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being an immigrant or living in a "slum" is a feature not a bug
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MBAs must focus on urban explosion - YouTube

In the next 35 years 2bn rural people will move to cities. Reuben Abraham of India’s IFDC Institute tells Della Bradshaw, FT business education editor, that MBAs must focus on the business opportunities of rapid urbanisation in developing countries.

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Rapidly Urbanizing Populations Face Unique Challenges

Rapidly Urbanizing Populations Face Unique Challenges | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

A characteristic feature of Asian urbanization is the prevalence of “megacities” that are home to more than 10 million people. In 2011, there were 23 such cities worldwide, 13 of which were Asian. By 2025, the total number of megacities is expected to reach 37—with 21 in Asia alone. Specifically, Southeast Asia is home to the most densely populated cities: approximately 16,500 people per square kilometerare squeezed into the region’s urban areas.

 

Cities, especially in the developing world, must find a way to provide essential services to their ever-increasing populations. When cities fail to meet these essential needs on a large scale, they create areas known as slums, where households typically lack safe drinking water, safe sanitation, a durable living space, or security of a lease. According to UN HABITAT, 828 million people in developing-world cities are considered slum dwellers—one in every three residents. Slum populations are expected to grow significantly in the future, and UN HABITAT projects that 6 million more people live in slums every year.

 

The World Health Organization identifies the rapid increase of urban populations, especially slum populations, as the most important issue affecting health in the 21st century. The agency cites overcrowding, lack of safe water, and improper sanitation systems as the primary factors contributing to poor health among the urban poor. Slums often become breeding grounds for diseases like tuberculosis, dengue, pneumonia, and cholera, and slum dwellers contract water-borne or respiratory illnesses at much higher rates than people in rural areas do.

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The median age of a person living in the slums of the world is 18.

The median age of a person living in the slums of the world is 18. | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

The median age of a person living in the slums of the world is 18. Or, in other words, as Daniel Ragan of UN Habitat (officially the United Nations Human Settlements Programme) told the group, most people in slums are youth. Further, Ragan explained, most of these youth do not have families. These variables create significant challenges in the the work of UN Habitat, which works to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. Ragan spoke about a number of important projects in which they are trying to empower youth in slums to follow their entrepreneurial inclinations and develop businesses that will help them get out of the slums through modest financial grants from UN Habitat. Ragan noted that entrepreneurial projects of youth occur in spite of the allure of gangs, which often provide a much-needed sense of community to many of these kids.

 

One of the most riveting presentations at the breakfast was by  Dr. Joan Clos, the head of UN Habitat who spoke about the worldwide trends of increased urbanization of the planet and how most cities and countries are failing to adequately prepare for this. Dr. Clos described how nearly three billion or almost half of the total global population is under 25. The majority of these populations are living in cities and towns in the developing world where nearly 90% of the world’s urban growth is taking place.

 

“We therefore need to change the current model of urbanization to create more productive cities by focusing on more strategic issues including urban legislation, land tenure, urban planning and designing, urban economy and municipal finance to prepare the cities to be places that generate jobs for its ever increasing population … Youth issues should be at the center stage of this urban transformation.”

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Climate Change Promises Tough Times for Asia and Africa - Report

Climate Change Promises Tough Times for Asia and Africa - Report | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Urbanisation is increasing rapidly, especially in the developing world, with many more people living in slums and informal settlements, Kyte told IPS from London.

 

As climate change disrupts rainfall patterns and generates more extreme weather in the coming decades, leading to poor crop yields, rural populations will flood cities. Escalating numbers of urban poor will suffer, with temperatures magnified by the "heat island effect" of the constructed urban environments.

 

Safe drinking water will also be harder to find, especially after floods, contributing to greater water-borne diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea.

Coastal regions like Bangladesh and India's two largest coastal cities, Kolkata and Mumbai, will face extreme river floods, more intense tropical cyclones, rising sea levels and very high temperatures.

 

"Huge numbers of urban poor will be exposed in many coastal cities," Kyte said.

 

"We face a huge challenge over the next 20 years to... redesign our cities to protect them from climate change," Kyte predicted, even as cities already face a huge infrastructure investment gap.

 

One trillion dollars a year needed to be invested every year by 2020 by some estimates, Kyte said, adding that "to build climate resilience into cities will take another 300 to 500 million dollars a year".

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Making room - "Planet of Cities” by Shlomo Angel

Making room - "Planet of Cities” by Shlomo Angel | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

GROWTH, unemployment, industrial production—data for comparing countries is in rich supply. But if economists want to analyse and contrast cities, they have less to go on: most information is not standardised and is thus hard to compare. This is a problem, given the world’s rapid urbanisation and cities’ ever growing economic weight: the UN expects the urban population to double between 2010 and 2050, from 2.6 billion to 5.2 billion.


A new book goes some way toward remedying this deficit: “Planet of Cities”, by Shlomo Angel*, a professor of urban planning at New York University. To make “a modest contribution toward a science of the city”, Mr Angel and his colleagues generated a lot of comparable data on things such as urban expansion, population density and open space. (...)


On average, cities of all population sizes are growing at the same rate. Population densities have been in decline for more than a century—and not just in rich countries, where many cities have sprawled. It also seems to be a global norm that half of a city’s footprint is not built up. And the distribution of cities within a given country indeed follows the “law” that George Zipf, an American researcher, discovered in the 1940s: that the largest city is always about twice as big as the second largest, three times as big as the third largest, and so on. (...)


The book, however, is much more than an interesting exercise in urban statistics. Mr Angel does not hide his agenda: he wants to demonstrate that the movement of people into cities cannot be stopped; trying to slow down urbanisation and even stop it will produce all kinds of unpleasant side effects, he argues, not least driving up housing prices—which hurts the poor the most. (...)


Rather than copying such efforts to limit urban expansion, as some environmentalists advocate, rapidly growing cities in developing countries should take a page from New York and Barcelona, says Mr Angel. In the 19th century both cities decided to prepare themselves for rapid growth. In 1811 New York’s city council approved a plan which allowed all of Manhattan to be built up and included the island’s now famous street grid. In 1859 Barcelona followed suit with a similar concept to expand the city nine-fold.


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Biodiversity must be built into urban development to make future cities .

Biodiversity must be built into urban development to make future cities . | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Understanding how biodiversity can contribute to sustainable urban development will be vital as 70% of the world’s population moves into cities, an expert from the Stockholm Resilience Centre has warned.


Biodiversity must be built into urban development to make future cities ...


Thomas Elmqvist, a Professor at the University of Stockholm told RTCC that an area the size of South Africa is expected to be lost to rapid urbanisation over the next couple of decades.


He said this could pose a number of challenges, which a focus on biodiversity could help to solve.


“This will be primarily agricultural land,” he said. “This will have knock on effects because at the same time we have an increase in population and an increase in the need for food, so we will need to increase production. (...)


“Cities are facing enormous challenges; climate change is one,” he said. “We know that climate change will increase the frequency of heatwaves. It will also cause much higher variation in precipitation. Here is an opportunity for cities to embrace what we know about ecosystems and how they could reduce vulnerability.

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Urban living: Good for the planet, but bad for our brains?

Urban living: Good for the planet, but bad for our brains? | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Scientists have begun to examine how the city affects the brain, and the results are chastening. Just being in an urban environment, they have found, impairs our basic mental processes. After spending a few minutes on a crowded city street, the brain is less able to hold things in memory, and suffers from reduced self-control. While it’s long been recognized that city life is exhausting … this new research suggests that cities actually dull our thinking, sometimes dramatically so.


Via David Hodgson
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A more climate-oriented New Urbanism is needed, author says

A more climate-oriented New Urbanism is needed, author says | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

New Urbanism, though beneficial, is not enough to solve the world's resource problems, suggests Tigran Haas, a professor in Stockholm and Berkeley who has edited a hefty, illustrated collection of essays called Sustainable Urbanism and Beyond. We need "a New Urbanism that stands for a climate-oriented, socially balanced city,” Haas says, to “avoid the looming environmental disaster.” David Owen's 2009 book Green Metropolis extolled the environmental efficiency of cities like New York. Haas warns, however, that poor rural people with low ecological footprints are moving to cities in droves, and urban regions are “the main aggregate source of environmental degradation on the planet.” Urbanist Peter Calthorpe argues for combining efficient buildings, well-located transit-oriented development, and planning at a variety of levels. As he sees it, “only a whole systems approach, with each scale nesting into the other, can deliver the kind of transformation we now need to confront climate change.”


Get New Urbanism: Best Practices Guide, packed with more than 800 informative photos, plans, tables, and other illustrations, this book is the best single guide to implementing better cities and towns.

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Our Cities Will Define Our Future

Our Cities Will Define Our Future | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

After the post was vacant for more than a year, Jennifer Keesmaat started this month as the Chief Planner for the City of Toronto.


Canada’s future lies in its urban areas like Metropolitan Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal, much more than it does in its resources or agriculture. More than eighty percent of the food grown and resources mined and extracted in Canada is destined for city-customers. Urbanization is driving the wealth creation needed to pay for these materials. Urbanization is also driving most of our big planetary challenges like climate change, loss of biodiversity and soil degradation.


A few things Ms. Keesmaat calls for: greater cooperation between national and local governments (and a better appreciation at the national level on the importance of well-functioning cities); the need for good data and evidence-based decision making; addressing income disparities; the imperative of public transit and affordable housing; job creation; and better provision and use of infrastructure in suburbs.


more at Sustainable Cities Collective

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Cities and biodiversity: a call for up-scaled action

Cities and biodiversity: a call for up-scaled action | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Urban design and public space influence us in profound and multifarious ways – our health, fitness, diets, social life, mobility, psychology, aspirations, etc. Indeed, our relationship with biodiversity is a strong determinant of our psychological and physical wellbeing. Architects, engineers, and planners, endorsed by foresighted mayors and informed by the voices of science and local community groups, can together reconcile urbanisation with nature conservation, to create more sustainable, biodiverse and resilient cities. Our generation could render a positive and enduring legacy for the benefit of future generations.


Via David Hodgson
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Toponomic Urbanism |  Bumbogo, Designing A Uniquely Rwandan Urban Morphology

Toponomic Urbanism |  Bumbogo, Designing A Uniquely Rwandan Urban Morphology | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

The global South and particularly the African continent, is facing an incredible challenge in the form of urban growth. As much as this presents its own slew of challenges, therein also lies opportunity for design innovation and the development of an urban morphology that no doubt should be practical, but vitally embraces cultural and context sensitivity.

 

Rwanda, like much of the developing world faces the reality that its growing populace requires adequate housing, infrastructure, services and employment opportunities. Unique among these nations, it is densely populated without being highly urbanised. However, the demographic pressure of growing urbanisation is a source of justifiable concern for all levels of Rwandan government.

 

Africa needs to develop its own urbanity, based on each component of its culture; one that is turned towards the future and responds to people’s needs without denying its African roots - Guilliame Sardin

 

via  Another Africa

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The Connected City - Design Mind

The Connected City - Design Mind | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Discussing technology's role in transforming the urban landscape with the New Cities Foundation's Mathieu Lefevre.


design mind: With urbanization growing exponentially, it seems as though there will be an implosion. What is technology’s role in managing or improving these new environments or mega cities?


Mathieu Lefevre: Take the subway in any major city, particularly in Asia, and this implosion you refer to is visible. Half of the passengers are reading the news, emailing their friends or playing Angry Birds on a phone or tablet. But I think, as strange as it may sound, technology has the potential to make the mega city more human or certainly to allow humans to connect more. One of the factors most closely associated with the experience of the megapolis in surveys is loneliness. Technology, while it does not replace human contact, can help connect city dwellers and certainly navigate the immensity of the megacity.

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The Singapore Vertical-Farms that herald an Agricultural Revolution

In Singapore, the challenge of feeding a growing population is pushing the concept of urban farming to new heights. A super-efficient vertical farming system is producing greens for 5 million residents.

"Can we supply enough food for everyone on the planet?" is a question plaguing leaders around the world. In Singapore SkyGreen offers one example of how this might be possible, "not just technically, but economically". By increasing their food security while reducing the impact of food production on global climate change, SkyGreen is 10 times more productive per square foot than conventional farming.

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Food security: an urban issue

Food security: an urban issue | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

“Populations in general are growing very rapidly in Africa, and on top of that we’re seeing increased urbanisation,” says Mellissa Wood, director of the AIFSRC.

....

A new project by the World Vegetable Centre (AVRDC) is trying to address this by pulling together the issues of urban growth, migration, livelihoods and undernutrition, and drawing specific attention to the role of peri-urban 'corridors' of production outside cities.

.....

“young people in cities are not necessarily finding employment opportunities, and that is potentially increasing future food security issues in these regions. This project is quite holistic, so it’s getting young people into vegetable production as a source of livelihoods, helping existing farmers too, and optimising the whole system by finding improved varieties that will work well in particular regions, and strengthening value chains.”


The main vehicle for the project is the establishment of best practice hubs in peri-urban areas – which it defines as areas within 2-3 hours of cities – around the four target cities. These hubs will serve as centres for crop trials and experimentation, and will give the young producers who are new to farming full training in vegetable crop growing and management. They will also be open to existing farmers looking to improve their skills, so the idea is that they will serve best practice sites for the farming communities around them.

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Homegrown Cities Project: common sense to the rescue of Mumbai slums

Homegrown Cities Project: common sense to the rescue of Mumbai slums | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Bhandup is called a slum by the municipality. We prefer to refer to this hillside settlement located in the northeastern suburbs of Mumbai, as a ‘homegrown neighborhood’. We have been active there for a few years, documenting local construction techniques and contributing to the construction of a Hindu temple. From above, Bhandup looks a lot like a Rio favela. Within it has the same vibrancy and similar infrastructural issues. The area is typically low-rise, high-density and pedestrian. It is also mixed-use, hosting a great variety of businesses within its residential fabric. Every time we visit the area we see new houses being built by local masons and residents. Each of them occupies a 150 to 200 square feet area, and has one or two floors. Bhandup residents have access to water and community toilets, and electricity is available everywhere. Most people have television and cell phones. No one there is dying of hunger. What this neighbourhood needs most is to be recognized as a viable form of urbanization – not as a slum. The efforts of its residents and local constructors should be supported.

 

Our contention is that only by working within the existing fabric and with local actors, can urbanists, architects, engineers and policy makers contribute meaningfully to ongoing user-lead improvement in homegrown neighbourhoods. This is why we have just launched the project Homegrown Cities that aims at demonstrating that common sensical alternatives to ‘redevelopment’ do exist.

 

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/homegrown-cities

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Visualizing The Future Urban World

Visualizing The Future Urban World | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it
Think of the world’s biggest, most important cities and you probably picture London, New York, Beijing, Singapore--the bustling cities of today.

Via David Hodgson
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Very nice visualisations.

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Neighborhoods and Urban Fractals – The Building Blocks of Sustainable Cities

Neighborhoods and Urban Fractals – The Building Blocks of Sustainable Cities | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Realizing Natural Capital for a sustainable city or ecopolis: Urban systems are largely unplanned with only incidental (though crucial) relationships to the bioregions on which they are ultimately dependent.

 

Urbanisation is spreading across the face of the planet at an unprecedented rate. Most of it is opportunistic; ad hoc development and shanty towns rather than master plans. Virtually none of it, planned or otherwise, incorporates the elements of natural capital that are needed to create sustainable cities. Every time a new piece of urban fabric is created, or an existing piece is patched up and reworked, it may add to the value of the real estate but subtracts from the ecological health of the urban area. As each conurbation grows it diminishes the biological wealth of its region. Globally, the entire urban system trends towards becoming increasingly dysfunctional.

 

Paul Downton - Architect, Writer, Urban Evolutionary - explains cultural fractals and pocket neighbourhoods.


Culture is a living system of human relationships that expresses itself in language, arts, tool-making and social organisation, including politics and economics.


Urban fractals should include ecology: Design guidelines for non-human species. Each neighbourhood and precinct scale piece of the city should be an “urban fractal”, containing the essential characteristics that we want to see in the whole urban system, including nature, ecosystem services, and urban agriculture.


One can envisage that with each “pocket” within the neighbourhood containing both social and biologically productive or viable space the total socio-biological performance of the fractal would be enhanced.


Our cities need to be “greener”, incorporating and being incorporated by nature and ideally, operating within the framework and limitation of pre-industrial ecological systems. They need to greatly reduce (and ultimately help to heal) damage from global warming.

 

Overall, what’s needed is an approach that allows for individual initiative, creativity and diversity but ensures that all the individual initiatives are related to each other in ways that are practical and effective. So let a thousand fractal flowers bloom – and include all the bugs that make an ecosystem work.


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Communities Aren't Just Places, They're Social Networks

Communities Aren't Just Places, They're Social Networks | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Cities are obviously more than just the sum of their physical assets — roads and bridges, offices, factories, shopping centers, and homes — working more like living organisms than jumbles of concrete. Their inner workings even transcend their ability to cluster and concentrate people and economic activity. As sociologist Zachary Neal of Michigan State University argues in his new book, The Connected City, cities are made up of human social networks.


Does the design of streets, for example, influence who our friends are?


What are the key factors that shape the networks of a connected city?


To what degree do influential people matter to the connected city? 


Via David Hodgson
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Why We Need a Better 'Science of Cities'

Why We Need a Better 'Science of Cities' | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

In his just-released Planet of Cities, Shlomo Angel argues that urban policy-makers and planners must do more to meet the challenge of urbanization. Angel, who is a member of the Urbanization Project at New York University and who conducted his research as a visiting fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, provides a detailed, data-driven analysis filled with maps of world urbanization patterns, as well as charts and tables documenting the challenges facing global cities. He took time out from his busy schedule to talk to Atlantic Cities about the key challenges facing our increasingly urban world.


RF: We live in an expanding urban world. How much and what kind of expansion can we anticipate? What parts of the world will see the most of it, and how can we best cope?


SA: In the coming decades, say between 2010 and 2050, cities in industrialized countries will add 170 million to their populations while developing countries will add 2.5 billion, or 15 times that. The largest shares of this growth, 25 percent each, will be in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian subcontinent, and an additional 15 percent will be in China.


Via Flora Moon
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Study: Urbanization threatens biodiversity | Big News Network

Rapid global urban expansion will threaten biodiversity unless action is taken in a limited amount of time available, a study by three U.S. universities found. Researchers at Yale, Texas AM and Boston University predict that by 2030 urban areas around the world will expand by more than 463,000 square miles, equivalent to 20,000 American football fields becoming urbanized every day for the first three decades of this century.


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Restoring Our Urban Environments: Featured Research Projects

Restoring Our Urban Environments: Featured Research Projects | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

We urban dwellers are all too acutely aware of those lifeless stretches of land that surround us: former landfills, industrial or transportation sites, coal mines, dumping grounds of all sorts...more than an eyesore, these sites are ecological disasters, threatening the physical and mental health of residents.


For over a decade, a Rutgers professor has been literally sowing the seeds of revival and bringing degraded land sites back to life, reaping the fruits of an ecological science experiment conducted in New Jersey in 1994.

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polis: Mapping the Suburbanization of Poverty

polis: Mapping the Suburbanization of Poverty | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

One of the fundamental issues in American urbanism is the changing geography of poverty. American cities are famous around the world for having abandoned large portions of the central core, largely unthinkable in Europe and much of the world. Even if suburban historians are doing their best to remind us that poverty — along with economic, social and ethnic diversity — has always existed in suburbs, shifts in recent decades are fundamentally changing metropolitan life in many parts of the country.

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Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier - Edward L. Glaeser

Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier - Edward L. Glaeser | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

"The hallmark of declining cities is that they have too much housing and infrastructure relative to the strength of their economies. With all that supply of structure and so little demand, it makes no sense to use public money to build more supply. The folly of building-centric urban renewal reminds us that cities aren’t structures; cities are people."

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