Contributing Editors

Jerome Lyle Rappaport

Jerome Lyle Rappaport
Founder and Board Member
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Edward Glaeser

Edward Glaeser
Professor of Economics at Harvard University
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Stephen P. Johnson

Stephen P. Johnson
Executive Director of Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation
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Greg Massing

Greg Massing
Executive Director for the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service
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Alasdair Roberts

Alasdair Roberts
Professor of Law and Public Policy at Suffolk University Law School
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Joseph Curtatone

Joseph Curtatone
Mayor, City of Somerville
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Tim H. Davis

Tim H. Davis
Independent Research Consultant
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Scott Harshbarger

Scott Harshbarger
Senior Counsel, Proskauer Rose LLP
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Vivien Li

Vivien Li
Executive Director of The Boston Harbor Association
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Guest contributors

Monika Bandyopadhyay
Suffolk University Law Student

David Barron
Harvard Law School and former Deputy Counsel for the Office of Legal Counsel in the US Department of Justice

Linda Bilmes
Senior lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Assistant Secretary of Commerce during the Clinton Administration.

Brandy H.M. Brooks
Director, Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence, Bruner Foundation

Felicia Cote
Rappaport Fellow, Harvard Law School/Harvard Kennedy School.

Amanda Eden
Suffolk University Law School student

Sara Farnum
Student, Suffolk Univ. Law School

Kristin Faucette
Student at Suffolk University Law School

Benjamin Forman
Research Director, MassINC

Arthur Hardy-Doubleday
JD/MBA student at Suffolk University Law School and the Sawyer School of Business

Theodore Kalivas
Boston Green Blog, Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy

David Linhart
Student, Boston University School of Law

Antoniya Owens
Research Analyst, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Susan Prosnitz
Senior Advisor, TSA, Washington, DC

Ben Thomas
Boston Green Blog, Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy

Matthew Todaro
Student at Boston College Law School

Alexander von Hoffman
Senior Researcher, Joint Center for Housing Studies

Brett Walker
Student, Boston College Law School

Margarita Warren
Student at Suffolk University Law School

Articles in Energy/Environment

Environmental Budget Cuts: Passing the Financial Burden to Future Generations

Friday, September 23rd, 2011
By Matthew Todaro

On July 11, 2011, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed into law the 2012 state budget. Included in the budget were significant cuts to environmental programs; so what, you may ask, is the big deal? By making such cuts, policy makers succumbed to the temptation of a short-term solution—one that ultimately will cost Massachusetts tax-payers dramatically more in the long-run.

As lawmakers strip short-term funding, they run the risk that environmental agencies will become unable to uphold even the most rudimentary protections of public health and the environment. If Massachusetts cannot sustain a healthy environment, health-related costs will rise, corporations will struggle to attract and retain a well-educated work force, farming and fishing industries will decline and the state’s $14 billion tourism industry will be jeopardized.

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SCN Interview with Harvard Economist Edward Glaeser

Thursday, September 1st, 2011
By

Edward Glaeser, an economics professor at Harvard University, recently sat down with Spare Change News editor Tom Benner to discuss his myth-shattering book about cities, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier.


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Bogged in Bureaucracy: Lessons Learned from Cape Wind

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011
By Sara Farnum

This commentary is part of the Rappaport Briefing, a student publication supported by the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service. Click here for a link to the entire "Rappaport Briefing." 

The recently completed approval process of the offshore wind farm Cape Wind was a 10-year bureaucratic nightmare.  There must be a better way of vetting such proposals — for the benefit of proponents and opponents alike. And with many similar proposals on the horizon, the government ought to act quickly to find better ways of reviewing and approving such projects.

In 2001, Cape Wind Associates LLC developed the proposal to build a wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts.  The wind farm would be located on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound and consist of 130 wind turbines arranged in a grid pattern covering 25 square miles.  The project was expected to produce an average of 170 megawatts, enough to satisfy 75 percent of Cape Cod’s electricity demand.  It was expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 734 tons of carbon dioxide per year.

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Which Places are Growing?

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011
By

In a new Rappaport Institute/Taubman Center Policy Brief titled Which Places are Growing? Seven Notable Trends From Newly Released Census Data, Edward Glaeser, director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, identifies seven key facts about county-level population growth that emerge from census data that were released on March 24, 2011. The seven facts are:

  • Population growth was much higher in counties with higher incomes as of 2000.
  • January temperature continues to be a strong predictor of population growth.
  • Population growth was faster near ports.
  • People are moving to dense areas, but not the densest areas.
  • The education level of a county as of 2000 strongly predicts population growth over the last decade.
  • Manufacturing employment predicts lower population growth.
  • Limits to housing supply also limit population growth.
  • Glaeser concludes by noting that while these trends do not dictate any particular public policies or suggest any particular course of action, they should be relevant for policy-makers at both the local and the national level.

The full policy brief is available here

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Solar Boston and Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011
By Ben Thomas

The Solar Boston initiative continues to outshine many other solar programs around the country. In addition to the Solar Boston Interactive GIS Maps, Boston has also adopted measures to facilitate the completion of solar projects. Last fall, the Boston City Council approved Mayor Menino's solar permitting guidelines, which reduced solar project permitting fees up to 60%. In addition, Boston has created the Solar Permitting Guide to streamline the permit process and educate residents, businesses, and solar installers. The guide provides information about PV technology, net metering, installation methods, permitting, and government incentives. Other cities throughout the country have adopted Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs to spur renewable energy projects. Under PACE programs, localities issue bonds to create a loan pool to help local property owners finance renewable energy and efficiency projects. Property owners repay their loans through assessments on their property taxes or other locally collected bills over the course of a decade or more. The idea of attaching the loan directly to the property is that the loan for the improvement stays with the party that will benefit from the improvement, rather than the property owner who might sell the property. By extending loan repayment over decades, the monthly savings from energy cost reductions are in closer proportion to the monthly repayment of the project's costs.

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Waste Reduction: The Product Stewardship Institute, Extended Producer Responsibility

Friday, March 18th, 2011
By Ben Thomas

It's odd that a city as "green" as Boston has such a low recycling rate. The Sparking Boston's Climate Revolution report states that Bostonians recycle approximately one-seventh of the trash they produce, but that more than one-half of their trash could be recycled. Perhaps we should advocate for extended producer responsibility (EPR) or product stewardship laws as a higher order strategy to divert more trash from landfills. EPR laws shift some responsibility for recycling, disposal, and reuse of consumer products from the government to product manufacturers. A major objective of these laws is to motivate manufacturers to develop products that can be recycled and disposed of at a lower monetary and environmental cost.

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Sustainable Chinatown Marks Green Effort by Community Businesses

Saturday, February 19th, 2011
By Theodore Kalivas

Boston's Government Center program is a great example of both local government action and federal support in sustainable matters. This type of interaction can also have a productive role outside of renewing government property, into individual communities. On a more local level, the Sustainable Chinatown project is characteristic of Boston's private/public partnership approach to green efforts. Granted $100,000 by the Barr Foundation, the project represents cooperation between the Boston Redevelopment Authority, City of Boston, Asian American Civic Association, utilities and community businesses in Chinatown.

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Glaeser's Book Spurs Discussion on Cities

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011
By

Cities are actually the healthiest, greenest, and richest (in cultural and economic terms) places to live, argues Rappaport Institute Director Edward Glaeser in his new book, "Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier." Glaeser's analyses and policy recommendations - which include scaling programs that encourage suburbanization (such as the home mortgage interest deduction) and scaling back policies such as historic preservation that limit new development in cities - have been drawing significant media coverage since the book was released last week with reviews in such publications as The New York Times and The Economist, articles by Glaeser in The Atlantic and The Boston Globe Magazine; a New York Times column by David Brooks, and appearances on The Daily Show with John Stewart, NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday, and NPR's The Takeaway. More information about the book is available at: www.triumphofthecity.com. Click on "read more" for links to all the reviews.

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Paving a Greener Future with Sustainable Transportation

Monday, February 7th, 2011
By Ben Thomas

On Earth Day 2010 (04/22/10), the Climate Action Leadership and the Community Advisory committees sent the report Sparking Boston's Climate Revolution to Mayor Menino. The report offers strategies for achieving Mayor Menino's goal to reduce Boston's GHG emissions 25% by 2020. The proposals covered three areas: building efficiency and energy, solid waste, and transportation. The report states that 27% of Boston's 2008 GHG emissions originated from the transportation sector. To make reductions, Boston has several programs in place including WalkBoston, Boston Bikes, Complete Streets and the diesel retrofit grant program for businesses.

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Making Waves To Address Rising Sea Levels

Monday, January 24th, 2011
By Vivien Li

(Originally published in Banker & Tradesman, December 27, 2010.) By the end of this century, the sea level in Boston could rise two-and-a-half feet, and possibly more than six feet, due to warming oceans and the melting of glacial ice caps. The wide range in predictions is based on not knowing what our future carbon emissions will be. Scientists from UMass Boston and Battelle Memorial Institute delivered this report, based on the latest research, at The Boston Harbor Association's recent Sea Level Rise Forum. The gathering of more than 450 waterfront developers, residents, community leaders and government representatives focused on the potential sea-level rise in Boston due to climate change. Already, Long Wharf and Central Wharf are flooded during the highest of high tides, noted New England Aquarium President Bud Ris.

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Israeli Lessons Apply To Boston’s Future

Monday, January 24th, 2011
By Vivien Li

(Originally published in Banker and Tradesman, Monday, December 6th, 2010.) Last month, Boston's City to City Leadership Program - comprised of local business, civic and government leaders - visited Haifa and Tel Aviv in Israel to examine best practices to help foster economic and social progress in Boston, and specifically to learn more about Israel's successful efforts at technological and other innovations. The group marveled at the product research being done in Tel Aviv at Intel's largest facility outside the U.S., as well as Google's facility, where that company's search engine was developed. Both are located in Israel's largest and oldest technology park.

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Why Green Energy Can’t Power a Job Engine

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011
By Edward Glaeser

Evergreen Solar announced last week that it was closing its plant in Devens, Mass., laying off 800 workers, and moving production to China. Evergreen's factory had received more than $40 million in subsidies, which led many to see the plant closing as lesson in the futility of green energy and industrial policy. But what does Evergreen's story really teach us about solar energy, public subsidies and the future of American manufacturing? Evergreen Solar's story begins in 1994, when three alumni of Mobil's solar division broke away to form their own company. They started in a 2,500-square-foot lab in Waltham, Mass., which has long housed innovative industry, including America's first integrated textile mill and the Waltham Watch Company, which pioneered high-quality watches with interchangeable parts. Today, Waltham is a venture-capital hub that succeeds by providing abundant commercial real estate and easy access to the scientific community of greater Boston.

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$4 Million Federal Grant Boosts Metro Boston Sustainable Development Plan

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011
By Ben Thomas

(Originally published in the Boston Green Blog, Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy.) In October, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) received a $4 million federal grant to advance smart growth principles that "promote development while protecting the environment, encouraging social and economic equity, and conserving energy and water resources." The grant is part of the $100,000,000 Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program that is run by HUD in collaboration with the EPA and U.S. DOT with the goal of empowering regional planning efforts that promote sustainable zoning and land use. The MAPC, an organization representing 101 communities within Metro Boston, will use the HUD grant to fund its new regional development plan MetroFuture, which is designed to promote smart growth through compact development, focused economic growth, and coordinated transportation alternatives. This plan was designed by the MAPC with the assistance of over 5,000 residents and organizations through public surveys, workshops, and meetings. After more than 5 years of development, MetroFuture was adopted by the MAPC in 2008 to replace its previous regional plan, MetroPlan.

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Figure Out Your Solar Capacity, Courtesy of the Boston Redevelopment Authority

Monday, November 15th, 2010
By Theodore Kalivas

(Originally published in the Boston Green Blog, Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy). While there has been a great deal of controversy surrounding the Cape Wind project, solar power has found itself in a less-embattled state, especially in the city of Boston. The city's "Solar Boston" initiative has begun work to increase the city's solar capacity, in the hopes of making Boston a more hospitable market for that type of renewable energy. The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) and Boston Housing Authority (BHA) are working together to make rooftop solar more viable for low-income units. Already, the city's Maverick Landing, a HOPE VI redevelopment, employs solar arrays and other green building features. The City has committed to making sure that future housing developments include photovoltaic (PV) arrays on their rooftops. Through "net metering,"these units will produce solar electricity that not only powers the building they are attached to, but that also feeds power back into the grid for a profit to the PV owner.

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What Happened to Argentina?

Friday, September 3rd, 2010
By Edward Glaeser

A century ago, there were only seven countries in the world that were more prosperous than Argentina (Belgium, Switzerland, Britain and four former English colonies including the United States), according to Angus Maddison's historic incomes database. In 1909, per capita income in Argentina was 50 percent higher than in Italy, 180 percent higher than Japan, and almost five times higher than in neighboring Brazil. Over the course of the 20th century, Argentina's relative standing in world incomes fell sharply. By 2000, Argentina's income was less than half that of Italy or Japan.

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HKS Professor Jeffrey Liebman (left) spoke about new ways to spur policy innovation at a State House briefing sponsored by State Representative (and former Rappaport Urban Scholar) Charles Murphy (right).
Arianna Huffington and Alan Khazei speaking at the Rappaport Center
Gov. Deval Patrick speaking at the Rappaport Center's Gubernatorial Speakers Series
Mayor Menino attends Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Course for high school students
 MA Attorney General Martha Coakley Hearing on Sexual Exploitation Online
Statnet panel of current and former heads of local performance management programs including Stephanie Hirsch (far right), former head of SomerStat and Devin Lyons-Quirk, third from right.
U.S. Representative Barney Frank speaking at the Harvard Kennedy School, cosponsored by the Rappaport Institute.
Triumph of the City: Ed Glaeser talks about his new book on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Former Lt. Governor Kerry Healey speaks about political parity at the Rappaport Center

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