An Unexpected Journey to Something New in Cleveland

By Jonathan Ramse, I-PhD student in Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. As part of a team with two colleagues, Julia Poznik and Ruchira Sen, Jonathan has been investigating the role of multiple anchor institutions as stakeholders in economic development as a researcher with E3 Network’s Future Economy Initiative.

It has been apparent for some time now that the economic theories and policies considered business as usual have simply failed. But this is no reason to give up hope quite yet. Meet the new economy! There are numerous innovative models, business and strategic plans, community organizers, and agricultural and waste management techniques that are breaking new paths into a better world. This movement of innovation is not centrally planned and not coordinated by a set of power elites, but is springing up organically in different locations across the country and the world. One of those places is Cleveland, Ohio where the Greater University Circle Initiative (GUCI) is shaping a new way of thinking about and a new way of doing urban economic development.

The GUCI is the focus of our team’s case study. The journey there was not one we expected. Like most everything, the research process is buffeted by uncertainty and unexpected turns. As our research team set off to better understand innovations in Cleveland, our intent was to study the Evergreen Cooperatives. However, we found that doors we thought were open to us were in fact closed. Our timing was off as Evergreen was about to embark on a significant internal assessment which made external review unwelcome. This required a little “on-the-fly” adjustment for our team as we shifted the scope and focus of the project to the GUCI. The GUCI is a multi-anchor institution based development model that encompasses Evergreen in addition to several other projects. As a whole, the initiative attempts to align the interests of three wealthy institutions with the impoverished neighborhoods that surround them. Continue reading…

Spotlight Cancun: Diving into the Risk-Sharing Pool

Pablo Suarez, Guest Blogger
Another in a series from the Real Climate Economics Blog and Triple Crisis Blog  on the Cancún Climate Summit.

Economic policy shapes most international negotiations, including those under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). However, negotiators often face serious obstacles to understand the full complexity of available policy instruments. A case in point is insurance schemes and climate change negotiations. Insurance schemes have the potential to support adaptation and climate risk management [read more]: Article 4.8 of the UNFCCC and Article 3.14 of the Kyoto Protocol require Parties to consider mechanisms, including insurance, to meet the specific needs and concerns of developing countries in adapting to climate change. Two proposals have been submitted to that effect. Yet progress has been relatively slow, in part due to difficulties in explaining the concepts in ways that engender both understanding and trust among climate negotiators.

Nonlinearities, feedbacks, “side effects” and trade-offs, inherent in risk financing, are not easy to grasp by non-expert audiences exposed only to text, presentations and other unidirectional approaches. How can we devise a communication platform that can successfully convey the complexity, possibilities and risks of complex policy instruments, in this case climate-related insurance systems? Continue reading…