looking for a tongue and cheek way of learning about the impact of redlining (who isn’t, am I right?). Adam Ruins everything a truTV show takes on the suburbs. Give it a view!
Elle UK used photoshop to make a profound point- Where are the Women?
They used pictures of leadership, arts and business and took out all the men. It becomes clear that far too often women are either not represented or represented by one sole woman- despite being over half of the world’s population!
Which always makes me wonder? What would the world be like with more women making the decisions?
Their film, by Alex Holder and Alyssa Boni is pointed. But maybe skip the comments, you know how the internet can get…
Amazon is looking to grow, and they are putting a call out for bids for a new home to grow in. I think we’re about to see a massive push from cities all over for this new headquarters which will create 50,000 new jobs, and be an economic anchor institution in its new home. I also think we’ll see lots of opinions for and against bringing Amazon into new cities over the next few weeks as well. Massive influx of investment and growth of any kind, when done incorrectly, leads to massive influx or exacerbation of inequality. And the discussion of how to invite Amazon, and should cities invite Amazon are worth having. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see how cities woo Amazon, without hurting their current residents and businesses.
CityLab makes an interesting point about bringing Amazon to the heartland (and we support that idea for a whole host of reasons). But regardless of where Amazon sets up shop, we want to throw a suggestion out for how.
Amazon, fill a vacant mall or two! America has malls, (emptied with some help from Amazon…). These large spaces used to serve as anchors for communities growth, but as they dry up and stay vacant, many are serving as anchors dragging down their surroundings. But many would be perfect for your new headquarters campus. just to name a few of the reasons Amazon should consider filling empty American malls for a campus:
- They are usually located near great transportation, given that the heyday of malls coincides with the heyday of sprawl
- They are affordable for acquisition because there are few other uses for the space outside of large office buildings and some other fabulously innovative ideas.
- Cities don’t have to give away the public coffers to help you reactivate/renovate currently vacant spaces.
- Malls come with ample parking so consider that fight about traffic/parking- over
- Reactivating a mall for a headquarters would be so innovative it would give Amazon some wonderful PR. (and set a replicable standard for other large employers wishing to build campuses)
Currently on our bookshelves and highly recommended:
- An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power- Al Gore
- The Color of Law: A forgotten history of how our government segregated America- Richard Rothstein
- Race, Class and Politics in the Cappuccino City- Derek S. HyraDerek S. HyraDerek S. Hyra
What are you reading these days?
You might have heard recently, congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT-3) suggested in an interview with The Hill, that Congressmen should receive a housing stipend of $2,500 per month (or $30,000 per year). He reasoned, that “D.C. is one of the most expensive places in the world, and I flat-out cannot afford am mortgage in Utah, kids in college and second place in the here in D.C.”
For many of DC natives, this comment sounded quite tone-deaf, as residents making far less than US Congressmen, with far less power than US Congressmen are barely holding on to their housing as it is. Not to mention, U.S. Congressmen, like Chaffetz have refused to give Washington, D.C. full power in the U.S. Congress, despite Congress having full control over D.C.’s budget. Members of Congress earn a $174,000 annual salary, which is nearly twice as much as the DC Metro’s median household income.
The recognition of the skyrocketing housing costs, without any recognition of the impact on DC residents felt like an extra striking blow. Enterprise pointed out that:
“Now that these Members of Congress understand that the rental housing market has changed significantly since they were first starting out on their own, they should take a hard look at the housing needs of their constituents. Members of Congress who truly understand and care about housing affordability in this country must reject the president’s budget proposals and instead provide robust funding for housing and community development programs.”
Read more from Enterprise, about actions we can take to help preserve affordable housing for average D.C. residents.
New data released by the Yale Program on Climate Communication and summarized by Nadia Popovich, John Schwartz and Tatiana Schlossberg in the New York Times gives a detailed view of public opinion on global warming.
Spoiler alert: Americans believe in global warming, but aren’t convinced that it’s their responsibility to worry about.
To us the most interesting point though is how much support American voters have for renewable energy, and renewable energy research. Eighty two percent of Americans are in favor of funding renewable energy research, 82%!!!! and yet our elected officials are slashing budgets and cutting departments. It begs the question, Why?
The Atlantic published an article about the history of segregation in our cities titled Segregation Had to be Invented.
It is especially interesting to us for two reasons:
- Powerful people have retained their power by conning white folks into being hateful towards people of color since the dawn of America.
- Sometimes it’s nice to remember that segregation was man made- because that means it can also be man-unmade. (right?)
Currently on our shelves and highly recommended:
- We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation- Jeff Chang
- I Speak for Myself: American Women on Being Muslim- edited by Maria Ebrahimji
- Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond- Marc Lamont Hill
What are you reading?
Next City has put together their 7 recommended podcasts Urbanists should be listening to now. But we’ve expanded beyond urbanism and added a couple of extras that we think are worth checking out.
Next City has a nice little description of each of their selections in their article here. But here is a run down of the titles:
- The Uncertain Hour
- 99 Percent Invisible
- The Urbanist and Tall Stories
- Planet Money
- Third Wave Urbanism
- Candidate Confessional
And our additions:
- Direct Current: a podcast about energy and renewable energy out of the Department of Energy
- Past is Present : Historians put current events into the context of our history. because you know the old saying, those who ignore their past are doomed to repeat it
- Pod Save America: fair warning- this podcast is completely left leaning and biased towards progressive policies. But it is also fascinating (and sometimes validating), to hear current events discussed from the insider perspective of former White House staffers.
- Ellevate Network: Real women having real impact discuss their experiences, lessons learned and best practices. Serving as a virtual mentorship for women in the workforce.
- Bonfires of Social Enterprise: Basically exactly what it sounds like. Social Enterprise discussed and explored from every angle.
We are fans of evidence based solutions, and thus research and analysis is an important factor of how we determine what policy solutions to support, and what neighborhood projects to invest our time, resources and funding.
A new study has been released titled, A Prospective Analysis of the Costs, Benefits and Impacts of U.S. Renewable Portfolio Standards. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory analyzed state renewable energy portfolios to assess costs and benefits into the future. The study analyzed two scenarios, 1) if RPS’s remain unchanged from current status, and 2) if RPS expand in every state and have higher targets.
The findings are dramatic. The reduction of pollutants, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption in both scenarios are incredible. The savings in health and environmental benefits are promising and all of these outweigh the costs accrued through the RPS standards. Turns out, investing in solar is a good use of public dollars.
As this MidwestEnergyNews.com article headline states: Benefits of state renewable energy policies far outweigh costs.