I am very excited about developments here in Kansas City as regards the introduction of a green zone into one of its most dilapidated areas. The Green Impact Zone has great potential to change the face of the city and its prospects. While visiting the website: http://www.greenimpactzone.org/, I began to imagine what could grow out of this project…
Since the early 1990s, I’ve been interested in Jaime Lerner’s work in Curitiba, Brazil where they used innovation and common sense to make up for lacking finances to build a future forward city. Curitiba has continuously proven that instituting green policies is not only a way to protect the environment but to provide its residents with education, training and employment opportunities. An environment of long-lasting opportunity as well as more social equality and mobility amongst its residents has, thus, been created in a city which once was unspectacular in almost every way: http://www.citiesforpeople.net/cities/curitiba.html To me, the city’s Lighthouses of Knowledge program symbollically represent how I feel about Curitiba, a “Lighthouse of Knowledge” that so many can learn from.
While researching Kansas City’s Green Impact Zone program, there was, in my opinion, one fundamental element that was missing in its first year of planning, namely, schools. I know that what has been planned up until now is huge and, in fact, probably only a skeletal framework of things to come. I am hopeful that this particular issue will be addressed soon as the need for quality education is great, especially in light of the fact that Kansas City schools have lost their national accreditation. Also, within this 150 block zone, there is only one (1) school which is a high school.
I began to imagine what a Geoffrey Canada “from the cradle to college” managed school system could do in an environment that city leaders are trying to cultivate here… All of a sudden, Finland’s early childhood education and care (ECEC) EduCare, elementary & secondary education environment does not seem so impossible in an urban setting which will be receiving much needed attention and funding to recreate itself. In fact, it would be a worthwhile endeavor that would not only achieve momentous results but would lead to city-wide adoption and be introduced into urban & rural areas in need across the nation.
For Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone & Finland’s pre-school to college/vocational training educational system, please see: https://startlivinglove.wordpress.com/2012/07/09/what-if-americas-superman-met-finlands/
Today’s Curitiba started with six (6) city blocks: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/20/magazine/20Curitiba-t.html?_r=1