Weekly Urban News Update
August 30, 2019
In This Update: 
Indonesia Will Move its Capital to East Kalimantan Province
Sinking Cities Around the World
When Kathmandu Was the Shangri-La for Electric Vehicles
Urban Traffic Fatalities and Gun Violence Are More Closely Related Than You Think
In Cities, Ride-Hailing Companies May Be Violating the American with Disabilities Act
Light Pollution in Cities is As Serious as Air Pollution - But with an Easier Fix
How Buenos Aires is Using Open-Source Data to Engage Communities and Better Public Services
In the News and Around the Web
IHC Global Spotlight Event: Megacities in an Era of Climate Change
IHC Global Publishes Three Part Series on Women and Water
IHC Global is Looking for an Intern!
Indonesia Will Move its Capital to East Kalimantan Province
Indonesian President Joko Widodo based his re-election campaign on his track record of building major infrastructure projects. Now, he promises to deliver on his largest infrastructure project yet: moving the capital city from Jakarta to East Kalimantan Province in the Indonesian part of Borneo Island. Poor air quality, traffic congestion, dangerous sidewalks, and especially rising sea levels make life difficult for Jakarta's ten million residents. Some worry if the decision to move the capital means the government will no longer invest in improving Jakarta. But, according to Widodo: "Jakarta will remain as the priority in development and will continue to be developed as a business city, financial city, trade center and service center on a regional and global scale."

Read more here.
Sinking Cities Around the World
Indonesia is not the only country in the world with a sinking capital, reports CNN. Jakarta grabbed international attention this week after Indonesia's president announced it would move its capital largely due to the threat of rising sea levels. Rising sea levels increasingly challenge cities like Beijing and Houston who over extract groundwater, drying up the soil and creating compact that leads to sinking. For some cities, like Lagos, frequent flooding erodes the coastline with severe consequences. Experts report that should the sea level in Lagos, Africa's largest city, rise 3-9 more feet it will "have a catastrophic effect on human activities in [those] regions."

Read more here.
When Kathmandu Was the Shangri-La for Electric Vehicles
Currently the pollution in Kathmandu exceeds five times the World Health Organization standards for safe air. But Atul Bhattarai at City Lab reports that at one point during the mid-1990s, the Nepalese capital was a "Shangri-La" for electric vehicles. During that decade Nepal piloted its battery-powered Safa Tempo buses - long before much of the world turned to battery-powered vehicles.  But, the batteries needed to be replaced frequently and at a higher cost than the government was willing to pay. Combined with pressure from Nepali car dealers, the government soon neglected the buses' upkeep. Now that Nepal has signed on to the Paris Climate Agreement, it promises to transition to electric vehicles in order to halve its fossil fuel use by 2050. But, the moment is bittersweet, says Umesh Raja Shrestha, the current president of Electric Vehicles Association of Nepal. Shrestha explains that had the Nepalese government continued to support Kathmandu's Safa Tempo buses during early 2000s: "By now, every bus you see might be electric.

Read more here.
Urban Traffic Fatalities and Gun Violence are More Closely Related Than You Think
Brookings Institute scholars Hanna Love and Jennifer S. Vay argue that it is time to broaden the definition of safe streets. Love and Vay explain that policymakers and planners typically characterize unsafe streets in two separate ways: vulnerability to a vehicular and traffic fatality and vulnerability to violent crime such as gun violence or robbery. The authors assert that to better plan for safe cities, urban planners and policymakers must consider traffic fatalities and gun violence as two sides of the same coin: both forms of violence have their origins in historical inequities in how cities were designed. To advance street safety, stakeholders must not only "improve roads, but [also] invest in communities," and understand that only by "broaden[ing] our understanding of safety to encompass multiple, interlocking sources of place-based disadvantage can we begin to build truly safe and thriving streets."

Read more here.
In Cities, Ride-Hailing Companies May Be Violating the Americans with Disabilities Act
Lawsuits in New York City, Chicago, and the Bay Area claim that ride-hailing companies like Lyft and Uber are violating the Americans with Disabilities Act in cities by not doing enough to ensure equal transportation. The lawsuits say that Lyft and Uber have done little to invest in disability-friendly vehicles that can accommodate wheelchairs and some activists claim that Uber and Lyft have actually made it more difficult for people with disabilities to move around cities. This is because as Uber and Lyft drove taxis out of business, they were also driving "many wheelchair accessible taxis out of business, too." Uber and Lyft argue that they are tech, rather than transportation companies, meaning they are not subjected to federal requirements under the ADA. So far this argument has not convinced judges who are allowing the lawsuits to move forward.

Read more  here .
Light Pollution is as Serious as Air Pollution - But with an Easier Fix
Light pollution may be just as harmful as air, water, and soil pollution, writes Karen Lightman at Axios. The consequences of light pollution in cities, which effects 99% of people living in the U.S. and in Europe, can result in sleep deprivation, impaired daytime functioning, obesity, and reportedly has negative effects on nearby animal populations as well. But, Lightman explains that light pollution is an easier fix for cities than other forms of pollution. Cities like Pittsburgh and Middletown, Ohio are updating their street lights to reduce the span of light, Asheville is limiting its outdoor restaurant lighting, and Hollywood, Florida is requiring ocean front properties to dim their light to avoid interfering with sea turtle and migration patterns.

Read more here.
Buenos Aires is Using Open Data to Engage Communities and Better Public Services
At Urbanet, Fernando Straface, General Secretary and International Relations at the City of Buenos Aires, and Juan Martin Vila, General Director of Institutional Quality and Open Government at the City of Buenos Aires, explain how Buenos Aires is using open data application to improve public services and increase transparency. Since 2012, the city has developed an Open Government Ecosystem to make city data publicly available and easily and freely accessible. Buenos Aires Public Works, for example, has made data on more than 900 public work projects that took place 2016-2019 available in an online platform. Straface and Vila enthuse: "The more data [that] is available, the more tools people have to unlock new ideas and solve every day challenges their cities are facing."

Read more here.
In the News and Around the Web
  • What Are the World's Safest Cities?: The Economist Intelligence Unit says the top 3 cities are all from Asia - Tokyo, Singapore, and Osaka. Washington, DC comes in at number five.
  • How Newark Can Avoid the Mistakes Made during Flint and Washington's Water Crises: Planning for safe water in cities requires transparency, equity, science, prevention, and a child-centered strategy.
  • UN Emphasizes Partnerships with Youth and Civil Society in Salt Lake CitySalt Lake City hosted the 2019 UN Civil Society conference this week.
IHC Global Spotlight Event: 
Megacities in an Era of Climate Change: Living with Extremes

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Extreme weather events are having immediate and long-lasting effects on the economic activity of megacities such as Karachi, Chennai, and Beijing. At the same time, rapid population growth, migration, and human economic activity at massive scales threatens the environmental health of megacities. The School of Advanced and International Studies (Johns Hopkins University) and Foreign Policy Institute will host a panel of esteemed speakers to discuss these pressing issues.

Find event information here.
IHC Global Publishes Blog Series on Women and Water in Cities
In observation of   World Water Week, 2019 IHC Global is pleased to present a 3 part series on women and urban water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH). Gaby Alfieri discusses the effects of water insecurity on pre and postpartum women, the importance of menstrual hygiene management for women and girls education and economic empowerment, and how women can serve as WASH champions. Find the series here.
IHC Global is Looking for an Intern!
IHC Global seeks a  part-time intern for Fall 2019 to provide research and project support for a number of our ongoing initiatives. For more information, please email Natalie Gill at ngill@ihcglobal.org

Frequent flooding in Lagos, Nigeria has resulted in rising sea levels . (Photo Credit: CNN )

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