As Cities Grow Worldwide, So Do the Numbers of Homeless

As Cities Grow Worldwide, So Do the Numbers of Homeless. YaleGlobal. Joseph Chamie. July 13, 2017

Homelessness is a mark of failure for communities in providing basic security. Based on national reports, about 2 percent of the world’s population may be homeless. Another 20 percent lacks adequate housing, reports demographer Joseph Chamie. Such statistics come with a caveat. Obtaining accurate numbers is difficult, mostly due to wild variations in definitions around the globe. Also, measuring homelessness is costly: Cities may under-count due to embarrassment while individuals avoid officials due to shame and fear of arrest and harassment. Reasons for homelessness include “shortages of affordable housing, privatization of civic services, investment speculation in housing, unplanned and rapid urbanization, as well as poverty, unemployment and family breakdown,” Chamie explains. “Also contributing is a lack of services and facilities for those suffering from mental illness, alcoholism or substance abuse and displacement caused by conflicts, natural disasters and government housing policies.” Even people with jobs can struggle to keep homes. As experts debate whether the issue can be resolved or not, some governments offer support programs while others do what they can to chase the homeless off to other locales. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Will Rising Interest Rates Lead to Fiscal Crises?

Will Rising Interest Rates Lead to Fiscal Crises? Peterson Institute for International Economics. Policy Brief, 17-27. Olivier Blanchard and Jeromin Zettelmeyer. July 2017

A balanced, broad-based economic recovery seems under way in all major regions of the world. Managing the recovery poses challenges in the short run but they appear relatively benign. Looking forward, however, the authors see a set of new risks: (1) Partly because of the crisis and partly because of subsequent low growth, public debt has reached postwar historical highs in many advanced countries; (2) productivity growth, and with it potential growth, has declined. Whether it remains low or picks up in the future is uncertain; (3) interest rates are expected to increase from their current low levels. By how much and at what pace is—again—uncertain; and (4) many advanced countries have strong populist movements (or even populist leaders) espousing risky macroeconomic policies. The authors warn that rising interest rates, combined with low growth, high debt, and populist pressure, would be a recipe for fiscal crises. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 7 pages, 172.09 KB].

Civic Engagement: How Can Digital Technology Encourage Greater Engagement in Civil Society?

Civic Engagement: How Can Digital Technology Encourage Greater Engagement in Civil Society? RAND Corporation. Talitha Dubow, Axelle Devaux, Catriona Manville. August 7, 2017.

This Perspective explores the potential impacts that digital technologies may have on the nature of civic engagement and political processes, providing an overview of the ways in which digital platforms and tools may contribute to strengthening a more inclusive civil society, and highlighting the significant risks posed by the use of these technologies. The authors argue that these risks must be properly understood and addressed if democratic society is to benefit from continuing innovation in this space. This Perspective is part of a series of four exploring the opportunities and challenges that digital technologies are creating within society ahead of the 2017 Thought Leadership programme at St George’s House, Windsor which has been designed and delivered by RAND Europe in conjunction with the Corsham Institute. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 11 pages, 133.31 KB].

Globally, People Point to ISIS and Climate Change as Leading Security Threats: Concern About Cyberattacks, World Economy Also Widespread

Globally, People Point to ISIS and Climate Change as Leading Security Threats: Concern About Cyberattacks, World Economy Also Widespread. Pew Research Center. Jacob Poushter and Dorothy Manevich. August 1, 2017.

People around the globe identify ISIS and climate change as the leading threats to national security, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. The survey asked about eight possible threats. While the level and focus of concern varies by region and country, ISIS and climate change clearly emerge as the most frequently cited security risks across the 38 countries polled. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 32 pages, 1.29 MB].

Transport Pricing and Accessibility

Transport Pricing and Accessibility. Brookings Institution. Kenneth Gwilliam. July 2017

A common criticism of urban transport strategies is that they are unduly concerned with mobility or the ability to move rather than accessibility in which a desired journey purpose can be satisfied. It is often further argued that a consequence of this focus on mobility, particularly motorized mobility, is that transport is not affordable to the poor, and that this exclusion justified the use of subsidies to remedy the situation. A key element of “Moving to Access” is thus concerned with increasing the affordability of transport for the poor. The objective of this paper is to explore the relationships between mobility, accessibility, affordability and transport prices and subsidies in more detail with a view to better reconciling the economic efficiency of the urban transport systems with the welfare of the poor. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 46 pages, 595.9 KB].

The Patterns in Global Terrorism: 1970-2016

The Patterns in Global Terrorism: 1970-2016. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Anthony Cordesman. August 14, 2017

The Burke Chair at CSIS has prepared a graphic overview of the trends of terrorism development as of the end of 2016. It traces the patterns since 1970, and focuses on the period from 2011-2016 — the years since the sudden rise of massive political instability and extremism in the MENA region. It covers global, regional, and key national trends and compares different estimates and sources for 2015 and 2016.

The report draws primarily on reporting in the START database, but uses other reporting from sources like EU/Europol, IHS Jane’s, and the IEP to illustrate different estimates, different perspectives, and the uncertainties in the data. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 368 pages, 11.20 MB].

Multinational Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel and Other High-Level Nuclear Waste: A Roadmap for Moving Forward

Multinational Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel and Other High-Level Nuclear Waste: A Roadmap for Moving Forward. American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Robert D. Sloan. July 2017.

The Academy’s work in its Global Nuclear Future project on the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle has focused on identifying and developing nuclear waste solutions that are feasible and adoptable by legacy countries as well as by nuclear newcomers. The project acknowledges the fact that nuclear waste is a national responsibility for all countries that have, or are in the process of building, nuclear power plants. However, for many of these countries, domestic nuclear waste solutions (such as interim storage facilities and final repositories) might be difficult to establish—obstacles can include challenging economics for nations with small nuclear fleets (nuclear power, like most other energy technologies, profits from scale), unsuitable geophysical conditions, and public opposition.

Furthermore, there is a lack of international consensus on the importance of spent nuclear fuel. Those who value spent nuclear fuel see it as a potential feedstock, as part of a closed nuclear fuel cycle; others view it as an unattractive nuisance or worse because it contains fissile plutonium, a potential source of material for weapons, and therefore they wish to dispose of it in a permanent, nonretrievable repository. As a result, attempts to fashion a multilateral nuclear waste repository that can respond to these needs have not been successful. The partners or customers of such a permanent facility would have to agree to the nature of this storage: would it allow for retrievable spent fuel or not, and would all agree to the conditions under which such fuel would be permanently stored? [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 60 pages, 1.03 MB].