Weekly Urban News Update
May 26th, 2017
In This Update
A  New report on global migration

As the refugee crisis continues to grip the world, cities are becoming more and more important as both places of asylum and players in global refugee policies. 100 Resilient Cities, in collaboration with the Municipality of Athens, has released a new report, Global Migration: Resilient Cities at the Forefront, that expands on the power that cities have in the refugee crisis, and what cities need to do to address the challenges at hand. The report focuses on existing best practices from cities around the world, and aims to advance strategies that cities need to adopt in order to meet the challenges of a world where there are more people on the move than ever before. Throughout the report, there is an emphasis on the need for cities to build better local, national and international partnerships in order to transform cities into places that are resilient, sustainable, and safe for everyone.

Read the full report  here.
In the wake of the Habitat III conference last year, UN-Habitat has taken on the responsibility for advancing the New Urban Agenda. With this new challenge, as Citiscope reports, together with their work in Kenyan refugee camps and their investment in urban planning in places such as Belize's capital, the demand for UN Habitat's programs is on the upswing.  Nevertheless, funding for the agency is seeing a decline. At its twenty-sixth Governing Council meeting in Nairobi meeting two weeks ago, the Governing Council approved a two-year budget of $500 million, but with only $19.4 million coming from the UN, donor countries have to cover the rest of the costs. And of that total $454 million is designated for projects, with $26.1 million to be used for general purpose funds. That is a 40% decline from the agency's current budget. IHC Global believes that a champion for global urban development is necessary for achieving both the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals and hopes that the High Level Panel currently reviewing UN Habitat and its future role will keep that at the forefront of its deliberations.

Read the full Citiscope article here.

The U.S. administration released new requests for the 2018 fiscal year this past Tuesday.  The budget proposes deep cuts to foreign aid, with programs supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development cut by a full third from their 2016 levels. These  proposed cuts come as no surprise to international development experts and advocates and since there is bi-partisan support within Congress for US foreign assistance, IHC Global believes that these proposals should be regarded as the opening of negotiations.  In our advocacy role, we will be joining like-minded organizations and our members to provide support, arguments and evidence in favor of US foreign assistance that recognizes global complexity.  The Administration's proposals to cut international development funding are troubling for all those concerned about global stability and security, including the challenges and implications of unmanaged urban growth. 

The proposed cuts will have a deep impact on many programs that have global implications, including food aid and global health initiatives that combat diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.  The president's budget request includes approximately $40 billion for international affairs spending a $15 billion decrease from comparable appropriations in 2016.  One other important signal is that the  Administration's budget proposes to combine USAID's Development Assistance account, which supports most development programs, with the Economic Support Fund controlled by the State Department  reduced from 2016 level of $7.1 billion in 2016 to $4.9 billion
Read the full article and Devex's thoughtful analysis  here.
Event: The Chicago Forum on Global Cities

Join urban leaders, experts and policymakers at the annual Chicago Forum on Global Cities, where participants will come together to discuss the role of cities in pressing global challenges. The event will also serve as a platform for participants to make new connections and develop innovative solutions to advance in their own cities. Speakers will include mayors and governors from various cities and municipalities, former Senior Adviser to Barack Obama Valerie Jarrett, Citylab Co-Founder and Senior Editor Richard Florida, and many more. IHC Global President and CEO Judith Hermanson will be attending.
When: June 7th - 9th, 2017
Where: The Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Two Prudential Plaza, 180 N Stetson Ave #1400
Chicago, IL 60601

Learn more about the event here.
EventEvent: 12th Metropolis World Congress

The World Association of Major Metropolises will be joining together for the 12th Metropolitan World Congress, under the theme "Global Challenges: Major Cities in Action." The event will unite decision-makers from major cities around the world as well as public, institutional, private, community and academic stakeholders in order to promote key political messages and declarations from the community of mayors worldwide, showcase and acknowledge good urban practices from across the globe, enrich the debate among the various urban management stakeholders through innovative networking practices.
When: June 19th - 22nd, 2017
Where: Secretariat - XII Metropolis World Congress
1221, rue Fleury Est, CP 35067
Montréal (Québec), H2C 3K4, Canada

Register and learn more about the event  here.
Feature IHC Global Urban Feature: Equitable Housing
South Africa activists make a huge play to draw attention to housing issues

The Issue
Cape Town is like many cities around the world: glitzy and built-up to the naked eye, but a closer look will reveal widespread inequality, especially in affordable housing, that is ground into the foundation. But Cape Town residents have had enough, and in their desperation for affordable housing, have taken over a nurses' home and a hospital in protest. Accompanied by banners with "reclaim the city" and "end spatial apartheid" emblazoned in red, the residents are in their second month of the takeover, and the situation in Cape Town is so grim that they are risking everything to get their message across. In Cape Town, "the average family in Cape Town could spend 300,000 rand (around £17,400) on a home, but the average sale price is more than three times this at 1 million rand. It means most working class households rely on renting, often in crime-ridden areas on the city's periphery. And if they do live in well-located areas, their tenure security is put at risk by gentrification and steep rent increases." Guardian Cities reporter Alice McCool interviews several of the protesters about their dedication to the cause, their personal journeys, and the deeply ingrained racial divisions that exist in Cape Town's housing policies.
What We See
Creating sustainable, resilient and inclusive housing is a global challenge and certainly not unique to Cape Town. But the residents protesting- plus Ndifuna Ukwazi, the NGO coordinating the reclaim the city campaign- show what can happen when civil society takes matters into their own hands. The specifics in this case also demonstrate that affordable housing and adequate standards of living can actually be achieved. The occupation began in March in response to the Western Cape government's plans to sell the Tafelberg building instead of using the space to build affordable housing, even though it was designated for that purpose back in 2012. According to the article, using the building for social housing would be an easy way to jumpstart spacial justice in Cape Town, but selling the property apparently was a more attractive option to the government. IHC Global is a supporter of public and private partnerships, and in cases like these, investment from the private sector into affordable and social housing may be a way forward. Certainly, the  sharing of practice and the initiatives that are taken locally as in Cape Town can have an impact well beyond the immediate city limits. The city belongs all those who live in it, and a successful city is an inclusive one.

Read the full article here.
To learn more about our Key Policy Topics, click here
In the news and around the web
  • A New York Times op-ed makes the case that the "return to cities" is a myth here.
  • Citylab disagrees here.
  • Our ticky-tacky box apartments are damaging the home goods market. Read more here.
  • Stae is helping cities take advantage of their data. Learn more here.
  • In Latin America and the Caribbean, 200 million people are living in informal settlements. Read about why informal settlements should be treated as a "life or death situation" here.
In case you missed it:
  • IHC Global has merged with the International Real Property Foundation! Learn more here.

This photo, taken from space by astronaut Thomas Pasquet, shows European cities at night, with the aurora borealis to the north. Warsaw is at the bottom, and the always-lit Belgium is at the top left.
     Source: The New York Times
Spread the word!

Help IHC Global spread our message by forwarding our newsletter to organizations and people who want to help create inclusive and sustainable cities. Support IHC Global further by becoming a member of our growing coalition.  Please join us either as an individual or as an organization!  With your membership you will provide meaningful help in addressing the worldwide challenges of urban poverty and inequity. Help IHC Global "change cities for good" and secure a better urban future for us all! We need your help and your voice more than ever! 
IHC Global: changing cities for good.
1424 K St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20005 | 202-239-4401 | Email | Website