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Fritzie -

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How can we achieve social integration in cities?

In the recently posted talk by Eduardo Paes, which seems to be controversial in how it represents the quality of life in Rio DeJaneiro, the mayor of that city identifies as his third commandment that cities be socially integrated.

What does social integration mean to you in terms of how the residents of cities should be connected to each other and what are the best means we have of achieving such integration?

Examples of practical strategies that have worked in real cities would be very instructive. As the comments on the talk already provide a forum for discussing the accuracy of the mayor's depiction of his city, it would be wonderful if the discussion here could focus rather on the specific issue of promising strategies for social integration.

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  • May 7 2012: I believe for us Americans, social integration on the level that Mayor Paes proposes would be seen as either unfair socialist handouts or vicious gentrification. Our problem as Americans seems to be the inability to separate rhetoric (and earmarks) from beneficial policies and ideas. It's a special breed of weirdness that allows us to say "Hey, we want cheap and effective medicine, happy and competent doctors, but we don't want to allow the government or private interests to make this possible because McCarthy would roll over in his grave".

    It's a special breed of weird that compels us to severely slash R&D for space when we know it's the next logical step for our species' Manifest Destiny.

    It's a special breed of weird that we're not making our representatives work for free and pay their own expenses like...oh let's see...like the people they represent.

    But anyway, back to Mayor Paes: I am certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Rio is still struggling with issues of "race", is still not effectively aiding Trans Women in getting proper healthcare (and likely ignoring the unfortunate crossover into prostitution that needs must). In short, I'm not buying it; Rio is likely just as messed up as every other major city (like Chicago, or my beloved San Francisco). I do like those rapid transit buses though; that should've been what the whole American Reinvestment Act and this whole light rail bull**** should've been working on.
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      May 7 2012: To me integration and social programs do not at all automatically go hand in hand. As a US citizen, I feel that socialized hand outs can actually be part of the problem of cultural & societal divisiveness in the US and one of the walls (albeit with the best intentions) put up by govt that fortifies class, and prevents integration (city wide to nat'l). Indiscriminate and or heavy handed use of social programs IMO creates an unhealthy dependence on gov't and less motivation to move forward and improve ones situation beyond the point of maintaining their benefits. Sometimes, less really can be more IMO.
      • May 7 2012: RB, I wonder what your answer is to Qui Custodiet Custodes? My point is that it's all unfair to someone. Families in Kansas don't get high speed rails and families in the Bronx don't get subsidies for necessary crop production (I am being willfully blind here in regards to the efficacy and goodwill of these programs).

        Further, even though we're all receiving aid in some capacity (whether directly or by association), everyone I've met gets incensed at the words "social program", either winding up to defend it or tear it down. Why do we do that instead of listening to what the program can offer, analyzing it's cost effectiveness and then approving or discarding it?
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          May 7 2012: I have no idea why we do what we do Jean, :) and the guardians of the guards IMO are us - society. I wasn't saying no to social programs as a whole, so much as I was commenting on the unforeseen negative consequences that social aid can have on the individual, class and society. Sometimes integration ideas/models often do hinge on legislation in order to have effective reach and impact, however I feel that often there is a (scary) presumption that govt funding & structure is necessary for success and is left as an unchallenged assumption. Anyhow, I absolutely agree with you that the correct path when contemplating social programs is to understand said legislation and the dynamic it fits into before judging it. I can say that I am much more a fan of social programs that create a skill set for economic uplift and prolonged success vs simple handouts that do nothing long term for the individual or society as a whole.

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