Weekly Urban News Update
May 3, 2019
In This Update: 
China Expands UN Habitat Support and Announces Belt and Road Sustainable Cities Alliance
Study Examines Effect of Work Requirements on Housing Benefit Program
Planning Cities That Are Both Smart and Slow
Indonesia Plans to Move Capital City Away from Jakarta
German City Declares Climate Emergency
Megacity Photographer Michael Wolf Dies
Smart City Just City: Invest in Urban Health to Unlock the Potential of Kenyan Slums
In the News and Around the Web
China Announces its New Belt and Road Sustainable Cities Alliance
Last week, President Xi Jinping of China announced the creation of a new Belt and Road Sustainable Cities Alliance at China's Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, attended by UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimuah Mohd Sharif. The new Sustainable Cities Alliance will extend and expand UN-Habitat and China joint engagements through the framework of Chin Belt and Road Initiative. At a special session of the Forum on policy connectivity, ED Sharif underscored policy, regulatory, and institutional cooperation as well as the key role of resilience in the development of trade networks and the towns and cities that comprise those networks.

Read more here.
Study Examines Effect of Work Requirements on Housing Benefit Programs
A new Urban Institute study suggests that housing benefit programs that stipulate work requirements has a minimal effect on helping recipients find work. The study, led by Diana Levy, examined a Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) program which mandates any non-disabled adult ages 18-54 work or study for 20 hours per week. According to Levy, only a small number of recipients were noncompliant with the work requirements, and as such, it neither enabled residents to increase their incomes to move to market-rate housing or push residents to work who didn't already want a job. Levy says: "There's a broad public perception that there are a lot of people getting public assistance of various sorts who aren't doing what they should do, and aren't making an effort. What we found through our analysis was that if you try and tease out who's in compliance and who isn't, the numbers [of those who are non-compliant] get small pretty quickly.

Read more here.
Planning Cities That Are Both "Smart" and "Slow"
The desire to "speed things up," or to make urban life more efficient through enhanced technology and data gathering is at the heart of the smart city movement, writes Lakshmi Priya Rajendran. But, Rajendran says, quality of life in a city means more than speed and efficiency, and so to improve urban living, technology should be employed mindfully. She urges cities to model themselves after "slow" approaches, such as the "slow food movement," or "slow reading movement" which have sought to remedy unhealthy aspects of modern life. Cities should recognize that technology can do more than enhance efficiency, asserts Rajendran. Instead, cities can use technology and its platforms to promote "slow moments," where residents can mindfully engage with and enjoy the urban space around them, such as when cities use technology-based installations or projections for architectural storytelling. IHC Global is pleased to see this variation on the "smart city movement" which is similar to its Smart City. Just City which also advocates for the intentional use of technology to foster other than efficiency goals.

Read more here.
Indonesia Plans to Move its Capital City Away from Jakarta
On Monday, Indonesian Planning Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro announced Indonesia will move its capital city away from Jakarta. A number of issues have plagued the megacity for decades meaning debates about moving the capital are not new. Jakarta, already half underwater, is one of the world's fastest sinking cities. In 2016, a survey found that Jakarta had the world's worst traffic congestion, leading government officials to require police convoy escorts make it to meetings on time. Moving the capital would also represent an effort to decentralize the government to give greater political power and financial resources to municipalities outside of Jakarta. The new capital location has not been chosen, but the chief candidate is Palangkaraya.

Read more here.
German City Declares Climate Emergency
Constance became the first city in Germany to declare a "climate" emergency, following similar actions by Los Angeles, London, and Vancouver. Although not an emergency in the traditional legal sense, the resolution seeks to underline the severity of the challenges presented by climate change and to prioritize city action to mitigate its effects, especially through carbon emission reduction. The bill commits the city to provide climate-neutral energy to buildings and to annual progress reports.

Read more here
Megacity Photographer Michael Wolf Dies
Renowned photojournalist Michael Wolf died on April 24 th at the age of 64. Throughout Wolf's photography career, he sought to convey intimate life in dense cities, like Paris, Tokyo, and especially Hong Kong. His best known work, Architecture of Density, featured photos of Hong Kong's residential apartment blocks. In a statement, Wolf's family explained that: "His work on life in cities was always driven by a profound concern for people living in these environments and for the consequences of massive urbanization on contemporary civilization."

Read more here.
Smart City Just City: Invest in Urban Health to Unlock the Potential of Kenyan Slums
This week, IHC Global features guest blogger Melissa Menke for its Smart City Just City blog series. Menke, Founder of Access Afya, an innovative healthcare company in Kenya. Menke explains how data, digital health tools, and empathy are revolutionizing primary healthcare for the urban poor. Menke makes the case that urban health is an essential component of the smart city conversion and that because quality of life is improved by basic and effective health access, improving health must be part of any smart city strategy.

Read the article here. 
In the News and Around the Web
  • London Bans Ice Cream Trucks in Some Neighborhoods : Some councils in London have banned ice cream trucks over concerns about carbon emissions.
  • Housing Activists Protest in Berlin: Housing activists in Berlin scuffle with police at gentrification protests.
  • The World is Running Out of Sand: Global urbanization is rapidly depleting sand with major environmental impacts.
  • Kibera Stories: Kenyan photographer Brian Otieno shows the unseen side of the Kenyan slum.
  • The Rockefeller Foundation Creates Resilience Center: The Rockefeller Foundation, which recently disbanded its 100 Resilient Cities Initiative, announced the creation of the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center on Monday.
Hong Kong high rises, captured by photographer Michael Wolf in his "Architecture of Density" series.
( Photo credit: Michael Wolf | BBC)

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