Whenever we think of textile workers nowadays, we tend to think about cheap labor—particularly women sewing in overcrowded factories. In fact, the textile industry nurtures the narrative of how maquiladoras in the south have robbed manufacturing jobs from countries like the U.S., or how China has inundated the global market with cheap goods. But instead of such clichés, there is a lot more complexity and variety of experiences accompanying the geographical movement of textile production.
One of my first articles as a blogger was to celebrate the replacement of fallen trees in our neighborhood. We humans instinctively resonate to nature, and street trees and other kinds of city forests add all sorts of emotional and...
In a major departure from the IMF’s traditional focus on narrowly defined economic problems, IMF managing director Christine Lagarde warned today that the world faces “a triple crisis—an economic crisis, an environmental crisis and, increasing, a ...
For 10+ years, I've made the point that DC's competitive advantage is based on five factors (I used to say four factors but came to understand that I needed to separate out urban design distinct from architecture, basically place and spatial/cultural landscape is covered by urban design and the buildings by architecture). One factor we have little control over. Three of the other four are preservation/architecture/history related.
1. Historic architecture
2. Pedestrian centric urban design (which is also transit friendly)
3. History, identity, and authenticity (the city is a real and distinct place)
4. A rich transit infrastructure (currently somewhat in peril) that enables efficient travel without having to rely on the automobile
5. The relatively stable employment engine of the federal government
Elinor Ostrom, the only woman ever to win an economics Nobel, died today at age 78.She was famous for challenging an idea known as the tragedy of the commons — the theory that, in the absence of government intervention, people will inevitably overuse a shared resource.
So, for example, if a village shares a pasture, it's in the individual interest of each farmer to graze his cattle as much as possible on the pasture even though, in the long run, overgrazing may ruin the pasture for everyone.
"It's a problem, it's just not necessarily a tragedy," Ostrom told us when we spoke to her in 2009. "The problem is that people can overuse [a shared resource], it can be destroyed, and it is a big challenge to figure out how to avoid that."
But, she said, economists were "wrong to indicate that people were helplessly trapped and the only way out was some external government coming in or dividing it up into chunks and everyone owning their own."
In fact, Ostrom found, there were lots of real-world examples where the theory didn't hold up — places where local people got together and figured out how to manage shared resources without destroying them.
We are living in a broken food system, and there is one important ingredient for fixing it: proactive problem solving, meaning progressive, not set in stone, with an openness to multiple possibilities.
I've mentioned some of the various living walls available for home interiors -- Fyto Wall, Woolly Pockets, Minigarden, Ballavaz, Urbio, etc -- and most of these require a modicum of wall structure and planning for light and water. Along these...
An innovative and impressive partnership of philanthropic, financial, and government institutions announced today the awarding of $15.4 million in grants to support cultural initiatives to revitalize and strengthen neighborhoods, towns and cities...
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