Speculating on London’s housing future – Contested Cities



Informe EME: Valoración económica de los servicios de los ecosistemas suministrados por los ecosistemas de España (EMEC)

Portada EMEC_webEl proyecto de investigación aplicada que aquí se presenta Valoración económica de los servicios de los ecosistemas suministrados por los ecosistemas de España se enmarca, conceptual y metodológicamente, en el proyecto “La Economía de los ecosistemas y la Biodiversidad” (TEEB en sus siglas en inglés, http://www.teebweb.org). Inspirado en las ideas de la Evaluación de Ecosistemas del Milenio (http://www.maweb.org), esta iniciativa, tiene como objetivo dar a conocer el valor económico de los servicios de los ecosistemas y proporcionar las herramientas metodológicas necesarias para contabilizar correctamente este valor.

Este trabajo facilitará la creación de políticas más efectivas para proteger la biodiversidad y para alcanzar los objetivos del Convenio sobre la Diversidad Biológica para el año 2020, así como integrar los resultados alcanzados tanto a nivel de las políticas Europeas como en el Plan Estratégico Estatal del Patrimonio Natural y de la Biodiversidad, que es el principal instrumento para la planificación de la acción de la Administración General del Estado. Por ejemplo, en el Contexto Europeo, la Acción 5 de la Estrategia de la UE sobre biodiversidad para 2020 pide a los Estados miembros, mapear y evaluar el estado de los ecosistemas y sus servicios en el territorio nacional para el año 2014, evaluar el valor económico de estos servicios, y promover la integración de estos valores en la contabilidad y los sistemas a nivel comunitario y nacional, para el año 2020″. Los resultados de este proyecto han sido diseñado para poder cumplir los objetivos marcado desde la UE y se consideran como un paso importante para el futuro trabajo de evaluación a escala internacional en relación con IPBES.

Continúa leyendo Informe EME: Valoración económica de los servicios de los ecosistemas suministrados por los ecosistemas de España (EMEC)

The App Economy Is Now ‘Bigger Than Hollywood’ / The Atlantic

The web might be the most important medium in American culture.
Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

What is the major cultural force in America right now? It might just be apps and the web.

While reading a self-laudatory Apple press release, the technology business analyst Horace Deidu found something remarkable: The iOS App Store distributed $10 billion to developers in 2014, which, Deidu points out, is just about as much as Hollywood earned off U.S. box office revenues the same year.


From a sheer personnel standpoint, then, the App economy is almost certainly bigger than Hollywood. And as Deidu writes, it’s also “easier to enter,” “has wider reach,” and “is growing more rapidly.”

The iOS App Store Versus Hollywood U.S. Box Office

Horace Deidu

To me, that the American app industry may eclipse the American film industry is more interesting for what it means culturally. There’s a growing sense that the products of the sector we usually call “tech” are attaining cultural primacy—the web is the new TV.

What does this feel like? For me, it’s seeing ads for “Clash of Clans” during the Super Bowl, or the thing where cable news talks more about Twitter and Facebook than their users talk about it. It’s where BuzzFeed feels more culturally ubiquitous than MTV. It’s where Nickelodeon introduces a nightly primetime show that literally includes, as a major feature, the viewer watching child stars watching YouTube videos. It’s Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever. It’s YouTube stars interviewing the President.

Perhaps this iteration of web-iness-as-culture is only a fad, a symptom of a wider tech bubble. (It’s hard to remember where the MSN in MSNBC first came from.) But as the web slowly weaves its way throughout American culture, we’re going to see stats like this more often.

+ artículo publicado en The Atlantic

The Link Between Religious Diversity and Economic Development / Richard Florida

Image AP/Mohammed Ballas
AP/Mohammed Ballas

The holiday season is a time when people all over the world reflect on the role of religion in their lives. But how does religion, and especially religious diversity, affect our economies?

I decided to take a look using data from the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project on “global religious diversity.” The Pew data track the level of religious diversity, measured as the percentage of the population that belongs to eight major religious groups in countries around the world. These include the five major world religions—Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism—which account for about three-quarters of the world’s population, as well folk or traditional religions, the religiously unaffiliated (atheists, agnostics, etc.), and other religious groups (Baha’i, Sikhism, Taoism, etc.). The study ranked countries on a 1 to 10 scale based on their having a more equal share of these religious groups.

The map above, from the report, shows the pattern of religious diversity worldwide. There are some surprises here. Though the countries with the least religious diversity are obviously the least secular—Vatican City, Afghanistan, and Iran are all near the bottom of the list—religious diversity or pluralism clearly does not result in secular values. Six of the twelve countries that scored very highly on their diversity ranking are in the Asia-Pacific region: Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea, China, and Hong Kong. Five more are in sub-Saharan Africa—Guinea-Bissau, Togo, the Ivory Coast, Benin, and Mozambique. South America’s Suriname rounds out the top dozen.

With the help of my Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) colleague Charlotta Mellander, I dug a little deeper into the ways that religious diversity might be associated with economic performance. As usual, I note that correlation does not imply causation, and ultimately one would want to control for the effects of religious diversity alongside other variables in multivariate analysis. Still, five key findings jump out from this analysis.

  • First and foremost, religious diversity is associated with the overall productivity and economic competitiveness of nations. Religious diversity is positively associated with total factor productivity (.32) based on World Bank measures and overall economic competitiveness (.56) as ranked by the World Economic Forum. It is also associated with higher levels of entrepreneurship (.37) based on the Global Entrepreneurship Monitorrankings.
  • Pluralism is also associated with more urbanized societies, with a positive correlation to national levels of urbanization (.31).
  • Religious diversity tracks key markers of social tolerance. It is positively correlated to the Gallup survey responses on the acceptance of racial and ethnic minorities (.45) and the acceptance of gays and lesbians (.31). There is an even stronger relationship between religious diversity and the treatment of women based on the UN’s Gender Inequality Index, where more gender equal nations also have more religious diversity (.55).
  • Pluralism is tied up with the broad shift to a post-industrial knowledge-based economy, as it is positively correlated with share of workers in the creative class (.42).
  • Finally, pluralism is associated with the overall the happiness and well-being of nations. It is positively correlated with Gallup’s overall measure of life satisfaction (with a correlation of.32) and even more so with the United Nations’ assessment of overall human development (.38).


Many pundits and social scientists continue to discount the economic role of diversity, turning instead to more standard economic variables like technology and education. Those things clearly matter, but the diversity and openness of a society do as well. Our analysis finds that diversity is associated with economic competitiveness, entrepreneurship, and key measures of talent and human capital.

Of course, this relationship likely goes both ways, as higher levels of economic development and human capital are likely to be associated with greater tolerance and diversity. That said, openness to diversity is also likely to help prompt economic development by encouraging innovation and enabling societies to better attract and tap into a wide range of talent across lines of gender, ethnicity, nationality, and religion.

+artículo publicado en citylab

Metro Jobs—Who’s Up, Who’s Down / Brookings

It was welcome news in early June that the United States had finally surpassed the number of jobs it had pre-recession. Some areas of the country, however, had long ago achieved that feat. For others, the road back to even remains a long one. And in many parts of the country, these two kinds of metro areas are in close proximity.

That’s evident from a map in our latest MetroMonitor, which tracked the economic performance of the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas through the first quarter of 2014. Of the 100, just 44 had more jobs than their pre-recession peak. Clearly, Texas metro areas remain standouts, with all six posting at least 5 percent more jobs than before the crisis. Florida is the anti-Texas, with all seven of its major metro areas beneath their pre-recession jobs totals.

Metro Jobs


+ artículo publicado en brookings

Cooperative City, Cooperative Community | Urban Omnibus

Despite its distance from the center of New York City, Co-op City’s site and scale make it prominent on the landscape: anyone who’s driven north on I-95 has taken note of this final cluster of high-rises before crossing city limits into the lower density suburbs of Westchester County. Critics, historians, and even the Supreme Court have noticed as well, weighing in since construction began in 1966 on what the complex signifies for housing finance, site planning, cooperative ownership, ethnic and racial diversity, and tenants’ rights. It’s become both a positive and negative case study in how to value design, how to maintain affordability, and whom to send the bill for upkeep. But it is far from prototypical. At every juncture in its history, Co-op City has been deemed exceptional: each article or essay mentions its status as “the largest cooperative housing development in the world” or “the tenth largest city in New York State.” But the superlatives that set it apart don’t mean it has no lessons to offer the wider conversation on housing. Two years ago, Juliette Spertus and Susanne Schindler contrasted Co-op City with Twin Parks, another, less well-known affordable housing development in the Bronx. And this week, Caitlin Blanchfield returns to Co-op City and uncovers the particular nuances it adds to our understanding of social infrastructure, intergenerational continuity, community pride, and, of course, affordability.

Typecast is the Architectural League’s long-term investigation into architectural typologies, starting with “towers-in-the-park.” The term refers to complexes of multi-family, high-rise housing, located on a dedicated “superblock” of open space that is disconnected from the street system. This project seeks to move beyond stereotypes of architectural form by revealing the social and spatial specificities of distinct sites that share physical characteristics and philosophies of design but differ greatly in their lived experience.



+ artículo publicado en Urban Omnibus