A number is never just a number: Ideas factory

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Bike superhighway

Like the one they built in Copenhagen: 11 miles of paved bike path through the meandering countryside. (Source and source)

Urban umbrellas

Replace ugly city construction scaffolding with elegant, translucent archways crowning pedestrian zones. You'll think you're in Paris. Toronto's doing it. (Source)

Urban gardens

Like the ones they're planting on vacant land in San Francisco, turning concrete jungles or fields of weeds into local vegetable plots, chicken coops and honeybee hives. (Source)

Keep cool

A public program to help low-income residents stay cool during the worst of the hot summer months, like they do in New York, where low-income residents who qualify get air conditioning installed in their home. (Source)

Grow it local

Make local, fresh, environmentally friendly produce accessible to all by growing gardens on the rooftops of grocery stores, like Bright Farms does in the U.S. (Source and source)

Tribal branding

A move by indigenous tribes in India to protect tribal medicinal knowledge by having it branded and registered under trademark and geographic indication. (Source)

Reclaim private space

Such as the decision to convert an abandoned Wal-Mart store in Texas into a public library for the people. (Source)

Free transit

Like Châteauroux, France did, using free rides to revitalize its ailing mass transit system.  Officials say it increased ridership, made the system more efficient and "nearly paid for itself." (Source)

Debt forgiveness

Iceland responded to the global economic meltdown by forgiving loans equivalent to 13 per cent of that country's GDP, easing the debt burden for a quarter of the population. (Source)

Robin Hood Tax

A proposed financial transaction tax on banks across the globe, which could raise billions of dollars to reduce deficits, alleviate poverty and address climate change. Actually, France just did it. (Source, source and source)

Mandatory voting

Like they do in Australia and Brazil. Compulsory voting not only increases voter turnout, it gets citizens more engaged in their own democracy. (Source)

Cat's meow of mayors

If human politicians aren't doing it for you, consider Stubb the cat, the popular mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska for the past 15 years. (Source)

Image: everywhereisimagined/Flickr

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative's Trish Hennessy has long been a fan of Harper Magazine's one-page list of eye-popping statistics, Harper's Index. Instead of wishing for a Canadian version to magically appear, she's created her own index -- a monthly listing of numbers about Canada and its place in the world. Hennessy's Index -- A number is never just a number -- comes out on the first of each month in rabble.ca.

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