In October 2016, 40,000+ people will meet in Quito, Ecuador for the largest cities summit in United Nations history – Habitat III. Three institutions (ICSU, The Future Earth Media Lab, FH-Potsdam) are launching an open call for visualizations to find new ways of exploring cities and sustainable futures. Submissions including data visualization, film, virtual/augmented reality, animation and infographics will be featured on our web platform and the best will be showcased during Habitat III.
Cities in developing countries have grappled with spatial planning, infrastructure, housing and, more recently, fragmented and “runaway” development. Spatial plans largely remain at a strategic level and less at the neighborhood scale, where there is a disjuncture between the envisioned urban layout and the actual development (Lwasa, 2013). The coupling of these multiple challenges has rendered planning a failure, resulting in a continued organic development of “informal” cities with diverse infrastructure and services that contrast with centralized systems used as the benchmark for measuring progress of a formal city. In this article, I postulate that the “informal city” is actually the city. Continue reading →
Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN), USA
It’s a new era for climate adaptation: Four out of the five most concerning global risks for the next 10 years are directly linked to the need to adapt to the changing climate (World Economic Forum, 2016). Though these are global problems often discussed at the national scale, urban areas are increasingly seen as having a critical role in the adaptation agenda. The 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) highlighted the need to establish a global goal on adaptation of “enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change.” In addition, the agreement calls out cities as relevant actors by acknowledging the need for non-Party stakeholders “to address and respond to climate change” (UNFCCC, 2015).
Walking around in a slum in the outskirts of Delhi this past summer, I asked a group of children what they dreamed of becoming when they grow up. Pat came the usual replies of becoming a doctor, engineer, Bollywood star, and so on. But there were some unusual responses as well. A little boy spoke with conviction of becoming a lawyer, and eventually a Supreme Court judge. Interestingly, this little boy’s response evoked the most admiration from his peers as he described how he would fight in the court to protect their settlement and get assured water supply and flood protection. Growing up in Delhi myself, this little boy’s response struck me as unusual but symbolic of the changing times, and shifting aspirations.
The Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN) released the Summary for City Leaders of the Second UCCRN Assessment Report on Climate Change and Cities (ARC3.2) at the Climate Summit for Local Leaders in Paris City Hall on December 4, 2015.