We consume their products every day but economists give them little attention, and perhaps not enough respect. Yet America’s agriculture sector is not only the country’s oldest economic pillar but still a vital one, accounting for some 3.75 million jobs — not only in the fields, but in factories, laboratories and distribution. That compares to about 4.3 million jobs in the tech sector (which we analyzed last month here). Net farm income totaled $108 billion in 2014, according to preliminary figures from the USDA, up 24% from 2004.
“Life is the art of encounter even though there might be so much discord in life,” said the Brazilian poet Vinicius de Moraes, commenting on what he took to be the essence of human relations. Building on this, we can say that public spaces are at the essence of urban life. It’s in public spaces that these encounters occur and produce what we can call “the art of city life”.
When talking about public spaces, we need to first understand the important role they play in our concept of the city. Public spaces are where movements, interactions and connections between individuals happen. It is there, in freely accessible spaces, free of barriers or prejudices of any kind, that everyday city activities should occur.
However, the perception of public spaces is often restricted to images of parks and squares. Although streets, for example, count as public spaces, and generally represent the largest share of public space in a city, they are often forgotten as communal places. In large urban centers, roads dedicated to cars occupy on average 70 percent of total public space, leaving people with less than 30 percent.
Flora Moon's insight:
In Houston, where cars have been king, a bayou system has been transformed into a system of linear parks through a public-private partnership. Opening ceremonies are June 20, 2015
Climate experts call on the private sector to join other leading companies in minding the carbon budget to ensure a safe and profitable future
PARIS (May 20, 2015)– The Science Based Targets initiative – a partnership between CDP, UN Global Compact, World Resources Institute and WWF – today launched a global campaign to recruit 100 companies by the end of 2015 to set greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets in line with climate science.
Two mayors from very different cities penned a joint op-ed in the New York Times highlighting the need for Congress to pass a long-term transportation bill and raise new revenues to increase the United States’ overall investment in transportation infrastructure. But their strong piece begs another question: Would raising the level of federal investment be enough to meet our pressing local needs without some major policy changes and reforms to the federal transportation program?
Warren Buffet once said, “Cash combined with courage in a time of crisis is priceless.” Will those with the “cash”—the institutional investors who own an estimated $70 trillion in capital—have the courage to respond?
A research team at UC San Diego has added hydrogel to its innovative nanosponge technique, first announced in 2013. The addition allows for the method to be used to tackle localized infections without the need for antibiotics.
Resilient Agriculture recognizes the critical role that sustainable agriculture will play in the coming decades and beyond. The latest science on climate risk, resilience and climate change adaptation is blended with the personal experience of farmers
Food waste is a global problem, with the United Nations estimating that a third of the food produced worldwide winds up spoiled, rotting in fields, or being thrown away. That amounts to 1.3 billion tons of food wasted annually, a profligacy that carries major environmental, economic, and human costs.
In the second of a two-part series, “Wasted,” we present an e360 video that looks at how South Korea is taking extraordinary steps to deal with its food waste. The video, by filmmaker Karim Chrobog, focuses on Seoul, the sprawling South Korean capital of more than 10 million people, which has ramped up efforts to slash the amount of food being thrown away.
As the video shows, Seoul has introduced innovative, high-tech programs that require residents to deposit their food waste in bins, where the amount of food they toss out is weighed by household using a key-card system. Dispose of too much food and you are charged a fee by municipal officials.
From apartment buildings to giant hotel kitchens, leftover food in Seoul is picked up and taken to sorting facilities, where it is crushed and dried for animal feed or fertilizer, or burned to generate electricity. Trial districts in Seoul have succeeded in reducing household food waste by 30 percent and restaurant food waste by 40 percent. Such programs are now underway in 90 localities nationwide. The goal is not only to drastically curtail food waste, but also to process or incinerate all of South Korea’s remaining leftover food, thus keeping it out of landfills where it would decay and emit methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
Underlying these measures is a frugal society that has been transformed in the past few decades from a hardscrabble nation to a prosperous one. As Seoul residents explain in the video, the kind of waste often found in the United States is alien to many Koreans. That’s why Seoul’s residents have embraced measures that most Americans would find highly intrusive, but that Koreans see as a way of furthering the common good.
Many large Chinese cities have developed around transport corridors. Hangzhou and Suzhou, for example, grew wealthy from their position on the Grand Canal, which connected northern and southern China. Today, the country’s high-speed rail (HSR) system is proving to be an equally powerful catalyst for urban development.
China’s HSR system presents an opportunity for transit-oriented development (TOD) around new stations. However, due to a variety of factors, development around stations has often failed to occur in a controlled or compact manner. A more coordinated strategy for TOD around HSR stations could help Chinese cities develop in more compact and sustainable ways.
The international community has a rare opportunity in 2015 to confront two linked global challenges: extreme poverty and climate change. Success will depend on whether or not we can develop a new model for global cooperation.
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