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"Cities (and villages) magnify humanity's strengths. They spur innovation by facilitating face-to-face interaction, they attract talent and sharpen it through competition, they encourage entrepreneurship, and they allow for social and economic mobility." (Edward Glaeser)
Effective public policy is essential to creating healthy villages and cities (and healthy agricultural areas). Land title and infrastructure including water and sanitation, public safety, transportation, health services and education must work effectively. Jobs must be available for families to secure housing and meet household expenses.
If this environment exists, small businesses will start, big businesses and investors will invest, and families and children can flourish. To create this environment is a very tough job and we are not good at it. "127 million people in Latin American cities live in informal settlements ... with large costs for residents, insecurity of tenure, lack of public services, discrimination by others, environmental and health hazards, and inequitable civil rights plus indirect costs in public health, criminal violence, and related social problems. (Lincoln Institute)
When disaster strikes these problems are immensely magnified. But Haiti will be rebuilt to be stronger and more sustainable than it was before the earthquake.
The challenge in Haiti can be met by its people and institutions with great support (and pressure for good use of it) from the international community. The absence of policy and structure provides a greater chance for sensible policy and structure. Innovative solutions include financing infrastructure through increased land values ("value capture") and "land pooling". (Lincoln Institute) "Charter cities" (Paul Romer) is another idea being explored.
The greatest force for rebuilding in Haiti is the earnest need of 10 million people and the energy and innovation that will create. African villages and cities will need to accomodate 2.6 billion more people in this century (United Nations NYT 5/3/11). Providing for an additional 3.3 million people annually in America was generating $300 billion of investment in 1998 in the kinds of projects we serve (our estimate). Our purpose is to provide templates for economic development that will provide means for feasibity analysis, development management and investor oversight. Presently these templates are expressed as case studies of actual projects developed in Africa, Asia, South America and in the U.S. Click on (whereever you see it) for a complete list of case studies presented on this website. Here are examples:
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