Weekly Urban News Update
March 13, 2020
In This Update: 
Urban Homeless Populations Are More Vulnerable to Coronavirus
Satellite Images of Mass Graves in Iranian City Point to Growing Coronavirus Crisis
In Lagos, Renters Pay Year's Rent in Advance
World Bank Approves $56 Million Grant for Urban Development Project in Haiti
Indonesia Contemplates Bid to Host Olympics in City It Has Yet To Build
London's Trees Are Saving the City Millions
In the News and Around the Web
This Week in Photos
Homeless Populations in Cities Are More Vulnerable to Coronavirus
Unhoused populations in American cities are especially vulnerable to coronavirus, say public health officials, especially as they are unable to take preventative health measures such as hand-washing and "staying at home." Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle are expanding shelter beds and supporting mobile healthcare units with showers and other sanitation services. But some housing advocates assert such cities have ignored what has long been a pressing challenge. Mike Dickerson, organizer with Ktown for All says: "The need for hygiene stations and bathrooms are year-round and not specific to this outbreak. This new effort should focus on permanent changes that make our neighborhoods healthier long-term, rather than expensive temporary solutions."

Read more here.
Satellite Images of Mass Graves in Iranian City Point to Growing Coronavirus Crisis
The New York Times published satellite images of mass graves in the northern fringe of the Iranian holy city Qom. The photos suggest the epidemic is more severe in Iran than its authorities will admit. There are currently 10,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Iran and nearly 500 have died. Large numbers of those infected are in and around Qom, but Iranian government previously declined to close the city to religious pilgrims. Medical workers there say that concerns about coronavirus have temporarily halted traditional Muslim burials, which include washing the body with soap and water. 

Read more here.
In Lagos, Renters Pay Year's Rent in Advance
The rental system in Lagos, Nigeria typically requires cash-strapped residents to pay a year's rent in advance, as well as exorbitant rental fees. The population of Lagos, which stands at 22 million, has doubled in the past decade, but its housing supply in the city center has not kept up, meaning landlords can "hold all the power." Lagos resident Folayemi Alada, who makes $2,000 annually, explains: "I was told to pay the full year's rent and two years' contract agreement and commission fees...approximately $2,000."  In 2011, the government passed a law to ban landlords from mandating rent two years in advance, but residents are hoping the government will also pass rental caps and limits on the fees real estate agents can charge.

Read more here.
World Bank Approves $56 Million Grant for Urban Development Project in Haiti
The World Bank approved a $56 million USD grant for the Cap-Haitien Urban Development Project. Approximately 64% of Haiti's population resides in urban areas, but unplanned and unmanaged rapid urbanization means has led to overcrowding, poor infrastructure, and limited safe, public spaces which limits economic development opportunities and reduces quality of life. Increased access to quality public space is a key part of the Project. World Bank Project Team Leader Paula Restrepo explains that: "Well-designed and managed public spaces can... contribute to equality and social cohesion, improving health and environmental sustainability, and supporting local economic development."

Read more  here .
Indonesia Contemplates Bidding to Host Olympics in a City It Has Yet to Build
Indonesia is contemplating a bid to host the 2032 Olympics in its yet-to-be-built new capital city on the island Borneo. In 2019, Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced plans to move its capital from Jakarta due to poor air quality, overcrowding, traffic congestion, and rising sea levels. Indonesian officials are focusing on attracting investors and funders for the bid. In addition to the $34 billion USD that Indonesia will spend to build its new "smart and green" capital, the Olympic Games place a heavy financial burden on host cities. So far, Widodo has enlisted former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed al Nahyan, and SoftBank chief executive Masayoshi Son as advisors on the bid.

Read more here.
London's Trees Are Saving the City Millions
London's trees have saved the city billions, writes Feargus O'Sullivan at CityLab. From 2014-2018, tree cover saved the city approximately $6.5 billion USD through air cooling and prevented productivity losses of nearly $13 billion by enabling workers to keep working through summer temperatures, according to Great Britain's Office of National Statistics.  A 2015 report by the Mayor's Office also found that the city's 8.4 million trees had removed 2,240 tons of pollutants which would have cost $130 million to remove. But, as O'Sullivan notes: "The most obvious benefit...is less measurable natural beauty in an urban area...Even if these trees delivered no economic benefit at all, many city dwellers have plenty of reason to keep them alive."

Read more  here .
In the News and Around the Web
  • Coronavirus Around the World: The World Health Organization declared coronavirus a pandemic as 125,000 cases have confirmed worldwide.
  • Why European Parents Are Suing Their Cities: Parents in the Brussels are suing the capital city for failing to meet the European Union's air quality standards.
  • Gender Equality Progress is Stunted, UN Report Shows:  A UN Women on the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration suggests progress on gender equality has slowed.
This Week in Photos
  • The World's Busiest Places are Empty: Coronavirus means people are spending less time in public spaces.
  • The Global Impact of CoronavirusU.S. News and World Report illuminates how coronavirus is changing daily life around the world.
The Piazza San Marco Square in Venice, Italy seen empty during a nationwide lockdown. 
(Photo Credit: Marco Di Lauro / Getty)
Help IHC Global spread our message by forwarding our newsletter to organizations and people who want to help create inclusive and sustainable cities. Support IHC Global further by becoming a member of our growing coalition. Please join us either as an individual or as an organization!  With your U.S. tax deductible membership, you will provide meaningful help in addressing the worldwide challenges of rapid urban growth, urban poverty and inequity. Help IHC Global "change cities for good" and secure a better urban future for us all! We need your help and your voice more than ever! 

  SIGN UP
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: