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VOA慢速英语2011--Social Scientists Rethink City Living

时间:2011-12-26 07:42来源:互联网 提供网友:nan   字体: [ ]
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THIS IS AMERICA - Social Scientists Rethink City Living

 

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Welcome to THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English. I'm Shirley Griffith.

STEVE EMBER: And I'm Steve Ember. This week on our program, we tell you why an economist1 has written a book in praise of cities. We also meet an outdoor survival expert -- he teaches people how to find wild plants that are safe to eat. And, later, we hear from a multicultural3 children's chorus with a message of peace.

(MUSIC)

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: For economist Edward Glaeser, the best place to live is a city.

EDWARD GLAESER: "Cities are so fascinating because they play to mankind's greatest gift, which is our ability to learn from other people."

Since ancient times, he says, cities have given creative minds a place to work together to improve societies. But cities have not always gotten much thanks in return.

EDWARD GLAESER: "In the nineteen seventies, it looked as if globalization, new technologies and the death of distance was making our older cities obsolete4. After all, the garment industry was fleeing New York. It looked like history itself was telling New York City to drop dead."

Yet since then, he says, globalization and new technologies have driven improvements in many cities. As a result, people are better able to profit from ideas.

(From left) Rita Achiro, Ehklas Ahmed and Judith Abdalla sing in the Pihcintu Multicultural Children's Chorus.

EDWARD GLAESER: "What these new forces have done is they've increased the returns to new ideas, to being smart, because now if you got a new idea, you can manufacture it on the other side of the planet, you can take advantage of some new market opportunity in India, or Indonesia or Sub-Saharan Africa. These trends have also made cities more important because cities are at their heart today, engines of innovations, forgers of human capital."

Edward Glaeser has written a new book called "Triumph of the City." He takes readers on a world tour of what he considers urban success stories, from Boston, London and Tokyo to Bangalore and Kinshasa.

Mr. Glaeser is a professor at Harvard University. He himself lives outside the city of Boston.

Big cities can seem impersonal5. They can be crowded, dirty and dangerous, but also places of pleasure and production. Mr. Glaeser says restaurants, supermarkets, theaters and museums all play a part in creating jobs.

EDWARD GLAESER: "If you look across the world, the countries where more than half of the people live in urban areas are more than four times richer on average than the countries where less than half of the people live in urban areas."

Mr. Glaeser says areas of poverty in cities are really a sign of the power of cities.

EDWARD GLAESER: "Cities don't make people poor, they attract poor people. And they attract poor people by delivering a path out of poverty and to prosperity, a chance to partner with people who have different skills, access to world markets, access to capital that enables poor people, some of them -- not all of them -- to actually find a way forward."

He says cities are also better for the environment.

EDWARD GLAESER: "There is significantly less carbon usage in cities. There are two reasons for that, one of which is less driving; they are more likely to use public transportation. And when they drive, they drive shorter distances. And the second is that people in the cities occupy smaller homes than people living in rural areas."

Not surprisingly, Professor Glaeser thinks even more people should move to cities. He says developing high-rise buildings, or "building up," is a way to avoid developing wider areas, or "building out."

STEVE EMBER: But architect and urban designer Michael Mehaffy says research suggests that the buildings do not have to be very tall.

MICHAEL MEHAFFY: "It might only require four, six, eight stories, something like that, to get very good urban densities6 and to have a very vital urban environment."

Mr. Mehaffy also says high-density7 living does not always improve quality of life.

MICHAEL MEHAFFY: "There is a point where more density doesn't really get you very much. I mean, it can be very helpful in some circumstances, it can be very destructive in some circumstances. I think we should really focus on what urban living gives to us in the network of relationships, not so much an abstract number like density and 'Let's just make it absolutely as high as possible and let's have tall buildings.' Because once you do that, you start to kick in a lot of negative effects from density."

Michael Mehaffy also points out that not everyone enjoys life in the big city.

MICHAEL MEHAFFY: "Not everybody kind of wants to live in a super high-density city. I think people from different political persuasions8, and all walks of life are getting more interested in more connected urban environments, and that isn't necessarily just big cities.”

In this world of seven billion people, a United Nations report says the population balance has tipped in favor of cities and away from rural areas. But it also says there is no easy answer to the question of what exactly a "city" is in twenty-eleven. "Governments and urban areas themselves define 'city' in numerous ways and their boundaries can shift, sometimes for political, demographic or economic reasons."

The U.N. Population Division calls Tokyo and other huge population centers "urban agglomerations9." Under that definition, Tokyo is the world's largest urban area. Almost thirty-seven million people live there -- more than one-fourth of Japan's population. Delhi is second, with twenty-two million people, then Sao Paulo and Mumbai. Next are Mexico City; the New York-Newark, New Jersey10, area; Shanghai; Kolkata; Dhaka and Karachi.

(MUSIC)

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Most Americans buy their food in supermarkets. But more and more people are looking for other sources of fresh produce, like farmers markets or their own gardens. Some people are even exploring the world of wild plants. Tim MacWelch is a forty-year-old expert in finding food in the wild. He started the Earth Connection School in nineteen ninety-seven. The business is located in Fauquier County, Virginia, southwest of Washington.

Mr. MacWelch offers classes to share his knowledge of how to find wild plants that can be eaten. Some classes have attracted more than twenty students. But on this day, there are just two, Bob and Tamae Heilen.

BOB HEILEN: "I'd like to be able to know that if there were an emergency and I couldn't get food in the store that I would be able to find food on my own, but also my wife and I, we like to learn new things."

TAMAE HEILEN: "Recently I started cooking wild plants like dandelions in our yard. And it tasted really good, and I decided11, I want to study."

On Earth Connection's four-hectare property, the Heilens are learning about dandelions and other edible12 plants. Among them is yarrow, which looks a little like a fern.

TIM MacWELCH: "But ferns will not smell like this. Crush this and smell it. It's going to be like a culinary herb."

TAMAE HEILEN: "Smells really good."

Wild carrots are also on the tasting menu for the Heilens, but Mr. MacWelch warns that these can be difficult to identify. Wild carrots should look and smell like smaller, white versions of carrots sold in the market. Not only that, they should have tiny hairs on the stems.

TIM MACWELCH: "If there are no hairs on this and it smells bad, you're looking at a poison hemlock13 or a fool's parsley, both of which are deadly."

Tim MacWelch offers several different wilderness14 survival classes throughout the year. He also writes a blog on survival skills for the online magazine Outdoor Life.

(MUSIC)

STEVE EMBER: Pihcintu is a word in Passamaquoddy, a language spoken by an American Indian tribe in the northeastern state of Maine. It means "When she sings, her voice carries far." Pihcintu is also the name of a girls chorus in Portland, Maine.

When the girls in the Pihcintu Multicultural Children's Chorus sing about peace, the songs have special meaning for them. Many are refugees from Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Their families fled war, oppression and famine.

Their songs contain a message of hope. One song is called "Bells of Freedom."

(MUSIC)

"Bells of Freedom" was written by the chorus' director, Con2 Fullam, and one of its founding members, Judith Abdalla. Ms. Abdalla is eighteen. She was born in Sudan and lived in Egypt before coming to the United States.

JUDITH ABDALLA: "We're singing about peace, about coming together, about stopping the wars back in our native lands, and singing about being able to go back and being able to hold on to our languages and our families."

Another chorus member, Rita Achiro, was also born in Sudan. She was raised in a refugee camp in Kenya.

RITA ACHIRO: "For somebody to hear me sing and be like 'Wow,' it makes me feel good. But I also love having more than one person's voice. Singing as a group, it, like, sends a bigger message."

At any given time, the chorus has as many as thirty members from fourteen different countries, from Iraq to Cambodia. Choral director Con Fullam began recruiting singers from the local schools more than six years ago.

CON FULLAM: "Knowing that, for me, music has always been a very powerful healing thing, I thought it'd be a great idea to invite as many different refugee communities as possible."

Mr. Fullam says the chorus evolved into a girls' group when boys did not come to practice.

The group's performances might have limited to Maine if not for the involvement of Patrice Samara. Ms. Samara is a producer for Alphabet Kids, a company that sells multicultural children's books and CDs. A lawyer for the company suggested that she fly to Maine to check out the chorus. She liked what she heard. In October, Alphabet Kids released a Pihcintu CD.

Ms. Samara has begun to schedule performances outside of Maine. The first took place in August in Washington. She hopes the idea behind the chorus will lead to more such groups in other communities.

PATRICE SAMARA: "Many, many towns have immigrants, so we're hoping that this model will be embraced around the country."

(MUSIC)

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Our program was written and produced by Brianna Blake, with reporting by Faiza Elmasry, Josie Huang and Susan Logue. I'm Shirley Griffith.

STEVE EMBER: And I'm Steve Ember. English learners can read, listen and learn with our programs and new activities at voanews.cn. You can also watch a video about Tim MacWelch's wild edibles15 class. And you can join us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube at VOA Learning English. Join us again next week for THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English.


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 economist AuhzVs     
n.经济学家,经济专家,节俭的人
参考例句:
  • He cast a professional economist's eyes on the problem.他以经济学行家的眼光审视这个问题。
  • He's an economist who thinks he knows all the answers.他是个经济学家,自以为什么都懂。
2 con WXpyR     
n.反对的观点,反对者,反对票,肺病;vt.精读,学习,默记;adv.反对地,从反面;adj.欺诈的
参考例句:
  • We must be fair and consider the reason pro and con.我们必须公平考虑赞成和反对的理由。
  • The motion is adopted non con.因无人投反对票,协议被通过。
3 multicultural qnIzdX     
adj.融合多种文化的,多种文化的
参考例句:
  • Children growing up in a multicultural society.在多元文化社会中长大的孩子们。
  • The school has been attempting to bring a multicultural perspective to its curriculum.这所学校已经在尝试将一种多元文化视角引入其课程。
4 obsolete T5YzH     
adj.已废弃的,过时的
参考例句:
  • These goods are obsolete and will not fetch much on the market.这些货品过时了,在市场上卖不了高价。
  • They tried to hammer obsolete ideas into the young people's heads.他们竭力把陈旧思想灌输给青年。
5 impersonal Ck6yp     
adj.无个人感情的,与个人无关的,非人称的
参考例句:
  • Even his children found him strangely distant and impersonal.他的孩子们也认为他跟其他人很疏远,没有人情味。
  • His manner seemed rather stiff and impersonal.他的态度似乎很生硬冷淡。
6 densities eca5c1ea104bef3058e858fe084fb6d0     
密集( density的名词复数 ); 稠密; 密度(固体、液体或气体单位体积的质量); 密度(磁盘存贮数据的可用空间)
参考例句:
  • The range of densities of interest is about 3.5. 有用的密度范围为3.5左右。
  • Densities presumably can be probed by radar. 利用雷达也许还能探测出气体的密度。
7 density rOdzZ     
n.密集,密度,浓度
参考例句:
  • The population density of that country is 685 per square mile.那个国家的人口密度为每平方英里685人。
  • The region has a very high population density.该地区的人口密度很高。
8 persuasions 7acb1d2602a56439ada9ab1a54954d31     
n.劝说,说服(力)( persuasion的名词复数 );信仰
参考例句:
  • To obtain more advertisting it needed readers of all political persuasions. 为获得更多的广告,它需要迎合各种政治见解的读者。 来自辞典例句
  • She lingered, and resisted my persuasions to departure a tiresome while. 她踌躇不去,我好说歹说地劝她走,她就是不听。 来自辞典例句
9 agglomerations c751d1c4367ec402cb5b5a33ea78d147     
n.成团,结块(agglomeration的复数形式)
参考例句:
  • Shandong Peninsula Agglomerations are the most developed region of Shandong Province. 山东半岛城市群是山东省经济最发达的地区。 来自互联网
  • Homogeneous mixing and moistening without the formation of agglomerations or wet spots. 均一的混合和湿度,没有球团或者滴水斑点的产生。 来自互联网
10 jersey Lp5zzo     
n.运动衫
参考例句:
  • He wears a cotton jersey when he plays football.他穿运动衫踢足球。
  • They were dressed alike in blue jersey and knickers.他们穿着一致,都是蓝色的运动衫和灯笼短裤。
11 decided lvqzZd     
adj.决定了的,坚决的;明显的,明确的
参考例句:
  • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents.这使他们比对手具有明显的优势。
  • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting.英国人和中国人打招呼的方式有很明显的区别。
12 edible Uqdxx     
n.食品,食物;adj.可食用的
参考例句:
  • Edible wild herbs kept us from dying of starvation.我们靠着野菜才没被饿死。
  • This kind of mushroom is edible,but that kind is not.这种蘑菇吃得,那种吃不得。
13 hemlock n51y6     
n.毒胡萝卜,铁杉
参考例句:
  • He was condemned to drink a cup of hemlock.判处他喝一杯毒汁。
  • Here is a beech by the side of a hemlock,with three pines at hand.这儿有株山毛榉和一株铁杉长在一起,旁边还有三株松树。
14 wilderness SgrwS     
n.杳无人烟的一片陆地、水等,荒漠
参考例句:
  • She drove the herd of cattle through the wilderness.她赶着牛群穿过荒野。
  • Education in the wilderness is not a matter of monetary means.荒凉地区的教育不是钱财问题。
15 edibles f15585c612ecc5e917a4d4b09581427a     
可以吃的,可食用的( edible的名词复数 ); 食物
参考例句:
  • They freely offered for sale what edibles they had. 他们很自愿地把他们的一点点可吃的东西卖给我们。
  • Our edibles the wild vegetable. 我们只能吃野菜。
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TAG标签:   VOA慢速英语  Social  City
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