Friday, 24 May 2013

COMPETITION : Quality of life



"Forget GDP, the OECD has a whole new way to rank quality of life in countries around the world. Called "The Better Life Index," the new OECD data set ranks countries based on things like the employment situation, leisure time, and life expectancy.
The new index is meant to supplement more traditional means of ranking a country's success, like GDP growth, which may not account for other important factors in an individual's life, such as educational attainment, or one's community.
This index, however, isn't perfect. It includes stats like how many people vote, giving high marks to countries with compulsory voting rules. Housing stats focus on number of rooms to people and whether or not facilities have basic amenities, rather than say, actual space or location.


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/oecd-better-life-index-2011-5?op=1#ixzz2UEVecmc8 "

Monday, 13 May 2013

CHANCE : San Francisco's Chance for a Great Urban Transformation



"From new office and mixed-use developments like 222 2nd Street, Foundry Square, 140 New Montgomery, and 5M to the new residential developments rising on Rincon Hill, and, of course, the Transbay Terminal, vacant lots and former freeway off-ramps are being replaced by ever more dense and street-friendly projects that will accommodate the tens of thousands of people expected to move to San Francisco over the next couple of decades.

 San Francisco has an opportunity to experiment with a new model, one that balances density and development with public space and that encourages engagement, activity, and innovative thinking. The city can't expect developers to think beyond the pro formas of their respective projects but it can expect the tech-savvy, increasingly connected residents of the area to be part of the solution, rather than just another set of hurdles.

For most of San Francisco's history, SoMA has been a light industrial district, laid out in huge blocks with extra-wide streets to accommodate freight, factories and warehouses. With many of those intended uses now obsolete, SoMA has now famously reinvented itself as the new tech capital of the world, full of hot new companies like Dropbox, Pinterest, Airbnb and older innovators like Dolby, Autodesk and Salesforce.com. With SoMA office vacancy rates near zero, the tech-driven construction market is on fire. Though a significant share of San Franciscans might think we were better off before this latest influx, the people, funding, and the ideas that start in SoMA are a huge opportunity to reconsider what the neighborhood could become.

If the residents of San Francisco were keeping their eyes on the prize of smart development, they would take a fresh look at SoMA and its technologically-savvy businesses as a chance to do something remarkable. Imagine if the old paradigm of neighborhood development caught up to the speed of change that's actually happening out there. Why not help to re-invent the dominant 50+ year-old development model and rethink the city's neighborhood planning process? Why not encourage a new form of civic activism and engagement through new kinds of hyper-local mobile tools? Why not raise the bar on neighborhood design by creating a healthier dialogue between the world-class design thinkers who live in SoMA, the development community, and city government?"

in http://www.huffingtonpost.com

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Angelina Jolie

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

CHALLENGE : Take a look at your street. What would you do ?



"Creativity can completely transform Your Street
The Your Street Challenge is about seeing the possibilities and potential of urban spaces. It’s about being in touch with the needs of your community and thinking creatively to make Your Street smarter, safer, healthier and sustainable for everyone who uses it. Take a look at Your Street, what would YOU do?
Your idea could be a mural that inspires hope or a park that brings a community together. It could be an innovative way to fill potholes or a slick solution to securing bicycles. It could be a public vegetable garden, a crime prevention initiative or a system that encourages recycling. 
Creativity can positively affect the way countless people experience working, living or playing on Your Street. We're looking for ideas that will inspire, excite and uplift communities. The Your Street challenge is open to anyone, anywhere. Take another look at your street. what would YOU do? "

More : http://www.yourstreetchallenge.org/

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Monday, 6 May 2013

CHALLENGE : Improve your street quality of living




Do you know that making your street a better place to live, also helps improve your quality of life!
A city that is environmentally friendly ranks high on the lists of best places to live not only because it is a pretty city, but because pollution can cause health problems. Children who grow up in smoggy streets often suffer from asthma as well incidences of cancer and respiratory problems are often higher in those cities. Greener cities are healthier cities and health is a major factor when considering what city is the best to live in.
A greener city is also one that has a good parks system; natural areas not only make the city greener by cleaning the air, they also help people to reduce their levels of stress.
Encourage your city council and mayor to put more trees on your street.

If a city has a good local economy it provides jobs. What many people often fail to realize is that while some larger stores employ more people they also send profits out of the local area to head offices in other cities, or other countries. As such shopping at large chain stores should be balanced with shopping at smaller, locally owned stores. This will also mean more variety, and more interest, making for a better city to live in.
The local economy can also be helped by supporting things such as local craft markets and supporting local artists, crafters, builders, and service people.

You may think it is hard to reduce crime in your area but it may start with the simple matter of being a good parent, keeping your kids out of trouble, and being home for them more. You can also start a community watch group. Encourage and support your local police force, and work to improve impoverished areas.
If you are donating to charity consider donating to your local charity rather than a national (or international) one. You can donate food to the food bank to feed the hungry, or you can donate money to your local animal shelter to keep strays off the streets. You can volunteer your time!
You can also be a good neighbor to those around you, helping out the senior who needs their walk shoveled or filling in where ever there is a need. If you own pets, simply being a responsible pet owner and picking up after your dog, is a plus to your area as a whole.

The more entertainment a city has to offer the better the citizens enjoy living there. Free entertainment is always a plus, cities that have good natural areas offer easy, cheap, entertainment. Other forms of entertainment are golf courses, theaters, and so forth. You can help make the people of your city more aware of what activities it has to offer and encourage development of new recreational opportunities.

If you really want to make changes to improve your street you have to be willing to stand up for change. You can write letters to the editor of your local newspaper pointing out issues and suggesting ways to change things. You can also attend city council meetings and can contact your representatives when it is time for them to vote on matters; telling them what is important to you.