Idea Factory

Hennessy's Index: A number is never just a number

Hennessy's Index

Hennessy's Index is a monthly listing of numbers, written by the CCPA's Trish Hennessy, about Canada and its place in the world. For other months, visit:

  • Bike Superhighway

    Like the one they built in Copenhagen: 11 miles of paved bike path through the meandering countryside. (Source 1, 2)

  • 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 1, 2)

  • 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 1, 2, 3)

  • 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)

November 1, 2012