Weekly Urban News Update
February 1, 2019
In This Update: 
Upward and Outward Urban Expansion
Indian Cities as an Urban Laboratory for the World
How Development Agencies Can Help Cities Manage Refugee Populations
A Mother's Death on the New York Subway Ignites Debates about Metro Accessibility
Yugoslav Brutalist Architecture Attracts Visitors to Belgrade
IHC Spotlight Event
In the News and Around the Web
Urban Planning in the Global Context

Upward and Outward Urban Expansion
A new World Resources Institute report warns against the prevalence of "outward," rather than "upward," urban expansion. Authors Jillian Du and Anjali Mahendra urge cities to consider greater inequality, economic stress, and environmental impact as they develop.  Du and Mahendra assert that outward urban expansion, largely in the Global South, stretches a city's resources to the detriment of its citizens living on the periphery. They point to Lagos, once a small town that now spans 452 miles, as an example of unmanaged growth. Fewer than 10% of its citizens live in homes with sewer connections and fewer than 20% have access to tap water. Although a "daunting challenge,"  the authors praise the efforts of some cities in Mexico, Brazil, and South Africa that are directing new development to well-serviced and connected areas as cities in Colombia, South Korea and India are incrementally adding land in well-connected and serviced places. 

Read more here

Indian Cities as an Urban Laboratory for the World
At last week's World Economic Forum, Sangeeta Prasad made the case for why understanding rapid urbanization in India is important for urban planning globally.   India's successes, as well as challenges, position it as an "urban laboratory for the world." Prasad argues that India's "plurality of cultures, languages, climate zones and landscapes, combined with the government's efforts towards citizen-focused urban development means India is poised to establish unique global benchmarks in sustainable urbanization." Prasad hopes  India can especially act as an example for emerging Asian and African countries as they develop their city planning.

Read more here
The Urban Environment and Refugees

How Development Agencies Can Help Cities Manage Refugee Populations
At Devex, Rebecca Root examines how development organizations can enhance the ability of cities to manage refugee populations. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, 14.7 million refugees reside in cities worldwide, a number that renders them especially important for understanding and adapting to refugee needs. London School of Economics Professor Jo Beall believes the development community is in a unique position to help cities diagnose and address problems, as well as to help get "the message about the importance of cities into international debates and organizations." Information and knowledge exchange, advocacy, technical and financial assistance, and capacity-building also number among the skills development agencies, like Solidarity Cities, a refugee management initiative, can provide.

Read more here.
The Challenges of Urban Transit

A Mother's Death on the New York Subway Ignites Debates about Metro Accessibility
The death of Malaysia Goodson on a Manhattan subway station this past Monday has rattled New Yorkers and ignited an important debate about accessibility in the New York transit system. Without an elevator at that station, Goodson had to take her child's stroller down the stairs where she fell, tumbled down the subway stairs, and died. While officials are still investigating whether Goodson suffered a prior medical condition or she was killed by the impact of the fall, the tragedy has nonetheless highlighted major accessibility issues. Of the 472 stations, only 25% have elevators and each elevator breaks down 53 times a year on average. An active lawsuit against the Manhattan Transit Authority, joined by the Justice Department, asserts that the agency is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and claims that the subway system is one of the "least accessible in the country." Activist Christine Serdienian Yearwood says: "Everybody who has been a parent or a caregiver knows that this is a problem. I've had a lot of people write and say 'This could have been me.'"

Read more  here
Urban Architecture

Yugoslav Brutalist Architecture Attracts Visitors to Belgrade
T he brutalist architecture of New Belgrade, a neighborhood of Belgrade, is attracting international tourists and visitors, writes Guy de Launey at the BBC. A recent six month exhibit of socialist Yugoslav architecture at the New York Museum of Modern Art exemplifies a new interest in the brutalist school that has made New Belgrade "a mecca for connoisseurs of raw concrete." But, while the concrete buildings are attracting "positive international attention," many of them are in disrepair. Co-founder of Belgrade International Architecture Week Danica Jovovic Proadnovic laments the bad maintenance: "The quality of New Belgrade's urban design and social housing was much better than nowadays. It's very important for us to recognize the value of that heritage - it hasn't been valued enough, and we need to preserve it."

Read more  here
IHC Global Spotlight Event
Market-Ba sed Finance for Developing Cities
Society for International Development-Washington
February 7, 2019
4 pm - 5:30 pm

Co-organized by IHC Global's CEO Judith Hermanson and independent consultant and urban finance expert David Painter, this event will introduce the audience to innovative financing approaches to supporting the development of cities through both large scale infrastructure development and small scale housing/community economic development for the urban poor. The focus of the event will be to increase knowledge about how finance can be mobilized to support urban development through complementary market-based approaches. Hermanson remarks: "Finance is a critical element in any urban development plan. This session aims to fill an important knowledge gap by sharing information about strategies that have been shown to work. We want to move beyond diagnosis to solutions!"

Find more information  here.
In the News and Around the Web
  • The Pollution Crisis in Bangkok: Toxic smog in Bangkok has resulted in the cancellation of outdoor activities for children and school closures. 
  • Homelessness and This Week's Polar Vortex: The New York Times reports on how homeless populations are faring during the Midwest's deep freeze this week. 
  • Police Clashes in Lisbon: Clashes with the Lisbon police last week illuminated the intersection of urban inequality, inadequate housing, and race in Portugal
  • Prague and Free Transit: Prague will offer free transit rides during declared smog emergencies to encourage commuters not to drive.
  • International Development Uncertainty during the Government Shutdown: IRIN examines the effect of the U.S. government shutdown on foreign aid.
A "self-built" apartment designated to be torn down in Lisbon
(Photo cred: The Guardian )

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