A Model for Regional Cooperation: The Library

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County should serve as a great reminder of what this region can accomplish if it works together. They have everything you want–Books, CDs, DVDs, Children’s Programming, et.al. Some people might complain there is no Blockbuster Downtown, but if there were it would be outgunned by a free public service.

The Library ranked as the 8th best system in the United States in 2006. It is also the ninth largest, in the country, in terms of total volumes.

Without a regional library, the citizens of Cincinnati would have a library with perhaps half the volumes, and the citizens of smaller outlying communities, like Addyston, might not even have a library at all. But through regional cooperation we have one of the best library systems in the country. Everyone benefits from the better services and lower operating costs of having a single library system for the county rather than 49 separate smaller libraries. The whole is much greater than the sum of its parts.

Imagine how we could improve services and lower taxes, throughout the county, with greater consolidation. Instead of having the 56th largest city surrounded by minor municipalities, we would be the 13th largest city in the United States and the largest in Ohio; improving our national clout and the quality of life for all of Cincinnati-Hamilton County’s residents.

Reducing Cincinnati’s greenhouse gases

The City of Cincinnati has established a Climate Protection Steering Committee (PDF 48kb) to help the City figure out how it can be more environmentally responsible and to examine the City’s Climate Action Plan.

Study results have shown that Cincinnati has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions since 2000, and is 6% more carbon efficient than the national average. That’s great, but more can be done…MUCH more.

The newly established Committee has recommended that Cincinnati:

“…reduce its GHG emissions by 10% by 2012 (short term goal); 40% by 2027 (mid term goal); and 86% by 2050 (long term goal).”

This long-term goal also falls in line with what most scientists consider the necessary reduction (80% by 2050) in order to stabilize the planet’s climate at a “tolerable level.” So how do we accomplish this…well the second highest source of GHG emissions, in Cincinnati, is transportation. At the same time Cincinnati has no rail transit alternative for local/regional commuting patterns. It seems that it might be about time to start looking into such alternatives.

External Links:
Ohio Hub Plan (regional rail)
Cincinnati Lightrail
Cincinnati Streetcar

Graph Credit:
United States Environmental Protection Agency

Cincinnati and Missing Cows

Cincinnati has lot going for it, affordable housing, great restaurants, a vibrant arts scene, and a wonderful park system. Despite this, we seem to be unable to keep track of our livestock. Yet another cow is missing.

I suppose a positive spin on this would be that we have so much green space in the city, cows can evade capture for some time. A negative spin on this would be that we are essentially Mayberry with 2.1 million people.

The New Urban Century

From the beginnings of civilization around 4000 B.C., man has lived a predominately rural life. Cities were the wellsprings of arts, culture, science, et. al., but the majority of people still lived in rural areas. Recently, or in the very near future, more people will live in urban areas that rural areas Although some demographers predicted that this event happened in 1994, the 21st century will be mankind’s first urban century.

The mega cities of the 21st century in the developing world must seem as frightening and chaotic to the casual American observer as the burgeoning American cities of the 19th and early 20th centuries did to the European observer.

Regardless, the next century will be one unlike any others we have seen. There will be new challenges around the world, new issues, and new developments.

Too often Americans take a Amero-centric or Euro-centric view on urbanism. This overlooks some of the world’s largest and all of the world’s fastest growing megalopoli. The City Mayor’s website takes a global perspective on running the world’s cities and provides a wealth of information on best practices throughout the world. The future will be very different, hopefully information like this will make us better prepared.

Ohio Hub Plan Advocacy

Like the idea of regional rail transportation in Ohio? Well there are a few things you could do to be more impactful when it comes to making this goal a reality.

All Aboard Ohio is the statewide advocacy group for regional high-speed rail, and they have now introduced a new online petition. Their goal with this is to, “forward the link to this online petition to every email address in Ohio leading up to our LegislativeSummit on April 30th.” Primarily what they’re advocating for is the development of the Ohio Hub Plan.

Another thing you could do is write letters to your congressional representative and/or your related member in Senate. We need to bind together and work towards accomplishing this goal. Sign the petition, it literally takes about 30 seconds.

Image Credit:
Ohio Department of Transportation