urbanization

Recent stories

China’s Next Growth Challenge

On September 8th, 2013, the Financial Times invited a rather special guest to write an op-ed. Li Keqiang, the Premier of China, described his vision for the nation’s future economic development. Li wrote that the country needs to carry out an important round of reforms, a follow-up to those started by Deng Xiaoping more than thirty years ago. Li’s set of reforms, often called “Likonomics” by Western observers, comprises various policies designed to sustain economic growth, notably through an opening-up of the private sector.

Where is the Funding in Detroit’s Farm-to-Fork Movement?

Steady access to capital is still a long ways off for pioneering local food entrepreneurs in Detroit. However, cooperation amongst entrepreneurs and mounting advocacy for innovative business structures are bringing secure funding into the horizon. DETROIT, United States – Detroit’s local food pioneers are transforming the fallow landscape and bringing nutritious cuisine to eager restaurants and families all across this notorious food desert. Despite demand from the community, many of these entrepreneurs are struggling to secure capital. The path to stable funding is complex and subjective, but enormous strides can be made with better enterprise planning on a micro scale and policy advocacy for alternative business models on a macro scale.

Geoff Cape, Reimagining Cities at Toronto’s Evergreen Brick Works

For a long time, the environmentalists’ mantra was Thoreau’s declaration, “In wildness is the preservation of the world.” Increasingly, however, environmentalists have become preoccupied by the concrete jungle: the city, dressed in glass, concrete, and steel. The city’s importance can’t be over-stated, because half the world’s population now lives in urban areas, and because the city consumes for more than 75 percent of resources, worldwide. In some parts of the world cities are growing rapidly; in others they are losing population and falling into disrepair. Yet, cities everywhere are being forced to reimagine themselves due to variability in population and climate. The way they do so will have massive consequences for our communities and collective ecological resilience.

Mega-Cities, Mega-Problems

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brasil – Rarely does it happen in the world’s metropolises that the most valuable parcels of real estate are given to shanty towns. Slums are usually relegated to the suburbs, along the fringes of the city, far away from “normal” citizens and tourists. In Rio, the opposite is true. Few premier hotels and upper class condominiums offer such breath-taking views of the city and its coastline as do the favelas.  And more and more of the city’s poor are “taking advantage of them.” Images: Visit of Favela Morro da Providencia (Source: Student Reporter).

When Hamlet Came To Rio

As I took part in some of the side events today on sustainable transport, a cognitive dissonance was created in my mind. It happens quite often that brilliant ideas somehow do not marry so easy with everyday reality. Even at Rio+20. People from all over the world – large global multinationals and the most powerful countries – have gathered at Rio’s Athletes’ Park in the city outskirts. The topic under discussion – bright new ways of managing the concrete spaghetti that feeds the daily maneuvers of urban inhabitants.

Rio+20 – Starting in Favelas

Friday June 15, Rio De Janeiro, Impanema district.  My first walk around the town leads me to the “favela” or shanty town close by. It is located on a hill, so I take the elevator to the top. From the elevator, the view across Ipanema and Cocacabana is breath-taking. The favelas of Rio are like islands, most often located on the numerous hills of Rio city. Noticing the security standing at the entrance of the favela, I worry that my adventure may be reckless for a foreigner traveling alone.

Green Growth, Water and Gender: An Interview with Marcia Brewster

The World Water Forum provided a unique opportunity for some of the authors and directors of wH2O: The Journal for Gender, Water and Sanitation at the University of Pennsylvania to meet face-to-face for the first time. StudentReporter.org Editor Caroline D’Angelo, co-chair and Editor-in-Chief of wH2O, sat down with Marcia Brewster, an wH2O author, to discuss green growth, water and gender. Ms. Brewster is a phenom in the water and development world: she has worked with the United Nations, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Water Association, Gender and Water Alliance and the World Water Council. She also is a contributing author to UNESCO’s World Water Development Report, and chaired the IANWGE Task Force on Gender and Water. While much of her work and expertise lies in gender and water, she has recently been a part of the Water and Green Growth Project.

How to reconcile Sustainability and Urbanisation – with Mark Swilling

“Should we limit the use of ressources?” Mark Swilling will reflect on this during the first plenary session, basing his presentation on “Africa’s Development Challenges in a Resource Constrained World”. However, he also had declared “The key, it’s the innovation” during his collaboration on the United Nations Environment Program; as he trusts in mankind’s capacity to invent new sustainable technologies. He also pointed out the challenge of urbanisation which offers pooling services and scale economy. He emphasizes a paradox about urban zones : they use more resources but they also have a bigger potential for innovation. Currently, Mark Swilling is professor at the School of Public Leadership, University of Stellenbosch.