chaiwithlakshmi# – The Myth About Urban Indian Slums

While most of us may think that urban slums have electricity and toilets of some sort, they don’t. And there are nearly 35000 such slums in India. It may be hard to believe, but the population from these slums is an active contributor to the country’s economy and a highly effective participant in the urban work force! It is time that this population wasn’t turned a blind eye to.

Taking a step in the direction of inclusion and development is a small team from Australia – Pollinate Energy. They are creating affordable products for lighting and electricity. Soon, they hope to create products for sanitation and cooking too.
In this video, I catch up with Ben and Monique from Pollinate to understand their efforts, what’s it’s meant to work in Indian slums and their vision for the business.

This video was filmed at Sankalp Summit in Mumbai, India. Sankalp is an Intellecap initiative. Discover more at


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Berliner Kurier – Das ist nicht Bombay, das ist Berlin!


Foto: Sabeth Stickforth

KREUZBERG. Juni 2014. Zwischen Müll und Dreck, zwischen Spree und Schlesischer Straße: Hinter zuplakatierten Bauzäunen wächst ein wahrer Slum, in dem Lebensbedingungen wie in Armenvierteln von Bombay herrschen. Oder in Favelas brasilianischer Mega-Städte. Es sind etwa 30 Bretterbuden, Wellblechhütten und Zelte – zusammengeschustert zu einer kleinen Stadt. Mitten in Berlin. In Deutschland.

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Geneva Global & the Legatum Foundation – Transforming Slums

June 2014. An initiative led by Geneva Global and the Legatum Foundation to explore and expand thinking and perspectives about the phenomenon of slums and urbanization around the world and to propose tangible innovative, game-changing interventions for transformation.

Why Focus on Slums?
There are over one billion people currently living in slums, which is about one-third of the urban population in developing countries. This number will likely double by 2030, making the topic of slum transformation an urgent priority.

In response, the Legatum Foundation, and its philanthropic advisor, Geneva Global, are developing a program to tackle the issue. As a first step, we are working to convene a range of thought leaders to examine the topic from both from a philosophical standpoint (Why do slums exist? Should we be helping?) as well as practical standpoint (What can be done to improve conditions? What’s the best way to address the root causes?).

Held on 25-26 June in Dubai, the intent of the event is to understand the slum sector in greater detail and identify gaps and opportunities.

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Dan Hancox – Spain’s Empty Housing Project Valdeluz June 2014. The first thing you notice in Valdeluz, Spain is the wind. It meets no resistance as it blows hard and loud across empty lots where apartment blocks were meant to stand. Roads that appear on Google Maps go nowhere and have no names. Some 40 miles from Madrid, Valdeluz was conceived at the height of what is sometimes called Spain’s economic miracle. In a Catholic nation, whose faith has declined substantially during its three decades of democracy, there is an increasing reluctance to believe in miracles of any kind.

Spain’s economic crisis now feels so deep, lasting and all-pervasive, it’s hard for many to recall how different the atmosphere was during the economic boom. A huge influx of immigrant labor, tourists and expatriate house buyers after Spain joined the European Union in 1986, and the launch of the euro, in 1999, helped the economy to soar. After decades of backwardness, Spain opened its cultural riches to the world, and the world came to visit: It is second only to the United States in revenue from international tourism.

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Call For Papers ~ Ephemera – The Labour Of Academia

ephemeralogoIt is well known that the purpose of the contemporary university is being radically transformed by the encroachment of corporate imperatives into higher education (Beverungen, et al., 2008; Svensson, et al., 2010;). This has inevitable consequences for managerial interventions, research audits and funding structures. But it also impacts on the working conditions of academic staff in university institutions in terms of teaching, research, administration and public engagement. Focusing on this level of analysis, the special issue seeks to explore questions about how the work of scholars is being shaped, managed and controlled under the burgeoning regime of ‘academic capitalism’ (Rhoades and Slaughter, 2004) and in turn to ask what might be done about it.

There is a case to be made that the modern university is founded on principles of rationalization and bureaucratization; there has always been a close link between money, markets and higher education (Collini, 2013). But the massification of higher education in recent years, combined with efforts to reduce the reliance on state funding, has led to the university being managed in much the same way as any other large industrial organization (Morley, 2003; Deem, et al., 2007). This is particularly pronounced in an economy that privileges knowledge-based labour over other forms of productive activity, which underlines Bill Readings’ (1996: 22) point that the university is not just being run
like a corporation – it is a corporation. We witness this trend in the increasing prominence of mission statements, university branding and cost-benefit analysis (Bok, 2009). We also see it in the introduction of tuition fees, which turns students into consumers, universities into service-providers, and degree programmes into investment projects (Lawrence and Sharma, 2002). Universities are now in the business of selling intangible goods, not least of all the ineffable product of ‘employability’ (Chertkovskaya, et al., 2013).

In parallel, there has been a marked intensification of academic labour in recent years, manifested in higher work-loads, longer hours, precarious contracts and more invasive management control via performance indicators such as TQM and the balanced scorecard (Morley and Walsh, 1996; Bryson, 2004; Archer, 2008; Bousquet, 2008; Clarke, et al., 2012). The personal and professional lives of academic staff are deeply affected by such changes in the structures of higher education, leading to increased stress, alienation, feelings of guilt and other negative emotions (Ogbonna and Harris, 2004).

While many scholars suffer under these conditions, others find themselves adapting to the tenets of academic enterprise culture in order to seek out opportunities for career development and professional advancement. The consequences for the quality of scholarship, however, may be far from positive. Indeed, recent studies suggest that academics may be more willing to ‘play the publication game’ at the expense of genuine critical inquiry (Butler and Spoelstra, 2014). There is a palpable sense that ‘journal list fetishism’ (Willmott, 2011) is coming to shape not only patterns of knowledge production in higher education but also how academics are coming to relate to themselves and their own research. These trends suggest that the Humboldtian idea of the university – which measures the value of scientific-philosophical knowledge (Wissenschaft) according to the degree of cultivation (Bildung) it produces – has been superseded by a regime based on journal rankings, citation rates, impact factors and other quantitative metrics used to assess and reward research ‘output’ (Lucas, 2006). Read more

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The Guardian – Open Access Scientific Publishing

notepad with handwriting

In this section of The Guardian:

26 June 2014. Open access is not enough on its own – data must be free too

22 May 2014. Royal Society Open Science now accepting submissions

6 January 2014. Why we are not ready for radical changes in science publishing

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