Weekly Urban News Update
September 13, 2019
In This Update: 
Women Face Harassment on Zimbabwe's Public Buses
Indonesian Capital Move Worries Borneo Residents
Turkey Will Flood 12,000-Year-Old City
What It's Like to Use London Transport in a Wheelchair
Beijing Is No Longer One of the World's Most Polluted Cities
U.S. Mayors Lobby Congress for Gun Control Legislation
In the News and Around the Web
Women Face Harassment on Zimbabwe's Public Buses
In Zimbabwe's second largest city Bulawayo, women who take public transportation face the risk of sexual harassment and assault, writes Marko Phiri at Place. In January, the government relaunched its disbanded bus service at charges 1/3 lower than private companies. But the affordable fares have led to overcrowding on the buses which has enabled more aggressive and invasive harassment, say women riders. Women in Zimbabwe are often reluctant to report harassment for fear of not being taken seriously and this is especially true for incidents in crowded public transport where the perpetrators can seemingly remain anonymous.

Read more here.
Indonesian Capital Move Worries Borneo Residents 
Indonesia's recent announcement that it would relocate its capital from Jakarta is worrying the residents of the proposed location in the east Kalimantan part of Borneo. The Indoneisan government promises it will not build in protected forests and will also reforest the abandoned mines and illegal palm oil plantations. But, experts warn that the move is an environmental crisis waiting to happen. One Borneo university lecturer says the construction means that: "There will be changes in the water systems and environmental drainage, as well as forest encroachment." Activists also assert that the government must resolve current environmental problems in the region caused by mining and logging before creating a new capital. Activist Yustinus Sapoto says: "In East Kalimantan, we're not scared of things like terrorism. We're scared of cement."

Read more here
Turkey Will Flood 12,000-year-old Ancient City
Turkey will proceed with a plan to flood the ancient city of Hasankeyf on the Tigris River, despite public opposition. In 2006, Turkey began to construct a dam and hydroelectric power plant that would eventually require the destruction of the 12,000-year-old city. Turkey anticipates the completed dam will generate 4,200 gigawatts of electricity annually and will foster jobs and economic development in the region. But opponents say that Hasankeyf's destruction will displace over 80,000 people and cause irreversible damage to the natural environment including biodiversity and vulnerable and endangered species. A recent lawsuit against Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights, stating that flooding the city would damage the country's cultural heritage a failed. Turkey says that residents have until October 8th to evacuate.

Read more here.
What It's Like to Use London Transport in a Wheelchair
London public transportation has become more accessible for persons with disabilities over the past decade, writes Peter Apps at City Metric. According to Apps, when he was first injured in 2006, only a small portion of the London Underground was truly disability accessible when he was paralyzed in 2006. Since then Olympic related rebuilds created functional lifts across the tube. He enthuses: "It's impossible to understand what such greater independence really means. After a decade of largely only being able to go out accompanied by PAs or other people, I now have access to London much more like a human being. It's been beyond life changing

Read more here.
Beijing Is No Longer One of the World's Most Polluted Cities
Beijing is no longer one of the world's 200 most polluted cities, says Swiss air purification technology company IQAir. The company's research arm AirVisual anticipates that Beijing is on track to reduce its PM2.5 by twenty percent from 2018. PM2.5 are tiny air pollutant particles which can cause respiratory ailments, lung cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Beijing's current levels are still four times higher than World Health Organization recommendations. Nonetheless, the Beijing municipal government attributes improvements in air quality to the city's push to trim coal consumption and shut down or relocate polluting plants.

Read more here.
U.S. Mayors Lobby Congress for Gun Control
Earlier this week, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) lobbied congress for gun control legislation, including a universal background check. According to the mayors, debate on gun control typically takes place on the federal level, but it is frequently cities that deal with the aftermath of gun violence. USCM President and Republican Mayor Bryan Barnett explains: "For mayors, this crisis is personal." USCM advocacy in Washington this week follows a legislative letter that 250 mayors signed and sent to Congress last week. In the meantime, cities are pursuing their own technological solutions and innovative strategies to prevent and address gun violence, such as the tool shotspotter, a network of sensors that detects audio of gunshots.

Read more here.
In the News and Around the Web
  • Tent Cities to House Dorian Survivors: The Bahamas government plans to house 4,000 residents in two tent cities in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.
  • Latin American Cities are Turning ElectricLatin American cities are turning to electric buses to improve air quality, reduce fuel costs, offset rising greenhouse gas emissions, and make their cities healthier.

  • Traveling in the World's Seven Hottest CitiesRead about what it's like to travel in cities from Ahvaz, Iran to Death Valley to Oodnadatta, Australia.
  • How Do You Make Cities More Inclusive?At World Economic Forum, Cynthia E. Smith explains how cities like Durban, Pune, and Barcelona are emphasizing inclusive urban design.
The ancient city Hasankeyf in Turkey (Photo Credit: The Guardian)


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