How San Francisco Helps Culture Survive Gentrification

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Major cities around the world continually grabble with the complexity of gentrification, at the recent World Cities Culture Summit San Francisco shared what they do. One of the city’s approaches is to protect cultural organizations that are unique to their neighbourhood. The idea is to protect what makes the city special while also keeping culture accessible to everyone. Indeed, what they’ve done is so effective that other cities are starting to copy it.

Like an idea London recently stole from San Francisco to reduce cultural displacement — Community Arts Stabilization Trust — or CAST for short.

“London has been completely inspired by the San Francisco CAST model, to the extent that we are setting up our own version of it,” Simons said.

CAST is a nonprofit real estate development and holding company that helps arts groups secure space through long-term below-market leases and a lease-to-own model funded by philanthropy and other sources. It has raised $36 million to support a handful of projects since 2013.

The company has also helped nonprofit cultural groups keep the lights on in the shorter term, through providing $1.8 million in grants and technical assistance to date.

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Talented, Smart People Want to Take Transit

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The amount of people who want to drive to work is dropping while the people wanting to take transit is increasing. This is happening despite of 100 years of car-focused urban planing in North America. Companies are finding that if they want to attract smart and talented people then they need to locate themselves along transit lines and not highways. This is a very good sign for a future where getting around is more efficient than today’s selfish car culture.

So instead of having 97 percent of McDonald’s corporate employees commuting to work with each of them alone in a car, Malec says, “right now, we have I think around 90 percent of our folks are arriving in a nonautomobile fashion.”

Chicago isn’t the only region experiencing this business boom along transit lines. From Seattle to St. Louis and Minneapolis to Atlanta, studies show that companies are relocating to be near transit lines, as they seek to attract workers, especially millennials, who prefer living in more urban areas and increasingly don’t want the long, driving commutes of their parents’ generation.

“Talent is choosing to ride transit,” says Audrey Wennink, director of transportation at Chicago’s Metropolitan Planning Council, a regional nonprofit research and advocacy organization on urban issues, and co-author of a new study indicating that more and more businesses want to be located close to rail and bus stations.

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Customers of Barclays Threaten to Leave Over Tar Sands

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Customers of banks are getting sick of their money being spent on destroying the world so they’re doing something about it. The Dirty Dozen banks are a group of banks that Greenpeace argues are the worst when it comes to investing. Barclays is one of those banks thanks to their investments in the shameful Canadian tar sands. Greenpeace started their awareness campaign and now people are taking the next step by losing their accounts with Barclays. It’s a great direct action to send an important message.

Of those who signed the petition, 6,000 told the environmental group that they were ready to close their accounts if Barclays did not heed their warning, while some said they had already done so.

“Moving your bank account is quite a big undertaking so we were genuinely surprised when people started doing it without us even suggesting it,” said Greenpeace oil campaigner Hannah Martin.

“This new information shows that the opposition to Barclays funding dirty tar sands projects isn’t just broad, but deep.

“People are prepared to put themselves through a bit of bureaucratic hassle to try to persuade their bank to do the right thing.”

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Harvard Built a Zero Emissions Home

Buildings use a lot of energy for heating and cooling throughout the year, homes are no exception. Harvard decided to build a zero emission “home” to test solutions that can be used in new buildings or retrofitted into existing structures. The design is smart in the sense it uses passive heat exchange and lighting while also using high tech sensors to monitor the home and adjust internal systems.

Rather than existing as a “sealed box,” HouseZero is designed to interact with the seasons and environment, sometimes rapidly adjusting itself to achieve comfort for its occupants without using powered HVAC systems.

For example, the home uses a “window actuation system” that relies upon software and room sensors to automatically open and shut windows as the outside temperature changes, intelligently moving air around the home to make it cooler or warmer (through cross ventilation and convection). This process is also driven by a “solar vent” in the basement.

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Climate Change Deniers Just Need Motivation

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The COP24 UN Climate Change Conference 2018 in Katowice, Poland has opened with a direct call for immediate action on climate change. You’d think that 99% of scientists, years of evidence, weather records being broke every month, and even oil companies admitting climate is real would motivate people to care. However, it’s the very fact that there is so much evidence of the damage of climate change that people don’t care about acting on it. This ironic twist is thanks to the perceived mental workload one has to handle in order to feel motivated to buy fewer things.

“A big part isn’t the experience; it’s the motivation,” said Paul Thagard, professor emeritus at the University of Waterloo’s Department of Philosophy, who specializes in cognitive science.

“Psychologists talk a lot about ‘motivated inference’ … when people have strong motivations, they’re very selective in the sort of evidence they look for.”

Even though there is consensus that climate change is occurring and that humans are exacerbating it, there are still people — including politicians — who refuse to acknowledge the evidence.

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