Podcast Archive

Working together with MIT's CoLab radio, I have been (slowly) building a podcast series on Polis, Polis Podcasts on CoLab Radio. Below are links to the initial recordings, with hopes for more in the future now that I am at Leeds. Check out Polis and CoLab for other fantastic work by my colleague Alexa Mills and others.

4.22.13 Participatory Budgeting in Vallejo

First adopted in Porto Alegre, Brazil, to engage residents in generating solutions to severely unequal living conditions, participatory budgeting has become a popular tool for direct democracy around the world. In 2012, Vallejo, Calif., a highly diverse industrial city on the edge of the San Francisco Bay Area, became the first U.S. municipality to fully adopt participatory budgeting.

Join me for a conversation with the Participatory Budget Project's Vallejo Community Engagement Coordinator Ginny Browne and Executive Director Josh Lerner on the potential in participatory budgeting for strengthening democracy and improving the quality of life in cities.

10.17.12 Polis Podcast: California's High-Speed Rail

California's High-Speed Rail is one of the nation's most important and controversial urban projects in recent memory. Some hail it as a critical step toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions in a state of 40 million people, a stabilizing force for California's Central Valley and a critical link among cities in the region. Detractors call it a real estate development scheme, a boondoggle, an inducement to sprawl or simply a bad idea that diverts money from more worthy transit projects.

As I have made clear in earlier posts, I believe in this project. I feel the current debate ignores many opportunities to push planning and urban development ideas forward. Join me for a vibrant discussion with two California planners who know a thing or two about the project: Egon Terplan, planning director at the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association, and Ian Carlton, vice president of Transit Communities. We discuss what the high-speed rail project really means for planning, cities, equity, sprawl and our ability to cope with uncertainty.

Correction: In the discussion I (Alex) mistakenly state that France's TGV has been in operation for 40 years, but it has actually been operating for 30 years.

Polis brings you this podcast in collaboration with CoLab Radio.

Credits: Rendering from The Sacramento Bee.

It may seem completely spontaneous, but the Occupy movement did not come from nowhere. It has deep roots in longtime efforts to combat injustice, often at the urban level. As the Occupy movement in the U.S. moves toward 2012, this podcast looks back to the urban roots of the movement — in particular the role of community-based organizations and coalitions. It also explores the movement's newest manifestations, including Occupy Our Homes and Occupy the 'Hood.

Guests: Nwamaka Agbo, Soul of the City campaign director and former green jobs director, Ella Baker Center

Ilana Berger, co-director of the New Bottom Line and former executive director of Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE)

Rachel Brahinsky, doctoral candidate in UC Berkeley's Department of Geography and former staff reporter for the San Francisco Bay Guardian

Jennifer Flynn, managing director of Health GAP and former executive director of the New York City AIDS Housing Network (now Voices Of Community Activists & Leaders VOCAL-NY)

This inaugural Beta version features a conversation on social justice and Amsterdam between Polis's Alex Schafran and two Dutch urban scholars, Jan Willem Duyvendak and Justus Uitermark. The discussion ranges from Amsterdam's legendary status as a "just city" — which Uitermark contests may be transformed into "just a nice city" — to feelings of home and belonging, the need to "hack" the metrics cities use to measure justice and happiness, questions of "hard" versus "soft gentrification," and the role of science in urban studies.

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