Weekly Urban News Update
In This Update
 B Report: urbanization can be a catalyst for rural development

A new report from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) looks at urbanization as a catalyst for rural development, specifically investigating the "'quiet revolution' made of improved value chains and vibrant roles in smaller towns." The report postulates that meeting the rising urban demand for food can stimulate the rural economy, and increase the incomes of the rural poor. As the urban population keeps rising exponentially, the need for food sources outside of the city limits will continue to grow as well, and the relationship between the urban and rural will become more essential than ever. Although the increased demand will not automatically benefit rural farmers, improving the value chain by making food systems more efficient and using new farming techniques will create a sustainable and inclusive system that benefits both urban and rural communities in the long run. 

Read the article here and the full report here.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) project manager in urban solutions and urban expert Khalil Shahyd explains why sustainable development is critical for climate action. Climate change is a complex issue that does not get its due in political discourse, but there are several other issues that are related to climate change that, if discussed and recognized more, could lead to a step in the right direction. Shahyd highlights sustainable development as one of these key issues, and says that discussions of how to combat climate change often neglect fully addressing sustainable development. Ending carbon emissions is a point in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in an era where climate change is a polarizing issue, focusing on implementing and achieving the SDGs may be the best way to move forward.

Read the full blog here.

A new report from Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) shows that significant progress has been made on more than half of the commitments made at the 2014 SWA High-Level Meeting (HLM). The commitments aim to reform and strengthen the water, sanitation and hygiene sector (WASH), and are targeted at both rural and urban areas (urban commitments included developing comparative studies of sanitation approaches for the urban poor). With data from 38 of the 43 countries and all 12 of the external agencies that signed on to the commitments, the report has found that s ignificant progress has been made on nearly 80% of all commitments. Success was seen especially in commitments relating to the development and enhancement of national policies and plans, as well as political prioritization in increasing financing and visibility of water and sanitation. However, c ountries also reported slow or no progress on 68% of their commitments relating to financing.

These findings are encouraging in the challenge to eliminate inequalities, improve sustainability and remove barriers to safe water and sanitation services, and reports prove that cooperation between civil society, government and non-governmental stakeholders are successful. But no information was provided on 64 commitments, and slow moving on other commitments related to financing shows that more cooperation with the private sector could be beneficial.
Read the full report here.

How can implementation of the New Urban Agenda move forward in a way that addresses the numerous priorities of various sectors? IHC Global and Next City will come together to discuss that question, with leaders from the U.S. government, multi-lateral development agencies, and civil society
organizations speaking on what actions their organizations are taking related to the New Urban Agenda and how they will work towards addressing so many urban priorities. The event will open with a screening of a short film, "The Moment to Get Cities Right: Inside Habitat III, The Urbanization Summit of a Generation," shot by Next City during the conference in Quito.
When: Wednesday, April 12th
9:30-11:30 AM
Where: Interaction Africa Conference Room
1400 16th Street NW, Suite 210
Washington, DC 20005

RSVP to the event here. Light refreshments will be served.
FeatureIHC Global Urban Feature: Migration & its Implications
Why Immigrants are Leaving Chicago

Immigrants are leaving Chicago, and creating a deficit in their wake that could be a lesson to learn for other immigrant-heavy cities. Cook County, which encompasses Chicago and its surrounding areas, suffered its first net population loss in decades in 2015, losing a staggering 11,324 residents. 2016 didn't fare better; the population loss skyrocketed to a whopping 19,570.
Why is this happening?
Among other reasons, fewer immigrants are moving to the city, and the ones that already live there often cannot afford to stay. The city has failed to invest in neighborhoods of color, and with low rates of affordable housing and the U.S. Administration's crackdown on both legal and illegal immigration, the population is on track to decline further. Since its inception, Chicago has "depended on immigration to offset the sluggish growth of its native-born population." When restrictive immigration policies were put into place in the 19th century, the population took a significant hit, but when the laws changed in 1965 and a huge, diverse wave of immigrants ushered in, the population exploded. In 2017, the potential population decline may bring more economic woes to the already struggling city. 
Immigration is a hot-bed topic on the global and national stage, and has been depicted in the media as a security issue, a discriminatory issue, and a human rights issue, among other things. But as much of the attention has been focused on the negative implications of immigration, the positive impact that it has had- namely in cities- has been greatly minimized. As in the case of Chicago, immigration can stimulate an economy, bring in new brainpower and create vibrant urban cultures. Chicago is not an outlier; losing the steady population influx and the benefits it brings could have devastating ramifications to all cities. 

Read the full article here.
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NewsIn the news and around the web
  • Devex gives 5 lessons to cities on the cusp of a smart revolution here.
  • Can Swiss housing cooperatives introduce their approach to developing countries? Read more here.
  • The health of poor urban women is often overlooked. Find out more here.
  • Click here to see how bad Delhi's air is, all from a rickshaw.

With urbanization comes blending cultures: The crowded streets outside of the Mosque in Yiwu, China's "testing ground" for a multicultural city.
Source: Guardian Cities
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