Cities

Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in North American Cities

Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in North American Cities
Available on line January 7, 2011, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Vol. 3, 2011, pp. 181-187 doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2010.12.004

R. Zimmerman and C. Faris.
01/07/2011

Climate change mitigation and adaptation action plans are developing at a rapid pace, being driven by both local initiatives and emerging alliances and support organizations that cut across multiple jurisdictions. These plans include a broad range of approaches, many of which are evolving into best or leading practices and which will be increasingly used as a model for the plans of other locales. This paper draws attention to several best practices in both mitigation and adaptation for North American cities, and also highlights many of the supporting alliances and groups that disseminate key practices and drive potential synergies. Additionally, it is noted that despite the increasing rate of plan development, a continuing need exists for increased attention to adaptation at the local level.

Assessing the cost of transfer inconvenience in public transport systems: A case study of the London Underground

Assessing the cost of transfer inconvenience in public transport systems: A case study of the London Underground
Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Vol. 45, 2, 91-104

Guo, Zhan and Nigel H.M. Wilson
01/03/2011

Few studies have adequately assessed the cost of transfers in public transport systems, or provided useful guidance on transfer improvements, such as where to invest (which facility), how to invest (which aspect), and how much to invest (quantitative justification of the investment). This paper proposes a new method based on path choice,3 taking into account both the operator's service supply and the customers' subjective perceptions to assess transfer cost and to identify ways to reduce it. This method evaluates different transfer components (e.g., transfer walking, waiting, and penalty) with distinct policy solutions and differentiates between transfer stations and movements.

The method is applied to one of the largest and most complex public transport systems in the world, the London Underground (LUL), with a focus on 17 major transfer stations and 303 transfer movements. This study confirms that transfers pose a significant cost to LUL, and that cost is distributed unevenly across stations and across platforms at a station.

Transfer stations are perceived very differently by passengers in terms of their overall cost and composition. The case study suggests that a better understanding of transfer behavior and improvements to the transfer experience could significantly benefit public transport systems.

 

To Leave An Area After Disaster: How Evacuees from the WTC Buildings Left the WTC Area Following the Attacks.

To Leave An Area After Disaster: How Evacuees from the WTC Buildings Left the WTC Area Following the Attacks.
Risk Analysis, Vol. 31, Issue 5, 2011, published on line December 8, 2010. doi:10.1111/j.1539-6924.2010.01537

R. Zimmerman and M. Sherman.
01/01/2011

How people leave a devastated area after a disaster is critical to understanding their ability to cope with risks they face while evacuating. Knowledge of their needs for communications about these risks is particularly crucial in planning for emergency responses. A convenience sample of 1,444 persons who survived the World Trade Center (WTC) attacks on September 11, 2001 were surveyed to ascertain their initial and ultimate destinations once they had left the buildings, how they arrived there, the role of types of obstacles they encountered, and the need for information and the seeking of other people as potential factors in influencing the process of leaving immediately. This survey was part of a larger, original survey. Results showed differences in how people traveled by mode to initial and ultimate destinations, how immediately they left the area, and factors associated with when they left. How they traveled and when they left were associated with where people lived, their tendency in times of stress to seek out other people including who they knew in the immediate area (e.g., co-workers or friends), the physical conditions surrounding them, and the importance to some of waiting for more information. Many people indicated they did not leave immediately because they had no information about where to go or what services would be available to them. Perceptions and communications about risks they were facing were reflected in the choices they considered in how and when to leave the area. These findings have numerous ramifications for understanding and guiding personal behavior in catastrophic situations.

Using cross-curricular, problem-based learning to promote understanding of poverty in urban communities

Using cross-curricular, problem-based learning to promote understanding of poverty in urban communities
Journal of Social Work Education, 46(1), 147 – 156.

Gardner, D., Tuchman, E., & Hawkins, R.
11/01/2010

This article describes the use of problem-based learning to teach students about the scope and consequences of urban poverty through an innovative cross-curricular project. We illustrate the process, goals, and tasks of the Community Assessment Project, which incorporates community-level assessment, collection and analysis of public data, and social policy analysis and planning. Students in three master's classes (Social Work Research I, Ending Poverty: Models for Social Change and Social Action, and Advanced Social Policy in Aging) worked in self-directed groups to explore the impact of economic insecurity on our most vulnerable clients. The project engaged students, linked research and policy practice, and helped to educate the next generation of social workers about urban poverty and strategies for community-based research and practice.

Hidden Talent: Tacit Skill Formation and Labor Market Incorporation of Latino Immigrants in the United States

Hidden Talent: Tacit Skill Formation and Labor Market Incorporation of Latino Immigrants in the United States
Journal of Planning Education and Research December 2010 vol. 30 no. 2 132-146

Iskander, Natasha and Nichola Lowe
09/17/2010

This article examines informal training and skill development pathways of Latino immigrant construction workers in two different urban labor markets: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. We find that institutional differences across local labor markets not only shape how immigrants develop skills in specific places but also determine the localized obstacles they face in demonstrating and harnessing these skills for employment. To explain the role of local institutions in shaping differences in skill development experience and opportunities, we draw on the concept of tacit skill, a term that is rarely incorporated into studies of the labor market participation of less educated immigrants. We argue that innovative pathways that Latino immigrant workers have created to develop tacit skill can strengthen advocacy planning efforts aimed at improving employment opportunities and working conditions for marginalized workers, immigrant and nonimmigrant alike.

Urban Aging, Social Isolation, and Emergency Preparedness

Urban Aging, Social Isolation, and Emergency Preparedness
IFA Global Ageing Vol. 6 Issue 2, p39

Gusmano, M.K & Rodwin, V.G.
08/03/2010

The article presents a review of an individual approach to emergency preparedness for socially isolated elderly city dwellers. It cites crisis instances highlighting older persons' vulnerability and the importance of neighborhood characteristics as the isolated elderly had reportedly higher mortality rates in poor neighborhoods and abandoned lots than in equally poor but more socially-connected neighborhoods. It suggests a population-based case management requiring information dissemination and outreach strategies for finding and assisting older persons.

The Rise and Fall of a Micro-Learning Region: Mexican Immigrants and Construction in Center-South Philadelphia

The Rise and Fall of a Micro-Learning Region: Mexican Immigrants and Construction in Center-South Philadelphia
2010. Environment and Planning A, Volume 42, Number 7

Iskander, Natasha, Nichola Lowe, and Christine Riordan
07/01/2010

This paper documents the rise and fall of a micro-learning region in Philadelphia. The central actors in this region are undocumented Mexican immigrants who until recently were able to draw on the intensity of their workplace interactions and their heterodox knowledge to produce new and innovative building techniques in the city's residential construction. The new knowledge they developed was primarily tacit. More significantly, the learning practices through which immigrant workers developed skill and innovated new techniques were also heavily tacit. Because these practices were never made formal and were never made explicit, they remained invisible and difficult to defend. With the housing market collapse and subsequent decline in housing renovation in south-center region of Philadelphia, this tacit knowledge and the practices that gave it shape and significance, are no longer easily accessible. We draw on this case to demonstrate the importance of access to the political and economic resources to turn learning practices into visible structured institutions that protect knowledge and skill. Whether or not the practices that support knowledge development are themselves made explicit can determine whether the knowledge they produce becomes an innovation that is recognized and adopted or whether it remains confined to a set of ephemeral practices that exist only so long as they are being enacted.

Hospital Performance, the Local Economy, and the Local Workforce: Findings from a US National Longitudinal Study

Hospital Performance, the Local Economy, and the Local Workforce: Findings from a US National Longitudinal Study
PLoS Med 7(6): e1000297. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000297

Blustein, J., Borden, W.B., Valentine, M.
06/29/2010

Abstract

Background: Pay-for-performance is an increasingly popular approach to improving health care quality, and the US government will soon implement pay-for-performance in hospitals nationwide. Yet hospital capacity to perform (and

improve performance) likely depends on local resources. In this study, we quantify the association between hospital performance and local economic and human resources, and describe possible implications of pay-for-performance for socioeconomic equity.

Methods and Findings: We applied county-level measures of local economic and workforce resources to a national sample of US hospitals (n = 2,705), during the period 2004–2007. We analyzed performance for two common cardiac conditions (acute myocardial infarction [AMI] and heart failure [HF]), using process-of-care measures from the Hospital Quality Alliance [HQA], and isolated temporal trends and the contributions of individual resource dimensions on performance, using multivariable mixed models. Performance scores were translated into net scores for hospitals using the Performance Assessment Model, which has been suggested as a basis for reimbursement under Medicare’s ‘‘Value-Based Purchasing’’ program. Our analyses showed that hospital performance is substantially associated with local economic and workforce resources. For example, for HF in 2004, hospitals located in counties with longstanding poverty had mean HQA composite scores of 73.0, compared with a mean of 84.1 for hospitals in counties without longstanding poverty (p,0.001). Hospitals located in counties in the lowest quartile with respect to college graduates in the workforce had mean HQA composite scores of 76.7, compared with a mean of 86.2 for hospitals in the highest quartile (p,0.001). Performance on AMI measures showed similar patterns. Performance improved generally over the study period. Nevertheless, by 2007—4 years after public reporting began—hospitals in locationally disadvantaged areas still lagged behind their locationally advantaged counterparts. This lag translated into substantially lower net scores under the Performance Assessment Model for hospital reimbursement.

Conclusions: Hospital performance on clinical process measures is associated with the quantity and quality of local economic and human resources. Medicare’s hospital pay-for-performance program may exacerbate inequalities across regions, if implemented as currently proposed. Policymakers in the US and beyond may need to take into consideration the balance between greater efficiency through pay-for-performance and socioeconomic equity.

Please see later in the article for the Editors’ Summary.

Economic Development Impacts of High-speed Rail

Economic Development Impacts of High-speed Rail
RCWP 10-007 June, 2010

Levinson, David
06/01/2010

High-speed rail lines have been built and proposed in numerous countries throughout the world. The advantages of such lines are a higher quality of service than competing modes (air, bus, auto, conventional rail), potentially faster point-to-point times depending on specific locations, faster
loading and unloading times, higher safety than some modes, and lower labor costs. The disadvantage primarily lies in higher fixed costs, potentially higher energy costs than some competing modes, and higher noise externalities. Whether the net benefits outweigh the net costs is an empirical question that awaits determination based on location specific factors, project costs, local demand, and network effects (depending on what else in the network exists). The optimal network design problem is hard (in the mathematical sense of hard, meaning optimal solutions are hard to find because of the combinatorics of the possible different network configurations), so heuristics and human judgment are used to design networks.

 

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