Saturday, July 14, 2007

Healthcare: Presidental Candidates Take Aim, and What Happens to the Industry's Growth When They do?

Voters in United States rank healthcare second only to Iraq as an issue of concern in the presidential campaign. Close to 45 million people in this country lack healthcare coverage, including 6.5 million in California — roughly 17% of the state's population. Increasingly, Americans realize that our healthcare system, which at $2 trillion a year represents 18% of GDP, with spending expected to double by 2016, is probably unsustainable. That adds up to an economic crisis that must command the attention of the 18 candidates with serious aspirations to become the next president.

Heathcare is the fastest growing industry sector in most areas. What happens to this growth when Presidential hopefuls start spewing their answers?

More here.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Tacoma, Washington: Wired for Investment

America’s No. 1 Wired City once captured the fancies of journalists around the globe looking for places with a fresh story to tell. Tacoma’s story got told and retold more than 200 times. Not anymore.

The world went wireless. Today, America’s No. 1 Wired City finds itself obsolete technologically, irrelevant to journalists and relegated to a past chapter in the Tacoma saga.

So, this spring, the City of Tacoma made a public plea for expert help with an ambitious goal – instigate a new surge of local and national media coverage that persuades developers, business owners and commercial real estate investors to pour private capital investments into Tacoma.

More here.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Asland, Oregon Going Green

Joining a much larger movement, they've got a vision for Ashland, Oregon. It's about a future without cheap oil, cheap electricity or cheap food — a time when citizens and City Hall will band together for sustainability.

They want to put it into the city goals list for the coming fiscal year and mesh it into city codes now so they can adapt to those times, allowing everyone to have enough heating, housing, food, water, transportation and education as well as a sound local economy.

To that end, a small group of citizens and city officials is hammering out a resolution that will guide all city decision-making, requiring that people ask the question: "Is this action meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future?"

More here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Broadband for All: Not Quite

In April 2004, as the election season was heating up, President Bush appeared at the annual convention of the American Association of Community Colleges in Minneapolis and declared his goal of bringing high-speed Internet access "to every corner of our country by the year 2007."
Well, here we are (in 2007). And here we aren't (fully wired for broadband technology). Not even close.

The Public Policy Institute of California issued a report last week in which it found that 47 percent of all households statewide had broadband Internet access as of 2005. Nationally, the figure is closer to 40 percent.

And yes, in my assessment we are making progress, but there is a ways to go.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Russia's High Tech Push

From the street, Russia's bid for a place among the world's high-tech titans has none of the gleam of Silicon Valley glass and steel. But walk inside a clutch of weather-beaten, Soviet-era buildings on the southern edge of this Siberian city, and you'll find tinges of San Jose-inspired ambience nurturing what some here call the "Silicon Taiga."

Russian authorities envision high-tech hubs emerging in Moscow and several other Russian cities, including St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod. They are setting aside billions of rubles for the construction of "techno-parks" to give those hubs new office space, hotels and housing. And they have talked about budgeting $7 billion for the development of nanotechnology, the science of creating and manipulating materials at the scale of a nanometer, or billionth of a meter.

Read the full story here.

Monday, July 9, 2007


Great Read: Brookings' Restoring Prosperity

The evidence is clear. On the whole, America's central cities are coming back with growing employment and increasing numbers of young people, empty-nesters, and others choosing city life over the suburbs. Unfortunately, not all cities are fully participating in this renaissance.

Many cities are lagging behind their peers, especially older industrial communities that are still making the transition from manufacturing-based economies to more knowledge-oriented activities. These cities weren't always in such a tenuous position. They were once economic, political, and cultural hubs and the engines of America's economic growth. And so they can be again.

The Restoring Prosperity Initiative provides a framework for understanding how to restore prosperity in Americais struggling cities, particularly those in the Northeast and Midwest. A new report by the Brookings Institution, Restoring Prosperity: The State Role in Revitalizing America's Older Industrial Cities, anchors this initiative and describes the challenges, unprecedented opportunity to leverage existing assets, and a policy agenda to advance their renewal. It is targeted at state and local government, business, and civic leaders and underscores three central messages:

- Given their assets, the moment is ripe for the revival of older industrial urban economies.

-Older industrial cities possess a unique set of characteristics and resources that, if fully leveraged, could be converted into vital competitive assets.

-States have an essential role to play in the revitalization of older industrial cities, but they need a new urban agenda for change. The

-The overall benefits of city revitalization—for families, for suburbs, for the environment, and ultimately for states—are potentially enormous.

Read more at this resource link:

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Principles for Developing Affordable Housing

More and more communities are searching for affordable housing solutions. Look at what ULI is working on in this regard.

The Urban Land Institute's Ten Principles for Developing Affordable Housing provides a road map for making affordable housing a reality in your community.

The principles address building community support, leveraging public incentives and financing, creating effective partnerships, understanding your market and your customer, and the importance of good design and sustainability. This booklet is based on the expertise of the nation's leading affordable housing developers as well as affordable housing leaders in the public and nonprofit sectors.

Urban Land Institute