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Urban economy
All the latest news, views and analysis on urban economy
Curated by Peter Jasperse
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Microfinancing The Sustainable City

Microfinancing The Sustainable City | Urban economy | Scoop.it
Cities are experiencing rapid growth across the Global South. With this growth however, also comes economic disparity and environmental degradation. Can microfinance offer a solution to these growing concerns?

With mass urbanisation has also come significant concern with regard to economis disparity and environmental sustainability. 

From one perspective, rural to urban migration is thought to be helping to alleviate poverty by pushing more people into the middle class. Additionally, increased urban population density is seen to be ‘green’ because it lowers dependency on private vehicle use and increases resource efficiency. From another perspective however, mass urbanisation also causes a variety of problems across a range of geographic scales: socio-economic inequality, slums, sprawl, deforestation, air pollution, excessive waste and poor water management, to name a few. There is no ‘silver bullet’ for these problems...


Via Lauren Moss
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Kikocanas's curator insight, December 6, 2013 2:10 PM

Com a projecte per les grans ciutats pot funcionar però no mitiga les migracions massives. Faltaria una estratègia per revalorar el món rural potser.

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America's Best Performing Cities

America's Best Performing Cities | Urban economy | Scoop.it

Ideas, talent, skills, and density remain key contributors to the growth of America's metros.


Why do some cites and metros grow faster and better than others? It's a subject of considerable debate. Some say growth is a product of innovation and productivity  and others counter that growth is powered more by resources, home-building and extractive industries. Sometimes debates like these need a referee.

That's where a new report on America's "Best-Performing Cities" released this year by the Milken Institute comes in. The Institute's "Best-Performing Cities index" is a comprehensive and objective metric of metro economic performance and represents an outcomes-based accounting of short and long-term changes in economic output, high-tech industry, jobs, and wages.


Read the complete article for details on the rankings for large metros. Four of the top five metros are noted high-tech knowledge economy centers. San Jose tops the list, high-tech hot spots Austin takes second and Raleigh third, and Washington, D.C., comes in fifth place...


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Opportunity is Local (or: You Can’t Buy a New Economy)

Opportunity is Local (or: You Can’t Buy a New Economy) | Urban economy | Scoop.it

Truly great places are not built from scratch to attract people from elsewhere; the best places have evolved into dynamic, multi-use destinations over time: years, decades, centuries. These places are reflective of the communities that surround them, not the other way around. Placemaking is, ultimately, more about the identification and development of local talent, not the attraction of talent from afar.

 

Places aren’t about the 21st century economy. They are about the people who inhabit and develop them. They are the physical manifestations of the social networks upon which our global economy is built. Likewise, Place-making is not about making existing places palatable to a certain class of people. It is a process by which each community can develop place capital by bringing people together to figure out what competitive edge their community might have and improve local economic prospects in-place.


Via Lauren Moss
Peter Jasperse's insight:

"If your strategy for improving local economic prospects is to drink some other city’s milkshake, you won’t get very far. It’s economic cannibalization. To really grow an economy, opportunity has to be developed organically within each community, and that requires that people dig in and improve their neighborhoods, together, for the sake of doing so–not convincing Google to open a new office down the road."

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Pedro Barbosa's curator insight, February 6, 2013 4:20 AM

Trend: Opportunity is Local

 

Pedro Barbosa | www.pbarbosa.com | www.harvardtrends.com

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The Global Cities That Offer the Most Opportunity

The Global Cities That Offer the Most Opportunity | Urban economy | Scoop.it
A new report ranks the world's leading cities for economic, technological, and social opportunity.

New York tops the list of the world’s best "cities of opportunity," with London second and Toronto third, according to a report released this week by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Partnership for New York City.

The report gauges 27 of the world’s largest and most influential global cities on their ability to provide opportunity to their residents — both long-term residents and new immigrants. This is what I like most about the report: It seeks to gauge the ability of cities not just to grow and develop, but to provide opportunity broadly. It notes the adaptability and resilience of cities and highlights the connection between quality of life, or livability, and long-run economic growth and development.

The 27 cities covered by the report are global powerhouses, accounting for nearly eight percent of global economic output (measured as gross domestic product) while housing just 2.5 percent of its population. The report projects that these 27 cities will add 19 million more residents, 13.7 million more jobs, and $3.3 trillion more in economic output by 2025...


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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Cities

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Cities | Urban economy | Scoop.it
Stephen Covey's 7 steps to greatness translated to 7 habits for cities to be effective. Possibly the first self help blog for cities! The focus of this blog is sustainability, but I think it is applicable to general good governance of urban communities.
Would be nice to develop this framework into a benchmark set to review city governments.
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Can We Design Cities for Happiness?

Can We Design Cities for Happiness? | Urban economy | Scoop.it
Happiness itself is a commons to which everyone should have equal access.

That’s the view of Enrique Peñalosa, a politician who served as mayor of Bogotá, Colombia for three years, and now travels the world spreading a message about how to improve quality-of-life for everyone living in today’s cities.

Peñalosa’s ideas stand as a beacon of hope for cities of the developing world, which even with their poverty and immense problems will absorb much of the world’s population growth over the next half-century. Based on his experiences in Bogotá, Peñalosa believes it’s a mistake to give up on these cities as good places to live.


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Building a Greener City

Building a Greener City | Urban economy | Scoop.it
With urban populations expected to soar, cities will have to be rethought from the ground up. Here's a look at bike lanes, micro wind turbines, pneumatic garbage collection—and other ways to make urban areas more environmentally friendly.
The goal: compact living environments that require less resources and that get the most out of the land, water and energy they do use.
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Making Cities Better: The Scientific American Survey

Making Cities Better: The Scientific American Survey | Urban economy | Scoop.it

Scientific American asked opinion leaders from government, academia and the social network of our readers to answer a simple question:
What innovation (technological or otherwise) would make a city substantially more livable?

A selection of the most inspiring answers are printed in the September issue. Additional impressive replies, edited for brevity and clarity, also appear here.


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In the Climate Change Economy, It's About Efficiency, Not Just Growth

In the Climate Change Economy, It's About Efficiency, Not Just Growth | Urban economy | Scoop.it

North American cities are producing substantially less wealth per ton of greenhouse gas emissions than their European counterparts.


Research has shown that if you know a country's GDP, you can pretty accurately estimate its carbon emissions. There's "almost a mechanical relationship" between the two. And as a depressing corollary: Emissions rise much faster in good times than they fall during, say, a global recession.

Cities in some parts of the world are already doing a substantially better job at decoupling these two trends than others, wringing the most wealth out of the smallest carbon footprint. These are the cities that produce the greatest amount of GDP per ton of greenhouse gasses emitted.


The Carbon Disclosure Project, along with AECOM and the C40 Cities, have calculated this "economic efficiency" for dozens of global cities that participated in a questionnaire on how they are preparing for climate change...


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12 Fresh Ideas for Transforming the Places We Live With Open Data

12 Fresh Ideas for Transforming the Places We Live With Open Data | Urban economy | Scoop.it

A few of the 886 proposals from the Knight Foundation's latest open government news challenge.


This year, the Knight News Challenge has been soliciting project proposals to open and leverage government data anywhere at the national, state and local levels (in the U.S. and abroad). As of last week, 886 projects are vying for a share of the $5 million in funding, all in response to this question: "How can we make the places we live more awesome through data and technology?"


Amid all of the submissions are innovations we've already encountered at Atlantic Cities: a favorite guerrilla wayfinding campaign from Raleigh, North Carolina; Code for America's playful StreetMix web app; the San Francisco-based Urban Prototyping Festival; and a community-driven transportation planning project based on the kind of data analytics we wrote about here. But that's barely scratching the surface of all the proposals that Knight has corralled.

Visit the article link for a list of 12 ideas from the competition that are new and worth developing (with the applicants' description of their programs). On the 29th, Knight plans to announce a set of semifinalists, who will be invited to complete more detailed proposals. The final winners (there's no predetermined number of them) will then be announced in June...


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Lauren Moss's curator insight, April 1, 2013 4:06 PM

Innovative ideas on how to utilize open data and communication technology to enhance communities, engage citizens and empower local governments in a variety of ways...

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Cities: Drivers of Sustainable Human Development & Prosperity

Cities: Drivers of Sustainable Human Development & Prosperity | Urban economy | Scoop.it
As we plan for the future of our planet, it is imperative that we consider the effects of development on both the environment and human populations. A city is only truly sustainable if it uses natural resources efficiently while still fully meeting the needs of its inhabitants and a decent standard of living.

Recently, the UN Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT) launched its “State of the World’s Cities Report 2012/2013” which addresses the prosperity of cities. According to the report, the first step to achieving prosperity is to define the goal: What does prosperity mean in 2012? This is a difficult question to answer given the vast disparity of living conditions throughout the world. Additionally, it is imperative that the definition of prosperity today consider the needs of future generations. To this end, UN-Habitat developed a “City Prosperity Index,” which translates the five dimensions of prosperity identified by UN-Habitiat—productivity, infrastructure development, quality of life, equity and social inclusion, environmental sustainability—into measurable indicators (see page 15 of the report).


This definition of the prosperous city is consistent with the principles of a smart, sustainable and just city... further reading at the article link


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Cohousing: The Secret to Sustainable Urban Living?

Cohousing: The Secret to Sustainable Urban Living? | Urban economy | Scoop.it
Experiments in cooperative living offer a great model for building sustainable urban communities. But can they work for everyone?

Back in the good old days, people lived in neighborhoods where they had potlucks, kept an eye on each other’s kids, loaned out lawnmowers and cups of sugar. Each home was its family’s castle, but the instinct to participate in a caring community transcended the temptation to isolate in private houses.

Apparently we’ve strayed so far from that norm over the last half-century or so that it now takes a conscious effort to recreate it. That’s one way to view cohousing, a collaborative housing model imported to the United States from Denmark in the 1970s, in which “residents actively participate in the design and operation of their own neighborhoods.” In the approximately 125 cohousing communities in the U.S., residents share chores and responsibilities, come together for meals and other activities in a common house, and make decisions based on consensus. It’s a conscious way of living designed to encourage social interaction and investment in the greater good.

We’re starting to realize that our long-term future won’t be built around highways, automobiles, and detached houses with fertilized lawns. As more people seek out a different kind of community, cohousing, or projects like it, will grow in popularity...


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NYTimes: The Death of the Fringe Suburb

NYTimes: The Death of the Fringe Suburb | Urban economy | Scoop.it
As demand for housing in walkable neighborhoods rises, we should be investing in carless transit options.

 

An excellent article that ties the economic mortgage crisis with the urban geography of the United States.  This is a good piece to challenge students to think about how the organzation of cities matter. 

 

The cities and inner-ring suburbs that will be the foundation of the recovery require significant investment at a time of government retrenchment. Bus and light-rail systems, bike lanes and pedestrian improvements — what traffic engineers dismissively call “alternative transportation” — are vital. We have to stop throwing good money after bad. It is time to instead build what the market wants: mixed-income, walkable cities and suburbs that will support the knowledge economy, promote environmental sustainability and create jobs...


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Visualizing Sustainable Urbanization

Visualizing Sustainable Urbanization | Urban economy | Scoop.it

In a Sustainable City, the use of renewable resources is emphazised, resource consumption is minimized and resources are managed in a way that maximizes recovery and reuse.
New system solutions provide scope for synergies between sewage, waste and energy production and enable coordination with efficient land use, landscape planning and transport systems. This is illustrated by the eco-cycle model which is essential for a definitive shift from linear to circular resource flows.


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Q&A with Gary Hustwit: Designing Cities (film)

Q&A with Gary Hustwit: Designing Cities (film) | Urban economy | Scoop.it

Urbanized, a film exploring urban design in more than 40 cities, will premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival Friday, September 9, 2011. Urbanized is the final documentary in Gary Hustwit’s trilogy of design films.

In anticipation of the world premiere of Urbanized, we spoke with Gary Hustwit to learn more about the topics he will uncover in his upcoming film.


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