March 25, 2021  |  permalink

threesixtyCITY with Claude Grunitzky

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The future of cities is the future of sub-Saharan Africa – a broad swath of the world with a bulging youth bracket and the world’s fastest urbanization rates. TRUE Africa’s Claude Grunitzky has been chronicling the region’s rise for two decades through his company’s media arm and now its online education platform, TRUE Africa University, created in conjunction with MIT. He joins us to discuss how the pandemic has shuttered many of the continent’s best universities, how he hopes to help meet the need of a new generation of students, and how TAU is also an opportunity to teach the world about pan-African achievements as well.

Click on the image above to watch the video on Facebook, or click here for the podcast on Apple Podcasts.

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March 23, 2021  |  permalink

Henley & Partners: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

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(Henley & Partners – the consulting firm that more or less invented investment migration and golden visas – asked me to summarize the North American and Caribbean standings of its new survey migration destinations during the pandemic. To no one’s surprise, the United States performed terribly. To Canadians’ surprise, Canada finished first globally. And to many’s surprise, small Caribbean islands may offer the best value for riding out a pandemic. My essay is reproduced below.)

The last year has been clarifying in terms of global governance. The nation presumably best prepared for a pandemic, for instance, was first hobbled by its leaders’ criminal negligence, then humbled by people’s casual disregard for their neighbors’ health and safety. For those seeking safe havens, America’s apparent indifference to saving its citizens’ lives caused all of its material advantages to crumble – along with the strength of its passport once nations recognized its threat to their desperate efforts at containment.

It’s no coincidence the first nation to pre-emptively close its border with the US a year ago tops this assessment. True to form, Canada’s quiet competency, deference to authority, and historical “garrison mentality” – as seen in five provinces walling themselves off from the rest of the country to great success – culminated in the best overall score.

South of the (indefinitely-closed) border, the less said about the Trump administration’s pandemic non-response, the better. President Biden set the tone of his presidency early with the repeal of his predecessor’s “Muslim ban”, legislation to create a path to citizenship for undocumented residents, and an aggressive timetable for inoculations. But even he cannot reverse the political polarization hampering federal efforts – as seen in Texas’s unilateral decision to lift restrictions – nor can he easily repair the institutional vandalism that was initiated on Trump’s watch.

From a purely residence- and citizenship-by-investment (RCBI) perspective, it’s the Caribbean nations of St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Lucia that offer the most post-pandemic value, both having leveraged their island status to mount effective quarantine measures while offering some of the world’s most affordable CBI programs. The region has also become a hotbed of innovation around “nomad visas”, with Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands all having launched tax-free short-term residency schemes to attract remote workers in lieu of tourists.

But given the catchphrase of politics is “what have you done for me lately?”, the Trudeau government’s early pandemic successes may soon be forgotten if it cannot rescue itsflailing vaccination program. Meanwhile, Americans are looking forward to a “normal” summer while Caribbean nations look to India and China for help instead. The standing at the end in 2021 may look very different indeed.

Canada – Top RCBI country for Covid response but not without failings

The classic example of a most valuable player who does many things well without superlatives in any of them, Canada tops this global benchmark despite never wrestling the virus into submission (unlike runner-up New Zealand), nor having an especially distinguished RCBI program (unlike clear winner Austria). Instead, it simply persevered, with a death rate that’s middling globally but is less than half of that of its larger neighbor. In its favor: a functioning political system in which even populist politicians such as Ontario premier Doug Ford has dismissed anti-mask groups as “a bunch of yahoos”. As Covid variants appeared, the country tightened its travel restrictions further, inspiring a culture of shaming. Until last November, Canadians united behind the government’s pandemic response, as seen in the willingness of Quebec and Ontario residents to endure a return to soft lockdown. Canada isn’t perfect, and the majority of its citizens aren’t likely to be vaccinated soon, but as a redoubt against the world it’s everything you need it to be.

US – Biden has much catching up to do

Where to begin? During the Trump administration, America’s ranking in “government efficiency” landed somewhere between Thailand and Cambodia – which is not a knock on either country, but one should expect more from the superpower whose absolute and per capita healthcare expenditures far outstrip those of every other country on Earth. While its hospitals proved more resilient than anyone could have hoped in the grim first wave of the pandemic, the lack of social cohesion compared to its northern neighbor means common sense is commonly discarded in favor of the culture wars. While the Biden administration gathers steam behind rising vaccination rates and a USD 1.9 trillion stimulus package, visa applicants aren’t likely to forget how quickly their fortunes might turn again in the 2024 presidential elections.

The Caribbean – Excellent governance in a crisis

Perhaps the region’s biggest winner – from a purely CBI standpoint, at least – is St. Kitts and Nevis, which outshone its regional neighbors in several respects, with quarantines, monitoring, and detection chief among them. While the Caribbean nations on this list trail far behind the healthcare capabilities of much larger competitors, they hold their own from a governance standpoint. As just one example, the St. Lucia Citizenship by Investment Unit has made a firm commitment to governance and transparency. And given how quickly governance is evolving in the region – even in the absence of vaccines – the Caribbean is well-positioned to be the sandbox for evolving notions of citizenship going forward.

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March 21, 2021  |  permalink

threesixtyCITY with Claudia Sahm

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On March 11, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a $1.9 trillion stimulus package including cash, child care and health care assistance, and other benefits for the large majority of Americans. Hailed at the largest expansion of the U.S. social safety net since LBJ’s Great Society, the act was not without its critics, with some arguing that its measures are not permanent and do not go far enough, while others warned of the risks of an overheating economy. Joining us to rebut those critics was former Federal Reserve and White House Council of Economic Advisors economist Claudia Sahm, who made the case that even stronger measures are necessary to prevent deepening post-pandemic economic inequality.

Click on the image above to watch the video on Facebook, or click here for Apple Podcasts.

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March 14, 2021  |  permalink

CoMotion LIVE: Light at the End of the Tunnel — How Transit Bounces Back

We convened Wednesday, March 10 for a vital conversation on how to keep our public transport systems moving in CoMotion LIVE: Light at the End of the Tunnel: How Transit Bounces Back.
We last touched on this subject six months ago, but so much has changed since then. We’ve seen the “double dip” as COVID numbers roared back up in the winter, followed by diverging vaccination responses in the U.S. versus Europe. But with a year of experience now under their belts, transit operators are acting smarter than ever before, with some now notching their best ridership numbers since the beginning of the pandemic. We’ll listen in to our expert speakers as they share what’s changed, how they’re making use of new funding (like the CARES Act), and why they’re optimistic about the future of public transportation.

To start, Karen Vancluysen, Secretary General of POLIS Network, and Chris Snyder, Europe CEO of microtransit operator Via filled us in on what’s changed since they last joined us six months ago. They were joined by Danielle J. Harris, Director of Mobility Innovation at Elemental Excelerator and L’erin Jensen, Corporate Communications Specialist at TransLoc and Host of The Movement Podcast, who brought their own expertise to this important discussion.

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March 14, 2021  |  permalink

threesixtyCITY with Michael Tubbs

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Two years ago, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs launched a pilot program to distribute monthly $500 checks to 125 randomly selected individuals earning less than the city’s median income. Now, the results are in, and while they’re shocking they shouldn’t be surprising: Recipients were healthier, happier, and less anxious than their counterparts in the control group. Today, Tubbs is the founder of Mayors for a Guaranteed Income – a national coalition including many of America’s most prominent Black mayors.

With these results in hand, and with a new round of stimulus checks on their way to Americans, what would it take to make such programs permanent? Why are mayors best-positioned to oversee such programs? And what does it mean to see guaranteed incomes through the lens of social justice rather than a technocratic solution?

Click on the image above to watch the video interview on Facebook, or here for the podcast.

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March 05, 2021  |  permalink

CoreNet NoCal: How Companies Can Prepare Today and Build a Better Tomorrow

In February, I joined CoreNet’s Northern California chapter meeting for a presentation on “Proximity City” and “Higher Ground” followed by an excellent Q&A with Christina Weber, VP of Growth & Client Solutions at stok. Click on the video above to watch; jump to 11:00 to skip the opening remarks.

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March 05, 2021  |  permalink

threesixtyCITY with Rebecca Elliott

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Communities around the United States face the threat of being underwater. This is not only a matter of rising waters reaching the doorstep. It is also the threat of being financially underwater, owning assets worth less than the money borrowed to obtain them. Many areas around the country may become economically uninhabitable before they become physically unlivable.

In her new book Underwater: Loss, Flood Insurance, and the Moral Economy of Climate Change in the United States, the London School of Economics sociologist Rebecca Elliott explores how families, communities, and governments confront problems of loss through the lens of flood insurance, which shapes who can live on the waterfront, on what terms, and at what cost.

Please click on the image above for the Facebook broadcast, or click here to listen to the Apple Podcast.

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February 26, 2021  |  permalink

“Nomad Cities” on the Urban Tech Podcast

Urban Tech’s John Thomey was kind enough to invite me on his podcast to remote workers’ “nomad cities,” climate migration, CREtech, climate tech, and so much more. Here’s a (machine transcribed) excerpt:

And I say this as somebody who studied air travel and airports the logic of like of a security theater post nine 11 is now going to become healthier. And I worry about the trade-offs of this. I’m really glad to see that a handful of cities have pushed back on this Somerville, mass, Portland, Maine, others.

Cities banning facial surveillance, facial recognition by at least government agencies is a good first step. Still, I hope that we’ve learned enough that we’re going to push back on like this creeping surveillance into the hands of the big tech stacks w Amazon ring has done with what they’re trying to do with sidewalk their product on this.

So I don’t know. I think that’s something we need to think long and hard about; at what point do we curtail this stuff and put these rights in place?

And then the second part, I think we need to be thinking a lot about is going back to remote work too, is like the biggest thing I worry about is that now that we’ve seen that large employers and large organizations have realized they don’t need offices, are they going to realize they don’t need employees?

Like we’ve seen this trend towards having project-based or zero-hour employees where you don’t have fixed schedules, will they do this to professional knowledge workers? Or like you just get hired on Upwork or some of these other platforms where you don’t have full-time employment anymore. You’re bidding against everybody else for the same kind of work.

To what extent will we see organizations hold themselves out? And again, how do we have protections in place? How do we empower workers to do that? I hope that we’re not all just like squabbling around doing that. So, I don’t know. I’ve been thinking about some of the dark sides of this stuff because I feel like remote work has been praised as the future of everything.

Even as we acknowledge it like everybody is burnt out and the style is not working right now. So how do we return to that balance post-pandemic? And I don’t know that it’s part of a nascent project I’m working on about thinking through what could like a neo-guild look like? What kind of this bottom-up organizations look like where workers can band together and have more agency over their workflows or rely on each other if their employers are going to be permanently behind a Zoom screen?

Please click here to listen.

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February 26, 2021  |  permalink

threesixtyCITY with Veena Dubal

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University of California Hastings law professor Veena Dubal joined us on threesixtyCITY to discuss the implications of Prop. 22, the California ballot measure creating a permanent class of gig workers without the full protections and benefits of full-time employees. The primary backers of the measure – Uber, Lyft, and Doordash – aim to take the law nationwide, while the effects are already being felt throughout California as companies seek to replace staffers with contract workers and press labor unions to embrace the the “Uberization” of work. Click on the image above for a partial video of our conversation, or click here for the Apple podcast version.

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February 25, 2021  |  permalink

threesixtyCITY with Pastor Andre Alexander

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Andre Alexander, lead pastor at The Tabernacle in St. Louis, exemplifies what it means to rebuild a neighborhood alongside its community, rather than displacing it. The Tabernacle Community Development Corporation works in the Jeff-Vander-Lou neighborhood of North St. Louis to purchase and renovate homes for rent as a means of helping residents develop pathways to homeownership. Pastor Andre argues transformation is possible in the neighborhoods many have walked away from – but that it requires creative solutions, local collaboration, and no lack of passion. Click on the image above for a video of our conversation, or click here for the Apple podcast version.

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About Greg Lindsay

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Greg Lindsay is a journalist, urbanist, futurist, and speaker. He is the director of applied research at NewCities and director of strategy at its mobility offshoot CoMotion.  He is also a partner at FutureMap, a geo-strategic advisory firm based in Singapore, a non-resident senior fellow of The Atlantic Council’s Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative, and co-author of Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next.

» More about Greg Lindsay

Articles by Greg Lindsay

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ZINE 03: BETTER

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The State of Play: Connected Mobility in San Francisco, Boston, and Detroit

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The State of Play: Connected Mobility + U.S. Cities

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The Engine Room

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The Office of the Future Is… an Office

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Now Arriving: A Connected Mobility Roadmap for Public Transport

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Why Every Business Should Start in a Co-Working Space

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Can the World’s Worst Traffic Problem Be Solved?

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Hacking The City

Fast Company  |  September 22, 2015

We Spent Two Weeks Wearing Employee Trackers: Here’s What We Learned

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HR Meets Data: How Your Boss Will Monitor You To Create The Quantified Workplace

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5 Global Cities of the Future

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