Archive for the ‘Globalization’ category

Toronto’s perfect getaway – NY Times Traveler

May 19, 2008

The Frugal Traveler finds Toronto more expensive than years ago, but shares a wonderful weekend with readers, filled with our kind of city exploration and good eating. In fact,  Matt Gross walks our local neighborhoods, visits Kensington Market, and the New Yorker heard about and dines at our favorite Vietnamese place, Rua Vang Golden Turtle.

The Times picture of the hot dog stand at Queen West and Spadina belies the vibrant cool of this very intersection. Most of the city’s design firms are within 3 blocks walk, the fashion district across the street, the best Queen West clubs a block either way, and Chinatown 3 blocks North. We’ve had coffees at the Lettieri (behind the hot dog stand) many times with friends.

The Frugal one explores on foot, and finds the mix of cultures from one street to the next exhilarating. These are real communities within the city, with ethnic restaurants and shops interspersed with the typical Big City coffee shops, boutiques, and clubs.

As I walked north, Ossington became more Vietnamese (billiards, video stores), then Portuguese (banks, sports bars) and a bit Italian (kitchen supplies). Very multiculti — no wonder Jane Jacobs, the proponent of urban diversity, settled in Toronto.

Toronto – city of the future, happening today. That may be why our “new Jane Jacobs” Richard Florida also settled here, to take his spot at the Rotman School of Business at U of T.  Paul Krugman’s piece about Berlin’s alt-transportation in the same Times edition (Stranded in Suburbia), could have been written about Toronto as a sizeable city on the brink of transforming, from mostly-cars to mostly-not. Give us a couple of years. Transformation takes time. To see how far our collective awareness has come, just follow neighbor Greg Greene’s documentaries, End of Suburbia and Escape from Suburbia. Many people scoffed at the End of Suburbia, but just a few short years later, the scenarios are real and are playing out every day. At the end of this day, a large dense, walkable city with great neighbors is the perfect getaway, and the perfect next place to live.

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Bursting at the Seams

October 16, 2007

Jeffrey Sachs – Speaking on solving global problems at the Reith Lectures. He may be a one-man Club of Rome.

And how can it be, ladies and gentlemen, that we think we can be safe? We think we can be safe when we leave a billion people to struggle literally for their daily survival, the poorest billion for whom every day is a fight to secure enough nutrients, a fight against the pathogen in the water that can kill them or their child, a fight against a mosquito bite carrying malaria or another killer disease for which no medicine is available, though the medicines exist and are low cost, thus letting malaria kill one or two million children this year. How can this be safe? How can we choose, as we do in the United States, to have a budget request this year of $623 billion for the military – more than all the rest of the world combined – and just $4.5 billion for all assistance to Africa and think that this is prudent? One might say it is science fiction that a zoonotic disease could arise and somehow spread throughout the world, except that AIDS is exactly that. How many examples do we need to understand the linkages, and the common threats, and the recklessness of leaving people to die — recklessness of spirit, of human heart, and of geo-political safety for us?

President Kennedy talked about a way of solving problems, and that too will be a theme of these Lectures. We are entering I believe a new politics, and potentially a hopeful politics. I’m going to call it open-source leadership. If Wikipedia and Linux can be built in an open source manner, politics can be done in that manner as well. We are going to need a new way to address and to solve global problems, but our connectivity will bring us tools unimaginable even just a few years ago.

We have new, old, and reinvented tools – online and offline – for generating collective wisdom toward solving complex social problems. What’s missing is the same thing that has always been missing: a bit of vision from the stakeholders, who might be committed to resolving differences among the different holders-of-stakes, to attempt a true dialogue with a meaningful consensus for action.

Dialogic design may be a means for such open source politics. It provides a means of engaging people with a problem in common in an open, democratic, and productive design thinking process. Policy making is a design problem, wherein a large and variable set of unwieldy inputs and voices overwhelm the decision maker, and a sensemaking process ensures to arrive at a decisions that intuitively organize the meanings and needs of the policy into a course of action. This is very hard work for politicians and policy wonks, neither discipline of course, being trained in design thinking. But it is a problem of designing, nevertheless.

In dialogue, you are heard and your contributions are honored, as are all contributions. Wisdom is that which emerges from the common through the exchange, understanding of the problem space, and generation of design possibilities. It is not wikiality – whether online or on-face, its the real deal.