When we consider the vast sums that governments spend — and the responsibility public officials bear — it seems crazy that policy makers don’t routinely make good use of evidence. The new White House effort to base spending decisions on hard evidence is a step toward delivering more social good per taxpayer dollar.Read More
Bus service for people who live outside major cities is either nonexistent or might as well be. But some communities are helping bring mobility to non-drivers with bus service they can really use. This article looks at a variety of places in which public transportation is highly popular and efficient—from Germany to Seattle.Read More
New York City suffered from fires that erupted in overcrowded, run-down apartments. Then the city sleuthed through residential records and found that landlords who foreclosed let their properties fall apart and ignored safety-code violations. Greater Toronto wants to expand upon New York City’s method by using transportation surveys, census data and computer data to build transit lines.Read More
The militarization of police forces in cases such as Ferguson, Missouri’s riots has led the state of Utah to question what can be done to prevent such an overuse of force from happening. Utah expanded upon a law passed by Democratic legislature in Maryland, which Utah’s ACLU reworked with some libertarians, to require the police to provide data about SWAT team usage. Utah’s success demonstrates that demilitarization bills passed with bipartisan support are not impossible.Read More
A Dallas urban neighborhood was dilapidated with abandoned storefronts and offered no vitality for pedestrians. A group of artists and community members created Build a Better Block, in which local artisans and small businesses took over a vacant block and transformed it for a limited time to encourage the ingredients for more permanent urban renewal.Read More
With more and more Americans having to pay medical costs out of pocket, a small company out of Philadelphia called ELAP is on the front lines of the war against escalating charges. By helping overwhelmed patients to de-mystify and negotiate medical bills, they are ensuring patients get the best value and avoid egregious financial distress.Read More
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, necessity has bred an interesting kind of financial invention for the New York MTA: the world’s first “catastrophe” bond - a reinsurance for the insurer - designed to protect public transportation infrastructure, specifically against storm surge. These bonds privatize risk for public gain, creating a kind of tool that may protect economic development against all kinds of natural and man-made disasters around the world.Read More
Cities tend to be dangerous and difficult places to live for older residents. A private public partnership in New York is catering to seniors through small changes in the city such as para-transit options and seniors-only hours at public establishments.Read More
For most well-meaning donors, it can be difficult to calculate which charities are most effective with their funding - that is those that aim to solve the most serious problems, use interventions that work, employ cost-effective strategies, are competent and honest, and can make good use of each additional dollar. Organizations like GiveWell are part of a new and welcome trend toward rigorous evaluation of social change programs, and helps people best decide where to donate based on what causes matter to them most.Read More
Neighborhood Trust is a New York-based nonprofit offering financial advice to individuals experiencing economic hardships. Providing hands-on coaching, counselors are able to inform their clients about financial options they may have otherwise not known about like college financial aid or child care tax credits.Read More
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