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
Hull boss Steve Bruce has been busy in the transfer market since winning promotion to the Barclays Premier League, but has so far shopped prudently. Former Birmingham centre-half Curtis Davies, who came in for £2.25million, has been his most expensive addition to date with a combination of free transfers, loan deals and cheaper arrivals such as Yannick Sagbo and Allan McGregor ensuring Bruce has operated well within budget. But he has made it clear that midfield is an area which needs significant bolstering, especially since the departures of Corry Evans and Tom Cairney to Blackburn and a pre-season injury to Stephen Quinn. ‘You’re always looking, that’s the manager’s job…always wanting one more,” Bruce told Sky Sports News on Tuesday. ”We’re a little thin on the ground in midfield areas. We’ve let a couple out and it’s one area we are looking to strengthen. Hopefully by the time the window shuts we’ll get two or three bodies in that department to help us.” Huddlestone fits the bill as a player who can play as a midfield anchor who is also comfortable on the ball and Bruce would consider it money well spent if he can come to an agreement with the former Leeds man. Sunderland were also on the lookout for such a player and Black Cats boss Paolo Di Canio had upped his interest in Huddlestone only to see Hull make a more decisive move this week. The Tigers make their top-flight return at Chelsea on Sunday and will be hoping to have Huddlestone on board by then. Fellow Spurs man Jake Livermore has also been linked with a move to Hull on loan. Press Association Huddlestone, who has been capped four times for England, is in Hull discussing terms with Tigers representatives. The club are unwilling to disclose the fee agreed for the 26-year-old, but Press Association Sport understands it at least matches their £5million record signing of Jimmy Bullard. Hull are in talks with Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone and are hopeful are finalising a deal for the player in the next 24 hours.