Weekly Urban News Update
November 22, 2019
In This Update: 
Urban Poor Are Especially Vulnerable to Disaster, Says World Bank
Center for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa Releases 2019 Yearbook
Addressing Urban Inequality in Cairo Means Focusing on Women
In Tripoli, Civil Conflict Drives Up Housing Prices
An Oxygen Bar in New Delhi to Mitigate Effects of Air Pollution
Urban Thinkers Campus Meets in New York
IHC Global Blog: World Toilet Day
In the News and Around the Web
Urban Poor are Especially Vulnerable to Disaster, says World Bank
Poor housing and slum conditions leave the urban poor especially vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters, write Sameh Wahba and Mami Mizutori in a World Bank blog. Ninety percent of urban expansion takes place in proximity to hazard-prone areas, meaning that disasters can cost cities up to $314 billion per year and push 77 million urban residents to poverty. But, safe and resilient infrastructure saves lives, protects livelihoods, as well as homes and schools. That is why the World Bank and the United Nations Office for Disaster Reduction (UNDRR) have committed to helping cities build climate-smart, disaster-resilient infrastructure. Programs include UNDRR Making cities Resilient Campaign and the World Bank's Global Program for Resilient Housing which has implemented projects in Guatemala, Indonesia, Mexico, and Peru.

Read more here.
Center for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa Releases its 2019 Yearbook
The Center for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa released its 2019 Yearbook. The Yearbook is a resource on 55 African countries and regions for both investors who want to help build affordable housing markets, as well as large numbers of the African population who are unable to access commercially-developed residential property. Its research fills an important data gap on practice and developments in housing finance and delivery on the content. A lack of substantial and accurate data has previously driven away investors and stunted market growth. The Yearbook also promotes the expansion of a community of in-country finance experts as the edition features work from over 42 contributors from the continent and internationally.

Read more here.
Addressing Urban Inequality in Cairo Means Focusing on Women
At Urbanet, Diane Singerman and Danielle Higgins explain that addressing urban equality in cities requires understanding the intersection of the multiple socioeconomic forces. Forces may include gender, employment, status and geography. Through the Cairo Urban Solidarity Initiative's study of women's labor participation in various Cairo neighborhoods, Singerman and Higgins found that gender and economic inequalities overlapped and compounded each other. For instance, some neighborhoods demonstrated a correlation between illiteracy and exploitative jobs as illiteracy makes workers more vulnerable when negotiating contracts with employers and finding decent work. Singerman and Higgins urge policymakers to target specific neighborhoods to support women and their ability to find and have decent work that includes benefits, social protections, living wages, and bargaining power. 

Read more here.
In Tripoli, Civil Conflict Drives Up Housing Prices 
Conflict in Libya is driving Tripoli property prices up as it continues to displace large numbers of city dwellers. The United Nations reports that more than 120,000 people have been displaced in Tripoli since April, moving into the city center away from the front lines. Increased demand for housing in the crowded capital has doubled rent and many property owners and landlords now require a cash deposit of six months' rent. The construction of new, affordable housing unit has been crippled by continued fighting. Other governmental measures to make costs more affordable have been impeded by a succession of weak and unstable governments since the toppling of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Read more here.
An Oxygen Bar in New Delhi to Mitigate Effects of Air Pollution
Recently, India declared a health emergency after airborne pollutants in New Delhi rose to twenty times more than the level considered safe by the World Health Organization. Now, the company Oxy Pure is providing a temporary solution. Oxy Pure markets itself as an oxygen bar that offers customers scented air through lightweight tubes as well as offering "portable water" cans. The bar has received mixed reviews. Some report alleviation to symptoms onset by pollution such as itchy eyes and respiratory infections, but others criticize the bar as a bandaid solution. One New Delhi resident objected: "What use is 15 minutes of oxygen when pollution is many times the international safe limits here, equal to smoking 30 cigarettes a day?"

Read more  here .
Urban Thinkers Campus Meets in New York
On November 13th-14th, an Urban Thinkers Campus took place at Columbia University, New York City under the theme of "Accelerating the SDGs in Cities." UTC is a UN-Habitat and World Urban Campaign effort to accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals by generating ideas and action through talks, panels, and workshops. The UTC convening also launched the Local Project Challenge Gallery which highlights local projects from over thirty countries around the world that seek to advance the SDGs through means of building design, the arts, sanitation upgrades, sustainable transport, and more. Local Project Challenge, which engages educational, civic, and professional sectors, will begin the second phase in January. Find it here: http://localprojectchallenge.org/

Read more here
IHC Global Blog: Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Developments around the World
Tuesday, November 19th marked World Toilet Day to raise awareness and inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis. Currently,  4.2 billion people live without safely managed sanitation, 673 million practice open defecation, and 3 billion lack basic hand-washing facilities. This spreads disease, effects water and food supply, reduces human well-being, and inhibits social and economic development. The World Health Organization  estimates that inadequate sanitation causes 432,000 diarrheal deaths each year. IHC Global observed World Toilet Day and the efforts to meet SDG 6 through a two-part blog series that spotlights seven major water, sanitation, and hygiene developments in 2019, including on water and sanitation  in urban settings. 

Read more here
In the News and Around the Web
  • UN-Habitat Executive Board Meeting: UN-Habitat wrapped up its first Executive Board Meeting in New York. 
  • How Cities are Re-imagining their Relationship with CarsCities from Madrid, Beijing, London, and New Delhi are "dangling carrots and sticks," to persuade residents to stop driving. 
  • Why are U.S. Tech Giants Investing in Housing?:  As housing prices soar in the Bay Area of California, Google, Facebook, and Apple pledge to assist a problem some say they have created. 
The "Empty Pot" protests in Chennai, India protested water shortage. This week's IHC Global blog highlights worldwide water shortages and other water and sanitation news from 2019.


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