Weekly Urban News Update
December 1st, 2017
In This Update

Urban migration is a hot topic these days; of the hundreds of millions of migrants around the world, the overwhelming majority are making their new homes in cities. Much of the attention has been focused on how these migrants are changing the landscape of primary cities, like London or Berlin. But they're moving to secondary cities too, and their impact in these cities paints an interesting picture. Secondary cities- which are cities with under 500,000 people- are growing faster than any other cities in the world, and if handled right, the influx of migrants can be an opportunity for these cities to prevent the increased prevalence of slums and harness economic opportunity. Because many of these cities are in early stages of urban growth, they have a unique chance to include migrants in their urban development plans, curbing the growth of informal settlements and including migrants in the formal economy, which will enhance economic growth.
Read more about how migrants can change secondary cities for the better here.

The drought of 2014-2015 nearly destroyed Sao Paulo, Brazil. The worst affected areas faced utter chaos, in the form of theft, looting and violence. Now, water experts in the city are warning that it might happen again. In 2015, the drought happened due to lack of rainfall, but this potential drought would be caused by something else: deforestation of the Amazon. According to Jerson Kelman, the president of the Brazilian water company Sabesp, cutting down the rainforest harms the flow of water in the region, and, coupled with the negative effects that deforestation has already had on climate change, could affect the water resources of over 20 million people in the sprawling metropolis.
Read more about the slippery slope to a drought that Sao Paulo is balancing on here.

Singapore is short of land, so urban architects have built upwards instead of outwards. Though buildings that scrape the sky have allowed more people to live in the crowded city, it has reduced the communal feeling of old Singapore, and has led residents to feel increasingly isolated. Urban developers are trying to counteract this effect, by integrating parks, community centers, schools, shops and cafes into the high rises. These "vertical villages" have succeeded in giving residents a sense of community outside of their own four walls, and could be a good example for cities whose residents also struggle with isolation, like Tokyo and others.

Watch a video exploring these "vertical villages"  here.
D  Urbanization & Slums: Infectious Diseases in the Built Environment

The Forum on Microbial Threats, in collaboration with the Board on Life Sciences, will host a 1 and a half-day workshop examining "Urbanization and Slums: New Transmission Pathways of Infectious Diseases in the Built Environment." This workshop will feature discussions on the social, physical, environmental, and political drivers of infectious disease transmission in an increasingly urban and interconnected world; effective interventions and policies to achieve sustainable, health-promoting urban built environments; and strategies to close the research gap and scale up successful practices.  Invited speakers and discussants will contribute perspectives from government, academia, private, and nonprofit sectors at the global, national, and local levels.

When:  December 12, 1:00 PM - 5:30 PM EST
December 13, 8:30 AM - 3:30 PM EST
Where:  National Academies Keck Center
500 5th St. NW
Washington, DC 20001

Learn more about the event  here.
Feature IHC Global Urban Feature: Urban Safety
A new plan aims to make eight Indian cities safer. Will it work?

The Issue
Cities worldwide have made exponential progress in regards to climate change, health, technology, and more. But one issue that holds cities back from living up to true inclusiveness and sustainability is safety, especially women's safety. The U.N. estimates that 1 in 3 women will experience physical or sexual violence in their lives, and since the majority of the world's population now lives in cities, this statistic represents a truly urban problem, particularly in spaces outside the home. Some countries are experimenting with plans and policies that could be pushes in the right direction. One of them is India. A new "safe city" plan has been announced by the Indian Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, after a meeting with municipal commissioners, police commissioners, senior state government officials and civil society representatives, and is expected to be implemented in eight cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Lucknow and Hyderabad. These cities will have improved emergency response systems and police verified public transport systems, and each city has discussed other ways that they plan to secure women's safety, including "installation of CCTV cameras, deployment of women in police stations, prevention of cybercrime, infrastructure issues, mapping of dark spots and crime-prone areas and involvement of educational institutions." 

What We See
Cities in India have long been notoriously dangerous places for women. Statistics from as recent as 2016 show that Delhi and Mumbai still top the charts for violence against women in the country: Delhi reported 13,803 cases of crimes against women, and Mumbai reported 5,128 cases. Studies have shown that much of sexual harassment and violence occurs during the daytime in public spaces, like streets, trains and parks. Another study that focuses on Delhi found that because of the constant harassment, 33% of women surveyed stopped going out in public.

The "safe city" plan that these Indian cities are expected to implement is long overdue, and a necessary step to curb the epidemic of sexual violence in the country. Though no final plan has been released yet, the solutions discussed- like more female police, installation of cameras, and collecting data- are encouraging. Integrating women's safety into smart city technology is another encouraging prospect to come out of this meeting. Several apps used in cities, including "the 'Himmat' app and 'shishtachar' program of Delhi Police, 'Hawkeye' mobile app and 'Bharosa' program of Hyderabad Police, 'Suraksha' app of Bengaluru Police and Power Angels of UP police," were mentioned as ways for the city to crack down on the most dangerous areas for women. But above all, IHC Global was pleased to see that  the government included civil society representatives in the conversation, a perspective that is essential for city governments to grasp the whole picture of women's safety in their cities. IHC Global is looking forward to seeing the specifics of the plan; ensuring safety for women and other vulnerable groups should be a number one priority for cities across the globe. If the program is successfully adapted to and effectively addresses the specific issues that each of the eight cities face, it could be adapted to cities in other countries as well. This would be a great step forward!

Join IHC Global next Tuesday as Communications Officer Rebekah Revello and the World Urban Campaign discuss the challenges that #TheCityWeNeed faces on the way to truly safe cities, and what urban practitioners and policymakers can do to help. Learn more information about the Twitter chat here.
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
News In the news and around the web
  • Urban philanthropy is not always successful. Is there a better way to help cities?
  • Is there a realistic future for floating cities?
  • A retrospective on Sandy focuses on the aftermath of the hurricane, and how coastal cities remain vulnerable to rising sea levels.
  • Check out photographer Jeffrey Milstein's amazing photographs of cities from above.

 One of Jeffrey Milstein's shots from above New York City.
     Source: Jeffrey Milstein
safetyTake our Making Cities Safe survey
IHC Global has created a survey to increase understanding and share knowledge around issues of safety in cities-looking specifically at safety in the home, on public transport, in formal and informal workplace settings, and in common spaces such as sanitary facilities. Results from this survey will provide input into a policy report addressing how SDG 11, Target 7, Indicator 2-which focuses specifically on making urban spaces safe--can be met.

Help us gain a better understanding of urban safety; take our survey  here!
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