Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Ethnicity and Environmentalism: more to come

I am currently scrambling to finish my undergrad thesis on ethnicity and environmentalism. What am I doing on this blog? ....exactly.

I would like to discuss these interesting topics more on this blog after I am done, but for now, here are some links to popular media that spark my brain:

David Suzuki Foundation (aka what I found when googling: isn't David Suzuki just the best token ethnic environmentalist of our generation?)

Utne Reader (I just knew Utne had to have made a comment on this)

Audubon Magazine (kudos to this conservation org who is facing some of the fire head on) 

An image from that last article:

Monday, December 16, 2013

Arts, Design and Culture

These are what can make a city an attractive place to live.
Art used to to revitalize a declining city. Such is the case with...

Loved Hamilton when I was there. I had a real sense of it being on the verge of change, and seeing that many grassroots movements were happening.

Many of the people there were 
"Art is the new steel" - cultural industry
Artistic dividend - the contribution of art to occupational life
James Street North.

Started grassroots - the goverment has caught on? Integrated it into the plans. 
- Hamilton’s Economic Development Strategy 2010-2015
- Love Your City Project Hamilton’s Cultural Plan 2013

- Gentrification
- Dependency on public funding
- Focus on downtown, but not the outer areas.

Whitehorse and the North
Cultural industries/art industries not necessarily that useful in every case.
But in the north, Whitehorse has growing cultural industries.

Theories of Local Economic Development

Is there some middle ground between these the definitions of LOCAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ? Definitely. Different theories of local economic development may may define LED at or between these two extremes. 

Theories of LED

Neoclassical theory sees development as increasing economic growth per capita. Straight up, money matters. Adam Smith and the invisible hand, David Ricardo and comparative advantage.... 

Policies of free trade and market deregulation exemplify the influence of this theory. 

EXAMPLE: Resistance of governments, including the Waterloo Regional Municipality, to implement living wage or beef up minimum wage regulations, for fear that too much regulation will detract big box stores like Walmart or Target. 

Export/economic base sees development as increasing output, income and employment. It's a little more holisitic than neoclassical theory, but not by much. It focuses on the importance of trade. The goal is for a region to export more than it imports. 

Policies of the export/economic base concept include: industrial recruitment (running after industries), infrastructure building, and import substitution.

EXAMPLE: Smokestack chasing - Sudbury 

Growth pole is another Keynesian-inspired concept. It says that some industries can be particularly helpful for growth - a propulsive industry that diffuses wealth to the rest of economy. Evidence of this phenomenon is evidence of development. 

Policies: choosing a winner and investing.

EXAMPLE: Blackberry for Waterloo.... used to be.  

Product/profit cycle: This came out the political economy of the 70s. Main thinkers here were Kondratiev (Capitalism happens in 50-60 year cycles! Observe it in prices, interest rates, and economic variables, dudes!) and Joseph Schumpeter (innovation and technology change are where it's at! First entrepreneurs and then large firms). Economic development based on ability to produce new products. 

Policies: Mixed

Flexible specialization
Close-knit ties between different kinds of firms to specialize in a cluster. Unique cultural identity is important

EXAMPLE: Kitchener trying to create a culture around their specialization - with culture and music. Contrast with Silicon Valley

Definitions - what does it mean to develop?

As I've explained before, I love cities/urban areas, and am interested in many facets of them - their physical environment, economic stability,  and the social wellbeing of its people.

"Local Economic Development" is getting to be a pretty buzzy idea for many academics and in the practice-isms of government and economic directors.

What IS local economic development?

Image from the World Bank's website

There are MULTIPLE definitions, that emphasize different aspects. Perhaps this lends itself to the fact that local economic development is very multidisciplinary - economics, geography, sociology, political sciece...etc

Definition #1: Social justice development

“Development means making a better life for everyone. In the present context of a highly uneven world, a better life for most people means, essentially, meeting basic needs: sufficient food to maintain good health; a safe, healthy place in which to live; affordable services available to everyone; and being treated with dignity and respect.

This definition  understands development needing to provide more people beyond their basic needs. 
Beyond meeting these needs, basic to human survival, the course taken by development is subject to the material and cultural visions of different societies. The methods and purposes of development are subject to popular, democratic decision making.”  - Peet and Hartwick (2009:1)

Defintion #2: Wealth development

“Economic development: the ongoing process of creating wealth in which producers deploy scarce human, financial, capital, physical and natural resources to produce goods and services that consumers want and are willing to pay for.
“Process of national wealth creation for the benefit of local consumers and producers [through] either the expansion of job opportunities and tax base or the efficient redeployment of local resources ” – Malizia (1994: 84)

Is there some middle ground between these two definitions? Definitely. See my next post!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Environmental Justice

For my thesis project, I am doing a lot of reading about environmental justice. Interesting stuff! I feel as though this is what I've been searching for my whole university career, and I am just coming upon it now at the end. It's all about what I'm interested in: the environment, but not just the environment. How culture, people, and justice fit into all of it! 

We sell these in the ES Coffeeshop!

I am co-managing the ES Coffeeshop this term. And we sell these delicious jars of goodness! Awesome on my toast.