Weekly Urban News Update
November 1, 2019
In This Update: 
World Cities Day 2019
Why Representatives are Proposing a Bipartisan City and State Diplomacy Act
Climate Crisis Could Erase More Coastal Cities than Previously Thought
Beirut's Protesters Want to Improve their City
New York City's Female Street Vendors are Vulnerable to Harassment, Assault
What do Smart Cities Mean for Slums?
IHC Global Spotlight Event: World Cities Day
IHC Global Spotlight Event: Community Screening of PUSH the Film
In the News and Around the Web
World Cities Day 2019
Happy World Cities Day! Yesterday, on October 31st, the international community observed World Cities Day which marked the end of Urban October. This year's theme was: "Changing the world: innovations and better life for future generations." In a video message UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif explained that "World Cities Day is a chance for us all to reflect on new, innovative ways to make our cities sustainable." For instance, the rate of rapid urbanization means that 70% of the buildings that will exist in 2050 have yet to be built, providing an opportunity for cities to lead the way in creating sustainable and resilient places. ED Sharif urged: "Let us do it for our future generations so they inherit a better world than the one they got from the past." Find information on the IHC Global World Cities Day event in this newsletter.

Watch the Executive Director's message  here.
Why Representatives Are Proposing a Bipartisan City and State Diplomacy Act 
In June, Representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Joe Wilson (R-SC) introduced the City and State Diplomacy Act in Congress that would create an Office of Subnational Diplomacy within the U.S. State Department. At CityLab, Chyrstie Flournoy Swiney and Sheila Foster explain that the bipartisan bill is significant given the increased relevancy of cities in world affairs. For one, challenges such as migration, inequality, climate change, and terrorism are often felt most acutely at the city level which requires local leaders to respond. The authors also note that around the world nations seem less willing or capable of engaging in diplomatic commitments such as international agreements or serving in international organizations. The bill could also positively affect businesses, entrepreneurs, university, and civil society organizations as it would include those entities as subnational diplomatic actors as well.

Read more here.
Climate Crisis Could Erase More Coastal Cities than Previously Thought
A new report by Climate Central suggests that rising seas will erase more cities than previously thought. The paper estimates 150 million people are currently living on land that will be below high-tide line by 2050. Especially vulnerable cities include Hanoi, Bangkok, and Mumbai. For cities like Basra, Iraq, the repercussions of rising water will be felt as more than an environmental problem. At the Center for Climate and Security, General John Castellaw explains that for Basra, the loss of land due to rising waters "threatens to drive further social and political instability in the region which could reignite armed conflict and increase the likelihood of terrorism...It's a humanitarian, security, and possibly military problem, too."

Read more here.
Beirut's Protesters Want to Improve their City
Political activism in Beirut has been accompanied by increased civic engagement in improving city life. Mass protests, which resulted in the resignation of the Lebanese Prime Minister and his cabinet earlier this week, have gone hand in hand with street clean-ups, pro-bono legal clinics, and the revival of abandoned buildings. One activist explains of the street protests: "I'm just trying to show that although we're doing a revolution, the Lebanese people are still civilized and clean." For Mona Fawaz, professor of urban studies and planning at American University of Beirut, political activism often increases citizen's engagement in all aspects of life: "When you're politically engaged and mobilized, you're redefining your role as...an engaged citizen. No one's going to clean [the streets] for you; you have to clean it."

Read more  here .
New York City's Female Street Vendors Are Vulnerable to Harassment, Assault
Street Vendor Project released the results of the first-ever survey of New York City's female street vendors. The seven month project interviewed 50 women on topics like their backgrounds, stress levels, and safety perceptions. SVP found that women street vendors often felt vulnerable to harassment or attacks based on their gender, but had little faith the police would respond to complaints. One Harlem-based respondent, Carla said: "The women don't get respect. People here rob us, they hit us...they insult us. But what are you going ot do? When we call the police they don't come." Based on the survey-results, SVP urges the NYC Mayor and City Council to increase the number of vendor license so that women can work legally and improve police protection.

Read more  here .
What do Smart Cities Mean for Slums?
The advent of smart technology and proliferation of slums are two processes of urbanization that are unlikely to dissipate soon, writes S. Emmanuelle Laurinda Godjo at Urbanet. This means that smart cities and slums must adapt to each other to improve city livability, but Godjo says this can only be done when smart cities are defined by inclusiveness. Smart cities that do not plan for the inclusion of all, they can be damaging to the existence of urban poor communities. She points to the example of the Wxlacodji slum in Cotonou, Benin that the Benin government recently demolished, evicting its residents with only a 72 hour notice. But, when smart technology is defined by inclusiveness, it has successfully improved the lives of the urban poor. Examples include the use of open-source mapping and community-based data collection which helps cities take slums into account in their development plans. For more information about equitable urban  development, please read our Smart City Just City policy paper here

Read more here
IHC Global Spotlight Event
World Cities Day: Better Cities, Better Lives through Frontier Technology

Monday, November 4th
1900 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20006

IHC Global and Dentons Smart Cities and Communities Editorial Board cordially invite you to join us for a brown bag lunch panel in celebration of the United Nations World Cities Day! We will explore the potential of frontier technologies to make cities better for all. For more information, contact ngill@ihcglobal.org
IHC Global Spotlight Event: 
PUSH the Film

Tuesday, November 5th
The Potter's House
1658 Columbia Road, NW, Washington, DC 2009

IHC Global and The Global Land Alliance are pleased to   i nvite you to a special community screening of "PUSH," the film.  PUSH is a new documentary investigating the housing crisis and why having a home is becoming more and more difficult.  Watch the film trailer here.
RSVP here or by emailing  ngill@ihcglobal.org
In the News and Around the Web
  • Huawei's Safe City Technology Installed in Nations Vulnerable to Abuse: CBS News cites IHC Global Board Member and Carnegie Fellow Steve Feldstein on artificial intelligence and surveillance technology worldwide. 
  • World's Smartest Cities: IHC Global Senior Technical Advisor and Woodrow Wilson Center Fellow, Blair Ruble, served on the Newsweek Momentum Awards Council to select the World's Smartest Cities.
  • Facebook Pledges $1 Billion to Affordable Housing:  Last week, Facebook committed $1 billion to tackle the affordable housing crisis in California.
UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif speaks at 
World Cities Day in Ekaterinburg, Russia
(Photo Credit: UN-Habitat)

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