Weekly Urban News Update
March 27, 2020
In This Update: 
India Commences 21-Day National Lockdown
Lagos Wants to Shut Down, But It May Struggle to Do So
What Will Happen When Coronavirus Reaches Developing Countries?
In Moroccan Cities, Informal Workers Suffer from Lockdowns
Experts Urge Financial Support for Asian Street Vendors Affected by Lockdowns
In Singapore, Daily Life Seems Unaffected By Coronavirus
In the News and Around the Web
Editorial Note: The COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmed cities and hospitals around the world. In this edition we focus on what will happen when the virus spreads to the urban slums of the Global South. One billion people live in slums worldwide, where they lack access to basic services like safe water and housing. These conditions facilitate rapid transmission as they make it virtually impossible to socially distance, shelter in place, and even wash their hands.
We need comprehensive urban policies that invest in the health and well-being of all city residents. It is now obvious that even one person's ability to access safe water and hygiene or decent housing directly affects the health, society, and economy of the entire city as well as the rest of the world
IHC Global needs your financial help to highlight this interdependence and advocate for better living conditions worldwide.  It's not too late to act. Your donation, small or large, plays a direct role in responding to this crisis.
India Commences 21-Day National Lockdown
On Wednesday, India commenced a 21-day national lockdown that shut down nearly all shops and services. Many are worried that the shutdown will lead to widespread starvation because it prevents hundreds of millions of Indians with little to no savings from generating income. Jayati Ghosh, economist and professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi says this is especially true for workers in the informal economy: "The kind of devastation that is going to be faced by the bottom 50% of the workers in the informal sector is unimaginable." Professionals are also feeling the social effects of the lockdown and fear around coronavirus. Doctors and airline tenants report forcible evictions by landlords who claim their potential proximity to coronavirus makes them "dirty tenants."

Read more here.
Lagos Wants to Shut Down, But it May Struggle to Do So
Government officials in Lagos want to shut down the city prevent the spread of coronavirus, but its overwhelmed urban systems and cultural norms may impede an effective lockdown, writes Yomi Kazeem at Quartz. For one, the Lagos government lacks accurate and reliable data on how many people live in the city. Furthermore, Kazeem suggests that city's overcrowding and congestion has made residents less likely to follow restrictions, as poor living conditions dissuade them from following city laws. For instance, people who drive on the wrong side of the road to beat congestion are seen as smart rather than lawbreakers. 

Read more  here .
In Singapore, Daily Life Seems Unaffected by Coronavirus
Although Singapore was one of the first countries to report cases of coronavirus outside of China, public life in the city-state remains relatively unaffected, writes Keshia Naurana Badalge at CityLab. Singapore took a number of swift, aggressive actions, such as emptying hospital wards, screening temperatures at schools and workplaces, and placing close contacts of confirmed cases under home quarantine. But some believe Singapore needs to do more to restrict gatherings and close crowded spaces.  One urban planner explained: "I understand that Singapore has some of the best healthcare in the world, but Singaporeans are also some of the most mobile residents of the world. So even if they're not contracting the virus at home, there are others who are getting it elsewhere."

Read more  here .
What Will It Mean When Coronavirus Reaches Developing Countries?
At The Wall Street Journal, Saeed Shah and Joe Parkinson examine what the spread of coronavirus in developing countries will mean. Shah and Parkinson explain that largest shared vulnerability in developing countries is the "giant urban slums where hundreds of millions live with poor sanitation and no plumbing." Nearly 60% of Africa's urban residents, or 587 million people live in slums, where they are unable to carry out best practices such as hand washing. National lockdowns will also exacerbate food access. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan recently stated: "If I was leading Italy or France, I would have no problem imposing a curfew. But here, if you can't provide food, at the doorstep, to those who live in slums, a curfew can't work."

Read more here.
In Moroccan Cities, Informal Workers Suffer From Lockdown
Two billion people work in the informal economy worldwide, including 85% of African workers. Lockdowns in North African cities, such as Morocco has now down, may devastate the livelihoods of street vendords, trash collectors, and other workers. Morocco plans to award monthly stipends of $200 to those whose livelihood has been affected by the restrictions. But, the informal status of many workers will prevent them from qualifying for the handouts. This predicament may be shared across North Africa.  In Egypt, millions work without contracts or official salaries and one in every three lives in poverty on $1.45 a day.

Read more here.
Experts Urge Financial Support for Asian Street Vendors Affected by Lockdowns
Asia's street food hawkers will struggle during coronavirus lockdowns, writes Michael Taylor and Rina Chandran at Thomas Reuters Foundation. While online deliveries may still operate in cities like Bangkok, Jakarta, Hanoi, and Mumbai, food hawkers are unable to use delivery services because of the costs and their informal status. Labor and urban experts are urging governments to help food sellers. Ajay Suri, Bangkok based manager at Cities Alliance says: Governments should design a bailout package for sector workers including street vendors whereby direct cash vendors are made to their bank accounts to help them survive.""

Read more here.
In the News and Around the Web
  • International Olympic Committee Postpones 2020 OlympicsThe IOC postponed the Tokyo Olympics to 2021.
  • Libraries Want to Provide Free Wi-Fi Even After Closing for Coronavirus The American Library Association wants to turn traveling bookmobiles into Wi-Fi spots.
  • Cities Need Public Handwashing Facilities: Coronavirus  demonstrates  why public transit stations should have handwashing facilities.
  • Chinese Police Use AI Smart Glasses to Check Fevers: Chinese police began using augmented reality glasses with built-in thermal imaging capabilities to scan body temperatures in crowds.
Residents of a Mumbai apartment building gather on their balconies to bang utensils and clap as the Prime Minister asked them to recognize medical staff and others still working during the pandemic . (Photo Credit: Divyakant Solanki/EPA/Shutterstock)
The current crisis underscores the vital importance of livable cities globally.  Even, now the mobility of disease within and between urban centers is   IHC Global helps focus global attention on the vital interconnectedness of cities.  Now more than ever, we need your support and your voice. 

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