Weekly Urban News Update
March 2nd, 2018
In This Update

With cities becoming epicenters of economic, social and political progress, it is more important than ever that they interact with one another, and share their challenges and best practices. An opportunity to create these connections has just opened up for cities in the U.S. and Europe. The European Union's International Urban Cooperation (IUC) initiative launched an open call for U.S. cities that want to cooperate with a city in the EU facing similar challenges, such as climate change, urban poverty, social inclusion, and others. Selected city participants will travel to Europe to meet with their EU counterparts and participate in dialogues in the U.S. Interested U.S. cities are encouraged to apply for a city-to-city pairing by Friday, March 30th.

Learn more about and apply for pairing here.

New legislation has been introduced in Congress that aims to review and strengthen U.S. development assistance tools. The Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act of 2018 (BUILD Act) was introduced by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Chris Coons (D-DE) in the Senate (S. 2463) and Reps. Ted Yoho (R-FL) and Adam Smith (D-WA) in the House (H.R. 5105), with the goal of enhancing the various elements that shape the current U.S. development assistance system, and sees how each one can be enhanced or changed. IHC Global is pleased to see a special focus on the role the private sector and private investment can play in foreign aid, and how the private sector in the U.S. can advance cross-sectoral development and engage with the private sector in the developing world. The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) put out a statement commending the bill, and laid out the input it plans to provide during the legislative process, namely, ensuring that development objectives are consistently carried throughout the bill, that the International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) has stronger linkages with USAID, that there is greater consultation and transparency, and that e valuation and learning systems are established and prioritized.

Read the full statement from MFAN  here .

Climate change, deforestation, and other factors have greatly reduced the water supply in Malawi to the brink of a drought, and government officials are taking controversial steps to secure water for the country's cities. Blantyre, the country's second biggest city and its business capital, is already in desperate conditions- some residents regularly lose access to water for several hours a day. A short-term plan has been put into place to supply Blantyre with water, through a project that draws water from the Mulanje Mountain Forest Reserve about 80 kilometers away. However, this project has been accused of drawing critical water supply from the residents in the Mulanje Mountain area, and has led to an outbreak of protests, disruptions, and arrests. This conflict highlights the critical relationship between water and conflict, as well as the importance of fostering mutually beneficial relationships between urban and rural areas.

Read more here.
As part of its commitment to strengthening real estate institutions around the world, IHC Global partnered with the Real Estate Cluster of Serbia to offer two basic and advanced real estate courses for agents, managers, and brokers in Serbia last fall. Over 120 participants were trained on the building blocks of effective real estate brokerage and how to best represent buyers. A leading Serbian magazine, Halo Oglasi , has written an article on the success of the courses and how they are helping contribute to the professionalization of real estate business practices in Southern Europe. Secure property rights, effective property markets and ethical real estate practices work together to create greater opportunity and better cities!

Read the English translation of the article on IHC Global's website  here .
Feature IHC Global Urban Feature: IHC Global at WUF9
Here's a (final) full look at our experience at the World Urban Forum

It rains often in Kuala Lumpur. As six o'clock in the evening ticks over to 6:01, a deluge falls from the sky like clockwork, soaking the ground and everything on it within seconds. But residents and tourists in the city center don't need to worry much about shielding their smartphones or covering their shopping bags, or even getting wet at all. Kuala Lumpur is ready for the downpour: its bustling city center is criss-crossed by tunnels and elevated walkways, a symbol of urban efficiency and innovation that fits in perfectly with the global conference that happened last week in the city center, directly across from the famed Petronas Towers. During its run from February 7th to 13th, the ninth World Urban Forum gave its host country- and the civil society, private sector, and government representatives from the 165 countries attending- a chance to show the best of their cities, from infrastructural achievements like Kuala Lumpur's skyways, to city-community partnership projects to improve informal settlements, to ambitious, cross-sectoral city strategies for implementing the New Urban Agenda and bringing forth a sustainable urban future. And IHC Global was in the middle of the action, hosting events, speaking on panels, and live-tweeting along the way.

Read the full recap of our time at WUF9 on our blog
News In the news and around the web
  • Brussels has unveiled a new- and extreme- way it will deal with pollution emergencies.
  • Can the homeless adapt to living in a cashless society?
  • Sri Lanka is doing everything it can to prepare for the floods that will come with climate change.
  • Quartz analyzes how effective China has been in cutting down traffic congestion in its cities.
In case you missed it:
  • IHC Global talked to WUF9 attendees about their experience at the conference, and what they think it will mean for the future of urban development.

A snapshot of the congestion that plagues Chinese cities.
Source: Quartz

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