Weekly Urban News Update
October 12th, 2018
In This Update
Urban Resilience and Sustainability
The Typhoons That Threaten Asian Megacities
Leapfrogging the West: The Paris Agreement in Africa and Southeast Asia
Parisian Preschools and the Urban Revolution
A Spotlight on Urban Resilience
This Week in Photos
Urban Resilience and Sustainability 

The newly released United Nations report on the bleak future presented by global warming, coupled with recent natural disasters in IndonesiaJapan and the Philippines, as well as the Untied States, has catalyzed reflection on the intimate relationship between urban resilience and environmental sustainability. Resilience, as  defined by the 100 Resilient Cities organization, is "what helps cities adapt and transform in the face of these challenges, helping them to prepare for both the expected and unexpected." This Urban Weekly edition will spotlight how cities across the world are, or are not, building resilience to expected and unexpected disasters and climate change.
Resilience in Asia: Japan Leads the Way

Disaster Resilience: The Typhoons That Threaten Asian Megacities
Eight of the top 10 cities most vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters are in Asia. In megacities, like Tokyo, Jakarta, and Guangzhou, environmental degradation, unrestricted urbanization, and the increased strength and frequency of typhoons mean disasters could devastate the economy and population.  Impoverished inhabitants on urban and rural outskirts are especially vulnerable. According to CityLab  contributor Linda Poon , Japan has markedly improved its resilience, emergency preparedness, and climate adaptation. Strict building codes, mass evacuation advisories, real-time storm updates, and even a  typhoon-powered turbine  in Japan may provide a regional and global example of environmental resilience. 

As Poon pointed out, "less affluent Asian nations" lack the capacity of Japan to invest in disaster resilience. Nonetheless, leaders in other Asian nations are paying attention. Indonesian National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho reflected on the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia that killed 2,000 people last month: "We should not forget that there will be many disasters to come....We need to learn from Japan as they are consistent in preparation."
Environmental Sustainability in Africa and Southeast Asia

Leapfrogging the West: The Paris Agreement in Africa and Southeast Asia
This past week, the United Nations-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
asserted that Africa and Southeast Asia will play a key role in implementing the  2015 Paris Agreement . The Panel argued that rapid urbanization in Africa and Southeast Asia  increased the volume of informal settlements and vulnerability of their inhabitants to the effects of climate change and natural disasters. Even so, Mark  Watts, Executive Director of the nonprofit C40, asserts that African and Southeast Asian cities are uniquely positioned to "leapfrog the mistakes made by the West," in developing sustainable  waste management systems, clean transport, and zero-carbon buildings.   IHC Global believes that for this "leapfrogging" effect to prevail, property rights and decent housing in informal settlements will also be key.
Environmental Resilience in France

Parisian Preschools and the Urban Revolution
French nursery schools are not exactly the front line of French resilience to urban challenges, but Parisian Mayor Anne Hidalgo has shown that spaces like small schoolyards matter for holistic environmental sustainability. Hidalgo and French policymakers  partnered with 100 Resilient Cities  to green and cool playgrounds,  implement a monthly car-free day , and  introduce free public transit for people with disabilities. It remains to be seen whether Paris has "started an urban revolution ," as Parisian Environment and Sustainbility Commissioner Celia Blauel claimed, but at the very least, the efforts have improved children's playgrounds and outdoor experiences: "We're getting nature back- first for the children, but also as a way of escaping from endless concrete and preparing the city for adaptation."

A Spotlight on Urban Resilience 
This Week in Photos
lulissat, Greenland may be one of the world's most colorful cities. (Photo cred: USA Today )
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