Mobile advertising network Adzookie has developed a new advertising concept that helps
people with a killing mortgage. As a consequence of the financial crisis many
people experience difficulties paying their mortgage. Changing facades into huge
ads might be a solution. In exchange for turning your house into a massive
billboard, Adzookie pays your monthly mortgage expenses. Regular houses will get
an entire paint job, and for the time the billboards are shown, home-owners get
their entire monthly mortgage rate paid for by the company.
Renewal by immigrants is the fundamental American narrative, the story of
people in ships, then covered wagons, coming to settle and make fruitful a land
that rewarded their courage and grit. Except now that story is scorned and
discarded, along with many of those immigrants.
Bills to streamline and increase legal immigration die in Congress. There are
no visas of the type Mayor Bloomberg imagines, though we could use immigrant
entrepreneurs in Detroit, Buffalo, New York City — all over. Nearly 150 years
after President Lincoln signed the Homestead Act, the new frontier is in the
inner city, not way out West. There is no federal or state Department of Urban
Homesteading, but — DUH — maybe there should be.
As a matter of national policy, Canada actively solicits immigrants and has
done so for years. The public supports this and the default political assumption
is in support of continued immigration. According to a recent poll, only a third
of Canadians believe immigration is more of a problem than an opportunity, far
fewer than any other country included in the survey. Rather, Canadians are
concerned about "brain waste"
and ensuring that foreign credentials are appropriately recognised and rewarded
in the job market? Being an immigrant is also no barrier to being a proper
Canadian; in parliamentary elections earlier this month, 11% of the people
elected were not native. This warm embrace isn't just a liberal abstraction; 20%
of Canadians are foreign-born.
It's well-known that Canada is an outlier among immigrant nations, but it is
nonetheless interesting to consider in reference to the ongoing and heated
debate about immigration in the United States. Why is Canadian public opinion so
different from views in United States?
Anyone who knows Boston knows that the city is famously confusing for drivers. Its "squares" (usually vaguely defined intersections of various major and minor streets, virtually never square in shape) are the points where that confusion usually reaches its peak, precipitating a variety of questions (Which way do I go? Why are all of these streets one-way? Have I reached my destination? What lane do I want to be in?).
(via) Instead of banging your head against the steering wheel, take a moment instead of ponder how the street layout illustrates the region's unique historical development pattern, as per the Bostonography blog:
The city is like miniature region because the overall organization of streets is like what you’ll see if you look at a smaller-scale map and see how cities and towns dot the landscape with major roads connecting the dots (perhaps as is evident in the Mass Streets map from last month). In the urban area, instead of cities and towns we have squares and neighborhoods, and instead of highways we have a variety of surface thoroughfares. In fact, it’s pretty much exactly the same pattern; in the old days, some of what are now the squares and neighborhoods connected by city streets were different towns and settlements connected by a series of roads. Bit by bit neighborhoods (which often do have coherent street patterns within) filled the gaps, and Boston annexed some of the separate towns, until there was a rather solid central city with an interior web of streets running every which way.
The author of the post rightly points out that Boston's tangled street nodes engender a very strong sense of neighborhood and place across the city and many of the surrounding towns:
Anyway, the best thing about the wacky squares is the unique, strong identity of each. They’ve all got their own geographic, residential, and commercial character, and if you live near one it’s your square. And the charm, oh the charm of the confusing intersections and navigation from square to square instead of compass directions.
Boston's squares are absolutely one of the things that make it unique, and the rigor that they require is something I sometimes miss when I travel to other, more intuitively navigable North American cities. Boston's layout commands an engagement with the streetscape and a certain awareness of how things fit together that so many other cities, on this continent at least, really don't. That's part of why I like it.
Yes, Paris has its Peripherique, Rome its Circonvallazione Orientale, but those freeway-style highways run around the center, not through it. The center is more likely to have boulevards and streets instead of freeways.
The relative presence of romance is tied, naturally, to the relative presence of people:
Now, I'm not one to say that the Interstate Highway System in the U.S. was a mistake. Far from it, the system of highways we now take for granted made intercity travel much more convenient for many more people. When I-40 was built from Asheville to Hickory when I was a kid, it meant we could visit my grandmother after my parents got off work and come back on the same night.
But, within cities, they did a lot of damage, building the transportation equivalent of the Berlin Wall through neighborhoods and parks, frequently displacing the poor from their homes while doing so.
A Brown University economist, Nathaniel Baum-Snow, boils this down: each new federally-funded highway added to a central city has the cumulative effect of reducing said city's population by approximately 18 percent.