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eaves.ca: Open Mandate Letters

The newly elected Government of Canada made its ministerial mandate letters available to the public last week. They are absolutely worth checking out both for their content and as a example of public disclosure/communication. I’ll talk about that latter part in a second, but let me first let’s discuss some background information and context. From . . . → Read More: eaves.ca: Open Mandate Letters

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Open for Business, But Not For Your Input

Did you happen to read the town ad on the inside page in the Enterprise Bulletin this weekend? February 6, top of page D7? I’m betting you didn’t because no one I’ve spoken to seems to have read it. And since you can’t find the ad on the EB’s website, you won’t have read it . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Open for Business, But Not For Your Input

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your weekend.

– Lana Payne highlights the Harper Cons’ culture of hate with just a few recent examples: Veterans. Informed-debate. People’s right to a union and free collective bargaining. Voting rights. These are all under threat in Harper’s Canada.

This really is a government that hates; hates anyone that disagrees with . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

Accidental Deliberations: Deep thought

I’ve written before about the dangers of government by manufactured crisis – which is all too familiar under the Harper Cons and the Wall Sask Party alike.

But in light of recent events, I feel compelled to add that an inexplicable “you must accept our plan NOW! NOW! NOW!” only gets worse when followed by . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Deep thought

Susan on the Soapbox: The “Tone at the Top” from two perspectives: Richard Nixon and the AHS

When Richard Nixon told David Frost than an illegal activity is not illegal “when the president does it” he confirmed what we’d all suspected: the “tone at the top” as far as the 37th President of the United States was concerned was hopelessly corrupt.

Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th President of the United States (Photo . . . → Read More: Susan on the Soapbox: The “Tone at the Top” from two perspectives: Richard Nixon and the AHS

Canadian ProgressiveCanadian Progressive: UN recognizes wildlife crime as threat to rule of law

UN recognizes wildlife crime as threat to rule of law (via World Wildlife Fund) New York – Poaching and the illicit trafficking of wildlife products were raised on the floor of the United Nations General Assembly for the first time Monday during discussions on strengthening national and international governance. World leaders gathering in New York . . . → Read More: Canadian ProgressiveCanadian Progressive: UN recognizes wildlife crime as threat to rule of law

openalex: EcoDistricts: All Green, All in One Place

[I was in Portland when the EcoDistrict project was launched and have been following it ever since.  It’s still in its early days, but I think it’s a great approach to speed the evolution of our cities. Originally posted  @SustainableCitiesCanada.]

You’ve probably seen pictures of London’s BedZED , or Malmo’s Western Harbour redevelopment. Showpiece green developments like those have put urban sustainability in the international spotlight.

But all around them is a larger city that also needs to evolve radically if we are going to make sustainable cities a reality. Otherwise the substance is missing; you’ve got the cherry on top, but no Sunday underneath.

The magic of developments like BedZED, or projects like Victoria’s Dockside Green here in Canada, is that they do it all, and all in one place. Renewable energy, walkable vibrant density, multiple transportation options, urban agriculture, green buildings…. all woven together into a whole that is inspiring and effective. Rather than piecemeal interventions you get a picture of what a fundamentally different city could look like.

But how can you apply the same holistic approach to the neighbourhoods and districts that we already have? Portland (OR) is one of a small number of cities pioneering efforts to answer that question.

Building EcoDistricts
In 2009 the city launched the EcoDistrict program to accelerate the transformation of five existing neighbourhoods. EcoDistricts pursues the type of neighbourhood-scale interventions that you might expect, ranging from district energy to green streets. But at the core of the whole endeavour is the insight that to operate at a district scale the challenges aren’t primarily about technology, they are about people.

Unlike greenfield developments, working with existing neighbourhoods means working with a complex mix of residents, businesses, developers, utilities and municipal agencies. The EcoDistrict process begins by building a framework that allows all these different players to work together and supplies them with resources and strategies to begin remaking their part of the city.

The Elusive “How”: People
Portland aims to make the EcoDistrict approach something that can be applied in other cities (see their upcoming summit). How well it will transfer remains to be seen. At the same time, other cities will also develop their own approach to collaboratively transforming existing cityscapes. Montreal’s Quartiers 21 and Quartiers Verts programs, for example, also use the neighbourhood scale as a place to test out innovative ideas and processes of public engagement.

In the end the specific process cities follow isn’t as important as how they frame the challenge. We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the “what” of urban sustainability; the “how” has always been a bit more elusive. Portland’s EcoDistricts program shows that it is possible to mobilize the complex mixture of different people and institutions in a way that makes holistic green urbanism possible.

It will be interesting to see which Canadian city will be the first to do the same.

. . . → Read More: openalex: EcoDistricts: All Green, All in One Place

openalex: EcoDistricts: All Green, All in One Place

[I was in Portland when the EcoDistrict project was launched and have been following it ever since.  It’s still in its early days, but I think it’s a great approach to speed the evolution of our cities. Originally posted  @SustainableCitiesCanada.]

You’ve probably seen pictures of London’s BedZED , or Malmo’s Western Harbour redevelopment. Showpiece green . . . → Read More: openalex: EcoDistricts: All Green, All in One Place

Canada creeps toward becoming a closed society

Nick Fillmore asks a question the regina mom has been grappling with for years: “Is Stephen Harper displaying fascist-like tendencies?” Ever since Naomi Wolf published “Ten Steps To Close Down an Open Society” at the Huffington Post in April, 2007, an essay has been brewing on trm‘s computer. (Yes, trm admits to being a slow . . . → Read More: Canada creeps toward becoming a closed society

The Internet v. Vic Toews: Score one for The Tweeps

That the HarperCon’s might in any way be surprised by the public response to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’ introduction of the “Snoop and Spy” Bill C-30 made the regina mom laugh! . The public responses to the HarperCons over the past while have been strong:

The lack of action on Attawapiskat and the near-futility . . . → Read More: The Internet v. Vic Toews: Score one for The Tweeps

Right of Center Ice: Wikileaks: It’s not free speech

Part 1: An issue of semantics?

Maybe I’m splitting hairs, but I don’t necessarily view the Wikileaks drama as being an exercise of acting on a person’s right to free speech. My question: how is it a person’s right to be able to view a confidential document, pass judgment on it, and leak it . . . → Read More: Right of Center Ice: Wikileaks: It’s not free speech

The Roundhouse: What to make of the Gun Registry

The existing Federal Long Gun registry is an issue on which I have mixed feelings.

To begin with it is a flawed peice of legislation, its startup costs were exhorbitant, and its operating costs remain higher than they should be. That said Canada’s police chiefs say it is useful, and the current operating costs aren’t . . . → Read More: The Roundhouse: What to make of the Gun Registry

The Roundhouse: What to make of the Gun Registry

The existing Federal Long Gun registry is an issue on which I have mixed feelings.To begin with it is a flawed peice of legislation, its startup costs were exhorbitant, and its operating costs remain higher than they should be. That said Canada’s poli… . . . → Read More: The Roundhouse: What to make of the Gun Registry