Articles by Blair A. Ruble

About Blair A. Ruble

Blair Ruble is a Distinguished Fellow and former Director of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Urban Sustainability Laboratory. His book, Washington’s U Street: A Biography, examines the challenges of gentrification in Washington, D.C.

Opportunity with Dignity: Lessons from Multiculturalism in Toronto

Enthusiastic praise for Toronto’s successful transformation from “America’s Belfast” to one of the world’s most successful multicultural cities is rightly celebrated. However, praise should not obscure some of the very real limits to multicultural comity that have emerged with the passage of time. Two structural challenges – those of race and inequality – deserve attention.

Returning to Plato’s Cave: How the Light of Smart Technology Brings Us Back to Old Debates

Dozens of the world’s leading specialists and practitioners making cities around the world “smarter” gathered recently in Singapore to discuss how information technology can assist cities manage energy, water, security, and transportation challenges. The World Smart...

CARPETing the City with Transit: Essential Elements for Promoting Mobility and Equity with Sustainable Development

In September 2015, the United Nations approved 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) intended to shape the global effort to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change. Among the 17 goals, one is devoted to the urban condition that...

Is “Community” a Verb or a Noun? Provocations From Baltimore and Washington

Baltimore became my refuge when I moved to the District four decades ago. As a native New Yorker, I could not quite adjust to overly conformist official and bureaucratic life in a nation’s capital. Charm City’s quirky citizens just an hour away offered a much...

Fight not Flight: Lessons from Detroit

Several of the speakers at the recent Meeting of the Minds in Detroit – including Mayor Bill Peduto of Pittsburgh, Mayor Dawn Zimmer of Hoboken, together with several foundation and community leaders from Detroit itself — echoed one simple sentiment:  “We aren’t...

Innovation through Inclusion: Lessons from Medellín and Barcelona

For more than a century, Medellín has been known world-wide.  For Spanish-speaking members of the “Greatest Generation,” Medellín is where Argentine tango great Carlos Gardel, probably the most popular Latin singer of his generation, was martyred in a fiery crash at...

The Devil is a Local Call Away: Cities, the Arts, and Misunderstanding “Decay”

At the height of the Cold War, Soviet wags loved to tell ironic tales about their political leaders.  Communist Party General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev inspired a number of particularly endearing stories which always somehow related to his being slightly at sea in the...

Rethinking Engagement in Cities: Ending the Professional vs. Citizen Divide

Cities are among humankind’s grandest and most complex creations. Even small urban communities represent the cumulative result of literally hundreds of thousands of public and private, individual and collective decisions over time. They are the playgrounds of...
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