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GOOD Ideas for Cities: Enticing Tourists into City Centers

A plan from Richmond, Virginia uses supergraphics and green space to encourage freeway travelers to make a stop in their city.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WUDYSBsXaI

Richmond, Virginia has a beautiful downtown and vibrant arts community, but its freeway exits are less than enticing. Unfortunately, these are all that many tourists see of Richmond as they travel to other locations. How can the city use these gateways to give travelers a taste of the city's history and culture? At GOOD Ideas for Cities RVA, the whyRVA team tackled the challenge of bringing these tourists into Richmond who might otherwise not make the stop.

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GOOD Ideas for Cities: Promoting Activity on an Urban River

Richmond, Virginia is planning a revitalization of its riverfront. How can the city ensure that economic and cultural development also happens there?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMiftW3NluA

In Richmond, Virginia, a massive revitalization plan has been announced for its James River, which will bring new parks, walking trails, and public spaces to the downtown riverfront. But how can the city ensure that economic and community activity—people, in other words—also come to the river? At GOOD Ideas for Cities RVA, the James RVA team revealed their plan to encourage, share, and promote activities along the river, making it a social and cultural destination for the city. By giving the river an online personality, James RVA, the team hoped to create a social media presence for the river, one that you could friend on Facebook or tag on Instagram. A website and app would collect and map references to the river, creating a vibrant picture of what was happening there. A program with local businesses would also encourage development with incentives to create river-themed tours, retail, or pop-up eateries that could bring economic growth to the area.

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What's Different About Virginia's Ultrasound Bill?

Virginia's ultrasound bill caused an uproar, but there are similar bills in seven other states. Here's why Virginia hit a nerve.


Across the country, local legislators regularly cast votes to restrict abortions in their states. Most Americans never hear about it. But this week, Virginia's latest attempt to prevent women from securing abortions crashed and burned on the national stage—this time, over the issue of "vaginal probing." The state's "informed consent" bill mandated that all women seeking abortions would first have to undergo an ultrasound; practically, it meant that women in the first 12 weeks of their pregnancies would be forced to have a probe inserted in their vagina, then moved around in there until the doctor could produce an ultrasound image of a fetus.

As the bill moved through the Virginia legislature, the national news media began to wise up to these particulars, sparking outrage among pro-choice activists, progressive voters, and regular people. Journalists and politicians alike began to call it "state-mandated rape." Meghan McCain told Rachel Maddow that her friends "who are not into politics" have been texting her, wondering what this "vaginal probing" really means.

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Outsourcing Education: Does It Matter If Someone in India Corrected Your College Paper?

That paper you think was corrected by a professor actually might have been marked up by someone halfway across the globe.

Plenty of American businesses have outsourced jobs across the globe, and now colleges are jumping on the bandwagon. Colleges are hiring online "tutors" to check student work for grammar and other English mistakes and provide the kind of feedback students used to get from professors or teaching assistants before budget cuts resulted in staff layoffs and unmanageably large class sizes.

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Mock Slave Auctions: How Not to Teach Kids About America's History

When it come to educating kids about slavery, teachers should think twice about the appropriateness of their hands on learning activities.


When it comes to educating kids about the Civil War and slavery, teachers might want to think twice about the appropriateness of their experiential learning activities. According to the Washington Post, Jessica Boyle, a fourth grade teacher at Sewells Point Elementary School in Norfolk chose to teach a lesson on the Civil War by turning her classroom into a slave auction. Boyle segregated her students—black and mixed race students on one side of the room, and white students on the other. The teacher then had the white students, all around ten years old, play the role of slave master and take turns purchasing their black and biracial peers.

The incident came to light after parents, understandably, complained. The school's principal, Mary B. Wrushen, sent a letter home stating that although Boyle's "actions were well intended to meet the instructional objectives, the activity presented was inappropriate for the students." Wrushen said the lesson was not supported by the school or district and acknowledged that it "could have been thought through more carefully, as to not offend her students or put them in an uncomfortable situation."

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Obama Health Care Bill Ruled Unconstitutional: What Does It Mean?

A central provision of the Obama Administration's overhaul of health care has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge in Virginia.


A central provision of the Obama Administration's overhaul of health care has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal district judge in Virginia, reports The New York Times. It's the first court in the nation to rule against the bill—two previous decisions in suits against the bill upheld it—but it probably won't be the last. From The Times:

In a 42-page opinion issued in Richmond, Va., Judge [Henry E.] Hudson wrote that the law’s central requirement that most Americans obtain health insurance exceeds the regulatory authority granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The insurance mandate is central to the law’s mission of covering more than 30 million uninsured because insurers argue that only by requiring healthy people to have policies can they afford to treat those with expensive chronic conditions. ... A major question, therefore, has been whether the income tax penalties levied against those who do not obtain health insurance are designed to regulate “activity” or, as Virginia’s solicitor general, E. Duncan Getchell Jr., has argued, “inactivity” that is beyond Congress’ reach.

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