Help out my undergraduate developers?

My class on the Urban Context was charged with creating a website marketing the city they would develop in Honduras as a Charter City if they had carte blanche. The groups that got the highest scores are being run in a face-off via a web poll. It would be really great if you could take a few minutes to surf through their sites and vote on which city you might consider moving to. Alternatively, there is a comment area, so you can give them some feedback. I’d appreciate it.

Remember, though, they had a week to develop the proposals, and this is the first time most of them have done either web development or marketing. That said, some of them had really great ideas and presented them really well.

The poll has hot links to all the cities: it is found here.

Here are the cities in no order, if you want to browse outside the poll.

Isla Macao
Vulgaria
El Paraiso Habitable
Costa Verde
The Perfect City

I really appreciate it if you can take the time.

The Bankrupt County and the Future of Chapter 9

I have students in my class on the Urban Context work on trying to fix a municipal budget for Vallejo, a city with a budget that looks more like rotting toe than anything workable. Even so, Vallejo is fantasyland, a place where where there are still quite a few well-to-do residents (we’re still talking coastal California here. And California has way, way more state services than the state we’re going to talk about today.)

The NYT has this story about Jefferson County Alabama going bankrupt.

Reading through, I like this story a great deal, and I’m not generally a fan of the New York Times. Unlike the standard WSJ take on government bankruptcies, which creates a narrative that screams about mismanagement, this story actually helps us understand the ways in which state laws can cripple municipal budgeting practice. It also doesn’t sugarcoat the contributions from the mismanagement and local tax aversion. Honestly, who can’t afford $18 a month for sewers. (You should see what we pay in in LA County, folks). However, the average resident of Birmingham isn’t affluent, and rising fees for rising capital costs understandably hurt.

Go take a look and see what you think.