CD WiRe (Dec. 8-14)Posted on December 15th, 2011 No comments
1. Can Urban Transit Hubs Help Revitalize New Jersey’s Cities?
New Jersey’s Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit program has become popular with corporations and residential developers recently, with more than half of the program’s $1.5 billion committed to 13 projects over the past two years. But the nine cities currently eligible for the program, which provides a tax credit of up to the full value of capital investments in very large projects within a half mile of urban rail stations, may have to share the wealth with suburban areas that can attract large construction investments that retain or create jobs. Bills moving through both houses of the legislature seek to divert $200 million initially from the cities for new Grow New Jersey credits.
2. As Newark’s population grows for first time in 60 years, hope emerges for a city renaissance
No national headlines will come of this. Not yet. For 10 years, something unusual has been happening in Newark, according to data from the U.S. Census. While the inner ring of suburbs around the city have been losing population at a dramatic rate, Newark itself has gained population for the first time in more than 60 years. The growth wasn’t extravagant — the city added around 4,000 people since the turn of the century — but some experts say the data suggests that maybe, just maybe, Newark is beginning to turn a corner after decades of decline.
3. N.J. Turnpike Authority budget stays the same as Parkway, Turnpike tolls are set to sharply rise again
The New Jersey Turnpike Authority board has adopted a $475.5 million operating budget that calls for the elimination of 141 full-time jobs through attrition. There is no increase over the 2011 budget. The budget also reflects the first of the two toll increases that took effect three years ago. Motorists will see the second increase on Jan. 1, when tolls go up 53 percent on the turnpike and 50 percent on the Garden State Parkway.
4. Secret To A Long, Healthy Life: Bike To The Store
What would you say to a cheap, easy way to stay slim, one that would help avoid serious illness and early death? How about if it made your neighbors healthier, too? It could be as simple as biking to the store. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin were wondering if getting people out of their cars just a wee bit would create measurable improvements in health. So they gathered up data sets on obesity, health effects of pollution, and air pollution caused by automobiles in 11 Midwestern cities, and did a mashup.
5. More Jobs From Renovation than New Construction
The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently reviewed studies that show that repairing existing buildings is a sustainable economic strategy. Building renovation produces about 50 percent more jobs than constructing new buildings, according to the roundup of case studies.
6. Class Matters. Why Won’t We Admit It?
No one seriously disputes the fact that students from disadvantaged households perform less well in school, on average, than their peers from more advantaged backgrounds. But rather than confront this fact of life head-on, our policy makers mistakenly continue to reason that, since they cannot change the backgrounds of students, they should focus on things they can control. No Child Left Behind, President George W. Bush’s signature education law, did this by setting unrealistically high — and ultimately self-defeating — expectations for all schools.
7. Number of charter school students soars to 2 million as states pass laws encouraging expansion
The number of students attending charter schools has soared to more than 2 million as states pass laws lifting caps and encouraging their expansion, according to figures released Wednesday. The growth represents the largest increase in enrollment over a single year since charter schools were founded nearly two decades ago. In all, more than 500 new charter schools were opened in the 2011-12 school year. And about 200,000 more students are enrolled now than a year before, an increase of 13 percent nationwide.
8. Camden Named 2nd Most Dangerous City in America
Sometimes, just for a moment, I find myself forgetting that Camden actually exists. It’s not that I actively choose to block it out of my mind, like my 15th birthday party, but it’s probably because Philadelphians only go to Camden for one of two things: the Aquarium or a Phish show. But Camden, like a “troubled teen” who’s appeared on multiple episodes of Maury, just can’t get its act together. And much in the same way said troubled team needs discipline from an overbearing, ex-military/security guard, Camden needs help.
9. Would you really like to live there? America’ssaddest cities revealed… and three of them are in the Sunshine State
It might be bathed in glorious sunshine throughout the year – but new research has revealed the Floridian city of St Petersburg is the saddest place to live in the U.S. Having a Guinness World Record for 768 straight days of sunshine did nothing for the state’s fourth largest city – deemed to be a hotbed for suicides and anti-depressant pill poppers. The unemployment hotspot of Detroit, Michigan, unsurprisingly followed close behind, with third place in the ‘Frown Town’ stakes going to Memphis, Tennessee.
10. NYC launches push to enter green zone
New zoning proposals designed to make it easier for owners to make their buildings more energy-efficient and sustainable began the formal city public approval process on Monday. Existing zoning laws can actually impede owners trying to build green or retrofit their buildings. The new proposals are expected to lift some of those impediments. The changes include allowing owners to build thicker walls to accommodate external insulation, which could reduce energy consumption by as much as half, and allowing the installation of solar panels even if they would add more height to a building than zoning rules allow.
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