A new study of a major urban safety campaign launched by the UN two years ago has found that political leadership is more important than a city’s wealth when it comes to protecting the lives and economic assets of cities and towns from disasters.
The lives of hundreds of thousands of people in Asian cities have been transformed thanks to an innovative project that enables the urban poor to improve their living conditions in partnership with city governments.
As global leaders look towards another round of climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa this December, the reality is that the poorest and most vulnerable populations in both developed and developing countries are already bearing the costs of climate change.
‘Low-carbon growth’ seems to be mentioned all the time with regards to environment and development policy. As a theory this is great, but how can the theory be made more concrete? What might the practice of low-carbon growth look like when applied to urban environments?
The future sprawls before us — urban sprawl, that is. John Vidal of the UK Guardiansays that in 50 years, we could see ‘vast “mega-regions” which may stretch hundreds of miles across countries and be home to more than 100 million people’.
In fact, they’re here already: the gargantuan Hong Kong-Shenhzen-Ghaungzhou conurbation, to take just one example, houses more than 120 million people.
Whether in-migration to these regions is a trickle or a flood (and the downturn has apparently had a mixed effect on migration to cities), the urban pull remains powerful, as the poor chase jobs and escape degraded rural environments or conflict.