Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Why Can't the United States Learn from the Miracle of Medellin?

A recent article in Foreign Policy reviews the transformation of Medellin, Colombia--home to drug-lord Pablo Escobar--from being a fortress of violence to a prosperous tourist destination through innovative government action.

Given that urban planning and social programs drove Medellin's success, the authors argue "Think government can't deliver smart, intelligent urban design that changes lives? Travel to Medellín, and it's hard to remember why it is that Americans have given up trying."

The article acknowledges that social programming costs a lot of money. They go on to explain that Medellín's "uniquely civic-minded business elite" made spending possible by accepting tax increases.

Medellín still has far to go, but Americans can learn a lot from its measured success.

To read the entire article click here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

GOP supports public radio - but only in Cuba.

While House Republicans showed no difficulties in placing National Public Radio (NPR) on the chopping block in mid-March, they have overlooked conservative pet projects that are far more costly, of lower quality, and ineffective. Two such projects are the anti-Castro broadcasts Radio and TV Martí, both funded by the U.S. government and aired in Cuba. Both are expensive and fruitless remnants of Cold War-era propaganda battles. Their termination would go largely unnoticed by Cubans and be applauded by most U.S. taxpayers, who presently shell out roughly USD 30 million every year to fund the broadcasts. - This analysis was prepared by COHA Research Associate Zoë Amerigian

For full article click here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Can we please talk about infrastructure?

A recent article, "Re-imagining Infrastructure", by Mark Gerenscer published in The American Interest, provides a lucid analysis of America's infrastructure needs, deficiencies and reasons for underinvestment.

In the face of our bleak present, the author outlines several important steps to consider to actually improve our infrastructure. In particular the article stresses having a national vision, leadership that integrates diverse stakeholders, and designs that account for cross-overs in jurisdictions and sectors, and that anticipate technological advances.

In conclusion the author aptly cautions, "If we fail at this [rebuilding our infrastructure], we risk our nation’s future—not only our quality of life, but our economic competiveness and our national security."