As Congress Moves to Slash Budget for Conservation and National Parks, Businessmen Speak Out “Conservation and preservation programs constitute only 1.2 percent of the overall budget. However, these programs are primers for generating exponentially greater nonfederal investments. Natural resources conservation, historic preservation and outdoor recreation contribute more than $1 trillion to our economy each year. This supports millions of American jobs, the overwhelming majority of which are impossible to export abroad. For example, outdoor recreation alone creates nearly 6.5 million jobs for individuals directly employed in the industry.” (via Treehugger)
The Budget Super Committee’s Ax Could Fall on…National Parks “National parks cost every American about $8 per head per year. And parks contribute about $13.2 billion to the economy, even as they received $2.6 billion in funding for 2011, an amount which already was cut $140 million. Overall funding for the NPS has been cut by $400 million since 2001. Nobody in this space would argue that the parks aren’t a freaking bargain, but under the recent budget agreement, if the so-called Super Committee in congress cannot find $1.3 trillion to excise from national spending, there are threatened across-the-board cuts of 9 percent — that’s $231 million more cut from the parks. This might be the last straw, because the parks are all massively hamstrung already, with a backlog of $3.7 billion in critical maintenance (that’d be stuff like roads and building safety), and are incredibly short-staffed, too. If the park system is a bargain right now, that’s also a mirage, because it’s crumbling under the weight of unprecedented traffic (281 million visitors in 2010, nearly 90 percent of the population of this country).” (via Adventure Journal)
The Death of Middle-Class Neighborhoods “The isolation of the prosperous, he said, means less interaction with people from other income groups and a greater risk to their support for policies and investments that benefit the broader public — like schools, parks and public transportation systems.” (via Mother Jones)
A New Vision for D.C.’s Abandoned Streetcar Tunnels “Even beyond the unfortunate Dupont Down Under history, the Dupont Circle neighborhood, and really Washington, D.C., as a whole is saddled with some peculiar structural and cultural realities that make getting ambitious architectural projects off the ground particularly difficult. For one, the city is a veritable patchwork of publicly owned land that is not always under the city’s control. While the District of Columbia owns the tunnels themselves, many of the logical entrances to the underground space lay in the middle of small parks, like Dupont Circle itself, that are controlled by the National Park Service. And for another, being the nation’s capital, there is no shortage of historic preservation forces ready to pounce on anything that doesn’t conform to the classical ideal of the federal city, even in residential neighborhoods like Dupont.
“The reality is that for this to succeed it needs to have thousands of people in Washington think that this is a good idea,” says Paul Ruppert, the chairman of the Dupont Underground’s current board and a fixture in the local restaurant and arts scene.” (via Atlantic Cities)
The Partisians Will Never Find Us Here: Minneapolis Mayour R.T. Rybak and the Art of Getting Shit Done “City governments are the last standing functional form of government in the United States and possibly the world,” says Rybak.” (via GOOD)