Urban Planning

Environmental Justice

Environmental Justice
Encyclopedia of Quantitative Risk Assessment. Edited by B. Everitt and E. Melnick. John Wiley Publishers. New York, NY,

Restrepo, C. & Zimmerman, R.
05/01/2008

Quantitative risk assessment is a growing, important component of the larger field of risk assessment. The need to understand the risks of an activity, be it economic, environmental, public health/biomedical, or even based on terrorist or other hazardous impacts, has led to a number of methods of analysis for many different application scenarios. Indeed, all major areas of the larger endeavor - hazard identification, dose-response assessment, exposure assessment, and risk characterization - rely on and benefit from quantitative operations. Within these contexts, enhanced understanding of both the variability and the uncertainty inherent in the risk identification process is critically dependent upon proper implementation of appropriate statistical methodologies.

Analysis of Electrical Power and Oil and Gas Pipeline Failures

Analysis of Electrical Power and Oil and Gas Pipeline Failures
Critical Infrastructure Protection, edited by E.D. Goetz and S. Shenoi. New York, NY: Springer, pp. 381-394.

Simonoff, J.S., Restrepo, C., Zimmerman, R. & Naphtali, Z.
01/01/2008

This paper examines the spatial and temporal distribution of failures in three critical infrastructure systems in the United States: the electrical power grid, hazardous liquids (including oil) pipelines, and natural gas pipelines. The analyses are carried out at the state level, though the analytical frameworks are applicable to other geographic areas and infrastructure types. The paper also discusses how understanding the spatial distribution of these failures can be used as an input into risk management policies to improve the performance of these systems, as well as for security and natural hazards mitigation.

Evaluating Environmental and Economic Benefits of Yellow-Dust Storm Related Policies in Northern China

Evaluating Environmental and Economic Benefits of Yellow-Dust Storm Related Policies in Northern China
International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology, Vol. 15, pp. 457-470

Guo, Z. & Ning, A., Ploenske, K.R.
01/01/2008

Yellow-dust storms (YDSs) have attracted increasing attention worldwide in the past decade. They can extensively disrupt socioeconomic activities and pose hazards to ecosystems, as well as human health.  In recent years, China has invested multi-billions of dollars to mitigate the impact of YDSs.  However, the effectiveness of such YDS-control programs has rarely been evaluated. This research develops a causal model to quantify the environmental benefits of YDS-control programs in China, and further employs regional economic models to evaluate the ensuing economic impacts. The economic benefits generated from the YDS-control programs have remained stable across the years, primarily because of the multiplier effect of the investments, while the environmental benefits tend to decline over time.  Our results suggest that YDS-control programs should consider stimulating local economic activities in addition to environmental goals in order to be cost-effective and sustainable in the long term.

IESP Brief: Public Funding for After-School Programs 1998-2008

IESP Brief: Public Funding for After-School Programs 1998-2008

Weinstein, M., Calabrese, T.
01/01/2008

The authors of this policy brief document that in the decade since the Open Society Institute awarded a challenge grant to TASC to encourage the creation of sustainable public funding streams for after-school programs, every level of government has dramatically increased public funding for comprehensive after-school programs in New York City.
The authors note that the City of New York has contributed an increasingly larger share of public support since the city launched its Out-of-School Time Initiative to provide kids with academic, cultural and recreational activities after school and during summers. The authors estimate that eight times more kids in kindergarten through high school attend after-school programs today than in 1998. "Over the past ten years in New York City," they conclude, "public support for after-school programs has become one of the foundations of service for children and youth."

A Prescription for Getting the MTA on the Right Fiscal Track

A Prescription for Getting the MTA on the Right Fiscal Track
The Stamford Review, Fall, pp. 27-24.

Brecher, C. & Mustovic, S.
09/01/2007

Typically when an asset is acquired it is assigned a "useful life" representing the amount of time it can be expected to stay in use. Then a fraction of the asset's purchase price, equal to one year of its "useful life," is counted as an annual expenditure called depreciation. The MTA's depreciation schedules are based upon estimated useful lives of 25 to 50 years for buildings, two to 40 years for equipment, and 25 to 100 years for infrastructure. Most subway cars are depreciated over 30 years and buses over 12 years. Setting aside money equal to the value of depreciation, known as "funding depreciation," is a way of ensuring that an organization has adequate capital to replace assets at the end of their useful life. In contrast, failing to fund depreciation enables an organization to meet its cash expenses each year without having a budget that is balanced under generally accepted accounting principles. However, the adverse consequence of this practice is a shortage of capital and a resulting need to borrow in order to replace depreciated assets. This is the path the MTA routinely takes.

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