A boost for managing cities From a royal palace to ivy halls: A dissident’s view of the Arab Spring Democratic Knowledge Project bridges core knowledge and diverse perspectives in statewide pilot of interactive curriculum Related Reframing civics education When Kostas Bakoyannis, M.P.P. ’04, was elected mayor of Greece’s capital city with a hefty 65 percent of the vote last May, he went to the people — appropriately enough, in the birthplace of democracy — to ask about local concerns. And what he heard was clear.“They wanted a city that was safe and secure, a city that’s clean, a city that’s well-lit, a city that they could be proud of,” he said. Emerging from the devastating financial crisis of the previous 13 years, Bakoyannis said, Athenians wanted “a city that would grow in self-confidence and be optimistic again.”Presenting ideas on “Reinventing Athens” to a capacity crowd at Adolphus Busch Hall on Tuesday, Bakoyannis told Elaine Papoulias, executive director of the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, that, “People gave a lot of credence to what we call back to basics.” As a candidate, he and his team had done a lot of what he called “walking the city” and listening to its residents, and they’d learned that what they wanted was within the purview of city governance.For starters, Bakoyannis decided to “reinvent and restructure city services.” Parts of the city had gone without essential services for so long that simply restoring the basics was challenging, and a building right next to city hall was stuffed with 35 tons of trash that was removed only recently.Using “the so-called broken-window theory,” Bakoyannis said he is working toward “an urban environment that’s welcoming to our families.” To address that, he established a coordination center with security forces. “In certain neighborhoods, residents felt neglected,” he said. “They felt forgotten, so one of our main priorities was to bring back a sense of security.”Another project is creating primary healthcare centers, the first offered by a Greek municipality. Six are now open and, as a seventh is about to open, he is pushing to extend their hours and to link them to elder residences. “The idea is to be able to prove to the state that primary healthcare will be in the purview of local government,” Bakoyannis said. “Cities are the true laboratories of change. Cities are the engines of growth.” “There is more depth and more strength to democracy than what we’re letting on. But it’s never easy.” — Kostas Bakoyannis Bloomberg gift will fund Kennedy School, Business School partnership program to assist mayors, improve programs Some of his plans, he acknowledged, may face pushback. Informal rentals through online clearinghouses such as Airbnb, for example, have proved a source of income for many and a lifeline during the financial crisis. However, they have also driven up rents, pushing out the young and lower income and likely contributing to the nation’s “brain drain.” (More than half a million Greeks have left the country since 2009.) To find a solution, Athens is keeping its focus hyper-local, working on individualized plans to limit or license such rentals on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis.Other projects, such as banning cars in some areas of the city, may be unpopular at first but will serve several functions. “We want to reclaim public space,” said Bakoyannis, citing increasing interest in green or sustainable city planning and the climate crisis.“Athens has three records: We have the least urban green space per capita in Europe, the most asphalt per capita in Europe, and our houses have the most square meters per capita in Europe,” he said. “These numbers show what the problem is but also what the solution is.”Reclaiming roadways for green space and non-vehicle access will not only improve urban life for residents, he pointed out, it should also help with tourism. Athens, he noted, currently has 5.5 million visitors annually, where Venice has 45 million. “Clearly there is room to grow.”Athens’ youngest elected mayor, Bakoyannis now 41, was first elected to office in 2011 as mayor of the town of Karpenisi, and then as regional governor in 2014, so he is not so green as to think his plans will be unanimously welcomed. “When you’re asking people to change their habits, that’s never easy. At the beginning there is a lot of hot water, but with time people recognize that the change can be positive. It has to be a bottoms-up deliberative process that engages all stakeholders.”“There is more depth and more strength to democracy than what we’re letting on. But it’s never easy.” Hicham el Alaoui, who gave up a title for scholarship, discusses hopes for reform
After numerous meetings and many letters, the Government and the relevant ministries do not want to help the sector of occasional passenger transport, so today they point out the problem to all MPs because this important branch of tourism is on the verge of collapse. They hope that someone still cares about 20 people who lose their jobs, and because of leasing promissory notes, many of them have no roof over their heads, point out the Association of Voices of Entrepreneurs. Urgent grant award from European Union funds,Continuation of measures for preservation of jobs (HRK 4.000,00 + contributions),Ensure a moratorium on leases and loans for a minimum of one year with adequate interest for a shorter period (current interest on deferred principal is currently 18-35%),Accelerated procedure for obtaining liquidity funds from HAMAG BICRO and HBOR. Povremeni prijevoz predstavlja neizostavni segment turizma i povezan je uz obrazovanje (organizirani školski izleti, ekskurzije i svakodnevni prijevoz učenika na nastavu), sport (prijevoz sportskih klubova i navijača) i kulturu (prijevoz KUD-ova, zborova, plesnih skupina i sl.). Ističemo kako je ovaj sektor sastavni dio Ministarstva mora, prometa i infrastrukture koji je do pandemije koronavirusa poslovao samostalno te održivo – bez ikakvih državnih subvencija. Važno je istaknuti da se sektor povremenog prijevoza putnika sastoji od 2.000 tvrtki s više od 20.000 zaposlenih i više tisuća vozila visoke turističke klase (autobusi, minibusevi i kombi vozila). A proposal for a concrete solution with leasing companies was submitted to the Government and line ministries in July, but the UGP points out that they have received an answer that the Government and the competent ministries simply do not want to help. We remind you that the occasional transport sector has a 95-98% drop in revenues and they become illiquid with foreclosures waiting for them after the legal activation period that is just around the corner. Photo: Pexels.com The Voice of Entrepreneurs Association and members of the Occasional Passenger Transport Initiative have been warning for months about the inadmissible attitude of leasing companies towards clients and the key problems faced by entrepreneurs engaged in occasional passenger transport. After meetings with the competent ministries, a multitude of letters, as well as the submission of the required documentation, which was supported by other professional groups, all agreements were suspended. Occasional carriers are left to perish. “Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, this sector created exclusively added value and significantly influenced the filling of the state budget. An urgent grant is now needed in amounts sufficient to cover all of the company’s costs by the start of the 2021 tourist season. We must point out that almost all EU member states in this sector have awarded grants that are sufficient to cover operating costs. We believe that these countries are behind their entrepreneurs, taxpayers and workers because they know that saving industries means a faster way out of any crisis. Croatia did not do that. And next tourist season, passengers will no longer have anyone to transport because this important tourist branch will fail by then!”States from UGP. UGP’s proposals were as follows: That is why the carriers are pointing out their problems to the MPs on St. Mark’s Square today, and they hope that someone still cares about 20 people who lose their jobs, and because of leasing promissory notes, many of them have no roof over their heads.