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Archive: Edward J. Blakely

Moscow an Emerging Global City

Edward J. Blakely / Dec 22 2011

For Release Thursday, December 22, 2011

Edward J. BlakelyMOSCOW – American movies usually depict this city as a dark, drab and dangerous place.  In most of the plots there are big burley neckless mafia as central characters in these thrillers.

But the real Moscow isn’t any more like the old gangster movie depictions than New York or Chicago. In fact, Moscow is an easy city to fall in love with. The Czars may have been brutal but they had pretty good architectural taste. On this old framework Moscow is actively and very smartly trying to become one of the world’s mega-global cities.

Early in December, on the edge of Russian winter, Moscow put on a spectacular Global City Forum featuring a stunning panel of international experts from all over the world, especially from China. Whatever differences Russia and China have nationally, there are no barriers among the big cities of China and Russia.  Both nations are embracing the notion that city-regions are the drivers of the new economy.
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Japan’s Full — and Perplexing — Recovery Needs

Edward J. Blakely / Jun 16 2011

For Release Thursday, June 16, 2011

Edward J. BlakelyThe tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011, combined with the recurring nightmare of a yet uncontrolled and seemly uncontrollable nuclear reactor meltdown, represent easier disasters to fix than the underlying problems that Japan has to face soon. All natural disasters uncover deeper problems than the event itself. In New Orleans, where I directed recovery in the 2005-2007 period, it was the city’s inability to face underlying socioeconomic inequities and economic failures.

Japan’s recent natural disaster in March has put that nation, once the envy of the post-World War II world, under a new microscope. Most of us are aware of Japan’s fiscal nightmare of debt and the merry-go-round in the office of prime minister. But an even more sinister set of issues has reared its head. The alarming fact: Japan, without corrective action, is dying a slow natural death.

I spent several months in Japan in 2010 as a Fellow at the Kyoto University-based Centre for Disaster Preparation and Reduction. Earlier, I had worked closely with Japanese colleagues on disaster issues including the Oakland earthquakes (Loma Prieta) in 1989 and fires (1991). By the time I arrived in New Orleans I had a small cadre of Japanese colleagues with whom I had been in contact, and remain today. So my view of what is going on in Japan comes from the inside.
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