This blog is part of an online learning platform which includes the Pathways to New Community Paradigms Wiki and a number of other Internet based resources to explore what is termed here 'new community paradigms' which are a transformational change brought about by members of a community.

It is intended to offer resources and explore ideas with the potential of purposefully directing the momentum needed for communities to create their own new community paradigms.

It seeks to help those interested in becoming active participants in the governance of their local communities rather than merely passive consumers of government service output. This blog seeks to assist individuals wanting to redefine their role in producing a more direct democratic form of governance by participating both in defining the political body and establishing the policies that will have an impact their community so that new paradigms for their community can be chosen rather than imposed.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Beginning: Working to create Liveable Cities through Liveanomics | EIU BUSINESS RESEARCH

In beginning to try to define new paradigms for our communities, we need some idea as to what it is that we are attempting to create.

On the surface that is not that hard. We all want the same basic things at a minimum - to have enough food to eat, to be free from disease, to be able to educate our children. There are other goals that many would add to this list as being as essential, such as ensuring a healthy environment in which to live, access to maternal care and other health providers. Markets that provide for the products we seek without exploiting others or the environment. Then we want to be able to improve our lives beyond that minimum standard.

It seems straight forward enough but what this basically comes down to is trying to create what are being called "livable communities". It is a term that calls for a new word in the English language. It would be the opposite of oxymoron which is two words that don't logically seem to go together like jumbo shrimp. Livable communities seems absurdly obvious and even redundant, of course all communities should be livable, all our communities are livable, we have lived here for decades.  Yet, in many ways our communities are not livable in the fullest sense.

For the professionals in the field this approach may seem naively simplistic, even paternalistic but this blog is not geared toward them. It is targeted toward someone without experience and only minimal knowledge of economic or community development. Someone who is just getting the notion that they could make make a better and more fully livable community and wants to start taking the necessary steps to do so.

To talk about creating livable communities from a grassroots level we need to go further in our definition. One online definition says that livable communities are:

Communities that provide and promote civic engagement and a sense of place through safe, sustainable choices for a variety of elements that include housing, transportation, education, cultural diversity and enrichment and recreation.

This definition includes a number of different aspects, housing, transportation, etc. It is not that different from the same list of basic minimum things we all want in life mentioned above. Clearly, creating something such as this is not something anyone can do by themselves. There will be a need for professionals in these fields. There will need to have government officials involved in some capacity as well. Most importantly, there will be a need for other people who are also willing to be educated and to work toward this.

It is the last group that is the most important. Professionals and politicians can sometimes be a hinderance in creating livable communities because it is far easier for them to get to the no as in 'no, we can't afford it' or 'no, we never did it that way'.

As was said, creating a livable community means bringing together a number of elements but all of them have an economic component to them in common. Despite my last statement concerning professionals and the word no, I will be emphasizing the economics component of my economic development background on these pages. In the world we face after the financial mess created in the first part of this century, it will be the economic challenges that will be the most daunting in trying to create livable communities.

This particular post examines the work done through a partnership between the Economic Intelligence Unit of the Economist Group (publishers of the Economist) and the Philips Company.

It provides a good survey of the challenges and means of overcoming those challenges when taking on this endeavor. Although it is from Europe with an English slant in accents (also explaining the different spellings) it still contains valuable lessons. There are two reports with links provided below that are rich in information. The first deals with what people want from livable communities, the second, titled "Liveanomics" explores more closely the economic aspects that need to be considered. I will be breaking this issues down into smaller components in the future.

Both reports offer key findings, case study and multimedia for further study. I am also making links to the videos and other resources provided under the Liveanomics report readily available at a new wiki appropriately named New Community Paradigms Wiki under Livable Communities at the "Liveanomics" EIU Livable Cities Studies wiki page.

Making cities work: Delivering results in a downturn A panel discussion at the Economist Conferences event, "Creating tomorrow's liveable cities", which was held in London in January 2011.

Ideas to revolutionise urban living A panel discussion featuring Sir Jeremy Beecham, Former Chairman, LGA and Labour Member, House of Lords; Kate Henderson, chief executive of the Town and Country Planning Association; Rogier van der Heide, chief design officer at Philips Lighting; and Nancy Holman, director of planning studies at the London School of Economics.

Eric Pickles: A vision for the future of UK cities The keynote address at the Economist Conferences event,"Creating Tomorrow's Liveable Cities", held in London in January 2011, by Eric Pickles, Britain's Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

Jan Gehl: Cities for people (wiki page) The closing keynote at the Economist Conferences Event, "Creating tomorrow's liveable cities", presented by Professor Jan Gehl, founding partner of Gehl Architects, Copenhagen.

This video provides a good deal of information on the benefits bicycling and walking have on a livable community when integrated into the community landscape.

Urban liveability and economic growth Iain Scott, editor of the report, discusses the findings of the Economist Intelligence Unit's research with Mark Kleinman, assistant director of economic and business policy and Greater London Authority. The discussion took place at an Economist Conferences event, "Creating tomorrow's liveable cities", in London in January 2011.

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