Weekly Urban News Update
June 14, 2019
In This Update: 
Delhi Offers Free Public Transportation for Women
Meeting the Paris Agreement Commitments Could Prevent 2500 Heat-Related Deaths
Fabriano, Italy Hosts UNESCO's 2019 Creative Cities Meeting
A New Nonprofit May Resurrect the 100 Resilient Cities Program
LGBTQI+Refugees Face Evictions and Violence in Nairobi
How Music, Art, and Mapping is Combating Forced Evictions in Nigeria
Are Tech Towns the New Company Towns?
What We're Listening To
This Week in Photos
In the News and Around the Web
Delhi Offers Free Public Transportation for Women
Transportation in urban India can be unaffordable, unreliable, and unsafe, meaning women frequently turn down better paying jobs located further away.  The city of Delhi has pledged to change that by making transport free for women within the next 2-3 months. The proposal's opponents say it is a cheap attempt to win votes and some worry this may cause resentment among men who cannot afford public transport. But, supporters hail the move as revolutionary. Author Shilpa Phadke asserts: "This is a great idea. Any space that has a larger number of women becomes safer for women."

Read more here.
Fabriano, Italy Hosts Meeting of UNESCO's 2019 Creative Cities Network 
UNESCO is wrapping up the 2019 meeting of its Creative Cities Network in Fabriano, Italy. 180 cities from 5 continents compose the Creative Cities Network. The Creative Cities Network promotes the idea that creativity is an essential driver of urban development. This year's theme "The Ideal City" explores principles of sustainability, resilience, innovation, culture, participation, and anti-fragility. Delegates and attendees participated in sessions highlighting the Network's key creative fields:  film, design, crafts, music, literature, and gastronomy. 

Read more about Fabriano and UNESCO's Creative Cities here.
Meeting the Paris Agreement Commitments Could Prevent Heat-Related Deaths
University of Bristol researchers assert that meeting the Paris Agreement to limit the rise of global temperature to 1.5 C by 2030 could prevent as many as 1900 deaths per city in a 1-in-30-year heat wave. The 1-in-30 year heat wave should evoke events like the 1995 three-day heat wave in Chicago that killed 739 people. The UN warns that global temperatures are on track to rise by at least 3 degrees, which would increase the occurrence and impact of such heatwaves. The prevention of heat-related deaths depends on temperature change and urban population size, meaning large cities in the United States like Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York would benefit the most from abating global temperature rise.

Read it here.
A New Nonprofit May Resurrect 100 Resilient Cities Program
The recent announcement that the Rockefeller Foundation would end its 100 Resilient Cities program shocked many, including the organization's 86 employees that will lose their jobs by August. But, according to City Lab, the "soon-to-be- former 100RC officers" are planning to resurrect the program through the creation of a new nonprofit to help cities implement resilience projects. Laura Bliss points out the many issues the end of the 100RC program raised: the risk cities take when they rely on private funds to plan for serious threats; financial costs of program expansion; and shifting foundation priorities following the transition to new leadership. 

Read more here.
LGBTQ+ Refugees Face Evictions and Violence in Nairobi
Human rights activists say that dozens of LGBT+ refugees from Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and South Sudan face homophobic threats, violence and eviction in Nairobi. One refugee says: "The people here threaten and insult us. They say we are spreading disease and teaching their children to be homosexuals. They said either we go, or they will kill us." LGBT+ rights groups are unhappy with what they see as failed protections from the Kenyan government and UNHCR. The Refugee Coalition of East Africa says: "Very few are receiving any form of financial assistance, medical care is impossible due to the cost of transportation and fear of using the local medical facilities." They assert that ultimately LGBT+ refugees in Nairobi need speedy resettlement in another country where they can be free and safe.

Read more here.
How Music, Art, and Mapping is Combating Forced Eviction in Nigeria
In Port Harcourt Nigeria, a collective of Nigerian filmmakers, urban planners, researchers, and residents are using art, music, and data collection to mobilize against evictions. Amnesty International Nigeria spokesman Isa Sanusi explains: "Generally, Nigerian authorities used forced eviction in the course of urban renewal...with the land they formerly occupied being developed into luxury real estate." Storytelling through art and music gives individuals effected by evictions a platform to tell their experience, while c ommunity mapping efforts help disseminate knowledge about individual rights, nonprofit resources, and government demolitions which help them assert demands for compensation.

Read more here.
Are Tech Towns the New Company Towns? 
Scott Beyer at Market Urbanism explores the evolution of "company towns," and the extent to which the notion is applicable to community investments by tech companies today. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, company towns enabled companies like U.S. Steel to practice control over employees' daily lives through rent spikes, price of products in town stores, and the offer of uncompetitive loans. Beyer says that today as companies like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook are advancing a new company town model as they invest millions of dollars into affordable housing. Rather than seeking to control various aspects of their employees' lives, these major tech companies seek to house their employees, lessen their impacts on local markets, and keep vulnerable populations in the community housed.

Read more here.
What We're Listening To: 
  • Introducing the Scarlet E : WNYC Studio's "On the Media" podcast introduced its multi-part series on evictions and rent-burdened Americans. The first episode interviews Eviction Lab's Matthew Desmond on the housing crisis in America as well as individuals, families, and children who have themselves experienced the "scarlet E" of eviction. Listen to it here.
This Week in Photos:
  • National Geographic's 2019 Travel Contest Winners: National Geographic announced the winners of its 2019 Travel Photo Contest, including its Cities category.
In the News and Around the Web
  • Amazon Addresses Housing Crisis in Seattle and Virginia: Amazon  pledges to donate $8 million to mitigate homelessness around its campuses in Seattle and Arlington County, VA
  • Habitat for Humanity International Cost of Home InitiativeHabitat for Humanity International introduced its new Cost of Home initiative that commits to helping 10 million individuals find affordable housing over the next five years.
  • What's the World's Rainiest City?: The Guardian highlights which cities are most vulnerable to heavy rainfall and its effects. 
  • Rockefeller Supports Opportunity Zone Investment in Newark:The Rockefeller Foundation announced Newark, New Jersey as its first recipient of financial and human resource support to ensure Opportunity Zone investment will deliver sustainable benefits.

Pictured above: Fabriano, Italy, host of UNESCO's 2019  Creative Cities Network meeting

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