Friday, September 12, 2003

Philanthropic sprawl?

Is growth always good? Not if you ask urban planners dedicated to livable cities, open space preservationsists, or economists who question the logic of systems that rely on growth but that are baed on finite resources.

As we think about the philanthropic infrastructure metaphor, we should stop and question some of our most basic assumptions. Is more always better? Do established entities reap a return from subsidzing services to new entrants? When? How?

As information technologies change, cities are reconsidering the investments they make in utilities, roads, public transportation, schools and sewer systems. Do you need to run phone wires outside city lines when every one can use cellular technology instead? Should cities build broadband loops for their business districts or residents?

These urban infrastructures are provided as public goods, paid for in part by all taxpayers and in part by the developers/homeowners whose new demands on the system make them necessary. But who really benefits and when? And who gets to make decisions about what services should still be provided?

Tuesday, September 09, 2003