Weekly Urban News Update
February 23rd, 2018
In This Update

On February 21st, the Wilson Center, along with International Alert, Urban ARK, and USAID, held an event that explored slum upgrading projects in Kenya and Mozambique and the affects they have on reducing risk. Moderated by Blair Ruble, Distinguished Fellow at the Wilson Center and IHC Global Senior Technical Advisor, the event began with a series of speakers, followed by a thought-provoking discussion. Mark Pulling, Professor of Geography at King's College and leader of the Urban Africa: Risk Knowledge (Urban ARK) research program, gave introductory remarks about the need for risk management to be integrated into mainstream development strategies, instead of being considered separately. Sheyra Mitra, Conflict Advisor at International Alert, and Joe Mulligan, Associate Director at Kounkuey Design Institute, presented research they carried out as part of the Urban ARK program in the informal settlement of Kibera, in Nairobi. Comparing three settlement upgrading projects in Kibera to understand the extent to which they minimize the risk of flooding, their research uncovered that projects that build social cohesion and involve community-led processes have positive impacts on risk reduction, and that projects that are multi-sectoral and seek to address multiple issues such as housing, public health, road and service access, lack of income, and security, have a greater chance of addressing risk...

Read the full recap here.

Cities around the world face complex challenges as they seek to provide enough adequate housing to accommodate ever-expanding urban populations. This plays out in different ways in different contexts, but the consequences are often the same: vulnerable populations relegated to substandard housing and insecure tenure. Below are three recent examples of this phenomenon in different cities.

Zimbabwe's slums are growing as affordable housing slips away
Unemployment is above 80 percent in Zimbabwe, and it is forcing people into informal settlements in every major city in the country. The latest statistics show a worrying trend: one-fourth of the over five million urban residents in Zimbabwe live in slums that lack adequate shelter, sanitation, water and more. But though the government has pledged to focus on affordable housing, there is a housing shortfall of nearly 1.3 million units, and much of the informally housed population will be fighting an uphill battle to have their housing rights recognized. Read more here.

Italy's refugee crisis peaks as hundreds are evicted from squatting in Rome
The rush of refugees spilling into Italy left officials unprepared and cities straining under the weight of a new population. Of the 180,000 asylum seekers and refugees living in Italy (mostly near Rome), many are housed in emergency accommodation, 10,000 are allegedly living in inhumane conditions, and many others have resorted to making a home in the city's abandoned buildings. But instead of finding concrete solutions, Italian officials have evicted hundreds of refugees from their informal homes, leaving them with nowhere else to go. Read more here.

India is evicting 30 people per hour as its cities rush to modernize
In a tale of unchecked urbanization, activists from the Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) in India say that at least six homes are destroyed and 30 people evicted every hour in the country's cities, as local and national governments rush to modernize the sprawling urban areas. The group has placed much of the blame on smart city projects, infrastructure and development plans, wildlife conservation efforts and disaster management projects. Read more 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.

On the first full day of the conference, IHC Global had a chance to hold an informal meet and greet at the Next City World Stage, where members, partners and newcomers alike got to learn more about the IHC Global program and exchange schedules for the conference. IHC Global hosted three events during WUF9, each of which represents a significant portion of IHC Global programming for 2018. Kicking off the IHC Global presence was 'From Theory to Reality: Using Data to Move the Bar on Property Rights for Women and the Most Vulnerable.' The early morning session began with an introduction to IHC Global by President and CEO Judith Hermanson, followed by a presentation from Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh National Director John Armstrong of the organization's project to map slums in and around Dhaka. Following Armstrong was the Global Land Alliance's Senior Practice Manager for Urban and Environment Malcolm Childress, who presented the organization's Global Property Rights Index, which measures a variety of property rights indicators, including possession of formal documentation and perception of tenure security, and gender differences within each. Adding a grassroots perspective...

Read the full recap of our time at WUF9 on our blog
Next City President Tom Dallessio reflects on WUF9
Next City President Tom Dallessio spent the week of the World Urban Forum hosting urban experts and policymakers (including IHC Global!) on the Next City World Stage, and fostering critical and in-depth discussions about the issues facing the urban world. Now, he looks back on what he learned from the conference, and the six things that matter the most: infrastructure, design, walkability, diversity and inclusion, presence, and journalism. Read the full editorial here.

Habitat for Humanity International's Solid Ground Campaign breaks down WUF9 highlights and what comes next 
The IHC Global-supported Solid Ground Campaign came to WUF9 couched in a strong delegation from Habitat for Humanity International, and made a lasting mark at the conference, presenting the campaign's commitment to increase access to land for shelter for 10 million people, and hosting a training event with the Urban CSO Cluster of the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) on "How to Leverage Multi-Sector Tools and Partnerships to Increase Security of Tenure Globally." Read the full Solid Ground blog here.

IHC Global presents: Voices of WUF9, an anthology of perspectives
IHC Global's experience at WUF9 could fill a journal and a half (and nearly does; find most of it below and all of it on our blog), but our perspective wasn't the only one we wanted to share. IHC Global Communications Officer Rebekah Revello walked through the WUF9 exhibition seeking out the many voices of WUF, speaking with representatives of government delegations and civil society organizations about their take on WUF9, and what the conference will mean for the future of urban development. 
Read the full blog here.
News In the news and around the web
  • IHC Global President and CEO Judith Hermanson sat down with Next City to discuss the new IHC Global initiative, 'Smart City. Just City.'
  • Have you seen Black Panther? Against the vivid, imaginary backdrop of Wakanda and the very real ones of Seoul and Oakland, the film is chock-full of urban commentary, from segregated city layouts to the creative potential of smart cities.
  • The countdown to day zero is ticking down for Cape Town, and the question is, what will happen when a major city runs out of water?
  • Big spenders: the 15 richest cities in the world hold 11% percent of the planet's wealth!
  • Germany's ambitious plans for free public transport are entering the testing phase.

A crowd files in to listen to IHC Global President and CEO Judith Hermanson, Next City President Tom Dallessio, Cityspace Architecture President Luisa Bravo, and World Bank Lead Urban Specialist Ahmed Eiweida discuss IHC Global's new initiative: 'Smart City. Just City.'

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