Weekly Urban News Update
April 12, 2019
In This Update: 
In Dakar, Air Pollution Linked to Rise in Children's Asthma
25 DNA Virus Families Found in Kampala and Arusha Slum Water
Global Mayors Pledge to Align City Tourism with Sustainable Development Goals
Seven Reasons to Prioritize Global Land and Property Rights
Medellin Uses Designer Mosquitoes to Combat Mosquito-Borne Diseases
Housing Activists Hold Mass Protest in Berlin
Floating City Concept Receives Mixed Reviews From Urban Planners
In the News and Around the Web
In Dakar, Air Pollution Linked to Rise in Children's Asthma
Last month, the New York Times reported on how the presence of particulate matter (PM) in Dakar is affecting athletes and Senegalese sporting culture. At BBC Africa this week, Louise Dewas details the devastating affect PM is having on Dakar's children. According to Senegalese doctors and researchers, the rise in children's asthma cases clearly correlates to the dangerous levels of PM, produced by both the natural pollution of the Sahara, as well as car and industrial pollution. S ome are optimistic about recent regional efforts to harmonize fuel standards in West Africa to combat the phenomenon, but note the need to promote sustainable behavior by individuals as well. Dr. Idrissa Ba says: "Pollution is a problem that affects everyone so the response must be global, but people should also be more responsible, pollute less."

Read more here.
25 DNA Virus Families Found in Kampala and Arusha Slum Water
Researchers from the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, Uganda, and Tanzania recently completed a two ye ar survey of surface water in the slums of Kampala and Arusha. The results  i dentified the presence of  25 DNA virus families in underground slum water, including traces of the herpes virus, poxvirus, and papilloma virus. The findings are especially concerning because slum residents use this water use in cooking, cleaning, and bathing, leaving them susceptible to skin infections or even certain types of cancer. One of the project's lead researchers Dr. Jan Willem Foppen asserts: "Let's do something about sanitation. Let us improve our sources of drinking water and identify new pathways with communities towards sustainability."

Read more here.
Global Mayors Pledge to Align City Tourism with Sustainable Development Goals
Mayors and representatives of 16 cities pledged to align tourism policies with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at a recent United Nations World Tourism organization (UNWTO) forum. The declaration aims to curtail "overtourism," a phenomenon in which a city's tourism industry outpaces its capacity to manage and regulate environmental sustainability, traffic congestion, and housing. Based in the core aims of the SDGs, the pledge commits its signatories to integrating a variety of urban policy approaches to promote sustainable urban development. For instance, successful policies may combine resources like big data with increased community participation to improve transportation and housing capacity. 

Read more here.
Seven Reasons to Prioritize Global Land and Property Rights
At Land Portal, Laura Tuck and Wael Zakout make the case for globally prioritizing land and property rights. Urban development stands among among the seven major points highlighted by Tuck and Zakout. The authors point out that a failure to clarify land rights and fix distorted land policies can increase property values rendering them unavailable to urban poor, particularly in some African and Asian cities. According to a World Bank Report, large informal settlements in these places have partially emerged from these practices and will increase unless cities prioritize the formalization of land markets, clarification of property rights, and institutionalization of effective urban planning. Other components of land and property rights examined in the article include its relationship to the environment, women's empowerment, and private sector development.

Read more here.
Medellin Uses Designer Mosquitoes to Combat Mosquito-Borne Diseases
Millions of designer mosquitoes have been released onto the streets of Medellin, Colombia under the "hope that they will then go out and bite people." Scientists bred these mosquitoes with a safe and naturally occurring bacteria that helps to stop the growth and spread of dengue virus, typically transmitted by mosquitoes.  Medellin schoolchildren are helping the program, already implemented successfully in Townsville, Australia. The young students who are given their own mosquito breeding tool-kits to use at home, are taught not to be scared by the mosquitoes and to share their purpose with others. One parent notes of her daughter's involvement: "I thought I was going to be invaded by flies, but once she explained the process and what the purpose of the mosquitoes was, I could see that it's a great project."

Watch the video here.
Housing Activists Hold Mass Protest in Berlin
On Saturday, housing activists protested rising rent prices and unaffordable housing in Berlin. Specifically, the mass protestors reiterated previous demands that the German government expropriate 200,000 Berlin apartments sold to private landlords. Chancellor Angela Merkel and her center left allies are not convinced. Merkel spokesperson Steffen Seibert asserts: "The key to affordable living space is not expropriation but having a sufficient number of apartments available." As the Washington Post notes, at the core of the housing demonstrations stands disagreements over which philosophy should guide Berlin's urban development. The Post sees on the one hand "free market companies that see real estate as a means to profit," and on the other "housing activists who see low rents not only as a necessity but as central to the German capital's character."

Read more here.
Floating City Concept Receives Mixed Reviews from Urban Planners
Last week, Oceanix and Bjarke Ingels Group introduced their "sustainable floating city" concept at a roundtable to a positive reception by UN officials. Yet, some urban development experts remain wary about the cost, feasibility, and how enthusiasm about the project may diverted attention from much needed land and city upgrading. Instead, Kian Goh, assistant professor of Planning at UCLA, suggests such projects "oftentimes posed as solving some big problem," can be "an attempt to get away from the kinds of social and political realities of other places. Goh points to the juxtaposition between the Oceanix design and the rapidly-sinking city of Jakarta: the impact of these 10,000 person pod cities seems minimal when compared to the potential displacement of 4-5 million people in Jakarta.

Read more here.
In the News and Around the Web
  • The World's Greatest Cities : Four urban planners share their favorite cities: Maputo in Mozambique, Havana, Tokyo, and Rotterdam.
  • San Francisco Legislation May Enable Nonprofits to Promote Affordable Housing: In San Francisco, a new law to promote affordable housing may allow nonprofit groups the first bid on buying multifamily buildings for sale.
     
  • New World Bank President is Selected: The World Bank executive board unanimously approved economist David Malpass as its new president.

Thousands of Berlin housing activists participated in Saturday's protests.
(Photo credit: BBC)

Help IHC Global spread our message by forwarding our newsletter to organizations and people who want to help create inclusive and sustainable cities. Support IHC Global further by becoming a member of our growing coalition. 

Please join us either as an individual or as an organization.  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 .

  SIGN UP
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
STAY CONNECTED: