The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

by Yule Heibel on December 9, 2012

  • Time to re-purpose prisons.
    From the 1920s through the 1960s, the U.S. incarceration rate remained remarkably stable. It wasn’t until the ’70s that all of this changed, that we started both imprisoning more people and holding them in prison longer for the same crimes. Today, as the commonly quoted stat puts it, America has 5 percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of its prisoners. The trend ultimately gave way to what researchers have called the “million dollar block” phenomenon. America has spent so much money incarcerating people, often from single blocks of particular urban neighborhoods, that we’ve made the criminal justice system “the predominant government institution” in these communities. What if we spent that money directly in these neighborhoods, Sperry asks, and not on imprisoning their residents elsewhere?

    tags: atlantic_cities prison emily_badger usa repurposing

  • Need to check out/ read Alex Marshall’s new book, The Surprising Design of Market Economies…
    What we think of as markets don’t emerge unless government first creates property. More complex markets emerge only after government lays down roads, water lines, and take on the responsibility of educating their citizens. Then governments do things like create corporations, and intellectual property such as patents and copyrights. Governments create the web of international law that allows and directs world trade.

    Politicians talk about the free enterprise system, and the free market, but neither exists without government. The recent campaign rhetoric of now Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren, and President Barack Obama, about how successful businesses depend on a network of things that they didn’t make, comes close to what I’m talking about.

    tags: jjacobs atlantic_cities allison_arieff alex_marshall economic_development markets cities development

  • Totally agree with the criticism that traffic engineers have been given too free a rein when it comes to “designing” our streets. Fits in with Gordon Price’s critique of Motordom.
    Colville-Andersen has been one of the most visible and vocal members of what is sometimes called the “livable streets” movement, which has its roots in the last decades of the 20th century but has really gained ground in the 21st. In a recent TEDx talk in Zurich, he framed the problem we face on our city’s streets as a failure of engineering, which has dominated the planning process for generations. The result, he says, has been the rise of an autocentric model – “the greatest paradigm shift in the history of our cities” — that kills millions of people around the globe every year and degrades the quality of life for everyone.

    tags: traffic engineering atlantic_cities motordom

  • A catalog of video presentations at Be Open, founded by Elena Baturina, everything on design thinking and the like (plus a dollop of self-convinced elitism…).
    …we must formulate an agenda for the future in all areas of human pursuit, based on a thoroughgoing review of the past and weaving the best practices of our legacy into the fabric of tomorrow. In times when many traditional economies and political systems are experiencing great difficulties, the intellectual elite and the aristocracy of creative talent are becoming a chief driving force.

    BE OPEN is a free space communication network, a bridge between intellectual elites, including young minds, representing Europe and Russia, that is designed to provide and promote perfect conditions for their joint endeavors while attracting gifted individuals and innovators from around the world.

    BE OPEN is a long-term multidisciplinary project, a system incorporating multiple elements – conferences, competitions, exhibitions, master classes, cultural, arts, and sports events attended by talented and gifted individuals from diverse spheres, who can now offer their ideas and vision of the future advancement.

    The Internet portal will be a platform for sharing ideas and outlooks, featuring the most exciting lectures, interviews, reviews with a focus on design, architecture, cutting-edge technologies and progressive social projects.

    BE OPEN draws on an absolutely original approach – design thinking: an inspiring philosophy underlined by such values as freedom and a disregard for convention, with no restrictions imposed on ingenuity.

    Design thinking is of crucial importance to our project, which is targeted towards applying this approach to handling major problems in social and economic areas. Design is a universal language of modernity that has long ceased to be an exclusive domain of a very limited circle of dedicated professionals. In a joint effort with the innovators and prominent representatives of the business world, we will be looking for and selecting the most promising high-impact inventive ideas: ways in which design thinking can be delivered. As soon as such projects are well-defined and sufficiently mature, we will present them to leaders in the design community and the general public.

    To give a new lease of life to the ideas expressed by a great thinker – If you want to see a change in the future, make this change now – to personify such a change and make all the difference in the world: that is the global challenge for BE OPEN.

    Let’s OPEN the future now!

    tags: be_open video reference think_tanks design_thinking elena_baturina

  • Richard Florida comments and expands on the recent NYT series on what essentially amounts to “corporate welfare,” namely incentive programs to lure corporations to a state/ community. In effect, these incentives amount to a kind of corporate welfare that depletes local coffers. The practice should be stopped. Florida and his Martin Prosperity Institute colleagues look at some other data and compile additional maps here.
    All told, states, cities, and counties give away some $80 billion to companies each year, including both expenditures and tax abatements, according to the Times’ estimates. There are 48 companies which have received more than $100 million in incentives since 2007, led by General Motors, which took in a whopping $1.77 billion in incentives. Other companies that are part of the $100 million incentive club include: Ford, Chrysler, Daimler, General Electric, Shell, Dow, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Google, Caterpillar, Procter & Gamble, Sears, Boeing, Airbus, Panasonic, and Electrolux. More than 5,000 companies received one million dollars or more in incentives, according to the Times’ estimates.

    tags: richard_florida nyt corporate_welfare finance municipal_politics development economy atlantic_cities

  • This is such a good article. Should be required reading:
    For years, too many American companies have treated the actual manufacturing of their products as incidental—a generic, interchangeable, relatively low-value part of their business. If you spec’d the item closely enough—if you created a good design, and your drawings had precision; if you hired a cheap factory and inspected for quality—who cared what language the factory workers spoke?

    This sounded good in theory. In practice, it was like writing a cookbook without ever cooking.

    Lou Lenzi now heads design for all GE appliances, with a team of 25. But for years he worked for Thomson Consumer Electronics, which made small appliances—TVs, DVD players, telephones—with the GE logo on them. Thomson was an outsource shop. It designed stuff, then hired factories to make much of that stuff. Price was what mattered.

    “What we had wrong was the idea that anybody can screw together a dishwasher,” says Lenzi. “We thought, ‘We’ll do the engineering, we’ll do the marketing, and the manufacturing becomes a black box.’ But there is an inherent understanding that moves out when you move the manufacturing out. And you never get it back.”

    It happens slowly. When you first send the toaster or the water heater to an overseas factory, you know how it’s made. You were just making it—yesterday, last month, last quarter. But as products change, as technologies evolve, as years pass, as you change factories to chase lower labor costs, the gap between the people imagining the products and the people making them becomes as wide as the Pacific.

    What is only now dawning on the smart American companies, says Lenzi, is that when you outsource the making of the products, “your whole business goes with the outsourcing.” Which raises a troubling but also thrilling prospect: the offshoring rush of the past decade or more—one of the signature economic events of our times—may have been a mistake.

    tags: atlantic_monthly charles_fishman outsourcing china manufacturing insourcing economy usa

  • Of the Ten, I like Nr. Eight:
    8. Plant trees. (“It’s best not to pick favorites in the walkability discussion— every individual point counts— but the humble American street tree might win my vote.”) Even though street trees correlate with fewer automobile accidents, many public transportation agencies seek to limit them because they believe they interfere with visibility. But Jeff points out that, in addition to contributing to auto safety, trees provide myriad public benefits, including natural cooling, reduced emissions and energy demand for air conditioning, and reduced stormwater pollution.

    tags: atlantic_cities kaid_benfield walking urban_design

  • Craig Mod’s excellent article (except for ONE THING) on rethinking digital magazines. The one thing? You have to get married to iOs’s Newsstand. Hmmm…. Otherwise, very good points:
    I propose Subcompact Publishing tools and editorial ethos begin (but not end) with the following qualities:

    Small issue sizes (3-7 articles / issue)
    Small file sizes
    Digital-aware subscription prices
    Fluid publishing schedule
    Scroll (don’t paginate)
    Clear navigation
    HTML(ish) based
    Touching the open web

    tags: craigmod publishing magazines

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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