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Yong Zhao "What Works May Hurt: Side Effects in Education" - YouTube
"Proponents of standardized testing and privatization in education have sought to prove their effectiveness in improving education with an abundance of evidence. These efforts, however, can have dangerous side effects, causing long-lasting damage to children, teachers, and schools. Yong Zhao, Foundation Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at the University of Kansas, will argue that education interventions are like medical products: They can have serious, sometimes detrimental, side effects while also providing cures. Using standardized testing and privatization as examples, Zhao, author of the internationally bestselling Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon? Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World, will talk about his new book on why and how pursuing a narrow set of short-term outcomes causes irreparable harm in education."
yongzhao  2018  schools  schooling  pisa  education  testing  standardizedtesting  standardization  china  us  history  testscores  children  teaching  howweteach  howwelearn  sideeffects  privatization  tims  math  reading  confidence  assessment  economics  depression  diversity  entrepreneurship  japan  creativity  korea  vietnam  homogenization  intolerance  prosperity  tolerance  filtering  sorting  humans  meritocracy  effort  inheritance  numeracy  literacy  achievementgap  kindergarten  nclb  rttt  policy  data  homogeneity  selectivity  charterschools  centralization  decentralization  local  control  inequity  curriculum  autonomy  learning  memorization  directinstruction  instruction  poverty  outcomes  tfa  teachforamerica  finland  singapore  miltonfriedman  vouchers  resilience  growthmindset  motivation  psychology  research  positivepsychology  caroldweck  intrinsicmotivation  choice  neoliberalism  high-stakestesting 
6 weeks ago by robertogreco
Yes, You Can Build Your Way to Affordable Housing | Sightline Institute
"Houston, Tokyo, Chicago, Montreal, Vienna, Singapore, Germany—all these places have built their way to affordable housing. They’re not alone. Housing economist Issi Romem has detailed the numerous American metro areas that have done the same: Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix, Raleigh, and more. Many more. They have done so mostly by sprawling like Houston.

In fact, Romem’s principal finding is that US cities divide into three groups: expansive cities (sprawling cities where housing is relatively affordable such as those just listed), expensive cities (which sprawl much less but are more expensive because they resist densification, typified by San Francisco), and legacy cities (like Detroit, which are not growing).

Romem’s research makes clear that the challenge for Cascadian cities is to densify their way to affordability—a rare feat on this continent. Chicago and Montreal are the best examples mentioned above.

In Cascadia’s cities, though, an ascendant left-leaning political approach tends to discount such private-market urbanism for social democratic approaches like that in Vienna.

Unfortunately, the Vienna model, like the Singapore one, may not be replicable in Cascadia. Massive public spending and massive public control work in both Vienna and Singapore, but they depend on long histories of public-sector involvement in housing plus entrenched institutions and national laws that are beyond the pale of North American politics. No North American jurisdiction has ever come close to building enough public or nonprofit housing to keep up with aggregate housing demand. This statement is not to disparage subsidized housing for those at the bottom of the economic ladder or with special needs. Cascadia’s social housing programs provide better residences for hundreds of thousands of people who would otherwise be in substandard homes or on the streets.

But acknowledging the implausibility of the Vienna model for Cascadia may help us have realistic expectations about how large (well, small) a contribution public and nonprofit housing can make in solving the region’s housing shortage writ large. Accepting that reality may help us guard against wishful thinking.

Because adopting a blinkered view of housing models is dangerous. Adopting the view that Vienna, for example, is the one true path to the affordable city—a view that fits well with a strand of urban Cascadia’s current left-leaning politics, which holds that profit-seeking in homebuilding is suspect and that capitalist developers, rather than being necessary means to the end of abundant housing, are to be resisted in favor of virtuous not-for-profit or public ventures—runs the risk of taking us to a different city entirely.

In the political, legal, and institutional context of North America, trying to tame the mega-billion-dollar home building industry—and the mega-trillion dollar real-estate asset value held by homeowners and companies—in order to steer the entire housing economy toward a Viennese public-and-nonprofit model may end up taking us not to Vienna at all but to a different city. It might end up delivering us to San Francisco. So . . ."
housing  houston  tokyo  chicago  montreal  vienna  singapore  germany  economics  policy  cascadia  sanfrancisco  seattle  phoenix  atlanta  chrarlotte  dallas  lasvegas  orlando  raleigh  sprawl  northamerica  us  canada 
september 2017 by robertogreco
Y-Fi
"Experience Loading Animations / Screens in wifi speeds around the world. This website was inspired by this conversation I had on twitter. I was home (Nigeria) for a bit before I started work and was annoyed at how long I had to look at loading animations. I wondered how long people wanted to wait around the world screaming.

Notes / How this works

• Data about wifi speeds is from: Akamai's State of the Internet / Connectivity Report.

• I chose countries based on what suprised me and to get diversity across speeds.

• To get most data about loading times, I used a combination of Firefox DevTools and the Network Panel on Chrome DevTools. For Gmail I used this article on Gmail's Storage Quota.

• The wifi speeds and sizes of resources are hard-coded in so you can see them and the rest of the code at the repo.

• Any other questions / thoughts? Hit me up on twitter!"

[via: https://twitter.com/YellzHeard/status/890990574827851777 via @senongo]
omayeliarenyeka  internet  webdev  webdesign  wifi  broadband  nigeria  loading  speed  diversity  accessibility  paraguay  egypt  namibia  iran  morocco  argentina  india  southafrica  saudiarabia  mexico  china  chile  greece  ue  france  australia  russia  kenya  israel  thailand  uk  us  taiwan  japan  singapore  hongkong  noray  southkorea  perú 
july 2017 by robertogreco
The Future of Cities – Medium
[video (embedded): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOOWk5yCMMs ]

"Organic Filmmaking and City Re-Imagining

What does “the future of cities” mean? To much of the developing world, it might be as simple as aspiring to having your own toilet, rather than sharing one with over 100 people. To a family in Detroit, it could mean having non-toxic drinking water. For planners and mayors, it’s about a lot of things — sustainability, economy, inclusivity, and resilience. Most of us can hope we can spend a little less time on our commutes to work and a little more time with our families. For a rich white dude up in a 50th floor penthouse, “the future of cities” might mean zipping around in a flying car while a robot jerks you off and a drone delivers your pizza. For many companies, the future of cities is simply about business and money, presented to us as buzzwords like “smart city” and “the city of tomorrow.”

I started shooting the “The Future of a Cities” as a collaboration with the The Nantucket Project, but it really took shape when hundreds of people around the world responded to a scrappy video I made asking for help.

Folks of all ages, from over 75 countries, volunteered their time, thoughts, work, and footage so that I could expand the scope of the piece and connect with more people in more cities. This strategy saved me time and money, but it also clarified the video’s purpose, which inspired me to put more energy into the project in order to get it right. I was reading Jan Gehl, Jane Jacobs, Edward Glaeser, etc. and getting excited about their ideas — after seeing what mattered to the people I met in person and watching contributions from those I didn’t, the video gained focus and perspective.

If I hired a production services outfit to help me film Mumbai, it would actually be a point of professional pride for the employees to deliver the Mumbai they think I want to see. If some young filmmakers offer to show me around their city and shoot with me for a day, we’re operating on another level, and a very different portrait of a city emerges. In the first scenario, my local collaborators get paid and I do my best to squeeze as much work out of the time period paid for as possible. In the second, the crew accepts more responsibility but gains ownership, hopefully leaving the experience feeling more empowered.

Architect and former mayor of Curitiba Jaime Lerner famously said “if you want creativity, take a zero off your budget. If you want sustainability, take off two zeros.” It’s been my experience that this sustainability often goes hand-in-hand with humanity, and part of what I love about working with less resources and money is that it forces you to treat people like human beings. Asking someone to work with less support or equipment, or to contribute more time for less money, requires a mutual understanding between two people. If each person can empathize for the other, it’s been my experience that we’ll feel it in the work — both in the process and on screen.

Organic filmmaking requires you to keep your crew small and your footprint light. You start filming with one idea in mind, but the idea changes each day as elements you could never have anticipated inform the bigger picture. You make adjustments and pursue new storylines. You edit a few scenes, see what’s working and what’s not, then write new scenes. Shoot those, cut them in, then go back and write more. Each part of the process talks to the other. The movie teaches itself to be a better movie. Because organic is complicated, it can be tricky to defend and difficult to scale up, but because it’s cheap and low-resource, it’s easier to experiment. Learning about the self-organizing, living cities that I did on this project informed how we made the video. And looking at poorly planned urban projects reminded me of the broken yet prevailing model for making independent film in the U.S., where so many films are bound to fail — often in a way a filmmaker doesn’t recover from — before they even begin.

Jane Jacobs said that “cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” I’ve worked on videos for companies, for the guy in the penthouse, for nobody in particular, in the developing world, with rich people and poor people, for me, for my friends, and for artists. I’m so thankful for everybody who allowed me to make this film the way we did, and I hope the parallels between filmmaking and city building — where the stakes are so much higher — aren’t lost on anyone trying to make their city a better place. We should all be involved. The most sustainable future is a future that includes us all.

“The Future of Cities” Reading List

(There’s a longer list I discovered recently from Planetizen HERE but these are the ones I got into on this project — I’m excited to read many more)

The Death and Life of American Cities by Jane Jacobs
The Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier by Edward Glaeser
Cities for People and Life Between Buildings by Jan Gehl
The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life by Jonathan Rose(just came out — incredible)
Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time by Jeff Speck
The City of Tomorrow: Sensors, Networks, Hackers, and the Future of Urban Life by Carlo Ratti and Matthew Claudel
Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery
Dream Cities: Seven Urban Ideas That Shape the World by Wade Graham
Connectography: Mapping The Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna
Delirious New York by Rem Koolhaas
Low Life and The Other Paris by Luc Sante
A History of Future Cities by Daniel Brook
Streetfight: Handbook for the Urban Revolution by Janette Sadik-Khan and Seth Solomonow
Tactical Urbanism: Short-term Action for Long-Term Change by Mike Lydon & Anthony Garcia
Living In The Endless City, edited by Ricky Burdett and Deyan Sudjic

“The Future of Cities” Select Interviewees:
David Hertz & Sky Source
Vicky Chan & Avoid Obvious Architects
Carlo Ratti: Director, MIT Senseable City Lab Founding Partner, Carlo Ratti Associati
Edward Glaeser: Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics, Harvard University Author of The Triumph of the City
Helle Søholt: Founding Parner & CEO, Gehl Architects
Ricky Burdett: Director, LSE Cities/Urban Age
Lauren Lockwood, Chief Digital Officer, City of Boston
Pablo Viejo: Smart Cities Expert & CTO V&V Innovations, Singapore
Matias Echanove & Urbz, Mumbai
Janette Sadik-Khan: Author, Advisor, & Former NYC DOT Commissioner
Abess Makki: CEO, City Insight
Dr. Parag Khanna: Author of Connectography
Stan Gale: CEO of Gale International, Developer of Songdo IBD
Dr. Jockin Arputham: President, Slum Dwellers International
Morton Kabell: Mayor for Technical & Environmental Affairs, Copenhagen
cities  urban  urbanplanning  urbanism  bikes  biking  cars  singapore  nyc  losangeles  janejacobs  jangehl  edwardglaeser  mumbai  tokyo  regulation  jaimelerner  curitiba  nantucketproject  carloratti  vickchan  davidhertz  hellesøholt  rickyburdett  laurenlockwood  pabloviejo  matiasechanove  urbz  janettesadik-khan  abessmakki  paragkhanna  stangale  jockinarputham  slumdwellersinternational  slums  mortonkabell  urbanization  future  planning  oscarboyson  mikelydon  anthonygarcia  danielbrook  lucsante  remkoolhaas  dayansudjic  rickyburdettsethsolomonow  wadegraham  charlesmontgomery  matthewclaudeljeffspeck  jonathanrose  transportation  publictransit  transit  housing  construction  development  local  small  grassroots  technology  internet  web  online  communications  infrastructure  services  copenhagen  sidewalks  pedestrians  sharing  filmmaking  film  video  taipei  seoul  santiago  aukland  songdo  sydney  london  nairobi  venice  shenzhen  2016  sustainability  environment  population  detroit  making  manufacturing  buildings  economics  commutes  commuting 
december 2016 by robertogreco
The Dramatic Ways Having Kids Can Change Your Design PracticeEye on Design | Eye on Design
"When the founders of Pupilpeople became parents two years ago, the graphic designers struggled to find quality toys for their baby boy. Disappointed with gimmicky, plasticky gadgets, unsafe and overly-instructive playthings, Sean Kelvin Khoo and Nicole Ong designed their own toys for little Elias instead.

This gave birth to OddBlocks, a set of eight cubes that each unpack into three curious objects. An off-kilter semi-circle, an asymmetrical rectangle and a trapezoid with a chewed-off top are just some of the 24 odd-shaped toys created to help children build from their imagination and discover new shapes and forms.

“A toy is meant to be played with, but a lot of times what we saw in the market was that the product became an educational tool,” explains Khoo. “It’s very Singaporean; everything must [be used to] train my child to be a genius… to be good at maths, good at physics…”

While agreeing that children learnt best through play, the young parents wanted to be less prescriptive in their designs. What started as an open-ended graphic puzzle turned into a three-dimensional product when their studio designer Kong Wen Da roped in industrial designer Jamie Yeo to help. The quartet came up with a sleek plastic prototype in less than half a year, but after testing it with Elias they realized its weight and sharp corners were inappropriate for children. Unlike the “cold” plastic, cork proved a lighter and more environmentally sustainable alternative. The designers were also delighted to discover this made the blocks ideal for printmaking.

Printmaking is just one of several functions that Pupilpeople have found for OddBlocks, and used workshops they conduct under their new initiative Why, O, Why! (w, o, w!), a design school for kids where the eight-year-old studio is developing more products and experiences to nurture creativity in children. For Ong, this is a baby step towards her dream of running a childcare center to address the lack of play and joy in learning among children in Singapore. Growing up, Ong hardly recalls playing, and was creatively stumped the first time she played Lego with Elias. “I was like, ‘Build what? What can I do with it?’” Watching her son have fun building whatever he imagined helped Ong learn that play could establish a sense of discovery. “Is it the children’s fault for not enjoying [what they do] or is it our fault for not exposing themselves enough to find what they love?” she asks.

This also explains Pupilpeople’s recent shift from client work to design education. Khoo discovered a love for teaching when he signed up to lecture part-time 2011. Three years later, the arrival of a Risograph printer in the studio enabled him to experiment with teaching outside of design school. Inspired by overseas initiatives such as the ad-hoc Parallel School, which focuses on art and design as a process, Khoo, Ong and their designer, Kong, founded Areas of Interest to conduct workshops based on the philosophy of “making as a way of thinking”. In one early class, they challenged participants to design and produce printed matter within the limitations of Risograph technology.

“We wanted to create a platform where people could do things that were not typically what we see as design output, and we were trying to challenge what design is,” he explains.

From this year onwards, Khoo will be conducting his experiments on a large scale as a full-time lecturer at Singapore’s pioneering design college, Temasek Design School. While excited by the possibilities that lie ahead, Khoo refuses to tie himself down to a desired outcome and stresses how discovery will continue to be at the heart of both practising and teaching design.

“Design is a form of play,” he says. “Rather than a didactic way of teaching… trying to make clones of myself, I’m trying to discover each individual student’s unique disposition, their own individuality.”"
design  singapore  2016  pupilpeople  sfsh  toys  graphicdesign  seankelvinkhoo  nicoleong  oddblocks  teaching  printmaking  classideas  wood  cork  risograph  proces  thinking  making  howweteach  howwelearn  education  learning  schools  children  process 
july 2016 by robertogreco
interfluidity » Home is where the cartel is
"Housing is a bitch.

A case can be made that divisive hot-button issues like inequality and immigration ultimately derive from housing dysfunction. Kevin Erdmann eloquently tells the tale. Matt Rognlie has famously argued that the increase in capital’s share of income, often blamed for inequality, is due largely to housing, once depreciation is taken into account. All of this reinforces the thesis of people like Ryan Avent, Edward Glaeser, and Matt Yglesias who have argued for years that housing supply constraints are to blame for high rents in powerhouse cities, and may constitute an important drag on productivity growth and a cause of macroeconomic stagnation. (See also Paul Krugman, quite recently.) Several of these writers argue that cities should eliminate restrictive zoning and other regulatory barriers to development, then let the free-market create housing supply. In a competitive marketplace, high prices are supposed to be their own cure. Zoning restrictions, urban permitting, and the de facto capacity of existing residents to veto new development are barriers to entry that prevent the magic of competition from taking hold and solving the problem.

My view is that the “market urbanist” diagnosis of the problem is more persuasive than its prescription for addressing it. As a positive matter, they just won’t win the political fights they propose. On normative grounds, I’m not sure that they should. The market urbanists present themselves as capitalist deregulators but I think they can be described with equal accuracy as radical redistributionists. The customary property rights surrounding homeownership in many cities and suburbs include much more than the use of a square of earth and whatever is built on it. Existing homeowners bought into particular neighborhoods in large part because of their “character”, which includes nice-sounding things like walkability or “charm”, as well as not-so-nice-sounding things like access to exclusionary education. Newer residents have bought and paid for those amenities, while older residents may feel they have earned them by helping to create them. Economists describe houses as a form of capital that provides a stream of services, rather than a cash flow, to owner-occupants. We should also describe the arrangement of neighborhoods as a form of capital that provides services people value. Property owners have disproportionate use of, and, informally, enjoy substantial control rights over this “neighborhood capital”, and these benefits have been capitalized into residential real-estate prices. (Location, location, location!) “Zoning reform” is an anodyne way to describe an expropriation of those customary rights. It amounts to diminishing residents’ ability to preserve or control the evolution of their neighborhoods, in order to challenge the exclusivity on which the value of existing neighborhood amenities may be based.

Market urbanists sometimes respond that eliminating restrictions should, in economic terms, be good for existing property owners. Suppose I own a plot of land, and today I’m only allowed to have a two story house on it. If tomorrow I suddenly have the right to build ten stories, but I can still keep the little house if that’s what I prefer, the new option can only improve my property’s value, right? Surely de-zoning would be a windfall for property owners, as land prices would include part of the capitalized stream of rents from the ten urban lofts that could now, potentially, be built there.

This is unpersuasive “partial-equilibrium” reasoning, which explains why homeowners are usually unpersuaded. Any given property owner rationally wants restrictions lifted on the use their own property, but lifting restrictions on neighbors’ use of their properties creates risks and costs. The ultimate effect of a general upzoning is hard to predict and may not be positive for incumbents, especially when potential impairment existing amenities — “neighborhood capital” — is factored in. Far from being a sure gain to existing residents, upzoning is a form of risky investment, the proceeds of which will be shared with developers and new residents, the costs of which will be concentrated on people whose financial statements and human lives are deeply exposed, with little diversification, to the quality of their neighborhoods. Even if, in aggregate, land values increase, densification of an existing neighborhood creates risks for individual property owners they many not wish to bear. If an apartment block is built next door, my old neighbor may have gotten rich from selling, but my plot may not be suitable for putting up yet another tower, and my home may be worth less for its busy, unquaint new neighbor. People experience individual not aggregate outcomes, and individual outcomes are usually riskier than aggregate outcomes. Absent some insurance mechanism, it is rationally hard to persuade individuals to consent to policy changes that, in aggregate terms, would meet a return-to-risk hurdle but at an individual level might not. When market urbanists point to how much more productive and awesome the city as a whole might become, they are missing this point."



"I don’t know what will work. But, looking around a bit, I’d suggest we take a look at two particularly promising examples. The housing policies of Singapore and Germany couldn’t be more different. But both countries have been remarkably successful.

Singapore never solved the problem we are banging our head against, how to take existing prosperous neighborhoods and make them more dense. It never tried. Instead, Singapore expanded its housing supply, at remarkable speed and scale, by building out extremely dense but nevertheless green, livable, and attractive “new towns“. Rather than restricting our attention to putting more housing in existing desirable neighborhoods, why not follow Singapore and build new neighborhoods, and when we run out of space for those, new ring cities? Singapore has done a ton of experimenting, in regulation, architecture and urban design, in putting greenspaces around (and on) increasingly creative high-rise developments. Obviously, Singapore is very different, socially and politically, than the United States and other Western countries. Some things won’t (and shouldn’t) translate. But we still have a lot to learn from their experience. Are we really incapable of building new, compact, microcities without their becoming Cabrini-Green or the banlieues of Paris?

Germany’s virtues are less sexy than Singapore’s sci-fi eco-towers. But they are great virtues nonetheless. Somehow, Germany has managed to avoid the price booms that in so many countries (including the Scandinavians) have segregated society between those who were homeowners at just the right times and those who were not. Germany’s path is ideologically mixed. On the one hand, German property owners have a right to build within broad planning parameters. On the other hand, what we in the United States call rent controls are universal in Germany. (German leases are implicitly “rent stabilized”. Berlin has recently begun an experiment with old fashioned administered prices.) Lending for home buying is regulated and conservative in Germany, preventing joint credit/housing booms. (You’ll recall that German banks had to dive headlong into American junk housing securities and Southern European bonds to get themselves into trouble, since their own economy wouldn’t produce enough product.) Homeownership and renting are roughly balanced, and home prices have had no tendency to increase dramatically. Homes in Germany are what a naive economist might predict they should be, a very durable consumption good that provides a stream of housing services, not a ticket to financial gain at all. Germany’s cities are very affordable relative to their counterparts elsewhere in Europe and in the United States. Germany’s housing success seems boring, in the way that your chest might seem boring to a guy who has just been stabbed and is spurting blood from a ventricle. Boring, but wonderful.

Boring Germany, sci-fi Singapore, or something else entirely. Urban housing is a really hard problem. We’ll need lots of inspiration. That economics textbook might help a little, but don’t try to use it as a cookbook."
housing  economics  via:tealtan  2015  steverandywaldman  germany  singapore  us  capitalism  cities  urban  sanfrancisco  rents  inequality  affordability  regulation  policy  ryanavent  edwardglaeser  paulkrugman  kevinerdmann  mattrognlie  exclusion  outcomes  risk  aggregation  matthewyglesias 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Which is the cleanest city in the world? | Cities | The Guardian
"Fines, public humiliation and citizen action – every city has a different way of dealing with urban cleanliness. But is it community clean-ups or strict municipal laws that have the most success in making a city spotless?"



"There are less punitive ways to be clean and tidy, however. Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, seems to have achieved a clean and litter-free environment without the threat of harsh fines. Not on any of Mercer’s lists, modern Kigali isn’t exactly beautiful. It rises up on a tree-covered slope and is mainly built of concrete, but the level of upkeep is extraordinary.

Indeed, the city’s roundabouts are so well-swept and the grass so well-maintained that wedding couples sprint across the traffic to be photographed in the middle of them. Unusually, this has been achieved not through punishment, but by the principle of Umuganda. This word has many meanings relating to “community” and “payment”, and dates back before Rwanda was part of Belgium’s African empire.

In the 19th century, a number visitors recorded that Rwandans were required to work two days a week for their community leader and during Belgian rule Umuganda was encouraged as a way of bolstering civic responsibility. In the years before the 1994 genocide, President Juvénal Habyarimana emphasised it as part of his concept of “true” Rwandan identity. “True Rwandans” provided free labour for state-led projects like school building, road works, the construction of sanitation facilities and digging of anti-erosion ditches. Unfortunately Habyarimana’s true Rwandans, by extension, also belonged to the Hutu tribe, and Umuganda eventually became caught up in ideas of racial purity.

After taking office in 2000, President Paul Kagame harnessed Umuganda to help clean up his gun and shell-strewn capital, as well as to promote the idea of a cohesive national identity through communal projects. Under Kagame, Umuganda was formalised as a collective event on the last Saturday in each month when traffic – including airport taxis – is stopped for three hours in the morning, and the city comes together to tidy up. This can be problematic if you have a flight to catch. This day is called umunsi w’umuganda (contribution made by the community) and all able-bodied people between the ages of 18 and 65 are required by law to participate. The knock-on effect of such conscientious cleaning up is, of course, that people are less inclined to drop litter in the first place."



"So, if Singapore is proof that cleanliness can be achieved by legislation, Kigali and Dar es Salaam are definitely proof that motivation and communal spirit can work as well. Calgary, on the other hand, falls somewhere between the two. It’s also the least interesting of the three cities to visit – but that’s a whole other list.

Finally one has to ask, does it matter? Last year a Ugandan looking at Kigali told me wistfully that Kampala used to be as pristine as Kigali: “Why can’t we keep our capital clean and tidy anymore?”

So, if you live there I think it matters, very much."
cities  uban  urbanism  rwanda  umuganda  community  civics  responsibility  civicresponsibility  kigali  kampala  uganda  daressalaam  communalism  communalspirit  tanzania  singapore  via:anabjain  cleanliness  litter  calgary  zurich  adelaide  honolulu  minneapolis  kobe  tidiness  china  paulkagame 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Ethnography for aging societies: Dignity, cultural genres, and Singapore's imagined futures - FISCHER - 2015 - American Ethnologist - Wiley Online Library
"Social theory generated in and about Singapore lies in psychic depths and archive fevers of an immigrant society subjected to accelerated social changes that devalue the lives of those marked by aging. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in Singapore, weaving together four kinds of data sets—gerontology psychiatric research and intervention; changing ritual forms; analytically phenomenological, paraethnographic theater and stories; and student video and drama projects—I argue that new literacies, pedagogies, and practices can foster enriched community life in posttraumatic, aging societies. Focusing on meaning and affect, and referencing Derrida on hauntology, archive fever, survie, and grammatology (as syntax of social configurations within which aging occurs, or, sociocultural texts, narratives, and symbols), I build on the ethnographic literatures on aging and explore strong metaphors of monstrous history (taowu), ghosts (hantu), obliviousness brought by prosperity (fat years), and intercultural repetition compulsions of unfilial children (Lear)."



"Histories’ shadows, ghosts, and specters are always present in the tangled political maneuverings of Southeast Asian nation-states. The elderly, often silenced, are among the keepers of these stories, the quotidian and lived realities coursing beneath the nationalist propaganda used by power holders to justify their “national interests” or “national security.” Ancestors’ graves are places for the fading and ever more haphazard retellings, particularly in Singapore, where graveyards are steadily being removed, producing legacy ghosts that not frequently, but also not infrequently, are said to cause bulldozers used in new construction to break down, requiring the rites of Taoist priests to smooth the way (e.g., Comaroff 2009)."

[via: http://justinpickard.tumblr.com/post/120173878395/histories-shadows-ghosts-and-specters-are ]
dignity  singapore  ethnography  elderly  aging  ancestors  graves  ghosts  2015  society  grammatology  hauntology  jacquesderrida  michaelfischer 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Commander of his stage: Lee Kuan Yew | The Economist
"Singapore as a nation did not exist. “How were we to create a nation out of a polyglot collection of migrants from China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and several other parts of Asia?” asked Mr Lee in retrospect. Race riots in the 1960s in Singapore itself as well as Malaysia coloured Mr Lee’s thinking for the rest of his life. Even when Singapore appeared to outsiders a peaceful, harmonious, indeed rather boringly stable place, its government often behaved as if it were dancing on the edge of an abyss of ethnic animosity. Public housing, one of the government’s greatest successes, remains subject to a system of ethnic quotas, so that the minority Malays and Indians could not coalesce into ghettoes."

[via: http://finalbossform.com/post/114505166644/even-when-singapore-appeared-to-outsiders-a ]

[See also: “Lee Kuan Yew made Singapore a paragon of development; but authoritarians draw the wrong lessons from his success”
http://www.economist.com/node/21646869 ]
singapore  leekuanyew  diversity  ghettos  publichousing  housing  minorities  ethnicity  quotas  race  malaysia  development  policy  2015 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Lying with Statistics | Deborah Meier on Education
"To avoid being fooled by statistics requires using the knowledge we already possess. A lost art? I struggle with this constantly.

To print data claiming that: Shanghai and Singapore have a better educated workforce than the USA when they certainly must realize that (1) neither is a country; and (2) to ignore the fact that China’s low-income workforce are treated as part-time immigrants in Shanghai, whose children are not allowed to attend their schools and/or in most cases (including Singapore) live beyond these city’s boundaries, means either purposely misusing data or not using one’s own knowledge. Not to mention the naiveté of accepting any data’s reliability when dealing with a totalitarian regime. These are simple facts that any journalist reporting on these statistics should know. As we gentrify the remaining sections of Manhattan where low-income people of color still reside, we might enter Manhattan in the world’s test score rankings. In fact, we have several states that would rank pretty high up if we decided to call them separate nations, much less excluded the scores of “immigrants.” It’s bad enough when they—the US media-—take US test score data at face value, much less accepting without question the data from nations we know often lie to us and their own people.

Our dilemma is far more serious than upgrading our math courses in order to better compete with Asia. Where they outdo us is not in having enough highly skilled workers but in low paid ones. Maybe we’ll be more successful competitors if we continue to lower our wage scales to match theirs? (Which requires getting rid of unions.) If that’s the plan, it’s one that we haven’t been consulted about.
Or, we might insist that all schools math programs give more attention to understanding data (statistics, probability, et al) and less attention to calculus. A calculus driven math course of study is not only irrelevant to the jobs of the past and future, but our focus directs attention away from precisely the mathematical skills and understanding our economy and citizenship actually need. It leads to many students’ failure to graduate. What disturbs me most is that few of us were prepared for a world in which understanding how millions and billions differ matters—other than adding zeros, or what the odds are for winning the lottery. It’s this everyday kind of math illiteracy that we have ignored for far too long in pursuit of a goal that best serves elite interests—if even theirs. (And I am not anti-calculus! Just first things first.)

Never mind. We seem stuck with a “ruling class” media determined to focus on every weakness they can locate, except their own. Thus the lack of mathematical knowledge found among average Americans becomes more significant than their own failure to grapple with—and make sense of—the data they are fed, most particularly how they could have “missed” the data that led, in hindsight, to explaining the 2008 crash."
deborahmeier  2014  testing  testscores  china  singapore  shanghai  statistics  media  us  policy  politics  comparison  education  schools 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Jim Sleeper: What the Yale President's Resignation Means for Higher Education
"Those of us who've criticized Yale's Singapore venture know that many wonderful young Singaporeans want a fuller liberal education, but we also see the advance of a slick model of self-censorship in an authoritarian corporate milieu in that country and, increasingly, in public life in the U.S. While self-censorship in Singapore is ubiquitous and routine owing to fear of the state, here it's embraced almost enthusiastically by some undergraduates who think it will bring them closer to power and commercial advantage.

This old misunderstanding of where power really comes from and how it flows has carried Yale undergraduates from secret, Skull & Bones bonding of yore into countless foreign-policy and domestic blunders. Yet some students embrace that kind of self-censorship with refreshed ignorance every year because they want "access" without thinking about what they're gaining "access" to or recognizing that they're only cultivating profiles in timidity. …"
timidity  india  china  singapore  commercialization  commercialism  bravery  humanities  richarlevin  jimsleeper  2012  power  economics  politics  us  self-censorship  highereducation  highered  education  corporatism  oligarchy  yale 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Architizer Blog » Singapore’s Steel ‘Supertrees’ Rise over Marina Bay
"Describing the reign of the mechanistic, Talorized new state order and its transmogrification of nature in his dystopian scare novel We, Yevgeny Zamyatin wrote how, under the sovereign gaze of the “One-State”, all livings things were remade, cast anew by the Machine: “All was new, made of steel: a steel sun, steel trees, steel people.” The dreary (and admittedly, awesome) reality has found a home in Singapore, amid steel “Gardens by the Bay”, foregrounding Moshe Safdie’s gargantuan Marina Bay Sands.

The “supertrees”, as they are called, are part of the soon-to-be completed OCBC Skyway that weaves an aerial walkway through a grove of 18 arboreal structures, which range in height from 25-50 meters (82-164 feet). The steel trunks will collect and store rainwater for reuse and will also sport built-in solar panels to generate electricity, which will be used, among other purposes, to release hot air into the  ground conservatories…"
2012  structures  design  architecture  singapore  trees 
may 2012 by robertogreco
G.D.P. Doesn’t Measure Happiness - NYTimes.com
"What these societies have in common is that rather than striving to be the biggest they instead aspire to be constantly better. Which, in the end, offers an important antidote to both the rhetoric of decline and mindless boosterism: the recognition that whether we are falling behind or achieving new heights is greatly determined both by what goals we set and how we measure our performance."
scandinavia  nordiccountries  economics  via:anthonyalbright  2011  well-being  happiness  growth  gdp  improvement  society  capitalism  competition  davidrothkopf  measurement  carolgraham  nicolassarkozy  josephstiglitz  bhutan  jeffreysachs  us  china  development  post-development  stability  sustainability  prosperity  wealth  australia  canada  singapore  japan  netherlands  norway  sweden  denmark  luxembourg  europe  fiscalresponsibility  humanism  shrequest1 
october 2011 by robertogreco
Yong Zhao » A True Wake-up Call for Arne Duncan: The Real Reason Behind Chinese Students Top PISA Performance
"Interestingly, this has not become big news in China, a country that loves to celebrate its international achievement. I had thought for sure China’s major media outlets would be all over the story. But to my surprise, I have not found the story covered in big newspapers or other mainstream media outlets. I have been diligently reading xinhuanet.com, the official web portal for Xinhua News Agency, China’s state-controlled media organization, but have yet found the story on the front page or on its education columns. Instead, I found a story that has caught the attention of many readers (in Chinese) that provides the real reason behind Chinese students’ top performance.

The story, entitled A Helpless Mother Complains about Extra Classes Online, Students Say They Have Become Stupid Before Graduation, follows a mother’s online posting complaining about how her child’s school’s excessive academic load have caused serious physical and psychological damages:"
education  china  pisa  testing  standardizedtesting  policy  arneduncan  2010  yongzhao  assessment  politics  international  well-being  singapore  korea  japan  hongkong  tcsnmy  schools  teaching  learning  rttt  nclb 
march 2011 by robertogreco
The Making of TIONG BAHRU on Vimeo
"Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy discuss the making of TIONG BAHRU, the 10th in the awardwinning Civic Life series exploring the relationship between community and civic spaces. TIONG BAHRU was shot in Singapore in June 2010 and starred over 150 volunteers from the community."
joelawlor  christinemolloy  socialengagement  civiclife  community  tiongbahru  film  art  singapore  space  place  civicspaces  neighborhoods  urban  urbanism 
january 2011 by robertogreco
How The Other Side Thinks « stone soup
"I was curious to see whether this correlation between educational values and leadership carries for other countries, and did a little impromptu research. I looked at the top 9 leaders of each country, and found their undergraduate major and/or graduate field. I started with the U.S., China, India, Singapore, and Germany. I would be interested in seeing others; however, I lack the language skill or Googling will to look them up.

I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions, but perhaps it should come as no surprise, given the results, that the Chinese government is less concerned about humanitarian issues than economic growth, infrastructure development, and technological advancement."
us  china  germany  india  singapore  policy  priorities  law  economics  government  leadership  leaders  humanities  humanrights  humanitarian  development  hujintao  barackobama  engineering  comparison  2011 
january 2011 by robertogreco
Secrets of the Happiest Places on Earth - NatGeo News Watch
"San Luis Obispo has the best emotional health in country & highest level of well-being…because they have a dozen or so things going for them that were put in place in late 1970s.

They made decision as a city, rather than making the city optimal for commerce, to make it optimal for quality of life. It used to be a forest of signs. Signs beget more signs. They instead limited the size of signs & put the resources into aesthetics. They outlawed fast-food drive-throughs so you don't have idling cars polluting the air, it's harder for people to eat fast food. They were the first place in the world to outlaw smoking in bars & restaurants, so as a result you have about the lowest rate of smoking in the country.

You can stand any place in SLO, a city of about .25 million people, & look around & see green. They have zoned it such that there's no building beyond a certain point, so everybody has access to green space, which we know lowers stress levels, & has access to recreation."
happiness  singapore  urbanism  geography  planning  urban  sanluisobispo  california  traffic  bike  biking  signs  greenery  denmark  nuevoleón  mexico  well-being 
november 2010 by robertogreco
The Answer Sheet - What other countries are really doing in education
"To summarize:

*More emphasis on the whole child, physical education, the arts, fostering talents and citizen skills.

*Less emphasis on numeracy and literacy or testing

*Greater respect for teachers, the profession and their role as partners in educational reform.

I wonder if these people would be interested in putting together a manifesto?"
daltonmcguinty  canada  singapore  us  finland  education  policy  reform  2010  learning  schools  publicschools  numeracy  literacy  wholechild  tcsnmy  art  arts  creativity  teaching  respect  seanslade  international  comparison  timolankinen 
november 2010 by robertogreco
KNOTS: the architecture of problems « LEBBEUS WOODS
"we should not let the lack of a ready answer be a reason to avoid asking a question. Indeed, the only questions worth asking are those for which we do not already have an answer. In this seminar we will not shy away from looking at the most daunting problems.

The approach we will take is based on a way of breaking down—analyzing—problems in terms of three components of every problem we as architects confront: the spatial, the social, and the philosophical. Certainly there are other possible categories we could employ, but I have chosen these based on my experiences and also to work well within the structure of our seminar and its time-frame. The following presentation is an example of how the three chosen categories work in attempting to formulate a particularly intractable ‘knot’ confronting us today: the problem of slums:"
architecture  problemsolving  slums  lebbeuswoods  philosophy  theory  infrastructure  knots  mcescher  stanleykubrick  theshining  cities  poverty  riodejaneiro  sãopaulo  social  society  mumbai  nyc  singapore  manila  design  community  gatedcommunities  wealth  disparity  thomashobbes  human  johnlocke  magnacarta  history  declarationofindependence  capitalism  socialism  adamsmith  socialmobility  communism  karlmarx  marxism  friedrichengels  aynrand  objectivism 
october 2010 by robertogreco
New Plan Will Let High Schoolers Graduate Early - NYTimes.com
"Dozens of public high schools in eight states will introduce a program next year allowing 10th graders who pass a battery of tests to get a diploma two years early and immediately enroll in community college. Students who pass but aspire to attend a selective college may continue with college preparatory courses in their junior and senior years, organizers of the new effort said. Students who fail the 10th-grade tests, known as board exams, can try again at the end of their 11th and 12th grades. The tests would cover not only English and math but also subjects like science and history. The new system of high school coursework with the accompanying board examinations is modeled largely on systems in high-performing nations including Denmark, England, Finland, France and Singapore."
highschool  education  us  policy  communitycolleges  admissions  schools  learning  assessment  reform  exams  denmark  english  finland  france  singapore 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Big Thinkers: Linda Darling-Hammond on Becoming Internationally Competitive | Edutopia
"Stanford University professor and noted researcher Linda Darling-Hammond discusses what the United States can learn from high-achieving countries on teaching, learning, and assessment -- from Finland to Singapore."
education  learning  teaching  schools  reform  21stcentury  edutopia  curriculum  international  global  finland  singapore  lindadarling-hammond  tcsnmy  projectbasedlearning  inquiry  inquiry-basedlearning  nclb  policy  standards  us  teachereducation  training  classpreparation  pbl 
february 2010 by robertogreco
ZaidLearn: The Finnish Education System Rocks! Why?
"In short, Singapore and Finland have become world renowned for their education systems, but interestingly they have achieved their success using quite different approaches (to say it mildly!). To get the juicy details of both, please read Amran Noordin's 6-part series mentioned above."
education  teaching  finland  singapore  comparison  systems  change  analysis  schools  policy 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Education in Singapore and Finland: a comparison Part 1 ~ Stephen's Web ~ by Stephen Downes
"This chart speaks volumes. It compares education in Singapore and Finland. Note the one area where they are the same. Yup: equal opportunities and free or heavily subsidized."
finland  singapore  education  schools  policy  publicschools  learning  government  curriculum  comparison 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Lessons from most successful schools abroad | csmonitor.com
"Education trends from other nations are gaining cachet as political and educational leaders strive to bring American schools in line with the demands of the 21st-century global economy." Part of the "What makes a teacher good?" series - see the sidebar for the other articles.
finland  singapore  schools  education  us  teaching  learning  policy  international  global  globalization  csmonitor 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Reform School | Newsweek.com
"What's the key to their success? What are they doing that the United States is not? First, they have many fewer children in poverty and a much bigger safety net. We have 22 percent of our kids in poverty—the highest proportion of any industrialized country...Second, they spend their money equally on schools, sometimes with additional money to the schools serving high-need students. We take kids who have the least access to educational opportunities at home and we typically give them the least access to educational opportunities at school as well. We have the most unequal spread of achievement of any industrialized country except for Germany. Then in Finland or Sweden or Hong Kong or Singapore, teachers get a completely free preparation, with a salary or a stipend while they're training. In Singapore, beginning teachers make more than beginning doctors. Our teachers teach 1,100 hours a year on average. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development average is 650 hours."
schools  education  us  teaching  reform  change  finland  singapore  science  lindadarling-hammond  poverty  policy  nclb  via:cburell 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Ministry of Education Singapore: BlueSky [via: http://learningalternatives.net/weblog/post/433/]
"Teach Less, Learn More is about teaching better, to engage our learners and prepare them for life, rather than teaching more, for tests and examinations."
singapore  teaching  learning  schools  curriculum  policy  depth 
july 2008 by robertogreco
IALA: Singapore: Teach Less, Learn More!
"The Singapore Ministry of Education says, "Teach Less, Learn More is about teaching better, to engage our learners and prepare them for life, rather than teaching more for tests and examinations." Their website contains such refreshing gems as:"
education  teaching  learning  philosophy  curriculum  schools  lcproject  administration  gamechanging  leadership  singapore 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Mixed Reality Lab, Singapore
"The Mixed Reality Lab, at the National University of Singapore, is aiming to push the boundaries of research into interactive new media technologies through the combination of technology, art, and creativity"
research  lab  reality  interactive  mixedreality  immersive  pervasive  arg  games  gamedesign  gaming  haptics  interaction  interactivity  interface  technology  singapore  science  future  design  ubicomp  virtual 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Singapore officials envision 'Boston of the East' | csmonitor.com
"But Singapore's program to reverse this flow by outsourcing world-class education to its shores has run into trouble."
education  singapore  global  globalization  international  colleges  universities  economics  politics 
october 2007 by robertogreco
IFTF's Future Now: Forward thinking cultures
"the greater a society’s future orientation, the higher its average GDP per capita and levels of innovativeness, happiness, confidence, and competitiveness" top=Singapore, Switz, Nether...bottom=Russia,Argentina
cities  countries  singapore  argentina  competition  happiness  future  perspective  society  world  global  economics  innovation 
july 2007 by robertogreco
Saffo: journal: 03.16.02007 Spaceship Singapore
"The lesson for the rest of us is obvious: we either apply the lessons being learned today in Singapore to the challenge of rescuing Spaceship Earth, or the best we can hope is to be lucky enough to live on a Spaceship Island surrounded by a sea of troubl
cities  sustainability  asia  singapore  environment  resources 
july 2007 by robertogreco

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