This week in community development: 4/18/14

Every week, Praxia Partners shares important community-building news. Check out what we’ve been reading this week.

Urban revitalization

  • We’ve been taking a closer look at Detroit’s bankruptcy lately, and this week we read about a judge’s push to look into creating a Great Lakes Water Authority, which, so far, is the only alternative for Detroit’s Water and Sewerage Department other than privatization. On Wednesday, we told you about Praxia Partners’ Joe Recchie‘s innovative plan for the water and sewer system: transfer ownership to an entity that benefits the city. While pensioners seem satisfied with a recent deal, Recchie’s proposal has many applications to benefit the public good, including supporting police departments and the park system.
  • The vast majority of respondents say that art is crucial to New Orleans’ revitalization. (WWNO’s Listening Post)

man life expectancyEconomic opportunity

  • The negative consequences of the wealth gap are life and death. In fact, wealthy Americans live longer than low-income individuals by about 10 years.
  • Brazil’s “Bolsa Família” (“family grant”)– designed to alleviate poverty– is woman life expectancydistributed to the female head of household. Why? “The state tends to believe women are more reliable than men,” says political scientist Sérgio Fausto of the Instituto Fernando Henrique Cardoso, a think tank. (The Atlantic)

Equity and inclusion

  • ProPublica published a disturbing report that suggests that some schools have regressed to levels of segregation reminiscent of the Jim Crow era. They write:

Freed from court oversight, Tuscaloosa’s schools have seemed to move backwards in time […] Tuscaloosa’s schools today are not as starkly segregated as they were in 1954, the year the Supreme Court declared an end to separate and unequal education in America. No all-white schools exist anymore—the city’s white students generally attend schools with significant numbers of black students. But while segregation as it is practiced today may be different than it was 60 years ago, it is no less pernicious […] In Tuscaloosa today, nearly 1 in 3 black students attends a school that looks as if Brown v. Board of Education never happened.

  • In this Mother Jones article, you can actually watch as LGBTQ rights spread across America.

Environmental stewardship

  • The Obama Administration has put off a decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. (LA Times)
  • Is climate change a form of violence? (The Guardian)
  • Marketplace covered the rise of solar in America. You can listen– just scroll to the end of the blog.
  • The New York TimesPaul Krugman broke down some of his thoughts after reading the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent assessment:
        • “Other things equal, more G.D.P. tends to mean more pollution.”
        • “The climate change panel, in its usual deadpan prose, notes that ‘many RE [renewable energy] technologies have demonstrated substantial performance improvements and cost reductions’ since it released its last assessment, back in 2007.”
        • “It’s even possible that decarbonizing will take place without special encouragement, but we can’t and shouldn’t count on that. The point, instead, is that drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are now within fairly easy reach.”

What do you think was the most important community development story this week? Share your insights and thoughts below or by email.

For news about solar power and sustainability, visit Community Renewable Energy’s blog.

About Holly

Holly Jensen is a writer and poet who has worked with nonprofits and businesses for over a decade. She also serves as editor of The Ghazal Page, an international literary journal.
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