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being an immigrant or living in a "slum" is a feature not a bug
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People are building enormous farms in the ruins of Detroit

People are building enormous farms in the ruins of Detroit | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Detroit isn't a decaying city anymore — it's a city in transition. Though its population dropped by 50 percent in the past half-century, and roughly a third of its buildings are abandoned, the place is coming to life again. Farmers are taking over the industrial wastes.

According to Next Nature:

http://www.nextnature.net/2013/11/turning-detroit-into-farms-and-forests/

 

Local businessman John Hantz just bought 600,000 square meters of land from the city of Detroit with an option to buy an additional 700,000, promising to demolish all the existing (abandoned) buildings, clean up the land, and plant hardwood trees. The Bank of America announced plans to demolish 100 homes and donate the land to urban agriculture. They’re not alone, as other small-scale urban farmers are adapting what’s left of the city to meet their needs.

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Detroit: A Cautionary Tale For Modern Civilization

Detroit: A Cautionary Tale For Modern Civilization | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Detroit was the birthplace of so many hopes and dreams during that era of prosperity — a period of time now revealing faults inherent to the system. It was here, at Ford, that Taylorism and division of labor was born. Here, again, in the General Motors factory across the street, that consumer credit (and by extension, excessive household debt?) was first conceived. Even the first mall was built here. The whole city was a motorist utopia, with automobiles encoded in its DNA.

 

Of course, the recent desertion of Detroit — in the last 40 years, the population has shrunk from 1.8 million inhabitants to fewer than 800,000 — can be explained by a number of key historical events. The race riots during the 1960s triggered the flight of the white middle class to the suburbs, and the financial crisis in the 1980s forced the black middle class to up and leave.

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Mesh Network Helps Scottsdale, Arizona Relieve Traffic Congestion

Mesh Network Helps Scottsdale, Arizona Relieve Traffic Congestion | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Firetide Inc., the technology leader in next-generation wireless mesh networking, announced the successful deployment of a state-of-the-art wireless intelligent transportation system (ITS) for the Scottsdale Traffic Management Center (Scottsdale TMC). The ITS communications platform connects wirelessly to video cameras, traffic signal controllers and dynamic message signs on arterials throughout the city so experts at the Scottsdale TMC can continuously monitor traffic activity from a central command center. The ability to view live video feeds from heavy traffic areas enables city officials to make fast, well-informed decisions on how to prevent and reduce daily congestion, improve driver information and actively manage traffic affected by special events, weather, and emergency situations.

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Cultivating a Better Food Production System

Cultivating a Better Food Production System | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it
Written by the founders of Food Tank; 13 resolutions for changing the food production system.

 

Growing in Cities:  Food production doesn’t only happen in fields or factories. Nearly one billion people worldwide produce food in cities. In Kibera, the largest slum in Africa, farmers are growing seeds of indigenous vegetables and selling them to rural farmers. At Bell Book & Candle restaurant in New York, customers are served rosemary, cherry tomatoes, romaine, and other produce grown from the restaurant’s aeroponic rooftop garden.
 
Creating Better Access:  People’s Grocery in Oakland and Fresh Moves in Chicago bring mobile grocery stores to food deserts giving low-income consumers opportunities to make healthy food choices. Instead of chips and soda, they provide customers with affordable organic produce, not typically available in their communities.

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Jared Broker's comment, June 14, 2013 9:57 PM
Local and urban gardening is the future of food. The horrifying studies of GMO food are fueling it. About time!
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Immigration Reform: Stop Ejecting the Brightest Minds From America

Immigration Reform: Stop Ejecting the Brightest Minds From America | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

The xenophobia underlying current immigration policy has three consequences for the U.S. technology industry. First, the know-how for all sorts of new companies is being expelled from America. Second, it makes it even harder to fill the job vacancies at existing U.S. based semiconductor, biotech, networking and software companies. Third, it means that University labs, which have sown the seeds for so many commercial breakthroughs of the past seventy-five years, are deprived of the young faculty members who can be counted on for bursts of inspiration and originality. In the massive global IQ competition, the United States is shooting itself in the foot. (...)


This year, three in ten students at MIT and four of every ten of its graduate students are either not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. These ratios are echoed at the best engineering and medical schools in the country. Our universities brim with opportunity for America and it would only take a few modest tweaks to improve the situation. This is a case where a small number of people bring a disproportionate benefit to millions.



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Crowdfunding for 100 Urban Gardens Across America

Crowdfunding for 100 Urban Gardens Across America | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Whole Kids Foundation, PACT and Indiegogo have joined forces to create an inspiring crowdfunding initiative: building 100 urban gardens across the United States. This is the first time a non-profit, a brand and a global crowdfunding platform have partnered to help drive change in local communities around the country.


Whole Foods' non-profit arm will facilitate each grant and provide online resources, while PACT, an organic apparel company supporting global causes, will provide physical perks in exchange for donations. Indiegogo will provide the platform through which donations can be made until Feb. 28.

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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 8:09 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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Recognizing Opportunity in the Growing Force of Migration

Recognizing Opportunity in the Growing Force of Migration | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Today is International Migrants Day, a day proclaimed by the United Nations in 2000 as a day to share information and further action to protect the rights of migrant workers. Migrant labor is increasing and creating growing economic and social connections across borders—within regions and across the globe, as markets shift. One of the strongest economic ties between families are remittances, which are expected to reach a record of $534 billion in money sent back home throughout the world in 2012, according to a report by the World Bank. This is a drastic increase since 2000 when remittances were at an estimated $132 billion.


Migrant labor also contributes to growth and productivity in a host country. In the U.S., foreign-born workers make up an increasing portion of the labor force. Migration is both a human rights and an economic issue, and often far from a voluntary phenomenon. Economic and environmental factors and conflict force many people to migrate in search of stability and income opportunities. In North America, difficult economic circumstances at home force many Central Americans and Mexicans to migrate to Canada and the U.S., countries which offer better opportunities for labor. Immigration policies, however, often condemn migrants to illegal status, creating an imbalance that further complicates economic and social challenges.


Ashoka - Innovators for the Public

18 Dec 2012

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Innovative housing for the homeless being built in downtown L.A.

Innovative housing for the homeless being built in downtown L.A. | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it
The Skid Row Housing Trust is building a 102-unit, $20.5-million complex by stacking pre-outfitted apartments atop one another in a Lego-like fashion to save time and money.

The project, designed by award-winning architect Michael Maltzan, will include basketball courts, art centers, community gardens and hundreds of feet of green space. The stacking of apartment units began last week, and the bulk of the construction should be done by mid-January.

"What we're trying to create is something that feels like a microcosm of the city itself," said Maltzan, who has designed two other apartment complexes for the homeless in partnership with the trust.
ddrrnt's insight:

It has been called a "a vision of the future" for the homeless.  Residents must pay 30% of their monthly job or government assistance income, and that's it, there are no other conditions of residency.  Mike Alvidrez, executive director of the Skid Row Housing Trust says that "the first step to helping someone recover from a chronic drug or alcohol problem is to give them a home and sense of community."  I tend to agree.

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'Fitness parks' catch on in cities

'Fitness parks' catch on in cities | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Free outdoor gyms, the latest weapon in fighting the nation's obesity epidemic, are sprouting up in city parks across the country. Clusters of traditional fitness equipment from elliptical machines to leg press and sit-up benches are being installed in city parks, often in poorer neighborhoods that may not have access to healthful options. (...)


Nearly 50% of Americans get less than the minimum recommended amount of physical activity, and 36% of U.S. adults engage in no leisure-time physical activity at all, according to the Trust. While many variables can account for these statistics, "fitness deserts" — areas where residents don't have access to exercise opportunities — are high on the list. (...)


"It's brought people to our parks who in the past were not regular users," McBee says. "Grouping equipment together in a visible location makes more people comfortable using it. It's somewhere you could watch your child in the playground while you work out."

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Vancouver Hungry for New Food Strategy

Yolande Cole discusses some of the elements being considered for Vancouver's new city-wide food strategy, which "will include over 60 actions intended to expand [the city's] food system."


Mini farmers markets in lower-income areas, community gardens on rooftops, mobile green grocers - these are just some of the strategies being considered for inclusion in Vancouver's new long-range food strategy, which is scheduled to go to city council in late January 2013. In addition to outlining ways to boost the city's food production, the plan will focus on improving access to healthy food. According to the City of Vancouver’s director of social policy, Mary Clare Zak, "[p]otential actions could include enacting licensing changes to allow more 'community markets' with fresh produce to be set up at low-income sites such as social housing, as well as setting up mobile green grocers, encouraging healthy corner stores, and procuring more nutritious food in bulk for charitable providers in the Downtown Eastside."


"Expanding urban-farming initiatives, in addition to community gardens, is another central focus of the city’s food strategy," says Cole. "Vancouver currently has 19 urban farms, according to Zak, but aims to see that number grow to 35 by the year 2020, through measures such as the creation of an urban-farming business-licence category."


via  Planetizen

26 Nov 2012

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Obama Wins: support for high-skilled immigration reform

Obama Wins: support for high-skilled immigration reform | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Strong support for high-skilled immigration reform:


The Startup 2.0 Act is most likely the first opportunity for reform, and probably won’t happen until next year. Specifically, the Startup 2.0 Act would increase work visa availability for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) graduates from American universities. Second, it would create an entrepreneurship visa for foreign workers who create jobs in the U.S. (right now, foreign workers have to be sponsored by another company, which makes it difficult to be a founder). Finally, it eliminates country-specific caps on visas. Pressure from Democrats to include immigration reforms for Mexico and other low-represented nations will be a challenge, however.

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Climate change: the truth will out

Climate change: the truth will out | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

The effects of climate change could hit closer to home earlier than we realise, but false optimism is masking truths that we need to confront...


31 October 2012 - Guardian Sustainable Business by Jo Confino

 

The effects of climate change could hit closer to home earlier than we realise, but false optimism is masking truths that we need to confront

 

 Having spent the last three weeks on the road in the US and Turkey soaking up the latest news on sustainability, there is not a lot to be positive about.

I spoke to climate scientists, business leaders and activists, and the challenges we face appear even more gargantuan then I had thought and, by comparison, progress on addressing them infinitesimal. And that's before superstorm Sandy struck the eastern board of the US.


Getting up close and personal to what is going on around us is something we all could do with, because without the emotional connection to what is happening in the world – it can just feel like a string of words, easy to dismiss.

How best to deal with the numerous sustainability challenges we are facing?...



Via pdjmoo
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Detroit | Y Worlds

Detroit | Y Worlds | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it
RESURRECTION

Y Worlds formally offers the City of Detroit, the State of Michigan and the United States Government a plan to make Detroit the first collaboratively developed sustainable and NETS driven modern city in North America.

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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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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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Walkable Urbanism as Foreign Policy

Walkable Urbanism as Foreign Policy | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Earlier this month, national security scholar Patrick Doherty published a proposal in Foreign Policy magazine for America’s next “grand strategy,” a plan for how the U.S. should reposition itself in a world defined less by threats from communism or terrorism and more by the global challenge of sustainability. His offering is among a crop of such foreign policy tracts all aiming big ideas at the newly re-inaugurated president.


These treatises usually have little to do with the more prosaic problems of cities, with housing or transportation or unemployment. But part of Doherty’s particular argument snagged our attention: He believes a central piece of American security and strength in the 21st century will reside in walkable neighborhoods.


Walkability, as we typically think of it in cities, is deeply connected to sustainability, public health and economic development. But foreign policy? That was a new one even for us.


Doherty’s basic idea is that pent-up demand for such communities could help power a new American economic engine in the same way that suburban housing (and all of the consumption that came with it) made America economically and globally powerful in the Cold War era.


Emily Badger

31 Jan 2013


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Jeanne Gang and the Greening of Chicago

Jeanne Gang and the Greening of Chicago | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Studio Gang Architects—run by Jeanne Gang, 48, and her husband, Mark Schendel wants to bring a “more wild version” of nature into cities. Her project for Chicago’s Northerly Island is under way.


This fall, Chicago broke ground on Gang’s biggest designed wilderness to date: Northerly Island. The plan, devised by Gang in collaboration with the landscape architecture firm SmithGroupJJR, fashions a public park out of Meigs Field, a former airport on a 91-acre man-made peninsula just off the southern tip of downtown Chicago. There will be beaches, woodlands, wetlands, and a prairie region. An archipelago of islands and reefs will be constructed to protect the peninsula from Lake Michigan’s waves. The arc will enclose a half-mile-long harbor perfect for fish as well as for divers and kayakers. (...)


The park’s completion will fuel an estimated $1.4 billion worth of nearby projected residential development by 2015. “If you follow the story of these major, signature urban parks and you look at the real estate benefits of the surrounding area—phenomenal,” says Mitchell.

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Will Biomimicry Offer a Way Forward, Post-Sandy?

As neighborhoods devastated by Hurricane Sandy begin drafting plans for reconstruction, some progressive architects and urban planners are arguing that the emerging science of biomimicry offers a way forward. The notion is that the next generation of waterfront designs could draw inspiration from the intricate ways that plants and animals have adapted to their situations over hundreds of millions of years.


Kapok trees, honeycombs and mangroves are just a few of the naturally occurring features or processes that have informed the designs of buildings from Haiti to South Korea to New York City in recent years.


“Nature is a dynamic entity, and we should be trying to design our buildings, our landscape and our cities to recognize that,” said Thomas Knittel, a biomimicry specialist at the prominent Seattle-based architecture firm HOK.


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Seattle builds nation’s largest food forest | SmartPlanet

Seattle builds nation’s largest food forest | SmartPlanet | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

In Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood, plans are in place to turn an empty seven acre lot that didn’t receive much attention (expect from the occasional lawn mower) into a “food forest” for everyone to use. And when it’s complete, the Beacon Food Forest will be the largest public food forest in the United States, according to the Seattle news website Crosscut. It will look something like this:

[A]n entire acre will feature large chestnuts and walnuts in the overstory, full-sized fruit trees like big apples and mulberries in the understory, and berry shrubs, climbing vines, herbaceous plants, and vegetables closer to the ground.

Further down the path an edible arboretum full of exotic looking persimmons, mulberries, Asian pears, and Chinese haws will surround a sheltered classroom for community workshops. Looking over the whole seven acres, you’ll see playgrounds and kid space full of thornless mini edibles adjacent to community gardening plots, native plant areas, a big timber-frame gazebo and gathering space with people barbecuing, a recreational field, and food as far as you can see.

[...]

In a food forest, everything from the tree canopy to the roots is edible or useful in some way.

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HDNet - "Art From The Ashes: Detroit's Heidelberg Project"

The Heidelberg Project is a living outdoor art installation in the heart of urban Detroit. Artist Tyree Guyton created a massive art installation spanning two city blocks where deteriorating homes are reinvigorated with paint and repurposed materials. In the video above, you’ll see some of the somewhat wild colors (from pastels to brilliant primary colors), patterns (polkadots), and materials (stuffed animals).


Much like Jimmy Boggs’ mantra to “make a way out of no way,” Guyton says the philosophy of his 25-year project is “to take nothing, and to take that nothing and create something very beautiful, very whimsical to the point that it makes people think.”


onBeing.org

Susan Leem

02 Feb 2012


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Making Smarter Cities By Making Smarter Systems

Making Smarter Cities By Making Smarter Systems | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it
the L.A. schools are empowering its “citizens”--the thousands of students, teachers and staff--to act as living sensors to identify faulty or dangerous infrastructure, such as broken windows, doors or railings, and then sending these images or text messages from their smartphones."

"The people who reside in these buildings every day can better gauge the urgency, severity and degree of a problem and provide that intelligence when reporting."

"U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), responsible for federal government buildings, owns nearly 182 million square feet of office space nationwide and is expected to reduce energy consumption in federal buildings by 30% by 2015. This reduction will not only improve efficiency, but will also save up to $15 million in taxpayer dollars annually."

"By connecting the physical and digital worlds, these massive organizations that are part of our daily lives can deliver more efficient services to us all.

Dave Bartlett
13 Dec 2012
ddrrnt's insight:

Human Sensors : Unleashing smarter services


Mobile Sensing as simple form of Collective Intelligence


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Austerity vs. Public Transportation

Austerity vs. Public Transportation | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Barcelona’s Bicing bike sharing program is one of the world’s most successful and famous programs. Started in 2007, it uses a membership system that allows anyone with Barcelona residency, for a small yearly fee, to use the bright red and white bikes distributed throughout the city. This makes a huge difference to the population of one of the world’s most tourist-heavy cities, and offers its 150,000 local memberss an easy way to get around the city. But this month, the state of Catalonia has decided to dramatically hike fees for Bicing, more than doubling the cost for membership. When pressed on the issue, government representatives said that if people don’t like it, they should buy their own bike.


Austerity politics always come down hard on public transit, and these cuts come down hardest on forms of transportation (bike shares, walking, etc.) that have neither powerful lobbies nor massive industries. In the US, the Federal Government’s Surface Transportation Fund only gave a measly 2% of its budget to biking and walking services, despite the fact that more and more people in America are preferring these methods of transportation. Only 2%, that is, until this summer, when the new spending bill de-funded many of these already under-funded programs, leaving struggling states, forced to balance their budgets, to go their own with the most sustainable, practical and cheap public transit projects. Unsurprisingly, many of these programs are losing out.


hat can people do to fight for these public transit institutions? With Bicing, people are organizing a petition as well as a protest campaign to fight these cuts and try and save the program. But it has become clear we will need to see solutions that go beyond both government funding and private investment schemes.


Sharable

By Willie Osterweil

03 Dec 2012

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Do We Pay More To Live in Diverse Neighborhoods?

Do We Pay More To Live in Diverse Neighborhoods? | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Diverse neighborhoods had higher population growth and stronger property value growth last year – and they’re a bit pricier to begin with.


Americans are moving toward diverse neighborhoods. However, growth in those neighborhoods could affect their diversity: if prices in diverse neighborhoods rise, lower-income residents may get priced out over time. Because the two largest minority racial/ethnic groups – blacks and Hispanics – have lower incomes, on average, than whites, rising prices could reduce diversity in those markets. When the next Census rolls around in 2020, the list of most-diverse neighborhoods in the U.S. could look very different.

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Students’ Own Interests Will Drive the School Day of the Future

Students’ Own Interests Will Drive the School Day of the Future | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

The U.S. Department of Education has a clear vision of what the future school day should be.


There will continue to be traditional classrooms, teaching unified subject matter, but the vast majority of students will also participate in new kinds of classes where they are physically co-located with other students in a room, but the courses they are taking will be highly diverse from each other. (...)


Students will also partner with adult professionals in the sciences, commerce, academics and government to work on interesting and productive learning projects. I think we will see students making substantial, novel contributions to the public and commercial spheres through these activities, in the form of art, science, literature, journalism, software and beyond. (...)


I grew up in a Montessori school that my parents founded, and a lot of the techniques employed in that school focused on independent learning. The teachers there support students to move as quickly or slowly as they want, while ensuring that every student can develop a range of skills. This kind of individual support for students will be even more relevant and wide-spread in 2020.


January 24, 2011 | By Tina Barseghian

More on Education @ Arrival Cities



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