Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Inspiration for Urban Policy can be Found Everywhere

While planning and envisioning a future urban area, it is easy to get stuck in a rut and avoid new ideas. However, there is an abundance of inspiration from other cities in developing a successful city of the future. 

Policy researchers at NYU recently compiled a list of highlighted innovations from a top list of cities all over the place, to bring together a concentrated list of incredible policies currently being implemented. Interestingly, as the innovations were analyzed, not every city has innovations under specific, similar
categories. The categories under which innovations fall differ from city to city, showing inspiration can be taken from anywhere and tailored to a specific city according to its makeup. 

Ultimately, the researchers compiled a list of 15 highlights believed to be the most interesting, fresh, and innovative policies for a future urban area. A few of these highlights include:
  • 311 systems like in Boston and Chicago, which provide real-time updates on the status of requests
  • San Francisco's universal college savings plan for all kindergarten students, its Zero Waste initiative, and tax free commuter benefits program
  • Chicago's seed fund for public agency innovation and its strategy of organizing private sector fiscal experts to generate mass budget savings
  • Denver's Peak Academy which sends public sector staff to "innovation school"
  • London's Spacehive crowdsourcing initiative to fund community projects
  • Philadelphia Digital Badging initiatives that enables students to gain credit for skills developed outside of school
  • Affordable age in-place housing programs in  Seattle, Vancouver and Santa Cruz
  • Michigan's Prize-Linked Savings program that creates cash incentives for underbanked individuals to save more
Columbia can take inspiration from these innovations in urban policy and begin our own. What time is better than now? Initiatives like CRCI (Columbia Regional Competitiveness Initiative) must take these innovations to heart when developing policies and programs that are tailored to the unique needs of Columbia and the Midlands region. This way, we can keep an innovative edge while improving the attractiveness and competitiveness of the region.

To read more on the study mentioned above, read this

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