Stealing Stuff, Security, and Trust of Neighbors
I recently heard Mark Fisher on NPR. The guy had his home broken into, and laptops and money stolen. The real kicker, was the burgular went on Mark’s son’s Facebook page, and posted a picture of himself pointing to the money, while wearing Mark’s brand new coat.
Mark learned about the system, and about himself. ” I don’t feel as safe any more. I’ve lost trust in my neighbors. The system is overwhelmed, only 12% of burglars are sentenced.”
Two officers confided that they and their colleagues rarely press hard on burglary cases because the courts almost always let thieves go with nothing more than probation. Maybe that’s why four days after we handed over the photo, we were still waiting to hear from the detective assigned to the case. READ MORE >>
Charles Marohn, New Urban Network
As the United States economy remains hooked up to life support, it is natural for those gathered around the bedside to see hope in each flicker of life. We humans are optimistic by nature, which is certainly an evolutionary trait that has served us well in darker ages. Even so, unfounded optimism can prove disastrous, especially when it keeps us from doing the difficult things that need to be done.
This past weekend, my hometown paper ran an article detailing how the economic signs are starting to point up. This is a theme I see reflected recently in the Old Economy circles, that if we just build enough capacity and subsidize enough undertakings, we can revive 2005 back into existence. The beyond-wishful thinking in the piece was highlighted by this passage:
[Brainerd City Administrator Dan] Vogt said Brainerd is well positioned for an economic turnaround with available industrial land and electrical system upgrades for attractive and lower cost energy. Brainerd now has more load capacity for business and industry, Vogt said.
This is akin to the owner of a dying mall — one that is old, falling apart and financed with enormous government subsidies that are about to expire — looking at the growing number of empty spaces and saying they are “well-positioned.” Some see the glass as half empty. Some as half full. And some are evidently drinking stuff a lot stronger than water…. READ MORE >>
Mixed use neighborhood. Sounds simple. Saves money. Artur C. Nelson presented the info. Robert Steuteville wrote about it. The question remains…where do you want to live?
“The average American family spends 32 percent of its income on housing and 19 percent on transportation, leaving 49 percent for all other expenditures. Those who live in auto-dependent suburbs spend 25 percent of their income on transportation, leaving only 43 percent for all other expenses. Those who live in transit-rich neighborhoods spend only 9 percent on transportation, leaving far more money for discretionary expenses.”
Another beautiful thing about living in a walkable mixed use community, is the attached part. Just by the virtue of being attached, your house has less exterior wall exposed, thus a savings in heating and cooling, and less maintenance. Polar Sam gives it two big thumbs up!… READ MORE >>
Sustainable Neighborhood via killer apps
When it comes to Sustainability, the US is just as lost as most other nations. We have the added challenge of massive amounts of established suburbia, whereas Europe, for example, has much compact development built before the automobile. I’ve heard it said the Europeans have a lifestyle that is twice as efficient as that of the United States. They get twice the economic output as we get out of one BTU.
In my quest to come up with the Killer Modeling Tool that gives communities the ability to redevelop themselves sustainable, I came across this article in Ode Magazine about Bangladeshi entrepreneur Iqbal Quadir. He started a microloan program, the Grameenphone, that gets cell phones in the hands of the poorest people in the world.
With the introduction of cell phones, local entrepreneur efforts can flourish. For instance in the southern Indian state of Kerala, for example, the price of fish fell 4 percent while profits for the fishermen rose 8 percent because improved communication allowed fishermen to meet demand quickly and accurately. According to Leonard Waverman of the London Business School, the introduction of 10 mobile phones for every 100 residents of a developing country leads to a 0.6 percentage point increase in per capita GDP. Jeffrey Sachs, the celebrated development economist, has even called the mobile phone “the single most transformative tool for development.”
Iqbal recently wrote on The Huffington Post that sending 10,000 fewer American soldiers to Afghanistan would save $2.5 billion a year, which could be used to provide $300 microloans to 5 million Afghans and purchase Afghan products like carpets and pottery. “Trade and commerce could bring democracy and harmony from the bottom up,” Quadir wrote…. READ MORE >>