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July 26 at 12:48pm

Rethinking how to live

The Greenhouse Project in the inner-city of Johannesburg is turning one urban park into a seedbed for sustainable communities.  As their website explains, the program takes a holistic approach to the city’s challenges, integrating green building and design, efficient and renewable energy, recycling, organic farming and nutrition.

It’s a good idea that certainly could be transfered to many cities across the globe.


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July 20 at 12:29pm

Subway Improvement Idea #3

Back in June, I posted an idea (or rather two) on how to improve the NYC Subways.  I still haven’t found the MTA suggestion box, but I do have a NYC Subway Improvement Idea for July.  This time it’s just a borrowed idea from my travels.  

Why can’t we have LED signs that let expectant passengers know when the next train is expected to arrive?  Was it London that I saw them in?  Vienna?  Or just all of Europe?  And where can I find a photo of this sign so the blog can look all nice & pretty?


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July 18 at 1:38pm

Clean Water PSA

It’s a problem for all of us.  What to do?


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July 13 at 8:54pm

Books Not Bombs


Nicholas Kristof had another great piece in the NY Times yesterday, this one on Greg Mortenson‘s efforts to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Kristof writes regarding Mortenson:

Still, he notes that the Taliban recruits the poor and illiterate, and he also argues that when women are educated they are more likely to restrain their sons. Five of his teachers are former Taliban, and he says it was their mothers who persuaded them to leave the Taliban; that is one reason he is passionate about educating girls.

So I have this fantasy: Suppose that the United States focused less on blowing things up in Pakistan’s tribal areas and more on working through local aid groups to build schools, simultaneously cutting tariffs on Pakistani and Afghan manufactured exports. There would be no immediate payback, but a better-educated and more economically vibrant Pakistan would probably be more resistant to extremism.

“Schools are a much more effective bang for the buck than missiles or chasing some Taliban around the country,” says Mr. Mortenson, who is an Army veteran.

Each Tomahawk missile that the United States fires in Afghanistan costs at least $500,000. That’s enough for local aid groups to build more than 20 schools, and in the long run those schools probably do more to destroy the Taliban.

Mortenson has written a book “Three Cups Of Tea“, which I haven’t read, but is a best seller.  If only we had an administration that understood what a good idea education is, both home and abroad.


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July 11 at 6:54am

Change the Urban Landscape

Being a city-dweller, I was a fan of congestion pricing to reduce traffic, but I understand why it could not pass for NYC in the state capitol.  Nonetheless I like the stick-to-it-ness of the mayor to find ways to make the city greener.  

I am not sure if I would have started with Broadway between 42nd – 34th Street as my next urban park, but I dig the idea.
Read about it here in the NY Times.


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