Archive for November, 2009

by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 29th, 2009 7:34pm CST | 18 Comments

Overlooking and listening to the rhythmic surf of the Atlantic Ocean from a third floor condominium, it’s hard to be objective about Jacksonville. But we’ll try. Our personal reason to be in Northern Florida is interesting in its own right, but combined with the nine-month timetable for the newly appointed commission to write a charter for […]

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by (RSS) Regionalism | November 23rd, 2009 6:45pm CST | 6 Comments

Regionalism is all the rage. The Obama Administration is betting big on regional planning as a way to make smarter decisions on transportation, climate, the economy—all those things that don’t respect political boundaries. The Administration plans to reward communities that work together across jurisdictions toward common goals and, by implication, punish those that do not. […]

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by (RSS) Economic Development | November 23rd, 2009 1:39am CST | 6 Comments

At the risk of being burned at the stake for heresy, we just have to say it: we don’t care if warehouses are moving from Memphis to Mississippi. And while we’re at it, let’s be honest about one more thing: tax freezes are more about land development than economic development. But as long as our […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 21st, 2009 6:19pm CST | Comments Off on This Week On Smart City: Places That Define Cities

This week’s Smart City features Katherine Gustafson, award-winning landscape architect and designer of Chicago’s Lurie Garden. We’ll talk to Katherine about creating places of serenity, in a bustling city.Dr. Nancy Zimpher is the Chancellor of the State University of New York. With 64 campuses and almost a half million students, Dr. Zimpher believes she has […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 19th, 2009 2:10am CST | 15 Comments

There’s not much that can be done to the city and county websites that would do any damage. They are the digital equivalents of a three car pile-up on the interstate. Well, in the county’s case, it’s more like a five car pile-up. If a public website is the on-line representation of a government’s persona, […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 18th, 2009 3:30am CST | 10 Comments

Here’s the real problem with the appointment of the new Shelby County Mayor. It’s not the alliance between a couple of Republican commissioners to usher in the era of the Joe Ford Administration. It’s not the parody of leadership that two days of serial voting produced. It’s not even the laughable criticisms about the Wharton […]

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by (RSS) Economic Development | November 17th, 2009 3:00am CST | 5 Comments

Here we go again. It seems that Memphis economic development officials have an addiction to tax freezes that the Betty Ford Clinic couldn’t cure. Meanwhile, they have an obsession with North Mississippi that Sigmund Freud couldn’t have shaken. As a result, real reform of our community’s Payment-in-lieu-of-tax (PILOT) program always seems just out of reach, […]

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by (RSS) Memphis City Schools | November 16th, 2009 2:02am CST | 3 Comments

Three recent reports we’ve been reading are about social promotion of students, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO’s) and airports, all subjects that should be of interest to Memphis. In a study about social promotion of students in New York City, “Ending Social Promotion Without Leaving Children Behind,” the well-respected think tank, RAND Corporation, said that social […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 15th, 2009 9:18pm CST | 1 Comment

Smart City is talking with people who have discovered new ways of attracting and retaining a creative community. First we’ll speak with Helen Johnson and Josh McManus. They lead a group called CreateHere, which focuses on the artists in their own backyard in Chattanooga, TN. Through an innovative series of grants, programs and projects, CreateHere […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 13th, 2009 4:58pm CST | 7 Comments

In light of our post and your discussion about the D’s and F’s environment that most city school students come from, “Parenting, Language Development and School Readiness: The Importance of Early Brain Development,” a new report by the Urban Child Institute, is crucial reading for anyone who cares about our children. The skills that help […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 12th, 2009 8:38pm CST | 5 Comments

Often, it seems Memphis took Groucho Marx’s self-deprecating attitude and overlaid it on the entire city. Paraphrasing the comedian, Memphians don’t want to belong to any city that will accept them as members. It’s a lack of self-worth that plays out in local politics where big projects pass for vision and where cheap projects win […]

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by (RSS) Memphis City Schools, Neighborhoods | November 11th, 2009 12:40am CST | 20 Comments

It’s nothing short of hypocritical for us to wring our hands over the D’s and F’s given to Memphis City Schools students in the Tennessee Department of Education report card. After all, that’s exactly what we as a city preordained for them. Yes, these 105,000 students made D’s and F’s, but what did we expect? […]

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by (RSS) Downtown Revitalization | November 9th, 2009 1:37am CST | 16 Comments

At a time when cities were making investments to improve their downtowns, City of Memphis put our downtown up for adoption. More accurately, City Hall left downtown like a waif in a basket on the doorstep of the Center City Commission. There was no note and no money. There was only the directive for the […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 6th, 2009 5:47pm CST | Comments Off on This Week On Smart City: Making Cities Work And Fun

This week on Smart City,Ed Glaeser is our first guest, and he is always asking the question, “What makes cities work?” He is a prolific researcher at Harvard University’s Department of Economics, and he has challenged the wisdom of the ambitions of shrinking cities to get bigger. We’ll also speak with Randy Gragg, who is […]

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by (RSS) Memphis City Schools | November 4th, 2009 6:27pm CST | 3 Comments

Before yesterday is dubbed “Black Tuesday” for the sobering announcement that Memphis City Schools is doing a dismal job educating our students, let’s see it for what it is: a day to celebrate. We have a friend who says that Memphians love to pay people to lie to us – we’re doing great in economic […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 4th, 2009 12:24am CST | 3 Comments

We’ve been writing about great mayors because Memphis has never had one. With A C Wharton now in the mayor’s office with a mandate for action, he – like most of his predecessors – has an opportunity to be a great mayor. There is little resemblance between Shelby County Government and City of Memphis Government, […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 1st, 2009 10:50pm CST | 4 Comments

It’s hard to brag on a guy who’s spending $100 million to run for a third term that was supposed to be prohibited by law, but despite that, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is counted among our great mayors. Our last addition to our list of great mayors is former Bogotá Mayor Enrique Peñalosa whose […]

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