International Cities of Peace


Source: internationalcitiesorpeace.org

The list below identifies the International Cities of Peace – currently 182. I’m very proud that my adopted home town of Traverse City, Michigan recently became the 175th such city on the planet and the third in Michigan along with Detroit and Kalamazoo. Also, I was quite surprised, though very pleased, that Dayton, Ohio, where I resided briefly nearly 40 years ago, was the first.

Here are the mission, vision, and goals of this global program:

“VISION: To foster peace as a consensus value in Cities of Peace around the world.”

“MISSION: To network, encourage, document, and provide resources and information for leaders and organizations working to make peace a consensus value through the global Cities of Peace movement.”

“GOALS:

• Network individuals, villages, and cities of peace, internationally.

• Provide an independent, unaligned resource for Cities of Peace.

• Act as a non-polarizing source of information on worldwide peace issues.

• Encourage, honor, and connect peace adherents and organizations.

• Document the history, scholarship, and formation of cities of peace.

• Promote the ideal of a World Dream of peace.”

The idea of joining together in peaceful coexistence is a welcome change to the hateful, dangerous, and divisive rhetoric that do often grips this planet in the second decade of the 21st Century. To this blogger and peace advocate, small, but decisive steps such as this, serve as an important reminder that millions of loving and kind folks still inhabit the Earth. All we need to do is to stand up and speak out for peace at each and every opportunity.  Our voices cannot be drowned out if we speak unified as one!

Is your city a member of this elite community? If not, please consider applying. Here’s a weblink to the process.  Namaste!

INTERNATIONAL CITIES OF PEACE

Order City of Peace Country
1 Dayton, Ohio United States
2 Eugene, Oregon United States
3 Unity Village, Missouri United States
4 Coventry England
5 Bradford England
6 Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico
7 Bukavu Democratic Republic of Congo
8 Mataki Philippines
9 Pathuthani Thailand
10 Fizi Democratic Republic of Congo
11 Lake County, California United States
12 Aba, Abia State Nigeria
13 Nagpur India
14 Reno, Nevada United States
15 Mzuzu and Lilongwe Malawi
16 Tunis Tunisia
17 Tuolumne County, California United States
18 Bihac, Bosnia Herzegovina
19 Yaounde Cameroon
20 Freetown Sierra Leone
21 Nyala, Darfur Sudan
22 Bujumbura Burundi
23 Victoria, British Columbia Canada
24 Nakuru Kenya
25 Calgary, Alberta Canada
26 Kathmandu Nepal
27 Detroit, Michigan United States
28 Egg Harbor City, New Jersey United States
29 Warrake Nigeria
30 Kalamazoo, Michigan United States
31 Kampala Uganda
32 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States
33 Kibuye Rwanda
34 Sedona, Arizona United States
35 Montréal, Québec Canada
36 Addis Ababa Ethiopia
37 Dar es Salaam Tanzania
38 Bhaktapur Nepal
39 Western Freetown Sierra Leone
40 Kano, Kano State Nigeria
41 Toronto Canada
42 Lalitpur Nepal
43 Buenos Aires Argentina
44 Vicente Lopez, Prov. de Buenos Aires Argentina
45 Tigre, Prov. de Buenos Aires Argentina
46 Moron, Prov. de Buenos Aires Argentina
47 Escobar, Prov. de Buenos Aires Argentina
48 Junin, Prov. de Mendoza Argentina
49 Rivadavia, Prov. de Mendoza Argentina
50 La Paz, Prov. de Mendoza Argentina
51 San Rafael, Prov. de Mendoza Argentina
52 Neuquen, Prov. de Nuequen Argentina
53 Villa de Merlo Argentina
54 Carpinteria Argentina
55 La Carolina, Prov. de San Luis Argentina
56 Los Molles, Prov. de San Luis Argentina
57 Rosario, Prov. de Santa Fé Argentina
58 San Miguel de Tucuman, Prov. de Tucumán Argentina
59 Monteros, Prov. de Tucumán Argentina
60 Paysandú Uruguay
61 Pilar, Argentina, Province of Buenos Aires Argentina
62 San Salvador du Jujuy Argentina
63 Baroda India
64 Douala Cameroon
65 Accra Ghana
66 Monrovia Liberia
67 Benghazi Libya
68 Lubumbashi Democratic Republic of Congo
69 Kochi India
70 Kaduna Nigeria
71 Bamenda Cameroon
72 Nicosia Cyprus
73 Dubai United Arab Emirates
74 Santa Ana Costa Rica
75 The Hague Netherlands
76 Hargeisa Somalia
77 Wakiso Uganda
78 Eastern Freetown Sierra Leone
79 Zanzibar City Tanzania
80 Ahmedabad India
81 Bern Switzerland
82 Oyugis Kenya
83 Durlesti Moldova
84 Bridgetown Barbados
85 Los Angeles United States
86 Abuja, Federal Capital Territory Nigeria
87 Uyo, Akwa Ibom Nigeria
88 Benin City, Edo State Nigeria
89 Kabare Democratic Republic of Congo
90 Port-au-Prince Haiti
91 Hinche Haiti
92 Fort Liberté Haiti
93 Quetta Pakistan
94 Multan Pakistan
95 Luweero Uganda
96 Goma Democratic Republic of Congo
97 Srinagar Kashmir
98 Zihuatanejo Mexico
99 Ojai, California United States
100 Gitega Burundi
101 Uvira Democratic Republic of Congo
102 Muridke Pakistan
103 Nairobi Kenya
104 Medellín Colombia
105 Wobulenzi Uganda
106 Rockford, Illinois United States
107 Verejeni Moldova
108 Eastlands, Nairobi Kenya
109 Querétaro Mexico
110 Voinjama, Lofa Liberia
111 Nateete Uganda
112 Chilliwack, British Colombia Canada
113 Karachi Pakistan
114 Lilonge Malawi
115 Asheville, North Carolina United States
116 Elgin, Illinois United States
117 Savannah, Georgia United States
118 Raipur, Chhattisgarh India
119 Pirwadhai, Rawalpindii Pakistan
120 Chitral, Khyber Pakhunkha Pakistan
121 Hodan, Mogadishu Somalia
122 Mumbai India
123 Springfield, Ohio United States
124 Warri Nigeria
125 Conakry Guinea
126 Bogotá Colombia
127 Ringa Kenya
128 Chikwawa Malawi
129 Juba South Sudan
130 Homa Bay Kenya
131 San Isidro Argentina
132 Chandigarh India
133 Cajicá Colombia
134 Ogamo Kenya
135 Leticia, Amazona Colombia
136 Dodoma Tanzania
137 Goya Argentina
138 Kakamega Kenya
139 Kumbo Cameroon
140 Urbana United States
141 Buea Cameroon
142 Kubwa Nigeria
143 Kumara New Zealand
144 Port Harcourt Nigeria
145 Makindye Uganda
146 Gunjur Gambia
147 Kabale Uganda
148 South Kiva Democratic Republic of Congo
149 Lucerne Switzerland
150 Gardnersville Liberia
151 Croix-des-Bouquets Haiti
152 Mathare Kenya
153 Jenin Palestine
154 Durango Mexico
155 Herat Afghanistan
156 Banjul Gambia
157 Kasongo-Lunda D.R. Congo
158 Lafia Nigeria
159 Amsterdam Netherlands
160 Mambasa D.R. Congo
 161  Islamabad  Pakistan
 162  Berlin  Germany
 163 Ashland, Oregon  United States
 164 Rohero  Burundi
 165 El Qrayeh  Lebanon
 166 Sukkur  Pakistan
 167 North Kivu  D.R. Congo
 168 Have  Ghana
 169  Nanjing  China
 170 Adrogue  Argentina
 171 Ibadan  Nigeria
 172 Ngozi  Burundi
 173 Uvira  D.R. Congo
 174 Mechanicsburg  U.S.A.
 175 Traverse City  U.S.A.
 176 Mubone  Burundi
 177 Kiang Nema  Gambia
 179 Orlu  Nigeria
 180  Yola  Nigeria
 181  Allahabad  India
 182  Ikorodu  Nigeria

 SOURCE: http://www.internationalcitiesofpeace.org/

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Posted in Advocacy, Cities, culture, geography, humanity, peace | Tagged | Leave a comment

People can be so disgusting!


Source: glenarborsun.com

A recent report by the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore highlights how disgusting humans can be, even when visiting a national park. The report identifies the extent and content of litter collected from beaches in the park this past summer tourist season. In all, more than 2,500 pounds (or 1.25 tons) of trash was gathered by the Beach Patrol!

The ten (10) most common items collected were:

  1. Plastic bottle caps = 5,370
  2. Cigarette butts = 4,466
  3. Straws = 3,084
  4. Food wrappers = 2,839
  5. Plastic cigar tips = 2,737
  6. Shotgun wadding = 1,526
  7. Helium balloons with ribbon = 1,171
  8. Other plastic/foam packaging = 690
  9. Plastic bags (grocerry or other) = 478
  10. Non-returnable plastic bottles = 289

SOURCE: Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes

Beyond these identifiable items, more than 14,000 pieces of plastic and more than 4,100 bits of foam were gathered up. On the grosser side, 98 tampons, 21 diapers, 16 syringes, and 7 condoms were collected. Granted, some of these litter items may have washed ashore, but still these numbers are staggering in their disdain for simple civility.

What the heck people? You are visiting a national park…a national treasure. Show some respect, get off your duffs, and clean up after yourselves. Otherwise, stay home and live like a slob there.

Posted in civics, civility, education, environment, geography, health, infrastructure, land use, peace, placemaking, planning, pollution, recreation, Statistics, topography, tourism, Travel | Leave a comment

Favorite dystopian literature and films


Dystopian literature is my favorite genre of fiction and dystopian films are one of my top choices in cinema. Below, I have listed my favorite classic (25 years or older) and modern (less 25 years old) dystopian stories. They are followed by my favorite dystopian films. As time goes by, I will update and refresh these lists to represent my rankings at the time and add yet unseen or unread tales to the list.

These books, short stories, and films portray the darker aspects of humanity, whether it be misogyny, racism, fascism, nationalism, theocracy, oligarchy, ethnic cleansing, despair, totalitarianism, nuclear apocalypse, mind control, technological Armageddon, environmental degradation, ravages of war, alien invasion, and a myriad of other dreadful and desperate futures. Far too often one can read and see vivid examples from today represented in these works of art. A primary reason I am fascinated by the genre is the uncanny ability of these authors to highlight our human weaknesses and show us the frightful path our actions could lead us down if left unchecked.
Any suggested additions to my list are welcome, as I always enjoy a well written or produced dystopian story whether it is depicted in print, digitally, or on the big screen.

Favorite classic dystopian books read to date

  1. The Stone Raft (1986) by Jose Saramago
  2. On the Beach (1957) by Nevil Shute
  3. Fahrenheit 451 (1953) by Ray Bradbury
  4. The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) by Margaret Atwood
  5. We (1921) by Yevgeny Zamyatin
  6. Frost and Fire (1946) a short story by Ray Bradbury
  7. Player Piano (1952) by Kurt Vonnegut – added on 11/2/17
  8. It Cant Happen Here (1935) by Sinclair Lewis
  9. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (1968) by Philp K. Dick – added on 10/27/17
  10. The Pedestrian (1951) a short story by Ray Bradbury
  11. The Minority Report (1956) – a short story by Philip K. Dick
  12. Harrison Bergeron (1961) – a short story by Kurt Vonnegut
  13. The Iron Heel (1908) by Jack London
  14. The New Utopia (1891) a short story by Jerome K. Jerome
  15. 1984 (1949) by George Orwell
  16. 2BR02B (1962) – a short story by Kurt Vonnegut
  17. Brave New World (1931) by Aldous Huxley
  18. Examination Day (1958) a short story by Henry Sleaser – added 10/18/17
  19. Repent Harlequin, Said the Ticktockman (1965) – a short story by Harlan Ellison
  20. Billennium (1962) a short story by J. G. Ballard
  21. The Lottery (1948) a short story by Shirley Jackson
  22. The Trial (1914) by Franz Kafka

Favorite modern dystopian literature

  1. Sea of Rust (2017) by C. Robert Cargill – added 11/5/17
  2. The Perfect Match (2012) a short story by Ken Liu
  3. Just Do It (2006) a short story by Heather Lindsey
  4. Is This Your Day to Join the Revolution (2009) a short story by Genevieve Valentine
  5. Resistance (2008) a short story by Tobias S. Buckell
  6. Red Card (2013) a short story by S.L. Gilbow
  7. The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas (1997) a short story by Ursula K. Le Guin
  8. Civilization (2007) a short story by Vylar Kaftan

Favorite dystopian movies seen to date

  1. Oblivion
  2. Blade Runner 2049
  3. Wall-E
  4. Interstellar
  5. Arrival
  6. Terminator 2, Judgment Day
  7. Mad Max: Fury Road
  8. War of the World’s (1953)
  9. Pleasantville
  10. The Day The Earth Stood Still
  11. The Minority Report
  12. The Lorax
  13. 12 Monkeys
  14. The Terminal
  15. Soylent Green
  16. Upside Down
  17. The Postman
  18. Metropolis – added 10/16/17
  19. Mad Max
  20. The Matrix
  21. Her
  22. The Day After
  23. Planet of the Apes
  24. Hunger Games, Catching Fire – added 11/5/17
  25. Independence Day
  26. The Hunger Games – added 11/17/17
  27. On the Beach (1959) – added 10/15/17
  28. V is for Vendetta 
  29. The Running Man
  30. Batman
  31. 1984
  32. Terminator
  33. Logan’s Run added 10/26/17
  34. Lord of the Flies
  35. Rise of Planet of the Apes
  36. Back to the Future II
  37. Westworld
  38. Cloud Atlas
  39. Divergent
  40. i Robot
  41. The Lego Movie
  42. Escape from NY
  43. Total Recall
  44. War of the Worlds (2005)
  45. The Day after Tomorrow
  46. World War Z
  47. Waterworld
  48. Ender’s Game
  49. Looper
  50. Americathon (the opening scene)
Posted in art, book reviews, books, Communications, culture, family, feminism, film, fun, futurism, history, human rights, humanity, literature, movies, pictures, Science, Science fiction, technology, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Here comes the sun”…cities


Source: spaceplace.nasa.gov

Below is my list of “sun” cities. Any additions and/or corrections are welcome, particularly in other languages.

  • Sunapee, NH
  • Sunbury, OH
  • Sunbury, PA
  • Sun City, AZ
  • Sun City Center, FL
  • Sun City West, AZ
  • Suncook, NH
  • Suncrest, WA
  • Sunderland, ON, Canada
  • Sundre, AB, Canada
  • Sundridge, ON, Canada
  • Sunfair, CA
  • Sun Lakes, AZ
  • Sunland Gardens, FL
  • Sunland Park, NM
  • Sunman, IN
  • Sunnybrook, LA
  • Sunnybrook, MD
  • Sunnybrook, PA
  • Sundance, WY
  • Sunderland, MA
  • Sunflower, MS
  • Sunny Isles Beach, FL
  • Sunnyside, OR
  • Sunnyside, WA
  • Sunnyslope, WA
  • Sunnyvale, CA
  • Sunnyvale, TX
  • Sun Prairie, WI
  • Sunray, TX
  • Sunriver, OR
  • Sunrise, FL
  • Sunrise Heights, MI
  • Sunrise Manor, NV
  • Sunset, FL
  • Sunset, LA
  • Sunset, UT
  • Sunset Beach, CA
  • Sunset Beach, HA
  • Sunset Beach, NC
  • Sunset Hills, MO
  • Sunset Point, FL
  • Sunset Valley, PA
  • Sunset Village, GA
  • Sunshine Coast, Australia
  • Sun Valley, FL
  • Sun Valley, ID
  • Sun Valley, NV

SOURCES: personal knowledge, en.wikipedia.org, and 2018 Rand McNally Road Atlas

Posted in Cities, fun, geography, place names | Leave a comment

My Amazon HQ2 prediction


Minneapolis

Ever since Amazon announced they would be establishing a dual headwaters, a virtual cottage industry of predictions and analyses has developed. Everyone has an opinion on what metro will be selected. Here are my thoughts on the subject:

My heart would love to see Detroit selected, as it would solidify its turnaround in the nation’s mind. Those of us living here in Michigan know the good news coming from Motown, but this would be the icing on the cake nationally. An interesting aspect is the cross-border cooperation between Detroit and Windsor on the bid. Throw in Ann Arbor just 40 miles away and you have a formidable candidate.

I think Amazon is looking for a location that is largely unaffected by changing climate or natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, and the like. This criteria greatly benefits inland metros.

Standard of living and cost of living will also be important. The housing factor eliminates many cities on the east and west coasts.

Multimodal transportation is also important – probably Detroit’s and a lot of other Midwestern cites’ weakest competitive link. Meanwhile, in most cases, Midwestern cities haven’t sprawled exponentially like those in the South and West.

Given the various criteria cited by Amazon, in the media, and listed above, my short list of twelve (12) finalists includes the following cities with my projected winner highlighted in bold.

  • Austin-San Antonio, TX
  • Charlotte, NC, SC
  • Columbus, OH
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
  • Denver-Boulder-Fort Collins, CO
  • Detroit-Windsor-Ann Arbor, MI, ON
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN, WI
  • Nashville, TN, KY
  • Pittsburgh, PA, WV
  • Toronto-Hamilton-Kitchener, ON
  • Washington, DC, MD, VA, WV

While my heart will root for Detroit, my planner’s mind believes that the Twin Cities will win for the following reasons:

  • Great standard of living.
  • Open, welcoming, inclusive community.
  • Top notch schools.
  • Great multimodal transportation system.
  • Excellent airport and air service.
  • Centrally located near the middle of the continent.
  • Reasonable cost of living and affordable housing.
  • Year round athletic, recreational, and cultural activities.
  • Limited disruptions from natural disasters.
  • Strong, home-grown business community with lots of corporate leadership and philanthropy.

What are your thoughts on this subject and on my prediction?

Posted in air travel, airports, Biking, branding, Bus transportation, business, Canada, Cities, civics, Climate Change, commerce, Communications, consumerism, culture, economic development, education, entertainment, entrepreneurship, Environment, fun, futurism, geography, Housing, inclusiveness, infrastructure, land use, logistics, marketing, North America, placemaking, planning, recreation, revitalization, shopping, social equity, spatial design, sprawl, States, Statistics, sustainability, traffic, transit, Transportation, Uncategorized, urban planning | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Since when are fire trucks incapable of backing up?


Source: amazon.com

As anyone who has worked with fire departments to review the proposed design of new buildings/developments will attest, they hate projects that require a fire truck to back up more than 50-75 feet. Why this is, has never been clearly explained to me, other than veiled references to safety concerns. Granted, there are unfortunate examples of deaths (usually other emergency personnel) being pinned between fire vehicles listed on the internet. Secondly, for lengthy hook and ladder trucks, I completely understand.  

The problem is that planners, architects, and engineers are being expected tolerate altered site plans and building designs that essentially loop the entire facility with impervious hard surfaces so that firefighters won’t have to back up any fire truck. Even when pervious grass surfaces are proposed concerns have been raised because they look too much like a play area

I, as much as the next person appreciate the valor and courage it takes to be a firefighter. But, somehow, that same bravery disappears when if comes to putting a fire truck into reverse. Frankly it has gotten so bad, that one has to wonder why manufacturers even bother with including reverse on the vehicles in the first place. Even today’s fire stations are designed and built as enormous drive-thru’s. Long gone are the days of backing into the station except in the most crowded inner city locations.

With modern rear camera technology, backing up a fire truck should be a cinch compared to the past when a spotter was necessary. Furthermore, such a technology combined with warning beeps should virtually eliminate the dangers. Will accidents still happen? Most certainly, but the same is true with adding more drives, lanes, curb cuts, and driveways around buildings. The key is to manage and minimize the risk while not being unreasonable in the application of safety protocols.

Hopefully, rear camera or similar autonomous vehicle technologies will resolve this problem sooner versus later and allow buildings to be designed for people once again.

Am I wrong or whining too much about this issue? What do you think?

Posted in adaptive reuse, architecture, infrastructure, land use, planning, spatial design, transportation, urban planning, zoning | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

“Bigotsburg of the week” – Forrest City, Arkansas


 

Source:city-data.com

Forrest City is located along Interstate 40 in east-central Arkansas. It probably more appropriately deserves the title of “Bigotsburg of the Nation,” instead of “Jewel of the Delta,” given that it is named after Nathaniel Bedford Forrest. Mr. Forrest was not only a Confederate general, but worse yet, he was an early member and the first Grand Dragon of the infamous Ku Klux Klan.

How any community could name itself after the leader of this despicable organization is beyond me. But then, to keep the name all these years despite its connotations with racism and bigotry is all-the-more inexcusable!  The only jewel Forrest City should be nicknamed is bloodstone, given the evil and pain he inflicted on African-Americans both during and after the Civil War. Shame on you Forrest City, it is time to change your community’s name!

Posted in Advocacy, cities, culture, diversity, geography, history, inclusiveness, racism | Tagged | 1 Comment