Food stamps for fast food?

Not long after the federal government rejected Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to ban the use of food stamps to buy soda (see full article). The NY Times is revisiting the debate from the other extreme.  What do you think?  Should the federal government expand the use of food stamps and loosen the restrictions on fast food restaurants?  See what others are saying here.

10/21: “Reimagining the City-University Connection” in Cambridge, MA

The Urban Initiative will spend Friday, October 21 in Cambridge, MA to learn about how universities are helping cities address violence, improve governance, and rethink urban education. Join us at this day-long event hosted by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, and the City of Boston.  Register or learn more by clicking here.

A creative approach to real estate: Charities temporarily occupy vacant commercial property

UK-based charity that helps other charities and social organizations find temporary office space in store fronts that would otherwise be abandoned.  An innovative idea that builds capacity for organizations in need of work space and reinvigorates areas left abandoned by struggling businesses.

Check out the full article here!

Job Opportunity: Field Interviewers for NORC at the University of Chicago

The National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, whose mission is to conduct high quality social science research in the public interest, is hiring field interviewers in Fall River, MA; Norfolk, MA; Brockton, MA and Newport, RI.

While other cities fight charters, Houston imitates them

In Houston, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery when it comes to improving public school education. Public school officials in the city that spawned the nationally recognized KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) have begun applying five successful charter school practices in elementary and secondary schools across the city: longer school days and years, a greater emphasis on hiring effective principals and teachers, frequent quizzing, “high-dosage tutoring,” and a “no-excuses culture.”   This shift is what the charter school movement originally intended: charters could develop and test innovative practices that would go on to incentivize change in nearby public schools through market-driven competition. Yet this goal has been all but forgotten in many US cities, where the only competition is over increasingly scarce tax dollars.

The experiment is being supported by Harvard’s EdLabs, so it’s probably safe to assume that it will be subject to rigorous evaluation. But will positive results be enough to change the charter v.s. public school debate in other cities?

Read “Troubled schools try mimicking the charters” at The New York Times.

Sept 19-21, Join the Urban Institute for a Series of Webinars

Mark your calendar for three days of  webinars from the Urban Institute – no registration in necessary!

Sept 19, 12:30-1 pm– Public Surveillance Cameras: A Clear-Eyed Look at Their Implementation and Impact

Sept 20, 12:30-1 pm– Immigration and the Changing Face of Metropolitan America

Sept 21, 9-10:30 am– TANF Performance: How States are Raising the Measurement Bar

Go to http://www.urban.org/events/ to learn more about each of the awesome panels scheduled to discuss these topics!

Welcome to the new Urban Initiative blog!

Stay tuned for news, events, and announcements related to urban policy, with an emphasis on issues and opportunities that impact Fall River and New Bedford.