Want To Fight Crime? Plant Some Flowers With Your Neighbor

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Want To Fight Crime? Plant Some Flowers With Your Neighbor

Neighborhoods struggling with physical decline and high crime often become safer simply when local residents work together to fix up their neighborhood.

My colleagues and I at the University of Michigan School of Public Health Youth Violence Prevention Center have spent nearly a decade documenting why. Research from cities across the United States shows how small changes to urban environments — like planting flowers or adding benches — reduce violence.

The result is an emerging crime prevention theory we call “busy streets.” Here’s how it works.

Overcoming Barriers to Urban Agriculture In American Cities

PHILLY’S URBAN FARMING PLAN COULD INCLUDE HUNDREDS, POSSIBLY THOUSANDS, OF VACANT LOTS . MARCH 20, 2019. JESSICA GRIFFIN / FILE PHOTOGRAPH PHILLY.COM

PHILLY’S URBAN FARMING PLAN COULD INCLUDE HUNDREDS, POSSIBLY THOUSANDS, OF VACANT LOTS. MARCH 20, 2019. JESSICA GRIFFIN / FILE PHOTOGRAPH PHILLY.COM

Overcoming Barriers to Urban Agriculture In American Cities

Achieving such yields in a test garden does not mean they are feasible for urban farmers in the Bay Area. Most urban farmers in California lack ecological horticultural skills. They do not always optimize crop density or diversity, and the University of California’s extension program lacks the capacity to provide agroecological training.

The biggest challenge is access to land. University of California researchers estimate that over 79 percent of the state’s urban farmers do not own the property that they farm. Another issue is that water is frequently unaffordable. Cities could address this by providing water at discount rates for urban farmers, with a requirement that they use efficient irrigation practices.

In the Bay Area and elsewhere, most obstacles to scaling up urban agriculture are political, not technical. In 2014 California enacted AB511, which set out mechanisms for cities to establish urban agriculture incentive zones, but did not address land access.

One solution would be for cities to make vacant and unused public land available for urban farming under low-fee multiyear leases. Or they could follow the example of Rosario, Argentina, where 1,800 residents practice horticulture on about 175 acres of land. Some of this land is private, but property owners receive tax breaks for making it available for agriculture.

Stand #WithStrongGirls Because Poverty Is Sexist

Join the campaign, stand with over 6 million strong girls supporters everywhere: http://one.org

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We’ve joined forces with 9 of Africa’s most talented artists to create a new anthem that celebrates the power of girls and women everywhere.

This song is a call to action for you to put pressure on your leader to empower girls and women in the poorest countries, so that they can lift their own communities out of poverty.

‘Strong Girl’ features vocalists Waje (Nigeria), Victoria Kimani (Kenya), Vanessa Mdee (Tanzania), Arielle T (Gabon), Gabriela (Mozambique), Yemi Alade (Nigeria), Selmor Mtukudzi (Zimbabwe), Judith Sephuma (South Africa), new talent Blessing Nwafor (South Africa) and the video stars Omotola Jalade Ekeinde (Nigeria). 


Never 21 #BlackLivesMatter Forever 21 New York Mannequin & Window Takeover

Forever 21’s Union Square New York store got a makeover last Saturday when activists changed out window and in-store mannequins, replacing stripes and florals with t-shirts broadcasting a powerful message: ‘Black Lives Matter’.

‘It’s a phrase that has taken on national significance in recent years following the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the death of seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin, a hashtag #BlackLivesMatter that has evolved to become a call to action, a rallying cry,’ writes MTV.

The Forever 21 Project: Never 21 from Never21 on Vimeo.

Never 21’s website, designed to mimic the graphics and layout of Forever 21, is meant to call attention to the countless, underaged deaths of children at the hands of ‘vigilantes and disgruntled police officers’. The activists make the important point that the names in the headlines such as Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Tamir Rice, were children who never lived to see the age of twenty-one. Never 21’s focus is simple:

We care about the lives of Black men. We care about the lives of Black women. We care about the lives of Black CHILDREN

MTV interviews an anonymous member of the Never 21 collective, described as ‘a good amount of us. We all have our specialties in different areas, so we were all assigned different things to focus on, i.e. the legal repercussions, graphic design for the website and t-shirts, etc.’

The activist action, taking 4-5 months of planning, took about 5-10 minutes to execute.