Weekly Urban News Update
January 3, 2020
In This Update: 
The Continuing Effect of Lead on Children in American Cities
What Sri Lanka Can Learn from New Orleans About Disaster Risk Management
Use of Facial Recognition Technology by Delhi Police Sparks Public Concern
Are Smartphones the Most Important Urban Concern Over the Past Decade?
CityLab Reflects on the Past Decade
Renowned Urban Affairs Journalist Neil Peirce Dies at 87
Spotlight Event: National Academy of Housing and Sustainable Communities Luncheon
In the News and Around the Web
This Week in Photos
The Continuing Effect of Lead on Children in American Cities
Despite nearly 50 years of federal regulation on lead in paint, gasoline and plumbing, lead poisoning continues to effect large numbers of people in cities today, especially children. At CityLab, Andrew Zaleski examines recently mapped data by the Maryland Department of the Environment and the U.S. Census Bureau. The study reveals how lower-income neighborhoods continue to see high levels of child lead exposure despite Maryland's strict state regulations on screening children for lead and landlord responsibility for ensuring its removal. This is in part because lead has yet to be removed from all city buildings and dwellings.  Environmental historian Leif Fredrickson says: "It's like the skin of the urban landscape. One of the classic quotes from a doctor in the 1920s is that children will grow up in a world of lead."

Read more here.
What Sri Lanka Can Learn from New Orleans about Disaster Risk Management
In October 2019, World Bank Disaster Risk Management specialists accompanied Sri Lankan officials to New Orleans to glean lessons from the city's post-Hurricane Katrina flood risk-management efforts. Both Sri Lanka and New Orleans are highly flood-prone.  Sri Lanka is one of the world's most vulnerable countries to climate change impacts in part because of its large coastline, while half of the city of New Orleans lies below sea level. Upon the conclusion of the trip, the Project Director of Sri Lanka's Climate Resilience Improvement Project, Eng. Sudharma Elakanda reflected: "This visit gave us the experience and confidence that we can carefully build and effectively maintain the embankments and pumping stations [in the Kelani river basin], learning from new Orleans' experience."

Read more here
Use of Facial Recognition Technology by Delhi Police at Rally Stokes Public Concern
Last week, at a political rally in Delhi, India for Prime Minister Modi last week India, the Delhi Police used India's Automated Facial Recognition System (AFRS) to screen crowds, raising public concerns about privacy and mass surveillance. Delhi Police originally installed AFRS software to stop criminals and find missing children, but Executive Director of the Internet Freedom Foundation, Apar Gupta says use of AFRS "has strayed from finding missing children to being deployed in peaceful public gathering." Delhi is considered one of the world's most surveilled cities. A newly proposed and controversial national citizenship law is further stoking public alarm about the city's use of facial recognition technology in cafes, offices, and other public spaces.

Read more here.
Are Smartphones the Most Important Urban Change of the 2010s?
What's the most important urban change over the past decade? According to Lloyd Alter, it's the smartphone, which has changed the both the forces that drive the city and the way in which people navigate urban spaces. For one, the smartphone allows individuals across socioeconomic backgrounds, and including displaced urban populations, a way to communicate, gather news, and reinforce social ties with friends and family. Smartphones also encourage people to live closer to metropolitan areas as they can use their mobile devices to access a number of services and socialize without an ownership commitment such as an Uber or Zipcar. Other trends inspired by smartphones include changing the ways in which urban dwellers travel, age, and access information.

Read more  here .
Recently Sold Publication CityLab Reflects on Ten Years of City Journalism
This past week, a number of CityLab's current and former writers reflected on urban trends over the past decade.  Ride-hailing and bikesharing systems have gone mainstream, pedestrian traffic fatalities have risen around the United States, public transportation has continued to falter, fair housing advocacy has grown, and more people have begun to think and debate about cities. 

CityLab was recently sold by Atlantic Media to Bloomberg Media, which has meant a transition in staff writers as well.  IHC Global prides itself in bringing curated urban news to a wide range of readers as part of its mission to advance equitable urban development and shine a light on the importance of cities to our collective global future.  So, we are sad to see an end of an era with the changes at CityLab.  We wish the journalists and staff well as and hope we have not lost their voices in the global urban dialogue.  We look forward to the "new" CityLab under the aegis of Bloomberg News.  In this day, when sourcing reliable and independent news has become particularly challenging, it is more important than ever that coverage of cities continue.

Read more  here .
Renowned Urban Affairs Journalist Neil Peirce Dies at 87
Neil Peirce, renowned urban affairs columnist and author, died Friday, December 27th at age 87 at his home in Washington. Peirce wrote a national beat that drew attention to local and state affairs, especially economic development, transit, housing, public education, recreation, public safety, and government management. The New York Times writes that his work "reflected his optimism about the capacity of cities to reinvent themselves," as he focused on both causes and solutions to urban deterioration. The Times reports that he was also among the first reporters to "recognize the usefulness of nonprofit economic development and corporations in guiding business investments in communities and neighborhood reconstruction." In 1993 then Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, called Peirce "the best writer on urban affairs in the country."

Read more  here .
Spotlight Event
National Academy of Housing and Sustainable Communities Luncheon

January 9, 2020
Nixon Peabody LLP, 799 9th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
12:00 pm-2:00 pm
Cost: $20

In preparation for the 10th World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi in February 2020 approaches, 
Seth Appleton Department of Housing and Urban Development Assistant Secretary, Policy Development and Research and Head of the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations World Urban Forum  will speak on current happening with the Sustainable Development Goals, UN-Habitat, COP25, and other international activities. 

Appleton will be joined by  Director of the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of International and Philanthropic Affairs Cindy Campbell and  Katherine Marinari from the same office,  Jane Katz from Habitat for Humanity International, and  IHC Global President and CEO Judith Hermanson.

Please RSVP to Kent Watkins at  kent.watkins@yahoo.com .
In the News and Around the Web
  • Drought Dries Up Zimbabwe: Since November, families in the southern Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo have gone up to four days without running water after the city imposed 96 hour dry periods for residential water customers.
  • 2020's Most Populated Cities:
     The decade started with 51% of the world living in cities and has only increased. The largest urban areas to day are : Tokyo, Delhi, Shanghai, Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Cairo, Mumbai, Beijing, Dhaka, and Osaka.
  • A Decade of Urban Transformation, Seen from Above: An interactive from the New York Times shows changes in communities and city landscapes over the past ten years.
  • Five Challenges Facing Cities in 2020:  Place identifies homelessness in London, Singapore's aging population, women's safety on transport in Harare, air pollution in New Delhi, and flooding in New Orleans. 
This Week in Photos
  • Cities Around the World Ring in the New Year: In Axios compiled New Year's Eve photos from Budapest to Rio de Janeiro to Manila and more.
Amsterdam celebrates the New Year. 
(Photo credit:  Paco Nunez/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

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