Weekly Urban News Update
March 22, 2019
In This Update: 
Two Billion Lack Access to Clean and Safe Water Worldwide
Amsterdam Housing Legislation to Help Middle-Class Buyers
Uganda Transforms Refugee Settlement into Permanent City
Urban Planners Voice Concern over Nairobi Satellite Cities
Cyclone Idai Destroys Mozambique City, Leaves 500 Dead
World Water Day: Supporting Women through Water
IHC Global Will Present at World Bank Land and Poverty Conference
In the News and Around the Web
Two Billion Lack Access to Clean and Safe Water Worldwide
Access to clean, safe, and affordable water remains a challenge for over 2 billion people in the world, writes Megan Rowling, especially for families that dwell in city slums. In the developing world, exports like coffee, rice, avocados, and cotton are crucial for economic development. But, they can dramatically deplete groundwater supply, leaving large numbers of people to live in water scarce areas. In urban areas, water scarcity and lack of other access often forces families to buy water from trucks, kiosks, and other vendors, who easily charge 10-20x more for water than their wealthy neighbors who rely on piped water are required to pay. 

Read more here.
Amsterdam Housing Legislation to Help Middle-Class Buyers
The city of Amsterdam has proposed housing legislation designed to help middle-class homeowner hopefuls. The proposed law stipulates that owners of newly built homes must occupy it themselves, rather than renting it out. In Amsterdam, high ownership rates often price middle-class buyers out of the housing market, while renting is a far less secure option. City Lab's Feargus O'Sullivan notes the proposed policies suggest that the "scope of Europe's urban housing squeeze extends far beyond people on low incomes," meaning that as the struggle for affordable housing grows, so will governments' dilemma about how and whether to intervene.

Read more here.
Uganda Transforms Refugee Settlement into City
Uganda is conducting a "unique urban experiment," writes Nina Strochlic at National Geographic. With the support of the international community, the Ugandan government hopes to transform the refugee settlement Bidibidi into a "permanent, perhaps even beautiful, city." The transformation of Bidibidi, home to 250,000 refugees, is made possible by Uganda's progressive refugee policy in which South Sudanese refugees can live, farm, and work freely. So far, its development has entailed efforts by the national government, INGOs, and local residents. As the national government has turned Bidibidi's schools and clinics into permanent structures and installed a water system, residents are working with organizations like Humanitarian OpenStreet Team to source digital data about running water, clinics, and businesses.

Read more here.
Urban Planners Voice Concern over Nairobi Satellite Cities
The development of Kenyan satellite cities on the outskirts of Nairobi is generating mixed opinions among urban planners and developers. Major development companies enthuse that the construction of new cities like Tilisi, Tatu City, and Northlands City offer alternative living for approximately two million Nairobi residents who live in slums. Tilisi Developments Co-Chief Renee Nanji explains: "People are desperate to come into a city where they are not going to worry about power outages or water shortages or traffic congestion." But urban planners like Constant Cap are skeptical, noting developers "rarely explain how they will deal with challenges like low-cost housing." Others, like Alfred Omeyna, worry satellite city developers focus on upper and middle class development to the detriment of poorer residents. Omeyna asserts: "This can only deepen class exclusion, segregation, and conflicts.

Read more here.
Cyclone Idai Destroys Mozambique City, Leaves Over 500 Dead
Cyclone Idai struck southeastern Africa last week, killing over five hundred hundred in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. It is expected the death toll will continue to rise. Idai has especially devastated Beira, Mozambique's fourth largest city and second largest port city: according to Oxfam, 90% of the city is now underwater. Furthermore, as the Washington Post reports, continued rain and high floodwaters have inhibited aid efforts. Extreme climate events have struck the United States in recent days as well: the so-called "bomb cyclone" that the Midwest last week has left four dead in Nebraska and Iowa and over $1.5 billion in damages.

Read more here.
World Water Day: Supporting Women through Water
Today, March 22 nd marks World Water Day which aims to raise awareness about the global water crisis.  On Thursday, IHC Global was pleased to attend "Call to Action: Supporting Women through Water," hosted by the U.S. Department of State, USAID, The Aspen Institute, Global Water 2020, Global Water Challenge, and U.S. Water Partnership. The notion that women are crucial for the development of sustainable safe water systems and access stood at the core of the event: "When women do better, countries do better." The speakers' call to action also emphasized the need for an integrated approach given the interrelatedness of water access with other development needs. Emblematic of this was founder and Executive Director of Women Farmers Advancement Network Salamatu Garba who urged the development community to move away from the WASH acronym (Water and Sanitation for Health) and towards WASHING: Water and Sanitation for Health, Inclusiveness, Nutrition, and Growth.
IHC Global Will Present at World Bank Land and Poverty Conference
IHC Global is excited to present at the World Bank Land and Poverty Conference: Catalyzing Innovation next week. President Judith Hermanson will discuss IHC Global paper "Storytelling: A Powerful Strategy to Increase Land and Property Rights in Uganda and Beyond," on March 27th. The paper examines strategies for resolving the discrepancy between legally enshrined property rights and women's ability to exercise them in Uganda. It evaluates and assesses the success of IHC Global's participatory theater program, conducted with collaboration from Makerere University Theater Department in Fall 2018. The project built on the IHC Global research study "Using Data to Support Women's Rights: Property Markets & Housing Rights through a Gender Equity Lens," found here.

Find more information on the Land and Poverty Conference here.
In the News and Around the Web
  • The Most Expensive Cities to Live in Worldwide: Singapore has ranked as the most expensive city for the past five years, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit's World Wide Cost of Living Survey. This year, Paris and Hong Kong tie Singapore for first.
  • Germany's Frauenticket: Germany designated this past Monday as Equal Pay Day. Berlin city public transport offered women a 21% discount to highlight the gender pay gap.
  • The Shape of Cities: An interactive map by the Atlas of Urban Expansion uses satellite imagery and historical data to show how Los Angeles, London, Shanghai, Manila, and Lagos have developed since 1800.
Toronto is embracing smart technology to support greener and more cost-efficient policies.
(Photo credit: Forbes)

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