Weekly Urban News Update
April 28th, 2017
In This Update

The future of cities depends on everyone, but great responsibility rests on the shoulders of urban planners and designers, who are tasked with creating the infrastructure that cities need to become sustainable. Urban designer Peter Calthorpe is eager to meet this challenge, and has several innovative plans to combat climate change and eradicate both suburban and urban sprawl. In an interview with Fast Company, Calthorpe acknowledges the complexity of the challenge ahead- fighting climate change while building cities that will hold billions of people- but says that the real enemy is sprawl, and the antidote to it is creating dense, diverse, and walkable cities. In order to achieve this, Calthorpe's software and development company, Calthorpe Analytics, has developed UrbanFootprint, a tool that gives planners and developers a way to test out the impact of future development models. With this tool, and a seven-step plan developed specifically for cities in China, Calthorpe plans to create cities with close-knit, communicative growth that become natural enemies of climate change.

Read the full interview  here.
Applying business know-how to the priorities of the urban poor

Last Thursday, Dutch paint and coatings firm AkzoNovel launched the Human Cities Coalition (HCC), a coalition aimed at better involving the private sector in combating the threats facing the urban world, including bad sanitation, pollution, overcrowding and increased vulnerability to climate change. The coalition brings together 150 stakeholders and 20 partners in an effort to pave the way towards more sustainable and equitable cities. With a focus on collective innovation, this coalition is a prime example of how private-public cooperation can work to achieve the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda, and provides a great way for the private sector to become more connected to the public and use their resources to affect positive change. Because IHC Global through its members and its philosophy brings together civil society and private sector to advance greater equity and equality in cities through urban programs we are particularly delighted about the HCC's launch.  The HCC we hope will expand perspectives on the achievement of the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda  through a more business-oriented lens, which may bring new and innovative ideas on how to achieve sustainability by 2030. 

Read the full article here.

The World Bank Spring Meetings concluded on Sunday after a week full of promising panels, events, and projects dedicated to sustainable global development. Devex highlighted the key takeaways from the conference: focusing on redefining development finance, putting emphasis on fragile states, tackling the global educational crisis, and hashing through the uncertainty surrounding capital increase. Though the conference was pro-funding and pro-international development at its center, many conference goers and speakers were tasked with accurately representing the urgent need of foreign aid while not addressing the large cuts in US foreign assistance which are being proposed. A less tentative and much more positive subject was the bright role of cities in the future of development. In the "Cities are Where the Future is Being Built" panel on Friday, where IHC Global was pleased to hear panelists herald the progressive, action-oriented and transformative nature of cities around the world, and the tools and resources they are equipped with to be leaders in sustainable and equitable development.

Read Devex's full coverage of the events here.

Join the Director of the American University Metropolitan Policy Center Derek Hyra and ONE DC Resource Organizer Dominic Moulden for a discussion on "Making the Just City", an innovative new project which brings together researchers and community organizers to investigate the link between health and where people live, and how affordable housing and social capital can reduce health disparities. This discussion will be a part of the DC Ideas Fest.
When: Friday, May 5, 2017
12:00 - 1:30 PM EDT
Where: Gallery 5, Carnegie Library
801 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20001

Register for the event here.
Feature IHC Global Urban Feature: Resilience of the Urban Poor
Inequalities between rich & poor hinder success of immunization

The Issue
UNICEF has released a press release in which it warns that the broad success of immunization has been tempered by the rampant inequalities between rich and poor on a global scale, and will continue to be tempered if there is no intervention. In the press release, UNICEF states that through their programs they procured 2.5 billion doses of vaccines to children in nearly 100 countries worldwide in 2016, reaching almost half of the world's children under the age of five. While these statistics are glowing, and increased access to immunizations has dramatically lowered the death rate of children under the age of five from vaccine-preventable diseases, every year an estimated 19.4 million children (1 in 5 children) still miss out on full vaccinations, and 1.5 million children die of vaccine-preventable deaths. Dr. Robin Nandy, the UNICEF Chief of Immunization, lays the blame on poverty, social inequality and weak health systems, and warns that these alarming numbers are not just a rural problem, but an urban one as well. 

What We See
Nandy makes it clear that poverty stands in the way of successfully immunizing the globe, and the growing inequality between rich and poor is most noticeable in how health systems treat them. In countries where 80 per cent of the world's under-five child deaths occur, over half of the poorest children are not fully vaccinated, and globally, the poorest children are nearly twice as likely to die before the age of five as the richest. And while children in rural communities have limited access to resources, children living in overcrowded cities and slums are just as vulnerable. According to Nandy, "Overcrowding, poverty, poor hygiene and sanitation as well as inadequate nutrition and health care increase the risk of diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea and measles in these communities; diseases that are easily preventable with vaccines." As the urban population has overtaken the rural and will continue to grow, investment and focus on poor urban communities will be more important than ever, especially in Africa and Asia, where 1 in 4 people will live in urban poor communities by 2030. The problems that bog down the urban world are intertwined, and no one issue will go away without addressing the others. IHC Global believes that a just, inclusive and sustainable city must also be a healthy city, and urban areas cannot and will not thrive if a significant portion of its residents are living in fear of easily eradicated diseases. Progress in infrastructure, inclusivity and sanitation- especially considering how effective urban WASH has proven to be in reducing health inequalities- are just some of the components that will contribute to better urban health systems, and healthier, happier lives for all.

Read the full article here and the full UNICEF press release  here.
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In the news and around the web
  • In some Rio slums, residents are taking justice into their own hands. In others, low-tech and innovative solutions are making communities into "smart slums". Read more here and here.
  • Cutting funds to Amtrak could have a real, tangible human cost. Find out more here.
  • Learn why Beirut's heritage buildings are being threatened by urbanization here.
  • The Director of the RUAF Foundation weighs in on why sustainable cities require urban agriculture here

Urban sprawl on the outskirts of Mexico City, encasing the La Presa in Ecatepec, one of Greater Mexico City's most dangerous and closed-off neighborhoods.
Source: Guardian Cities
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