Join GOOD Ideas for Cities at the Biennale in Venice, Italy

Our GOOD Ideas for Cities project is representing the U.S. at the 13th International Architecture Biennale in Venice, Italy. Join us on August 29!

Our GOOD Ideas for Cities program has traveled to six American cities in 2012, assigning creative problem-solvers real urban challenges proposed by city leaders and presenting the results at lively public forums. Earlier this year we found out that GOOD Ideas for Cities was selected as one of 124 urban design projects as part of Spontaneous Interventions: design actions for the common good, the exhibition at the U.S. Pavilion at the 13th International Architecture Biennale in Venice, Italy. We could not be more thrilled to be in the company of hundreds of projects from 55 countries all focused on improving our cities through great design—many of which we've covered here on GOOD.

While the exhibition will be up from August 29 until November 25, in the spirit of on-the-ground urban intervention, we're taking GOOD Ideas for Cities international, with a special event at the Biennale on Wednesday, August 29. Join GOOD Ideas for Cities editor Alissa Walker, Ezio Micelli, Venice's deputy mayor for urban planning, and three teams consisting of architects and local leaders, who will address three challenge facing the Venice community. And if you can't make it to Venice, stay tuned for videos and coverage, which will be posted right here.

GOOD Ideas for Cities Venice, Italy
Wednesday, August 29
4:00 to 7:00 p.m.
4:00 p.m. Program
6:00 p.m. Reception
The U.S. Pavilion at the Giardini
The 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale
Venice, Italy
Free and open to the public with admission to the Biennale, ticket information here\n
Generously supported by ArtPlace\n
The Challenges\n
1. Venice, made up of its many islands, is situated at the heart of a lagoon system that is rich in cultural heritage and wildlife. Yet modern infrastructure development and economic growth have brought the lagoon ecology and natural dynamics to the brink of collapse as well as threatening traditional livelihoods for residents. In what ways could the lagoon be brought back into the everyday life of Venice and considered an asset for the city without relegating it to being merely another tourist attraction?
Alessandro Tessari, ETB studio\n
Jane da Masto, We Are Here\n
2. Venice is being destroyed by its poor systems of garbage disposal and waste management. With foul smells and appearances, the canals of Venice are losing their charm as the filth has become more predominant—and infamous—than the beauty. How might the city create a different way of handling industrial waste, which would contribute to less water pollution and a greater overall sense of cleanliness and aesthetics in Venice?
Laura Candelpergher, Massimo Lepore, Raul Pantaleo, Simone Sfriso, STUDIO TAMASSOCIATI \n
Francesca Bortolotto Possati, CEO and Owner, The BAUERs\n
3. Venice has always been a melting pot of cultures, yet it is now populated by different communities that pass each other without really meeting: tourists, students, commuters and residents inhabit separate, parallel worlds that rarely merge. How can Venice’s transportation routes and connections be re-thought and re-created, within and beyond the city, to encourage interaction between different groups and promote new ways of encounter?
Saverio Panata, Spedstudio\n
Marco Zordan, Associazione 40XVenezia\n

Check out the videos from our other events and stay tuned for details about future GOOD Ideas for Cities announcements. If you'd like to talk about bringing the program to your city or school, email alissa[at]goodinc[dot]com or follow us at @IdeasforCities


The healthcare systems in the United States and the United Kingdom couldn't be more different.

The UK's National Health Service is the largest government-run healthcare system in the world and the US's is largest private sector system.

Almost all essential health services in the UK are free, whereas in America cost can vary wildly based on insurance, co pays and what the hospitals and physicians choose to charge.

A medical bill in the US

One of the largest differences is cost. The average person in the UK spends £2,989 ($3915) per year on healthcare (most of which is collected through taxes), whereas the average American spends around $10,739 a year.

So Americans should obviously be getting better care, right? Well, the average life expectancy in the UK is higher and infant mortality rate is lower than that in the US.

RELATED: The World Health Organization declares war on the out of control price of insulin

Plus, in the U.S., only 84% of people are covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Sixteen percent of the population are forced to pay out of pocket.

In the UK, everyone is covered unless they are visiting the country or an undocumented resident.

Prescription drugs can cost Americans an arm and a leg, but in the UK, prescriptions or either free or capped at £8.60 ($11.27).

via Wikimedia Commons

The one drawback to the NHS system is responsiveness. In the UK people tend to wait longer for inessential surgeries, doctor's appointments, and in emergency rooms. Whereas, the US is ranked as the most responsive country in the world.

RELATED: Alarmingly high insulin prices are forcing Americans to flock to Canada to buy the drug

The New York Times printed a fair evaluation of the UK's system:

The service is known for its simplicity: It is free at the point of use to anyone who needs it. Paperwork is minimal, and most patients never see a bill. … No one needs to delay medical treatment until he or she can afford it, and virtually everyone is covered. …

According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spent 17.2 percent of its economic output on health care in 2016, compared with 9.7 percent in Britain. Yet Britain has a higher life expectancy at birth and lower infant mortality.

Citizens in each country have an interesting perspective on each other's healthcare systems. UK citizens think it's inhumane for Americans have to pay through the nose when they're sick or injured. While Americans are skeptical of socialist medicine.

A reporter from Politics Joe hit the streets of London and asked everyday people what they think Americans pay for healthcare and they were completely shocked.


Bans on plastic bags and straws can only go so far. Using disposable products, like grabbing a plastic fork when you're on the go, can be incredibly convenient. But these items also contribute to our growing plastic problem.

Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger


Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head


Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor


Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

The Planet
Instagram / Leonardo DiCaprio

This August, the world watched as the Amazon burned. There were 30,901 individual fires that lapped at the largest rainforest in the world. While fires can occur in the dry season due to natural factors, like lightning strikes, it is believed that the widespread fires were started by loggers and farmers to clear land. Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, cites a different cause: the actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

DiCaprio wasn't accused of hanging out in the rainforest with a box of matches, however President Bolsonaro did accuse the actor of funding nonprofit organizations that allegedly set fires to raise donations.

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The Planet