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Arrival Cities
being an immigrant or living in a "slum" is a feature not a bug
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Resilient cities need resilient citizens

Resilient cities need resilient citizens | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

... psychology professor David DeSteno ... talking to an audience of hundreds at a summit on urban resilience convened by PopTech and the Rockefeller Foundation, The City Resilient, last week. “Humans respond to disruptions in one of two ways,” he said. “We stand together, or we stand alone.” And it turns out that choosing the first strategy affords the best long term outcome, according to evolutionary and mathematical simulations, DeSteno said.

....

A study conducted by the Associated Press and NORC at the University of Chicago on Resilience in the Wake of Superstorm Sandy released last week and presented by its authors at the Brooklyn summit found that “individuals in slowly recovering neighborhoods are less likely to believe that, generally speaking, most people can be trusted.” Their counterparts in the faster-to-recover neighborhoods were more likely to think the storm brought out the best in people and reported lower levels of hoarding food and water, looting, stealing, and vandalism.

 

As DeSteno said in his talk, choosing to stand alone, choosing to hoard, price-gouge, and steal, has a long-term negative effect for the community…and the individual: “In the long-run, it’s a poor strategy. The social bonds and support of a society — your social bonds and support — fall apart,” he said.

 

So clearly we need to stand together, we need to create a social infrastructure that encourages people to cooperate and feel compassionate toward one another.

 

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Mimiboard. The Virtual Noticeboard. Empowering Local Communities

South Africa-based Umuntu Media, as part of a mission to help communities create and find useful content, decided to bring the news board online.

 

Mimiboard marks an evolution of the way local information can be shared. It is simply the digital manifestation of a time-trusted product many Africans can relate to. At the same time, Mimiboard is not just a traditional news portal. It allows for mobile sharing and provides a great user experience – something previous online forums have failed to accomplish.

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Do Early Outdoor Experiences Help Build Healthier Brains?

Do Early Outdoor Experiences Help Build Healthier Brains? | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

More natural environment can soften the blow of toxic stress in early childhood.

 

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.

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For a truly sustainable world, we need zero waste cities

For a truly sustainable world, we need zero waste cities | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Choosing sustainable building materials and systems goes beyond considering durability. We need to take life cycle analysis and supply chain into account, and specify the most appropriate materials for a project – the least polluting, most easily recyclable, most energy efficient (least embodied energy) – and from sustainable sources. (...)


The zero waste ethos is a big call, radical in its ramifications, and it requires more than a top-down, government-imposed approach. To be successful, zero waste needs to be embraced and implemented by citizens and community groups, business and industry.

It is already technologically possible to build a zero-waste and zero-carbon-emission city.


The question is – are we willing to do so and transform from consumers to citizens?

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Organizer Prabhat Mishra on Climate Change in India

Organizer Prabhat Mishra on Climate Change in India | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Working with the Government, Mr. Mishra has taken special interest in environmental issues and has been instrumental in mobilizing hundreds of villagers across the district for climate action. People of Aasayi village in the district took part in Climate Impacts Day on May 5th earlier this year where locals gathered for a human art formation depicting the need to safeguard their fragile forests.


With rising carbon emissions across the planet, the need for a concerted effort to tackle climate change is only growing. Here are a few suggestions, which need urgent attention:


1. There should be a “WORLD COMMISSION FOR SCIENCE AND DEVELOPMENT” for promoting the researches and developmental works which have zero to low carbon emissions.
2. Our investment in R & D should be more on the development of “RENEWABLE ENERGY” like solar, tidal, wind and water energies, apart from developing “low carbon emission technologies”.
3. There should be a big role and support for civil society institutions in implementing environment friendly plans & projects of government.
4. There should be effective “AWARENESS programmes at grassroots level”, to save the environment from degradation. 350.org is doing an excellent job in this regard.
5. Carbon capping should not be the one way legislation programme against developing nations. DEVELOPED nations should provide financial help and green technology transfer to DEVELOPING nations, to phase-out the fossil fuels.





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Eating Our Cities: Dissecting the Urban Food Dilemma | Sustainable Cities Collective

Eating Our Cities: Dissecting the Urban Food Dilemma | Sustainable Cities Collective | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

What role does urban agriculture play in sustaining our cities?


Urban agriculture is the latest iteration in our society’s attempts to deal with the dilemma of feeding our cities.Yet like energy, the cheapest and most environmentally friendly food we can source is the food we waste. I’m not for a minute suggesting you send your little ones out the hang out at the dumpster behind the supermarket, but rather think about the total cost of our food habits. What does it ‘cost’ to buy that bulk pack of flour at the mega mart only to have the weevils dine on half the bag that you never got around to turning into home baked bread? This might sound glib- but from an ecological footprint calculation the single biggest contribution to Canberra’s hectare equivalent of resources used to run this city is food. Canberra’s ecological footprint was 8.5 global hectares (gha) per person or 2.65 million gha – roughly 11 times the actual land the Australian Capital Territory occupies.

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World's Future Prosperity linked to Disaster Resilience, says New Report - UNISDR

World's Future Prosperity linked to Disaster Resilience, says New Report - UNISDR | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

A new report by UN-Habitat links the world's future prosperity to the ability of cities to reduce risk and build resilience to adverse forces of nature.


Titled State of the World's Cities 2012/2013 - the Prosperity of Cities, the report identifies soaring unemployment, food shortages and rising prices, strains on financial institutions, insecurity and political instability as challenges to the conventional notion of cities as the home of prosperity.


The wasteful expansion of cities in "endless peripheries" leads to additional risks associated with the provision of water, physical infrastructure, transport and energy, and affects industrial production, local economies, assets and livelihoods, according to the report. (...)


Margareta Wahlström, who heads the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, supports UN-Habitat's approach, which takes equity and good governance into account when assessing a city's prosperity - these elements also help bolster disaster resilience.


"The findings from our own studies on cities show that low socio-economic development need not necessarily limit all resilience-building activities, especially when the central government and multilateral agencies work together to ensure the right people come together to take action," said Wahlström, referring to UNISDR's newest report, "Making Cities Resilient 2012 -- My city is getting ready! A global snapshot of how local governments reduce disaster risk," which was launched in tandem with the UN-Habitat report.

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East Africa: Rural-Urban Migration Must Be Checked

THERE is every reason to worry about the escalating rural to urban migration in East Africa. Desperate people, most of them youths, troop into towns in the quest for 'greener pastures.'


In Tanzania, about 35 per cent of the estimated 42 million nationals have already moved into cities, municipalities and towns, straining further the few resources available. The other worrisome factor in this scenario is that most migrants move into slums, worsening the spectre of overpopulation and possible disease outbreaks.


It is a situation that calls for alarm and action to reverse the trend. This would necessitate the need for rural transformation, starting with the development of agriculture and small-scale industries. Next should be the provision of such basic amenities as water and electricity and the improvement of social services to improve the living standards of the people.


The negative effects of climate change felt all over the world could be devastating to the local rural geography as well, resulting into drought conditions that might prove quite a disincentive. In the long run, it is the environment which suffers. Farmers need government support to help them preserve the environment. Rural communities have a critical role to play as custodians of the environment. The government should empower residents in rural villages to adapt their farming methods and lifestyles to mitigate the effects of climate change or other destructive factors.


via allAfrica.com

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The Very Real Threat of Sea-level Rise to the United States

The Very Real Threat of Sea-level Rise to the United States | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it
Climate change is no laughing matter. Uncontrolled, human-caused climate change is a real threat to the United States economy, hundreds of millions of Americans, and their local communities.
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Poverty and education: why school reform is vital

Poverty and education: why school reform is vital | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

The most important civil-rights battleground today is education, writes Nicholas D. Kristof, and the most crucial struggle against poverty is the one fought in schools.


Inner-city urban schools today echo the "separate but equal" system of the early 1950s. In the Chicago Public Schools (where a tentative agreement was just reached following a teachers' strike), 86 percent of children are black or Hispanic, and 87 percent come from low-income families.


Those students often don't get a solid education, any more than blacks received in their separate schools before Brown v. Board of Education. Chicago's high school graduation rates have been improving but are still about 60 percent. Just 3 percent of black boys in the ninth grade end up earning a degree from a four-year college, according to the Consortium on Chicago School Research.


America's education system has become less a ladder of opportunity than a structure to transmit inequity from one generation to the next.

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Leong Kin Wai's curator insight, February 1, 2013 8:28 AM

The insight is done using the 4Cs thinking routine.

Something that seems close to the idea of reforming the school system is the idea of 'school choice', a voucher system that allows for children to be sent to another school with the voucher, the purpose being to push children from failing schools to better ones without moving house.

The concept that is important to note here is that the author is making mention not of school choice, but of reforming the school system in itself, which would be referring to reform of the hiring system of teachers.

The change here is in how I believe people can succeed and subsequently how some teachers say we do. I have felt before that regardless of who teachers, I am the only one held responsible. Now, while that statement still holds truth in who society might point the finger to, that teachers also have a responsibility in moulding the workers of tomorrow.

What I want to challenge here has something to do with the connection from the beginning with the idea of school choice. If the key idea is to rid of bad teachers, what about a system that may incentivise students to move to better schools by giving them the choice and means to do so?

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The Creativity Crisis

The Creativity Crisis | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

From fourth grade on, creativity no longer occurs in a vacuum; researching and studying become an integral part of coming up with useful solutions. But this transition isn’t easy. As school stuffs more complex information into their heads, kids get overloaded, and creativity suffers. When creative children have a supportive teacher—someone tolerant of unconventional answers, occasional disruptions, or detours of curiosity—they tend to excel.


Via David Hodgson
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An Omnivore’s Approach To Achieving Energy Security

In 2011, the average American spent $732 to heat their home with natural gas.  In contrast, they spent $2,535 to heat their homes with oil.  Ouch! That's a recipe for bankruptcy. It's also pretty good example of why specialization can hurt you.


What’s required to be an energy omnivore? The ability to:

  • produce a home’s electricity from a variety of fuels.
  • heat and cool a home with oil, wood, natural gas, passive solar, electricity, and geo-exchange.
  • power a vehicle with gasoline, natural gas, diesel, bio diesel, and electricity.

As you can see, this is a pretty extensive list. It’s likely much more expensive to implement than most people can afford at the individual level. Further, much of this omnivorous production might be best done at the community level rather than at the household/complex level.

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The Education Gap and its Role in Persistent Unemployment | Planetizen

A new report by the Brookings Institution shows that unemployment in America's cities is being exacerbated by a lack of higher-educated workers.


Nate Berg describes a new report by the Brookings Institution that looks at the role that educational attainment and job requirements play in unemployment. "There are job openings in the U.S. But the people living near those jobs don't have the relevant education or training to get them...," says Berg. "The report...finds that the overall unemployment picture in metro areas gets a lot worse when the workforce's educational background doesn't match up with the requirements of employers."



Full Story: Education and Job Requirements: The Great Mismatch

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Homegrown Cities Project: common sense to the rescue of Mumbai slums

Homegrown Cities Project: common sense to the rescue of Mumbai slums | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Bhandup is called a slum by the municipality. We prefer to refer to this hillside settlement located in the northeastern suburbs of Mumbai, as a ‘homegrown neighborhood’. We have been active there for a few years, documenting local construction techniques and contributing to the construction of a Hindu temple. From above, Bhandup looks a lot like a Rio favela. Within it has the same vibrancy and similar infrastructural issues. The area is typically low-rise, high-density and pedestrian. It is also mixed-use, hosting a great variety of businesses within its residential fabric. Every time we visit the area we see new houses being built by local masons and residents. Each of them occupies a 150 to 200 square feet area, and has one or two floors. Bhandup residents have access to water and community toilets, and electricity is available everywhere. Most people have television and cell phones. No one there is dying of hunger. What this neighbourhood needs most is to be recognized as a viable form of urbanization – not as a slum. The efforts of its residents and local constructors should be supported.

 

Our contention is that only by working within the existing fabric and with local actors, can urbanists, architects, engineers and policy makers contribute meaningfully to ongoing user-lead improvement in homegrown neighbourhoods. This is why we have just launched the project Homegrown Cities that aims at demonstrating that common sensical alternatives to ‘redevelopment’ do exist.

 

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/homegrown-cities

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India's millennium city a 'slum for the rich'?

India's millennium city a 'slum for the rich'? | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it
The BBC's Shalu Yadav looks at why Gurgaon, India's Millennium City, has turned out to be a failure in planning.

 

Infrastructure is in a shambles: electricity is infrequent and erratic, groundwater is declining at an alarming rate, and the sewage system and roads are decrepit. There aren't enough policemen to secure the burgeoning population.

 

A whopping 70% of the residents are dependant on ground water, which is being indiscriminately extracted despite restrictions.

 

Things are so alarming that the federal ground water authorities have warned that the water table will be completely depleted by 2017.

The sewage situation also looks dire.

 

Delhi's Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) believes that by 2021, Gurgaon's estimated 3.5m people will produce so much waste that the city will be drowning in its own sewage.

 

"Unfortunately in India, infrastructure doesn't precede development. That is why one feels that Gurgaon and many upcoming Indian cities are a failure. India needs sustainable urbanisation, " Lalit Jain, chairman of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Association of India said.

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Indian cities must act now on city climate resilience plans

Indian cities must act now on city climate resilience plans | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Cities across the world, due to their rapid population growth and large-scale developmental and economic investments, are at high risk from the impacts of climate change.


Though facing serious issues, cities can offer solution by evolving climate resilience strategies which can go a long in reducing their vulnerability and ensuring sustainable development. In view of this, it is crucial to develop urban climate resilience plans that can prepare cities to face the consequences of extreme weather events like urban flooding, public health crisis and the like. Understanding the urgency, The Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN), part of a $59 million, 7-year climate change resilience initiative supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, was launched in 2009 to create climate resilience strategies and action models in 10 cities across four countries in Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and India).

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A new kinder, open collaborative justice system is possible

Our justice system is problematic, people get sent to prison and get traumatized for life, family members get ripped from their family as they spend time in prison, innocent people languish in jail, and many poor people end up in jail more because they don’t have proper representation. Its a punitive system, where we feel like it is ok to treat people terribly because they are now ‘bad’. Its a system based on power and control of elements of criminal members of society, when what is considered criminal may not be widely agreed on within the society, e.g. usage of drugs


Via David Hodgson
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Cultivating the green shoots of rural areas

Cultivating the green shoots of rural areas | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

The ILO looks to harnessing the potential of the world’s rural areas as city dwellers in the developing world struggle to find work.


It is impossible to talk about sustainable development without taking into account this simple fact: half of the world’s population and 75 per cent of the world’s poor live in rural areas.


The challenge is even more pressing when we look at what’s happening in urban spaces.

“The cities are often saturated in terms of housing and jobs. Living conditions and the types of jobs available are sometimes also quite poor,” says Loretta de Luca, ILO’s Co-ordinator for Rural Employment and Decent Work. (...)


“Migrating to cities cannot be the only option for the millions of rural workers who are desperate for a better life,” adds de Luca. “But there will be more poverty and even hunger and political unrest if people return to rural areas without any support to increase their productivity and incomes."


Via Sean Grainger
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Researchers Present Study on How Global Climate Change Affects Violence

If global warming is a scientific fact, then you better be prepared for the earth to become a more violent place. That's because new Iowa State University research shows that as the earth's average


... temperature rises, so too does human "heat" in the form of violent tendencies.


"It is very well researched and what I call the 'heat hypothesis,'" Anderson said. "When people get hot, they behave more aggressively.


... the researchers estimate that if the annual average temperature in the U.S. increases by 8°F (4.4°C), the yearly murder and assault rate will increase by 34 per 100,000 people -- or 100,000 more per year in a population of 305 million.


... global temperatures also increases known risk factors for the development of aggression in violence-prone individuals

rapid climate change can lead to changes in the availability of food, water, shelter...


... such shortages can also lead to civil war and unrest, migration to adjacent regions and conflict with people who already live in that region ... 

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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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What Is This App Doing To My Kid’s Brain?

What Is This App Doing To My Kid’s Brain? | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

The amount of digital media exposure we’re getting, even among the tiniest infants, just keeps growing. Half of all children under the age of 8 have access to a touch-screen device, whether smartphone or tablet, at home, and half of infants under 1 year watch TV or videos--an average of almost two hours a day. The educational app field is seeing massive growth with 80% of educational apps in the iPad store targeted to young children. But research, says one expert, is lagging far behind practice.


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Why We Need A Global Environmental Organization

Why We Need A Global Environmental Organization | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

We must invest the time and resources to form a more effective, coherent and focused governance system in order to truly achieve our goals and build a better, sustainable future.

 

Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, Achim Steiner, said "without a strengthening of international environmental governance, whatever is potentially agreed in Rio+20 will only contribute to a persistence of the challenges, rather than the delivery of the opportunities and the imperative for a more intelligent and equitable 21st century development."


Via knowledgEnabler, David Hodgson, Steven Putter
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Advocates Want Halt to Expansion Of Private Prisons For Non-Citizens - COLORLINES

Advocates Want Halt to Expansion Of Private Prisons For Non-Citizens - COLORLINES | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

The federal government is poised to expand a little known part of the American incarceration system—privately operated facilities that hold immigrants convicted of crimes. Many of the inmates are charged criminally for what’s called “illegal reentry” when they’re picked up by Border Patrol trying to return to the country after a previous deportation. The facilities are among the only ones that the Bureau of Prisons has privatized and their expansion promises more profits for companies, like the Corrections Corporation of America, which runs the Adams County Correctional Center where Moreno’s brother was held.


It’s “quite a racket going on [for] these for profit prisons,” said Rep. Jared Polis, who sponsored the briefing. “It’s not a particularly good deal for taxpayers.”


There are now more than 24,000 inmates in 13 federal prisons for immigrants charged with crimes. Advocates including the ACLU of Texas, Grassroots Leadership and Justice Strategies gathered for the briefing on Thursday because the federal Bureau of Prisons in July issued a call for proposals for a 14th privately-managed facility to house 1,000 “low security, adult male inmates, that are primarily criminal aliens…”

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What to Do When the Oceans Rise

What to Do When the Oceans Rise | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

The costs of either rebuilding or relocating in response are enormous but unavoidable. Furthermore, since the economies of many coastal communities are based on fisheries and tourism, the impacts of anthropogenic climate change threaten their long-term sustainability.


Given their vulnerability, coastal communities are on the front line of global warming. But do they have the capacity to adapt to so much environmental change? Do their responses to past challenges suggest strategies for coping with future change? Can we predict which communities are most vulnerable and help them to become more resilient?

 


Via Complexity Digest, David Hodgson
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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.


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