Weekly Urban News Update
December 20, 2019
In This Update: 
N'djamena, Chad: Africa's Most Expensive City
Safe, Affordable Sanitation Out of Reach for Urban Poor, Says World Resources Institute
Kigali Authorities Demolish Homes Threatened by Climate Danger
Eastern Europe's Free Cities Alliance
Rebuilding Syria's Cities
In the News and Around the Web
This Week in Photos
Happy Holidays From IHC Global!
N'djamena, Chad: Africa's Most Expensive City
Chad is one of the world's poorest countries, but its capital N'djamena has been ranked the 11th most expensive city in the world and the most expensive city in Africa. Although 6.3 million of the 16 million population live in poverty, rents in the capital compete with New York and London. According to World Bank economist Shohei Nakamura, N'Djamena exemplifies an urban problem across the continent: because the supply of decent housing and infrastructure has fallen behind the pace of urbanization, costs of goods and services such as transport, communications, and housing are especially pricey. The limited amount of formal housing has forced large numbers of people to live in slums on the periphery of N'Djamena with no electricity and running water. Nakamura says: "Without adequate actions, we will see a clear rise in urban poverty. It's not a negligible issue."

Read more here.
Safe, Affordable Sanitation Remains Out of Reach for Urban Poor, Says WRI
New research from the World Resource Institute Ross Center for Sustainable Cities has determined that urban sanitation crisis in the Global South is greater than previously thought. The WRI report Untreated and Unsafe: Solving the Urban Sanitation Crisis in the Global South claims that approximately 62% of sewage and human waste is unsafely managed at different points of the sanitation service chain. Of the 15 cities studied, in 3 cities - Colombo, Sri Lanka, Caracas, Venezuela, and Karachi, Pakistan, 0% of human waste was safely managed. The paper offers four recommendations to cities to improve safe sanitation for the urban poor: extend the sewer network; regulate on-site sanitation options in the absence of sewer systems; support citywide, participatory upgrading of slums; and make sanitation services more affordable for low-income households.

Read more here
Kigali Authorities Demolish Homes Threatened by Climate Dangers
In Kigali, Rwanda, authorities are demolishing homes they say are threatened by climate disasters. The homes, built on or near wetlands, are susceptible to disasters caused by heavy rain. Over the past three months, approximately 45 people were killed in landslides in the area and flash floods have killed hundreds of people in the East African region more broadly over the past several weeks. But, while officials promised compensation, many complain they have yet to receive it. According to one resident: "My family has legally lived here for more than 40 years, we pay land taxes every year but look what they're doing to us." The city asserts that compensation issues will "be dealt with later but that for the moment, the priority [is] to save lives."

Read more here.
Eastern Europe's Free Cities Alliance
The mayors of Warsaw, Budapest, Prague, and Bratislava launched the "Free Cities Alliance" to promote shared liberal values and fight populism. The Free Cities Alliance urges the European Union to bypass central and national legislation with funding, asserting that cities would spend the money more effectively.  The mayors believe that their cities should maintain prominent places in the European Union even as their countries' national policies have "been at odds with the EU and in danger of losing its support." Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony explains: "Cities can do miracles in the areas of climate change and innovation. This makes the old adage of 'Think globally, act locally,' especially acute."

Read more  here .
Rebuilding Syria's Cities
Ammar Azzouz at Urbanet says cities that are the sites of years-long armed conflicts like Homs, Syria must not wait for post-conflict reconstruction plans. According to UN-Habitat, 50% of Homs neighborhoods are heavily damaged and 22% are partially damaged. Azzous says that long-term conflict in the Syrian cities mean architects, urban planners, and engineers should rethink their roles and responsibilities to help rebuild. This is especially important given that past reconstruction efforts of cities around the world have sometimes furthered social and special injustices, driving communities apart, rather than bringing them together. According to Azzouz, some urban planners and architects in the Syrian cities are already assessing and mapping city damage and working with NGOs to provide shelter for displaced communities. 

Read more  here .
In the News and Around the Web
  • Senior Housing Affordability Crisis: Housing affordability is an increasing problem for America's seniors.
  • Hong Kong's "Cardboard-Collecting Grannies": Despite its wealth, many elderly Hong Kong residents live in poverty.
  • Bus Rapid Transit in Jakarta: Evidence from Indonesia's TransJakarta system suggests Bus Rapid Transit may worsen congestion.
  • SUVs Increases Roadway Fatalities in New York:  The New York City Department of Transportation says 80% of fatal crashes in 2018 were caused by male car drivers and 41% of those crashes involved SUVs or pickup trucks. 
This Week in Photos
  • Around the World in a Day Without Leaving Shenzhen: In Shenzhen, the Window of the World Theme Park lets tourists view 130 of the world's largest tourist sites without leaving the city.
  • The Japanese Village With No ChildrenJapan's shrinking and aging population is felt acutely in its rural areas.
Happy Holidays from IHC Global!
IHC Global will observe the holiday next week and will not send out its normally scheduled newsletter. The Weekly Urban News Update will return on Friday, January 3, 2020.
In Shenzhen, China at the Window of the World park, tourists can view Moscow's St. Basil's Cathedral among 130 other famous world sites. (Photo credit: The Guardian)


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