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Policy Pub

Each day, policy decisions that directly impact our lives are made at the local, state, national, and global levels. At the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy, our faculty is in the business of researching, teaching, and furthering understanding these decisions, the people and institutions who make them, and how they affect us all.

Policy Pub is an opportunity to tap into that knowledge and experience and to connect with experts and fellow citizens in an informal atmosphere.

Policy Pub attendees listen to brief, plain-language talks about such topics as politics, economics, the environment, and more. Then they ask questions and engage in friendly dialogue. It’s fun, social, interactive, and highly informative.

After each Pub session, we post audio from the evening and the faculty presenter’s Power Point so you can follow along with their presentation. You can access these on the individual Pub pages below.


Beyond Redevelopment: Urban Planning for Racial Equity

Tuesday, November 19, 2019
5:30-6:30 pm
Backwoods Bistro
401 E. Tennessee St.
(corner of Gadsden)

On any given day, you can drive around Tallahassee and see new construction everywhere. Development is often an indication of a city's success and growth. But who gets left behind in this progress, and how can urban planners work toward social and economic justice for every citizen?

Continuing Policy Pub’s focus on how national, even global, issues affect each of us right here at home, the final session for fall 2019 features Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning April Jackson, who will examine the limitations to mixed-income housing plans in Chicago and Seattle and explores how local actors can word towards incorporating racial equity into planning for diverse communities. She will then discuss how some of these strategies can be adapted to mixed-income housing redevelopment efforts in Tallahassee.

Ripple Effect: How sea level rise will reshape the US population landscape

Tuesday, October 15, 2019
5:30-6:30 pm
Backwoods Bistro
401 E. Tennessee St.
(corner of Gadsden)

Keeping in the weather vein (pun intended!) of our kick-off session, the Policy Pub fall series continues with Assistant Professor of Sociology Mathew Hauer's presentation on climate change – not the physical science involved but its potential impacts on society, particularly how migration induced by sea level rise could reshape the U.S. population distribution.

After the brief presentation, he will facilitate a community conversation about how this could affect Florida and Tallahassee.

In addition to potential impacts on our way of life, the human migration that results from higher water levels along our coasts will certainly have an effect on local and state government policies, so expect another engaging dialogue on that issue.

The Hots Are Getting Hotter: More Extreme Heat in Tallahassee

Tuesday, September 17, 2019
5:30-6:30 pm
Backwoods Bistro
401 E. Tennessee St.
(corner of Gadsden)

Hot enough for you? Get ready for more sweaty!

As Policy Pub returns for three new sessions in fall 2019, we kick off with an examination into rising temperatures and what Tallahassee residents can expect from future weather forecasts.

James Elsner, chair of the FSU Department of Geography and a nationally cited expert on climate change, storms, and their impact on communities, gets the fall series rolling with “The Hots Are Getting Hotter: More Extreme Heat in Tallahassee.”

Elsner will present evidence that extremely hot days and hot nights are becoming more common in Tallahassee. After his brief talk, the floor will open to all attendees for a lively conversation about the issue – in the air-conditioned comfort of one of the city’s most popular eateries!

Common Sense Economics

In the final Policy Pub for spring semester, Joe Calhoun, director of the Stavros Center for Economic Education, talks about the center's educators course and companion book, "Common Sense Economics: What Everyone Should Know About Wealth and Prosperity."

As co-author of the book, Calhoun will highlight such concepts and key points as gains from trade, innovation, competitive markets, and sound institutions. While simple on the surface, the nuances of these ideas run deep into the decisions of everyday life.

He will also address some of the controversial topics in public policy and dispel several myths about economics: Are trade wars good for the economy? Do corporations pay taxes? Does minimum wage help poor people?

Longer Lives, New Paths Forward

Tuesday, February 12, 2019
5:30-6:30 pm
Backwoods Bistro
401 E. Tennessee St.
(corner of Gadsden)

The overall rise in life expectancy has increased the proportion of our lives we spend as “older adults.” Despite the fact that a growing proportion of the population can expect to live about three decades beyond the traditional retirement age of 65, we still think about later life as a uniform period of our lives. In fact, greater longevity means later life can be as varied and changeable as our younger years, opening up new paths for our journey forward.

In this session, Assistant Professor of Sociology Dawn Carr discusses the importance of cultivating meaningful scripts for the later stages of life and how we can redesign our life course to bolster the quality of our later years. An affiliate of the Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy, Carr will also examine the the policy implications of this new reality.

Is Bigger Better? Benefits and Pitfalls of Regionalizing Public Services

Tuesday, January 8, 2019
5:30-6:30 p.m.
Backwoods Bistro
401 E. Tennessee St., Tallahassee
(corner of Gadsden St.)

Consolidating public services seems like a no brainer: reduce duplication of services and labor, cut costs, increase efficiency, and get better public services. But does it work in practice?

Sam Staley, Director of the DeVoe Moore Center, will look at local government services and explore when consolidation makes sense, when it doesn't, and what path local communities can take to improve services and avoid busting local budgets.

Dr. Staley teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in urban planning, regulation, and urban economics. Prior to joining Florida State, Staley was director of urban growth and land-use policy for Reason Foundation where he helped establish its urban policy program in 1997.

Unpacking the 2018 Midterm Elections: What Happened and What’s Next?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
5:30-6:30 p.m.
Backwoods Bistro
401 E. Tennessee St., Tallahassee
(corner of Gadsden St.)

Every four years, more than 60% of the eligible voting public turns out to cast a vote for president. But control of Congress often hinges on midterm elections, in which only roughly 40% of eligible Americans vote. How can we best understand the outcomes of the November 6, 2018 midterm House and Senate races? What factors generally shape national- and race-level outcomes, and which were especially important this year? Ultimately, how does low turnout affect these elections?

Local Organizations Supporting Aging-In-Place: What Can We Learn?

Tuesday, September 11, 2018
5:30-6:30 p.m.
Backwoods Bistro
401 E. Tennessee St., Tallahassee
(corner of Gadsden St.)

In Kerala, India, the Elderly Inclusion Program makes it easier for people to age well in community and for families to support and care for their elders. Kerala outpaces the rest of India in the growth of its population over 65 years of age and has given rise to a number of innovative approaches to this new group in need of support. A core feature is a community network of Elderly Neighborhood Groups (NHGs) that is place-based, with 10 to 20 members per group.

Emerita Professor Rebecca Miles examines the aspects of the political, historical, socioeconomic, and cultural contexts that help make the Elderly Inclusion Program work well in Kerala, and explores how it might need to be adapted to be useful in other places and what we can learn locally and in the U.S. from their experience.

Long-Term Consequences of Economic Inequality

Tuesday, March 20, 2018
5:30-6:30 p.m.
Backwoods Bistro
401 E. Tennessee St., Tallahassee
(corner of Gadsden St.)

Policy analysts predict rising poverty among future retirees because Social Security cannot sustain its benefits and budgets will be strained by rising medical costs. In fact, the situation is much worse. Trends in economic inequality will further erode the well-being of people turning 65 in the future.

David Rasmussen, Dean Emeritus of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy and the James H. Gapinski Professor of Economics, wraps up the spring semester Policy Pub series with a presentation on economic inequality, particularly as it applies to retired people.

After the brief talk, the public will have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in dialogue on the topic.

Could the Next Water Crisis Be in Tallahassee?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018
5:30-6:30 p.m.
Backwoods Bistro
401 E. Tennessee St., Tallahassee
(corner of Gadsden St.)

One of the biggest stories of the past few years has been the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, where due to insufficient water treatment, more than 100,000 residents were potentially exposed to high levels of lead in the drinking water. The crisis would seem to be almost out of character in a country as developed and wealthy as ours, but is it really all that unthinkable?

In the second Policy Pub session of 2018, Associate Professor of Sociology Katrinell Davis talks about her work on the Flint water crisis and how this kind of disaster could happen in any U.S. city - including Tallahassee.

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