Policy

Let’s Make Kalamazoo’s Promise America’s Promise

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In 2005, in order to boost their city’s economy, a small group of donors in the city Glenn Miller made famous created the Kalamazoo Promise. It  offered any graduate of the city’s public schools a four-year scholarship covering all tuition and mandatory fees at any of Michigan’s public colleges or universities, provided those students maintained a 2.0 grade average in college and made regular progress toward a degree.  read more »

The Ugly City Beautiful: A Policy Analysis

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When it comes to the future, Detroit and San Francisco act as poles in the continuum of American consciousness. Detroit is dead and will continue dying. San Francisco is the region sipping heartily from the fountain of youth. Such trajectories, according to experts, will go on indefinitely.

Harvard economist Ed Glaeser has a grim outlook for the Rust Belt. “[P]eople and firms are leaving Buffalo for the Sunbelt because the Sunbelt is a warmer, more pleasant, and more productive area to live,” he writes in City Journal.

Glaeser echoes this sentiment in a recent interview with International Business Times, saying “[s]mart people want to be around other smart people”, and the Rust Belt has a long slog ahead given that “post-industrial city migration is dominated by people moving to warmer climes”.

But is this true?  read more »

Columbus, Know Thyself

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What Is Your Ambition?

Columbus doesn’t have a powerful brand in the market outside of Ohio. Having said that, the city is growing rapidly in population and jobs, is extremely livable and improving day by day, and seems to make its residents very happy. Is there any reason the city has to be better nationally known in order to be complete or something?

I say No.  It’s a valid choice to simply stay with the status quo.  read more »

Are America’s Rich More Generous?

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In 2009, the two richest men in America organized a confidential dinner meeting of billionaires in New York City, hosted by David Rockefeller. Guests included George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, Ted Turner, and Oprah Winfrey. The topic of discussion was philanthropy. Each billionaire was asked to describe his philosophy of giving. CNN-founder Ted Turner told the story tale of how he had made a spur-of-the-moment decision to donate $1 billion, most of his future, to the United Nations. During this dinner, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet started the biggest fundraising drive in history. Setting examples though their own charity, Gates and Buffet initiated “The Giving Pledge”, a campaign encouraging billionaires to commit the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes. So far around 113 billionaires have agreed to the pledge.  read more »

Know Your City's Marketplace Leverage

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I’ve noticed so often that urbanist policy suggestions or case studies are treated as universals. That is, with a presumption that a good idea or policy can be replicated pretty much anywhere. Clearly, there are a number of items like bike lanes and trails that would appear to be widely applicable, and for which the best practice standards would appear to work without much modification in most places. On the other hand, this isn’t true of everything.  read more »

Reversing American Decline

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Across broad ideological lines, Americans now foresee a dismal, downwardly mobile future for the country’s middle and working classes. While previous generations generally did far better than their predecessors, those in the current one, outside the very rich, are locked in a struggle to carve out the economic opportunities and access to property that had become accepted norms here over the past century.  read more »

Population Growth as the Cure for the Incredible Shrinking City?

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The 1957 sci-fi classic The Incredible Shrinking Man reads like a Rust Belt city script. In it, the lead actor is afflicted with the anti-natural: shrinkage in a world of growth. The rest becomes existential. From the movie review blog “Twenty Four Frames”:  read more »

May the (Insidious) Force Be With You

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Google Earth pic to the left of the boundary between Detroit and suburban Grosse Pointe Park, MI. Alter Road (cutting from upper left to lower right) is the boundary between the two. Take note of the differences in vacant land between Detroit (on the left) and Grosse Pointe Park (on the right).
 read more »

Ukraine Watch: Kiev in the Media Center Spotlight

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This spring I traveled from St. Petersburg to Kiev, by way of southern Russian and eastern Ukraine. The newspapers were filled with reports of American policymakers gushing over how mobs in Kiev deserved the inalienable rights of freedom fighters and self-determination. Mobs of Russian mercenaries in Eastern Ukraine, who set up automobile tire and sandbag roadblocks, were condemned for threatening world peace.  read more »

The Hyping of “Big Data”

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Worship at the altar of what is labelled big data is rampant in both corporate and large not-for-profit settings. And while there is some general sense that big data arrives at warp-speed and involves huge datasets from very diverse sources and methodologies, there is no consensus and little discussion of what comprises meaningful and valid “big” datasets.  read more »

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