Weekly Urban News Update
July 17, 2020
In This Update: 
In Bogota, a Surge in Infections and a Second Lockdown Hit Urban Poor 
Megacities Must Embrace Inclusive Urban Policies to Contain Coronavirus
Tenure Insecurity Felt by One Billion People Worldwide
Lockdown in Indian Cities Sees Surge in Cycling
In Beirut, Failing Traffic Lights Symbolize Political and Economic Crisis
Life Inside High-Rise Public Housing in Melbourne
In the News And Around the Web
In Bogota, COVID-19 Infection Surge and a Second Lockdown Hit Urban Poor 
A surge of coronavirus infections in Bogota has forced the city to lock down a second time after ending four-months of coronavirus restrictions. Poor neighborhoods and slums have fared worse than more affluent neighborhoods due to lack of access to sanitation and healthcare services, poor nutrition, and overcrowded housing. The first lockdown further devastated Bogota's informal workers and their families whose ability to eat depends on day-to-day income. To minimize the economic impact of a second lockdown, the city is closing neighborhoods in phases. The mayor has also pledged to give a one-time cash transfer of $70 to approximately 550,000 people living in quarantined neighborhoods.

Read more here.
Megacities Must Embrace Inclusive Urban Policies to Contain Coronavirus
Megacities must embrace policies that are inclusive of the urban poor to best manage and prevent the spread of COVID-19, writes Gareth Willmer at Sci Dev Net. Willmer explains that when cities neglect to include the urban poor in their planning, disease hot spots can emerge. Informal settlements are particularly susceptible to virus transmission due to overcrowding, lack of access to safe water and sanitation, and disconnect from city services. The potential for hot spots proliferates in major cities worldwide: a World Bank mapping project of Kinshasa, Cairo, and Mumbai found that  80% of Kinshasa residents and up to 25% of residents in Cairo and Mumbai live in hot spot areas.

Read more here.
Tenure Insecurity Felt by One Billion People Worldwide 
Nearly one billion people worldwide are afraid of losing their homes, according to the recently released Prindex Comparative Report. The report,  compiled by IHC Global member Global Land Alliance and the British Overseas Development Institute, assessed perceptions of tenure insecurity in 140 countries and found that 19% of adult respondents feared their home would be taken away. Global Land Alliance Co-Executive Director Malcolm Childress described the prevalence of land and housing insecurity as "a huge issue hiding in plain site." According to Childress, housing insecurity may increase further as lockdowns ease and as evictions are allowed to resume.

Read more here.
Lockdown in Indian Cities Sees Surge in Cycling
Bicycle sales have surged in Indian cities since the country implemented its COVID-19 lockdown. Most Indian cities are not bicycle-friendly, but many residents looking for alternative transport cannot afford to own a car or motorbike. India's Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry has said that the pandemic presents the opportunity to make cities more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists. But whether cycling becomes sustainable means ensuring safety and roads through dedicated cycling lanes. One bicycle shop owner explained that although his sales have increased five-fold, "Most of my customers tell me they're not going to use the bicycle after one or two months."

Read more here.
In Beirut, Failing Traffic Lights Symbolize Political and Economic Crisis
In Beirut, failing traffic lights symbolize Lebanon's political deadlock, mismanagement, and alleged corruption. Over the past three weeks, ¾ of the city's traffic lights have stopped working, which the government blames on an agreement with a corrupt parking meter company. According to one activist, when the traffic lights were first installed after the conclusion of the country's civil war, they "created a sense of certainty that had been lost during the war." Now, the lights have stopped working amidst a nationwide socioeconomic collapse.  One soldier explained to Al Jazeera: "This is the most basic symbol of a state, but what can we do- this is the state we have." 

Read more here.
Life Inside High-Rise Public Housing in Melbourne
A six-part series in The Guardian explores life inside Melbourne's high-rise public housing towers. The apartments, which can evoke stereotypes of drug use, vandalism, and violence, were thrust in the spotlight after Melbourne instituted a strict lockdown policy that forbade the approximately 3,000 tower residents from leaving their homes. Media reports soon emerged of food shortages, elderly residents cut off from caregivers, and parents without enough baby formula. The series explores life in the tower through topics including COVID-19, generational conflict in migrant families, police interactions, youth, and resilience.

Read more here.
In The News and Around the Web
  • IHC Global Senior Technical Advisor Eduardo Rojas Authors New Paper: IHC Global Senior Technical Advisor Eduardo Rojas co-authored a new paper, "Housing Policies and the Roles of Local Governments in Latin America: Recent Experiences."
  • Apple Allocates $400 Million to Housing Assistance:  Apple allocated $400 million to homeowners assistance and affordable housing this year as part of its $2.5 billion commitment to help California's housing crisis.
  • New  York City Declares First Day Without New Coronavirus Cases: On Monday, New York City declared its first day with zero confirmed or probable coronavirus deaths.
  • Understanding Border Crossings to Contain Coronavirus in Hong KongData collection on who is crossing Hong Kong's borders could help the city fight a third wave of coronavirus.
Public housing in Melbourne (Christopher Hopkins/The Guardian)
Thank you for reading! We have a request for you since you care about these issues: Please support IHC Global's fight against inequality through equitable urban development. New approaches to housing, healthcare, and justice are necessary for systemic change. We are working on all fronts to advance these critical changes. Any amount will make a difference. We thank you for your support!
Head Office: 5425 Wisconsin Ave, Ste 600, Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Satellite Office: 430 N. Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
301-718-4821  Email | Website
STAY CONNECTED: