robertogreco + denmark   96

You Don’t Want Hygge. You Want Social Democracy.
"It’s the holidays, and you long to be cozy.

You want to curl up in a plush armchair next to a crackling fire. You want the softest of blankets and wooliest of sweaters. You want to devour grandma’s pecan fudge, get tipsy on eggnog with your cousins, and watch Miracle on 34th Street — mom’s favorite — for the thirty-fourth time. Or maybe neither Christmas nor family gatherings are your thing, but you like the idea of sipping hot toddies and playing board games with a few close friends while outside the snow falls and the lights twinkle.

But you can’t have it, because you couldn’t spring for a plane ticket. Or relatives are in town, but times are tight, and it seemed irresponsible to pass up the Christmas overtime pay. Maybe everything circumstantially fell into place, but you can’t relax. You’re eyeing your inbox, anxious about the work that’s not getting done. You’re last-minute shopping, pinching pennies, thinking Scrooge had some fair points. Or you’re hiding in your childhood bedroom, binge-watching television and scrolling social media, because a rare break from the pressures of daily life feels more like an occasion to zone out than to celebrate and be merry.

Either way, you feel terrible, because you know that someone somewhere is literally roasting chestnuts on an open fire, and you’re missing out.

The Danes have a word for the thing you desperately want but can’t seem to manifest: hygge.

The word isn’t easy to translate. It comes from a Norwegian word that means “wellbeing,” but the contemporary Danish definition is more expansive than that.

In The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living, author Meik Wiking writes, “Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It’s about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allowed to let our guard down.”

You can have hygge any time, but Danes strongly associate it with Christmas, the most hyggelig time of the year. When asked what things they associate most with hygge, Danes answered, in order of importance: hot drinks, candles, fireplaces, Christmas, board games, music, holiday, sweets and cake, cooking, and books. Seven out of ten Danes say hygge is best experienced at home, and they even have a word for it — hjemmehygge, or home hygge.

But Wiking stresses that while hygge has strong aesthetic properties, it’s more than the sum of its parts. You don’t just see it, you feel it.

“Hygge is an indication that you trust the ones you are with and where you are,” he writes, “that you have expanded your comfort zone to include other people and you feel you can be completely yourself around other people.” The opposite of hygge is alienation.

It’s no coincidence that this concept is both native to and universally understood in the same country that consistently dominates the World Happiness Report and other annual surveys of general contentment. On rare occasions when Denmark is surpassed by another country, that country is always a Scandinavian neighbor.

What makes people in these countries happier than the rest of us is actually really simple. Danes and their neighbors have greater access to the building blocks of happiness: time, company, and security.

Scandinavians don’t have these things just because they value them more, or for cultural reasons that are congenital, irreplicable, and beyond our reach. People all over the world value time, company, and security. What Scandinavians do have is a political-economic arrangement that better facilitates the regular expression of those values. That arrangement is social democracy.

The Politics of Hygge

Denmark is not a socialist country, though like its neighbor Sweden, it did come close to collectivizing industry in the 1970s. That effort was driven by “unions, popular movements, and left parties,” write Andreas Møller Mulvad and Rune Møller Stahl in Jacobin. “It was these mass forces — not benevolent elites, carefully weighing the alternatives before deciding on an enlightened mix of capitalism and socialism — who were the architects and impetus behind the Nordic model. They are the ones responsible for making the Nordic countries among the happiest and most democratic in the world.”

A strong capitalist offensive stopped this Scandinavian coalition from realizing the transition to socialism, and the legacy of their efforts is a delicate compromise. The private sector persists, but taxes are both progressive and high across the board. The country spends 55 percent of its total GDP publicly, making it the third-highest government spender per capita in the world. Meanwhile, the power of employers is partially checked by strong unions, to which two-thirds of Danes belong.

This redistributive arrangement significantly reduces the class stratification that comes from capitalism. As a result, Denmark has one of the highest degrees of economic equality in the world.

All of that public spending goes to funding a strong welfare state. Everybody pays in, and everybody reaps the rewards. This egalitarian, humane, and solidaristic model allows the values associated with hygge to flourish. It also gives people more opportunities to act on them.

In Denmark, health care is free at the point of service. Same goes for education, all the way through college and even grad school. Twenty percent of the Danish housing stock is social housing, regulated and financially supported by the state but owned in common by tenants, and organized in the “tradition of tenants’ participation and self-governance.” Denmark offers year-long paid parental leave, and guarantees universal child care for all children beginning the moment that leave ends, when the child is one year old.

Similarly, due in large part to the past and and present strength of unions, Denmark has worker-friendly labor laws and standards which make for a more harmonious work-life balance. Danes get five weeks’ paid vacation, plus an additional nine public holidays. Unlike the United States, Denmark has a national paid sick-leave policy. Denmark also has generous unemployment benefits and a wage subsidy program for people who want to work but, for reasons outside their control, need more flexible arrangements.

The normal work week in Denmark is set at thirty-seven hours, and people tend to stick to it. Only 2 percent of Danes report working very long hours. In a survey of OECD countries Denmark ranked fourth for people spending the most time devoted to leisure and personal care. (The US ranked thirtieth.)

All of this has a profound effect on individuals’ ability to experience pleasure, trust, comfort, intimacy, peace of mind — and of course, the composite of these things, hygge.

For one thing, there are only so many hours in a day. And there are some activities that make us happy, and some that make us unhappy.

The Princeton Affect and Time Survey found that the activities that make us happiest include playing with children, listening to music, being outdoors, going to parties, exercising, hanging out with friends, and spending time with pets. (These are also the activities that Danes associate with hygge.) The ones that make us least happy include paid work, domestic work, home maintenance and repairs, running errands, personal medical care, and taking care of financial responsibilities.

Everyone has to do activities in the unhappy category in order to keep their affairs in order. But it makes sense that if you take some of those responsibilities off people’s plate and design the economy to give them more time to do activities in the happy category, they will be more content and lead more enriching lives.

Many working-class Americans don’t have much time for activities in the happy category, because they work multiple jobs or long hours and also have to keep a household in order without much assistance. Many more are afraid that if they take time away from their stressful responsibilities, they will overlook something important and fall behind, and there will be no social safety net to catch them — a pervasive anxiety that creeps up the class hierarchy. This breeds alienation, not intimacy.

Additionally, working people in highly capitalist countries, where economic life is characterized by cutthroat competition and the punishment for losing the competition is destitution, tend to develop hostile relationships to one another, which is not very hyggelig.

The social-democratic model is predicated instead on solidarity: my neighbor and I both pay taxes so that we can both have a high standard of living. We care for each other on the promise that we will each be cared for. By working together instead of against each other, we both get what we need. Universal social programs like those that make up the Scandinavian welfare states are thus engines of solidarity, impressing upon people that their neighbor is not an opponent or an obstacle, but a partner in building and maintaining society.

By pitting people against each other, neoliberal capitalism promotes suspicion and animosity. This frequently maps onto social divisions and manifests as racism, sexism, xenophobia, and so on. But it also just makes people guarded and antisocial in general. People who live in social democracies are far from invulnerable to prejudice or misanthropy, but the social compact remains more likely to promote kindness, trust, and goodwill among people than neoliberal capitalism — and indeed the Danes are some of the most trusting people in the world, of friends and strangers alike.

One of these political-economic arrangements strengthens people’s connection to the fundamentals of happiness, and of hygge — time, company, and security — while the other severs it. The abundance or scarcity of these fundamentals forms the material basis of collective social life.

The Ambiance Agenda

Hygge is not just a cultural … [more]
hygge  meaganday  2018  denmark  socialdemocracy  socialism  socialsafetynet  politics  policy  happiness  comfort  us  coreyrobin  scandinavia  solidarity  wellbeing  responsibility  uncertainty  anxiety  neoliberalism  capitalism  risk  civics  qualityoflife  pleasure  multispecies  family  trust  intimacy  peaceofmind  leisure  work  labor  health  healthcare  unions  time  slow  fragility  taxes  inequality  company  security 
december 2018 by robertogreco
It's Nice That | "I'm not a designer – I was just an activist": how The Smiling Sun became one of history's most iconic logos
"The Smiling Sun is well known across the world as the face of the anti-nuclear power movement. Worn as badges, stuck on lampposts or held aloft as flags its gleeful grin has become synonymous with the fight for a world powered by renewable energy. Despite its widespread popularity, the logo’s designer has remained largely aloof. It’s Nice That managed to track down The Smiling Sun’s creator, Anne Lund – now a university lecturer – to find out more about how it came to be and how she feels looking back on it, four decades later."
symbols  history  nuclearpower  activism  denmark  1970s  smilingsun  1975  communication  annelund  language 
december 2018 by robertogreco
Flatbread Society Seed Journey
"ABOUT

This journey to the Middle East can be seen as an awakening of the memory—the long journey the grain itself has taken—through the hands of time.

-Michael Taussig

Seed Journey is a seafaring voyage connected to a public art project* in the former port of Bjørvika in Oslo, Norway. Seed Journey moves people, ideas and seeds through time and space. This voyage—its crew and cargo—are agents that link the commons as they relate to local networks and a more global complex of seed savers and stewards of the land, air and water. A rotating crew of artists, anthropologists, biologists, bakers, activists, sailors and farmers join the journey and share their findings at host institutions along the route from small harbors to large ports from barns to museums (contemporary art, natural history and maritime) to social centers.

"NOT STUCK ON TIME"

Seed Journey departs from the port of Oslo, Norway beginning with a few key defining points and space for new stops and invitations along the way. The crew’s interests will influence the route, but ultimately grains are the compass. Seed Journey maps not only space, but also time and phylogeny: while the more familiar space yields a cartographic map, time yields history and phylogeny yields a picture of networks of relationships between and among living beings—relationships between cultural groups, but also between human and non-human living forms such as seeds, sea-life and the terrestrial species from the various places and times we will traverse.

****

FLATBREAD SOCIETY

Flatbread Society is a permanent public art project created in a “common” area amidst the waterfront development of Bjørvika, in Oslo, Norway. In 2012, the international arts collective, Futurefarmers formed Flatbread Society as a proposition for working with local actors to establish an aligned vision for the use of this land. The groups’ dynamic activation of the site through public programs, a bakehouse and a cultivated grain field has attracted the imagination of farmers, bakers, oven builders, artists, activists, soil scientists, city officials; while simultaneously resulting in the formation of an urban gardening community called Herligheten, a Declaration of Land Use, and a permanent grainfield and bakehouse.

Flatbread Society has extended beyond Oslo into a network of projects and people that use grain as a prismatic impetus to consider the interrelationship of food production to realms of knowledge sharing, cultural production, socio-political formations and everyday life.

Flatbread Society is part of Bjørvika Utvikling (BU) public art program Slow Space, commissioned and produced by Bjørvika Utvikling and supported by The Norwegian Public Road Authroities (Eastern Region)."
futurefarmers  seedjourney  michaeltaussig  art  norway  oslo  bjørvika  naturalhistory  flatbreadsociety  slow  baking  biology  science  classideas  activism  sailing  boats  anthropology  barns  museums  seeds  sailboats  spain  denmark  españa  vejle  london  england  cardiff  wales  uk  antwerp  belgium  asturias  lena  mallorca  rmallah  palestine  istanbul  turkey  johanpetersen  børrepetersen  carlemilpetersen  fernandogarcíadory  agency  didierdemorcy  amyfranceschini  marthevandessel  viviensansour  ignaciochapela  martinlundberg  alfonsoborragán  hananbenammar  joeriley  audreysnyder  annavitale  jørundaasefalkenberg 
january 2017 by robertogreco
The American Dream Isn’t Alive in Denmark - The Atlantic
[I guess I wasn’t aware people in the US point to Denmark mostly for social mobility. I look at Denmark more for the democratic socialism, its social safety net, and the resulting well-being. Maybe this title was poorly chosen, that’s why I m quoting the part at the end.]

"But just as Denmark’s policy may have its own unintended consequences, the American philosophy of opportunity has its own dark side. For example, high income inequality in the U.S. makes a college degree more valuable in America than in similar countries. This may encourage more poor Americans to enroll in college.

For many, college pays off. But the recent rise in college attainment in the U.S. has come at a terrible cost for some. Student debt has exploded, particularly at for-profit colleges serving older, poorer students, the majority of whom drop out with student loans that aren’t dischargeable in bankruptcy. So the social siren of American inequality—join the rich! go to college!—lures many first-generation students to put tens of thousands of dollars toward a degree that they never get. If they default on their student loans, they won’t be able to get a loan to buy a house. Which means the housing market is constrained by student debt defaults. Which means other industries that rely on a healthy housing market—furniture, cars, plants, kitchen appliances, apparel—are also affected.

Denmark doesn’t have all the answers, and apparently its leaders know it—that’s why they have such a strong public assistance system in the first place. But the U.S. mythology of social mobility is also self-defeating, in ways that are exceptionally American."

[Tyler Cowen's "Denmark's Nice, Yes, But Danes Live Better in U.S." also seems sloppy.
https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-08-16/denmark-s-nice-yes-but-danes-live-better-in-u-s

As I noted on Twitter:

Is it me or is this very sloppy thinking?
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/765752853268877312

Wouldn’t a Dane in the US be at an advantage (less worry, more tolerable of risk) because they still have a safety net to return to?
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/765753071569739782

Wouldn’t the Danes that come and earn more be more likely to stick around and be included in stats, but those that earn less return home?
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/765753389485481984

I was similarly perplexed by this http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/08/the-american-dream-isnt-alive-in-denmark/494141/ Why would social mobility be a big concern if everyone were taken care of?
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/765754780962533376

Maybe it’s a commitment to certain measures (like growth and GDP per capita) and a lack of interest in the value of civility and well-being?
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/765755398334754820 ]
denmark  education  scandinavia  nordic  inequality  socialmobility  us  colleges  universities  highered  highereducation 
august 2016 by robertogreco
Don’t need no education: What Danes consider healthy children’s television | The Economist
"A DAY into my holiday (spent with my wife’s family) in Denmark, and the changes are striking enough to move me back to the keyboard. Perhaps it was the display of life-sized nude photographs of young women, kicking off discussion about whether the choice of bodies was representative enough. Or perhaps it’s the casual way Danes use the English word "fuck", not because they’re especially foul-mouthed but because the word was imported without much of its taboo force. On the flight over I heard a nicely dressed middle-aged mother use it with her young daughters, in mild irritation but not anger.

But perhaps the most striking raw difference is on television, and specifically Ramasjang, the public children’s television channel. (It is part of DR, Denmark’s equivalent of the BBC.) It is everything that American or British kids’ programming is not.

It is naughty. Perhaps its most beloved character is Onkel Reje (“Uncle Shrimp”), a sailor-themed character in a red suit with a scruffy beard. He picks his nose. His stinky socks tell each other jokes. But much more than that, in the best Danish tradition, he mocks beloved institutions: his grandmother lights a fart on fire. He says the worst gift he ever got for Christmas—from Queen Margarethe herself—was the washbasin she washes her bare bottom in. And God he says, lives in heaven with Santa Claus and their dog Marianne, implying that the Supreme Being is not only imaginary, but also gay.

DR should have known this is what they would get when they hired, for the actor playing Onkel Reje, Mads Geertsen, who had previously recorded as a kind of avant-garde musician under the name Je m’appelle Mads. It boggles the mind that the producers at Ramasjang saw this video—in which a mostly naked Mads offers rude tributes to Denmark like a dancing pack of cigarettes and a cow pooing—and said “let’s give that man a children’s show.”

Yet somehow it’s also incredibly wholesome. The adult actors are frequently fat or ugly, in a way they never would be in America. Some have tattoos or nose-rings, just as they do in the real world. The shows—mostly live-action or puppets, not animation—move at an unhurried pace, two or three characters on the screen at the time, with little frenetic music and infrequent special effects. Whether made in the 2010s or the 1980s, Ramasjang’s shows are downright languid. The contrast is all the clearer when a British or American animated show that DR has licensed comes on, with every corner of the screen buzzing with unnecessary and overstimulating movement.

Probably most striking, though, is another thing lacking: education. Quite simply, there is none, academic or moral. “Kaj and Andrea”, a pair of puppets, are sweet friends, but also goofily flawed: Kaj is terribly self-obsessed, Andrea is warbling and neurotic. When other characters do something wrong, there is little of the obvious consequence-and-lesson resolution of American shows; the results are usually left to speak for themselves. “Buster’s World”, a glacially slow live-action show from the 1980s, follows the title character through various realistic hardly-adventures in and around a country house. When an older boy bullies Buster’s sister, Buster, in revenge, sabotages the older boy’s motorcycle, causing him to go flying off it. This would only make it past American lawyers if a finger-wagging adult lectured Buster and the audience at the end. Instead, Buster finds that his revenge changed little, and the show wanders aimlessly on.

Finally, there is hardly any of the ABC-123 stuff that fills American public television like “Sesame Street”. Ramasjang is entertainment, not a replacement for parents or school. Parents are expected to know when to switch it off (but just in case, the characters go to bed at 8.00pm, and are shown sleeping until the morning) rather than pretend that it is self-improvement.

What’s the secret? DR, including Ramasjang, is a training ground for the much-admired Danish film and television industry. Though its budget is nothing next to the BBC’s or a big American broadcaster’s, it’s big for Denmark, meaning that it brings in the best young film-makers, writers and actors looking for experience. If this state-led approach seems typically Scandinavian, it is also Danish in the best sense of innovating constantly, while refusing to take itself seriously.

Danish kids begin school much later than they do in Britain or other countries pushing the beginning of formal education earlier and earlier. There is plenty of time for school, and when Danes get there, they end up doing rather well. But until then, they seem utterly unharmed by a childhood of hearing about the queen’s bottom and watching grandma light some bodily gas on fire."

[plenty of Onkel Reje on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Onkel+Reje ]
denmark  television  tv  education  parenting  society  via:tealtan  2016  us  uk  comparison  learning  animation  film  funding 
august 2016 by robertogreco
The American Dream Is Alive in Finland - The Atlantic
"If the U.S. presidential campaign has made one thing clear, it’s this: The United States is not Finland. Nor is it Norway. This might seem self-evident. But America’s Americanness has had to be reaffirmed ever since Bernie Sanders suggested that Americans could learn something from Nordic countries about reducing income inequality, providing people with universal health care, and guaranteeing them paid family and medical leave.

“I think Bernie Sanders is a good candidate for president … of Sweden,” Marco Rubio scoffed. “We don’t want to be Sweden. We want to be the United States of America.”

“We are not Denmark,” Hillary Clinton clarified. “We are the United States of America. … [W]hen I think about capitalism, I think about all the small businesses that were started because we have the opportunity and the freedom in our country for people to do that and to make a good living for themselves and their families.”

Opportunity. Freedom. Independence. These words are bound up with American identity and the American Dream. The problem is that they’re often repeated like an incantation, with little reflection on the extent to which they still ring true in America, and are still exceptionally American.

Anu Partanen’s new book, The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life, argues that the freedom and opportunity Americans cherish are currently thriving more in Nordic countries than in the United States. (The Nordic countries comprise Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and Finland.) But she also pushes back—albeit gently—against the trendy notion that Nordic countries are paradises.

Partanen is an unusual messenger. After all, her personal story is a testament to the Land of Opportunity’s enduring magnetism and vibrancy; she recently became a U.S. citizen, after moving from her native Finland to the United States in part because she felt she was more likely to find work as a journalist in New York City than her American husband was as a writer in Helsinki. But her time in America has also convinced her that Finland and its neighbors are doing a better job of promoting a 21st-century version of the American Dream than her adoptive country.

Partanen’s principal question is the following: What’s the best way for a modern society to advance freedom and opportunity? She explains that Nordic governments do so by providing social services that the U.S. government doesn’t—things like free college education and heavily subsidized child care. Within that big question, Partanen poses more pointed questions about contemporary life in the United States: Is “freedom” remaining in a job you hate because you don’t want to lose the health insurance that comes with it? Is “independence” putting your career on hold, and relying on your partner’s income, so you can take care of a young child when your employer doesn’t offer paid parental leave or day care is too expensive? Is “opportunity” depending on the resources of your parents, or a bundle of loans, to get a university degree? Is realizing the American Dream supposed to be so stressful?

“What Finland and its neighbors do is actually walk the walk of opportunity that America now only talks,” Partanen writes. “It’s a fact: A citizen of Finland, Norway, or Denmark is today much more likely to rise above his or her parents’ socioeconomic status than is a citizen of the United States.” The United States is not Finland. And, in one sense, that’s bad news for America. Numerous studies have shown that there is far greater upward social mobility in Nordic countries than in the United States, partly because of the high level of income inequality in the U.S.

In another sense, though, it’s perfectly fine to not be Finland. As Nathan Heller observed in The New Yorker, the modern Nordic welfare state is meant to “minimize the causes of inequality” and be “more climbing web than safety net.” Yet the system, especially in Sweden, is currently being tested by increased immigration and rising income inequality. And it’s ultimately predicated on a different—and not necessarily superior—definition of freedom than that which prevails in America. “In Sweden,” Heller argued, “control comes through protection against risk. Americans think the opposite: control means taking personal responsibility for risk and, in some cases, social status.”

Last week, I spoke with Partanen about what she feels Nordic countries have gotten right, where they’ve gone wrong, and why, if Finland is really so great, she’s now living in America. An edited and condensed transcript of our conversation follows.

Uri Friedman: You make an argument in the book that if you think about the American Dream in a certain way—if you define it in terms of opportunity, independence, and freedom—it is actually flourishing in the Nordic region more than in the United States. Why?

Anu Partanen: For a long time now, we’ve all, both in the United States and in Europe, thought that the United States is the land of freedom. For a long time, it was certainly true: American democracy was leading the way, the American middle class was the wealthiest. America was really the place where you could make your own life and you could decide who you wanted to be and pursue the dream.

When I moved to the United States in 2008, that was the idea I had. [But] when I came here, I was actually surprised [to learn that] people were very anxious. They were in many ways very dependent on their circumstances, the opposite of being a self-made woman or man. And a lot of this is related to family: if, [when] you were a child, your parents could provide opportunities, if they could offer you a life in a good neighborhood, offer you a life in a good school.

…"
culture  economics  europe  finland  us  policy  norway  denmark  sweden  iceland  freedom  independence  opportunity  denamrk  anupartanen  urifriedman  democracy  socialism  inequality  middleclass  income  incomeinequality  immigration  taxes  daycare  healthcare  health  qualityoflife  government  society  nathanheller  politics 
july 2016 by robertogreco
7 Things Nordic Countries Are Totally Doing Right, According To 'The Nordic Theory Of Everything' | Bustle
"1. Balancing Federal Budgets …

2. Curbing Income Inequality …

3. Bringing Equity To Education …

4. Closing The Gender Gap …

5. Supporting Families …

6. Aiming For True Work-Life Balance …

7. Insuring Everyone …"
nordiccountries  scandinavia  policy  socialism  equality  us  inequality  education  gender  women  families  paternityleave  work-lifebalance  well-being  health  healthcare  universalhealthcare  finland  sweden  norway  iceland  denmark  2016  government  qualityoflife  anupartanen  middleclass 
july 2016 by robertogreco
The “parenting happiness gap” is real, new research confirms — Quartz
"It’s an almost immutable fact: Regardless of what country you live in, and what stage of life you might be at, having kids makes you significantly less happy compared to people who don’t have kids. It’s called the parenting happiness gap.

New research to be published in the American Journal of Sociology shows that American parents are especially miserable on this front, posting the largest gap (13%) in a group of 22 developed countries.

But the research also shows that it doesn’t have to be this way. Every other country had smaller gaps, and some, including Russia, France, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Hungary, and Portugal, actually showed happiness gains for parents.

The researchers, led by Jennifer Glass at the University of Texas, looked at what impact policies such as paid sick and vacation leave and subsidized child care have on closing that gap. It was 100%.

“As social scientists we rarely completely explain anything, but in this case we completely explain the parental happiness gap,” said Glass. In countries with the strongest family-friendly policy packages, “the parental deficit in happiness was completely eliminated, accomplished by raising parent’s happiness rather than lowering nonparents’ happiness,” the authors wrote.

It’s not just one policy, like paid parental leave, that makes the difference. It’s the magic of a package of policies spanning over a lifetime, that allow people to care for children, support them financially, and even enjoy them every once in awhile on a holiday.

The study looked at 22 European and English-speaking countries using surveys from prior to the recession, including the International Social Surveys of 2007 and 2008 and the European Social Surveys of 2006 and 2008. The group created a a three-item policy index including combined paid leave available to mothers, paid vacation and sick leave, and work flexibility, and then looked at the effect of the basket of policies, as well as the impact of each individual one, on closing the happiness gap.

They found that in countries high on the comprehensive policy index, there was no gap, or, parents were even happier than non-parents. Countries low on that index were less happy.

All policies are not created equal. Paid sick and vacation leave and subsidized child care showed the largest impact on improving the happiness of non-parents as well as parents, Glass said. This is important, because policies that spend tax money to help parents at the expense of non-parents tend to be less popular.

Studies like this present some obvious challenges. For one, people in the US are actually a weirdly happy lot overall. On a scale from 1-10, they log in around the 8-10 range. People in France rate their happiness in the middle of the scale, from 5-7. “We aren’t sure if this means the French are truly less happy than Americans, or just don’t think it is appropriate to use the extremes of any scale,” Glass wrote.

To allow for these cultural differences, the research focused on the differences between parents and non-parents in the same country. They asked: “What factors are associated with parents being less happy than nonparents, given their country’s overall average level of happiness?” The key is association (or correlation), and not causation, which is impossible to prove in studies like this.

It’s no big surprise that parents in Sweden, with its dreamy parental leave policies, are happier (compared to their non-parent peers) than parents in the US, where there is no paid leave for anything—having a baby, much less raising it. But the research helps point to which policies could help most.

Glass says it’s not that parents are unhappy. They often find parenting fulfilling, and wouldn’t have it any other way. But their stress levels tend to be high, which can overshadow any happiness to be gained from shepherding another human being through life.

And why should we even care about whether parents are happy? “Parental happiness does in fact determine our fertility rates, it does determine the types of bills we get for stress-related diseases,” Glass said. “When you have a system that is not very efficient in supporting parents, you can expect to have problems motivating people to have children and care for them.”

Conversely, she said, “People want to have more children when you make it possible for them to be effective parents and effective workers.”"

[See also: http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/06/us-has-largest-parental-happiness-gap.html ]
parenting  us  happiness  policy  culture  government  kids  sweden  denmark  france  finland  russia  spain  españa  hungary  portugal  norway  jennifer  glass  paidleave  maternityleave  parentalleave  paternityleave  sociology  europe  vacation  childcare  society 
june 2016 by robertogreco
I live in Denmark. Bernie Sanders’s Nordic dream is worth fighting for, even if he loses. - Vox
"There is no question that America — heck, the world — would be a better place if it more resembled the Scandinavia that Sanders evokes. Even I, a British transplant to Denmark and sometime-Scandiskeptic, can see that America is badly in need of a little Scandi-therapy. But Scandinavia doesn't offer a quick fix for what ails the United States — and in recent years even Scandinavia itself has been backing away from some of the qualities that Sanders praises it for.

Scandinavia is more equal than the States

In terms of economics, the gap between richest and poorest, measured by the Gini coefficient, is far smaller here than in the States; in terms of gender equality it has a greater proportion of women in the labor force and more women in positions of power, and there is absolutely no question that women should have the right to decide over the inhabitants of their own wombs. Sweden was recently ranked the best country in the world in which to live as a woman.

And Scandinavia is more equal in terms of opportunity. It is far easier for a working-class Scandinavian kid to achieve a university education and attain professional qualifications than it is for a child from a similar background in the USA. Social mobility is far, far better here than in the States. As I only slightly grudgingly conclude in my book The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia, these are the true lands of opportunity.

As Sanders rightly points out, America badly needs a dose of wealth redistribution. Rapidly spiraling poverty, unemployment, and homelessness with record repossessions, while billionaires pay 17 percent income tax? That doesn't tend to happen up here "beyond the wall."

Scandinavia's multi-party system works better than America's two-party system

America's political system would also benefit from a little Scandi-style transparency and multi-party consensus. Both help temper the extremes of political dogma that have afflicted the US political landscape. "But doesn't that lead to political stalemate?" I hear you ask. Like Washington, you mean? No, it's not that bad.

But really it all comes back to equality, the bedrock of the so-called Nordic miracle and Sanders's campaign mantra. The awkward truth about capitalism is that without proper equality of opportunity, the market cannot distribute wealth fairly or democratically, nor can it provide a safety net for the vulnerable. That's the role of government, and I'm afraid it requires everyone to pay their taxes.

But prosperous, Scandinavian-style societies don't happen overnight

Though Scandinavia has much to teach the world, sadly there is no quick fix to be found here. As with any region, Scandinavia has attained its current state of almost near perfection as a result of decades, perhaps centuries, of evolution, conflict, and change. The region is a product of its history, climate, and topography — not to mention of living so close to Germany and Russia.

You don't impose tax rates like these overnight; they creep up on you like bindweed without people really noticing until, whoops, you have five weeks of holiday a year and free health care, and young people are paid to go to university — but you are also paying more than half your income to the state.

You don't pick up democratic systems like this at the checkout. These levels of political and corporate transparency, devolution, equality, and accountability are formed following decades of debate and negotiation. Decent public transport takes long-term cross-party will; consensus politics require multiparty systems free of interference from large-scale corporate interest; effective labor relations are only possible if trade unions remain strong and are integrated into the decision-making process.

Even as Sanders praises Scandinavia, Scandinavia is becoming more and more like America

The great irony in all this is that while Sanders advocates Scandinavia as the default reset for America, the region itself is busy changing and reforming itself in the face of regional crises and global challenges — often making itself more American in the process.

In my book, I explain why these societies are so successful and happy — but I also spend some time explaining why Denmark, Sweden, and Norway (plus Finland and Iceland, for the full Nordic spread) are not the utopias the global media has made them out to be this past decade or so.

I live in Denmark of my own free will and find a great deal to admire about the Danes and the society they have built, but I felt there was a need for a counterbalance to the Scandimania that has characterized much of the reporting on Denmark and Scandinavia.

In many ways, Scandinavia has had enough of being Scandinavian. It has certainly had enough of socialism. As the Danish prime minister said in a recent speech at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, "I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy."

In many ways, Scandinavia has had enough of being Scandinavian. It has certainly had enough of socialism.

These days, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway are all mixed economies with relatively low corporation taxes, for instance. Many former state-run services are now privatized, and a large proportion of the population has private health care. Denmark regularly ranks high in global "ease of doing business" surveys, and Sweden in particular is currently experiencing impressive economic growth. Goldman Sachs recently bought a large stake in the Danish state energy company. Economies don't get much more mixed than that.

Some argue that high taxes are a disincentive to risk-taking and innovation and that generous welfare benefits engender a sense of complacency and entitlement, and I am sure there is some truth to this. There have been high-profile cases of able-bodied Danes playing the unemployment benefit system for years, and I once overheard a Danish parent complaining that her son's first choice of university did not have the surfing degree he wanted to take. Still, the region has given birth to a notable number of innovative global brands: Skype, Spotify, Novo Nordisk, Carlsberg, Ikea, and Lego to name just a few.

And Nordic governments are cutting back on their welfare states

Meanwhile, all of the Nordic governments have curbed the expansion of their welfare states over the past years to varying degrees, and many inhabitants of the region have opted out of their struggling state health and education systems. Politically, these countries began to move to the right 10 years ago, to the extent that far-right parties are now among the most popular with voters.

Neither do any of these countries have the "free" health care or "free" university tuition that Sanders wishes for. Bernie, let me tell you, we who live here pay for those free services with tax rates that would make your hair turn white. In Denmark I pay around 56 percent income tax, along with 25 percent retail tax, the highest energy taxes in the world, a veritable smorgasbord of property taxes, huge tariffs on alcohol and cars, and even a tax on air. (Soft ice cream is taxed based on its volume after the air is mixed in.)

And all of these countries have problems: Norway's oil income, upon which so much of its prosperity relies, has fallen off a cliff; like the teenager who advertised a house party on Facebook, the Swedes are now somewhat dismayed that tens of thousands of refugees and economic migrants have turned up on their front lawn; and with its own modest oil revenues dwindling, Denmark is facing up to the fact that the growth of its much-vaunted welfare state is no longer economically sustainable.

Believe me, get a Dane talking about the country's school system or to ask a Swede about immigration, and you will unleash a torrent of moans, gripes, and complaints that would make a New York cabbie blush. But — and it's a big "but" — all of these countries remain highly affluent, well-educated, free, democratic, "happy," and relatively equal. So that's why I'm rooting for Bernie and his vision for a more Scandinavian America."
denmark  socialism  scandinavia  2016  politics  policy  society  inequality  equality  welfare  sweden  norway  economics  taxes  berniesanders  transparency  accountability 
may 2016 by robertogreco
The Minecraft Generation - The New York Times
"Seth Frey, a postdoctoral fellow in computational social science at Dartmouth College, has studied the behavior of thousands of youths on Minecraft servers, and he argues that their interactions are, essentially, teaching civic literacy. “You’ve got these kids, and they’re creating these worlds, and they think they’re just playing a game, but they have to solve some of the hardest problems facing humanity,” Frey says. “They have to solve the tragedy of the commons.” What’s more, they’re often anonymous teenagers who, studies suggest, are almost 90 percent male (online play attracts far fewer girls and women than single-­player mode). That makes them “what I like to think of as possibly the worst human beings around,” Frey adds, only half-­jokingly. “So this shouldn’t work. And the fact that this works is astonishing.”

Frey is an admirer of Elinor Ostrom, the Nobel Prize-­winning political economist who analyzed the often-­unexpected ways that everyday people govern themselves and manage resources. He sees a reflection of her work in Minecraft: Running a server becomes a crash course in how to compromise, balance one another’s demands and resolve conflict.

Three years ago, the public library in Darien, Conn., decided to host its own Minecraft server. To play, kids must acquire a library card. More than 900 kids have signed up, according to John Blyberg, the library’s assistant director for innovation and user experience. “The kids are really a community,” he told me. To prevent conflict, the library installed plug-ins that give players a chunk of land in the game that only they can access, unless they explicitly allow someone else to do so. Even so, conflict arises. “I’ll get a call saying, ‘This is Dasher80, and someone has come in and destroyed my house,’ ” Blyberg says. Sometimes library administrators will step in to adjudicate the dispute. But this is increasingly rare, Blyberg says. “Generally, the self-­governing takes over. I’ll log in, and there’ll be 10 or 15 messages, and it’ll start with, ‘So-and-so stole this,’ and each message is more of this,” he says. “And at the end, it’ll be: ‘It’s O.K., we worked it out! Disregard this message!’ ”

Several parents and academics I interviewed think Minecraft servers offer children a crucial “third place” to mature, where they can gather together outside the scrutiny and authority at home and school. Kids have been using social networks like Instagram or Snapchat as a digital third place for some time, but Minecraft imposes different social demands, because kids have to figure out how to respect one another’s virtual space and how to collaborate on real projects.

“We’re increasingly constraining youth’s ability to move through the world around them,” says Barry Joseph, the associate director for digital learning at the American Museum of Natural History. Joseph is in his 40s. When he was young, he and his friends roamed the neighborhood unattended, where they learned to manage themselves socially. Today’s fearful parents often restrict their children’s wanderings, Joseph notes (himself included, he adds). Minecraft serves as a new free-­ranging realm.

Joseph’s son, Akiva, is 9, and before and after school he and his school friend Eliana will meet on a Minecraft server to talk and play. His son, Joseph says, is “at home but still getting to be with a friend using technology, going to a place where they get to use pickaxes and they get to use shovels and they get to do that kind of building. I wonder how much Minecraft is meeting that need — that need that all children have.” In some respects, Minecraft can be as much social network as game.

Just as Minecraft propels kids to master Photoshop or video-­editing, server life often requires kids to acquire complex technical skills. One 13-year-old girl I interviewed, Lea, was a regular on a server called Total Freedom but became annoyed that its administrators weren’t clamping down on griefing. So she asked if she could become an administrator, and the owners said yes.

For a few months, Lea worked as a kind of cop on that beat. A software tool called “command spy” let her observe records of what players had done in the game; she teleported miscreants to a sort of virtual “time out” zone. She was eventually promoted to the next rank — “telnet admin,” which allowed her to log directly into the server via telnet, a command-­line tool often used by professionals to manage servers. Being deeply involved in the social world of Minecraft turned Lea into something rather like a professional systems administrator. “I’m supposed to take charge of anybody who’s breaking the rules,” she told me at the time.

Not everyone has found the online world of Minecraft so hospitable. One afternoon while visiting the offices of Mouse, a nonprofit organization in Manhattan that runs high-tech programs for kids, I spoke with Tori. She’s a quiet, dry-­witted 17-year-old who has been playing Minecraft for two years, mostly in single-­player mode; a recent castle-­building competition with her younger sister prompted some bickering after Tori won. But when she decided to try an online server one day, other players — after discovering she was a girl — spelled out “BITCH” in blocks.

She hasn’t gone back. A group of friends sitting with her in the Mouse offices, all boys, shook their heads in sympathy; they’ve seen this behavior “everywhere,” one said. I have been unable to find solid statistics on how frequently harassment happens in Minecraft. In the broader world of online games, though, there is more evidence: An academic study of online players of Halo, a shoot-’em-up game, found that women were harassed twice as often as men, and in an unscientific poll of 874 self-­described online gamers, 63 percent of women reported “sex-­based taunting, harassment or threats.” Parents are sometimes more fretful than the players; a few told me they didn’t let their daughters play online. Not all girls experience harassment in Minecraft, of course — Lea, for one, told me it has never happened to her — and it is easy to play online without disclosing your gender, age or name. In-game avatars can even be animals.

How long will Minecraft’s popularity endure? It depends very much on Microsoft’s stewardship of the game. Company executives have thus far kept a reasonably light hand on the game; they have left major decisions about the game’s development to Mojang and let the team remain in Sweden. But you can imagine how the game’s rich grass-roots culture might fray. Microsoft could, for example, try to broaden the game’s appeal by making it more user-­friendly — which might attenuate its rich tradition of information-­sharing among fans, who enjoy the opacity and mystery. Or a future update could tilt the game in a direction kids don’t like. (The introduction of a new style of combat this spring led to lively debate on forums — some enjoyed the new layer of strategy; others thought it made Minecraft too much like a typical hack-and-slash game.) Or an altogether new game could emerge, out-­Minecrafting Minecraft.

But for now, its grip is strong. And some are trying to strengthen it further by making it more accessible to lower-­income children. Mimi Ito has found that the kids who acquire real-world skills from the game — learning logic, administering servers, making YouTube channels — tend to be upper middle class. Their parents and after-­school programs help them shift from playing with virtual blocks to, say, writing code. So educators have begun trying to do something similar, bringing Minecraft into the classroom to create lessons on everything from math to history. Many libraries are installing Minecraft on their computers."
2016  clivethompson  education  videogames  games  minecraft  digitalculture  gaming  mimiito  robinsloan  coding  computationalthinking  stem  programming  commandline  ianbogost  walterbenjamin  children  learning  resilience  colinfanning  toys  lego  wood  friedrichfroebel  johnlocke  rebeccamir  mariamontessori  montessori  carltheodorsorensen  guilds  mentoring  mentorship  sloyd  denmark  construction  building  woodcrafting  woodcraft  adventureplaygrounds  material  logic  basic  mojang  microsoft  markuspersson  notch  modding  photoshop  texturepacks  elinorostrom  collaboration  sethfrey  civics  youtube  networkedlearning  digitalliteracy  hacking  computers  screentime  creativity  howwelearn  computing  froebel 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Scandi Crush Saga - Curbed
"Scandinavia’s focus on the home and family, assertions of democratic principles, and emphasis on traditional craftsmanship fit in well with consumerist ideals of the postwar period. Gordon, a staunch critic of the radical direction American modernism was taking, published a series of articles lashing out against the International Style—another name for the modernist architecture and design that emerged out of Europe in the 30s—which she referred to as "totalitarian," and those responsible for it as "dictators in matters of taste." Such sentiment played on Cold War era politics of the period."



"Today, Scandinavian design is once again riding a wave of success that many say stems from a wider fascination with Nordic countries. Kjetil Fallan, professor of design history at the University of Oslo, attributes the present popularity to the greater visibility of the Nordic lands during the period after the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009.

"When a lot of large stable economies like the U.S. were having major problems, they discovered small Nordic countries were hardly affected by it at all," said Fallan, barring Iceland, of course. He cites a renewed interest in what is commonly referred to as the Nordic model in governance and society, which is typically categorized by a strong welfare state and an emphasis on individual autonomy. Just in the past year, Sweden’s flirtation with six-hour workdays and Finland’s planned experiment with universal basic income have grabbed headlines, further piquing the world’s curiosity. Such publicity may have had trickledown effects on the design field. "There is a tendency," Fallan says, "to equate Scandinavian design as a reflection of Scandinavian society."

Nordic arts and culture, too, have become increasingly popular abroad. "I think it started with a mix of different furniture, interiors, food, music, and film," says Poul Madsen, co-founder of Normann Copenhagen, a Danish interior design brand. "Danes were announced as the happiest people in [the] world a couple of years ago and even Oprah was talking about it," he added. "Suddenly, everything we did in Scandinavia really echoed." Indeed, increased media coverage, the popularity of Danish TV in the UK, and Copenhagen’s cache of Michelin-starred eateries, like world favorite Noma, have been rolled into what Madsen describes as "one big mass of Nordic living."

Even 2009—a shaky year for consumerism in the West—was a success for the firm. Normann Copenhagen’s New Danish Modern furniture series designed and produced within Denmark included Jesper K. Thomsen’s molded beech wood Camping set, which was awarded the Good Design award by the Chicago Athaeneum later that year.

Since then, business has been booming. The company, which sells to 82 countries, has seen export markets up 45 to 50 percent per year for the past two years, although Madsen admits that their pieces are still most successful within Denmark."
design  furniture  architecture  history  materials  scandinavia  sweden  denmark  finland  norway  iceland  nordic  arnejacobsen  eeroarnio  alvaalto  pouladsen  normanncopenhagen  jesperthompsen  kristianbyrge  muuto  peterbonnén  kjetilfallan  nadialassen  olewanscher  hansbretton-meyer  iittala  kajfranck  artek  oliviaöberg  tappiowirkkala  mariannegoebl 
march 2016 by robertogreco
ADHD Diagnoses? Why the Youngest Kids in Class Are Most Affected | MindShift | KQED News
"By the time they’re in elementary school, some kids prove to be more troublesome than others. They can’t sit still or they’re not socializing or they can’t focus enough to complete tasks that the other kids are handling well. Sounds like ADHD. But it might be that they’re just a little young for their grade.

Studies done in several countries including Iceland, Canada, Israel, Sweden and Taiwan show children who are at the young end of their grade cohort are more likely to get an ADHD diagnosis than their older classmates.

The youngest students were between 20 percent and 100 percent more likely to get the diagnosis or ADHD medication than were the oldest students in the cohort, says Helga Zoëga, an epidemiologist at the University of Iceland who worked on the Icelandic and Israeli studies.

The most recent evidence comes from Taiwan, where an analysis showed the youngest students in a grade were roughly 75 percent more likely to get a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder than the oldest ones. It was published Thursday in the Journal of Pediatrics.

Kids are generally 6 years old when they start first grade. A scant few months can span a lot of mental growth at this age.

“Within that age range there is a huge difference in developmental and social and emotional maturity,” says Dr. Adiaha Spinks-Franklin, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician at Texas Children’s Hospital who was not involved in any of the studies. “A 6-year-old is just not the same as a 7-year-old.”

And yet a first-grader might stand shoulder to shoulder with another student nearly 12 months her elder. “And the way we diagnose ADHD is we talk to the parent about the child’s behavior, and we mail the teacher questionnaires,” Spinks-Franklin says. “The teacher will be comparing the child’s behavior relative to other children in the class.”

That could lead to a mistaken diagnosis of ADHD. Zoëga says the younger the student, the greater the likelihood that student will receive an ADHD diagnosis or medication. “If you look at the [students’ age] just month by month, you’ll see that the likelihood increases with each month,” she says.

Zoëga says the only country studied so far where the relative age of young children doesn’t seem to have an effect on ADHD diagnosis is Denmark, where there’s more flexibility for when children enter school. So this could be because Danish parents with kids who are born just before the cutoff date for grade school entry choose to hold their offspring back one year.

But if you’re an American parent with children born in the months of December, November or October, that doesn’t mean a child should repeat a grade for the fear their relative youth will handicap them, Spinks-Franklin says. “There is absolutely no data to support grade repetition for maturity issues. Children who repeat a grade are at a higher risk of dropping out of high school. They are more likely to be bullied.” If the child does have ADHD or another disorder, she notes, repeating a grade will not fix the disorder.

And relatively younger children diagnosed with ADHD might really have ADHD, says Dr. Mu-Hong Chen, a psychiatrist at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. “There’s a potential for the harm of overdiagnosis and overprescription.” That would unnecessarily subject kids to unwanted side effects of stimulant medication and the stigma of the disorder. But perhaps older, more mature-looking students are just being underdiagnosed and not get help they might need, he says. The studies didn’t look into that.

The best thing for worried parents to do is just give the kids a chance to grow up, Chen says. In most of the studies done on relative age and ADHD, the difference in diagnosis rates vanished by the time the students reached their teenage years. “I think we have to wait for a while, he says. “We have to have more time to evaluate their behavior, attention and brain development.”

The data also mean that doctors should take the child’s relative age into account when diagnosing ADHD, Zoëga says. “It has a sensible solution. Just treat the individual according to his or her age."
adhd  age  children  diagnosis  2016  taiwan  canada  us  israel  iceland  sweden  denmark  adiahaspinks-franklin  attention  labels 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Delaying kindergarten until age 7 offers key benefits to kids — study - The Washington Post
"A new study finds strong evidence that delaying kindergarten by a year provides mental health benefits to children, allowing them to better self-regulate their attention and hyperactivity levels when they do start school.

The study, titled “The Gift of Time? School Starting Age and Mental Health” and published this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that these benefits — which are obviously important to student achievement — persist at least until age 11. Stanford Graduate School of Education Prof. Thomas Dee, who co-authored the study with Hans Henrik Sievertsen of the Danish National Center for Social Research, was quoted in a Stanford release as saying:
“We found that delaying kindergarten for one year reduced inattention and hyperactivity by 73 percent for an average child at age 11 and it virtually eliminated the probability that an average child at that age would have an ‘abnormal,’ or higher-than-normal rating for the inattentive-hyperactive behavioral measure.”

The researchers used data on tens of thousands of students from a mental-health screening survey used to evaluate children across Denmark (and in clinical and academic settings in other countries) and compared it Denmark’s census, according to the Stanford release. Youngsters who were deemed to have better self-control over attention and activity had higher assessment scores.

In Denmark, children generally enroll in kindergarten during the calendar year in which they turn 6. In the United States, too, kindergartners are typically 5 or 6 years. The researchers wrote in the study that they found “that a one-year delay in the start of school dramatically reduces inattention/hyperactivity at age 7 …. a measure of self regulation with strong negative links to student achievement.” They also found this this “large and targeted effect persists at age 11″ and affects both boys and girls.

There is a loud debate in the United States and other developed countries about the proper age to start formal schooling — with ever-younger students being put into school with formal academic work. Many early childhood experts have expressed concern about forcing very young children to sit and do academic work, arguing that kids learn best through structured play. Dee noted:
“It’s not just a question of when do you start kindergarten, but what do you do in those kindergarten classes? If you make kindergarten the new first grade, then parents may sensibly decide to delay entry. If kindergarten is not the new first grade, then parents may not delay children’s entries as much.”

Indeed, a study released early this year found that the requirement in the Common Core State Standards that kindergartners read could harm the reading development of some kids. It says:
When children have educational experiences that are not geared to their developmental level or in tune with their learning needs and cultures, it can cause them great harm, including feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and confusion.

In Finland and some other developed countries, formal academic education doesn’t start until the age of 7, when children are deemed to be mentally and physically ready for the challenge (though students in Finland have had access to high-quality preschool, which would affect their performance in kindergarten).

Many U.S. parents hold their children back a year — especially boys — so that they start kindergarten at age 6 rather than 5 to give them a chance to mature. The paper says that about 20 percent of kindergarten students are now 6 years old:
This “lengthening of childhood” reflects in part changes in state laws that moved forward the cutoff birth date at which 5 year olds were eligible for entering kindergarten (Deming and Dynarski, 2008). However, most of the increase in school starting ages is due to academic “redshirting”; an increasingly common decision by parents to seek developmental advantages for their children by delaying their school entry (i.e., the “gift of time”).

There have been early studies looking at the same or similar issue, and the results have been mixed. But Dee was quoted as saying:

“This is some of the most convincing evidence we’ve seen to support what parents and policymakers have already been doing – choosing to delay kindergarten entry.”

You can read the paper here [https://cepa.stanford.edu/content/gift-time-school-starting-age-and-mental-health ]."
kindergarten  education  children  redshirting  2015  unschooling  deschooling  finland  schools  hyperactivity  inattention  attention  selfregulation  denmark  mentalhealth  thomasdee  hanshenriksievertsen  behavior 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Why Copenhagen works: Lessons in city governance | Brookings Institution
"With such a reputation, it’s not surprising that Copenhagen has become a required stop for city builders of all stripes looking for smart techniques and tactics like enclosed bike lanes, district heating, innovative transit financing, and internal green courtyards.

But this exercise misses an important point. While acknowledging the value in a search for the discrete, replicable solution, we contend the reason for Copenhagen’s success runs deeper than having progressive ideas. Rather, it is rooted in fundamentals of sound governance. Copenhagen’s municipal government is powerful, and that enhances the city’s ability to make strategic decisions that span decades and mayoral terms. The capacity of the public sector is strengthened by an educated workforce with deep technical knowledge. And collaboration across political parties, levels of government, and sectors of society is common and consistent. 

Understanding this underlying structure—and which parts are replicable and which are not—is critical to advancing progress in other cities."



"The focus on strong local capacity is also reinforced by the city government’s ability to establish publicly owned corporations with specialized areas of responsibility and authority. For example, the city and seven surrounding municipalities co-created and co-own the Greater Copenhagen Utility (HOFOR), which is responsible for building, maintaining, and operating the wastewater system, district heating and cooling, and gas supply for the city and metro region. Another publicly owned corporation is CPH City and Port Development, a joint city/federal effort that is tasked with developing areas along the waterfront and in the Ørestad neighborhood, as well as overseeing operations in Copenhagen Port. The corporation raised capital for developing the Copenhagen metro system by rezoning and selling off valuable land in Ørestad and Nordhavnen—the latter a neighborhood partly built on surplus soil pulled up during subway construction. The benefits of these corporations lie in their ability to bring scale and to harness market forces while working toward the public good."
copenhagen  denmark  cities  planning  governance  government  politics  urbanplanning  longterm  2016  via:tealtan  power  urban  urbanism 
february 2016 by robertogreco
The 13 most innovative schools in the world - Tech Insider
[grain of salt, and some guffawing for a certain item on this list]

"Makoko Floating School. Lagos, Nigeria. The school that floats.
Ørestad Gymnasium. Copenhagen, Denmark. The school in a cube.
Big Picture Learning. Providence, Rhode Island. The school in the real world.
Egalia Pre-school. Stockholm, Sweden. The school without gender.
AltSchool. San Francisco, California. The school of Silicon Valley.
Sra Pou Vocational School. Sra Pou village, Cambodia. The school for building community.
P-TECH High School. Brooklyn, New York. The school that bridges high school and college.
Steve Jobs School. Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The school that thinks different.
Brightworks School. San Francisco, California. The school that teaches dangerously.
Carpe Diem Schools. Aiken, Ohio. The school built like an office.
Innova Schools. Peru. The school built by world-class designers.
Blue School. New York, New York. The school fusing compassion and creativity.
Samaschool. San Francisco, California. The school that says it's not too late."
schools  schooldesign  education  2014  nigeria  lagos  sweden  denmark  gender  learning  howwelearn  lcproject  openstudioproject  bigpictureschools  samaschool  blueschool  altschool  p-techhighschool  cambodia 
october 2015 by robertogreco
SUMÉ - THE SOUND OF A REVOLUTION official website | Greenland's fight for independence began with a rock band
"SYNOPSIS
From 1973 to 1976 the Greenlandic rock band Sumé released three albums and changed the history of Greenland. The group’s political songs were the first to be recorded in the Greenlandic language – a language that prior to Sumé didn’t have words for “revolution” or “oppression”. After 250 years of Danish colonization Sumé set in motion a revival of Greenlandic culture and identity, and paved the way for a Greenlandic home rule government."

[Trailer on YouTube: https://youtu.be/BDm2DyPEnLo ]
music  revolution  greenland  documentary  towatch  film  independence  sumé  politics  oppression  denmark  history  1970s  1973  1974  1975  1976  culture  identity  resistance  language 
april 2015 by robertogreco
The American Way over the Nordic Model? Are we crazy? - LA Times
"In my long nomadic life, I've been to both poles and most countries in between. I still remember when to be an American was to be envied. The country where I grew up after World War II seemed to be respected and admired around the world.

Today, as one of 1.6 million Americans living in Europe, I instead face hard questions about our nation. Wherever I travel, Europeans, Asians and Africans ask expatriates like me to explain everything odd or troubling about the conduct of the United States. Polite people, normally reluctant to risk offending a guest, ask pointedly about America's trigger-happiness, cutthroat free-marketeering, and "exceptionality."

Their questions share a single underlying theme: Have Americans gone over the edge? Are you crazy?

At the absolute top of the list: "Why would anyone oppose national healthcare?" Many countries have had some form of national healthcare since the 1930s, Germany since 1880. Some versions, as in France and Britain, have devolved into two-tier public and private systems. Yet even the privileged would not begrudge their fellow citizens government-funded comprehensive healthcare. That so many Americans do strikes Europeans as baffling, if not brutal.

In the Scandinavian countries, long considered to be the most socially progressive in the world, a national (physical and mental) health program is a big part — but only a part — of a more general social welfare system. In Norway, where I live, all citizens also have access to free education from age 6 through specialty training or university; low cost, subsidized preschool; unemployment benefits, job-placement and paid retraining; paid parental leave; old age pensions, and more. These benefits are not a "safety net" — that is, charitable payments grudgingly bestowed upon the needy. They are universal: equally available as a human right, promoting social harmony.

In the Scandinavian countries, long considered to be the most socially progressive in the world, a national (physical and mental) health program is a big part — but only a part — of a more general social welfare system. In Norway, where I live, all citizens also have access to free education from age 6 through specialty training or university; low cost, subsidized preschool; unemployment benefits, job-placement and paid retraining; paid parental leave; old age pensions, and more. These benefits are not a "safety net" — that is, charitable payments grudgingly bestowed upon the needy. They are universal: equally available as a human right, promoting social harmony.

This is the Nordic Model: a balance of regulated capitalism, universal social welfare, political democracy and the highest levels of gender and economic equality on the planet. It's their system, begun in Sweden in the 1930s and developed across Scandinavia in the postwar period. Yes, they pay for it through high taxation. (Though compared with the U.S. tax code, Norway's progressive income tax is remarkably streamlined.) And despite the efforts of an occasional conservative government to muck it up, they maintain it. Why?

They like it. International rankings cite Norway as the best place to grow old, to be a woman and to raise a child. The title of "best" or "happiest" place to live on Earth comes down to a neighborly contest among Norway and the neighboring Nordic social democracies, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland.

All the Nordic countries broadly agree that only when people's basic needs are met — when they cease to worry about jobs, education, healthcare, transportation, etc. — can they truly be free to do as they like. While the U.S. settles for the fantasy that every kid has an equal shot at the American dream, Nordic social welfare systems lay the foundations for a more authentic equality and individualism.

These ideas are not novel. They are implied in the preamble to our own Constitution. You know, the part about "We the People" forming "a more perfect Union" to "promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity."

Knowing this, a Norwegian is appalled at what America is doing to its posterity today. That top chief executives are paid 300 to 400 times as much as an average employee. Or that Govs. Sam Brownback of Kansas and Chris Christie of New Jersey, having run up their state's debts by cutting taxes for the rich, now plan to cover the loss with money snatched from public pension funds. That two-thirds of American college students finish in the red, some owing $100,000 or more. That in the U.S., still the world's richest country, 1 in 3 children lives in poverty. Or that the multitrillion-dollar wars of Presidents George W. Bush and Obama were fought on a credit card, to be paid off by the kids.

Implications of America's uncivilized inhumanity lurk in the questions foreign observers ask me: Why can't you shut down that concentration camp in Cuba? Why can't you stop interfering with women's healthcare? What is it about science and climate change you can't understand?

And the most pressing question of all: Why do you send your military all over the world to stir up trouble for all of us?

Europeans often connect America's reckless conduct abroad to its refusal to put its own house in order. They've watched the United States unravel its flimsy safety net, fail to replace decaying infrastructure, weaken organized labor, bring its national legislature to a standstill and create the greatest degree of economic inequality in almost a century. As they see it, with ever less personal security and next to no social welfare system, Americans are bound to be anxious and fearful. They understand as well why so many Americans have lost trust in a national government that for three decades has done so little for them (save Obama's endlessly embattled modest healthcare effort).

In Norway's capital, where a statue of a contemplative President Franklin D. Roosevelt overlooks the harbor, many America-watchers think he may have been the last U.S. president who understood and could explain to the citizenry what government might do for all of them.

It's hard to pin down why America is as it is today, and — believe me — even harder to explain it to others. Some Europeans who interrogate me say that the U.S. is "crazy" — or "paranoid," "self-absorbed," or simply "behind the times." Others, more charitably, imply that Americans are merely "misguided" or "asleep" and may still recover sanity. But wherever I travel, the questions follow, each suggesting that the United States, if not exactly crazy, is decidedly a danger to itself and others."
2015  annejones  us  healthcare  healthinsurance  socialsafetynet  scandinavia  norway  germany  uk  europe  inequality  equality  americandream  progressivism  socialism  capitalism  politics  policy  parentalleave  pensions  universality  nordiccountries  sweden  denmark  finland  iceland  individualism  equity  education  obamacare  affordablecareact  fdr 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Elevated Child Poverty: A Capitalist Problem | Demos
"The way capitalist market institutions distribute the national income is hostile to child-rearing. This is so for at least two reasons.

First, adding a child to your family increases the amount of income your family needs, including the amount it needs to be above poverty. But capitalist institutions do not respond to this need by distributing more income to families as they add more children, which is what sensible child-friendly and family-friendly distributive institutions would do.

Second, capitalist institutions distribute the least amount of money to workers who are at the normal age of child-having. Left to their devices, then, capitalist institutions will always have child poverty rates that are much higher than the overall poverty rate.

Indeed, we see that in the US. In 2012, the official child poverty rate was 21.8 percent, while the overall poverty rate was 15 percent. This is a child-to-overall poverty ratio of 1.45, which indicates that children are 45 percent more likely to be in poverty than the population in general.

I've written about these basic anti-family problems with market distributive institutions before. [http://www.demos.org/blog/5/20/14/child-allowance-market-failure-corrective ] Since then, I've tried to think of clever ways to illustrate my point with data. I am still working on that for the first point. Here, I attempt to illustrate the second point that capitalist income life-cycles feed elevated child poverty rates.

Life-Cycle Effect

The life-cycle effect argument is pretty straightforward and obvious once you consider it. People have children when they are young. People receive the lowest amount of market income when they are young. Their incomes then go up later on in life when they receive promotions and raises and whatnot.

I figured that, if this was true, it would also mean that the youngest children have the highest child poverty rates and the oldest have the lowest child poverty rates. This is because (given parenting norms surrounding child spacing and such) the parents of older children are, on average, older as well, meaning they are deeper into their income life-cycle. All else equal, a family with a 15-year-old child in it has had more years to receive promotions and raises than a family with a newborn (obviously sometimes these families overlap, but not typically).

Using the latest 5-year American Community Survey (5% population sample), I calculated the poverty rate for every age from 0 to 17. This was the result: [graph]

As you can see, the rates move exactly as you'd expect. At age 0, 25.5 percent of children are in poverty. So, one in four children are born into poverty. At age 1, it inches up a little to 25.8%. I suspect it ticks slightly up instead of down for reasons related to determining the poverty status of a family in the prior 12 months when their kid is less than 12 months old. From there it's down, down, down as the the parents and kids get older and older. At age 15, the child poverty rate bottoms out at 18.2%. At age 16 and 17, you see upticks again, which is likely because 16 is the age at which the Census will categorize you as an adult if you move out, meaning your poverty status will be determined by your own income and not the income of your parents.

So from age 1 to age 15, child poverty rates fall a whopping 30%. This is because of income life-cycles, which are an artifact of the way market institutions distribute income.

Some takeaways:

1. Blaming parents for the anti-family consequences of capitalist distributive institutions doesn't make much sense. When child poverty rates fall 30 percent over the life cycle, that's an income distribution problem. Moreover, the 30 percent figure can mislead. It's not as if the remaining 70 percent who are impoverished at age 15 were also impoverished at age 0. People move in and out of poverty a lot. Half of all adults will spend at least one year in it.

2. This is utterly crazy from a child development viewpoint. Child poverty in general is, but this particular pattern of it especially. We distribute the least amount of income to people right when their kids are at their crucial development stage. If you are going to throw some kids into poverty, you'd much rather it be the older ones than the younger ones. Capitalist institutions do the reverse.

3. Child benefit programs, like the child tax credit and personal exemption, that pay more benefits to those with higher incomes are similarly crazy. In addition to just broadly giving more benefits to richer families than poorer families, they also end up giving more money to families with older children than younger children for these life-cycle reasons. Yet, younger children are in more need of the money (because they are much more likely to be poor) and it is more important for child development reasons that younger children have it. One way to fix this issue is to have a universal child allowance where families with children aged 0-5 get more benefits than those with children aged 5-17.

4. This is not just about poverty. The fact is that all parents, even those not in poverty, are going to face a similar life-cycle income issue wherein they have the lowest incomes when their kids are young and highest when they are old. This is also bad and counter to everything we know about child development. This makes the case again for a universal child allowance, perhaps with a higher benefit level for young children than old children.

5. The only solution is non-market income supplements of some sort. You are not going to be able to get capitalist firms to pay entry-level workers (aka parents of young children) more money. Nor are you going to force them to pay parents more than single workers. No amount of coaxing or manipulating the market will eliminate the Child Poverty Premium as I think I will begin calling it.

Conclusion

In closing, I thought it might be useful to compare the child-to-overall poverty ratios globally using disposable income (so income that includes child benefits and the like). Here are the best 5:

1. Finland - 0.53
2. Denmark - 0.62
3. Korea - 0.64
4. Norway - 0.68
5. Sweden - 0.68

As you can see, it's the usual suspects plus Korea. In Finland, children are about half as likely to be poor as the overall population. This is because it has a robust network of family benefits. Same with the other usual suspects."
poverty  childpoverty  2014  mattbruenig  capitalism  economics  childdevelopment  us  finland  denmark  korea  norway  sweden 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Exploring the Faroe Islands, a Modern-Day 'Land of the Lost' - Bon Appétit
"He seemed upbeat for a guy who’d just lost his job, but then I remembered the day he drove me around, introducing me to his world: pointing out a field where a farmer had been trying, for years, to grow him carrots; visiting the potter who made his plates; noting a brewery that was trying to grow its own grain. And, every so often, he pointed out someone in a passing car: “There goes the hotel florist.” “There goes the nephew of a famous artist.” “There goes the son of a Faroese language expert, who calls me every time I’m on the radio to tell me how many things I said wrong.”

I kept thinking about how hard it must be to work in such a small place, but the sense of connectedness to the people every day must be what grounds him, too. Or maybe grounds is the wrong word. On that day, we stopped at the village of Gjógv, where, just beyond where the land meets the North Atlantic, the water goes down so far locals call it “The Deepness.” The colors of the houses—peach and pink and pastel blues and black—popped against the grass. Before us was grinding water and gasping wind; behind us, the land slashed up toward the clouds.

It’s the kind of place that makes you realize the earth is so much bigger than you can ever imagine. At some point, it dawns on you that there are no trees, no woods to get lost in: nothing to block your sight. It makes you think you can go right up to anything you see and touch it. It feels a little bit like floating. You feel a little bit magical, like anything is possible. And I wonder if that, too, is what keeps Sørensen going."
food  faroeislands  renéredzepi  noma  denmark  leifsørensen  place  nature  plants  travel  small  slow  slowfood  local  connectedness 
may 2014 by robertogreco
What I’m working on lately: Practices of the minimum viable utopia (long) | Speedbird
"In the fusion of each of these three archetypal processes, el Campo de Cebada, Godsbanen and Unto This Last, we can see the outlines of something truly radical and terribly exciting beginning to resolve. What can be made out, gleaming in the darkness, is a — partial, incomplete, necessarily insufficient, but hugely important — way of responding to the disappearance of meaningful jobs from our cities, as well as all the baleful second-order effects that attend that disappearance.

When apologists for the technology industry trumpet the decontextualized factoid that each “tech” job ostensibly creates five new service positions as a secondary effect, what they neglect to mention is that the lion’s share of those jobs will as a matter of course prove to be the kind of insecure, short-term, benefits-lacking, at-or-close-to-minimum-wage positions that typify the contemporary service sector. This sort of employment can’t come anywhere close to the (typically unionized) industrial-sector jobs of the twentieth century in their capacity to bind a community together, either in the income and benefits they produce by way of compensation, in the conception of self and competence they generate in those who hold them, or in the sense of solidarity with others similarly situated that they generally evoke.

At the same time, though, like many others, I too believe it would be foolish to artifically inflate employment by propping up declining smokestack industries with public-sector subsidies. Why, for example, continue to maintain Detroit’s automobile manufacturers on taxpayer-funded life support, when their approach to the world is so deeply retrograde, their product so very corrosive environmentally and socially, their behavior so irresponsible and their management so blitheringly, hamfistedly incompetent? That which is falling should also be pushed, surely. But that can’t ethically be done until something of comparable scale has been found to replace industrial manufacturing jobs as the generator of local economic vitality and the nexus of local community.

So where might meaningful, valued, value-generating employment be found — “employment” in the deepest sense of that word? I have two ways of answering that question:

- In the immediate term, I believe in the material and economic significance of digital fabrication technologies largely using free and open-source plans, deployed in small, clean, city-center workshops, under democratic community control. While these will never remotely be of a scale to replace all the vanished industrial jobs of the past, they offer us at least one favorable prospect those industrial jobs never could: the direct production of items immediately useful and valuable in one’s own life. Should such workshops be organized in such a way as to offer skills training (perhaps for laid-off service-sector workers, elders or at-risk youth), they present a genuinely potent economic and social proposition.

There are provisos. The Surly Urbanist correctly suggests that any positions created in such an endeavor need to be good jobs, i.e. not simply minimum-wage dronework, and my friend Rena Tom also notes that the skills training involved should be something more comprehensive than a simple set of instructions on how to run a CNC milling machine — that any such course of instruction would be most enduringly valuable if it amounted to an apprenticeship first in the manual and only later the numeric working of materials. I also want to be very clear that, per the kind of inclusive decision-making processes used at el Campo de Cebada, such a workshop would have to be something a community itself collectively thinks is worth experimenting with and investing in, not something inflicted upon it by guileless technoutopians from afar.

- In the fullness of time, I believe that the use of relatively high-technology techniques to accomplish not merely the local, autonomous production of everyday objects, furnitures and infrastructures, but their refit and repair, will come to be an economically salient activity in the global North. In this I see a congelation of several existing tendencies, logics or dynamics: the ideologically-driven retreat of the State from responsibility for stewardship of the everyday environment; the accelerating attrition and degradation of the West’s dated and undermaintained infrastructures, and their concomitant need for upgrade or replacement; increasing belief in the desirability of densifying urban infill; the rising awareness in the developed world of jugaad, gambiarra and other cultures of repair, reuse and improvisation; the emergence of fabricator-enabled adaptive upcycling; the circulation of a massive stock of recyclable componentry (in the form of obsolescent structures as well as landfill-bound but effectively nondegradable consumer items), coupled to the emergence of a favorable economics of materials recovery; broader experience with and understanding of networked, horizontal and leaderless organizational structures; the creation of a robust informational commons, including repositories of freely-downloadable specifications; and finally the clear capability of online platforms to facilitate development and sharing of the necessary knowledge, maintain some degree of standardization (or at least harmonization) of practice, suggest sites where citizen repair might constitute a useful intervention, and support processes of democratic decision-making."
utopia  2014  adamgreenfield  openstudioproject  pocketsofresistance  resistance  institutforx  godbanen  aarhus  madrid  spain  españa  elcampodecebada  untothislast  london  making  makerculture  economics  production  fabrication  democracy  labor  upcycling  collectivism  collaboration  repair  furniture  agency  denmark  davidharvey  postcapitalism  sharingeconomy  sharing  libraries  lcproject  community  communities  cooperatives  anilbawa-cavia  renatom  airbnb  couchsurfing  kintsugi  seams  minimumviableutopia  douglasmeehan  idealism  practicalism  jeremyrifkin  self-reliance  murraybookchin  jugaad  fabbing  gambiarra  fixing  maintenance  cv  repairing 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Institut for ( X )
"Institut for (X) is a culture and business platform for young designers, musicians, artists, entrepreneurs and craftsmen working side by side. 
Located in a former customs building, Institut for (X) is a part of Godsbanen, a former railway traffic area now officially dedicated by the municipality of Aarhus to become a future culture hub in the very heart of the city.

Institut for (X) startet as a Bureau Detours project, and is now run by a number of cultural organizations and small businesses, where Bureau Detours now is one of them. The various buildings in the area include various workshop- and office facilities which may be used for projects of all sizes.

A number of non-commercial cultural events (organized by ourselves, the municipality of Aarhus, various international and Danish artists and other art and cultural initiatives) have taken place here. Everything from art exhibitions, concerts, children- and family events, municipal meetings, “open house”, cultural salons, festivals and more."

[via: Can you smell what I'm brewing, beloved? Mate these 3 things: http://www.untothislast.co.uk/ http://www.institutforx.dk/ http://elcampodecebada.org/ Wildcat production in the city center! Things made for use! Lifelong skills training! A feeling of pride in using what one has made!

https://twitter.com/agpublic/status/452873190432579584
https://twitter.com/agpublic/status/452873398608486400

You've really got to strip the lame jargon from this, because there's actually something special going on here. MTK. http://www.institutforx.dk/ Århus has figured out something sensitively dependent on a whole lot of boundary conditions, that cities worldwide are. fapping themselves silly in an attempt to figure out, and are broadly failing in the effort. There are lessons to be learned. Men & women both — of all ages & not obviously hipsterized — making things for use. Coworking/makerspaces worldwide could learn from this. Also, a legible gradient of formality and structure, accessible at any point & traversable in either direction. Anyway, I'm super-inspired by the design principles at work here, and the unexpected resonances with projects like http://elcampodecebada.org/

https://twitter.com/agpublic/status/451749891061317632
https://twitter.com/agpublic/status/451750190668853248
https://twitter.com/agpublic/status/451750344008413184
https://twitter.com/agpublic/status/451762820351533056
https://twitter.com/agpublic/status/451764811945500672
https://twitter.com/agpublic/status/451765570028179456 ]
denmark  lcproject  openstudioproject  aarhus  institutforx 
april 2014 by robertogreco
America's Workers: Stressed Out, Overwhelmed, Totally Exhausted - Rebecca J. Rosen - The Atlantic
"What will change the overwork culture? There are several factors at play that I’m hoping will have an effect:

• Bright spots. I went looking for innovative "bright spots" at work, love, and play and found a host of really hopeful and cool things happening in companies large and small. For example, I have a profile of an innovative software company in Ann Arbor, Menlo Innovations, LLC, that was founded based on one principle: joy. Workers do intense, creative work, and are expected NOT to answer work phone and emails after hours or on weekends. If you come back refreshed—and maybe you’ve met someone, had a new experience, expanded your horizons—you’ll bring that freshness to work, perhaps make new connections, figure out how to solve an old problem in new ways.The more we shine a spotlight on how work can be done differently and well, the more companies and the middle managers who are the ones who implement policy changes, can follow new role models of success.

• Millennials. They may have been raised as precious and entitled, but many are coming into workplaces assuming that they can have it all—work and life—and are showing that they can do excellent work in their own way and in their own time. Creaky, rigid, old-fashioned cultures are beginning to adapt.

• Baby Boomers. They’re living longer and are healthier and aren’t ready or can’t afford to sail off into the sunset at 62. But neither do they want to work 90 hours a week anymore. There’s pressure from the top end to change as well.

• Technology. Technology is a double-edged sword right now. It’s freeing us up to work differently, but it’s also showing that it’s extending our work hours. I’m hoping that the more we use it, the smarter we’ll get about how to adapt to it. And all this recent extreme weather is showing managers how much good work can be done on snow days, etc. even when you’re not sitting at your desk under their nose.

• Human performance science and the creative class. In a knowledge economy, what do we value? Innovation, new ideas, creativity. How do we foster that? The brain is wired for the “A Ha” moment to come, not when our noses are pressed firmly into the grindstone, but in a break in the action. When we let our mind wander. In the shower. On a walk. When we are idle, neuroscience is showing that our brains are most active.

• Changes on the state level. While our national politics has been frozen for so long on issues of work and life, I was heartened to find states stepping in and looking for common sense policies and solutions to help people better manage the now conflicting demands and work and life. California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island have state paid parental leave policies—paid for by employees a few cents out of every paycheck that is pooled into a Temporary Disability Insurance fund. Cities are passing tax incentives to companies that promote telework and flexible work, as well as exploring their own “right to request” flexible work laws.

• Health. NIH is in the middle of a giant, multi-year study of how our high-stress, long hours work cultures are making us sick—and that costs employers a lot of money. And the Yale Stress Center is finding in their functional MRI studies that stress—the WHO has rated us the most anxious country on the planet—is actually shrinking our brains. Sick and stupid and overworked and overtired does not make for the most creative and productive workforce.

Other countries limit work hours by law (the European Union’s Working Time Directive, for instance) to both keep workers from being exploited, burned out or, in the case of Germany in particular, to keep unemployment low by spreading out work hours among more workers. Other countries also value refreshed workers and family and leisure time, and have paid leave policies when children are born, fostered, or adopted, in addition to sick time. They have paid vacation policies of as much as 30 days. In Denmark, every parent gets two “nurture days” per child until the child is eight, in order to make it to parent-teacher conferences, the school play, etc.—things that in this country, many white collar workers guiltily slink out under the radar to rush to, and working class people risk getting fired to do. In the UK, within the first year that they implemented a “Right to Request” flexible work hours (which give employees the right to put together a plan for how to get their work done in a flexible way and employers could only turn them down if they could show it would hurt the business bottom line) more than one million families requested such schedules and business kept humming right along.

In the United States, we have no such policies. We value work. We work among the most extreme hours, behind only Japan and South Korea.We value work. We work among the most extreme hours, behind only Japan and South Korea. Our divided political system has yet to figure out what the proper role of government should even be, and we hate taxes. Ironically, the OECD has done studies that have found that the U.S. spends about as much as Sweden on health and welfare—it’s just that they pool their money to pay for everyone, and in the U.S., it all comes out of private pockets.

One of the most astounding studies I came across was another OECD look at productivity. I heard so often, well, this overwork culture is just the price we have to pay for being such an enormously wealthy and productive economy. But then the OECD sliced GDP per hours worked to get an hourly productivity rate, and for several of the years studied, the U.S. falls several rungs below other countries with more rational work-life policies, such as France. So we’re putting in the most hours, but we’re not actually working intense, short, productive hours. We’re just putting in a lot of meaningless face time because that’s what our workplace cultures value—at the expense of our health, our families, and our souls."
rebeccarosen  2014  work  labor  productivity  generations  millennials  babyboomers  technology  well-being  law  legal  qualityoflife  health  facetime  economics  france  denmark  sweden  japan  korea  brigidschulte  stewartfriedman  balance  lifepetersenge  jessicadegroot  inequality  monikabauerlein  clarajeffrey  boomers 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Cockblocked by Redistribution: A Pick-up Artist in Denmark | Dissent Magazine
"Roosh comes to the conclusion that women who aren’t as dependent on men for financial support are not susceptible to the narcissistic salesmanship that constitutes phase one: “attraction.” That’s why Roosh fails to advance to the second level—”trust”—without being creepy. Thus “seduction” is almost always out of the question.

We can agree with pick-up artists that men and women exhibit some behavioral differences. But the PUA framework places their sources in evolution instead of the sexual and social division of labor. In her essay “A Marxist Theory of Women’s Nature,” philosopher Nancy Holmstrom argues that women’s lives are less free than men’s under capitalism “both because they are dependent on men and because they have children dependent on them.” Therefore, “traditional sexual values constrain women more than they do men,” and women “are less able to act to realize their own desires” and must be “more passive and oriented to other people’s wishes than men.”

But in societies with a less marked sexual division of labor, those sexualized generalizations dissipate. Marginalized women who need male spouses to flourish might, indeed, find pick-up artists alluring. But women in countries that have gender-equalizing policies supported by an anti-individualist culture may not.

***

By his last night in Copenhagen, Roosh’s game is not on point. His face is shining “a molten red” at the injustice of it all. He can’t stop himself from calling his buddy’s friend a “stupid, ugly, fat, cock-blocking bitch.” He ends the night by lying his way into bed with an apprehensive eighteen-year-old virgin. The determined pick-up artist can switch from “proactive” to predatory at the drop of a fedora. Since the Community deploys the strategies of hypercompetitive “meritocratic” societies in which self-promotion is indispensable to survival, Roosh felt he was responsible for making his night a success. If the inexperienced teenager had been more reluctant, it seems doubtful he would have relented.

As Roosh himself admits in Don’t Bang Denmark, Nordic social democracy doesn’t support his kind. His guidebook concludes with a resigned “bottom line” acknowledgment that his time in Denmark “liberalized me when it came to a government taking care of its citizens….Denmark sucks balls for women, but it kills the United States when it comes to having a higher standard of living.” Still, he won’t be going back anytime soon.

“Unfortunately, we have to accept that they go hand-in-hand, that we can’t fulfill basic human rights for all without viewing everyone as equal,” Roosh writes. “That’s fine for most people, but I’ve spent way too much time happily surviving in the jungle to pack my bags and move into the zoo.”"
culture  denmark  feminism  gender  socialism  redistribution  power  democracy  equality  socialdemocracy  meritocracy  capitalism  predation  marginalization  narcisism  marxism  individualism  collectivism 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design
"The integrated structure of CIID incorporates education, research and consultancy. We encourage a cross-disciplinary and multi-cultural environment.

The School and Research Lab at CIID provide a platform for intensive training, an interface to academia and the creation of new knowledge. The Consultancy works independently and allows development of pragmatic, real-world ideas and works on business focused cases for industry.

CIID aspires to be a hub blending design and technology. Design is a major innovation driver towards a knowledge-based economy, and new research models that interface with both academia and industry are required to reflect this.

Academics and industry professionals from Denmark and all over the world come to CIID to work on innovative products, services & technology."

[See also: http://ciid.dk/education/ and http://ciid.dk/about/ ]
multidisciplinarythinking  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  experiencedesign  strategicdesign  servicedesign  interaction  interactiondesign  denmark  copenhagen  design  ciid  learning  openstudioproject  lcproject  education  altgdp  from delicious
november 2012 by robertogreco
- A crane to lift tears: 17 reasons why Malmö is the best Scandinavian city - A crane to lift tears: 17 reasons why Malmö is the best Scandinavian city
"These days, more than 300 years after Scania became Swedish territory, Malmö is finally coming into its own, again. In an era where packets travel faster by cable than ships, the skies still sustain the heart of Malmö by bringing in people from all around the world. Instead of building ships to send out to the sea, the waters new bring in new residents from all around the world.

An invisible crane still oversees the city and if you stay just long enough, you’ll feel it too when you walk around and talk to the people who make the city come alive. Malmö may be Sweden’s 3rd largest city, but it may win for being the most welcoming and exciting city in Scandinavia. Cities are more than landmarks, they are made by the people who live in it.

Here are17 reasons why Malmö is the most awesome Scandinavian city."

[Tagged 'Copenhagen' and 'Denmark' because of reason number one.]
diversity  denmark  triciawang  2012  scandinavia  cities  malmö  sweden  from delicious
october 2012 by robertogreco
Mapping the World's Most Seductive Shrines to Coffee - Claire Cottrell - The Atlantic
"We've rounded up some of the most beautiful purveyors of coffee around the world in virtual guide form, meaning not only have we included the eye candy you know and love, but we've also added addresses and handy links to Google Maps."

[Little Nap Coffee Stand - Tokyo, Japan]
2012  toronto  switzerland  basel  porto  portugal  silverlake  hungary  busapest  brooklyn  bluebottlecoffee  sanfrancisco  oregon  portland  tokyo  sweden  denmark  telaviv  paris  poland  nyc  losangeles  us  japan  architecture  design  intreriors  openstudioproject  glvo  srg  coffee  cafes  from delicious
october 2012 by robertogreco
ARHOJ
"STUDIO ARHOJ was founded in Tokyo, Japan.
Currently based in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Established by Anders Arhøj in 2005 the studio
provides services that include:

+ Illustrations
+ Character design
+ Interior design
+ Industrial & object design
+ Concept ideas & styling
+ Fabric prints & patterns"
umamimart  copenhagen  denmark  illustration  print  patterns  portfolio  design  andersarhøj  from delicious
september 2012 by robertogreco
All power to the free universities of the future! [The Copenhagen Free University]
"The Copenhagen Free University was an attempt to reinvigorate the emancipatory aspect of research and learning, in the midst of an ongoing economisation of all knowledge production in society. Seeing how education and research were being subsumed into an industry structured by a corporate way of thinking, we intended to bring the idea of the university back to life. By life, we mean the messy life people live within the contradictions of capitalism. We wanted to reconnect knowledge production, learning and skill sharing to the everyday within a self-organised institutional framework of a free university. Our intention was multi-layered and was of course partly utopian, but also practical and experimental. We turned our flat in Copenhagen into a university by the very simple act of declaring 'this is a university'. By this transformative speech act the domestic setting of our flat became a university. It didn't take any alterations to the architecture other than the small things needed in terms of having people in your home staying over, presenting thoughts, researching archival material, screening films, presenting documents and works of art. Our home became a public institution dedicated to the production process of communal knowledge and fluctuating desires."

"As the strategy of self-institution focused on taking power and not accepting the dualism between the mainstream and the alternative, this in itself carried some contradictions. The CFU had for us become a too fixed identifier of a certain discourse relating to emancipatory education within academia and the art scene. Thus we decided to shut down the CFU in the winter of 2007 as a way of withdrawing the CFU from the landscape. We did this with the statement 'We Have Won' and shut the door of the CFU just before the New Year. During the six years of the CFU's existence, the knowledge economy had rapidly, and aggressively, become the norm around us in Copenhagen and in northern Europe. The rise of social networking, lifestyle and intellectual property as engines of valorisation meant that the knowledge economy was expanding into the tiniest pores of our lives and social relations. The state had turned to a wholesale privatisation of former public educational institutions, converting them into mines of raw material for industry in the shape of ideas, desires and human beings. But this normalising process was somehow not powerful enough to silence all forms of critique and dissent; other measures were required."

"We call for everybody to establish their own free universities in their homes or in the workplace, in the square or in the wilderness. All power to the free universities of the future."
self-organizedlearningenvironment  self-organization  2837university  lcproject  altgdp  experimental  hierarchy  freedom  deschooling  unschooling  copenhagen  denmark  copenhagenfreeuniversity  freeschools  freeschool  activism  education 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademie Billedkunstskolerne
"The School of Walls & Space investigates contemporary notions of space, its production, privatization & the role of the artist as a critical and political agent within it, & uses both traditional & more experimental pedagogical methods.

The School is a multi-layered micro-institution that encourages the development of an inter-disciplinary research-based practice. It balances individual mentoring w/ collective group activities. The school uses traditional pedagogical methods: group & one-to-one crits, seminars and talks, in conjunction w/ the exploration of more experimental collaborative teaching models which the School researches and develops collectively as a group. These include brain storming techniques, games, charettes, group activities, actions & happenings. It also explores historical practices, such as psychogeography & the derive, & the experimental teaching methods of Paolo Freire, Roy Ascott, Paul Goodman, & Colin Ward…"

[See also: http://wallsandspace.wordpress.com/ ]
copenhagen  theschoolofwallsandspace  2837university  lcproject  derive  collaborativeteaching  collaborative  charettes  arteducation  situationist  psychogeography  paulofreire  colinward  paulgoodman  royascott  nilsnorman  permaculture  denmark  art  space  education  place  pedagogy  dérive  from delicious
april 2012 by robertogreco
Utopia Seminar A Reader The School of Walls and Space Copenhagen 2010 [.pdf]
"This course explores the history, concepts and the real and imaginary worlds of Utopia. As an extension of Nils Norman’s ongoing research of Utopia, the Utopic World will be investigated using a broad artistic, rather than academic, method of inquiry.

Utopia is nowhere, but historically and conceptually it cannot be just anywhere. The course will navigate the analytic study and long tradition of mainly Western Utopia going back to the Ancient Greeks, through the Judeo-Christian tradition of Millenarianism, sailing past the Utopias of the 16C, and on towards the mad and fantastic plans and programs of Utopian Socialists like Charles Fourier, Robert Owen and Saint Simon. From there we will steer towards the history of communalism in the United States, feminist utopias, the communitarian experiments of the 60s and 70s, and the intentional communities of the present."
karlmarx  marxism  socialism  ecology  intentionalcommunities  communitarian  saintsimon  robertowen  charlesfourier  millenarianism  anarchist  anarchism  utopia  place  space  psychogeography  situationist  art  denmark  copenhagen  theschoolofwallsandspace  2010  nilsnorman  from delicious
april 2012 by robertogreco
Episode 253: Nils Norman : Bad at Sports
"Norman founded an experimental space called Poster Studio on Charing Cross Road, London. This space was a collaborative effort with Merlin Carpenter and Dan Mitchell. In 1998 in New York he set up Parasite, together with the artist Andrea Fraser, a collaborative artist led initiative that developed an archive for site-specific projects.

Norman now lives and works in London Copenhagen. He exhibits internationally in commercial galleries, museum, and in public and alternative spaces. He writes articles, designs book covers and posters, collaborates with other artists, teaches and lectures in European and the US. Norman completed a major design project: an 80m pedestrian bridge and two islands for Roskilde Commune in Denmark in 2005 and is now working together with Nicholas Hare Architects on a school playground project for the new Golden Lane Campus, East London. He has recently finished an artist residency at the University of Chicago, Chicago, USA."
dogooderism  academia  careerism  culture  readerbrothers  lauraowens  making  authenticity  values  trust  productivity  production  productionvalue  local  deschooling  unschooling  communities  dinnerparties  supperclubs  formalization  access  creativepractice  contradiction  mfa  lowresidencymfa  purpose  posterstudio  soprah  situationist  culturalspace  privatespaces  publicspace  institutionalization  bohemia  bohemians  cityasclassroom  cities  gentrification  josefstrau  stephandillemuth  economics  neoliberalism  richardflorida  socialpractice  denmark  chicago  site-specificprojects  roskildecommune  collaboration  arteducation  education  2010  artproduction  nilsnorman  colinward  explodingschool  artists  interviews  art  from delicious
april 2012 by robertogreco
Copenhagen Game Collective - Games, research, and other cool projects from Copenhagen and beyond
"Copenhagen Game Collective is a multi-gender, multi-national, non-profit game design collective based in Copenhagen, Denmark. The collective comprises a network of people and companies interested in independent game culture. Our members include creative individuals first of all, but also small companies, non-commercial interest groups, and game communicators and disseminators.

We play, exhibit, create, and care about games of all types – digital or otherwise – with a slant towards types of play that the game industry’s big boys can’t or won’t address. The diversity of our exhibits and game projects reflects our belief that creativity breeds creativity. The loose structure of the collective, encompassing a network of developers and collaborators, aims to create synergies between all our various projects."
design  development  collective  community  art  gaming  copenhagen  denmark  gamedesign  games  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
Hip Cities That Think About How They Work - NYTimes.com
"The story of young people, full of ambition, energy, skill and talent, moving to enticing cities that call to them like a siren’s song is as old as modern civilization. And in a world where national borders are easier to traverse, where more countries are joining the prosperous global middle class and where the cost of a one-way plane ticket is more affordable, young professionals probably have more cities to choose from than ever before.

This survey is not based solely on quality of life, number of trees or the cost of a month’s rent. Instead, we examine some cities that aim to be both smart and well managed, yet have an undeniably hip vibe. Our pick of cities that are, in a phrase, both great and good:

Aukland, Berlin, Barcelona, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Curitiba, Montreal, Santiago, Shanghai, Vilnus"
via:gpe  cities  aukland  newzealand  berlin  germany  barcelona  spain  españa  capetown  southafrica  copenhagen  denmark  curitiba  brasil  montreal  Quebec  canada  santiago  chile  shanghai  china  vilnus  lithuania  planning  urbanplanning  livability  glvo  urban  urbandesign  policy  transit  masstransit  publictransit  sustainability  smartcities  environment  design  brazil  from delicious
november 2011 by robertogreco
G.D.P. Doesn’t Measure Happiness - NYTimes.com
"What these societies have in common is that rather than striving to be the biggest they instead aspire to be constantly better. Which, in the end, offers an important antidote to both the rhetoric of decline and mindless boosterism: the recognition that whether we are falling behind or achieving new heights is greatly determined both by what goals we set and how we measure our performance."
scandinavia  nordiccountries  economics  via:anthonyalbright  2011  well-being  happiness  growth  gdp  improvement  society  capitalism  competition  davidrothkopf  measurement  carolgraham  nicolassarkozy  josephstiglitz  bhutan  jeffreysachs  us  china  development  post-development  stability  sustainability  prosperity  wealth  australia  canada  singapore  japan  netherlands  norway  sweden  denmark  luxembourg  europe  fiscalresponsibility  humanism  shrequest1  from delicious
october 2011 by robertogreco
Copenhagen's novel problem: too many cyclists | Amelia Hill | Environment | guardian.co.uk
"Can there be too many bikes in a city for safety? It's not a question usually asked: the received wisdom, supported by research and backed by campaigning groups, is that the more cyclists there are, the safer the roads become for everyone.

But in Copenhagen – one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world in which 36% of its inhabitants cycle to work or school, and which has committed to increasing that figure to 50% by 2015 – there are controversial voices coming from unexpected places.

According to the Danish Cyclists' Federation and Wonderful Copenhagen, the official tourism organisation for Denmark, the sheer success of the drive to get more locals and tourists on bikes is creating a dangerous, intimidating and unpleasant climate for cyclists in the city."
bikes  biking  denmark  copenhagen  transportation  commuting  urban  urbanism  cities  policy  bikelanes  2011  from delicious
september 2011 by robertogreco
We have to call it school « Sesat Blog
"A film by Peggy Hughes about Ny Lille Skole, in the 1970s. From Teach Your Own by John Holt:

"…over the titles one of the teachers says “We have to call it school. The law in Denmark says that children have to go to school, and if we didn’t call this a school, they couldn’t come here.” But it is not a school in any way that we understand those words. It is a meeting, living, and doing place for six or seven adults and about eighty children, aged about six through fourteen. It s more like a club than anything I can compare it to. The children come there when they feel like it, most of the time during the winter, not so often when spring and the sun arrive. Once there, they talk about and do many things that interest them, sometimes with the adults, sometimes by themselves. In the process, they learn a lot about themselves, each other and the world."

[Video embedded: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKcHsKBkhN4 ]

A good contrast to this, from the same era in Danish education, is the book Borderlines by Peter Hoeg."
peggyhughes  unschooling  deschooling  johnholt  caterinafake  nylilleskole  teachyourown  education  learning  perterhoeg  books  children  schools  schooliness  society  1970s  denmark  documentary  wehavetocallitschool  BagsvægdNyLilleskole  copenhagen  peterhøeg  borderliners  from delicious
september 2011 by robertogreco
Malpractice reform lessons from abroad - PNHP's Official Blog
"US requires patients injured by medical negligence to seek compensation through lawsuits, an approach that has drawbacks related to fairness, cost, & impact on medical care. Several countries, including New Zealand, Sweden, & Denmark, have replaced litigation w/ administrative compensation systems for patients who experience an avoidable medical injury. Sometimes called “no-fault” systems, such schemes enable patients to file claims for compensation w/out using an attorney. A governmental or private adjudicating organization uses neutral medical experts to evaluate claims of injury & does not require patients to prove that health care providers were negligent in order to receive compensation. Info from claims is used to analyze opportunities for patient safety improvement. The systems have successfully limited liability costs while improving injured patients’ access to compensation. US policymakers may find many of the elements of these countries’ systems to be transferable…"
health  healthcare  malpractice  law  legal  money  medicine  us  newzealand  nofault  sweden  denmark  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
Cykelmageren
"Rasmus Gjesing founded Cykelmageren in 1994 by opening a shop in Copenhagen. After a 6 months period of time doing only reparations on bikes with a mainstream look and in bad quality, he got inspired and began building and selling bikes in own design. He wished to break new ground by creating a unique product that was made to last and through out the history of the company this has been the basic idea of the concept. The demand for handmade bikes made expand naturally needed. From thereon the company developed into being a team of innovative quality- enthusiasts, all taking turns building the bikes at the workshop in the north of the city. A Cykelmageren handmade bike is individually ordered and build regarding every costumers needs and wishes and the aim for flexibility and special adjustment is good…"
bikes  denmark  handmade  design  biking  via:adamgreenfield  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
Week 27: Scattered, and rolling. | Urbanscale
"the course also included some reading…we decided that compiling and designing a newspaper with all the reading for the course would be a better route to success. We had a 20-page newspaper printed by…Newspaper Club…The very fact of having a physical artefact, laying around on the desks in the studio, is a constant reminder that there is related reading to be done, and it invites browsing in a way a list of links or open tabs does not. It also has the advantage of being print — there’s much greater control (albeit with commensurately more effort) over presentation, of curating a selection, of removing distractions, no links, of considering what sits next to what. Texts from blogs can sit next to more historical texts, forcing the ideas to bounce and spark off each other. Not to mention, it ends up being a rather nice object to keep around, to glance at or refer to later.

Find below a list of the content in the newspaper we handed out as a form of shortened reading list."
urban  urbanism  urbanscale  adamgreenfield  toread  readinglist  tomarmitage  jackschulze  timoarnall  greglindsay  janejacobs  italocalvino  copenhagen  denmark  big  bjarkeingels  georgeaye  mayonissen  rongabriel  muni  williamhwhyte  danhill  2011  networkedurbanism  networkedcities  urbancomputing  immaterials  urbanexperience  systems  layers  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
10 Everyday Acts of Resistance That Changed the World by Steve Crawshaw and John Jackson — YES! Magazine
"The military junta that ruled Uruguay from 1973 was intolerant in the extreme. Hundreds of thousands fled into exile. Political opponents were jailed. Torture was a regular occurrence. On occasion, even concerts of classical music were seen as subversive threats.

But a remarkable small protest took place at soccer games throughout the twelve long years of military rule.

Whenever the band struck up the national anthem before major games, thousands of Uruguayans in the stadium joined in unenthusiastically. This stubborn failure to sing loudly was rebellion already. But, from the generals’ point of view, there was worse to come.

At one point, the anthem declares, Tiranos temblad!—“May tyrants tremble!” Those words served as the cue for the crowds in the stadium to suddenly bellow it in unison as they waved their flags. After that brief, excited roar, they continued to mumble their way through to the end of the long anthem…"
uruguay  via:steelemaley  1973  protest  democracy  freedom  resistance  ireland  us  poland  1982  1880  uk  1984  burma  1990s  liberia  2003  kenya  2009  denmark  1943  israel  2002  words  1993  from delicious
april 2011 by robertogreco
Aarhus Gymnastics and Motor Skills Hall / C. F. Møller Architects | ArchDaily
"The children of Aarhus now have a unique hall to romp in. Aarhus Gymnastics and Motor Skills Hall, designed by C. F. Møller Architects, combines the best of the sports hall and playground and is the only one of its kind in Denmark – probably worldwide.

The Motor Skills Hall is an extension of the Aarhus Gymnastics and Trampoline Hall. The idea of the approximately 1.200 m2 of activity landscape is to invite and motivate children aged three to ten to develop motor skills while having fun playing. Possible future users of the hall are sporting associations, schools, youth centres, kindergartens, families etc."
denmark  education  schooldesign  recreation  aarhus  design  architecture  play  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
Secrets of the Happiest Places on Earth - NatGeo News Watch
"San Luis Obispo has the best emotional health in country & highest level of well-being…because they have a dozen or so things going for them that were put in place in late 1970s.

They made decision as a city, rather than making the city optimal for commerce, to make it optimal for quality of life. It used to be a forest of signs. Signs beget more signs. They instead limited the size of signs & put the resources into aesthetics. They outlawed fast-food drive-throughs so you don't have idling cars polluting the air, it's harder for people to eat fast food. They were the first place in the world to outlaw smoking in bars & restaurants, so as a result you have about the lowest rate of smoking in the country.

You can stand any place in SLO, a city of about .25 million people, & look around & see green. They have zoned it such that there's no building beyond a certain point, so everybody has access to green space, which we know lowers stress levels, & has access to recreation."
happiness  singapore  urbanism  geography  planning  urban  sanluisobispo  california  traffic  bike  biking  signs  greenery  denmark  nuevoleón  mexico  well-being  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
Wanna Improve Education? Demolish the Classrooms | Co.Design
"Who removed the classrooms? Apparently, the Danish government did. In 2005, the Danish government established a new vision for the secondary school reform. This pedagogical reform boldly promotes innovation and self-directed learning in the Danish education system by recognizing this millennium's shift to an ideas-based global economy.

3XN’s design for Ørestad College is a novel interpretation of agility and openness where the architecture complies with the pedagogy of individualized and interdisciplinary learning. The prototypical factory model with its self-contained classrooms is replaced by an environment that features a diversity of spaces that flow into one another. The design promotes reflective, collaborative learning that mimics the way teenagers think, learn and socialize."

[No qualms with the philosophy, but this design? I see a lot of lounging and computing, but where can these kids build things and make a mess? Plus, seems like a lot of flash and wasted space.]
trungle  denmark  education  lcproject  architecture  schooldesign  schools  schooling  innovation  tcsnmy  learning  self-directedlearning  open  pedagogy  design  missedopportunities  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
Uffe Elbæk | Change The Game |
"In July 2010, Uffe Elbæk founded the consulting company Change the game with the focus on leadership training, political campaigning and social innovation concepts. Besides being the CEO of Change the game, Uffe Elbæk has given himself the title: Senior Troublemaker and Solution Finder. Because that is his job these days."
uffeelbaek  denmark  changethegame  politics  leadership  books  training  campaigning  socialinnovation 
august 2010 by robertogreco
World's Happiest Countries: Gallup Survey (PHOTOS)
"While the United States may still be the richest nation on Earth, it can't claim to be as happy as Denmark or Finland. In fact, according to a new analysis of data provided by the Gallup World Poll, the relationship between overall life satisfaction and wealth may not be as straightforward as previously thought."
2010  countries  happiness  health  healthcare  polls  well-being  us  denmark  finland  norway  netherlands  costarica  canada  switzerland  sweden  newzealand  austria  australia  belgium  brasil  panamá  brazil 
july 2010 by robertogreco
New Visions of Home: Change Observer: Design Observer
"The world is tumbling over the precipice of a major demographic shift. By 2030, it is estimated that 25 percent of the developed world’s population will be over 65 — an unprecedented proportion in human history. A century ago, that number was a mere 3 percent. In the U.S., the population over 65 is expected to double to 71.5 million in the next 15 years. Investment firm T. Rowe Price now advises retirement savings until age 92. ... Below is a sample of inventive approaches to living as we age. Few of these projects suggest “senior living”; in fact, many combine thoughtful programming with sophisticated aesthetics, and all have a human-centered approach."
aging  architecture  housing  europe  trends  us  design  retrofitting  cohousing  multigeneration  vertical  density  denmark  small  smallhomes  lifelonglearning  seniors  affordability  world  population  urban  urbanism  switzerland  portland  oregon  leed  designobserver  australia  uk 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Rødovre Adventure Playground - a set on Flickr
"Rødovre 'Construction Playground' has existed in Copenhagen since 1964 – and was the second adventure playground to be developed after C.T. Sørensen's historic playground at Emdrup. The playground's story, as we were told during our visit, goes that a local construction crew was working on a building in the area when local children would repeatedly get together and then raid the worksite – taking all the wood and tools to build their own forts and structures. Rather than working against them, though, the construction foreman decided to voluntarily toss some wood scraps and tools over the fence for the children – allowing them to build what they wish without raiding the construction site anymore..."
children  creativity  playgrounds  denmark  copenhagen  play  design  studentdirected 
june 2010 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Could Australia become the ‘Nordic Region’ of the Pacific Economy?
"So with a similar population base, and a similarly useful strategic position, could Australia become the ‘Nordic Region’ of the Pacific Economy? If we assume that this is a broadly attractive proposition - big assumption, but I’d be happy with it - what would we have to do to achieve this? Clearly that missing component is cultural, partly. Can we re-shape the local culture to value design, craft and innovation? Easier said than done, but entirely possible. After all, much of Australia’s culture is engineered to value resources and agriculture, the so-called ‘primary industries’ (a telling phrase, that). Yet an industrial policy - and associated cultural policies, education policies and so on - could instead value the New Primary Industries."
australia  future  europe  education  china  business  history  nordiccountries  scandinavia  sweden  norway  denmark  finland 
march 2010 by robertogreco
MindLab
"MindLab is a cross-ministerial innovation unit which involves citizens and businesses in creating new solutions for society. We are also a physical space – a neutral zone for inspiring creativity, innovation and collaboration. We work with the civil servants in our three parent ministries: the Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs, the Ministry of Taxation and the Ministry of Employment. These three ministries cover broad policy areas that affect the daily lives of virtually all Danes. Entrepreneurship, climate change, digital self-service, citizen’s rights, emplyment services and workplace safety are some of the areas they address. MindLab is instrumental in helping the ministry’s key decision-makers and employees view their efforts from the outside-in, to see them from a citizen’s perspective. We use this approach as a platform for co-creating better ideas."
thinktank  governance  government  denmark  copenhagen  design  designthinking  socialentrepreneurship  reform  consulting  agency  agencies  welfare  innovation  public  service  creativity  society  lcproject 
march 2010 by robertogreco
In Focus: Kim Høltermand - Archinect
"In this feature, we talk to Kim Høltermand, a photographer (& fingerprints expert in The Crime Scene Unit of The Danish National Police!) based in Copenhagen."
photography  architecture  denmark 
february 2010 by robertogreco
New Plan Will Let High Schoolers Graduate Early - NYTimes.com
"Dozens of public high schools in eight states will introduce a program next year allowing 10th graders who pass a battery of tests to get a diploma two years early and immediately enroll in community college. Students who pass but aspire to attend a selective college may continue with college preparatory courses in their junior and senior years, organizers of the new effort said. Students who fail the 10th-grade tests, known as board exams, can try again at the end of their 11th and 12th grades. The tests would cover not only English and math but also subjects like science and history. The new system of high school coursework with the accompanying board examinations is modeled largely on systems in high-performing nations including Denmark, England, Finland, France and Singapore."
highschool  education  us  policy  communitycolleges  admissions  schools  learning  assessment  reform  exams  denmark  english  finland  france  singapore 
february 2010 by robertogreco
The Danish Art of Hygge - Denmark - VisitDenmark
"The Danes have a word that's hard to translate, and no foreigner can hope to pronounce, but it's as Danish as pork roast and cold beer. It's hygge, and it goes far in illuminating the Danish soul. The closest we can come phonetically is "hooga," if we try forming our mouths for "ee" while saying "oo." It doesn’t translate directly into any other language but we can illustrate it in action."
hygge  hyggelig  denmark  culture  copenhagen  words  meaning  definitions  language  danish  coziness  tranquility  peacefullness  definition  comfort  peacefulness 
february 2010 by robertogreco
hackwriters.com - Hyggelig - Denmark in a word - Roger Smith
"As it turned out, the peculiar difficulty of pronouncing this word (for me), the very tenseness of its articulation, belied the meaning in a curious way. That meaning involved a lack of tenseness, a determined relaxation. Dictionaries give "comfortable," "snug," "cozy," "homelike," "accommodating." "Yes," Kaja said. "It means cozy. But that’s only part of it. We want things to be hyggelig whether they are or not. We want it so much it has become nearly subconscious. So we call something hyggelig with intention sometimes and sometimes without meaning much at all, really."
words  denmark  danish  hygge  coziness  tranquility  peacefullness  hyggelig  definition  meaning  comfort  peacefulness 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Culture of Denmark - Wikipedia [points to the section on Hygge]
"One of the fundamental aspects of Danish culture is "hygge", which, although translated as "coziness" is more akin to "tranquility". Hygge is a complete absence of anything annoying, irritating, or emotionally overwhelming, and the presence of and pleasure from comforting, gentle, and soothing things. Hygge is often associated with family and close friends. Christmas time when loved ones sit close together with candles lit on a cold rainy night is "hygge", as is grilling a pølse (Danish sausage) on a long summer evening. These examples, although they do not precisely define "hygge", can give an English speaker an idea of a deeply valued traditional concept of Danish culture."
words  denmark  danish  hygge  coziness  tranquility  peacefullness  hyggelig  definition  meaning  comfort  peacefulness 
february 2010 by robertogreco
National Journal Magazine - U.S. Versus Europe: No Winner
"Which has the superior economic model, the United States or Europe? The question keeps coming up and never gets resolved. It is having another go-round at the moment, with the adversaries lining up as usual. Conservatives say that Europe's social-democratic model is bound for the landfill of history. Progressives defend the model, even if they usually stop short of recommending it outright. As a British import, allow me to join in. My answer, to cut to the chase -- one picks up these expressions -- is that neither model is objectively better. You can guess which I prefer, because like many other Europeans I have chosen to live in the United States. But the European approach is perfectly viable, and I can see why many Americans might like it. (For some reason, not many seem to move to Europe. The traffic seems to be mainly in the other direction. A mystery.) To be sure, each side has things to teach the other."
us  europe  economics  individualism  society  socialism  democracy  taxes  policy  politics  progressives  government  scandinavia  denmark  france  sweden  netherlands  paulkrugman  productivity  work  well-being  employment  efficiency  effort  growth  assimilation  immigration  class  optimism  innovation  competitiveness  labor 
january 2010 by robertogreco
MY PLAYGROUND - PREVIEW on Vimeo
"A documentary film by Kaspar Astrup Schröder about movement in urban space. The film explores the way Parkour and Freerunning is changing the perception of urban space and how the space is changing the traceurs and freerunners. Mainly set in Copenhagen the film follows the making of the first dedicated parkour park in the world. Designed by the danish team, Team JiYo. The film also travels around the world to Japan, United States, United Kingdom, and China to explore the common understanding of exploring the urban space seen from a traceur and freerunners perspective. Founding architect of B.I.G. Architects, Bjarke Ingels in participating in exploring a untraditional path in perceiving a new approach to urban architecture and together with Team Jiyo he travels to Shanghai and Shenzhen to meet with a different people and culture. Does travelling to the other end of the world change our understanding of movement in the urban space that surrounds us?"
freerunning  parkour  urbanism  space  cities  architecture  movement  place  sports  bjarkeingels  big  design  urban  via:grahamje  documentary  denmark  copenhagen  tokyo  japan 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Students in Denmark Allowed Full Access to the Internet During Exams
"The country’s latest move see’s the Danish government preach that the Internet is so much a part of daily life, it should be included in the classroom and in examinations. With that belief, the government have taken the bold step of allowing full Internet access to several high schools during their final year exams. They can access any site they like, including Facebook, but they cannot message each other or email anyone outside the classroom. How that is prevented I’m not quite sure, but government advisors say pupils are disciplined enough not to cheat and that they can rely on the integrity of the pupil and the threat of expulsion if they are caught."
denmark  education  internet  web  assessment  testing  cheating 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Changepilot: About Changepilot
"Changepilot is a consulting firm that works with innovation, creativity and change management in private businesses as well as in the public sector. All 11 head consultants are educated KaosPilots with impressive results from both graduation and the business community. They all have several years of experience as project leaders, coaches and business developers. At Changepilot we want to create a new alternative to the traditional consulting firms. We want to make innovation, creativity and change management more accessible, palpable and action orientated. KaosPilots are well known for their ability to create surprising and creative results with focus on value creation. It was only natural to build this company on the unique competences of the KaosPilots. That is why Changepilot is based on the theory of the KaosPilots and their practice on action-based learning and methods."
kaospilots  changepilot  denmark 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Most unusual college in the world: Ode Magazine, October 2005 [.pdf]
"At KaosPilots, young people (starting at 21) learn how to set up and carry out projects, sell their ideas, put together a business plan, stimulate creativity, work cooperatively, inspire others and themselves, take advantage of unexpected events, remain open to new ideas, bring mind and body into balance, and keep their heads cool and their hearts warm. They learn, in fact, how to realize their dreams." ... "“KaosPilots are streetwise and risk- taking,” Elbaek says. “And above all, they have social compassion and the inclination to adopt a helpful attitude toward the people they work with and for. You should never underestimate that influence.”"

[original here: http://www.odemagazine.com/doc/27/most_unusual_college_in_the_world/ ]
kaospilots  århus  education  altgdp  learning  entrepreneurship  schools  progresive  denmark  scandinavia  gamechanging  deschooling  projectbasedlearning  uffeelbaek  filetype:pdf  media:document  pbl 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Business School for KaosPilots | Fast Company
"Unlike traditional business schools, nearly 30% of the training program focuses on developing each student's "inner pilot," using assertiveness training, stress prevention, group dynamics, and physical training."
århus  education  learning  kaospilots  fastcompany  uffeelbaek  altgdp  business  entrepreneurship  denmark  scandinavia  universities  social  mba  alternative  gamechanging 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Kaos-Think -- This Time, in English | Fast Company
"A new book sharing lessons and ideas from the KaosPilots, a progressive business school in Denmark, indicates that business leaders around the world can still learn from the Scandinavian world of work."
århus  education  business  college  kaospilots  altgdp  entrepreneurship  uffeelbaek  socialentrepreneurship  learning  progressive  scandinavia  denmark 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Matthew Yglesias » Taxes, Taxes Everywhere
"there’s no way to have a progressive renaissance in the United States unless progressives find some politically feasible way of directly making the case that higher taxes for better services can be a good trade. And it’s worth trying to be honest about this. The other American journalists I’m traveling with, all lefty environmentalist types, can’t stop complaining about how expensive basic consumer goods are here. And it’s true, stuff’s expensive! But college and preschool and doctors and hospitals are all free, and the carbon emissions are low. This is, I think, a good trade but it really is a trade. Low taxes plus cheap dirty energy and large numbers of poor people will give you cheaper restaurants."
matthewyglesias  taxes  denmark  us  policy  politics  society  qualityoflife  well-being 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Bjarke Ingels - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"On explaining his design ideas, Bjarke Ingels has stated: “Historically the field of architecture has been dominated by 2 opposing extremes. On one side an avant-garde full of crazy ideas. Originating from philosophy, mysticism or a fascination of the formal potential of computer visualizations they are often so detached from reality that they fail to become something other than eccentric curiosities. On the other side there are well organized corporate consultants that build predictable and boring boxes of high standard. Architecture seems to be entrenched in two equally unfertile fronts: Either naively utopian or petrifying pragmatic. We believe that there is a third way wedged in the no mans land between the diametrical opposites. Or in the small but very fertile overlap between the two. A pragmatic utopian architecture that takes on the creation of socially, economically and environmentally perfect places as a practical objective.""
bjarkeingels  big  design  avant-garde  architecture  denmark  pragmatism  utopia 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Worldchanging: Bright Green: Letter from Copenhagen - Cities and Citizenship
"it's not just the visual evidence of US decline that's troubling; it's that we don't even seem to recognize how far from reason our public debate has drifted. Returning from Copenhagen, it's hard to explain to my fellow Americans how insane, unrealistic & out-of-touch US climate debate now looks to rest of world...what US needs is an upheaval that's much more innovative, fundamental, sudden. I don't think anyone quite has a clear sight of what that is yet. Industrial shifts to clean economy, new models of news publishing, government 2.0, street as platform, post-ownership & post-consumer identities, community resilience a growing cultural preference for participation & collaboration combining w/ search for transparency & backstories & authenticity: all...clearly in the code of whatever new system is emerging, but none defines it...new natural unit of civic change, especially in US in 2010s is going to be the city...a place for us as people to live new values...a hotbed of innovation."
worldchanging  healthcare  us  cities  change  innovation  policy  sustainability  urbanism  reform  activism  citizenship  copenhagen  denmark  climatechange  community  urban  politics  patriotism  alexsteffen  gamechanging  citystates  progress 
september 2009 by robertogreco
8H - The 8-House on Vimeo
"8-House is located in Ørestad on the edge of Copenhagen. 8-House offers homes for people in all of life’s stages: the young and the old, singles, families that grow and families that become smaller. Instead of dividing the different functions of the building - for both habitation and retail - into separate blocks, the various functions have been spread out horizontally. The apartments are placed at the top while the commercial program unfolds at the base of the building. As a result, the different horizontal layers have achieved a quality of their own: the apartments benefit from the view, sunlight and fresh air, while the commercial merges with life on the street."
architecture  design  housing  denmark  copenhagen  big  mixed-use  bjarkeingels 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Bjarke Ingels: 3 warp-speed architecture tales | Video on TED.com
"Danish architect Bjarke Ingels rockets through photo/video-mingled stories of his eco-flashy designs. His buildings not only look like nature -- they act like nature: blocking the wind, collecting solar energy -- and creating stunning views."

[interview here: http://blog.ted.com/2009/10/qa_with_bjarke.php]
denmark  sustainability  architecture  design  ted  innovation  bjarkeingels  big 
september 2009 by robertogreco
The Slow Bicycle Movement
"Please ride the bike you have, in the clothes you like, at the speed you enjoy. If you see something interesting, stop to look at it. Take spontaneous detours. Notice something new about your neighbourhood each day. Ring your bell for fun when travelling through tunnels or under bridges. Ride calm, composed and courteous. Refrain from road rage. When faced with road rage from others, please wave and smile. Name your bicycle. Our bicycles give us the freedom of the city and the keys to the country. Please sigh and smile contentedly at least once a day on your bicycle. Chat to somebody. Anybody. Whether you know them or not..."
blogs  slow  bikes  copenhagen  denmark  transportation  travel  activism  movement  community 
february 2009 by robertogreco
The Virtues of Godlessness - ChronicleReview.com
"It is a great socioreligious irony — for lack of a better term — that when we consider the fundamental values and moral imperatives contained within the world's great religions, such as caring for the sick, the infirm, the elderly, the poor, the orphaned, the vulnerable; practicing mercy, charity, and goodwill toward one's fellow human beings; and fostering generosity, humility, honesty, and communal concern over individual egotism — those traditionally religious values are most successfully established, institutionalized, and put into practice at the societal level in the most irreligious nations in the world today."
religion  sweden  denmark  psychogeography  psychology  happiness  ethics  culture  society  atheism  morality  belief  theology  philosophy 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Copenhagen Cycle Chic - Streetstyle and Bike Advocacy in High Heels: Terminology Folly
"She isn't an activist, doesn't belong to a cycling organisation with a long acronym and she doesn't even think about the fact that she lives in something called a "bike culture". She's just a cyclist. Riding her bike to work. She'll be doing the same tomorrow. If other cities had more of these kinds of cyclists, they'd find that a "bike culture" would be achieved a lot more quickly."
bikes  denmark  copenhagen  urban  culture  via:migurski 
september 2008 by robertogreco
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