Category: General

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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A Common Language

The translation service companies are very busy on this first day of the 5th World Urban Forum. Portuguese, Spanish, English and French are the dominant languages spoken but there are others too numerous to count which can be heard on the panels and in the corridors.  Interestingly enough, the words “municipal” and “local” vary little

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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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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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The New Face of Government

Web/media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, RSS Feeds, Linkedin, and YouTube are fast becoming the trend many local government officials and staff are taking advantage of.  By getting the word out on local issues via these tools, not only are local governments able to influence their constituents in a quicker, more timely manner but

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Cities return to “old normal”

I’ve been hearing a lot of chatter about “the new normal” – the prospect of the current economic malaise resulting in a longer-term pattern of stagnating economic growth. We’ve even thrown the term around a few times here at NLC. But, predictions about slow growth in the coming years are not new. The new piece

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The People Define the City

Technology allows lots of people to work from home in a snow storm. Colleagues email one another. They catch up on newsletters unread and webinars unviewed. But there is little satisfaction in it.  Most bide their time until the office or business reopens. Upon returning, friends and peers reengage with a vengeance. There is invigoration

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