Weekly Urban News Update
May 31, 2019
In This Update: 
Slovenia Commits to Zero Waste
Spotlight on Vietnam: Socialist Housing, Transit, and Urban Floods
In London, the Grenfell Fire Continues to Haunt Public Housing Tenants
World Bank Calls for More Attention to Urban Floods
Global Poverty Reduction Slows
IHC Global Participates in the UN-Habitat Assembly in Nairobi
Upcoming Webinars
In the News and Around the Web
This Week in Photos
Slovenia Commits to Zero Waste
Ljubljana, Slovenia is two decades ahead of European-wide plans to reduce landfill waste, says The Guardian. In the past fifteen years, Ljubljana increased waste recycling from 29.3% to 68% and reduced landfill rubbish by 80% of 2002 figures. The city accomplished this reduction through separate collection of paper, glass, and package, as well as biodegradable waste. It has installed a new modern plant to treat biological waste, enabled 25% of its residents to rely on natural gas to produce heat and electricity, and placed household waste recycling centers for its citizens in easily accessible places.

Read how Ljubljana has committed to zero waste here.
Spotlight on Vietnam: Socialist Housing, Transit, and Urban Floods
Vietnamese cities are the focus of a new series by Urbanet. The articles provide insight on how Vietnamese cities can upgrade old socialist housing into adequate housing, make urban flood management more sustainable, improve transportation in Ho Chi Minh City. Urbanet also highlights the latest urbanization trends in the rapidly urbanizing Southeast Asian country. Two pieces on transitioning socialist housing are especially significant: Urbanet explains how the total monopolization of housing maintenance by state or municipal organizations resulted in underinvested, delayed, and deferred maintenance. Yet, enthusiasm by community leaders, who advocate for community-led upgrading, rather than redevelopment, provide reason for optimism about improving public housing.

Find the series here.
In London, the Grenfell Fire Tower Continues to Haunt Public Housing Tenants
London has failed to keep the promises it made to public housing occupants, reports The New York Times. The Grenfell fire of June 2017 invoked widespread public outcry, followed by immediate political assurances that an investigation and new housing policies would prevent any similar disaster in the future. But, the Times investigation reveals concerning statistics: 84,000 apartments await a full repair; at least 340 apartment towers continue to be vulnerable to fire by flammable aluminum cladding, banned in American and some European housing; and widespread anxiety means some residents have created "round-the-clock patrols of their buildings, always on guard for a spark of whiff of smoke." For the most part, says the Times, it is "first-time buyers, retirees, working-class people and immigrants that have shouldered the burden of combustible cladding."

Read more here.
World Bank Calls for More Attention to Urban Floods
A new World Bank report is calling for more attention to be paid to urban floods, disaster response, and city resilience. As UN-Habitat noted in 2011, 65% of world's urban population lives in coastal areas. Researchers anticipate the number of urban residents in coastal areas will rise to 75% by 2025. The World Bank advises cities to acknowledge the chronic nature of floods in urban areas as well as the link between exposure to urban floods and poverty, especially for marginalized groups like migrants, persons with disabilities, and the elderly.

Read the report here.
Global Poverty Reduction Slows
Brookings Institution reports global poverty reduction has slowed. Fast growing countries in Asia may end extreme poverty by 2030, but Africa, especially its sub-Saharan countries, is  not on track to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 1 for zero poverty. Brookings anticipates that almost 395 million Africans will still live in extreme poverty by 2030 representing 82% of global poverty total. With the advent of widespread data collection, IHC Global encourages the World Bank, IMF and World Poverty Clock to disaggregate poverty data based on urban and rural spaces, as well as gender and marginalized populations to best create innovative policies to meet SDG 1.

Read more here.
IHC Global Participates in UN-Habitat Assembly in Nairobi
IHC Global was pleased to present yesterday at the first UN-Habitat Assembly in Nairobi. IHC Global President and CEO Judith Hermanson moderated the panel: "Giving Voice: from Aspiration to Transformation. Gender Equality, Innovation and Agenda 2030." Panelists represented organizations Huairou Commission, Global Platform for the Rights to Cities, Urbanice Malaysia, Binational Campus of Urban Thinkers Mexico-Peru, and Polycom Development Project, Kenya. IHC Global is excited to see mainstreaming gender equality featured prominently in UN-Habitat's discussion this week. Notably, Costa Rica, Colombia, Norway, Chile, Uruguay, and the EU introduced a draft resolution on mainstreaming gender equality to support inclusive, safe, resilient cities and human settlements.

Read some of the major UN-Habitat highlights here.
Upcoming Webinars
  • The Transformative Power of Women's Rights to Land: On Sunday, June 2nd Landesa will livestream its presentation "Creating a Gender Equal World: The Transformative Power of Women's Right to Land" at the week-long Women Deliver Conference in Vancouver.
  • How Technology Can Improve Urban Design Engagement : Next City will host Streetmix CEO and Founder Lou Huang on June 12th to speak about how technology can improve urban design.
In the News and Around the Web
  • The Netherlands Leads the Way in Accessing Cities: The Guardian explains how Breda, Netherlands is Europe's most accessible city for the physically disabled.
  • Rockefeller Foundation Supports Opportunity Zones : The Rockefeller Foundation will support the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Opportunity Zones.
  • Chicago Initiatives to Increase Equity in Economic Prosperity: Chicago is making important steps to improve city livability and increase prosperity, says the Chicago Central Area Committee. Past initiatives include improved transit access to jobs, affordable and attractive public housing, broadband connectivity, and job training. Read their equity report  here.
This Week in Photos:
  • The "Most Wondrous Public Transportation Options": Atlas Obscura features 18 of the world's "most wondrous public transportation options." Readers submitted photos from places as diverse as Cambodia, Norway, Colombia, and Louisiana. 
  • The History of Neon Lights in American Cities : The New York Times provides an overview of the history of neon lights in American cities, its heyday, and the struggle against it to beautify American cities.

Pictured above: Photos from UN-Habitat grounds in Nairobi, Kenya

IHC Global President and CEO Judith Hermanson moderates the panel: 
"Giving Voice: from Aspiration to Transformation. Gender Equality, Innovation and Agenda 2030"

IHC Global invites everyone who wants to help to create inclusive and sustainable cities to join us. Share your views (info@ihcglobal.org). Get our regular updates. Become an individual member. Make a contribution. Add your company or organization to our growing coalition.

Your financial support and your voice are vitally important With your U.S. tax deductible membership, you will provide meaningful help in addressing the worldwide challenges of rapid urban growth, urban poverty and inequity. Help IHC Global "change cities for good" and secure a better urban future for us all - we need your help and your voice more than ever .

Head Office: 5425 Wisconsin Ave, Ste 600, Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Satellite Office: 430 N. Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
301-718-4821  Email | Website