management. Both hospitals used the modular LiveRoof hybrid system (...)


“Views of natural landscapes have a positive effect on emotional and mental health,” said Ryan Jones, vice president of support services at Aultman Hospital. “Some studies have even shown that patients who have a view of green space have lower levels of stress and anxiety and recover more quickly.”


The green roofs at both hospitals also provide environmental benefits, including the ability to absorb rainwater and reduce runoff. The plants and soil also shield the underlying structural roof from UV radiation and reduce temperature extremes, which can help extend the service life of the roof.


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EnviroJMS's curator insight, September 17, 2013 5:09 PM

A hospital in Ohio has found a way of reducing its carbon footprint by creating garden roofs, which I think is very smart but can be expensive at the same time. However it does save the environment and better the health of the patients.

 

- Aphiwe Khambule

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Yoga Can Disrupt the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Yoga Can Disrupt the School-to-Prison Pipeline | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it
This is an interview with B.K. Bose, who started the non-profit Niroga Institute with a few yoga students in 2005. Niroga was asked to help work with a group of delinquent young women in an alternative high school in the San Francisco Bay Area, and from the first yoga class the Niroga teachers could see how these students took to the mindful action, breathing and centering (the ABCs) like fish to water. They seemed to connect with a place inside themselves that was safe from all the dysfunction

Today, Niroga conducts over 100 yoga classes a week in 40 sites throughout the Bay Area, serving over 5,000 children, youth, and adults annually, in mainstream and alternative schools, juvenile halls and jails, rehab centers, and cancer hospitals.
ddrrnt's insight:

Mindfulness in the city : Safe and stressless


When kids drop out of school, the risks of inner-city violence increases.  Entire families are struggling with stresses that can be reduced with scientific approaches to mindful yoga and meditation.

Thet's where Niroga Institute's program comes into play: Transformative Life Skills (TLS).


Nurturing every child's Potential


"We believe that every child and every youth has infinite capability for self-awareness and self-mastery, to act rather than merely react, to achieve their fullest potential."


Watch a short video on Yoga, Self-Control and Social Transformation here.


by Rob Schware

12 Dec 2012


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Small Public Urban Green Spaces (SPUGS) in Copenhagen, Denmark | Research

Small Public Urban Green Spaces (SPUGS) in Copenhagen, Denmark | Research | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Biophilic cities are cities with easy access to natural areas, both large and small. Large urban parks are undoubtedly great places for connection with nature, but smaller parks have benefits as well. Researchers in Denmark have conducted a study to determine the most common uses of Small Public Urban Green Spaces (SPUGS), also known as Pocket Parks. These small areas of urban nature are typically found in areas of extreme population density, and therefore have the potential for large numbers of people to access them easily. Throughout the summer of 2010, Karin K. Peschardt of the University of Copenhagen visited nine SPUGS regularly to document who was using these parks, and for what purposes. (...)


The results of the study concluded that most park users visited SPUGS for socializing and “rest and restitution” (Peschardt 240). Furthermore, the data suggest that those visiting SPUGS for relaxation spend less time in the SPUGS than those who use the spaces for socializing. Significantly, nearly 80% of respondents did not have access to a private garden at home, reinforcing the need for such urban natural areas in close proximity to high-density living. Finally, the study infers that since the SPUGS examined are used mainly for reasons pertaining to “social and mental wellbeing,” these spaces have potential health benefits and it would be wise to increase their number for the benefit of city residents, particularly those living at high densities without access to other green spaces nearby (Peschardt 243). (...)


While Pocket Parks and the Small Public Urban Green Spaces studied here are small, this by no means limits their significance. In fact, their size makes it easier to locate them in close proximity to large numbers of urban residents. When cities such as Copenhagen and Los Angeles and many others prioritize implementation of small urban natural areas, they create opportunities for urban residents to interact with nature as part of their daily lives, a key element in designing and planning truly biophilic cities.

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How conservation projects are improving public health

How conservation projects are improving public health | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Green Gym aims to improve people's mental and physical wellbeing through involvement in conservation activities...



After a series of personal tragedies, Derek Langford hit rock bottom last year – he suffered a breakdown, took solace in drink and finally, attempted to take his own life.


Mercifully, the pills did not work and he found his way – via his community psychiatric nurse – to a Green Gym near his home in Birmingham's Sandwell neighbourhood. The project, designed to improve people's mental and physical wellbeing through their involvement in conservation activities and run by The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), has renewed his zest for life.


"I really was a total mess," admits Langford, 43, a former tarmacker. "For months I just sat there, drinking – I just couldn't get out of it. I'm still living day by day, but overall I'm now in a much better place."

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Global Warming: a new report on loss of life and global economic damage

Global Warming: a new report on loss of life and global economic damage | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

From devastating floods in China and the Philippines to droughts in Africa, the extreme weather patterns that hit the United States have impacted sites around the world as the face of global warming.

According to a new report, climate change has already contributed to 400,000 deaths per year and over $699 billion, 0.9 percent annually, in loss to gross domestic product (GDP). The report estimates even greater damage from air pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels. also driving global warming.

'Climate Vulnerability Monitor: A Guide to the Cold Calculus of a Hot Planet (2nd Edition)' was written by over 50 scientists, economists and policy experts, and commissioned by 20 governments. The study calculates and compares the vulnerability of 184 countries in terms of environmental disasters, habitat change, health impact and industry stress.

Read on for statistics, implications and global health issues related to these new findings, proving that 'failing to deal with global warming will have real and lasting impacts on local communities, economies, health and safety, and people around the world.'


Via Lauren Moss
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Technology and the democratisation of development

Technology and the democratisation of development | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

In 1993 the number of mobile subscribers in Africa numbered in the hundreds of thousands. By 1998 that had crept to four million. Today there are an estimated 735 million with penetration running at around the 70% mark. Not bad in less than 20 years. (...)


Mobile phone ownership among the communities many of them serve presents new opportunities to increase the reach and efficiency of their work. Simply being able to send messages to coordinate meetings, or to remind people of key messages, can save hours – even days – on the road.


Community healthcare workers can also stay in better touch with the hospital when they’re back in their villages. Farmers can access advice and market information directly from their fields. Citizens can report corruption, or engage in debate. Births can be registered. Illegal logging can be recorded and reported. It’s safe to say that mobile phones have touched every sector of development in one way or another. It has become so ubiquitous that, in just a few short years, many development workers can hardly imagine life without them.


via Build it Kenny, and they will come...

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The Internet Is the New Town Hall and Soon Cities Will Be Listening

The Internet Is the New Town Hall and Soon Cities Will Be Listening | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

"Sentiment analysis" of social media could change the way you report potholes forever.


The challenge for cities is how they might parse social media sentiment about not just one dish detergent (or one frequently Googled query during flu season), but about numerous interlocking indexes of civic life. Are parents in Chicago supportive of the teachers’ strike? What are New York subway riders saying about that new trash program? Or Los Angelenos about the crackdown on pot dispensaries? Is there a flare-up of graffiti concern on the west side of the city? Or a collision on the east side about to erupt into an all-out traffic jam?

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Do Early Experiences in the Natural World Help Shape Children’s Brain Architecture?

Do Early Experiences in the Natural World Help Shape Children’s Brain Architecture? | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

A growing body of primarily correlative evidence suggests that, even in the densest urban neighborhoods, negative stress, obesity and other health problems are reduced and psychological and physical health improved when children and adults experience more nature in their everyday lives. These studies suggest that nearby nature can also stimulate learning abilities and reduce the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and we know that therapies using gardening or animal companions do improve psychological health. We also know that parks with the richest biodiversity appear to have a positive impact on psychological well-being and social bonding among humans.


Via David Hodgson
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Exploring the Nature Pyramid | The Nature of Cities

Exploring the Nature Pyramid | The Nature of Cities | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

How much exposure to nature and outdoor natural environments is necessary, though, to ensure healthy child development and a healthy adult life? We don't know for sure but it might be that we need to start examining what is necessary. Are there such things as minimum daily requirements of nature? And what do we make of the different ways we experience nature and the different types of nature that we experience? Is there a good way to begin to think about this?


Via David Hodgson
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Smart Growth Helps Cities Adapt to Aging Boomers: EPA

Smart Growth Helps Cities Adapt to Aging Boomers: EPA | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

As baby boomers age, the need for elderly friendly towns and cities becomes increasingly important. This week, the EPA announced the winners of the fourth annual Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging award. The award honors communities that are improving quality of life through "smart growth," or growth designed to cut down on commutes and environmental harm; preserve open space; encourage community collaboration; and mix land uses.

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