Locals are Effective as Home Mortgages Collapse

Just-released figures from Treasury and HUD report that the number of homeowners who defaulted on their mortgages, even after securing lower payments through loan modification, nearly doubled in March. Relief efforts are diminishing rather than growing. The Federal Reserve has ended its $1.25 trillion program to buy mortgage backed securities. The first-time homebuyer tax credit

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High-Speed Rail: Now or Later

In the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), $8 billion has been set aside for the development of a high-speed rail (HSR) network.  And, additional money is on its way in the form of a provision by Congress providing $2.5 billion for fiscal year 2010 and a request by the President for another $1 billion

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Do Tax Incentives Have Their Place?

The use of tax incentives to spur economic growth has come under scrutiny over the years.  There are claims that incentives allow businesses to play communities off one another, promote “zero sum” economic growth, and essentially do nothing to actually lure businesses (who in all likelihood have already decided on their location). And from the

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How are trends in public administration affecting your city?

A recent article in NLC’s Nation’s Cities Weekly summarized the “top ten trends in public administration.” From new leadership styles to e-democracy to generational change, these trends are affecting city governments, elected officials, and communities. Antoinette (“Toni”) Samuel, Executive Director of the American Society for Public Administration, presented the analysis to the NLC staff at

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Jump into Social Media

A recently released report from the Fels Institute of Government urges cities to get started in using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.  It notes that all of the concerns about legal issues, increased workload, and potential for public criticism are manageable and unwarranted. Through interviews with a mixture of public information staff, information

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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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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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