Month: March 2010

Bringing immigrants into the mainstream banking fold

New immigrants have a great deal to gain from using the U.S. banking system and so do local communities and businesses. Local efforts to help immigrants save and become financially literate promote stable neighborhoods and contribute to the economic vitality of the community. In Rogers, Ark., financial literacy programs not only created a wider customer

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To Seek, to Find and Not to Yield

It seems there are no experts at the World Urban Forum. Government ministers, scholars from prestigious universities, and career practitioners of urban development all profess limited knowledge at best. The sentiment is refreshing. At WUF the days are a quest in search of ideas and solutions. In the awful heat of Rio, rooms are full

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NYC Taxi Cabs v. Sustainability?

Washington Post columnist Neal Peirce wrote of the Green Taxis Act, a measure that would help cities like New York, Seattle, and Boston make a complete switch from a fleet of standard taxi cabs to hybrid vehicles.  Without the financial backing of Congress, cities face strong opposition from fleet owners, who would need to replace

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I have high-speed, do you?

A recent Washington Post[1] article reported that almost 40 percent of Americans do not have high-speed Internet access at home. What is most interesting about the 40 percent statistic is that, even in places where broadband is available, not everyone subscribes to it.  While some urban households just don’t have the adequate computer components, a

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For Inspiration and Innovation

People who care about cities and urban regions are gathering in Brazil. By the thousands they are coming from every corner of the globe to the 5th session of the World Urban Forum. At a reclaimed harbor-side venue that not so long ago was a haven for crime and poverty representatives from cities, national governments,

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Head-Turning Appeal for the Modular Home

There is a lot to love in a 7,200 square-foot French Country-style house. At a price of $2.5 million one would expect the symmetrical beauty of roof dormers and expansive patio doors, plus the latest in energy efficiency gadgets like geothermal heat pumps. But the extra bonus in this lovely home in Bethesda, Maryland is

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Are Municipal Incentive Prizes the Wave of the Future?

Incentive prizes have provided very large cash payments to innovators who solve specific problems.  They leverage private entrepreneur’s investment in advancing technology and services. “Incentive Prizes-Tools for Governments” in Searcher reports how government is using incentive prizes to pay only for results while stimulating private sector investment exceeding the size of the purse. Two cities

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FCC Gives Cities A Preview of Broadband Plan

During a meeting of local elected officials, Blair Levin, executive director of the Federal Communications Commission, Omnibus Broadband Initiative gave a sneak peak at the soon to be released National Broadband Plan. “Broadband is the common medium this country uses…’ he said during the meeting, underlying the need for a stronger technological infrastructure that would

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Municipal Bankruptcy – A Story in Search of a Trend?

NLC is receiving a lot of media inquiries about the prospect of cities filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.  It’s not surprising that the chattering classes are agog about cities going under.  It’s a grabber of a headline: “City X Files Ch. 9!”  The problem with this story is that the numbers just aren’t there to

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