I recently watched another inspiring TED talk given by Eduardo Paes, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘community development’
by Joel Burgess
Recently, while dining during an out-of-town business trip, I asked the waitress if she were to spend one evening in that particular city what would she recommend I do with my wife and daughter.
Something to the effect that there is nothing to do here, this place has no culture.
Can it be true, a place without culture? If so, how can this be?
About 10 years I too may have had a similar answer in the town where I raised. But, we both were WRONG. Every place that has people has culture, some places just happen have more cultural activities that revolve around what has been defined as the fine arts, humanities, and aspects of the sciences than other places and are considered more cultured.
For me, it took leaving the area in which I was raised for 7 years and then coming back to realize how much culture that did/does exist that was never part of my conscience and the cultural activities I never took advantage of.
In short, my point is four-part:
1.) No place that has people is absent of culture (even if considered bad culture or un-cultural)
2.) You are a spokesperson for your community – be mindful of how you present it.
3.) Embrace and seek out the culture and cultural activities of your community
4.) Explore the cultures of others
A website that attempts to determine your ideal living environment is http://bestplaces.net/fybp/quiz.aspx
If nothing else it makes one think about what you look for in an ideal living location.
by Tammy Hart
In a sense the Internet is the largest public library in the world – so what would attract people to the local library? Are you getting your tax money’s worth for the services and resources your library has to offer? Value-added services are all the rage right now, but what has the librarian done to help you lately? What would motivate the library staff to go above and beyond or to even care whether anyone actually utilizes the facility?
Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr. suggests that public libraries be sold to the highest bidder and be turned into privately owned entities. This got me thinking about what a privately owned library could potentially be in my perfect world. Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. is president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama. He also edits a daily news site, LewRockwell.com
If I was really thinking out of the box with an unlimited amount of money and time to re-design my own library, I would include more staff than just the librarian. I would hire a very diverse group of people with all different educational degrees and employment backgrounds such as teachers, accountants, grant writers, journalists, editors, and managers, to name a few.
I would extend the hours of operation to accommodate schedules of working people. I would include a coffee shop with plush furniture and round tables for networking. I would stay on top of the technology game–not only providing internet services, but adding several access options, including wireless, cable, dial up, and satellite. I would make it possible for patrons to use these services by signing in under their own accounts.
The federal government hires privately owned, one-stop career centers that are designed to be the initial point for delivery for all workforce investment programs. I would include this in my library, or check into the possibility of supporting some of their programs. I would offer career assessment programs, or I might speak with the local college to see if we could both benefit from a shared career counselor, who could also recruit new students.
I would have private rooms for hosting seminars. I would bring in temporary employment agencies to promote local job openings. I would offer tests to inventory work skills and use that information to promote my community’s skill sets to companies that might be persuaded to move to my community.
I would have products for sale, including floppy disks, CD’s, DVD ‘s, laptop and PC hardware, briefcases, planners, lined paper, spiral notebooks, resume paper, and writing utensils, and many other items that could be found at an office supply outlet.
To summarize I’m talking about a library, book store, coffee shop, conference center, career assessment center, training center, recruitment center, office supply center, a place for networking, and a place where people can go to relax…all rolled into one entity. The idea of having one centralized location for all of these services may not be practical, but its food for thought and I truly believe that we need to put more thought into making practical use of the public libraries in our communities.
by Joel Burgess
London-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), as part of the Worldwide Cost of Living Survey, recently released a Livability Ranking assessing the living conditions in 127 cities from around the world. Cities were ranked in nearly 40 individual indicators grouped into five categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.
Each indicator is given a rating between one and five; one meaning no impact and five meaning extremely challenging. These scores are then weighted to produce an index where 0% means the city is exceptional and 100% means it is intolerable. At 20% problems begin to present themselves and at 50% severe restrictions on lifestyle exist.
So where is the best place to live?
Hint 1: The survey quotes “[that] the overwhelming majority of cities in the top livability range are based in Western Europe and North America.”
Hint 2: In particular, cities in Australia, Austria, Canada, and Switzerland are the most ideal destinations thanks to a widespread availability of goods and services, low personal risk and an effective infrastructure.
Hint 3: Think Molson and maple leaves.
That’s right, our brother to the north is quoted the most livable destination in the world, citing low crime, little threat from instability or terrorism, and a highly developed infrastructure.
So which city in Canada scored the highest?
10. Calgary, Canada
9. Toronto, Canada
8. Zurich, Switzerland
7. Sydney, Australia
6. Adelaide, Australia
5. Perth, Australia
4. Geneva, Switzerland
3. Vienna, Austria
2. Melbourne, Australia
1. Vancouver, Canada (1%)
10. Tehran, Iran
9. Douala, Cameroon
8. Harare, Zimbabwe
7. Abidjan, Ivory Coast
6. Phnom Penh, Cambodia
5. Lagos, Nigeria
4. Karachi, Pakistan
3. Dhaka, Bangladesh
2. Algiers, Algeria
1. Port Moresby, Papa New Guinea (66%)
So what about cities in the red, white and blue?
USA cities are still among the world’s most livable; however, our crime rates and a greater threat of terror put our cities lower in the ranking. Cleveland and Pittsburgh had the highest scores (7%).
For the complete report, visit www.eiu.com and click on Press Releases in the left column.
Stay tuned for next month’s article to find out how Whittaker Associate’s new weighted index, Predictive Model, can help you identify and rank your ideal prospects.
by Joel Burgess
In 1994, the Washtenaw Land Trust ( WLT ) conducted a Cost of Community Services Study in Scio Township of Washtenaw Township (near Ann Arbor ), MI. WLT ‘s mission is to protect farmland, natural areas and open space. Washtenaw County was (and is) experiencing an increased demand for residential development. The study raised a couple of important questions: Does development pay for itself? Does developed land contribute enough in taxes to cover the cost of providing services?
These questions were re-raised last month by Barry Lonik, a consultant for the original study (of Treemore Ecology & Land Services Company ) , at a conference in Grand Rapids, MI. Grand Rapids and much of the rest of West Michigan has also seen an increased demand for residential development.
According to the study, proponents of residential development argue that having more houses and subdivisions leads to higher assessed land values and therefore more revenues for local governments. However, the findings show that residential development did not provide enough tax revenue compared to the services it required. In fact, for every one dollar received in tax revenue, the local government was shelling out $1.40. This was primarily due to the high cost of education.
By comparison, expenditures for agricultural land and commercial/industrial development were $0.62 & $0.26, respectively. Therefore, by virtue, agricultural lands and commercial/industrial facilities were subsidizing residential development.
Source: Washtenaw Land Trust
Even though the study is dated, it once again confirms the importance of the manufacturing or industrial sector. As the pressures for housing continue to rise in many communities, an efficient, mixed industrial development (and to a lesser extent, commercial development) is critical to community sustainability.
In economic development terms, with the presence of downsizing and outsourcing in the manufacturing sector, economic development engines are more instrumental than ever, serving as the strategic drivers for job creation, target marketing, and financial performance to maintain sustainability. Local governments increasingly rely on ED engines to help shape and create development policies that will ultimately make or break a local economy.
Washtenaw Land Trust, www.washtenawlandtrust.org
Barry Lonik, Treemore Ecology & Land Services