Cities & sustainability III

Written by  //  January 27, 2023  //  Cities, Sustainable Development  //  No comments

Cities4Biodiversity
Homes for People
How Nordic policies can improve
Australia’s housing affordability

28 April 2022
More affordable housing with less homelessness is possible – if only Australia would learn from Nordic nations
There is almost a universal consensus among economists, for example, that negative gearing favours the interests of investors to the detriment of others, but both major parties are scared to change the policy.
One way to break the policy stalemate is to consider policies shown to have worked in other countries. To facilitate this, the Nordic Policy Centre – a collaboration between The Australia Institute and Deakin University – has published an overview of housing and homelessness policies in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland.
Of particular note among the wide range of housing policies in these nations is the prominence of housing co-operatives, which assist both renters and those wanting to own a secure, high-quality home. …
We identified who’s most at risk of homelessness and where they are. Now we must act, before it’s too late (25 November 2021)

Featuring Sauvé alumnus Yaniv Rivlin
Tel Aviv’s E-Scooter Transformation (video)
(Bloomberg CityLab) High-tech workers have been flocking to Tel Aviv for years, and many move around by electric scooter, bicycle and other forms of micromobility. The company Bird has recorded more than 10 million shared rides in the last four years, and some 550,000 unique users. That’s changing the face of the city: Bike lanes line roadways, allowing riders to zip past gridlock, and streets are filled with pedestrians and spaces for e-scooters.
Tel Aviv plans to more than double its bike paths to cover 350 kilometers by 2025 — part of a long-term mission to make one of the world’s most congested cities car-free and pollution-free. It’s also part of the city’s strategy to attract more high-tech workers and keep them there.

26 January
Zimbabwe Plans a New City for the Rich
Zimbabwe’s leader is seeking investment for a new national capital with luxury homes just down the road from an impoverished and overcrowded Harare.
By Ray Ndlovu and Archana Narayanan
(Bloomberg CityLab) Zimbabwe’s political leaders have a remedy for the collapse of the capital Harare: Build a new “cybercity” with as much as $60 billion of other people’s money.
The development in Mount Hampden, 11 miles northeast of Harare, is slated to be the site of the national parliament, headquarters of the central bank, the high and supreme courts, mineral auction centers, a stock exchange, a presidential palace and luxury villas.
The planned development in Mount Hampden reflects “a ruling elite preoccupation not to interrupt their lives by having to see dirt and poverty,” said Stephen Chan, a professor of world politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. In 2005, Zimbabwe’s leaders cleared slums and informal businesses in cities with earth-moving equipment in a program called Operation Murambatsvina, which means “move the rubbish” in the Shona language, displacing 2.4 million people. Now, rather than attempting to address underlying issues, officials are opting to move the capital entirely.

2022

21 December
To attain global climate and biodiversity goals, we must reclaim nature in our cities
Emma Despland, Professor, Biology Department, Concordia University
(The Conversation) At the 7th Summit for Subnational Governments and Cities, an official parallel event to the COP15 biodiversity conference, cities were brought to the forefront of conversations on how to protect life on Earth.
As a researcher of terrestrial ecosystems, I believe that we cannot think of nature as something set aside in wildernesses, far from human activity. We need to conserve some elements of nature everywhere, including in the cities we live in.
Cities are growing rapidly and covering more and more land. They are often built on the most fertile land, near rivers or coastlines. This is also where most of the biodiversity lives. It is, therefore, crucial to conserve nature in cities.
To add to this, some ecosystem services that humans rely on only operate within short geographical limits. Healthy soils and wetlands absorb rainwater and snowmelt to buffer floods, while trees filter pollutants from the air and alleviate heat waves. All these services are most effective when nature is close to where people live, making it crucial for cities to preserve their nature.

3 December
Xueman Wang: Our program Cities4Biodiversity under the Global Platform for Sustainable Cities just finished its meeting in Paris on Urban Nature and Biodiversity with the participation from 50 cities in 22 countries. We were all impressed by Paris’ green vision and the commitment to bring nature to cities and convert the abandoned railway to a green belt that enriches biodiversity.
Nov 28 – Dec 02
C4B 2nd Deep-Dive Learning
– Theme 1: What are urban nature and biodiversity?
– Theme 2: How to manage urban nature and biodiversity & How to manage “urban trees”?
– Theme 3: How to incorporate urban nature and biodiversity into spatial planning and urban form
– Theme 4: How to incorporate urban nature and biodiversity into project financing

16 November
Global climate finance leaves out cities: fixing it is critical to battling climate change
Astrid R.N. Haas, Fellow, Infrastructure Institute, School of Cities, University of Toronto
(The Conversation) Climate finance …is being discussed as part of the Paris Agreement negotiations, and is a key theme of the COP27 conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
This finance can come from a variety of sources – public, private, or other. But it is specifically earmarked for activities and investments linked to mitigating or adapting to the effects of climate change.
The current architecture of the institutions and funds that provide climate finance is, however, not designed to work at a sub-national level. Therefore across the globe, cities are being left out. This situation is even more pertinent for African cities as Africa is both the fastest urbanising continent in the world and among the most vulnerable to climatic change. Yet the continent is receiving, by far, the lowest climate finance flows overall.

12 November
Putting a price on nature can help municipalities adapt to climate change
How a small town is saving millions on climate adaptation by embracing nature’s services
(CBC What On Earth) … In 2012, Gibsons changed the definition of infrastructure to include “natural assets.” By putting a value on things like wetlands, forests and coastlines, a municipality like Gibsons can make a financial case to invest in, protect and restore these ecosystems while also benefitting from the services they provide.
The town valued the water management services White Tower Park could provide at $3.2 million — which was about the same cost as engineering an equivalent system.
“It’s not about putting a dollar figure on the environment,” said Emanuel Machado, the town’s chief administrative officer. “But the reality is that decisions are made with data, particularly with financial data, and if you want to provide … a business case in this for a natural alternative, then you have to understand the value of that service.”
As communities across Canada face increasingly frequent and severe impacts of climate change, some are turning to nature as a way to help adapt. Gibsons has inspired other municipalities, including a Canada-wide Municipal Natural Asset Initiative, to look to local ecosystems as part of the solution.

The Municipal Natural Assets Initiative (MNAI) is changing the way municipalities deliver everyday services, increasing the quality and resilience of infrastructure at lower costs and reduced risk. The MNAI team provides scientific, economic and municipal expertise to support and guide local governments in identifying, valuing and accounting for natural assets in their financial planning and asset management programs, and in developing leading-edge, sustainable and climate resilient infrastructure.
To provide community services in a cost effective and sustainable manner now and in to the future, local governments are looking for ways to improve management of the critical assets that supply these services.
Asset management—the process of inventorying a community’s existing assets, determining the current state of those assets, and preparing and implementing a plan to maintain or replace those assets—allows municipalities to make informed decisions regarding a community’s assets and finances.

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