Weekly Urban News Update
November 2, 2018
In This Update: 
Housing, Malnutrition, and Stunted Growth in The Gambia
Kenya Employs Block Chain to Facilitate Affordable Housing
IHC Global at World Cities Day
World Cities Day Highlights Internal Displacement
Accessibility at the Paris and Tokyo Olympics
Phoenix Opens Autism-Friendly Apartments
Amman's Green Mosques
Oslo Breathes Life
On the Web and Around the World
This Week in Photos
Housing Updates

Housing, Malnutrition, and Stunted Growth in The Gambia
New  research conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in The Gambia in West Africa shows that improving basic housing conditions  is  critical to fighting malnutrition and stunted growth in children. The study indicates that providing a safe environment with hot and cold running water plays a larger role than parental socioeconomic status.  IHC Global hopes that these insights will be taken seriously well beyond The Gambia and a much higher priority will be given to overall housing adequacy throughout the world.

Kenya Employs Block Chain to Facilitate Affordable Housing
The Kenyan national government announced a plan to improve affordable housing through block chain. Financed by the National Housing Fund, the government hopes to build 50,000 homes by 2020 for low-income individuals. The Kenyan government believes that block chain will address anxiety about security of land tenure and ownership rights.  Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development, James Macharia says that the block chain ledgers will ensure "those who get the houses are those that truly need them, while giving them an immutable record that proves they own the property."
World Cities Day
 
IHC Global at World Cities Day
World Cities Day took place this past Wednesday - IHC Global joined UN Habitat and Executive Director  Maimunah Mohd Sharif i n Liverpool for the World Urban Campaign Steering Committee. The meeting discussed the developing UN Habitat's Strategic Plan, as well as key steps for building urban resilience and sustainability. 

World Cities Day Highlights Internal Displacement
In honor of World Cities Day this past Wednesday, United Nations Chief Antonio Guterres  emphasized  the centrality of mass migration for building urban sustainability and resilience.  His message was warmly received by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, (IDMC) who agreed that: "We need to think about urban sustainability through the lens of internal displacement." The IDMC noted that sheer numbers attest to this, in instances of both rural and urban displacement.  Addressing the causes of internal displacements- conflict, natural disaster, violence and crime- is key to building sustainability. 
Strengthening Urban Inclusiveness 
 
Accessibility at the Paris and Tokyo Olympics
This week, France and Japan wrestled with strategies to improve access for the physically disabled,ahead of the  2024 and 2020 Olympic games. In Paris, advocates for the physical disabled demanded that the city improve metro accessibility for the physically impaired.  RATP, the company that owns the train stations, is  protesting,  asserting that this would cost them 4-6 billion .   Meanwhile, in Tokyo, the Japanese government has ordered hotels that have more than 50 rooms to provide wheelchair-friendly accommodations, but change has been slow.  France and Japan should embrace the opportunity to make their cities more inclusive. By doing so, they might avoid the  criticism received by Brazil in 2016, whose Paralympics only highlighted the difficulties of navigating Rio de Janeiro as a disabled individual. 

Phoenix Opens Autism Friendly Apartments
CityLab  reports that Arizonian nonprofit First Place opened a 55 unit apartment building designed for adults with autism.  The complex provides 24/7 support, as well as life and work skill classes to its residents, many of whom are on their own for the first time. L indsay Eaton, 24, said moving into her First Place apartment was an "eye-opening" experience: " It's taught me patience, and to do things and not rely on people."
Greening Cities

Amman's Green Mosques
Amman is pushing to be carbon neutral by 2050 with the help of  green mosques. Greening mosques is part of a wider effort to capitalize on "Jordan's plentiful sunshine" and shift towards renewable energy. So far, nearly 100 mosques in Amman have installed roof solar panels, enabling them to cover "100 percent of their energy needs." More widely, greening Amman, one of the most water stressed cities in the world, could allow Jordan to cut its water demand.  " We're always optimistic in Jordan," says Environment Minister Al-Fayez, "That's the way we survive."

Oslo Breathes Life
The United Nations Environment Program announced that Oslo is  leading the way in the " Breathe Life"  campaign towards a fossil-fuel free future.  Forty-two cities are taking part in the campaign, led by UNEP, WHO, and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition which encourages cities to explore air options and reduce pollutants to safe levels by 2030. Oslo is the global front runner largely due to efforts to  recycle  waste into heat and electricity, prioritize cyclists over private cars, and provide incentives for electric cars. With the highest number of electric vehicles in the world, Norway successfully decreased C02 emissions by 35 percent since 2012. 
In the News and Around the Web
  • Nairobi: Only 17% of Kenyan employment is formal; is the "gig" economy the actual economy?
  • Helsinki: Finland's MaaS app may be the next hope for mobility and transportation.
  • Newark: This week, Newark, New Jersey acknowledged that it found elevated levels of lead in drinking water in homes and building.
This Week in Photos
  • Mexico City's Bright Future: The United Nations Development Programme highlights Mexico's efforts to build resilience and sustainability to meet SDG 11.
  • When Art Comes Along for the Ride:  The New York Times  spotlights  public transportation art across the world.
A 72nd Street station mosaic, part of Vik Muniz's "Perfect Strangers" series 
(Photo cred: The New York Times)
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