Category Archives for "Discussions"

On Line At New York

Outside the Helen Hayes Theatre, waiting for the doors to open, a very agitated male teenager passed on the sidewalk.  He was walking briskly and talking in a loud voice with himself.  He was also gesticulating, and in so-doing was using up all the free airspace in all directions. “What’s the matter with him?” asked […]

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Boston’s Wake Up Call

Bostons as seen from Cambridge

Where I live in Canada, Boston is well known for a few things. First, it’s “Maritimers’ Heaven.” Folks from the Canadian provinces bordering on the Atlantic Ocean, think Boston is pretty special and sophisticated. Boston is also known as a tough town. Boston’s urban emergency plan and the Mayor’s recent Task Force on Climate Change […]

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First Order of Political Business

Citizens who are hard at work, raising children, going to school and raising social capital might assume that there’s a good division of labour in the community.  They’d be right to assume that the first duty of politicians is to keep citizens safe and thus political leaders have lead the police, fire, EMS, and other […]

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The City of the Future

  I’ve always thought of Seattle as a symbol of modernity.  Growing up in Vancouver, I viewed the Space Needle as an example of American prosperity and progress.  It reached toward outer space while the monorail sleeked along the ground toward the future.  I now live in Toronto, but visit Seattle when I can, to […]

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Flight Out of Danger

It’s hard to warn people to stay clear of dangerous situations. Motorists will remove road barriers and drive right into danger. They’ll even use logging roads to get around road closures. Vague direction to “be aware” or “take shelter” may be misunderstood or ignored by many.   For the most part, urban emergency plans are dominated […]

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Houston Has Solved a Problem

  The communications component of a crisis is often as much of a challenge as is the crisis itself. Former Exxon Chair, the late Larry Rawl, was famously told in a congressional hearing that if the Valdez oil spill had happened in Japan the entire management team would resign to let others take over. Mr. […]

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A Serious Reality Check

Charlotte’s emergency plan is a reality check, wake up call, or perhaps a bucket of cold water on the topic of evacuation and our safety in numbers.   Researchers have called most city approaches to these topics “fantasy plans” because they rely on private cars when up to 56% of urbanites don’t own one, citizen […]

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