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Texas’ Perry rejects Medicaid expansion. What now?

Texas’ Perry rejects Medicaid expansion. What now? | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

"What!??" - via @toughLoveforx


Gov. Rick Perry’s declaration Monday that Texas should decline to expand Medicaid and leave creation of a health insurance exchange to the federal government could create burdens for the uninsured, local taxpayers and federal officials seeking to implement the federal health law.


The provision that Perry wants the state to reject would add to the state’s Medicaid rolls more than 1.5 million poor, childless adults who are currently ineligible, plus as many as 300,000 pregnant women, children and extremely poor parents who already qualify but aren’t enrolled.


The coverage would begin in 2014. In the first five years, the state’s costs for the expansion would be $5.8 billion, and Texas would receive $76.3 billion in federal matching funds. Despite that prospective gain, Perry said it would be unwise to enlarge “a broken system that is already financially unsustainable.”


Texas state Rep. Garnet Coleman, a Houston Democrat who is a leading health policy writer, said Perry “chose the policy that’s best for him politically” but ignored the plight of poor adults, many suffering from diabetes, cancer and mental illness.


“The governor said it’s better to follow his ideology and throw those folks under the bus than to provide health coverage that the state of Texas would pay zero for, at least for the first three years,” Coleman said.

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Creative City: Four Projects Bringing Arts and Culture to Dubai

Creative City: Four Projects Bringing Arts and Culture to Dubai | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

A cultural and creative resurgence in cities is needed to spark economic recovery and urban renewal. Dubai Media City is a freezone "designed to allow foreign companies to set up base without the need for a local Emirati partner in ownership."


Dubai’s emerging ‘grassroots’ creative and artistic scene is thought to be critical to forming a balance between corporate and community creativity.  Here are four projects that are having an effect:


1. The Pavilion Downtown Dubai - This area is said to be "tailored for micro-business ventures", offering free Wi-Fi coffee bars and communal workspaces, or more specifically "incubator spaces" which are "flexible, cheap workspaces for start-ups, artists, freelancer and young entrepreneurs."


2. #SoleOfTheCity - This initiative involved people taking photos of ‘their Dubai’ and tagging the images for social media, resulting in an exhibition at the Jam Jar gallery in June 2012. Small-scale creative initiatives like this are said to be "critical in fostering a ‘buzz’ within a city".


3. Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre - This rather "unassuming" center is lies underneath the the largest indoor ski slope on the planet and offers a "hive of activity, with large numbers of children and students filling the numerous art rooms." It is marketed as an “entertainment and educational centre”.


4. Al Serkal Avenue - Old industrial buildings are being turned into "Dubai’s bohemian quarter". A collection of galleries and communal coffee house is an attempt to "mix the innovate milieu of a production cluster, with the buzz of a consumption hot-spot."

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Greek farmers rent patches of land to citydwellers in scheme to combat crisis

Greek farmers rent patches of land to citydwellers in scheme to combat crisis | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it
The 'become a farmer' scheme offers guaranteed sales to farmers, and fresh food at cheap prices to those who invest...

 

"It's about disrupting the market, creating a direct connection between the consumer and the producer," says Koutsolioutsos. "You have a real farmer, a real man, and a real, physical piece of land that you can – indeed you must, we insist on it – go and visit. It's an alternative way of organising food production and distribution."


Via Sepp Hasslberger, Matt T Richards
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How slums can save the planet

How slums can save the planet | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

The article starts with the story of architect Peter Calthorpe, one of the founders of the new urbanism: "In 1985 he introduced the concept of walkability in “Redefining Cities,” an article in the Whole Earth Review, an American counterculture magazine that focused on technology, community building and the environment."


A fact from the UN: one billion people live in cities and this number will double in the next 25 years.


A 2003 UN-Habitat report titled The Challenge of Slums, covers 37 case studies involving slums worldwide. The researchers talked with people in the slums and observed:


“Cities are so much more successful in promoting new forms of income generation, and it is so much cheaper to provide services in urban areas, that some experts have actually suggested that the only realistic poverty reduction strategy is to get as many people as possible to move to the city.”


The "magic of squatter cities" is seen in how their inhabitants steadily improve conditions. People get around by foot and bicycle.  Recycling is "a way of life" and in cities in Asia and Latin America entire industries based on gathering up old cardboard boxes have emerged. The article further explores how slums help form "unexpectedly green" cities. Definitely worth a full read if you're into this idea.

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Vertical Farming: Can Urban Agriculture Feed a Hungry World?

Vertical Farming: Can Urban Agriculture Feed a Hungry World? | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

Agricultural researchers believe that building indoor farms in the middle of cities could help solve the world's hunger problem. Experts say that vertical farming could feed up to 10 billion people and make agriculture independent of the weather and the need for land. There's only one snag: The urban farms need huge amounts of energy.

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Sustainability Sprouts Through Slum on Brazilian Hillside

Sustainability Sprouts Through Slum on Brazilian Hillside | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

This article describes the transformation of Rio de Janeiro's slums, known as favelas.  About 22 percent of the city's residents, or 1.4 million people, live in favelas. The city’s “Morar Carioca” program intends to bring them basic services such as paved roads, electricity and covered sewers.  Using sustainable materials and construction methods, the goal is to “urbanize” every favela in Rio, totaling 280,000 households, bringing roads, sewers and power by 2020.

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Youth Say Race Still Matters—So What Are They Doing About It? - COLORLINES

Youth Say Race Still Matters—So What Are They Doing About It? - COLORLINES | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

Earlier this month, our publisher released a report, “Don’t Call Them Post-Racial,” which surveyed attitudes about race in key systems in U.S. society among young adults 18-25. Dom Apollon’s research team conducted focus groups with dozens of young people in the Los Angeles area, and learned that their thoughts on race are far more nuanced than most polling and commentary has suggested. Theirs is the most diverse generation in U.S. history, but that doesn’t make them post-race. Rather, the young people in the focus groups made clear that they believed race still matters today.

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Eating, planting vegetables secret to long life, says DOH

Eating, planting vegetables secret to long life, says DOH | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

Want to live longer? Plant vegetables.


To mark Nutrition Month this July, the Department of Health is urging all Filipino households and communities to plant vegetable gardens in their backyards and other open spaces not only to curb malnutrition among children but to stop the high incidence of noncommunicable diseases in the country.


The DOH cited food consumption surveys by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) that showed Filipinos were eating only two servings of vegetables, or about 110 grams, a day from the 145-gram daily intake recorded in 1978.


It also highlighted FNRI data that showed only 67.7 percent of Filipino households had vegetable gardens or fruit trees in their backyards.


“The data is alarming considering that low fruit and vegetable intake is among the top 10 risk factors for global mortality based on a World Health Organization report,” said the DOH.

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'Huge' water resource in Africa

'Huge' water resource in Africa | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

Scientists say the notoriously dry continent of Africa is sitting on a vast reservoir of groundwater.


They argue that the total volume of water in aquifers underground is 100 times the amount found on the surface.


The team have produced the most detailed map yet of the scale and potential of this hidden resource.


Writing in the journal Environmental Research Letters, they stress that large scale drilling might not be the best way of increasing water supplies.


Across Africa more than 300 million people are said not to have access to safe drinking water.


Demand for water is set to grow markedly in coming decades due to population growth and the need for irrigation to grow crops.

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Africa is Happily Happening NOW! | Imagine Rural Development Initiative

Africa is Happily Happening NOW! | Imagine Rural Development Initiative | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

@imaginezambia happily reports, "We are entering the next chapter for development in Africa". The Imagine Rural Development Initiative (IRDI) is expanding operations and bringing a much needed market to the communities of Malawi that have planted Moringa.


IRDI and 3BL Innovations Ltd are slowly training and working with these communities to get them to qualify for ISO certification later this year so that they will have a product and system in place that will stand up to international standards and scrutiny.


The training is a continuation of what began with The Lusaka Woman Group, whose input and performance has earned them a 20% stake in 3BL Innovations Ltd, making it one of the most inclusive partnerships in Zambia. Through the partnership, the women are developing their economic potential, both for the farming sector and the international business world.


IRDI and 3BL Innovations Ltd are confident that their model for grassroots empowerment works by furthering job creation and ensuring transparency "right through the chain" from the NGO perspective to the commercial and global marketing and distribution perspective.

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MSU plans urban agriculture research campus in Detroit

DETROIT — The City of Detroit and Michigan State University have agreed in principle to pursue a major urban agriculture research campus within the city that might include a large working farm and innovative research and techniques, such as transforming empty buildings into multi-tiered farms.


The campus is envisioned as the central hub of a future collection of world-wide facilities focused on urban agriculture research.


The agreement envisions using Detroit’s “current vacant land, brown fields, and deteriorating physical structures as the basis for future growth and development.”

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Fifteen governors reject or leaning against expanded Medicaid program

@toughLoveforx asks, "What?!"


Seven states with Republican governors have given a flat “no” to the Medicaid expansion since the Supreme Court ruling, according to reports and press statements (see list at here).


Past estimates have found that, as designed, the law’s expansion would have provided healthcare access to an additional 17 million low-income Americans.


Alan Weil with the National Academy for State Health Policy said states that do not comply could raise the ire of some in Congress.


“If states turn down that offer, it leaves a lot of people uninsured. If we end up in that place, a lot of people in Congress are going to say that is a problem,” he said.



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Immigrants rejuvenate the United States

Immigrants rejuvenate the United States | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

This chart (pdf) from BBVA, shows the ratio of 65-and-up-year-olds to 15-64-year-olds was shared by BusinessInsider.


Cam Hui from SeekingAlpha explains the research shows that "without the influx of Mexican immigrants, the demographic of the U.S. would be much, much older."

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Real Food??

Real Food?? | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

I’m going to say something shocking. Prepare yourself.


About 70% of the “food” available for purchase at your local supermarket isn’t food.


Confused?


Via ABroaderView
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Dismantling White Privilege Documentary Shakti Butler,

A documentary on racism and white privilege featuring interviews with filmmaker and educator Shakti Butler, as well as students, faculty and staff of DePaul University.

Via Thabo Mophiring
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Ethics in Agriculture

Ethics in Agriculture | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

"Seeds of Freedom is a film that charts the story of seed from its roots at the heart of traditional, diversity rich farming systems across the world, used to monopolise the global food system. Depics how the industrial agricultural system, and genetically modified (GM) seeds impacted the agro & biodiversity evolved by farmers and communities.

 

Seeds of Freedom seeks to challenge the mantra that large-scale, industrial agriculture is the only means by which we can feed the world."

 


Via Cindy Tam
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Unconventional university takes shape in San Mateo

Unconventional university takes shape in San Mateo | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

SAN MATEO -- At Draper University of Heroes, venture capitalist Tim Draper is transforming a dilapidated Third Avenue landmark into what he hopes will be a world-class boarding school for young entrepreneurs.  


Draper said he's pleased with the program, which the early investor in Hotmail and Skype has personally overseen. Regarding the comic-book vibe of the school's name, he said it reflects his belief that "the world needs more heroes." The morning recitation expresses a value system of fairness, hard work and enthusiasm.

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Smart Growth: Fighting sprawl with walkable communities

Smart Growth: Fighting sprawl with walkable communities | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

Governments are embracing "smart growth" planning principles to create jobs and more environmentally sustainable communities.


The Atlantic shares how walkable neighborhoods with easy access to local shops and mass transit can reduce the transportation and housing costs of the average household budget, as well as reduce the effects of pollution. Smart growth also has the potential to boost an area's economy by increasing foot traffic at local shops.


"The Environmental Protection Agency predicts that smart growth developments will likely increase over the next 30 years as household demographics and housing preferences change and the U.S. population grows."

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The space becomes a Place – a public square.

The space becomes a Place – a public square. | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

Intersection Repair is the citizen-led conversion of an urban street interesection into public square.Streets are usually the only public space we have in our neighborhoods. But most all of them have been designed with a single purpose in mind: moving cars around.  


With an Intersection Repair, that public space is reclaimed for the whole community. The intersection of pathways becomes a place for people to come together. The space becomes a Place – a public square.

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Two Farmers Seek to Create Educational Farm in Philadelphia, PA by Cultivating an Urban Rooftop

Two Farmers Seek to Create Educational Farm in Philadelphia, PA by Cultivating an Urban Rooftop | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it
Cloud 9 Rooftop Farm founders Clare Hyre and Rania Campbell-Cobb are working to transform what is now an expanse of grey roof in Northwestern Philadelphia into a full-scale educational farm.
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Rooftop Gardening Part 1: So You Wanna’ Be an Urban Gardener?

Rooftop Gardening Part 1: So You Wanna’ Be an Urban Gardener? | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it
What do you get when you take a scrappy bunch of conservationists and stick them on the 19th floor of a high-rise building in Midtown Manhattan? You get a real-life experiment in urban conservation!


Read the interview with Desiree Herrera, LEAF Program Coordinator, and rooftop-garden trailblazer.

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Cheap, Sustainable Water Filter Made from Seeds and Sand

Cheap, Sustainable Water Filter Made from Seeds and Sand | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

A few research groups are looking into how to use the seeds from the Moringa tree to clean drinking water. One group, from Pennsylvania State University, is developing a special, antibacterial Moringa sand that it hopes people could easily make at home and use to filter their own water.


"The idea is that as long as people have [ordinary] sand and Moringa seeds, they can clean water," said Stephanie Velegol, a chemical engineer who is leading the Penn State research. Moringa trees are common in many water-stressed regions of Asia, Africa and South America, and one mature tree can produce as many as 15,000 seeds. 


Moringa seeds might generally prove more appealing than chlorine, which many governments now distribute to people who drink untreated water from wells, rivers and ponds.

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Turtles ● Seeds ● Hands Learning

Turtles ● Seeds ● Hands Learning | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

Following the moment leads to so much learning. Having no plan is sometimes the best plan. After all, learning is available everywhere. The turtle was rescued, found with a broken shell, adopted by the ever-caring hands of a young child. It has been shared, housed, fed, and clearly loved.  


Turtle research followed, along with a Spanish lesson focusing on a turtle. Whatever scheduled lesson comes with you in the morning, it is best to slide it in the back pocket when learning shows up in the faces of your children. Leaning is natural, school is not. We must be intuitive enough to know the difference.

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Every Child – YES EVERY – Child Will Read!

Every Child – YES EVERY – Child Will Read! | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

May 13th, 2012 - @Counterpane reports having a great experience showing teachers how to implement Souns in the Head Start program in San Juan Municipality.


"The children of Puerto Rico will read. Beautiful people, eager children, the tremendous support of Rotary Districts 7000, 6990, and The Rotary Foundation are making this work happen.  Literacy is the key to peace in the world. A child who cannot read will be a victim for life. Children from economically challenged environments have the same inherent abilities as children from economically advantaged environments. We can make a difference for all children with Souns, leveling the playing field, and building a better world for all."

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40 Percent of Fortune 500 Companies Founded by Immigrants or Their Children

We know about immigrant founders at large technology companies, such as Intel, Google and eBay. Less well known is how many immigrants and children of immigrants have founded other successful American companies.


A new report from the Partnership for a New American Economy found more than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children. Eighteen percent (or 90) of the 500 companies had immigrant founders. The children of immigrants started another 114 companies. (A copy of the report can be found here.)

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