Weekly Urban News Update
December 6, 2019
In This Update: 
Watching Huawei's Safe Cities
In Delhi, UN-Women, NGOs, and the City Host Two-Day Safe City Festival
Dangerous Levels of Air Pollution Shut Schools in Lahore
Rwanda's Green City
Twelve Years After Eviction, Chennai Families Still Lack Adequate Housing
How Emerging Technologies Enhance Global Water Security
In the News and Around the Web
This Week in Photos
Watching Huawei's Safe Cities
At the Center for Strategic and International Studies Reconnecting Asia Project, Jonathan E. Hillman and Maesa McCalpin examine the Huawei Safe City Solutions. Huawei Enterprise promises to help cities across the world decrease crime and improve urban safety by deploying its surveillance products and services, but critics say it is instead helping China "export authoritarianism." The CSIS brief raises similar issues. For instance, it notes that 71% of the 73 Huawei Safe City agreements they studied, were made with countries that are politically "partly free" or "not free." Additionally, the differences between national and Huawei statistics on crime reduction in Nairobi, for instance, suggest that Huawei exaggerates the success of its products.

Read more here.
Delhi Hosts Two-Day Festival to Promote Safe Public Spaces for Women and Girls
A two-day festival organized by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, Jagori, Safetipin, Centre for Green Mobility, Delhi Police, and UN Women has invited women and girls to promote safe public spaces for women and girls in cities. The December 5th-6th event was planned a month ago, but has gained traction as the rape and murder of a young women in Hyperbad, India earlier this week sparked protests in major cities across India. The festival, which specifically seeks to boost women's safety at night, includes activities such as music and comedy performances, movie screenings, health checkups, Zumba classes, and motivational speakers.

Read more here
Dangerous Levels of Air Pollution in Lahore Shut Schools
In Lahore, dangerous air pollution levels forced the city to shut down schools three times over the past month. Amnesty International South Asia campaigns director Omar Waraich considers this a human rights crisis, asserting that air pollution "claims tens of thousands of lives, devastates the health of millions and denies other rights like the right to education, when children cannot go to school." But, Lahore is taking steps to mitigate the crisis. The government recently established the Punjab Smog Committee and plans to install air monitoring stations across Pakistan. One resident says: "With the last government, we felt we were helpless and were spiraling into this abyss with all the focus on building new roads. Now with this new government we can raise our voices and they are heard."

Read more here.
Rwanda's Green City
Rwanda announced it will begin to develop its Green City in the Gasabo District of Kigali in January 2020. The city aims to reduce carbon and greenhouse emissions, generate clean air, and improve quality of life for its citizens through environmentally-friendly infrastructure and urban planning. It will emphasize green buildings, electric cars and bicycles, clean technologies, sustainable waste treatments, biogas plants, and urban forests. The city will house 150,000 people in 30,000 housing units over approximately 1500 acres. Rwanda also promises the Green City will create 16,000 new jobs. Some hope that Rwanda's Green City, which marks the first of its kind in Africa, will encourage other African countries to pursue the Green City initiative.

Read more here.
Twelve Years After Eviction, Families in Chennai, India, Still Lack Adequate Housing
A new report by the Information and Resource Center for the Deprived Urban Communities (IRCDUC) and Housing Land Rights Network (HLRN) examines the living conditions of evicted families in southwest Chennai twelve years after relocation. In 2007, 10,700 families that lived in informal settlements around Porur Lake in Chennai were evicted under a government water improvement program. Only 4,000 families were provided with alternative land, located twenty kilometers from the Lake. Framed as a human rights assessment, based on site visits and interviews, the report says that living conditions in both sites are "grossly inadequate," and that the state government has failed to provide basic services for the families it relocated.

Read more  here .
How Emerging Technologies Can Enhance Global Water Security
In the Wilson Center New Security Beat blog, Brigitte Hugh highlights how innovative technologies can increase global water security. The United Nations estimates that by 2050, 52% of the world's population will be at risk for water security. Approximately 70% of the world currently lives in cities meaning global water security will be increasingly tied to urban settings. Hugh explains that emerging technologies like smart metering and IoT sensors can enhance global water security as they provide real-time information on water levels and water quality. Still, she urges caution when applying new technologies, noting that implementation requires awareness of cultural, regional, and educational limits, made available to poorest and most water insecure populations, and sustainability.

Read more here.
In the News and Around the Web
  • Bangkok's Floating Crosswalks: The city hopes the "zebra crossings" will decrease traffic-related injuries and deaths.
  • Protests Break out in ParisProtests over proposed changes to France's pension system shut down Paris yesterday.
  • Cities are Key for China's Belt and Road Initiative:  At the Diplomatic Courier Ian Klaus and Simon Curtis say that the cities produced or revitalized by BRI infrastructure development may assume geopolitical importance. 
This Week in Photos
  • Visualizing Smart Cities:  National Geographic highlights ten smart cities around the world, from Talin to Lima to Detroit.
  • The Glow of Bangkok: Cody Ellingham photographed the Thai capital every night for five weeks.
Bangkok designed "zebra crosswalks" to appear three dimensional to decrease traffic-related deaths.  (Photo Credit: Lankapuvath)

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