Weekly Urban News Update
June 30th, 2017
In This Update

The fight against climate change worldwide has suffered some damaging blows at the country level, with the U.S. withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement and other world leaders continuing to place other issues ahead of the environment. So, the battle has gone local, with many mayors and city officials- among them Washington D.C.'s Mayor Muriel Bowser- seeking ways to maintain their participation in the Agreement through other means, namely using local government funding to finance developers and other private sector entities that are committed to and investing in sustainable practices. These so called "green banks" are growing more popular as development funding sources shrink, and Citiscope interviews Douglass Sims, the director of strategy and finance at the Natural Resources Defense Council's Center for Market Innovation, to find out what the green bank strategy can do for cities.

Read the full interview  here.
A two-day international conference was held in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg last week, and provided an opportunity to get an inside look on the importance of urban development in Russia, and highlighted the public and governmental interest in seeking sustainable urbanization. The conference,  "Public space as a place for dialogue: Promoting the implementation of the New Urban Agenda in Russia and the CIS region", was organized by the Ministry of Construction, Housing and Utilities of the Russian Federation, UN-Habitat, the Government of Saint Petersburg, and the ITMO University. Sessions during the conference gave Russian cities the chance to highlight their experiences with urbanization, and Saint Petersburg officials in particular discussed how the notably beautiful city manages its public spaces and mobilizes funding. Overall, the conference highlighted to local urban officials how beneficial the New Urban Agenda can be to creating a sustainable national urban policy, and emphasized the importance of national and local cooperation.

Learn more about the conference here.

Researchers at the University of Chicago Urban Labs have announced their results from a 2013 study called One Summer Chicago Plus, a jobs program designed to reduce violence and prepare youth living in some of the city's highest-violence neighborhoods for the labor market. As follow-up from a larger study the previous year, this study focused solely on male program participants, who were drawn partly from criminal justice agencies. The program provided a six-week, minimum-wage job for participants for 25 hours a week. The study concluded that, while the program did not have a significant impact on schooling outcomes or engagement, it did reduce the number of violent-crime arrests for participants by 33 percent over the subsequent year. These studies and innovative programs come at a time when youth violence and unemployment are a major challenge in Chicago, and the results provide incentive into why the city should invest in urban educational and employment programs.

Find out more about the study and the program  here.

IHC Global member Urban Institute is hosting a panel to discuss the implications of a recently released study from the National Multifamily Housing Council. The study identifies the challenges ahead for apartment housing demand over the next 15 years, and if the current market and conditions can meet the need. The panel will be moderated by Urban Institute Housing Finance Policy Center Co-director Laurie Goodman, and speakers will include Volunteers for America Senior Vice President Priya Jayachandran, Whitegate Real Estate Advisors LLC CEO Paige Mueller, and IC Global member Mortgage Bankers Association Research and Economics Vice President Jamie Woodwell.

When:  Thursday, July 13th, 2017
12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
Where:  Urban Institute,  5th Floor
2100 M Street NW
Washington, DC 20037

Register and learn more about the event  here .

IHC Global presents to Ghana Parliamentary Delegation
IHC Global Program Manager Sylvia Luchini made a presentation to the Ghana Parliamentary Delegation regarding the 2012 Real Estate Bill passed in Ghana and the merger between IHC Global and the International Real Property Foundation (IRPF) that occurred earlier this month. After the presentation, there were many questions posed, including how NAR and IHC Global can help Ghana leaders with the housing deficit and professionalizing the real estate industry. IHC Global is enthusiastically embracing fair property markets as a new key policy topic, and is looking forward to working with countries like Ghana to help improve their housing market systems.  See more from the event on IHC Global's media page here .

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Help us gain a better understanding of urban safety; take our survey here!
Feature IHC Global Urban Feature: Inclusive Housing
San Francisco's civil war over affordable housing

The Issue
Slate gives an in-depth look at the brutal civil war over affordable housing that is taking place in San Francisco, a city that in recent years has earned the title of "highest cost of living" in the United States. The city has the highest job-to-home ratio in the country, having added 373,000 jobs over the past five years, and only 58,000 units of new housing. The growing discontent over housing costs in San Francisco has not split evenly down the center, and instead has created skirmishes between many sides of the argument. While all advocacy groups agree that San Francisco is facing a crisis of affordable housing, they disagree on how exactly to fix it. Two groups discussed in this article in particular are the Democratic Socialists of America and the YIMBY (Yes, In My Backyard). The well-established Socialists are hostile to new development, believing new luxury housing will drive up rents locally. The YIMBYs, on the other hand, believe that tenants' interests align with developers, and advocate for housing growth in order to help lower rents.
What We See
The issues plaguing San Francisco are complex, and are relevant to many cities across the U.S. and abroad that are seeing influxes in population faster than housing can be built to accommodate them. The SF Democratic Socialists of America claim that they are not opposed to increased urban housing density, but that when that densification comes from capitalist developers, it will continue to push out the poor and make housing more unaffordable. The YIMBY's believe that without a massive increase in larger housing developments, the housing crisis will continue to get worse, and higher-income people who may have lived in newly developed luxury housing will instead push lower-income people out of currently existing housing. This article highlights, however, that even though the two sides on paper seem in total opposition, the reality is more complex-there are people who identify as "YIMBY Socialists" and can see the issues raised by both sides. While tension between groups-especially groups who have the same stated goal of making housing affordable-can be uncomfortable, it is important to understand the viewpoints of both sides, and constructive discussions between sides can lead to new and innovative solutions. The issues raised by Slate are a good reminder that there is no simple answer to affordable housing policy, and that continued study and research on the implications of various housing policy is crucial to creating inclusive and sustainable cities. The shortage in adequate affordable housing and tenure security remain challenges in many cities across the world, and are significant obstacles on the way to achieving urban equity and equality. But the charged atmosphere in San Francisco emphasizes the key role that citizens and other members of civil society have to play in local issues like affordable housing, and how important cooperation between civil society, the private sector and government will be in creating lasting and beneficial urban policies.

Read the full article  here.
To learn more about IHC Global's Key Policy Topics, which are both barriers and gateways to better, more equitable urban development, click here
In the news and around the web
  • Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg is launching a $17 million dollar contest for cities to address critical issues themselves.
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency for the New York City subway system, following a train derailment earlier this week that injured dozens.
  • Vienna seems to have figured out the solution to homelessness.
  • Street artists in Beirut are trying to make the city more bike friendly, one masterpiece at a time.

This 2015 mural rests on the side of a busy street in Beirut, Lebanon, as part of a movement to make the car-congested city more bike friendly.
     Source: Guardian Cities
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