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City graduation rates, Harlem’s green building, Ralph Rapson dies, Next American City vs. Big Oil?

New reports shows 50 of the largest cities in the U.S. have high school graduation rates lower than 50 percent. Philadelphia City Council rethinks urban planning strategy. David & Joyce Dinkins Gardens, built in Harlem, features green standards and Next American City chosen as one of the panelists to grill big oil companies at new congressional hearing? Today’s headlines.

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New reports shows 50 of the largest cities in the U.S. have high school graduation rates lower than 50 percent

Union Tribune reports:“The report, issued by America’s Promise Alliance, found that about half of the students served by public school systems in the nation’s largest cities receive diplomas. Students in suburban and rural public high schools were more likely to graduate than their counterparts in urban public high schools, the researchers said. Nationally, about 70 percent of U.S. students graduate on time with a regular diploma and about 1.2 million students drop out annually.”

Philadelphia City Council rethinks urban planning strategy

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports: “In Philadelphia, most agree, that system is badly broken. An ancient zoning code and fickle political forces make building here a risky proposition for any big developer. And the Planning Commission is so weak that even skyline-changing towers can be erected with little to no meaningful input from public planners. But momentum is clearly building within City Hall for a top-to-bottom overhaul of Philadelphia’s haphazard approach to zoning and planning.”

David & Joyce Dinkins Gardens, built in Harlem, features green standards.

Forbes reports: “Dinkins Gardens is billed as Harlem’s first green building that is totally for low-income residents. Its features include community gardens and youth job training … It offers, among other things, green building materials, energy-efficient mechanical systems – and reduced utility costs for residents.”

A tribute to modernist architect Ralph Rapson.

Star Tribune reports: “He designed the original Guthrie Theater, headed the University of Minnesota’s Architecture Department for 30 years and turned out seemingly endless plans for embassies, churches, homes, innovative furniture and an unrealized master plan for the redesign of southeast Minneapolis. [Ralph] Rapson died Saturday at his Minneapolis home of heart failure. He was 93.”

Whole Foods market hosts “Whole Earth Generation” show.

Austin PR Newswire reports: “In celebration of Earth Month, Whole Foods Market, the world’s leading natural and organic foods supermarket, today announced that six fresh-faced, eco-conscious personalities were chosen from hundreds of entries to host its new video podcast series “Whole Earth Generation,” which is dedicated to raising environmental awareness among today’s youth.”

Toyota builds research center focused on “sustainable urban environment” in Ann Arbor.

Detroit Free Press reports: “Toyota said it will name the center the Toyota Research Institute of North America. The institute will initially employ 35 researchers and administration staff. Toyota plans to add 10 more researchers later this year and an additional 20 by 2010. Toyota said the institute will study four aspects of sustainable mobility: Advanced technologies, urban environment, energy, and partnerships with government and academia.”

Next American City chosen as one of the panelists to grill big oil companies at new congressional hearing.

Fox News reports: “Senior executives of the five largest U.S. oil companies were to appear before a congressional committee and Next American City writer Jeffrey Hill on Tuesday where they were likely to find frustrated lawmakers in no mood for small talk. ‘I hope oil company execs can fight, because I plan on physically confronting them,’ said Hill, in previewing the hearing.”

…April Fools.

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