Weekly Urban News Update
September 21 , 2018
In This Update: UN Habitat, Disaster Resiliency, and Progressing the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals
UN Habitat Executive Director to Meet with Civil Society Representatives in NYC
Architects and Designers Rethink Resiliency in Puerto Rico
Investigating Corruption in the Aftermath of the Mexico City Earthquake
Combating Climate Change: The Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco
Ending Poverty: The Gates Foundation's Goalkeepers 2018 Data Report
Technology Companies and Transportation
Pink Wave or Sea Change? The Year of Women in Mayoral Races 
This Week in Maps and Photos
News from UN Habitat

UN Habitat Executive Director to Meet with Civil Society Representatives in NYC
On the occasion of the 73rd General Assembly the UN Habitat Executive Director Maimounah Mohd Sharif will meet with civil society representatives in New York to discuss the UN Habitat strategic plan, its governance structure and World Urban Forum 10.  This is one of a number of parallel events taking place Global Goals Week 2018 and  Climate Week NYC 2018 .  IHC Global will be there and will report back!
How to Rebuild After Natural Disaster 

Architects and Designers Rethink Resiliency in Puerto Rico
Last week, Hurricane Florence and Typhoon Mangkhut pummeled the southeastern United States and the Philippines respectively. Florence has  turned roads into rivers, leaving over 35 dead while the death toll from Mangkhut has surpassed eighty.  This week, journalists have drawn attention to the process of rebuilding and resiliency after natural disasters. Curbed.com examines how Puerto Rican architects, designers and planners have taken a leading role in resiliency planning, construction techniques, and renewable energy systems. "Architects should take a seat at the decision-making table," says Maria Flores, a San Juan architect, "If we focus more on that than building pretty buildings, then we're doing service to the long-term planning."


Investigating Corruption in the Aftermath of the Mexico City Earthquake
As Brazil continues to debate responsibility for the National Museum Fire in Rio de Janeiro, CityLab ventures to Mexico City to examine similar debates taking place on the first anniversary of the Mexico City earthquake. The earthquake and building collapses that followed, leaving nearly four hundred dead, are the subject of a controversial new report, "Why Did My Building Fall?" The authors of the report propose that the convergence of r apid urban growth, climate change, developers willing to cut corners, and government officials unwilling to enforce building codes turned urban housing into a powder keg for the Mexican capital

Marching Towards 2030? News on the Sustainable Development Goals

Combating Climate Change: The Global Climate Action Summit
Last week, the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco saw international reaffirmations of zero-emissions targets. Yet San Francisco marked a departure from previous climate summits: this time, cities, states, regions, and businesses played the key role. Some experts have argued that nation-to-nation agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol have produced mixed results. Along similar lines, the United Nations introduced its Localizing the SDGs toolbox in 2016 to engage local actors and institutions in global development. T he new bottom-up approach pioneered in San Francisco may prove to be the future example of how to address climate change and sustainability.


Ending Poverty: The Gates Foundation's Goalkeepers 2018 Data Report
Earlier this week, Bill and Melinda Gates published the Gates Foundation's Goalkeepers 2018 Data Report. The report charts the Foundation's yearly progress towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals and especially its work in Africa, providing both data and "stories behind the data." The success or failure of investment and development work in Africa, the Gates argue, will be the "single biggest determinant" of the success of the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Rapid population growth and the concentration of increasing poverty forecast a bleak future. Yet, the Gates remain optimistic. Since 2000, more than a billion people have risen out of poverty, attributed by the Gates to the "power of innovation" which can "redefine what is possible." To end poverty, the Foundation has renewed its commitment to health, education, sanitation, and family planning in Africa. IHC Global is pleased to see the recognition also that there has been an underinvestment in infrastructure and is glad  that the underinvestment in infrastructure for sanitation is highlighted as well. We are hopeful that its comprehensive approach to sanitation will acknowledge the complexity and include urban governance. Find the report here

The second annual Goalkeepers meeting will be held in NYC on September 25 and 26 in conjunction with Global Goals week.
Municipal Developments 

Technology Companies and Transportation
Cities are increasingly piloting automated transportation: a tram in Berlin, shuttles in Columbus, Ohio and even a  driverless school bus in Florida. Public transportation is typically under the purview of local and state government, but Radim Omar makes the case for increased collaboration with tech companies. According to Omar, navigation, safety, and traffic reporting would all improve by closer city-tech efforts. He points to cities like Dublin and Los Angeles that have successfully partnered with big companies IBM and Inrix to use traffic data and GPS to better road effectiveness and problem areas. 

Pink Wave or Sea Change? The Year of Women in Mayoral Races
Record numbers of women are running for office this year at the federal and state level, but as  Smart Cities Dive  points out, women are also running for U.S. municipal office more than before. While some national issues may figure prominently for them, "all politics is local, still." Among other women mayoral candidates, Councilwoman Kate Gallego (Phoenix, Arizona) seeks to diversify Phoenix's economy towards high-wage manufacturing and precision medicine and former Councilwoman Laura Morrison (Austin, Texas) is focusing on accessible housing and transit. Lindsay Crete of Emily's List commented: "We like to say that this is not a pink wave, this is a sea change." IHC Global likes to think that new attention and energy brought by women city leaders will help to bring about greater inclusion and shared prosperity, including more affordable housing and equitable access to services.

This Week in Maps and Photos
  • How Connected is Your Community to the Rest of America? Economists use Facebook friendship links to map social connectedness at the county, regional, and state levels
  • Tulsa's 465 Million Dollar Park: Tulsa, Oklahoma has opened the Gathering Place, a formidable 66.5 acre public park. 

An aerial view of a Mumbai intersection (The Guardian)

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