Future City | WYPR

Future City

third Wednesdays, monthly, 1 p.m. & 9 p.m.

Future City host, Wes Moore

It's easy to talk about what’s wrong in Baltimore. The challenge is to talk about what’s next. Wes Moore takes on the challenge, with WYPR's Future City.

In each episode, Wes looks at bright ideas that are working in other cities. And he asks the question: Can those ideas work for Baltimore?

Who's Wes?

Wes Moore is a decorated Army combat veteran, youth advocate and CEO of BridgeEdU, a national initiative focusing on addressing the college completion and career placement crisis by reinventing the Freshman Year of college. He is also the author of two instant New York Times best-selling books, The Other Wes Moore and The Work

Future City is made possible with grant funding from McCormick & Company.

Proud Sponsor of Future City

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Trends are suggesting that fewer and fewer people will be opting for a four-year college degree in the future. The average student who takes out student loans ends up with nearly 30,000 dollars to pay back, and many graduates just aren’t seeing a return on their investment: About 44% of graduates end up at a job that doesn’t require a college degree.

So what is the future of higher education? Some say it’s vocational and trade schools – programs that offer more technical training in specialized fields – many which traditionally haven’t required a bachelor’s degree.

But is our education system set up for students in vocational schools to succeed? What about students who don’t go to college? What sort of economic outlooks will they be looking at?

Benjamin H/flickr creative commons

Over 3.4 billion people use social media, but with privacy concerns and accusations of false information – what’s the future of internet use? New social media sites are emerging pitching authenticity and transparency, but are consumers willing to make the switch to new platforms? Wes discusses media, marketing strategies, and the future of the internet on this episode. 

Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun

Here in Maryland, there are nearly 4,000 children in foster care. With so many children in need, how do we ensure a future where children, parents, and foster parents are all provided with the best possible care? Wes discusses interracial adoption, foster parents, biological parents, and the emotional realities of this complex system. 

Thomas Hawk / Flickr

With the highest imprisonment rate in the world, the United States is long overdue to address the issue of mass incarceration. With 2.2 million people behind bars in this country, what have been the effects? Has our prison system worked? We’re looking to examples in Europe to learn more. Many European models focus on rehabilitation rather than retribution. While some here in the U.S. remain skeptical about the European method of incarceration, many are beginning to implement changes and programs that take best practices from European countries and apply them here in the U.S.

DesignMilk / Flickr

When many of us think of the modern workplace, we start thinking about the images we’ve seen of Facebook and Google headquarters: open floorplans, fooseball tables, designer beanbag chairs. Maybe we don’t picture an office at all. Instead, we picture someone telecommuting from home in their pajamas. But do either of these images reflect the reality of the modern workplace? And what trends are emerging that are changing our conceptions about the needs of workers in the 21st century? On this edition of Future City, Wes explores the future of workplaces. 

Flickr

We live in a society deeply invested in ownership. It’s been the classic way to gain, sustain, and grow family wealth. It’s been the mark of adulthood and stability. Ownership – of a car, of a house, of a phone, clothes - has been a ‘given’ for most of recent history. But will this remain the case? With the rise of the so-called sharing economy and the popularity of Marie Kondo-style minimalism, ownership doesn’t always hold the same appeal.

Flickr

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total "economic burden" of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.

And frankly, the problem is only getting worse. Opioid overdoses increased 30 percent from July 2016 through September 2017 in 52 areas in 45 states.

This is a national health care emergency – and a national tragedy.

So what’s being done about it? Today on the show we’ll be exploring the personal impacts of opioid and drug addiction… The tolls on families… And what states and cities are doing to address this is issue as the healthcare crisis that it is.

CCBC

Accordinding to The College Board, 71 percent of graduates from four-year colleges carried debt, with students at public schools owing an average of $25,550 and those with degrees from private colleges owing an average of $32,300.

So what’s the solution? Consider the relatively low cost of a community college education - Average annual tuition and fees for students attending public, two-year colleges in their communities were just $3,260 in 2013-2014.

With so many people priced out of higher education – what’s the future of colleges – and where do community colleges fit into this changing landscape?

pixnio

It’s the holidays – and maybe you still have some last-minute shopping to do. But how are you doing that shopping? Is it the same way you were doing your holiday shopping five years ago – fifteen years ago? Are you driving to a mall – are you hitting up your local shops – or are you ordering packages on Amazon?

Wes takes a look at retail and the future of commerce here in the United States – especially considering the seemingly limitless growth of online-commerce based businesses like Amazon. He then focuses in on Baltimore, and how our retail industry is changing and growing. What’s working, what isn’t?

Rowland Scherman - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Music has long been used as protest. Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, John Lennon, and CCR, and so many others, used their music as a way to protest the Vietnam War. They wrote songs that addressed systemic injustices and sought to unite people through the power of their music.

Today, many musicians are doing the same.

Music as activism is constantly growing and evolving, and art continues to be a vital medium for expression and dialogue.

Today on the show we’re looking at the Arts… Arts as Activism. We’ll be talking with musicians and visual artists about how their art is intertwined with their activism. 

Pexels

On this episode, Wes explores the future of security. In World War II we had air raid drills; in the 1960s,  we had duck and cover drills; today, we have active shooter drills. Guests discuss everything from emergency procedures to internet safety in our home. Wes also explores questions surrounding the tension between privacy and security. 

Jacobinmag.com

Police departments in our country are struggling. In 2015, Gallup reported that public confidence in police was at a historic 22-year low. This was the same year Baltimore was rocked by Freddie Grey’s case and subsequent city-wide riots. While support has grown since then, the disconnect between the public and the police is palpable. 

What are the messages out there for future cops? Is this a profession that people aspire to? And what are police departments doing to mend relations with the public – possibly enticing new recruits in the process?

Democracy at Work

On today’s show, we’re tackling the topic of women’s financial equity. In the past fifty years, women have been entering the workforce in droves, and are increasingly financially independent from their spouses. According to the US Department of Labor, there are 74.6 million women in the civilian labor force; Women own close to 10 million businesses, accounting for $1.4 trillion in receipts. Working Moms are the norm, not the exception. These statistics show just how far women have come regarding equal opportunity in the workforce, but the current moment is not without its challenges. From pregnancy discrimination to gender inequality, how to do we address these issues head-on in our future cities? 

Politico

Questions about the status of immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers has reached a crisis point – with children being separated from their parents at the border under a zero-tolerance federal policy – many are asking what is the future of immigration?

On today’s show we’ll be breaking down complex legal terms… We’ll be exploring our country’s historical immigration policies… and what’s at stake for newcomers to this country.

Art puts the Charm in Charm City. But with federal budget cuts that threaten the Arts, what does the future look like for arts education and cultural initiatives? 

The Trump Administration’s budget for 2019 calls for eliminating four federal cultural agencies in a move that would save almost $1 billion from a $4.4 trillion spending plan – these cultural agencies include National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

These funding cuts are indicative of a disturbing trend in both federal and state budgets that place little emphasis on the arts. Arts education in schools is particularly vulnerable – with more quote ‘employable’ disciplines lines math and science being emphasized – many educators are worried subjects like music, art, and literature will be poorly funded, or in some cases, cut altogether.

On this episode, Wes learns about the power of arts education on students long-term and talks with local arts educators, activisists, and non-profit leaders. 

AP Photo/John Minchillo

A new study by the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that between 400 million and 800 million of today’s jobs will be automated by 2030. The road toward total automation has some people exhilarated… and some people very, very concerned. With robots taking so many jobs, what will the future of work look like here in the United States? 

This is where the idea of “universal basic income” comes in. We’re going to be exploring the idea that everyone, no matter what, gets a certain amount of money from the government in depth on this month's episode. Some say UBI will address the inevitable lack of jobs in an automated age, while others say this is apocalyptic thinking that could bankrupt the nation. 

All trends point to the number of independent voters only increasing as the divide between the two major parties grows wider and wider… So what will our future cities look like in terms of party politics? Is this the end of the party system altogether or is the time ripe for a new party to gain national traction? On this episode, Wes explores the history of the two-party system and asks if it's possible for a third party to gain any traction in our current political landscape. 

In 2015, there were over seven-hundred Confederate monuments displayed in cities, parks, and towns throughout the United States. Since that time more than 25 American cities have removed one or more Confederate monuments from public view, sparking a heated national debate - Is this revisionist history or an attempt at rectifying a historical wrong? The country is extremely divided. Baltimore's four explicitly Confederate statues were removed during the night in August of 2017. In this episode, Wes asks experts to contextualize these monuments and their purpose, while asking how we will address memorials and historical memory in our future cities. 

In this encore edition of Future City, Wes explores how Baltimore is working to keep pace with the burgeoning Maker Movement, a lifestyle and philosophy based on the idea that a do-it-yourself attitude changes lives for the better. Is the movement really all its proponents say it’s cracked up to be?  Or is it leaving women and the disadvantaged on the sidelines? 

2017 is looking to be a record setting year when it comes to natural disasters in the United States. Climate change and a growing population have all contributed to a rise in natural disasters around the world… So what’s being done about it? This month, Wes looks at where governments have fallen short when it comes to preventing natural disasters, as well as addressing concerns we have as Marylanders living in a coastal state. 

This month on Future City – the average house size in America is somewhere around twenty-six-hundred square feet... but many people are saying “no” to “bigger is better” – instead opting to live in so-called “tiny homes” – some as small as one-hundred-eighty square feet… Wes talks with people so passionate about this movement they made a podcast out of it – The Tiny House Podcast – along with social innovators looking to use tiny homes as a solution to homelessness. 

This month on the show – Did you know, on average, households of color are 2.2 times as likely to be asset poor compared to their white counterparts? This means that when there’s a bump in the road – a health emergency, a car accident, an unplanned pregnancy – these families become highly vulnerable. Baltimore is a minority-majority city, but the city’s communities of color still lag behind their white counterparts. How the city is evolving and how a history of discriminatory financial practices continues to hold people back: Wes speaks with economists, activists, and journalists and asks, how can communities of color build and sustain wealth?

Smart Cities

Sep 20, 2017

What do you think of when you think of a Smart City? Wi-fi hubs, self-driving vehicles, maybe…  but what about data analysis and research institutions? In this hour, Wes explores the idea of Smart Cities – connectivity hubs that use big data to change the way we interact in urban environments. We’ll be learning from the example of Seattle, Washington – a city that just hired a Smart City Coordinator and has been leading the way when it comes to urban innovation – we’ll then speak with two leaders at Johns Hopkins devoted to making city government more efficient and effective.

In this hour, Wes explores education technology and online learning – discussing everything from coding as a foreign language to the potential dangers of the privatization. We’ll also learn how online learning has the potential to make education more equitable and accessible. Wes speak with some of the most influential people in the field of education technology and asks tough questions about the future of learning here in Baltimore and beyond. 


In this hour, Wes turns a critical eye toward public transit. He speaks with transportation expert and Harvard Business School Professor, Rosabeth Kanter. He then talks with Alex Fischer of the Columbus Partnership about how the private sector can be vital to developing Smart transit systems. Turning back to to Baltimore – he speaks with Jimmy Rouse of the Baltimore Transit Campaign and with Samuel Jordan of the Baltimore Transit Equity Coalition. Finally, he'll talk with Liz Cornish of Bikemore about how biking connects diverse communities. Baltimore has notoriously poor public transit - what does the future of transportation look like for our city?  

Guests on this program include: 

Green Cities

Jun 19, 2017

Wes looks to Boston, where a clean harbor and a growing urban agriculture initiative are turning the city into a prime example of what a Green City can look like. The first half of the show focuses on urban agriculture; Wes talks with Green City Growers, the company responsible for implementing a vegetable garden on top of Fenway Park. Back in Baltimore, Wes talks with the Farm Alliance of Baltimore and The Baltimore Orchard Project. Wes addresses some of the dark sides of urban agriculture, speaking with the International Research Center on Sustainability in Paris. Finally, Wes looks to our city’s harbors – speaking with the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, and then with Blue Water Baltimore. Urban agriculture is not without challenges – so when it comes to sustainability, what can we learn from the other city by the bay? 

In this episode, Wes explores how Baltimore is working to keep pace with the burgeoning Maker Movement, a lifestyle and philosophy based on the idea that a do-it-yourself attitude changes lives for the better. Is the movement really all its proponents say it’s cracked up to be?  Or is it leaving women and the disadvantaged on the sidelines? 

Sanctuary Cities

Feb 15, 2017

Wes explores nationwide struggles over sanctuary city status and the relationship between local police agencies and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.  What can Baltimore learn from San Francisco, a city that is suing the Trump administration over the issue?

Guests on this episode include:

Bail Reform

Jan 17, 2017

In this episode, Wes looks into the issue of pretrial justice in Baltimore and the problem of money bail. Wes looks to the examples of bail-reform models in Washington, DC, and Louisville, Kentucky, two cities that have radically changed how they deal with people awaiting trial.


Policing and Mental Health

Dec 15, 2016

In this episode, Wes explores initiatives that are helping to improve how police respond to people in mental distress. Across the country, a growing number of cities are investing in ‘Crisis Intervention Team’ training for law enforcement officers and other first responders. This month, Wes looks to San Antonio, Texas, which grew that idea into an innovative collaboration that's made a huge difference over the past decade.

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