Traffic congestion in cities across the nation is on a disarming trendline heading upward, fueled, in part, by a strong economy and car-centered transportation networks. American drivers spent an average of 54 hours in traffic in 2017, according to the 2019 Urban Mobility Report, recently released by the Texas A&M University Transportation Institute. This finding is 15 percent higher than it was five years ago. The study reviewed traffic in 494 urban areas nationwide. “Usually, the first step of doing anything is understanding the problem,” said Bill Eisele, a co-author of the report. “And I think what we do a good job of is explaining just how extensive the problem is, and then from there we can begin to have the policy and other discussions about what we can do to fix it.” Follow this link to read more.
Jobs play a central role in the lives of most adults. As forces like globalization and automation reshape the labor market, it is clear that some people and places are positioned to do well while others risk becoming collateral damage. The well-educated and technically savvy find ample employment opportunities, while those with lower levels of education face a labor market that is decidedly less welcoming, with lower wages and less potential for career growth. Meanwhile, some regions dramatically outpace others in job growth, incomes, and productivity, raising disquieting questions about how best to promote broad-based economic growth. Follow this link to learn more.
Heather Allen, an international expert in gender and transport, will share her global insights into why we need to change how we plan urban transport networks, Tuesday, December 10, 2019 from 1-2 p.m. EST.
Women in cities around the world are faced with disproportionately more difficult transport decisions, particularly low-income women, women of color, migrant women, and single mothers compared to men. Certain cities are collecting and using data more strategically than others and developing comprehensive strategies to make gender-sensitive decisions. Her recent research in Buenos Aires, Quito, and Santiago resulted in a toolkit for cities. Based on this and her work for the World Bank led SUM4ALL initiative, she will share case studies and emerging best practices for urban practitioners to consider on how to respond to the gendered needs of urban transport with a view to creating more equitable, just, and safer cities for everyone. Follow this link to register.
As Americans, we see transportation as freedom. Give us a car and the open road, a bustling transit system, or bike lanes for miles. Transportation connects us to people and opportunity—and good infrastructure can make our lives better. This notion doesn’t end at the modes that move people. Freight trains are often the forgotten side of rail infrastructure, chugging day in, day out across our cities to deliver goods we rely on. Everything from consumer products to food to energy resources moves by rail. As infrastructure sits top of mind for policymakers at all levels of government, and we approach re-authorization of the federal highway program in 2020, it’s useful to reflect on our strengths. Privately funded freight rail is one of these strengths, an infrastructure asset that delivers stronger economies, more jobs, less congestion, and cleaner skies, all of which impacts municipalities. Here are five ways trains are driving cities forward. Follow this link to learn more.
On any given night, there are over half a million people experiencing homelessness in America, including 36,000 unaccompanied youth. According to the recent The State of Homelessness in America report, over one-third of all homeless people are living unsheltered on the street, in cars or in other places unfit for human habitation. While most Americans experiencing homelessness can find shelter at local emergency and transitional housing facilities, or with family and friends, the number of unsheltered individuals and families has increased for the third year in a row. This recent uptick in people living in unsheltered places has very visibly manifested itself in the growth and proliferation of homeless encampments in cities across the country. Follow this link to learn more.
Coordinated by graduate student Hannah Whitley in Penn State’s Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education, the Female Farmer Photovoice Project explores how socially constructed identities complicate barriers and opportunities for urban growers and connect to broader institutional inequities that perpetuate these problems. This past spring, 18 female urban agriculturalists were given disposable cameras and asked to take pictures that “tell their story” of urban agriculture. After three weeks of picture taking, participants met for a reflection meeting to share their photos, select which ones they wanted to share with the public, create titles, and write narratives for their photographs. These images and stories now are displayed on the project website’s digital gallery, www.thefemalefarmerphotovoiceproject.org, and in an exhibition that will travel across Pennsylvania and the Northeast this year. Whitley said she hopes the project will raise awareness of the importance of this kind of research. Follow this link to learn more.
Communities flourish when everyone within them has the opportunity to flourish. When urban-serving universities and communities join forces, we can confront the complexities of education, healthcare, economic, and human development in order to:
Prepare an increasingly diverse workforce to successfully navigate careers through technological, economic, and social change.
Assess, treat, and prevent urban health risks for increasingly diverse populations.
Create sustainable solutions for continued and inclusive growth that improve the quality of life in our communities.
Join educators, industry, nonprofit, and community leaders at The Ohio State University on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. EST in the Ohio Union to exchange ideas and reinvigorate the collective efforts toward strengthening and sustaining vibrant, inclusive communities. Follow this link to learn more.
At the top of a three-story building in Hong Kong, with car horns blasting on the streets below, Jim Fung teaches a dozen students how to thin out choi sum vegetables. “Always use the resources you have,” the instructor said as he placed shredded office paper into soil-filled plastic crates and wound string around bamboo sticks to make support frames. Fung was coaching the first cohort of students in an academy run by social enterprise Rooftop Republic to teach a new generation of urban farmers as demand for their skills soars. The organization is spearheading a movement to turn Hong Kong’s idle rooftops and urban spaces into farms to help residents reconnect with nature and make the finance hub more livable. Follow this link to learn more.