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u r b a n

July 2009
Volume 1 Issue 3

Innovative cities
Why learning is the key to
urban development

India bids to be a global leader in solar energy

After the Sichuan earthquake: how citizens are rebuilding shattered lives
Why the gender gap is growing in cities
Interview: Mexico City’s Mayor reveals a novel approach to urban regeneration


u r b a n CONTENTS
4 Message from the Executive 18 A new strategy to close the
P.O.Box 30030, GPO Director gender divide
Nairobi 00100, Kenya
Tel. (254-20) 762 3120
Emily Wong
Fax. (254-20) 762 3477 5 Drivers of change
E-mail: urbanworld@unhabitat.org
Gary Lawrence ARUP 22 Global parliamentarians
EDITOR: Roman Rollnick Berti Leinius
7 Cities and the business of the
Oyebanji Oyeyinka (Chair)
environment BEST PRACTICES
Daniel Biau John D. Wiebe
Lucia Kiwala 26 Giving revenue collection a big
Anatha Krishnan
Eduardo López Moreno 9 Lessons from an elder boost in Somaliland
Jane Nyakairu statesman Antony Lamba, Asia Adam and
Edlam Yemeru
Nicholas You
Interview with former Edward Miller
Mariam Yunusa Mozambique President Chissano
Raf Tuts
29 Anji County
San Vicente Martir 16-6-1
46002 Valencia, Spain
Tel. (34) 96 303 1000 INNOVATIVE CITIES 32 News and project round-ups
Fax. (34) 96 303 1234
(North America and Europe)
E-mail: urbanworld@pressgroup.net 11 Secrets of innovative cities
PUBLISHER: Angus McGovern
MANAGING EDITOR: Richard Forster
Tim Campbell
STAFF WRITERS: Jonathan Andrews,
Kirsty Tuxford
ART DIRECTOR: Marisa Gorbe
14 How innovation can drive
ADVERTISING: Fernando Ortiz, Clive Lawson, economic recovery
Kristine Riisbrich Christensen Christine Auclair
Urban World is published four times a year by
UN-HABITAT and Pressgroup Holdings Europe
S.A. The views expressed in this publication
are those of the authors and do not reflect the
views and policies of UN-HABITAT. Use of the
term “country” does not imply any judgment
by the authors or UN-HABITAT as to the legal or
other status of any territorial entity.

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a n Reprinted and translated

u r ObR L D articles should be credited
W “Reprinted from Urban World”.
July 2009

Reprinted articles with bylines

1 Issu

must have the author’s


cities name. Please send a copy

ative e key to
Innolevarning is thent of reprinted articles to the
Why developm
d lives
editor at
r energy shattere

bids to
the Sich
be a glob
uan eart
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er in sola ens are rebu
how citiz
ing in
als a nove
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After gap is or reve
gender ’s May
Why the Mexico City

Photo © With the Permission

P of BilBao
Bao turismo

u r b a n
11 28
2 WORLD July 2009


36 Latin America 64 People

Mexico City rides a new wave: “Young people are the
interview with Marcelo Ebrard forgotten majority”
Jonathan Andrews A donor speaks out
Interview with Eric Berg
News and project round-ups
44 Asia and Pacific
Can India lead the global
market for solar power?
Kirsty Tuxford
66 UN-HABITAT reveals
Business Award winners
Jake Julian
47 After the quake: how self- 68 Countdown to Expo 2010
build is the key to Sichuan’s Katja Makelainen and Maria-Jose
recovery Olavarria
Maya Alexandri
69 Publications
News and project round-ups
70 Book review
53 Africa Medinas 2030
Field report from South Sudan
Eduardo Feuerhake 74 Calendar of events

News and project round-ups 75 Conference briefing

Cities at the climate change
60 Middle East frontline
News and project round-ups

62 Central and Eastern Europe

News and project round-ups


36 Volume 1 Issue 3
u r b a n
July 2009 WORLD 3
OPINION Message from the Executive Director

N early 150 years ago, the

great French author and
thinker, Jules Verne (1828
– 1905) wrote about air travel, air con-
ditioning, metro rail systems, cars, te-
of a new inclusive civilization? How can
we help create vibrant and socially cohe-
sive urban communities?
Would Mr. Verne have been able to tell
us how to use the economic downturn to
levision, the internet (a worldwide “te- be more inventive and innovative?
legraphic” system), and other pillars of The world’s urban professionals have
our globalized urban world several ge- a huge responsibility in front of them
nerations before any of these were even because reinventing cities is largely in
invented. their hands. Architects, planners, sur-
He even wrote about calculators and veyors, engineers and landscape ar-
a chair with an electric charge that was chitects, have an ethical if not moral
used to execute criminals. And perhaps obligation to help confront the urban
just as startling, Verne predicted a geo- challenge ahead. Each time architects
metric, modern centrepiece built for and planners draw a line, they define a
the Louvre. The glass pyramid standing space. That space has to be more socially
there today was built well over a lifetime inclusive and environmentally sounder.
after his death. In that year 1863, he also What they design becomes part of the
wrote about a tall tower in Paris – a generation before the Eiffel urban landscape for generations to come.
Tower. The private sector has also an enormous role to play as driv-
All of this in his futuristic novel, Paris in the 20th Century. ers of economic change and leaders of innovation. But this time,
And well before their time, he also spoke of modern skyscrapers. given the nature of the global crisis, the business community has
His descriptions of the modern innovative city are very similar realized that it has a stake in investing in people and in commu-
to what we have in the real world today. How would he find it nities on a larger scale.
today, browsing around a riverbank stall along the Seine with The private sector understands well that business cannot suc-
posters of our planet from space, some showing the ravages of ceed in a society that fails and well functioning cities are needed
climate change and pollution coming from dirty cities? for harmonious development which in turn drives economies,
How would such a great urban thinker find our urbanized underwrites employment, and enables markets to work.
world today? Therefore, the global financial crisis makes investing in inclu-
It is a blight on our generation that he would probably not sive development more urgent than ever.
have been surprised to see that we have reached a point in his- In this equation, national and local governments have a large
tory early in the 21st century where unless cities can be made responsibility to support and encourage the professionals and
more sustainable, the legacy of negative environmental and so- the private sector to work towards solutions and reinvent cit-
cial costs will become irreversible. ies together while involving communities. This global challenge
In this urban era with more than half of humanity living in cit- will be at the heart of UN-HABITAT’s work in the years to come
ies and towns, urban poverty, deprivation and social exclusion with our new World Urban Campaign. The Campaign advocates
will become pervasive with a resultant increase in crime, and better design and better planning for urban spaces, safer and
health problems and, of course, political and social unrest. healthier communities, and more equitable and inclusive urban
Cities will continue to provide a refuge for those escaping con- governance in order to attain better quality of life for everyone.
flict zones. Would Mr. Verne be shocked at our slums, today home It will be about reinventing cities together as one global
to one billion people mostly in cities in the developing world? community.
The negative consequences of rapid and poorly planned ur- After all, the city is our greatest achievement. Although ro-
banization, including climate change, shows us that the local bust, it is also fragile, and it must have care and nurturing like all
and global agendas are one and the same. Well planned and resilient living organisms. Cities are the cradle of human inven-
managed cities and communities are not only at the heart of tion, art, culture.
any effective strategy in reducing poverty and social exclusion Our modern world’s economic, political and social stability
in an urbanized world, they are also critical to reducing the eco- rests on the city’s shoulders. City states preceded the creation of
logical footprint of cities for sustainable development to become nation states. And today cities endure and this is truly something
possible. While there will be no single solution, the issues and to celebrate.
challenges are clearly universal and require global learning and
The question that needs to be posed is how can we harness
the positive aspects of urbanization to promote social inclusion,
smarter growth and thus contribute to our collective stability
and prosperity? How can urbanization become the cornerstone

u r b a n
4 WORLD July 2009
Gary Lawrence OPINION

Drivers of change:
building our urban
Sustainability and sustainable development are about how the Earth’s natural systems work
and how they affect and are affected by individual and aggregate human behaviour, writes
Gary Lawrence*, Principal and Urban Strategies Leader at Arup.

T hat we do not really understand

the long-term causes and effects
at the intersection of natural
phenomena and human behaviour is quite a
barrier to sustainability. Neither mortal nor
computer model has the information and
perspective necessary to demonstrate exactly
what is going on, or what best to do.
The biggest barrier to making more re-
sponsible decisions about the present and fu-
ture is the number of individuals and groups
active in the discussion that are absolutely
certain about things for which certainty is ir-
responsible. One particularly virulent form of
this phenomenon is the propensity of groups
to be certain about the values, motives, and
desires of others without ever discussing
them honestly.
I am convinced that the ideas and viewpoints
of sustainability and sustainable development
are attractive. If we have the courage to reshape
the ideas in ways that have more natural and Gary Lawrence Photo © aruP
emotional appeal to the citizens of the world,
we can, I think, see sustainable development be-
come the context through which civic renewal, Should those of us who are doing just fine 1. Gaining clarity about the nature
greater justice, more equity, and more construc- feel any obligation to our fellow humans whose of the problem or opportunity
tive ownership in our new urban future can local systems are in collapse? Should we take What if we accepted that the true cost of oil
emerge. steps to make life better for future people we is USD 480 a barrel?
Sustainability is both a physical reality and will never know? Should we try to make human There is a tendency to focus on attributes,
a political choice. The physical reality is that development more sustainable? rather than fundamentals, because the
there is a limited amount of land, fresh water People now and in the future demand attributes are often more intuitively
and natural resources. As we use these up or that we completely integrate the aesthetic obvious. Climate change is an attribute
alter them so they are no longer beneficial, and scientific factors, as well as the real of the more fundamental issues of en-
we limit our future potential. Technological needs and desires of people – their senses, ergy and population growth and even
innovation can help clean up some of our their emotions and their diverse identities. population growth is a function of available
messes, derive better benefits from underu- In this context it can be considered that energy resources, yet we have decided
tilized resources, and occasionally provide there are four critical stages to shifting from that the problem is greenhouse gas
substitutes for scarce resources. one paradigm to another. emissions.

u r b a n
July 2009 WORLD 5
OPINION Gary Lawrence
Conflict in Africa taking the Responsibility to Protect

In June 2007, renowned energy expert kinship are not convinced that the problem 4. Choosing to do what we know
and analyst Milton Copulus, estimated at hand is a priority then the majority will Cities house half the world’s population
the true cost of oil at USD 480 per barrel. withhold their permission. but consume three-quarters of the world’s
This takes into account the direct and in- resources and produce three-quarters of
direct costs, economic costs of oil supply 3. Knowing what to do and being hon- the world’s pollution.
disruption, and military expenditures. This est with the public We are not focusing sufficiently on the big
would translate to USD 220 to fill the aver- Some 35 million new housing units are questions that shape our future. The activi-
age family car in the United States. How we needed annually – or 95,000 units daily – ties of urban settlements are key contribu-
value energy, price it, choose to use it, and to meet the world’s urban housing need. In tors to climate change factors. For most
share it drives the climate equation. 2005, one out of three urban dwellers was people in the world, the lack of water for
If we were willing and able to fold all of living in slum conditions. irrigation of crops and the lack of potable
the now external costs of energy into fully- We can feel more confidence (and influ- water for drinking will have a much more
loaded costs would that in itself make de- ence) when addressing attributes of prob- dramatic and immediate effect than rising
sign more effective? Energy issues shape lems rather than fundamentals, but ad- sea levels and the increasing range of com-
possibilities about location, mobility and dressing attributes will never solve the un- municable disease associated with temper-
access, and building form itself. derlying problems. For instance, design can ature increases. Global climate change and
go a long way towards addressing aspects of its current and potential consequences for
2. The problem or opportunity must some problems. life property and prosperity are accepted as
be addressed However, great design of products that the major challenge for human society in
What if we understood that it would take do not advance civilization merely uses up the next 100 years.
at least 120 years for a standard waste in- scarce resources without addressing the Without the choice to act, and in the
cinerator to produce the amount of dioxins core of the problem. The fundamentals are cases we care about the choice to act differ-
resulting from London’s Millennium fire- nearly always political. We make choices ently, conventional wisdom will dominate
works display? rooted in the interplay of self-interest, and we will make much less progress than
Often we are certain we know the answer sympathy for others, respect for others, and would otherwise be possible. The choice to
without having undergone any sort of meth- concerns about our own morality. act differently is a risk management issue
odological approach to gaining knowledge. Nowhere is the ascendancy of self-inter- – political risk, financial risk and resource
For instance, communities almost always est more apparent than in addressing our management risk. u
resist waste-to-energy facilities in part for housing issues.
fear of emissions. But do they know that Getting housing built for the homeless
one of the things most communities love and poorly housed is a serious problem. In
can be much more damaging? How do we, my days as planning director for the City of *Gary Lawrence is a principal at Arup
in communicating what is really at stake in Seattle, we used the term affordable hous- and its Urban Strategies Leader. He
such key decisions, move beyond conven- ing to describe housing units that could be provides thought leadership for strategic
tional wisdom into actual rational conver- afforded by those with household incomes urban development throughout the firm’s
70 global offices. With roots in Seattle,
sations about cause and effect? less than the regional median household
he has served as advisor to the Clinton
It can be all too easy for professionals to income. After a long and painful process,
Administration’s Council on Sustainable
propose solutions to problems that stake- we discovered that for most residents in
Development, UN-HABITAT’s landmark
holders either do not think need addressing the communities in question, the term af af-
Habitat II conference in Istanbul in
or are of lower priority than other issues fordable housing meant “housing for peo- 1996, the US Agency for International
cared about. Part of this is the result of not ple who aren’t like us, who don’t share our Development, the Brazilian President’s
getting the question right and this is facili- values, and who are threats to our property Office, the British Prime Minister’s
tated by the tyranny of experts where the and lives.” It is not surprising that there is Office, the European Academy for the
public is expected to simply defer to the in- such resistance to affordable housing. Urban Environment in Berlin, and
tellectual superiority of others. Experience Finding ways to reduce the psychologi- the Organization for Economic and
teaches us that this is often a path to heart- cal distance between communities that Community Development (OECD) in Paris
ache. And part is a failure to appreciate perceive themselves as stakeholders in the on matters of sustainable development
and incorporate the wisdom of the masses future of a place and those that they per- and environmental policy. He is actively
involved in the local and national chapters
when they are provided unbiased informa- ceive as not stakeholders is very tough. If
of the Urban Land Institute, the American
tion that is accessible to them, not just to we can’t find formulas in which sympathy,
Planning Association, and the US Smart
the experts. respect for rights, and concerns about each
Growth Leadership Council. In Bellingham,
This is not to suggest that majority must other’s individual moral identity balance Gary serves as Adjunct Professor at
rule. The literature is pretty clear however the perceived self-interest of those who fear Huxley College of Environmental Studies
that if institutions and individuals that the the change, then it is possible only at huge at Western Washington University.
majority trusts and for whom they feel some political cost.

u r b a n
6 WORLD July 2009
John D. Wiebe OPINION

Cities and the

business of the
Urbanization has transformed human society and in the
process is redefining the business of the environment, says
John D. Wiebe, President and CEO of the Vancouver-based
GLOBE Foundation of Canada, a not-for-profit organization
dedicated to finding practical business-oriented solutions to
the world’s environmental problems.

John D. Wiebe Photo © GloBe foundation

E nvironmental concerns and activi-

ties increasingly are a part of our
everyday lives. As nations large
and small, rich and poor strive to cope with
the changing social, economic and ecological
The business of the environment in to-
day’s urban-centered world has changed to
encompass most of those activities that de-
fine the quality of our daily lives.
The fact that more than half of humanity
accommodate greater urban densities while
improving the amenities needed for healthier
The increased demand for and the rising
costs of energy have sparked the redesign
challenges of urban growth, our concepts of now lives in cities is well known. of household appliances, heating and light-
what constitutes the business of the environ- Responding to the environment-related ing fixtures, passenger vehicles, and many
ment are also changing. challenges of rapidly growing urban popu- other consumer products to make them more
Historically the business of the environ- lations – particularly in the mega-cities of energy efficient and durable. On a broader
ment encompassed activities and enterprises the developing world – is a daunting un- scale they have stimulated a technological
focused on solving problems of air and water dertaking, the enormity of which cannot be revolution focused on harnessing new forms
pollution, the remediation of contaminated minimized. It is a task involving more than of low-carbon energy and transforming and
land, the supply and reuse of water, and the supplying safe drinking water, improving smartening the electricity grids that power
management of liquid and solid wastes. air quality, providing adequate housing, or our cities and towns.
More recently the environmental market- managing the disposal or recycling of waste. The need to feed, clothe and keep healthy a
place has grown to include the development It extends to the very form and design of growing population has led to more sustain-
of technologies to supply and make more ef- cities and of the transportation, communica- able supply networks for food and water, and
ficient our use of energy, both traditional fossil tion and distribution networks that are the in the management of liquid and solid wastes.
fuel based and from renewable sources. lifelines of cities. It encompasses the crea- Municipal waste to energy systems are becom-
Increasingly people are finding employ- tion of urban spaces where people can live ing commonplace and the technologies they
ment in a broad cross section of sectors that and work, and to the restoration of ecologi- employ more innovative.
now comprise the green economy many of cal balances between cities and the hinter- In effect, whereas in the past urbanization
which did not provide significant environmen- lands that sustain them. It includes making was viewed as a bad thing, that led people to
tal content in the past. better use of the energy needed to power the live in miserable conditions in slums with few
These include activities and enterprises services and facilities upon which we depend opportunities to find work, or to educate their
designed to reduce carbon emissions, particu- to survive. children or to escape poverty, many now see
larly in the transport and construction sectors; The enormity of this challenge is in fact urbanization as the engine of growth that can
to transform our cities into more sustainable the wellspring of the changes that have lead to cities which, if well planned and man-
and healthier places in which to live and work; transformed the business of the environ- aged, offer their residents new opportunities
and to provide more environmentally friendly ment. The demand for housing in urban ar- for productive lives.
goods and services for an increasingly urban- eas has prompted the redesign of buildings A useful analogy to better understand the
ized global population. and the products used to construct them to enormity of the transformation of the business

u r b a n
July 2009 WORLD 7
OPINION John D. Wiebe

business and government has environmen-

tal considerations it must deal with. Even
the finance, banking and insurance indus-
The Globe Foundation
tries are being influenced by environmental
concerns, many of which relate to climate The GLOBE Foundation, formed in 1993,
change and global warming. has helped companies and individuals
That is why growth estimates for the busi- realize the value of economically viable
ness of the environment are so persistently environmental business opportunities
high relative to other economic sectors. through its conferences and events, re-
Over the past decade growth in traditional search and consulting, project manage-
‘end-of-pipe’ environmental business activ- ment, communications and awards. It
ity has risen by 3 to 5 percent a year in most helped, for example, to ensure that the
developed economies, but at much higher third session of UN-HABITAT’s World
rates – approaching and often exceeding 10 Urban Forum in Vancouver in 2006 was
percent per year in many emerging econo- a landmark historic event. For further in-
mies, particularly in India and China. formation see: www.globe.ca
When renewable energy and low carbon
technology sectors are factored in, antici-
pated growth rates for the business of the
environment increases dramatically. on the global green economy. Key findings
Countries in Eastern Europe still require include:
enormous investments in basic environ- Sectors particularly important for their
mental infrastructure, such as water supply environmental, economic and employment
and waste management. Developing coun- impact are energy supply, renewable ener-
ties in Asia and South America require mas- gy, buildings and construction, transporta-
Cities need to be healthier and more sustainable places
sive investments in primary environmental tion, and basic industries such as agriculture
to live and work Photo © dan PaWley
services including clean air, water and land and forestry.
over the next 10 years. The most significant Already over 2.3 million people work in the
of the environment is to view cities as living potential growth in environment-related renewable energy sector and an additional
beings. Cities can grow old and can die, as business is found in China and India, the 20 million jobs are expected.
do all living things; and maintaining good world’s most populated nations. In agriculture, 12 million new jobs could
health applies as much to cities as it does In addition to the traditional environ- be created in biomass for energy and related
to the people who live in them. Cities can mental goods and services industries, re- industries.
be reborn. newable energy technologies are forecast A worldwide transition to energy-efficient
Building on the parallel with medicine, to grow exponentially over future decades. buildings would create millions of jobs, as
there is equally a split between treating ill- The International Energy Agency forecast well as existing employment for many of the
ness and preventing it, between remedying that by 2030 renewable electrical genera- estimated 111 million people already in the
environmental problems and preventing tion including hydropower, wind, solar, construction sector.
them. geothermal, wave and tidal power will grow Investments in improved energy efficiency
Perhaps the greatest preventative chal- globally by 145 percent over 2008 figures. in buildings could generate an additional
lenge the world now faces relates to climate Even in the shorter term, growth fore- 2 - 3.5 million green jobs in Europe and the
change, and cities are highly vulnerable in casts for the key components of the envi- United States alone, with much higher poten-
this regard, particularly those in low lying ronmental business sector are positive, tial in developing countries.
areas relative to adjacent oceans, or in wa- notwithstanding current economic condi- Recycling and waste management em-
ter scarce regions where persistent drought tions. Growth in traditional environmental ploys an estimated 10 million in China and
conditions prevail. Increasingly the busi- goods and services will exceed 22 percent 500,000 in Brazil today and is expected to
ness of the environment is focused on de- by 2015 over 2007/8 levels; by 45 percent grow rapidly in many countries due to esca-
ploying the measures required to adapt to in the emerging low carbon component, lating commodity prices.
the impacts of climate change or to protect and by an astounding 63 percent in the re- In short, the business of the environment
cities from violent weather disturbances newable energy sector. in the world’s cities will continue to expand
and flooding. Efforts to tackle climate change will cre- and in the process will improve the quality
Today’s business of the environment is ate millions of new green jobs in the com- of living for city dwellers everywhere, and
cross-sectoral, multi-disciplinary and links ing decades, according to a joint study last also create new livelihoods and economic
almost every industrial sector in the mod- year by the International Labour Organiza- prosperity. The future of our planet de-
ern economy. Almost every organization in tion and the UN Environment Programme pends on it. u

u r b a n
8 WORLD July 2009
President of Mozambique OPINION

Lessons from an
elder statesman
One of the world’s greatest men of peace, Joaquim Chissano,
the former president of Mozambique, told a youth summit on
the eve of the fourth session of the World Urban Forum last
year that he always looks up to them for wise counsel and
advice. Mr. Chissano, who speaks five languages, is the winner
of the inaugural Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African
Leadership in 2007. He led Mozambique for 18 years during
which he steered the country out of a devastating civil war.
Lee-Anne Ragan met him in Nanjing last November when
they presented a workshop together on peace building at the
fourth session of the World Urban Forum.

President Joaquim Chissano Photo © un -h

ere are eight lessons I learned How it applies to business: take a hard 4. Look to your roots
from President Chissano about look at who all your stakeholders are and keep Don’t forget the root causes of conflict (such
facilitating peace on the local them meaningfully involved all the way. as the root causes of tradition), and don’t just
and global stage. Many of his words of wisdom take a superficial look.
below apply to business practices as well. 3. Keep your eye on the horizon Language is important, values can be
Always keep your eye on the overall vision: found in verbs – especially in a country where
1. Be realistic maintaining reconciliation and unity. Learn people speak different languages even in the
Peace is sometimes more complicated to keep how to live in and with new conditions. Keep same province.
than to make. After a conflict, people are ea- being creative. How it applies to business: dig deep -
ger to recover and you have to go through the How it applies to business: balance being how does your organizational culture affect
process of reconciliation, especially when the present and future focused. conflict?
conflict involves internal enemies – nationals
of the same country.
It’s complicated. After reconciliation the
situation is not the same as before the con-
flict. You cannot reconstitute the country the
same way. You have to learn how to live in
new conditions.
How it applies to business: manage peo-
ple’s expectations regarding conflict and

2. Keep making peace all the time

Peace-building is about many things. The
material reconstruction and infrastructure –
schools, hospitals, shops and homes.
But then there is also social reconstruction.
Families, disarmament and demobilizing, the
reintegration of refugees, and displaced peo-
ple starting life anew. Reconciliation requires
maintaining unity. Peace-building is progres-
sive and it doesn’t stop. You have to keep
working at it all the time. Peace has been kept in Mozambique Photo © alan rainBoW

u r b a n
July 2009 WORLD 9
OPINION President of Mozambique

and this was no longer possible, we had to

change the way we transferred new farm-
ing methods to people. But while it’s good
to embrace the new, make sure it’s not at the
expense of traditional knowledge that is still
How it applies to business: experience
shows it is usually not the first company to
use a break-through technology which suc-
ceeds, but those that follow. Balance your or-
ganization’s traditional knowledge with what
new technology has to offer.

7. Always be properly informed

When it comes to replicating best practices,
not everything will work everywhere. The
realities in Africa are different and there are
tendencies in the West to think that Africa is
one country. We are many countries that had
many different levels of development when
the Europeans first came.
Show due appreciation for these different
characteristics and look at the things that
work. Learn how we gather together in the
African Union, and understand our cause.
Africa is not alone in its tribal differences or
its failures – just look, for example, at the
Balkans and parts of Eastern Europe.
How it applies to business: seek out di-
verse opinions, ask questions, don’t burden
yourself with thinking you have to be an ex-
pert in everything.

8. Keep busy
Problems and frustrations lead to violence
when people are not at peace in their commu-
nities or their families. Search for sustainable
peace with development. People need to keep
busy so set up programmes and don’t allow
people time to quarrel. They should be busy
solving their problems.
How it applies to business: realize and
communicate your vision of success clearly
and get busy achieving and sustaining it.
Balancing traditional methods with new technology is key Photo © alex QuistB
uist erG
And a final bit of wisdom as we parted
5. Respect diversity, language and How it applies to business: figure out what “I think the creation of confidence building
culture is expressed in your organization that may is critical in peace building.” u
Mozambique lacks a national language. One not be understood by everyone and ensure
does not realize how much this affects a na- better understanding and shared values.
tion when one has to speak through inter- Lee-Anne Ragan is President and Director
preters. You cannot pretend that everyone 6. Embrace technology but never lose of Training at the Vancouver-based corpo-
will understand what you say. Keep cultures sight of the basics rate training company, Rock.Paper.Scissors
alive. Show respect for the ways people bury My mother cultivated her fields using tradi- Inc. (www.rpsinc.ca)
their dead or celebrate their weddings. tional methods. But as the population grew

u r b a n
10 WORLD July 2009
Innovative cities COVER STORY

Secrets of innovative
Many of the cities that have implemented innovations in recent decades have drawn on
systematic learning, much of it gained from sources outside the city. Here Tim Campbell*,
Chairman of the Urban Age Institute, says that recent evidence suggests that cities are on the
move, actively seeking to find good and better practices.

Communication between cities has been insufficient in the past Photo © sasha aickin

u r b a n
July 2009 WORLD 11
COVER STORY Innovative cities

Why don’t cities learn?

In effect, they have already formed a large
shadow economy of knowledge. They know that
successful places have reformed, restructured,
or enjoyed regional competitiveness. What is
not so well known is that successful places en-
joy a kind of soft infrastructure composed of a
learning environment that is characterized by
trustworthy relationships, a culture of sharing,
and a willingness to collaborate.
But how is this achieved? The UN-HABITAT
Dubai Best Practice Awards have identified
and celebrated hundreds of great innovations.
But larger numbers of cities lag behind, or are
bogged down in making reforms. Why are suc-
cesses in a few places not spread more rapidly?
Why don’t cities learn?
The growing body of work in the academic
and institutional literature has largely ignored
these questions, although scholars in several
distinct domains — organizational learning
(and learning organizations), capacity — and
institution building, social capital, regional
competitiveness — provide some clues for ex-
ploration, for instance about the conditions, Bilbao removed trade protections to protect its economy
mechanisms and measurement of learning.
At the same time, regional economists and labelled “corporate”, “technical”, and “infor- Trade Development Alliance, and more re-
geographers have sensed that city and regional mal”, respectively. cently the Prosperity Partnership — all play a
competitiveness consists of some special re- Bilbao pursued complex organizational ar- role in keeping track of events, documenting
gional attributes that depend on home-grown rangements in Metropoli 30, an agency that findings, and building a data base.
qualities. brought a large variety of stakeholders to the Each of the cities has taken on the role of
table incorporated them into a formal struc- tracking performance indicators. Curitiba en-
Snapshots of learning innovators ture with a balance of powers and transpar- joyed a clear mandate from the beginning and
Recent research shows that innovative cities ency in deliberation, decision-making, and currently supports a strong data base on city
like Bilbao, Curitiba and Seattle have many implementation. management and performance. Basic infor-
similarities and important differences. First, Curitiba structured its learning process in mation on demographics, land use, income,
they are similar in that a crisis or shock of some IPPUC, the Planning and Research Institute economic fundamentals, and environmental
kind jolted them into action. of Curitiba. The most important elements of quality helped IPPUC partner with national
Bilbao perceived and reacted successfully learning took place within a smaller techni- authorities in many projects and activities,
to a threat to the city’s economic survival with cal staff of seasoned professionals operating for instance, housing census and infrastruc-
elimination of trade protections with the forma- interactively with each other. ture projects.
tion of the European market; Curitiba foresaw The learning style of the Trade Develop- Bilbao has assigned importance also to
increasing congestion in its inner core and was ment Alliance (TDA) in Seattle is the most benchmarking and now trades on this data
already vulnerable to chronic flooding. Seattle informal, and in many ways, inward of the and comparative analysis that it makes pos-
also experienced crises, first in the 1970s and three cases. The intense interaction among sible. Likewise, Seattle and the Puget Sound
again in the 1980s, with the cutbacks at Boeing participants in Seattle’s annual study tours Prosperity Partnership are now developing
Aircraft, one of the city’s primary employers. and trade missions has the effect of breaking data and city indicators, recruiting other cit-
Second, in each of these cases, the cities val- down barriers and forging new bilateral and ies from the Pacific Rim and Europe to take
ued information and knowledge and took the multilateral understandings among public, part in comparative analysis about innova-
initiative to obtain it, creating different mecha- private, and civic groups taking part in the tion and competitiveness.
nisms of discovery, proactively seeking out outbound visits. Perhaps the most important repository of
knowledge from other parts of the world to feed These cities are all proactive about knowl- acquired knowledge is in the minds of the
into city thinking and planning. edge, and each has its own way of accom- many actors involved in learning – members
Third, the cases provide three different plishing this. The flagship organizations in of the public and private sectors, civil society
versions of proactive learning that might be each case — Metropoli 30, IPPUC, and the organizations and neighbourhood groups.

u r b a n
12 WORLD July 2009
Innovative cities COVER STORY

Learning without change cities in Asia and Latin America. The

Of course, not all learners are innovators. survey identified innovators in terms of
Cities have different types of learning styles self-declared “reformers” as opposed to
that affect the outcome of their efforts. Let “non-reformers”. To what extent are cit-
us call the proactive learner-innovators ies engaged in learning, what modalities
Type 1. Others vary in many ways, although are involved, and how to innovators differ
the following categories are neither tidy nor from the others?
mutually exclusive. Intensity of learning: For starters, the sur-
A second type engage in a specialized, self- vey found that innovative cities spend a lot
defined classes — like cultural heritage cities more time learning than the rest. Respond-
or Agenda 21 cities — let’s call them Type 2. ents in reformer cities personally devoted
They focus on specific goals, have a narrower an average of 3.6 weeks per year (upwards of
scope of concern, and restrict the extent to 12 percent of the real working year) acquir-
which the learning reaches into the commu- ing new knowledge in city to city exchanges,
nity. Though the process of learning in Type whereas the non-reformers spent only 2.8
2 cities may last more than a decade, if the weeks in this activity. These compare to na-
engagement is intermittent and core stake- tional level investments in learning of 3 to 6
holders are limited, the formation of the soft percent for OECD countries and to 5 to 7 per-
infrastructure is stunted. cent of staff time in training in US corpora-
Similarly, cities that engage in twinning — tions in 2008, respectively.
lets call them Type 3 learners — may take part Modality of learning: When asked about
in high intensity learning, but twinning is usu- the most effective form of learning, for in-
ally focused on one or two core business prac- stance, seminars, private sector sources, uni-
tices, for instance, procurement or community versity courses, activities of associations and
Photo © With the Permission of BilBao
Bao turismo based planning, and confined to a restricted city-to-city exchanges, this latter category
number of participants, often city employees. ranked first and was ranked much higher by
Proactive cities have excelled in building and The interactive process is short term and usu- the innovative cities.
strengthening systemic relationships between ally technical. Many cities in Type 2 learning Content of learning: Cities indicated pri-
and among members broad segments of civil and most in Type 3 have much less opportu- ority interest in a surprisingly small number
society. The continuity of policy, political nity than Type 1 cities to establish a continuity of substantive and policy areas. Urban plan-
commitment, and practice, seen most strik- of learning, extensive and repeated interaction ning and transport were each mentioned by
ingly in IPPUC, has allowed the creation of with many players, and depth of common un- half the respondents, followed closely by
deep reservoirs of knowledge and learning derstanding. economic development and urban renewal
that are continuously available to city deci- Similarly again, those cities that learn and reconstruction. Utilities such as water,
sion-makers and private and civic partners. new ideas and concepts in conferences and electricity, solid waste and housing trailed
Seattle and Bilbao also built up a large stock on the web, Type 4 learners, might be said well behind. On management issues, re-
of knowledge in their respective networks. to be grazing on externalities of knowledge spondents indicated an interest in finance,
These practices in all three cities under- events, but enjoy little if any net effect on urban policy making and metropolitan gov-
score the importance of longevity of com- collaborative spirit and the construction of ernance, in that order.
munity members and rates of turnover in the a soft infrastructure. Storage of knowledge: An important meas-
professional and artistic talent in the com- At the same time, prospective learners can- ure of learning activity is the extent to which
munity. not ignore the potential value of grazing. All learning is documented or tracked. Here the
The bottom line is that the soft infrastruc- cities can benefit from accidental discoveries, picture is mixed. Only a few respondents
ture, i.e. the collaborative character and but few cities can expect much in new knowl- reported no record keeping at all. The rest
cooperative spirit of a place, is intangible edge and even less in soft infrastructure by made use of a blend of in-depth record keep-
but indispensable. Though information and engaging only in Type 4 learning. Accordingly, ing, follow-up, and monitoring. The question
communication technologies are important, cities need to manage two types of learning is important because of the issue of storage
they do not show up as a central feature of connections, loose and strong. and ability of a city to build knowledge over
innovative cities. Rather, it is the collective time. Recall that the three cases of proactive
learning in a place, the activities that engage Light on the shadow economy of (Type 1) learning cities described earlier sug-
a wide cross-section of stakeholders that learning in cities gest that both hard and soft forms of storage
break down internal barriers and create com- An informal survey of 27 cities throws ad- are important, but little is known about how
mon understanding. Innovative places create ditional light on the shadow economy of these forms are blended and interact with
a culture of knowledge. Perhaps it could be learning. A web-based survey conducted learning or indeed, whether patterns or even
called a learning culture. by the Urban Age Institute covered mostly strategies of learning are formed. u

u r b a n
July 2009 WORLD 13
COVER STORY Innovative cities

How innovation can

drive economic recovery
One way to deal with the global economic crisis is to invest in, and reinvent cities. President
Barack Obama’s Plan to Stimulate Urban Prosperity which focuses on building sustainable
communities through green urban policies and supporting innovation clusters, exemplifies this,
writes Christine Auclair, Chief of UN-HABITAT’s Private Sector Unit.

Investment in cities can lead to positive change, especially for the poor Photo © Wee linG soh

u r b a n
14 WORLD July 2009
Innovative cities COVER STORY

N ew housing and related infra-

structure investments in cities
can act as key engines for eco-
nomic regeneration to restore the wealth of
households and generate new demand. Ms.
Jane Jacobs, the late Canadian urban vision-
ary, was among the first to argue that cities are
the true engine of growth and that innovation,
in the long run, is what keeps cities vital and
relevant. The question is: Will the financial
crisis inspire innovation that will help cities
reenergize their creative economies and gen-
erate sustainable solutions?
In the 1930s, at onset of the great depres-
sion a movement of planners came up with vi-
sionary projects, using new technologies and
principles, which made up the modern city as
part of a political project to reinvent societies.
In the United States, the New Deal produced
gigantic infrastructure and housing projects.
War and recession, coupled with population
increase and urbanization, pushed society at
the time to reinvent cities.
Today’s economic downturn has brought A victim of recession: an abandoned factory in Detroit Photo © maha rashi
some dramatic fiscal and revenue reductions
in many cities, affecting investment, develop- companies and such services clearly improve percent of the world population. What is be-
ment and maintenance of infrastructure. Busi- people’s lives. At the bottom of the pyramid, hind the strength of these mega-regions?
ness is seriously affected in key manufacturing there are lessons to be learned. The simple The Nobel laureate Robert Lucas, gives one
regions, cutting more and more jobs. In times and most economic solutions generated in explanation in the Journal of Monetary Eco-
of crisis, a CEO will tell you that customers are tough times can be optimal at best, and rep- nomics suggesting that talent-clustering is a
under stress. Yet some will disappear and oth- licable, even if they are not ideal or not what key driver of economic growth. Further, talent
ers will emerge stronger. And the market, as it most people necessarily want. rich eco-systems benefit from an accelerated
has done for the past 30 years, will return to Where will innovation lead in this double rate of urban metabolism said another study
growth – led by the companies that took ad- global financial and environmental crisis? published by the Santa Fe Institute. It added
vantage of the downturn to become even more A simple answer might be where the talent ex- that successful cities, unlike biological organ-
valuable, to grow even faster. This time, for ists. But matters are far more complex, with the isms actually get faster as they grow. They can
many, confidence in the market has vanished likeliest beneficiaries being the strongest eco- overcome financial problems with more ease
like a bubble burst before our eyes, calling for nomic regions that work as engines of the global than others, keeping talents and absorbing
real new thinking. economy as well as talented and innovative cen- growing and successful businesses. Hence, it
In order to forge a vision for innovative cit- tres that accompany their development. seems that eco-systems most likely to suffer
ies, one has to go back to the basics and look Richard Florida, writing last month in the from the financial downturn are those which
at urban survival options in the most affected The Atlantic magazine on how the new down- are at a distance from high finance and least
part of the world. Walking through a slum, turn will reshape America argues that the fi- connected to the strong economic hubs.
the amazing number of small businesses is nancial crisis will create “great mega-regions Along the same lines, a recent study of the
striking. These are businesses one would that already power the economy, and the world geography of innovation from McKinsey
never think of: a visitor can find hand-made smaller, talent-attracting innovation centres illustrated by a new Innovation Heat Map, has
windmills, solar batteries and pumps to bring inside them”. identified the factors common to successful
water and energy to homes, and retail shops Citing the United States as the example, he innovation hubs – the business environment,
selling repackaged products in easy sellable said that a reshaped America will be focused government and regulation, human capital,
small quantities to cater for slum customers at on these mega-regions and be “a landscape infrastructure and local demand. The study
amazing prices. that can accommodate and accelerate inven- shows that innovation hubs are characterized
Innovation based on survival strategies can tion, innovation, and creation”. by broad portfolios of businesses and sectors
lead to smart ideas. One recent outstanding According to recent studies, the world’s 40 and that diversification is the key to long-term
example is mobile phone money transfer sys- largest mega-regions produce two-thirds of survival.
tem used by people without bank accounts. global economic output an about nine out of In the end, those more likely to face the
They are now a huge market for cell phone 10 new patented innovation. They host only 18 crisis and foster innovation are the great

u r b a n
July 2009 WORLD 15
COVER STORY Innovative cities

Entrepreneurs in slums could bring prosperity to their neighbours Photo © oxford Gamer

mega-regions with a broad range of activities facturing sector, a rapid population de- They argue that a lot can be learned
and clusters of talents. cline, empty houses and schools and a city from the spirit of collaboration in informal
How will the talented slum entrepreneurs unable to reinvent itself. The US has never settlements and the ingenuity in the use of
flourish in this new equation? Some believe questioned its suburban sprawl so much space.
that at the bottom of the economic pyramid since the collapse of the mortgage system Where is innovation, between the slums
in slums and deprived urban areas, invest- last year. Writing recently in the New York and the high tech mega-city region hubs?
ments can lead to new business opportunities Times, two researchers defended the highly In the present scenario of global eco-
and enhance prospects for prosperity. For developed Indian slum of Dharavi as “per- nomic divide, we can expect different types
that to happen, the conditions for learning, haps safer than most American cities”, “pe- of innovation, in two different worlds. This
creativity and sustainable innovation need destrian-friendly where children can play, might not be the wisest way to go for future
to be boosted and assets, knowledge and re- in the streets.” generations. Facing such a divide calls for
sources have to be dramatically leveraged. Also, the discovery that Mexican slums collaboration and interactive learning.
In any case, the double crisis of financial have been built with the waste of San Diego In an increasingly interconnected world,
and climate change can be expected to re- including aluminium windows and garage spurred by digital innovation, the flow of
shape our cities and their economies. In the doors can teach us a lot. “Debris is building information will increase, knowledge will be
United States, the financial crisis has left these slums,” said Christian Werthmann closer and learning made easier for everyone.
cities of the Rust Belt, like Detroit, in an and Teddy Cruz as cited in the Boston Globe Reinventing cities might then become an
astonishing state, with a declining manu- earlier this year. easier game than we think. u

u r b a n
16 WORLD July 2009
u r b a n
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u r b a n
July 2009 WORLD 17
ANALYSIS Women at risk from poverty

A new strategy to close

the gender divide
The combined impact of rapid urbanization, climate change and global economic downturn
is creating further inequalities between men and women in cities, especially among the poor,
writes Emily Wong of UN-HABITAT’s gender mainstreaming department. Here she explains
how the agency is seeking to remedy this through a new Gender Equality Action Plan.

Women and children in slums are being pushed further into poverty due to the economic crisis Photo © evG
v enia GrinBlo

u r b a n
18 WORLD July 2009
Women at risk from poverty ANALYSIS

I n April this year, the 58 member States

in the Governing Council that oversees
UN-HABITAT backed a new strategy
on promoting gender equality and empowering
women. The Gender Equality Action Plan pro-
vides a road map for all UN-HABITAT program-
mes to address gender concerns in the course of
pursuing a better urban future in a world where
more than half of humanity lives in towns and
Under the Millennium Development Goals,
the global community made a commitment to
achieving “a significant improvement in the lives
of at least 100 million slum dwellers” by 2020.
However, the United Nations has calculated that
the financial crisis, with high and volatile food
and energy prices, has pushed at least 100 mil-
lion people around the world back into poverty.
Both men and women in slums face problems
associated with poverty, poor living conditions
and lack of social safety nets. But research shows
that women and girls are by far the worst af af-
fected. Widows are robbed of land and property
Women are at greater risk of losing their livelihoods as the recession bites Photo © un-haBitat
by their own in-laws, because in many coun-
tries traditional practices still override universal
rights. Girls in slums have to choose between stated that evidence from the East Asia crisis and The potential of women to mobilize commu-
defecating in a plastic bag or risking rape should others show that families suddenly faced with nities in preparing against disasters, whether by
they dare venture outside to a dirty public toilet unemployment and lost wages often pull their building stronger homes or organizing warning
at night. Often women are left out of decisions children out of school, especially girls, and that systems, is a valuable, but still largely untapped
on new homes after a disaster. Women eking out they seldom return to class afterwards. resource.
a living in the informal sector are the first to lose “Even when times are good, exercising their But there are exceptions. In UN-HABITAT’s
their livelihoods as the recession bites. Girls are rights is one of the biggest problems faced by post-disaster reconstruction work in Indonesia,
often forced to sacrifice school to do household women, especially those living in poverty,” says project workers used an approach called the
chores instead. Indeed, the list goes on and on. Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN- “People’s Process”, which places trust in com-
This is why the Gender Equality Action Plan HABITAT. “Whether it comes to securing a loan munity members, including women, to take the
is an important tool to galvanize and focus ef ef- to build or renovate the home, or obtaining the lead in planning and design of their homes and
forts in closing gender gaps and raising living title to inherited property, women always have villages.
standards for the women and girls who are over- more trouble. Gender equality and women’s One of the Gender Equality Action Plan’s
represented among the poorest of the poor, plus rights and empowerment are pivotal compo- focus areas is around advocacy, which includes
the most disadvantaged. nents of sustainable urbanization in the face of awareness raising around best practices to in-
UN-HABITAT’s 2008-2009 flagship report, the current economic, financial, and food crises, corporate gender issues into urban development
the State of the World’s Cities shows that house- not to forget the increasingly frightening ravages and housing work.
holds headed by women suffer disproportion- of climate change.” In developing and implementing the new ac-
ately from “multiple shelter deprivations”. These Accounts of the South Asian earthquake in tion plan, UN-HABITAT has emphasized the
deprivations are defined as any combination of 2005, also known as the Kashmir or Great Pa- importance of partners. These have included
lack of durable housing, lack of sufficient living kistan Earthquake, as described in UN-HABI- the woman’s organizations and civil society net-
area, lack of access to water, sanitation, and a TAT’s latest Global Report on Human Settle- works that have provided inputs into the plan
lack of security of tenure. ments, revealed that women were largely de- and also training institutions and other UN part-
In Haiti for example, (see table) nearly 60 pendent upon men for access to relief and that ners, such as the United Nations Development
percent of households headed by women from few women received tents or food. Neither did Fund for Women (UNIFEM), with which UN-
three shelter deprivations, while in Kenya and they come forward to participate in food or cash HABITAT is working.
Nicaragua, one-third of woman-headed house- work programmes. For example, UN-HABITAT has joined
holds suffer all four deprivations. And yet women have vast knowledge as carers UNIFEM in the Global Programme on Safe Cit Cit-
In its recent report, Averting a Human Crisis of children, the injured and the elderly, and as ies Free of Violence Against Women. This is the
During the Global Downturn, the World Bank organizers in the home. first global effort to develop a safer cities model

u r b a n
July 2009 WORLD 19
ANALYSIS Women at risk from poverty

Percentage of Urban Households Headed by women with different degrees of Shelter Deprivation in Selected

Country % % one shelter % two shelter % three shelter % four shelter

deprivation deprivations deprivations deprivations
Ghana (2003) 38 34 51 -
Kenya (2003 23 24 28 31
Madagascar(1997) 28 24 29 14
Senegal (1997) 27 23 25 14
Tanzania (1999) 28 28 15 -
Nicaragua (2001) 40 37 39 33
Haiti (2000) 52 50 57 -
Indonesia (2002) 13 14 17 -
Nepal (2001) 2 0 14 19 -
Armenia 30 38 17 -

Source: UN-HABITAT (2006) Urban Indicators Database, 2006. Additional analysis by Prabha Khosla.
Note: Shelter deprivations are defined as the absence of the following conditions: durable housing, sufficient living area, access to improved water, access to sanitation, or secure tenure.

of preventing violence against women — both is that the design, budgeting, implementation cies, either by offering funding or technical
at home and in public spaces — by combin- and monitoring of city services must bring expertise.
ing practical measures by local authorities more equitable benefits to close the unac- The UN Trust Fund in Support of Actions to
with efforts to empower women and mobilise ceptable gender gaps. Eliminate Violence Against Women was funded
communities. Improving gender equality in access to in part by private sector donors, including John-
The new gender strategy also includes fur- land and housing is another focus area of the son and Johnson and Avon.
ther work with training institutions to build Gender Equality Action Plan. UN-HABITAT has also worked with Akright
the capacity of architects, urban planners Past experience has proven that the private Projects, a private real estate developer, to build
and local government workers to incorporate sector can also be strong partners in promot- affordable homes for low-income women and
gender issues into their work. The intention ing gender equality together with UN agen- their families in Uganda’s Jinja district, about
80 kilometres east of the capital Kampala.
The homes were built on 50 plots of land
donated by Jinja Municipal Council, another
valuable partner that also provided technical
assistance during execution of the project’s first
UN-HABITAT is now working with the
Uganda Women Land Access Trust on the sec-
ond phase of the Jinja Women’s Pilot Housing
Project, which involves a revolving fund and a
credit guarantee scheme.
This enables poor women, who are normally
excluded from the regular banking systems, to
borrow money affordably to pay for better ac-
But despite these examples, the struggle is an
uphill one.
“Women are still grossly denied the right to
adequate housing and related rights such as
land and water,” said Miloon Kothari, former
Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing at the
UN Commission on Human Rights. “We live in a
world today where millions of women are home-
Kibera slum where hundreds of thousands of women live in poverty Photo © un-haBitat less and landless.” u

u r b a n
20 WORLD July 2009
xxxxxxx FEATURES

The gender gap is widening as women in poor urban areas are bearing the brunt of the economic downturn Photo © t. rolf
u r b a n
July 2009 WORLD 21
ANALYSIS Habitat Agenda update

Exercising political
power - the Global
Parliamentarians on
At the Habitat-II conference in Istanbul in 1996, the Habitat Agenda adopted by 171 countries
carried several commitments on adequate and sustainable urban development. Yet after more
than a decade, writes Birte Leinius*, General Secretary of Global Parliamentarians on Habitat,
supporters must weigh its impact. Have participating States acted to ensure that the principles of
the Habitat Agenda are put into practice? One, if not the most important form of implementation,
is the adoption of the agreed policy objectives into national legislation.

Istanbul, the location of the Habitat-II conference in 1996 Photo © liana Bitoli
u r b a n
Habitat Agenda update ANALYSIS

I n 2006, the European chapter of

the Global Parliamentarians on
Habitat (GPH) initiated a study to
investigate how the objectives and principles
of the Habitat Agenda were received in the leg-
mania or those on the road of political reform
such as Turkey are particularly susceptible
to external stimuli with which they are en-
couraged to implement the Habitat Agenda.
This may be by way of concluding interna-
islation of five selected signatory countries in tional agreements or by incentives provided
Europe. by economic assistance programmes.
Peter Götz, Member of the German Bun- With regard to the tools used to imple-
destag and President of the Board of Directors ment the Habitat Agenda by each country,
of the GPH and at the time President of the two examples per country are cited here by
GPH-Europe, said it was particularly important way of example:
that “in the countries selected for the study, not
only the main laws which deal with sustainabil- 1. The Netherlands
ity of human settlements be identified, but also l Each year on the first Monday in October
the instruments that promote the objectives a widely-publicized Habitat Day is held.
and principles of the Habitat Agenda. The study l In addition to the preparation of the an-
should give parliamentarians from around the nual Habitat Day, the Habitat Platform
world valuable ideas on how to implement the organizes conferences aimed at sharing
Habitat Agenda in their home countries.” experiences and runs Habitat projects in
The five selected signatory countries developing countries.
of the study are the Federal Republic of
Germany, Finland, the Netherlands, Romania 2. Finland
and Turkey. l De
Developers of potentially polluting projects
From the investigation, it became apparent have to take out an environmental insur-
that the objectives vary according to the level of ance policy which covers the costs of
development of the country. Mature industrial restoration of the environment in case of
countries such as Finland, the Netherlands and damage.
Germany have hardly any real need to catch up. l At the regional level, Centres for the Col-
Given the appropriate policies, they can focus lection and Exchange of Experience and
their attention on providing other countries, Knowledge have been established.
especially developing countries, with assistance
in implementing the Agenda. 3. Romania
Countries with smaller economies like Ro- l The decentralization of government admin-

Laws to implement Habitat Agenda

Romania Photo © cristian PoPescu

The following laws have proved indispensa- l Waste management laws

istration and the ongoing regionalization
ble to the implementation of the objectives l Environmental assessment legislation
are essential institutional prerequisites for
and principles of the Habitat Agenda in all l Historical preservation acts.
sustainable settlement and housing.
countries subjected to the study:
l The introduction and strengthening of local
B. Laws relating to the organization
self-government is the basis for an effective
A. Specific laws of the state
participation of the public in decision-mak-
l Laws on the planning of human set- l Laws on the decentralization of the
ing processes.
tlements at local and regional level public administration
l Laws on urban regeneration and ur- l Laws and decrees on the establish-
4. Turkey
ban renewal ment of regions
l Self-commitment by accession to interna-
l Housing construction laws, housing l Laws and decrees on the establish-
tional agreements has led to significant
laws and laws on social housing ment of specialized agencies (e.g. with
progress in the implementation of the
l Nature conservation laws responsibility for regionalization, envi-
objectives and principles of the Habita
l Water resource management laws ronmental protection, exchange of ex-
l Emission control and protection laws perience)
l The reinforcement of building safety, es-
l Soil protection laws l Laws on municipal self-government
pecially against natural disasters, is a pre-
requisite for sustainable housing.

u r b a n
July 2009 WORLD 23
ANALYSIS Habitat Agenda update

5. Germany awareness for sustainable urban and hu- Urban planning and settlements - Often
l Recycling of waste disposal: The German man development. The study was extend- as a result of scarce public funding in the coun-
Recycling and Waste Management Act is ed to include the countries of Bulgaria, the tries investigated, the public sector is dependant
a very sophisticated solution to the waste Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, on cooperation with the private sector. Only two
problem. Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. of the countries of the study have a legal basis to
l The identification of substandard build- At two workshops held in Bucharest, Roma- regulate public-private partnerships. In the other
ing materials with uniform symbols nia, in April 2008 and in Berlin, Germany, on countries, the sectors often cooperate anyway.
in the European Community simpli- World Habitat Day in October 2008, experts ex- Adequate shelter for all and sustainable
fies building and increases building changed views about whether the Eastern Euro- settlement development - the financial sup-
security. pean states possess the necessary instruments in port of activities with money from the Euro-
Overall, the study councluded that it is their legislation to implement the Habitat prin- pean Union in both these areas is of great sig-
worthwhile to continue to develop the ability ciples. The agreed that many of the identified nificance. In the future, national peculiarities
and the willingness of the national Legislatures, legislative instruments for the implementation should be given more attention in the fund-
to learn from each other, even across language of the Habitat Agenda are already being used by ing guidelines. The principle of subsidiarity
barriers. these countries. should continue to be respected because it is
In 2008 the Global Parliamentar- However, deficits in the following areas were a crucial prerequisite to the implementation
ians on Habitat initiated the second part of discovered: of the Habitat Agenda.
the study. This was released in early 2009.
Its aim was to identify the existing approaches Housing - In principle, each citizen is en- Environmental protection - Due to
in the new Eastern European member states couraged to use their own initiative to find EU directives, most of the instruments of the
of the European Union to the implemen- housing. People with low or without income agenda for environmental protection have al-
tation of the Habitat Agenda and to raise need governmental assistance. ready been implemented. Occasionally there

The Habitat Platform in Holland runs projects in developing countries Photo © irum shahid

u r b a n
24 WORLD July 2009
Habitat Agenda update ANALYSIS

is need for action regarding the introduction of natory states. It is only when one has determined
recycling in waste management, the promotion whether, how and with which instruments, the
of environmentally friendly transport and the principles of the Agenda are being implemented,
regulation of fees for road use. that one can bring changes in national laws or
develop instruments at international level. u
Energy policy - In this area, measures
concerning the promotion of energy con- The habitat study was funded by the govern-
servation, the production of renewable ment of the Federal Republic of Germany.
resources and the creation of incentives to The project was led by the Deutscher Ver-
band für Wohnungswesen, Städtebau und
use them is necessary. Germany is a good
Raumordnung e.V. Berlin. Prof. Dr. Gerd
example to follow in this respect. Schmidt-Eichstaedt and Dipl.-Ing. Tho-
mas Zimmermann from Planung und Re-
Socially sustainable settlements de- Strasbourg River Photo © manuruch cht GmbH, Berlin, were responsible for its
implementation. The project leader for the
velopment - The majority of countries
Global Parliamentarians on Habitat was
already have tools in place to promote Participation of civil society - Civil soci- Dr. Anneke Assen, President of the Former
projects such as the employment of physi- ety is gaining in importance. Especially the Parliamentarians on Habitat. The European
cally or mentally impaired people. Baltic countries have a high participation level. GPH presented the findings at the 5th Euro-
pean Forum of the GPH in May 2006 in The
Small loans can also contribute to the activa-
Hague, the Netherlands, and at the World
Distribution of the funds - In general, tion of private initiatives. Urban Forum III (WUF3) in June 2006 in
research institutes focusing on urban and The results of the habitat studies of 2006 and Vancouver, Canada. For copies of the study
regional development require stronger fi- 2008 are an essential step in the review of the contact Peter Goetz MP, directly
nancial support. implementation of the Habitat Agenda in the sig- (peter.goetz @ bundestag.de).

Germany is almost on schedule with implementing the Habitat Agenda Photo © stefanie scheider

u r b a n
July 2009 WORLD 25
BEST PRACTICES Field report - Africa

Giving revenue collection

a big boost in Somaliland
Somaliland’s declaration of independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 ushered in an era
of relative stability in the former British protectorate, putting distance between the northwest
and the war-ravaged south-central region. However, it is in the new century that Hargeisa has
truly blossomed, write Antony Lamba, Asia Adam, and Edward Miller*. Here, they explain
how a new taxation system using GIS satellite technology has boosted public coffers to bring
much needed urban improvements.

A view of Hargeisa Photo © un-haBitat

u r b a n
Field report - Africa BEST PRACTICES

F rom a hilltop on the edge of the

city, Hargeisa is a sprawl of shiny
tin roofs. New single-level dwell-
ings and scrub brush line sandy roads and
overlook wide, dry riverbeds. Sprinkled
The first step was to build a spatial database
– basically, a customized map that shows the
location of each and every building in the mu-
nicipality, as well as other key features such as
main roads, rivers, and airports – to do this,
throughout are buuls,, the makeshift huts of a high-resolution satellite image of Hargeisa
displaced families and the city’s poor. This was digitized to produce a base map. The proc-
capital of Somaliland and its financial and ess created a record of all the buildings on the
political centre, keeps growing and growing. base map in a table that also generated unique
Bomb explosions at a UN compound in numbers to identify each building. After three
Hargeisa in 2008 provided grim reminders weeks, step one was complete.
danger does exist and led to the temporary The second step was to build a database
relocation of international staff. But Soma- of property characteristics. The base map
liland has always been a relatively secure was used to guide a household-level sur-
place for international agencies. vey to collect attributes on each property.
Though daily life in Hargeisa necessitates Handheld computers were used to collect
caution, the pace is slow and the city is quiet. the names of occupants, building floor area,
UN staff based there enjoy an overabun- plot area, number of floors, building mate-
dance of spaghetti and goat meat and are rial and quality, service connections, and
able to stroll around markets, some of which property type.
have been rehabilitated through UN-HABI- During the property survey, a massive un-
TAT projects. dertaking that lasted eight months, the spa-
tial database information was also verified,
New taxation system while ground-level digital photographs were
It was in this context that United Nations taken of every building.
Development Programme (UNDP) and UN- The third step was to integrate the two da-
HABITAT brainstormed on ways of making tabases (the spatial database and the charac-
a difference. The result: a Geographic In- teristics database) to produce one geographic
formation System (GIS) was established in database that links each building in the base
Hargeisa Municipality with technical assist- map and its location with a corresponding
ance from UN-HABITAT that has boosted set of attributes.
annual property tax revenues by a whopping For immediate access to a picture of any
250 percent, from USD 169,062 in 2005 to building on the base map, the ground-level
USD 588,754 in 2008. property photos were hyperlinked to the geo-
With funding from the European Com- graphic database. The results showed that there
mission and the UNDP, the project started in are 59,000 buildings in Hargeisa, 63 percent of
2004 as part of the UNDP Governance and them residential.
Financial Services Programme and continued The fourth step was to generate unique iden-
in 2005 under the UN-HABITAT Urban De- tifiers for each building. Hargeisa Municipality
velopment Programme for the Somali region. is divided into five districts, 24 sub-districts,
Hargeisa’s problem was daunting: low 77 neighbourhoods, and 384 sub-neighbour-
municipal revenue meant overstretched hoods. After the boundaries for these adminis-
services and weakened infrastructure could trative units were identified and integrated into
not be improved. Where to start? First and the base map, the units were used to develop
foremost, UNDP and UN-HABITAT had to a unique five-part code (district; sub-district;
devise a cost-effective approach to collect- neighbourhood; sub-neighbourhood; building
ing up-to-date household-level data for the number) for each building.
whole municipality. The fifth and final step was to determine
However, the system had to provide quick, property tax rates and generate property tax
visible results to attract political support. It also bills for the year 2006. Altogether, 47,300
had to be simple and use on-the-job training so properties in Hargeisa were found to be tax-
municipal staff could easily operate and main- able. A special computer programme was writ-
tain it. A building-based geographic database ten to automate property tax bill production.
with a limited number of relevant variables for Taxpayer-friendly property tax bills are
each building would be a perfect fit. produced that clearly indicate the building

u r b a n
July 2009 WORLD 27
BEST PRACTICES Field report - Africa

tem is therefore more efficient and unlikely

Hargeisa Property Database and Taxation to have many mistakes – in the past, the
amount payable was not indicated in the de-
Total number of properties = 59,000 mand letter and property records were not
• 78 percent formal, 22 percent informal kept properly. When I paid this time, I also
• 68 percent residential, 12 percent commercial, 20 percent other received a receipt.”
Number of taxable properties in the old system: 15,850 (34 percent) The increased revenue has inspired fur-
Number of taxable properties in the new system: 47,334 (80 percent) ther action. In 2007, Hargeisa Municipality
Property tax revenue collection: started a public infrastructure and services
2004 → USD 144,417 (municipal records = 15,850 taxable properties) capital investment programme together with
2005 → USD 169,062 business-minded Hargeisa residents.
2006 → USD 241,983 (GIS-based database = 47,334 taxable properties) Through this programme, the municipal-
2007 → USD 412,179 (represents 24 percent of total municipal revenues) ity has for example spent USD 320,000 to
2008 → USD 588,754 rehabilitate two roads and USD 80,000 to
construct a bridge.
Hargeisa is expanding rapidly, and main-
code, property tax calculations, and tax pay- system became operational, property tax rev rev- taining and updating the property database
able for each property, together with a dig- enue for Hargeisa Municipality rose by 43 per- is costly. However, with continued technical
ital photograph of the property. cent to USD 241,983, with less than 40 percent support from development partners, the lo-
of the taxable properties actually paying the cal council will need only a small percentage
Positive results tax. In 2007, the local council conducted a me- of the increasing property tax revenues to
In 2006, Hargeisa Municipality opened a GIS dia campaign to improve compliance, and vari- pay for these costs. u
support office to handle the new property tax ous community meetings were held. Property
system. The office delivers hard copies of prop- tax revenue increased by 70 percent to USD
erty tax bills and neighbourhood maps once a 412,179 in 2007 and USD 588,754 by the end * Antony Lamba is a UN-HABITAT Land
year to each of the five municipal district offic- of 2008 – an increase of 250 percent between Mangement Officer who has been based
es. Trained municipal district staff continually 2005 and 2008. in Hargeisa for the past three years. Asia
verify bill information in the field. When it is “I think this new system is better than the Adam has served as a GIS expert with UN-
wrong, the GIS support office corrects it in the old one: every bill has a picture of the prop- HABITAT in Hargeisa for the past two years.
geographic database. erty, and the amount payable is reported Edward Miller is a Nairobi-based editor and
Overall, the results have been astounding. right on the bill,” says long-time property writer specializing in the region.
In 2006, when the new GIS-based property tax owner Abdirahman Ismail Faraah. “The sys-

Abdirahman Ismail Faarah – Hargeisa resident

“I have owned this house for a very long livered to my house by municipal staff
time. I held the property title until 1994, last July. I saw the TV debates where the
when it got lost in the civil war. At the mo- participatory budgeting system was
ment I do not have any ownership docu- being advocated along with the new
ments for my house, but there is no dis- property taxation system. I think it
pute and I have always been paying taxes is a good idea that can work, and the
on it. I received the property tax bill for municipal authorities must give it a
2006 last July. The new bill has a picture chance. If the authorities fail to lis-
of my house and all the property details ten to taxpayers, then the taxpay-
are correct. I especially liked the photo- ers should stop paying such taxes.
graph. The amount on this bill is higher In my opinion, the increased rev-
than those of previous years. I used to pay enues should be used for projects
SOS 32,814 (approximately USD 4) and that benefit the community directly,
now I pay SOS 51,275 (USD 6.40), but the like garbage collection and road main-
amount is still affordable. tenance. I think 30 percent of the
revenues should be used for district-
“I came to know about the new property based projects, while the rest should
taxation system when the bill was de- go to Hargeisa Municipality.”
Abdirahman Ismael Faraah
Photo © un-haBitat

u r b a n
28 WORLD July 2009
Sustainable development BEST PRACTICES

A Chinese eco-
development model:
Anji County
When your declared aim is to become known as the Most Beautiful Countryside in the Nation,
you set yourself the highest possible standards. This is the ambition driving China’s central
government in Anji County, says Li Yu, Director at the International Centre for Planning and
Research at the Cardiff University School of City and Regional Planning.

A view of Anji County Photo © Bethany carlson

BEST PRACTICES Sustainable development

Urban-rural integration lages, their population ranges between 1,000 parks, with public facilities and services provid-
The Anji County Comprehensive Plan (2006- and 4,000 (500 in remote areas). ed to urban standards along with 3.5 metre wide
2020) for integrated urban and rural develop- Any sustainable town must by definition be roads. Basic amenities include primary schools,
ment provides for an ecological hinterland as accessible – a challenge, in an area where the kindergartens, culture centres, clinics and con-
well as a recreation and holiday resort, together majority of local residents cannot afford private ventional shops – all designed to attract rural
with a special manufacturing zone on the Yang- motor cars. This is why Anji County authorities populations and familiarize them with urban
tze River delta. provide regular, frequent bus services between living standards.
In this region 200 kilometres south of Shang- the gateway, hubs and more remote villages, for Since first proposed in 1996 the concept of
hai with a population of 450,000, rural tourism the sake of better urban-rural integration. The an Ecological Garden of Metropolises has been
and value-added, green agri-food processing network effectively assists labour force conver- a development objective for Anji District. This
are the designated engines of local economic sion from the agricultural to manufacturing and led to the closure of 64 polluting industrial sites,
growth. Under this grand plan small towns act other sectors, as encouraged by local authorities while another 74 were forced to adopt appropri-
as local gateways and hubs servicing rural areas. for the sake of higher income generation in the ate human waste treatment systems at a cost of
Another priority is poverty reduction, including villages. CNY 80 million (USD 11.7 million).
the gap between urban and rural areas. In the district’s five designated hubs, the two Inward productive investment matters as
As far as basic infrastructure goes, significant industrial towns make significant contributions much as it does to any other local authority in
progress has already been made in Anji District. to tax revenues, on top of demand for consumer China. In Anji, though, every project must go
All roads in rural settlements are paved and bus goods and housing and so on. The combined in- through environmental assessment by seven
services are now available, as is tap water. Pri- dustrial zones provide consumption capability distinct departments, and can be vetoed on pol-
mary schools, kindergartens and clinics have and demands for retail, housing and other ur- lution grounds.
been established in all main villages, as part of ban activities. Urban functions have been devel-
plans to enhance collective living standards. oped in a rational way, with the northern part of Anji’s green economy
These have been found to be very effective in a Anji District more urbanized than others. In the In the past decade Anji County has managed
survey of 60 main villages (Table 1). south, service standards and capacities are lower to diversify its industrial and service sector
As far as human settlements are concerned, in the three core towns, in line with comparative base under the plan. (This includes a strong
the spatial layout of Anji District includes one economic competitiveness. tourism sector with over 3.3 million visitors
centre, five major towns and 60 main villages. The survey has uncovered a further contrast in 2006). Between 2001 and 2006, gross
The centre, or gateway, is Dipu together with within Anji District: in northern industrial agricultural and manufacturing output rose
Xiaofeng, a nearby economic sub-district. The towns, tax revenues are stronger than aggregate from CNY 4.7 to 7.5 billion, with the annual
five major towns acting as hubs include two personal income, whereas a reverse pattern pre- fiscal revenue doubling from CNY 62 to 130
industrial towns to the north and three others vails in the tourist-oriented southern towns. million.
specialized in eco-tourism, food and bamboo Under the plan, main villages are typically In the past five years, aggregate gross per-
processing respectively. As for the 60 main vil- close (i.e. within 10 kilometres) to industrial sonal income also increased in both urban

Table 1: Public Service Figure 1: Average income of urban and rural residents
Provision in Central Villages
Item % of villages
Solid waste treatment 93.8
Eco-sewage treatment 56
Self-raising fund plus subsidies 90
Self-raising fund 10
Bus services to central villages 100
Tap water supply 60.5
Clinic 100
Kindergarten 88
Primary school 46
High school 8
Free school bus service 10
Tap water supply 60.5
Clinic 100
Kindergarten 88
Primary school 46
High school 8
Free school bus service 10
Source: Anji Statistical Bureau (2008)
Source: Author

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30 WORLD July 2009
Sustainable development BEST PRACTICES

1,600 processing companies spread over five

Figure 2: income between urban and rural residents
industrial parks. The 130 largest firms employ
over 10,000 people and overall the bamboo
industry contributes as much as 61 percent to
average rural income per head (and CNY 9.9
billion to local GDP).
The importance of bamboo processing to
Anji’s eco-friendly economy is best under-
stood through an outline of the whole pro-
duction chain. Villagers take care of the cut-
ting and initial raw treatment. They sell the
treated material to commercial companies,
agents or branches of processing firms in
small towns. The larger firms in turn make and
sell a variety of products. The largest firms sell
as much as 95 percent of production (especially
bamboo floors) abroad, and overall the indus-
try collectively earns an annual CNY 1.2 billion
from exports.
Source: Anji Statistical Bureau (2008) Anji actively encourages eco-tourism, and
in 2007, as many as 4.4 million Chinese and
43,000 foreign tourists visited Anji District,
generating a CNY 1.2 billion income.
and rural areas (Figure 1), with the differen- Bamboo The effects on the livelihoods and well-be-
tial ratio between these regressing to 1:1.97 Long renowned for its bamboo groves, Anji’s ing of the population are obvious, and in turn
in 2008, compared with 1: 2.12 in 2003 bamboo processing industry and its products further the the Most Beautiful Countryside in
(Figure 2) and a nationwide ratio of 1:3. are environmentally friendly. The district’s China objective. This successful experience can
10,000 hectares of bamboo forests support now be replicated elsewhere in the country. u
Renewables and recycling
As part of environmental protection policies,
Anji County government grants subsidize up to
50 percent of the value of individual projects,
including large public solid waste and sewage
treatment projects. Extension of basic utility
services is helping with both recycling and re-
newable energies. Once collected in villages, sol-
id waste is taken to the nearby town and burnt in
the local power station.
As for sewage treatment in rural areas, Anji
District authorities use a green alternative in-
stead of otherwise costly systems. This simple
eco-sewage treatment is based on plants and
sand. Sewage is discharged by gravity through
covered channels from each household to a pond
and treatment device at the lowest point of a vil-
lage. In some cases, the system can be comple-
mented with marsh gas power stations that pro-
duce energy for local households. Bio-filtration
is available for more remote households.
Anji’s renewable energy policy also relies on
the district’s abundant water resources. Thanks
to 113 small hydro-power stations, power out-
ages belong to the past, local development and
income generation thrive, while carbon dioxide
emissions are reduced.
The bamboo groves in Anji County are an important asset Photo © revati uPadhya

u r b a n
July 2009 WORLD 31
BEST PRACTICES Innovation and news from North America

Satellites to capture
solar power from space

Two Californian companies are set to change

the world of renewable energies by aiming to
capture solar energy from space and then beam
it down to earth to be used as electricity.
The companies, Pacific Gas and Electric Co.
(PG&E) and Solaren Corp., are seeking approval
from state regulators to turn this scientific dream
into reality. Once the deal has been approved,
the manufacturer Solaren, must then raise bil-
lions of dollars to design, launch and operate
the satellite and receiver station.
Once built it will be the world’s first Space
Solar Power (SSP) Plant. Capturing energy
would involve placing solar panels on a sat-
ellite to generate electricity that is then con-
verted to radio frequency. The receiver on the
ground then converts this to energy and feeds
it into the power grid.
While a system of this scale and exact con-
figuration has not been built yet, Solaren CEO New ways of harnessing the sun’s power are being developed Photo © takje
Gary Spirnak argues that the underlying tech-
nology is already established and is based on Spirnak. “This is the same energy conversion Once approval has been given, Solaren is con-
existing communication satellite technology. process Solaren uses for its SSP plant.” tractually obliged to begin commercial opera-
“For over 45 years, satellites have collected The advantage of SSP is that energy can be tions in 2016. “The geographical difficulties and
solar energy in earth orbit via solar cells, and harnessed at all times, day or night – avoid- financial costs – once overcome – would lead to
converted it to radio frequency energy for ing any weather or seasonal problems and is an endless supply of cheap energy for all,” be-
transmissions to earth receiver stations,” says completely carbon free. lieves Spirnak. u

Water “For decades, government agencies have transporting and treating water: 19 percent

Revitalizing Roman viewed rainwater primarily as a flooding haz-

ard and as a water quality issue, rather than
of the state’s electricity and 30 percent of its
natural gas.
technology as liquid gold that falls from the sky,” explains “Securing a local, reliable water supply
Andy Lipkis, founder of TreePeople. “Recog- would thus not only save on energy costs, but
TreePeople, a Los Angeles (LA) based envi- nizing this tremendous waste, we saw the po- would also decrease the amount of green-
ronmental group, has revived the use of wa- tential in harvesting rainwater by mimicking house gases released into the atmosphere,”
ter cisterns by building its own at its head- the sponge and filter functions of a tree.” emphasizes Lipkis.
quarters in an LA city park, recently collect- California is currently going through a The systems can range from inexpensive
ing a desperately needed 817,000 litres from statewide drought emergency; Governor Ar- and low-tech, all the way up to technical en-
rainfall. nold Schwarzenegger is urging people to cut gineering projects with complex computer
Rainwater harvesting technology has exist- water usage by 20 percent. As more and more automated treatment programmes. Lipkis
ed for thousands of years, with cisterns com- people move to California, demand is already says this makes them perfect to be adopted in
mon in Rome and Sumeria. Rainwater is col- outstripping supply. less-developed countries.
lected from a surface, such as a roof, and then Utilizing more cisterns would also have “Many countries around the world have
directed towards a barrel or underground benefits for the bigger environmental pic- long utilized this technology out of neces-
chamber. A gravity fed hose is all that’s need- ture in California. A tremendous amount of sity, so we should look to them for inspira-
ed to make the water useable. energy is used for water-related uses such as tion,” he adds. u

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32 WORLD July 2009
Innovation and news from North America BEST PRACTICES

California set to
become US electric car
The San Francisco Bay Area is set to develop
the USA’s first electric-car infrastructure sys-
tem. The pioneering company, Better Place,
seeks to provide, through its USD 1 billion busi-
ness plan, stations to re-charge batteries, and
it will offer battery exchange electric vehicles
which can operate on the network by 2012.
A mixture of public and private investment
aims to reinvigorate California’s competitive
advantage in innovative technology helping
the state to become the electric vehicle capi-
tal of the US.
“We are already a world leader in fighting
global warming and promoting renewable
energy,” says California Governor, Arnold
Schwarzenegger. “This type of public-private
partnership is exactly what I envisioned
when we created the first ever low carbon
fuel standard and when the state enacted the California is leading the way on electric car use Photo © roBerto marinello
zero emissions vehicle programme.”
Better Place’s CEO and founder, Shai facturers developing cars that have a plug, nology and infrastructure will be fine-tuned
Agassi says the network will help the envi- and have the ability to drive around the city over the following years.
ronment, boost the technology sector and and charge as they go,” he adds. The Bay Area will serve as the first region of
provide an impetus to the country’s big three Better Place hopes to finalize approvals for California to make the switch from carbon-based
car manufacturers. the Bay Area by the end of 2009 and begin transportation to sustainable mobility and joins
“We hope that by the time we deploy, we’ll the infrastructure development in 2010. As Australia, Israel and Denmark as world leaders
see Renault, Nissan and the three US manu- more electric cars enter the market, the tech- in reducing their oil dependence. u

LA recognizes the value of rain water Photo © muhammad omran rainWater


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July 2009 WORLD 33
BEST PRACTICES Innovation and news from Europe

Recycled waste heat to
power London homes

A new GBP 80 million data centre will trans-

form generated waste heat into free heating
for local communities in East London.
Due for completion in 2010, the nine-sto-
rey, 19,000 square metre facility from Tel-
ehouse Europe will export the heat from the
building’s cooling systems to provide up to
nine megawatts of power for the local neigh-
bourhood, which equates to providing hot
water and heating for 90,000 households.
Data centres are sometimes referred to as
“necessary evils”, creating eyesores on the
landscape and spewing out wasted heat. The
Telehouse project is trying to break that image
based on a range of innovative green schemes
that it and the WSP Group, a London-based in-
ternational sustainability and engineering con-
sultancy, have put into action. These include The new data centre will heat local communities in East London Photo © telehouse euroPe
green-energy systems and high-efficiency chill-
ers to reduce carbon emissions. valuable resource to the local community.” As the technology is quite basic, Martyn
“We recognize that any attempt to address The technology is nothing new, but the Bishop, senior technical director from WSP
the lack of space within the data centre indus- innovative application of this wasted heat is Buildings believes that the potential around the
try has to be undertaken with a level of envi- what’s catching the attention of city planners. world is high. “What we’ve demonstrated with
ronmental awareness,” says Bob Harris from The heat can be exported to surrounding are- this scheme is that it won’t impact on a data
Telehouse Europe. “By making good use of as, not just to households adjacent to the cen- centre’s critical services and operation. It’s one
the waste heat from the facility, we can mini- tre and will be available for free to any third of the few ways ahead that data centres can give
mize the environmental impact and provide a party that wants to take advantage of it. back to the environment,” he says. u

Environment development. In the 1990s ‘grow your own’ be- of course grow delicious food for themselves

Garden plots growing came popular again and demand has increased
dramatically throughout the UK.
and their family,” she adds.
Internationally a similar solution has been
back into fashion Most local councils, who have a statutory reinvented in cities across sub-Saharan Africa,
duty to provide allotments by law, now rec- where people grow vegetables in unused spaces
ognize that allotments not only provide an for their own consumption and also to sell them.
Garden plots in the United Kingdom’s inner opportunity for people to grow high quality, Richard Wiltshire from ARI believes that,
cities are undergoing a resurgence that hasn’t local food, whilst keeping healthy and active, “they are every bit as much survival gardens as
been seen since the Second World War. but that allotments also provide valuable the originals were for the ‘Dig for Victory’ plots
All over the UK up to 250,000 allotments green spaces for local communities and a ha- during the Second World War. As most people
dot the landscape alongside railway lines and ven for wildlife. are recent migrants to cities in the sub-Sahara,
old manufacturing sites. They vary in size from “New allotment sites are starting to pop up they have the knowledge at least on how to
small vegetable patches to football pitches. with an opportunity to get growing,” says De- grow food for themselves – as did the early ur-
Products cultivated range from flowers, carrots borah Burn from the Allotment Regeneration ban allotment gardeners in the UK.”
and potatoes to honey from bee keeping. Initiative (ARI). “Many people who have never The ARI is pushing further for new allotment
A legacy from the industrial revolution, the gardened before are finding that allotments are sites to be developed and older ones to be pro-
plots were almost lost in the 1970s and 1980s as a great place to make friends, take the kids for tected, as “we are still aware of many groups
the valuable inner city land was swallowed by fresh air and learn where food comes from and that have had difficulty in getting land.” u

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34 WORLD July 2009
Innovation and news from Europe BEST PRACTICES

Spain leads the way
in high-speed rail
The success of the new high-speed rail link
between Barcelona and Madrid is catching
the attention of cities all over the world, in-
cluding the Middle East, China, South Africa
and even North America.
When the line linking Spain’s two biggest
cities opened last year it carried two million
passengers in the first 10 months; it contin-
ues to whisk businessmen the 500 kilometres
between the two cities in under 2.5 hours.
Spain’s high-speed network is still quite
young, but it’s hoping to expand to 9,000
kilometres over the next 10 years. Trains
are winning environmental points too, with
much lower carbon emissions per passenger
compared to flying. The new high-speed net-
works also free up existing lines for cargo, Spain’s trains are fast, green and efficient Photo © javier lóPeZ
e orteGa
eZ G

keeping trucks off the road.

US President, Barack Obama, recently
announced a USD 13 billion for the devel- why we can’t do this,” he says, noting such pare for a post-oil future, built around serv-
opment of a high-speed train network. In a a system would be cheaper and cleaner than ices that require infrastructure.
country that has largely shunned rail travel building new highways or adding to an over- High-speed trains seem to tick all the right
in favour of driving and flying he faces an up- burdened aviation system. boxes for medium distance travel between
hill battle. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are closely cities – their ability to resolve transport prob-
“My high-speed rail proposal will lead to watching the development of Spain’s high- lems and the prestige attached to the launch
innovations that change the way we travel in speed rail network. Many are now planning of a shiny new train, look set to secure the in-
America,” says Obama. “There’s no reason their own high-speed train lines as they pre- terest of several large cities worldwide. u

The UK’s citizens are taking more interest in growing fruit and vegetables Photo © maGda Zych

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IN-FOCUS Latin America and the Caribbean

Mexico City rides a new

Mexico City is one of the most densely packed cities on earth giving rise to problems of
pollution, crime and traffic. But since 2006 Mayor Marcelo Ebrard has been at the helm
tackling these issues through conventional means as well as through offers of free Viagra, ice-
skating rinks and kissing promotion days. Jonathan Andrews talks to this atypical mayor as his
city undergoes a major transformation.

Mayor Marcelo Ebrard Photo © mexico city mayor’s office

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Your father was an architect. Do you mental conditions of the city and a better uti- mass transit system through a new Rapid
think he instilled in you from an early lization of the city’s comparative advantages. Transit System and a new subway line and of
age an appreciation of how buildings, This has been undertaken in accordance with course we’ve implemented projects such as
transport, housing and infrastructure the General Development Plan 2007-2012, the Proyecto Bicentenario, or Bicentennial
should all compliment each other, and which is based on seven main axes: political Project, which includes the installation of
function well together in a city? reform, equity, security, a competitive econ- 8,000 cameras that will ensure the security of
Certainly. Much of the vision that I have for omy, intense cultural movement, sustainable the city’s population, and the Plan Verde, or
the city and that we reflected in our General De- and long term development and new urban Green Plan, that will put the city on a path to
velopment Programme 2007-2012 in terms of order. All of this with the purpose of improv- sustainable development. The focus, amidst
urban infrastructure distribution and function- ing the quality of life of all the members of the the current economic crisis, is on maintain-
ality was inspired by my childhood. community. ing the rhythm of economic activity through
Obviously, this city has grown and changed an increase of public investment, which will
dramatically in the last three decades and One of the first actions you account for 27.4 percent of the city’s budget.
many of the foundation needs have not been implemented was to improve the
fulfilled as they appear, so one of the pri- historic Zocalo Square, by making Is Mexico City seeing an increase
orities of my Administration is to cope with the area more pleasant for visitors in tourism as a result of this policy
these infrastructure gaps. to walk around without hassle from and also in cleaning and improving
The challenge, however, is to implement a street vendors and hawkers. How historic areas in the city, such as
very ambitious infrastructure programme in have you helped relocate the street Zocalo Square?
a way that its different components, namely vendors, or supported them in their Indeed, in 2008 Mexico City received more
housing, transportation, water and sewage microenterprises? than 11.5 million tourists and even though
systems, hospitals, schools and road infra- We made an agreement with the street ven- there are still some security concerns, the
structure are compatible with the idea of dors and informal sector business leaders reality is that the problem has been greatly
rescuing the concept of public space. This is a in which we would help them institute their magnified through the media and it’s not
very important concept for us and it has to do businesses in an established building or mar- based on specific facts. Following a series of
with deploying all the necessary groundwork ket if they would relocate from the streets. measures such as the restoration of down-
that the city and its citizens need, and at the This allows them to have better and more town buildings; the formation of the Mixed
same time increasing green areas and reduc- secure business conditions while also allow- Fund for Tourism Promotion, which com-
ing excessive visual pollution from advertis- ing visitors and tourists to visit Mexico City’s bines public and private resources with the
ing infrastructure. To guarantee this, I have historic downtown in a friendlier environ- objective of promoting Mexico City as a world
created the Office of the Public Space Author- ment. These actions helped increase the flow class tourist destination; and the creation of
ity, which coordinates with both the Ministry of tourists in the historic down town area, the tourist police, whose goal is to protect the
of Housing and Urban Development, and which totalled more than six million in 2007. safety and well-being of tourists, there are a
with the Ministry of Environment. Actually, the success of the model was such, growing number of tourists that visit the city.
that we are using it to relocate vendors from And even though the perception of insecurity
When you first became Mayor in other areas in the city in order to implement and pollution still exists, the annual survey
2006, what were the main issues and our vision for a new urban order. undertaken by the Ministry of Tourism shows
problems you faced? that in general, tourists appreciate the kind-
When I first came into office I made a com- What have been the main ness of the city’s people, the affordable lodg-
mitment to lead Mexico City into a new path achievements in your two-and-a-half ing prices, the restaurant and entertainment
of equity, welfare and economic growth. This years? options, and the security and safeness of the
meant facing up to issues such as public se- We have reinforced and developed social city.
curity, improving the economic and environ- programmes to change the conditions that
generate social inequity, protect the most Mexico City holds a special place in
vulnerable groups of society, guarantee the the country as the cultural, industrial,
Biography expansion of social welfare programmes and business and political heart of the
accelerate public and private investments to entire nation. Is there a difficulty in
Mayor Marcelo Ebrard maintain economic growth. We have imple- maintaining and improving Mexico
Born in 1958 in Mexico City mented a social policy that includes pensions City as an attractive location, yet
for the elderly, protecting the unemployed at the same time, keeping the city
Holds a degree in International Re- through unemployment insurance and giving sustainable?
lations from the College of Mexico scholarships to elementary and high school As I mentioned before, we see this as a chal-
Studied public policy at the Ecole students. Also, we established a new law that lenge, certainly a complex one. However,
Nationale d’Administration (ENA) protects the handicapped, made the protec- we have designed our policies and strate-
in Paris, France tion of human rights a priority, improved the gies bearing this in mind at all times. The

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IN-FOCUS Latin America and the Caribbean

partnerships offer are that they go beyond the

annual-investment scheme so that there is
legal certainty and guarantees for long-term
projects, they make the city an active partner of
the economic and social benefits, they increase
the value of the city’s assets and there is no pub-
lic debt involved. This last aspect is key to ac-
complishing two of our public policy priorities,
which are to maintain healthy public finances
and increase the quality of the city’s infrastruc-
ture and provision of public goods and services.
Through the promotion of several amendments
to our legal framework and the identification of
potential infrastructure and public goods and
services provision that could be exploited by
the private sector, we have structured a public
private investment portfolio which is over USD
10 billion for the next three years.

What initiatives have you

implemented with the private sector
Mexico City has invested in infrastructure and transport Photo © alex steffler
and multilateral organizations?
Because of the different investment require-
creation of the Office of the Public Space Au- Mexico City’s development plan has three ments that the city has, various local laws were
thority is one of our quality control instruments main pillars; they are healthy public finances amended resulting in a whole new investment
to guarantee that as we deploy our infrastruc- and efficient fiscal policy, infrastructure and regime that multiplies the possibilities of fi-
ture programme and our competitiveness poli- services, and higher investment in human nancing public works and services through difdif-
cies, the city not only maintains its sustainabil- capital. This last one incorporates the social ferent financing schemes such as Public-Private
ity, but also enhances the quality of its public factors, such as organizing concerts or al- Partnerships, Real Estate Infrastructure Trusts
spaces. A very important element that I would lowing free access to historical exhibitions and Technology Transfer Agreements, among
like to highlight to reinforce the enhancement in museums that are very important to the others. Among the projects developed trough
of both competitiveness and sustainability is residents of Mexico City because they add to these investments schemes are the Superhigh-
that our economic, cultural, and educational the skill and talent of the population and im- ways of Mexico City, Multimodal Transfer Sta-
orientation is to position Mexico City as Latin prove their quality of life. These factors allow tions, a Tramcar in the downtown area and four
America’s knowledge capital. The strategies to the city to play a key competitive role in the Knowledge Cities.
achieve this goal are 100 percent compatible new conditions of the global economy. Also, Also an agreement was signed with the Inter-
with both enhancing competitiveness and sus- through the implementation of these pro- American Development Bank to create a Pub-
tainability through the development and pro- grammes, we have proved that people benefit lic-Private Partnerships Unit in collaboration
motion of high-value added economic activities from not only the fulfillment of basic needs with Mexico City’s Ministry of Finance.
that require highly qualified human resources such as nutrition, health, and housing but
and soft infrastructure. We are confident that also from the qualitative needs such as en- Mexico City is renowned for its
through the implementation of this vision we tertainment. Through the fulfillment of these pollution. What does your new
will keep, and even enhance, our position as the qualitative needs, we are addressing a key environmental plan incorporate?
cultural, economic, and political heart of the component of quality of life for our citizens. Mexico City’s Plan Verde, or Green Plan, is the
country. government’s strategy that will put the city on
With the credit crisis gripping the the path to sustainable development. Among the
We have seen social programmes world, how do you value public/ actions and strategies it considers are the better
your government has implemented private partnerships to achieve the management of traffic flows, improvement in the
to improve citizens’ quality of life, city’s goals? emissions quality of the public transportation
such as free Viagra for the elderly and They are very valuable because they utilize fleet and encouragement of alternative means of
the Besame mucho, or kiss me a lot, the comparative advantages of the public and transportation such as walking and cycling.
day for St Valentines, how important private sectors and help satisfy the city’s in- It is also a communications plan that will al-
do you rate the social aspects of vestment requirements through an increase low Mexico City’s citizens to know the environ-
a city compared to managing the in domestic and international capital flows. mental issues that the city faces and the actions
infrastructure and transport? Some of the advantages that public/private taken by the government to solve these issues.

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Latin America and the Caribbean IN-FOCUS

Working jointly, the government and different

social organizations will analyze, improve and
constantly enrich the plan to ensure its correct

Are citizens supporting the

programmes and ideas from this plan?
The citizens of Mexico City have been in-
volved in this plan since the early stages of its
development during which a citywide survey
on environmental issues was conducted so
that the population could identify and express
their environmental concerns. This informa-
tion, along with the input of experts on this
field, was used to design the programmes and
ideas behind Plan Verde. Also the popula-
tion knows that the improvement of the city’s
environmental conditions offers them and
future generations a better quality of life, so
they have been very supportive and involved
in the implementation of the plan.

You yourself take part in riding your

bike to work along with thousands
of other public officials on the first
Monday of every month, as part of the
Plan Verde. How important is it for
officials to practice what they preach?
It’s very important because in order for the
plan to be successful, every citizen, be it a
public official, a student or whoever, has a
responsibility to improve the environmental
conditions of the city that will put us on the
path to sustainable development. It is very
important for us to set an example and show
that we are committed to the Plan Verde.
Environmental conditions are improving in Mexico City Photo © dennis Poulette
Do you think cities, citizens and
businesses are appreciative of the and their corporate headquarters. Do than other cities. Because of this, besides the
need for sustainable development? you think there is now pressure for a Plan Verde, we have also created fiscal incen-
What more can be achieved to city to show its green credentials and tives for businesses that are committed to the
highlight the importance? environmental stewardship to attract environment. We also believe that companies
I think that society as a whole is very conscious business? around the world are more and more commit-
of the need for sustainable development, but Yes, those factors are very important because ted to corporate responsibility.
people don’t always realize just how much pow- an investor has to consider all factors, not just
er they have in the process and that they are an economic factors, but also political, social, and What’s next for Mexico City?
integral part of the problem and the solution. of course environmental factors. In the case of In terms of ecological development, we will
What matters is to inform everybody of the en- Mexico City, we were previously an industrial focus on renewable energies, emission-free
vironmental consequences if we continue on city, but in the last 30 years the local GDP has transportation, efficient combustion systems
the same road and that future generations will gone from being 51 percent industrial and 23 and cleaning fuels. We will also focus on the
live in a much grimmer environment if we don’t percent service sector to 14.3 percent industrial improvement and development of the city’s
implement sound measures today. and 50 percent service sector. These charac- infrastructure such as the airport, landfill, wa-
teristics make it vital for the city to offer better ter treatment facilities, subway, public vehi-
Before cities used tax incentives or green credentials and better living conditions cles renovation and information technologies
lax labour laws to attract businesses for current and potential business employees and telecommunications infrastructure. u

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Sponsored statement
Sponsored statement
IN-FOCUS Latin America and the Caribbean: News

Buenos Aires launches fight against
climate change Uruguay to become leader in Latin American renewables
A special government team has been established
in Buenos Aires to draw up strategies for fighting
climate change. There will be an assessment of
how vulnerable the city is, how well it can cope
with the effects of climate change, how individual
homes might be affected and the cost of potential
adaptation measures. Special attention will be
given to energy efficient design in buildings and
the city also hopes to launch its first hybrid bus
by the summer.

UN-HABITAT strengthens Latin-American
Safer Cities programme
Priority was given to the Latin-American Safer
Cities programme at the 22nd UN-HABITAT
Wind energy will power street lights in Uruguay Photo © laura ulloa
meeting of the governing council in April.
Thirty-eight representatives from Latin
American countries attended a meeting to Uruguay is taking a giant step in moving away of San Carlos, a town of 25,000 residents east of
discuss a new plan helping to combat crime from its heavy reliance on hydroelectric energy Montevideo.
and insecurity in their cities. The meeting and fossil fuel by incorporating a new wind energy By 2015, the government hopes to increase
featured the presentation of the Guide for project into its energy plan as it aims to become a this total to 500 megawatts leading to closures
Local Governments in Latin America: Local leader in renewable energy in Latin America. of old power stations fuelled by gas or coal, that
Prevention Towards Social Cohesion and
Since 2005 Uruguay has been advancing its re- would still take into consideration an increase in
Citizen Security Policies developed by the
University of Alberto Hurtado, Santiago, Chile newable energies industry by giving concessions energy demand.
and UN-HABITAT. from 10 to 20 years to private investors to produce Other methods of generating energy are being
renewable energy, including wind power. The plan evaluated, including installing mini-turbines for
HOUSING also features incentives for homeowners to use households. According to the National Energy
Argentina to benefit from investment in
mini-wind turbines to create their own energy. Department this could reduce demand from the
The Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, The first wind park, Nuevo Manantial, in op- grid by 30 percent. The mini turbines could also
Mrs Anna Tibaijuka, has signed six eration since October by a private company, in return feed the grid, giving homeowners a re-
agreements with partnering countries aimed produces 20 megawatts – a sizeable amount in duction on their bills.
at encouraging investment in housing for comparison to the city of Montevideo which uses If the projects are achieved, 6 percent of the
the poor. The agreements were finalized in 12 megawatts to illuminate its streets. country’s energy will be renewable, well above
April and Argentina is one country which will
Five more wind turbines will be added by June the government’s goal. It would also put Uru-
benefit from the Experimental Reimbursable
Seeding Operations (ERSO) initiative along that will increase total energy production by 10 guay at the forefront of renewable energy use
with Bangladesh, Kenya, Nepal, Tanzania megawatts and could supply all the energy needs in Latin America. u
and Uganda. ERSO is a system where
UN-HABITAT provides loans to financial
institutions who then give loans to the urban
poor for home renovations and infrastructure
Sustainable tourism
Dominican Republic takes action to protect
New cooking stoves save Brazilian forests biodiversity
Rural populations in Caatinga in north eastern
Brazil are no longer cutting down hundreds
of valuable trees to fuel their ovens because The Dominican Republic (DR) will invest the natural beauty of the DR is sustained for
they have been given efficient new stoves. heavily in infrastructure for further sustain- generations to come”.
Until now, more than 80 percent of the area’s able development of its tourism industry. Garcia announced the DR’s long-term
woodland has disappeared. The project to
At its recent annual tourism conference, commitment to developing pleasing, well-lit
provide new ovens was initiated by the NGO,
IDER - Brazil’s Institute for Sustainable Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier Garcia urban spaces where tourists can walk among
Development and Renewable Energy, with stressed that the government’s investment shops and restaurants while experiencing the
funding from the Global Village Energy Project will include building the Atlantic Boulevard culture and lifestyle of Dominicans.
(GVEP). The Renewable Energy and Energy in Puerto Plata, the revitalization and devel- A special approach to sustainable tourism
Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) provided the opment of major highways and roads, and an developments in the DR’s southwest region
cash for the project’s second phase.
“even deeper commitment to ensuring that is being undertaken, as the area is the most

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Latin America and the Caribbean: News IN-FOCUS

IDB funds to clean up Medellin River Honduras receives World Bank funds to
rebuild roads
The World Bank has granted USD 25 million
The city of Medellin in Colombia will complete an to Honduras for repairs needed after a tropical
storm. Tropical Storm No. 16 caused massive
ambitious new programme to rehabilitate a vital river damage to road infrastructure in Honduras
to improve the quality of life for local communities – more than 700 kilometres of roads were
and the surrounding natural habitat. impacted. Sixteen bridges are also being
The USD 450 million financing will help turn reconstructed and the money will be used to
enhance procedures and policies for natural
Medellin into one of the first large Latin American
disaster mitigation and prevention strategies.
cities to adequately treat nearly 100 percent of the
wastewater it collects. The loan provided by the ENERGY
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), will fi- New agreement for energy efficient
buildings in Mexico
nance the Medellin River Sanitation Programme, The public-private Renewable Energy and
to be executed by Empresas Públicas de Medellin Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP)
(EPM), which already provides water and sewer brought together major energy efficiency
collection services to 99 percent and 98 percent, re- stakeholders in Mexico in April to sign
a joint Memorandum of Understanding
spectively, of the people in its service area. (MoU) committing to the formation of a joint
The first phase of the programme began eight action plan. The aim is to implement energy
years ago on the completion of the San Fernando efficiency in buildings at state and municipal
Wastewater Treatment Plant. By removing harm- level across Mexico. The National Commission
for Energy Efficiency (CONUEE), The
ful organic material and toxins from approxi- National Network of State Energy Commission
mately 20 percent of the wastewater flowing into (RENACE) and The Association for Energy
the Medellin River, the plant has already elimi- Efficiency in Buildings (AEAEE) all signed the
nated the odours that used to emanate from the agreement and hope also to influence similar
initiatives in other Latin American nations.
river in the southern part of the city. As a result,
new parks have been built and more housing, as TOURISM
the private sector has invested in areas that were Water quality will improve in Medelin New online tool to measure impact of
Photo © fernando diaZ tourism
previously shunned.
The Inter-American Development Bank
“Medellin is a powerful example of how in- has released a new Tourism Sustainability
vesting in water and sanitation can yield benefits unpleasant odours, the new plant – due to be built at Scorecard, an interactive tool developed to
that go far beyond public health and the environ- the northern end of the city – will enable local mu- ensure that the Bank’s investments in private
sector tourism projects maximize social,
ment,” says IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno. nicipalities to plan new riverside parks and residential
economic, cultural and environmental benefits
“These projects have become a key driver of and commercial properties. By its completion in 2012, for local communities and destinations.
Medellin’s emergence as a dynamic, inviting and 95 percent of Medellin’s wastewater will be treated Tourism brings in substantial revenue and
socially progressive metropolis.” and will even enable local companies to use treated alleviates poverty and the World Travel and
Tourism Council estimates that tourism will
In addition to reducing waterborne diseases and wastewater for some industrial applications. u
contribute as much as USD 217 billion to the
Latin American and Caribbean economies
in 2009. Using the scorecard, the bank
will be able to give priority to projects that
demonstrate potentially positive impacts.
bio-diverse territory in the Caribbean. There
are plans for an educational institution near
Mexico signs sustainable development
Baharona that will study the wealth of spe- agreement with UK
cies, fauna and flora in the southwest with Mexico and the UK have signed a commitment
over USD 900 million being invested into in- on sustainable development and climate
change. Progress under the previous
novative sustainable tourism developments
sustainable development partnership
in the southwest that could serve as global programme, which began in 2006, was
models. discussed as were future priorities under the
The DR is taking a multidisciplinary ap- new UK-Mexico programme, which continues
until 2010.The project to reduce Mexico City’s
proach to tourism, business and environmen- transport emissions was deemed as a success,
tal issues. “The public and private sector are as it has led to the creation of a zero emissions
working hand-in-hand creating new projects corridor along one of Mexico’s busiest roads.
that make sense for our environment, busi- Mexico hosted World Environment Day in
June and has committed to reduce its carbon
nesses and especially our families’ and visi- The Dominican Republic is protecting its bio-diversity emissions by 50 percent by 2050.
tors’ well-being,” concluded Garcia. u Photo © GaBriel Bulla

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IN-FOCUS Asia and Pacific

Can India lead the global

market for solar power?
India has stated its intention to bring solar energy into the homes of millions of its citizens.
Kirsty Tuxford examines the merits of the government’s plan and outlines the benefits solar
power can bring for India’s poorest inhabitants.

The Ministery New and Renewable Energy is installing solar cookers to help rural populations Photo © aline dassel
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Asia and Pacific URBAN WATCH

M ahatma Gandhi once said:

“The earth provides enough
to satisfy every man’s need,
but not every man’s greed.” India’s govern-
ment has heeded these wise words with the
Indian government’s National Solar Mission
plan at a glance
Target: Install 20,000MW capacity by 2020
launch of the National Action Plan on Clima- 2009-2012 – Expand ongoing urban, rural and off-grid projects:
te Change which sets out India’s programme Public buildings and residential building of 500 square metres or more to install
to promote and invest in sustainable energy. solar heating; micro-financing for solar lighting expected to light up three
The Plan announced in June last year con- million homes.
sists of eight separate missions including the 2012-2017 – Commercial use of solar thermal power plants:
National Solar Mission, which aims to “sig- Developing storage options; promoting solar lighting and heating on a large
nificantly increase the share of solar energy scale; possible micro-finance available.
in the total energy mix”. With 5,000 trillion 2017-2020 – Achieve tariff parity with conventional grid power:
kWh each year from long hours of sunlight, Reach installed capacity of 20 gigawatts (Gw); install one million solar rooftop
Shyam Saran, the PM’s Special Envoy on cli- systems; reduce the cost of solar projects.
mate change, has stated that India wishes to Milestones for increased capacity are envisaged for the years 2030 and 2050
become the leading solar nation in the world.
Critics say the Indian electricity sector is
not ready for solar and is beset with a number and renewable sources of energy as well as pro- and grid-connected solar power plants. A 25
of problems such as major transmission and viding financial support to energy efficiency and hundred-thousand square metre solar thermal
distribution losses, poor generation and end conservation projects, The Agency is running collector area was created and solar cookers
use efficiency, and very low renewable energy three programmes in the field of solar energy: were installed. Eight thousand remote villages
uptake (see the February 2009 report of the the solar photovoltaic market development and hamlets were also linked up to solar energy
South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and programme, the solar thermal programme and systems.
People India’s National Action Plan on Cli- the solar water pumping programme. On a micro level, specialist Akshay Urja
mate Change: There is little hope here). But In December 2008, the Ministry of New shops (solar shops) have been set up across the
the benefit of solar power as outlined in the and Renewable Energy announced the imple- country by the Ministry in a substantial effort
National Solar Mission is that its deployment mentation of schemes to promote solar energy to promote the consumption of solar energy.
can be done independently of the national across the country. The scheme began with The plan is to establish one shop on each dis-
grid and integrated when needed. The Action the installation of solar lighting in the form trict of the country. The solar shop scheme aims
Plan states that “transmission and develop- of home lighting, lanterns and street lights, to encourage private entrepreneurs and NGOs
ment losses are very low in decentralized solar-powered pumps and 5.2 MWp of off-grid to set up and operate the shops. Applicants
systems” which is precisely why solar power
could be the way forward for India.

Incentives to turn to solar

Although there is the potential for major expan-
sion of the solar industry, there remain clear
obstacles to India becoming a world leader.
Jaideep Malaviya from the Malaviya Energy
Consultancy in India says: “There is a lack of at-
tractive incentives and lack of awareness over
the climate change issue, which is poorly un-
The government has reacted by putting in
place financial incentives to convince people
and industry to turn to green energy. Finan-
cial assistance for new and renewable energy
projects is being offered by the Indian Renew-
able Energy Development Agency (IREDA),
which is a public limited government company
under the administrative control of the Minis-
try of New and Renewable Energy. The Agency
operates a revolving fund for the promotion,
development and commercialization of new Solar power is India’s answer to its energy deficit Photo © Patrick moore

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IN-FOCUS Asia and Pacific

Selco’s solar energy benefits the poor Photo © selco

enhance living conditions for the poor and

rural populations in India. SELCO has played
a critical role in persuading commercial and
rural banking institutions to provide financial
backing for solar lighting and sustainable en-
ergy for the most deprived communities. The
Lighting will improve quality of life for poor communities Photo © vivek chuGh company manufactures its own solar panels
and fluorescent light bulbs – keeping costs
are eligible for loans of up to Rs. 10 hundred- The Ministry says that significant achieve- down – and the 75,000 households which
thousand (EUR 154,550) at 7 percent interest ments have been made as a result of the incen- now benefit from SELCO’s solar power can
rate through designated banks. In addition, tives. More than 13,700 MW grid-interactive spread the cost of the solar panels over five
there are grants and incentives up to a pos- power generators – 9 percent of the total in- years through weekly payments.
sible Rs. 10,000 (EUR 154) per month during stalled capacity of the country – have been
the first two years of operation. The scheme established. Rural households have also ben- Sharing knowledge
is operated through State Nodal Agencies and efitted from 5.5 million off-grid renewable en- India is also looking to other countries’ expe-
the Renewable Energy Development Agency. ergy systems, which includes solar photovoltaic rience with renewables. The Ministry of New
The Ministry admits that despite the fact lighting systems that are functioning to serve and Renewable Energy is focused on interact-
that the production of solar energy devices and homes with energy for cooking and lighting. ing with developed and developing countries
systems is on the increase, the initial high cost in terms of sharing experiences, taking up
of these energy systems is a barrier preventing Private sector involvement helps the joint research, design, development, demon-
their use on a large scale. Other constraints poor stration and manufacture of new and renew-
stem from the inherent intermittent nature of Even if the financial incentives work and the able energy systems. Memoranda of Under-
renewable energy sources, which the Ministry obstacles are overcome, what’s in it for India’s standing have already been signed with the
claims leads to low capacity utilization ranging economy and people if the switch is flicked to Ministry of Climate and Energy in Denmark,
from 17 percent to 70 percent, depending on re- solar? India already boasts the second-fastest the Department of Energy in the Republic of
source and location, grid synchronization limi- growing economy in the world and Prime the Philippines and the Cuban government,
tations and the fact that higher capital invest- Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, in his speech amongst others. Collaborations with other
ments are required compared to conventional launching the Action Plan predicted a vast nations – both developed and developing
power projects. The solution put in place by the pooling of scientific, technical and managerial – will be a positive step to help India rise to
Ministry involves the application of preferential resources to make use of solar energy which the forefront of the solar industry. But what
tariffs and fiscal concessions to boost the com- will “power the economy and transform the does being a world leader mean to India? A
mercial attractiveness of solar power. The Re- lives of our people”. Jaideep Malaviya agrees: leader in terms of production? Or in terms
newable Energy Ministry has for example de- “[Implementation of solar power will] make of R&D, economic growth or the percentage
veloped a generation-based incentive plan for the economy strong since it will be able to of the population hooked up to solar power?
grid interactive solar power generation projects. displace an equivalent amount of fossil fuel Perhaps the definition of ‘world leader’ is best
The aim of the plan is to achieve a reduction in usage which is by and large imported.” embodied in Ghandi’s words so being a leader
the cost of grid-connected solar systems and Enterprises such as SELCO Solar are capi- in solar energy means simply: “Satisfying eve-
solar power generation, as well as to develop talizing on opportunities now available to the ry man’s needs.” For the sake of future gen-
and demonstrate the technical performance of private sector not only to develop and sell so- erations, it is to be hoped that that is the road
grid interactive solar power generation. lar technology to big companies but also to India’s government will chose to take.u

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Asia and Pacific IN-FOCUS

After the quake: how

self-build is the key to
Sichuan’s recovery
A devastating earthquake in Sichuan, China, last year left five million people homeless. Yet for
many, more than a year later the rebuilding process is still in its initial phases. Maya Alexandri,
a writer based in Beijing who recently visited the area of the quake, takes a look at progress
made so far, and how an outside non-governmental organization, Build Change, is making a
major difference to the survivors of one of the most devastating quakes in recent memory.

Residents get involved in rebuilding their homes Photo © Build chanGe

IN-FOCUS Asia and Pacific

I n the remote, rural villages near Wen-

chuan, the quake’s epicentre, many
obstacles have slowed the rebuilding
process. Some towns lack adequate roads,
making the delivery of necessary building
The homeowner-driven model has an-
other benefit over the alternatives: sustain-
ability. Houses built by donors tend to use
imported materials, like the lightweight
steel-frame house design that has been pro-
ing in Minle. Before the drawing process begins,
Build Change staffers interview villagers to hear
their preferences.
“Homeowners should make the decisions
about colour, materials, size and where the toilet
equipment and materials impossible, and posed as an earthquake-resistant solution goes,” says Ms. Hausler.
forcing many to wait for road repairs first. for Sichuan. The design has proved unpop- Build Change then drafts layouts that incorpo-
Elsewhere, people have been waiting for ular with locals and, once the donor with- rate the homeowners’ preferences into a design
the government to pay promised rebuilding draws from the area, future houses will not that includes earthquake resistant features. “The
subsidies. be built in that design. Other donor-driven layout was good and easy to understand,” says
“I thought the government would rebuild reconstruction efforts around the world Mrs. Wei, whose family members built a house
my house for free,” says Xiao Qianghui, a have included houses built from timber not themselves based on Build Change’s design.
resident of Minle, Sichuan. “But then I resistant to local pests, as well as homes “Drafting the layouts also helps us to estimate
heard that the government would be giving that are inappropriate to the climate. costs,” Ms. Hausler explains. Cost-estimation
each of us 20,000 renminbi [about USD for homeowner-driven reconstruction is critical.
3,000] instead.” A new partnership for the people Asked why, Ms. Hausler recalls how Indonesian
While some Minle villagers, like Wei Since December 2008, the Chinese govern- tsunami and earthquake survivors had often
Qingli, whose husband is a construction ment has been attempting to build local spent too much of their rebuilding subsidy on
worker and whose uncle is a contractor, capacity through its partnership with Build the foundation of their new home. By the time
were able to begin building their houses Change. Build Change has trained villagers the contractor had to connect the vertical tie-
themselves, the homeowner-driven ap- about proper construction techniques and columns to the horizontal ring-beam at the top
proach has created problems for other vil- how to manage contractors. Mrs. Xiao, who of the house – a connection of more importance
lagers, like Xing Dayan: “We knew nothing participated in the training, is confident: to the earthquake-resistant function of a single-
about housing construction,” she says. “Whoever builds my house, I’ll be able to story house than the foundation – the home-
All aspects of the process, from signing supervise the quality.” owner had run out of money.
contracts to supervising the construction, Drafting home layouts is another form of Once budgetary issues have been taken
were foreign to many of Minle’s residents. technical assistance that Build Change is provid- into account and construction begins, Build
“I don’t even know what layout my contrac-
tor used to dig the foundation,” says Yang

The response
In Minle, the Chinese government re-
sponded to this challenge by partnering
with Build Change, a non-profit social en-
trepreneurship enterprize that provides
technical assistance to homeowners in de-
veloping countries who are rebuilding after
earthquakes and other disasters. Having
rebuilt houses in Indonesia, after the 2004
tsunami, Build Change has experience with
the homeowner-driven model for recon-
“If you don’t engage homeowners over the
layout of the house and the architectural de-
sign, the homeowners won’t be confident that
the house is safe,” says Build Change found-
er, Elizabeth Hausler. As a Fulbright fellow in
India after the 2001 earthquake in Gujarat,
Ms. Hausler spoke to people who had been
excluded from the reconstruction process
by the NGOs that had rebuilt their houses.
“These people were sleeping outside because
they didn’t trust that the house wouldn’t col-
lapse on them,” she explains. The Build Change organization is helping quake survivors Photo © Build chanGe

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Asia and Pacific IN-FOCUS

UN-HABITAT shares knowledge to help

quake survivors
According to figures provided by the official Xinhua Chinese news agency, the
huge 12 May earthquake claimed more than 60,000 lives in Sichuan Province and
other affected regions in the country. Nearly 30,000 people were reported miss-
ing, and nearly 300,000 others were injured in the earthquake. The China Seis-
mological Bureau (CSB) revised the magnitude of southwest China earthquake
from 7.8 to 8.0 on the Richter scale. Chinese President Hu Jintao who visited the
scene of the devastation expressed gratitude to foreign countries and NGOs like
Build Change for coming in to help. UN-HABITAT’s Executive Director, Mrs. Ti-
baijuka, visited two Sichuan towns last year with senior Chinese officials. She ex-
pressed her deep sympathy and solidarity with the victims and pledged support
for recovery and reconstruction work in the area. Touring a temporary shelter,
she said she was happy that victims had been given adequate attention and com-
mended the Chinese Government and people for taking quick action to relieve
suffering, ensuring that almost all the displaced survivors were sheltered. “Natural
disasters cannot be stopped. What is important is to minimize the impact and
build back better,” she said. UN-HABITAT is mandated to take the lead in disas-
ter prevention, mitigation, and preparedness and post-disaster rehabilitation with
regard to human settlements. In countries recovering from war or disaster around
the world, it fulfils this mandate by supporting national governments, local au-
thorities and communities in strengthening their capacity in managing disasters.
This applies both to the prevention and mitigation of disasters as well as the reha-
bilitation of human settlements. It creates awareness among decision makers and
communities on mitigation and adequate rehabilitation in human settlements. It
bridges the gap between relief and development by combining the technical exper-
tise, normative understanding and lessons learned through UN-HABITAT field
operations. “We are sharing our experience of working in post disaster reconstruc-
tion in other countries such Indonesia and Pakistan,” she said. In May, the agency
opened a new disaster mitigation office in Tehran, Iran, to operate at the national
and regional level in a part of the world also prone earthquakes.

Change conducts daily, on-site inspections same thing on their own houses,” she says.
to ensure that contractors are adhering to If the homeowner-driven reconstruction
safety standards. Among other tasks, Build process in Minle continues apace, its villag-
Change staff test the quality of bricks being ers should soon enjoy both the confidence
used and check the ratio of dirt and gravel of living in an earthquake-resistant house
to cement that the contractors use when and also the enhanced capacity of being
mixing the concrete. able to build such houses in the future.
However, the key to success of home-
Encouraging people to take charge owner-driven reconstruction models, in
Build Change also encourages homeowners Sichuan and worldwide, is a combination
to take control of the building process. Mrs. of rebuilding subsidies and technical as-
Xing, who knew nothing about construc- sistance of the kind Build Change provides.
tion when the rebuilding process started, A refinement of the homeowner-driven
was able to persuade her contractor to add reconstruction model would include such
four tie-columns to her house and reinforce technical assistance with the government-
the concrete lintel beams over the doors granted rebuilding subsidies. Luckily for
and windows. “After my neighbours saw my villagers in Sichuan, the NGO world is fill-
Build Change staff ensure that locals are happy
reinforced lintel beam, they all wanted the ing that gap. u with the design Photo © Build chanGe

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IN-FOCUS Asia and Pacific: News

Singapore to host World Toilet Summit
The topic of creating a sustainable sanitation Laos to build dam to fund environmental protection
marketplace will be under discussion at this
year’s Ninth World Toilet Summit from 2 to 4
December. This is the second time the Summit
has been staged in Singapore, and it’s receiving
strong support from the Singapore Economic
Development Board (EDB), the Restroom
Association in Singapore and the Singapore
Exhibition and Convention Bureau.

Indian cities win awards for environmen-
tal performance
Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Bhopal have
been recognized for their performance on
environmental and sustainability issues in
a ceremony at the International Workshop
on Improved Urban Environment in March
of this year. ICLEI South Asia granted the
awards, and has also launched an initiative –
together with the National Institute of Urban
Affairs – to document cities’ good practices on
the ICLEI website.

Hong Kong government funds energy ef-
ficiency in buildings The new dam in Laos will bring revenue to the poor Photo © frédéric Gloor
The Environment and Conservation Fund
(ECF) has backed USD 450 million Building
Energy Efficiency Funding Schemes. ECF Com- Laos will set the standard for the construction new roads, clean water, schools and regular
mittee Chairman Professor David Lung said of ‘good dams’ with its new USD 1.25 billion health check ups, including agricultural land
that the funding schemes will encourage build- Nam Theun 2 Hydroelectric Project (NT2), set have been built and set aside for the 1,240
ing owners to take concrete action for enhanc- to be unveiled in December. It aims to address households.
ing the energy efficiency performance of build- environmental and social impacts and will steer More than 300 consultations and work-
ings. The funding schemes provide subsidies to revenue to the country’s neediest people. shops were conducted with the local people
encourage building owners to conduct audits Situated in the Nakai Plateau in Kham- to ensure that the resettlement reflected the
regarding energy usage in their buildings. mouan province, the dam is surrounded by peoples’ wishes.
some of the most natural and pristine moun- Extensive public consultations on the envi-
TRANSPORT tain ranges in south east Asia. The innovative ronment and social impacts were undertaken,
New WBCSD report says city mobility is financing partnership brought together 27 dif
dif- to gain the investment and to live up to the
not sustainable ferent financial institutions – both public and stringent guidelines set forth by the World
The World Business Council for Sustainable private – from around the world. Commission on Dams.
Development has released the results of a two- “With a total project cost equivalent to NT2 will export about 5,354 gigawatt-hours
year study on public transport in four rapidly more than 80 percent of the country’s annual of electricity annually to Thailand and provide
developing cities: Bangalore, Dar es Salaam, GDP, this is the single-largest foreign invest- revenue to the Lao PDR through taxes, royal-
São Paulo and Shanghai. The study finds ment in the Lao PDR’s history,” says John ties and dividends and will provide up to 7 to
that streets are becoming more congested, Cooney, a former director of Infrastructure 9 percent of the government’s annual national
transport-related health and safety risks are for the Asia Development Bank. “But this is budget.
a problem, as is the poor state of roads and also the world’s project, with partners from “Implementing the project has been a chal-
vehicles, and inexperienced drivers are causing around the globe.” lenge for development professionals,” says
deaths and injuries. The report calls for more Ten percent of the project’s cost will go to- Cooney. “We hope that ‘good dams’ of the
integrated planning, public consultation and ward funding environmental protection and future can become a powerful tool for fight-
education for transport users. social safeguards. More than 6,000 people in ing poverty while addressing critical energy
16 villages have been resettled. New houses, needs.” u

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Asia and Pacific: News IN-FOCUS

Radical restructuring for Chinese Munici-
New technology brings clean water to Indonesia pal Government
Ceremonies were held in May in Tianjin, one
of the four province-level municipalities of
People in Jakarta, Indonesia now have a China, to inaugurate several new government
cheaper alternative method of obtaining agencies. The ceremonies signify the structural
clean drinking water. Air Rahmat or Gift reform of the Municipal Government, which
Water, is a new water purification technology aims to streamline policy making and execu-
that is cheaper, faster and safer than boiling tion. Previously, overlapping responsibilities of
different agencies and departments has caused
Previously many families would have had
to buy expensive bottled water or use a lot TRANSPORT
more heat, energy and time to boil water for Cycling and ecomobility promoted in
drinking and food preparation. Air Rahmat Asian cities
means water is clean and ready to use half an The Sustainable Urban Mobility in Asia
Water for thousands of people Photo © stePhen davies
hour after adding the solution. (SUMA) initiative, together with GTZ SUTP
Over 100 million people in Indonesia lack The name refers to a liquid, 1.25 percent sodium and Interface for Cycling Expertise (I-Ce) have
access to safe drinking water and more than hypochlorite solution, which is effective in deacti- launched a handbook on how to develop cycle-
70 percent of the country’s 220 million popu- vating microorganisms such as E.coli in water. friendly policies, facilities and transportation
systems. The book: Cycling-inclusive Policy De-
lation rely on water obtained from potentially Rahmat itself stands for economical, easy to use
velopment: A Handbook, is aimed at engineers,
contaminated sources. and healthy.
planners, community leaders and advocates
The Indonesian Government has intro- The product is already used in more than 25 and contains crucial information regarding the
duced Air Rahmat after being developed countries and worldwide more than two million development of cycle-friendly policies. SUTP
through the Aman Tirta public-private part- households use similar products to Air Rahmat
Rahmat. members can download the handbook online.
nership. Members include CARE, the John “By introducing this,” says Soetodjo Yuwono, Sec-
Hopkins Centre for Communication Pro- retary, Coordinating Ministry for People’s Welfare, GOVERNMENT
grammes and the United States Agency for “we are offering a simple and sustainable solution Indian local government accused of re-
International Development. to the lack of access to safe water”. u sistance to new ideas
Chairman Sam Pitroda of India’s National
Knowledge Commission (NKC) – a body set up
by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2005 to
Transport facilitate transformation into a knowledge soci-

“People’s car” achieves record sales in India ety – has stated that some levels of government
are resistant to new ideas, transparency and
accountability. Pitroda blames “rigid organi-
The new Indian built car, Tata Nano, the zational structures” and says that community
cheapest car in the world, is beating the gloom participation at a local level is needed in order
that has overcome other car manufacturers to create and implement effective programmes
throughout the world by achieving record for change.
sales in its first month. The tiny price tag of
USD 2,500 matches its small proportions yet
UNEP approves environmental standards
the sale figures for its first month have hit
set at Beijing Olympic Games
203,000 worth USD 510 million. An environmental assessment completed by
Nicknamed the “people’s car” the Tata Nano the UN Environment Programme has found
aims to provide cheap, safe and fuel efficient that China adhered to, and in some areas,
transport to millions of Indians, who want to actually exceeded sustainable development
upgrade their motorcycles and older more pol- goals for the Beijing Games. The evaluation
Tata Nano Photo © eddy thnu measured air quality, transport, energy, eco-
luting vehicles that plague India’s city streets.
As India develops further and its cities con- systems, water and waste and Olympic sites
tinue to grow, environmentalists are concerned motorcycles or drove older cars.” and venues. UNEP were particularly pleased
to see that approximately 90 percent of the
that the Tata Nano would only further add to the Until recently only two cars were available to
city’s wastewater is now treated, and the
problems of congestion and pollution. Indians, both based on models that had not been
report concluded that: “a lasting environ-
“Tata Nano is the least polluting car in In- overhauled since the 1950s. The Tata Nano aims mental legacy has been left in terms of new,
dia,” counter claims Tata chairman, Ratan N to drastically change the manufacturing indus- energy-efficient and eco-friendly buildings
Tata. “It provides safe, affordable, four-wheel try in India but also to improve urban mobility and venues”.
transportation to families who previously rode to all citizens through its affordability. u

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Field report from South

Communicating and maintaining the best urban practices is not easy even when conditions are
optimal. But trying to make change for the better in a remote and tense corner of Africa takes
a lot of hard thinking and careful, sensitive consideration. Here the Chilean architect, teacher
and illustrator, Eduardo Feuerhake, brings some wisdom from his native wind-swept Tierra del
Fuego to the Juba district, capital of South Sudan, via Mozambique.

Girls in Sudan have to walk long distances to fetch water Photo © shannon varis

u r b a n
July 2009 WORLD 53

I n November 2008, UN-HABITAT

called on Mr. Eduardo Feuerhake to
raise community awareness of local
needs and good governance practices and
produce material for immediate, everyday
more complex than could be explained in
local radio broadcasts – the main means of
public communication in Juba and its sur-
roundings. The radio carries programmes
on peace building, schooling, HIV-AIDS, and
insufficient water and sanitation, also pre-
vailed. And not to be forgotten – the large
numbers of disabled war victims without
special support or services.
“And so I had to start somewhere, to show
use. His mission: to make it understandable much news in a part of the world where fear that where these problems exist, there are so-
to everyone whether literate or illiterate, pol- and paranoia still have a grip on the public lutions. And then to convey the fact that the
icy maker or school girl. psyche. Many people still wonder whether key here is the concept of maintenance in a
The best way to start, he felt, would be by the war really is over, let alone whether an place where nothing had been maintained for
walking about to get a feel for the place and election on creating a new country will ever years,” Feuerhake says.
taking some photographs. lead to that goal. “I therefore decided on the card game us-
“But after decades of civil war out here, I “I had to begin somewhere, and so I decid- ing the drawings, some of them with photo-
quickly understood that pointing a camera at ed to start in schools where there is a wonder- graphic material incorporated. When people
someone is like aiming a gun at them. Peo- ful, interesting mix of pupils of all ages very play, no matter what age they are, they auto-
ple do not like it and are nervous, so it always keen to learn even though there are practi- matically discuss the images, and that’s the
takes a lot of careful consideration and getting cally no text books,” he says. whole idea,” he added.
to know and understand people,” he says. The more Feuerhake walked about the lo- And from this work, the card game was de-
“You have to bear in mind all the time too cal neighbourhoods, the more he saw and rived, with each set of two drawings showing
that for at least two generations people here understood the problems confronting peo- the problem and the solution. Using as little
have had no schooling, so in creating aware- ple in every walk of life: Outdoor defecation, text as possible they are tailored to convey
ness of our work and what we are trying to children unused to playing because of conflict best practices in management of settlements
do to help the communities uplift themselves, trauma, and many forced to work after class- and basic services and even architectural in-
we have to get down to basics.” es, with the girls always expected to trudge a novation to people still learning to read.
The Chilean architect, who has also long way to fetch water and help cook for the The card game, with this booklet and the
worked on assignment for UN-HABITAT in family. Other problems such as muck in the posters published by UN-HABITAT are now
Mozambique for six years, was aware too that streets, the lack of drains, dangerous driv- among the first materials freely available in
the concepts he had to convey were perhaps ing, poor building practices, poor hygiene, South Sudan schools. u

In the 10 southern states of Sudan, the United Nations Development Programme, working with the Government of South Sudan, is
engaged in what is called in UN parlance a Rapid Impact Emergency Project to build urban services such as abattoirs, market places,
public toilets, roads, drains and other sectors managed by the Ministry of Housing, Physical Planning and the Environment. The
project is financed through the Multi-donor Trust Fund for Southern Sudan and the public awareness component is managed by

A card games illustrating problems have solutions Photo © un-haBitat

u r b a n
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u r b a n
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IN-FOCUS Africa: News

Migrants fight for shelter
Migrants who had been living in a Methodist New portable toilet bag to help fight contamination
church in Johannesburg have found more
permanent shelter. The relocation was
triggered when local merchants in the area percent of the world’s urban population, or 560
began legal action to evict the migrants, million residents, lack adequate sanitation.
claiming that the people sleeping rough were “To build toilets, not to say suitable toilets, in
causing unhygienic conditions. Initially the
dense informal settlements is difficult, almost im-
accommodation will be for three months.
Skills training is also being given. possible, among other things due to lack of space,
lack of secure tenure or floods,” says Wirseen.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT “Often people have to resort to open defecation.
East African ministers back UN-HABITAT The Peepoo bag offers a choice and is individually
initiative for Lake Victoria
sustainable,” she says.
The UN-HABITAT project to reverse
environmental deterioration of Lake Victoria The Peepoo bag also has value as a fertilizer
and improve living conditions in the lake The Peepoo bag offers a solution to urban sanitation due to the increase of urban agriculture. The
Photo © PeePooPle
basin will be expanded thanks to backing used bags can be sold to be utilized in semi-urban
from East African ministers for water. UN- A new sanitary bag, designed for use as a portable farming such as horticulture gardens, tree nurs-
HABITAT originally formulated the project toilet, is due to be released in 2010. The bag aims eries, small plot allotments or flower gardens.
at the request of the Kenyan, Tanzanian and
to reduce the presence of contaminated water in The Peepoo bags have undergone testing in
Ugandan governments. Benefits felt from
the work so far include the rehabilitation urban areas where sanitation systems are lacking. Nairobi, Kenya with support from GTZ Germany
and expansion of dilapidated and inadequate The Peepoo bag is a personal single-use toilet and Jean African Consultants. Camilla Wirseen
water supplies and sanitation infrastructure, that sanitizes human excreta thereby preventing hopes to see the bag available from 2010 and says
and improvements to drainage and solid the faeces from contaminating water sources and its cost should be less than EUR 10 per person a
waste management systems. The project is
the surrounding environment. Lined with urea, year.
complimented by a comprehensive capacity
building programme. the bag breaks down the contents and renders “We are very concerned that Peepoople coop-
them harmless within two weeks, as compared to erate with the right partners and are currently in
HOUSING two years if untreated. negotiations with foundations first and foremost,
Zimbabwe looks to foreign investors for Many people who live in fast growing urban but also normal venture capitalists,” she adds.
new housing slums lack adequate sanitation. According to “This project offers a sanitation solution adapted
Zimbabwe’s government has outlined
Peepoople project manager, Camilla Wirseen, 25 to user need.”u
housing as a priority issue within its new
Short Term Recovery Programme. National
Housing and Social Amenities Minister
Fidelis Mhashu says that Zimbabwe needs
USD 10 billion in investment in order to
make a full recovery from the deep political
crisis and historical inflation rate it has Students unveil ‘new’ car for Africa
suffered recently. Zimbabwe has invited
international investors to inject funding into Eleven students from Makerere University in market. While the first car cost USD 4,500
the housing sector, promising that investors
Uganda have unveiled what they believe to be to produce the students believe that its costs
would be adequately covered and guaranteed
security of tenure. the poor man’s car for Africa. The prototype would reduce significantly and are seeking
is not yet at the stages of development, and financial backing from the public and private
HOUSING looks more like something cobbled together sector. u
Mauritania government forces move on from the scrap heap, but the potential to pro-
slum dwellers
vide rural and urban Africa with affordable
Nine thousand slum-dwelling families from
the outskirts of the capital, Nouakchott in transport is within reach.
Mauritania are being relocated to another Whilst not pleasing on the eye, being made
poor community known as Kosovo. The up of sheet metal and wooden seats, the beau-
national senator for Kosovo is against the ty is in the ingenuity the students had in rein-
relocation because he says there are not venting and improving old materials. The die-
enough medical facilities, food or water for the
sel engine was ripped from an old cotton mill
existing residents and the addition of 24,000
more people would aggravate an already and tweaked to give fuel performance that
fragile situation. The National Agency of matches the newer and much more expensive
Urban Development, the government agency Indian car, the Tata Nano.
responsible for the move, argues that the need The car would especially benefit rural and
for additional services has already been taken
urban populations who need to ferry their
into consideration.
crops and goods into the centre of town to the A car for Africa Photo © dr . yasin naku ZiraBa

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Africa: News IN-FOCUS

Housing ENERGY
World Bank funds USD 50 million electric-
New report says Islamic charitable trusts could help ity project in Cote d’Ivoire
The World Bank is backing a USD 50 million
reduce poverty in Africa project to rehabilitate the electricity network in
Cote d’Ivoire in Africa. The Urgent Electricity
Rehabilitation Project consists of three compo-
A new report from the London School of Eco- Firm regulations governing Wakfs have result- nents and aims to improve the availability, re-
liability, efficiency and financial viability of the
nomics in the UK – Financing Social Infra- ed in their increased credibility in the public eye. region’s electrical power. The initial phase of
structure and Addressing Poverty through In Kenya for example, the Wakf Commissioners the project will repair and expand the distribu-
Wakf Endowments: Experience from Kenya of Kenya (WCK) look after Wakf properties and tion network; following this, preparations will
be made for future investments in the trans-
and Tanzania – has examined the development issues. Thanks to this increased administration mission network, and thirdly, funding will be
and activities of Islamic charitable trusts, or the report summarizes that there is considerable made available for an institutional training
Wakfs in East Africa and determined that given potential to raise more revenue from Wakf en- programme. There will also be a revolving
fund to pre-finance electricity hook-up charges
new endowments to fund credit schemes and dowments; but the necessary professional exper- for low-income households.
training programmes, employment opportuni- tise and political will is currently lacking.
ties could be created and poverty reduced. The report’s author, Saad S Yahya, writes: HOUSING
Wakfs have religious origins and historically “The East African coast is rich in examples of Red Cross to help forgotten people of
they have been responsible for funding many housing, schools, health centres and other ur- An informal settlement on the outskirts of the
social projects. Properties backed by Wakfs ban facilities that have been financed through capital, Bujumbura, has been home to 3,000
provide affordable housing and premises for endowments known as Wakfs, created by citi- displaced people for as long as 15 years in
business and community activities. A Wakf zens concerned with community well-being some cases. There are only two pit latrines and
no clean water supply. Site leaders say they
functions to allow Muslims to place their assets and security of next of kin. From its early re- have received no assistance from the govern-
(usually property) into a trust for the benefit of ligious origins, the practice has developed into ment or aid agencies. A representative from
others. As a result social and religious facilities a durable economic institution capable of en- the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR, Bo Schack,
can be built using funds and there is support for riching and expanding approaches for mobiliz- said that UNHCR did not previously know
about the site. Burundi’s Ministry for National
the family and descendants of the asset holder. ing resources for poverty reduction.” Solidarity said that they too had no knowledge
The report says that in East Africa Wakfs Yahya argues that the value of Wakfs is not of the site, but are now distributing food. The
have contributed to public infrastructure and being realized. Wakf properties could bring in National Red Cross Society is also sending an
social harmony. Libraries, universities, public higher rental yields and vacant plots could be assessment team.
spaces and cemeteries, as well as schools, health developed, but the administrative bodies gov- WATER
centres and hostels for homeless people have all erning Wakfs lack the knowledge and expertise Tunisia launches support programme with
been constructed with funds from Wakfs. to invest in the urban property sector. u World Bank aid
The Tunisian government and the World
Bank have signed a loan for the equivalent of
USD 30.6 to support a plan for investments in
the Tunisian water sector. The country faces
increasing demands, but shrinking supplies,
and has therefore developed a water sector
support programme. The plan addresses inte-
grated water management and conservation;
economic efficiency of water use in agriculture;
and institutions restructuring and capacity
building in the water sector.

Malawi unveils new National Housing
Malawi’s capital Lilongwe played host to a
meeting of 65 housing experts in April.
The focus of the talks was to devise ways to
provide housing for the poor as part of a new
National Housing Policy. UN-HABITAT has
spent six months supporting specialists in
urban development while they conducted field
surveys and housing sector studies. Those
present at the talks included representatives
from national and local governments, utility
companies, NGOs, civil society, traditional
leaders, donor organizations, private sector
housing developers, financial institutions, pro-
fessional institutions and academia.
Housing could be improved if charitable trusts are well utilized Photo © un-haBitat

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IN-FOCUS Middle East: News

UN-HABITAT opens new office in Iran
Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, UN-HABITAT’s Low-cost technology reduces odour at UAE
Executive Director applauded the opening
of a new UN-HABITAT Disaster Mitigation wastewater plants
office in the Iranian capital Tehran in May.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony she
Ajman, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), percent or more, followed by the water regen-
congratulated the Ministry of Housing and
Urban Development for showing initiative in has successfully incorporated the first of a new erative carbon filter, which has been proven at
opening the office “at a time when disasters generation of odour control systems at one of the site to reduce odour below detectable limits.
are causing more and more destruction and its sewer and wastewater pumping stations. The one tonne of carbon media in the sec-
casualties all over the world”. Also present Ajman, with a population of 260,000, is the ond stage filter is designed to perform for up
at the opening ceremony were the Iranian smallest of the seven emirates making up the to six months, after which it can be regener-
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Manoucher
UAE in the Arabian Gulf. Recently a new sew- ated. The carbon will last for up to eight re-
Mottaki, and the Minister of Housing and
Urban Development, Mr. Mohammad er network and wastewater treatment works generation cycles giving four year’s perform-
Saieedi Kia. for the city was built and as part of the new ance. This compares with a traditional caustic
network, one of the pumping stations was lo- impregnated carbon filter, which would be
cated in a built up area, where odours needed spent after only six months and would need to
Winners of Dubai Awards unveiled
The Dubai International Awards for Best to be controlled. be completely replenished.
Practices took place in May and 12 winning The odour control system uses the novel Richard Hanson, Middle East Director for
cities received USD 30,000 in cash, a gilted combination of a catalytic iron-roughing filter ERG, adds: “Water regenerable carbon is an
wind tower and a certificate in recognition followed by a carbon-polishing filter using the ideal technology for the Middle East where re-
of their work towards building sustainable latest water regenerative carbon technology. duced running costs and minimal operator in-
development. The winners were from
Thanks to the regenerative carbon, the oper- volvement are so important in technology se-
Burundi, China, Colombia, the Democratic
Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Mexico, ating costs of the system are 75 percent lower lection. We expect it to become widely adopt-
Senegal, South Africa, Spain, and the United than an odour control system using conven- ed, especially as the climate is so completely
States for the Best Practices category, and tional impregnated carbon. suited to the regeneration cycle of warm water
two winners from Palestine and Pakistan ERG, a UK based company, recommended washing and drying. Already we are evaluat-
also received awards in the Best Practice
the design using catalytic iron in the first stage ing this technology for other pumping stations
Transfers category.
filter to reduce hydrogen sulphide levels by 50 in the region.” u
New report reveals lack of disabled
access to buildings in Lebanon
A report released by UN-HABITAT in May
has revealed a shocking lack of access for
the physically disabled to private and public
buildings and public spaces in southern
Lebanon. The report’s full findings were
presented at a seminar entitled “Towards
a Barrier Free Environment”, organized by
the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities,
UN-HABITAT, the Lebanese Physical
Handicapped Union and the unions of
municipalities of Tyre, Jabal Amel and Bint

Innovative water plan launched in Jordan
Raed Abu Al Saud, Jordan’s minister for
water and irrigation, and the minister
for planning and infrastructure, Suhair
Al Ali, have sealed plans to launch a new
partnership initiative for Jordan’s water.
The stimulus came from the recent World
Economic Forum at the Dead Sea, and
has formed into a project which will bring
public, private and civil society stakeholders,
academics and development organizations
together to build innovative water projects,
learn how to make the most of resources and
attract private and public finance. The pumping station no longer emits odours Photo © erG

u r b a n
60 WORLD July 2009
Middle East: News IN-FOCUS


A new self-sufficient ecocity for Dubai
Saudi Arabia aims to become high-speed rail Earlier this year, the Dubai Chamber of
Commerce authorized the development of
centre of Middle East a zone called Food City. A green landscape
and architecture company, GCLA, came up
with a master plan to develop the area into a
Railway lines for commuters and long distance self-sustainable ecocity. The plan includes:
travellers are set to increase in the Middle East vertically stacked landscape surfaces, artificial
with Saudi Arabia announcing an ambitious rail roof gardens, renewable energy systems,
aquatic farms and thermal conditioning.
programme and Dubai nearing completion of its
The proposal includes several measures to
first metro line. slash energy use by using concentrated solar
The USD 5.3 billion dollar north-south line, collectors and covering towers in thin-film
from Riyadh to the Jordanian border, is one of photovoltaic cells. GCLA claim that they want
three separate developments intended to create to utilize nearly every urban sustainability
initiative from the past few years.
a railway network for Saudi Arabia, estimated to
Travel to Mecca is now easier Photo © G.m farooQ
cost USD 25 billion, that will increase its rail net- ENERGY
work nearly fivefold. Pilgrims could also be riding the rails faster, on The Dow Chemical Company unveils new
A new railway will be built from Dammam and trains that travel up to 360km/h, to holy sites in solar technology
The Dow Chemical Company has revealed new
Jeddah, linking east to west, from the Red Sea to Mecca and Medina as early as next year, easing
Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technology
the Gulf, easing congestion on busy roads between busy and sometimes dangerous roads. at the CSP, CPV, Thin Film Solar Summit in
two of the largest urban areas in the Kingdom. All this has brought the attention of European Abu Dhabi. DOWTHERM™ A is a mixture
“We have the money from the second oil boom, and Canadian train manufacturers to a region of Diphenyl oxide and Biphenyl that have the
high temperature stability which enables the
and clearly the intention of the government is to that had previously shunned public transport and
sun’s energy to be harnessed. The energy can
invest in infrastructure,” says Rumaih Alrumaih, where urban dwellers saw the car as king. then be transported to a power generating
the deputy chief executive for Saudi Railways Or- These investments aim to make commuting a station that converts water into steam which
ganisations. “Sandy deserts of this size and mag- more enjoyable option, with the Gulf Co-operation in turn drives turbines to make electricity. The
nitude have never been crossed by rail before. It’s Council aiming to join the national networks into a Dow Chemical Company is in the process of
supplying enough DOWTHERM™ A globally
very challenging,” he adds. regional network. u to generate over 500 megawatts of electricity
from the sun.

Environment Schindler opens branches in the Middle
Campaign launched to Schindler has opened branches to sell, install
and service elevators and escalators in the
save Jordan River Emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Previously
Schindler operated in the two Emirates
through local firms, which sold, installed and
The Jordan River, famous for its religious im- maintained Schindler products. The local
firms will continue to carry out all installations
portance to Muslims, Christians and Jews, is
sold prior to the opening of the new Schindler
becoming more famous for its contamination branches, with support from Schindler,
and dropping water levels, according to environ- who will now take over their own sales and
mental group Friends of the Earth Middle East The Jordan River is being depleted installations.
(FoEME). Photo © samantha villaGran
Israel, Syria and Jordan are diverting over 90 governments to bring the Lower Jordan River State-of-the-art desalination plant for
percent of the Jordan River’s historical flow for back into the lives of communities alongside its Kuwait City
domestic and agricultural use. A five-year drought banks through a cooperative regional rehabilita- The Kuwaiti Ministry of Electricity and Water
and political tensions haven’t helped say FoEME. tion plan.” has awarded Doosan Heavy Industries &
Construction the contract to construct a
In response to the degradation of the Lower Jor- The river originates in the mountains of eastern
desalination plant that will provide drinking
dan River, FoEME has recently launched a cam- Lebanon and passes through Syria. It flows south water for 450,000 residents in Kuwait City.
paign to identify the means by which water trans- into Israel’s Sea of Galilee and into the Jordan val- The plant will process 136,000 m3/day (36
fers to the river can take place and help create the ley, forming the border between Jordan and Is- million US gallons per day (MGD)) and will
political will to make them happen. rael, including part of the Palestinian territories. be Kuwait’s first seawater desalination plant
using RO technology. Doosan will design and
“The 300,000 residents of the Jordan Val- The campaign calls upon all governments to build the plant, which is to be constructed near
ley are losing livelihood opportunities due to the meet their commitments to rehabilitate the Lower Shuwaikh port, as well as supply equipment
poor state of the river,” says Munqeth Mehyer, Jordan River, as specified in Article II of the 1994 and materials. The project is scheduled for
FoEME’s Jordanian Director. “We call upon our Peace Treaty between Israel and Jordan. u completion in September 2010.

u r b a n
July 2009 WORLD 61
IN-FOCUS Central and Eastern Europe: News

New EU-funded project for sharing data
Best practices in urban planning and design EBRD loan boosts Serbian rail industry
can now be easily shared across Europe,
thanks to Plan4All, an online forum launched
in May. The site exists within the framework of Serbia is set to receive new financing to im- of the Serbian rail sector, which will ultimately
the eContentplus program, and the makers say prove the quality of service and increase the deliver the wider benefits of enhanced competi-
that investors and decision makers will now competitiveness of the Serbian rail sector. tion and private sector participation.
find it easier to find out about building laws New rolling stock will be purchased with a “The EBRD is committed to helping Serbian
across the continent. EUR 100 million loan from the European Railways improve the standards of transport
Bank of Reconstruction and Development infrastructure,” says Thomas Maier, EBRD
WATER (EBRD), to replace the ageing passenger fleet business group director for infrastructure.
Global reserves under threat, says and improve service frequency and quality. “Like the wider Serbian economy, the rail sec-
Istanbul’s Mayor Together with the European Investment tor is experiencing the effects of the global
Urbanization, population growth and climate Bank (EIB), the Reconstruction and Develop- economic recession and the Bank sees it as
change are all placing water reserves under ment Bank will finance a programme of track vital to provide long-term funding to Serbian
threat, according to Kadir Topbas, ‚ Mayor of renewal that will include an upgrade of the Railways to help weather the crisis. Continued
Istanbul and Co-President of United Cities main rail track running from Croatia to Hun- investments to boost the company’s operating
and Local Governments (UCLG). Topbas‚ was gary and its connection to Montenegro, and performance will aid the process of restructur-
speaking at the World Water Forum held the line connecting the Serbian capital Bel- ing of the rail sector in Serbia and promote the
in Istanbul during March. The consensus grade with the port of Bar in Montenegro. overall economic growth of Serbia,” he says.
reached at the Forum was that mayors and The money will help improve the overall per- This latest loan builds on improvements al-
local authorities have a key role to play in the formance of the passenger business, increas- ready achieved. In 2001, electric locomotives
governance of water and action has to be taken ing passenger numbers. At the same time, the were refurbished and a railway-restructuring
on a local level. project hopes to contribute to the restructuring programme was initiated. u

IOC to promote development through
The Olympic movement has committed to
using its influence to promote peace and
development through its sporting events. The
International Olympic Committee met with
UN agencies at the International Forum on
Sport, Youth and Development on 8 May in
Switzerland. The IOC’s president, Mr Jacques
Rogge, emphasized the need for stronger
support from governments in order to build a
better urban future for impoverished cities.

Romania and Greece to invest more in
earthquake-proof buildings
The UN International Strategy for Disaster
Reduction (ISDR) says that buildings are the
main killers when earthquakes hit. A UNISDR
report released in May says that more than
100 million people worldwide are exposed to
earthquakes and Europe, Romania, Greece,
Italy and Turkey are the most at-risk areas.
ISDR Deputy Director, Helena Molin-Valdes
says that earthquake resistant features should
be applied to new buildings in quake zones, as
the cost of investing is minimal compared to
reconstruction and loss of life after a quake.
Serbia will benefit from railway funding Photo © alex anyan

u r b a n
62 WORLD July 2009
Central and Eastern Europe: News IN-FOCUS

Infrastructure ENERGY
New Turkish wind farm backed by Siemens
Ukraine issued warning over soccer facilities Siemens are supplying 13 of their new SWT-
2.3-101 wind turbines to the Turkish EnerjiSA
Power Generating Company. The machines
are destined for a wind farm in north-western
Both Poland and Ukraine were given stern warn- pean Union. The risks of failing and international
Turkey and their installation is due to be
ings that their cities vying to host finals of the embarrassment are extra motivations.
finalized in 2010. Selahattin Hakman, the
UEFA Euro Cup in 2012 still need to improve Part of the rationale for UEFA awarding the Group President of Sabanci Holding Energy,
stadiums, transport and hotel accommodation. tournament to Poland and Ukraine was for those says that renewable energy will represent 10
Most cities in Poland received ticks of ap- reasons, and to reach out to Eastern Europe. percents of EnerjiSA’s portfolio.
proval, yet the Ukranian cities Donetsk, Lviv UEFA will closely monitor the progress of prepa-
and Kahrkiv have “important shortcomings” in rations in all of the cities and will make another ENVIRONMENT
their infrastructure, according to UEFA. assessment in December 2009. u Bulgaria pledges to reduce methane
A statement from UEFA reads: “The emissions
comprehensive review showed important The international climate change initiative,
shortcomings regarding infrastructure in all Methane to Markets (M2M) welcomed Bulgaria
Ukranian cities in question. Significant work as its 29th member in May. Methane is 20
times stronger than carbon dioxide at trapping
must be undertaken to meet minimum re-
heat in the atmosphere, making it a powerful
quirements for an event of the size of a final
greenhouse gas. Bulgaria’s contribution
tournament of the UEFA European Football
to methane prevention will be to promote
Championship.” landfill projects to capture methane emissions
The final match will only be held in Kiev if spe- for beneficial uses. The US Environmental
cific conditions with regard to the stadium, air- Protection Agency (EPA) estimates the M2M
port, regional transport and accommodation are programme could prevent the equivalent of
met by 30 November. 180 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in
Sporting events are normally key drivers for methane release. The M2M partnership is
countries and cities to improve their infrastruc- formed by more than 900 public and private
ture rapidly, through funding from the private sector organizations, as well as countries,
The location of the UEFA Euro Cup is still to be
sector and, in this case, funding from the Euro- including the European Commission.
chosen Photo © steve Woods

St Petersburg wins wastewater funding
Energy from EBRD
Turkey to build largest ever wind farm St Petersburg in Russia will benefit from a new
project to reduce the discharge of untreated
sewage by 6 percent. At the moment 85 percent
of effluent discharged is biologically treated, but
A new 135-megawatt wind farm is to be built The provision of electricity and the devel-
the remainder is pumped raw into the Baltic
in the eastern Turkish region of Osmaniye. It opment of Turkey’s renewable energy poten-
Sea. The project is financed by the European
will be the largest wind farm under develop- tial contribute to the growth of Turkey and
Bank for Reconstruction and Development
ment in Turkey and will aim to reduce elec- its urban areas. It will meet rapid demand (EBRD), the international community, the
tricity outages by using renewable energy increase in Turkey using economically viable Russian budget, the local government and
sources. and sustainable wind resources. u the city’s water utility. The goal is to treat 94
Turkey is intent on becoming an emerging percent of sewage by 2012 and eventually
market destination for wind power invest- eliminate all untreated waste in order to protect
ments. It is the sixth-largest electricity mar- the Baltic Sea.
ket in Europe and one of the fastest growing
globally. ENERGY
European Investment Bank (EIB) will pro- New gas pipeline to serve Eastern Europe
Nabucco Gas Pipeline International will begin
vide EUR 30 million to finance the project,
construction of an EU-supported gas pipeline
which is part of a larger consortium.“The use
project in 2011, according to the company’s
of wind power resources will improve energy
managing director Reinhard Mitschek. Austria,
security and lower greenhouse gas emissions Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Turkey are
for electricity generation,” says EIB vice-pres- signing an intergovernmental agreement to
ident Matthias Kollatz-Ahnen. “The project collaborate. The aim of the project is to decrease
is therefore fully in line with the EU climate Turkey is increasing its reliance on wind power the EU’s dependence on Russian gas.
change policy.” Photo © maria Gurka

u r b a n
July 2009 WORLD 63

“Young people are the forgotten majority”

A donor speaks out

U N-HABITAT is at the vanguard of

a movement to recognize youth,
their talents and their concerns,
as a global resource for a better world. We listen
to their voices at the Youth Forum held every
small- and medium-sized grants that can make
a difference.

And the resources?

Development resources for youth led develop-
two years on the eve of the World Urban Forum. ment are scarce. One of the Fund’s main pur-
At the most recent Forum in Nanjing China, in poses, particularly in its initial phase, will be to
November last year, the agency launched its leverage resources for youth led development
new Opportunities Fund for Urban Youth-led to scale up promising development initiatives.
Development. Here Louisa Gikonyo of UN- New international development players such as
HABITAT speaks to the man behind the idea, the Gates Foundation, Microsoft, and Kelloggs
Erik Berg, Senior Advisor at the Norwegian Mi- are of particular interest. The international fi-
nistry of Foreign Affairs, whose government is nance institutions such as the World Bank and
making it happen through an annual grant of the regional development banks will also be
USD 1 million. challenged to contribute as well as progressive
bilateral donors.
Why youth?
We have seen it again and again. During the How do we get it going?
last 50 years the youth and student movement Youth organizations will define their needs in
has stood up against in the Indo-China war and accordance with the regulations of the Fund. A
made it stop, fought the apartheid system in Youth Advisory Board will be set up within UN-
South Africa and promoted de-colonization and HABITAT to assess all applications and advise
Eric Berg Photo © un-h
national independence in Africa and Asia. Youth the Executive Director. She will weigh who gets
still fight for human rights against unjust political What youth organizations have you in the support of the fund. u
and economic systems all over the world. Youth mind, and why do this?
have been and will always be a lead change agent Youth led non-governmental organizations are
globally, nationally and locally. those that are fully led, managed and coordi- Grant applications
nated by young people. It means that staff and
So what’s new? members are all below a certain age and work Is your organization working on an in-
We are in an unprecedented demographic on a variety of issues from a youth perspective. novative and sustainable project that
situation: young people under 25 comprise Youth led organizations are in a unique position will improve your community and the
half of the global population and 85 per- to develop and implement initiatives that ad- lives of those around you? Is your or-
cent of the world’s working age population. dress matters from a youth perspective and offer ganization youth-led? If you answered
The average age in the 10 least-developed solutions that respond to the diverse realities of “yes” to these questions, your organiza-
tion could be eligible for a grant.
African countries is 16 years or younger. In young people. Currently, almost half the world’s
The Opportunities Fund for Urban
times of economic crisis, as we now face, population is under 25, that’s three billion peo- Youth-Led Development managed by
young people are the ones who bear the ple. To put it bluntly: We cannot neglect the po- UN-HABITAT supports innovative
brunt of rising unemployment. In interna- tential of three billion change agents? Can we? projects that promote employment,
tional development assistance the resource good governance, adequate shelter and
focus has been on early childhood. Much What is the Fund’s purpose? secure tenure, with particular emphasis
less attention has been given to the situa- The prime purpose is as I see it is to promote and on urban youth. Single, youth-led devel-
opment projects are eligible for grants
tion of young people. We have to redress develop models for youth-led development. No
of up to USD 25,000.
this situation and increase resources to all fund will ever have sufficient resources to eradi-
The date for applications has passed,
vulnerable groups be they children, youth cate today’s poverty among youth. The Fund but see www.unhabitat.org/opfund for
or old people. The new Youth Fund is just will therefore have to focus on identifying and information.
one tool to promote this inter-generational disseminating efficient and relevant models for UN-HABITAT thanks the Government of
dimension. In development, young people development. Interventions that focus on doing Norway for its generous support in establish-
are the forgotten majority when it comes to something with the causes of poverty and in- ing the Fund.
receiving resources. justice will be given particular priority through

u r b a n
64 WORLD July 2009

A new UN-HABITAT office for cle to the return of refugees and internally
displaced persons. The fact that the 1973

eastern Congo land law is not widespread, and the fact

that a large majority of land transactions

or disputes are settled through customary
law, has also exacerbated the tensions.
N-HABITAT opened an office cratic Republic of Congo, the programme The immediate objective is to create the con-
in the eastern Congolese bor- is part of the UN Security and Stability ditions for an estimated 40,000 people to come
der town of Goma in May as Strategy Plan, which this year will focus home by establishing housing, land and prop-
part of a joint United Nations programme on establishing mediation mechanisms to erty mediation mechanisms in North Kivu and
to assist tens of thousands of people forced address land disputes in North Kivu and Ituri during a first phase, and subsequently in
to flee during years of conflict in the Lake in Ituri with the aim of extending to South South Kivu, Orientale and Katanga.
Kivu district. The office will work to help Kivu as soon as possible. The long term objective is to help the
resolve land disputes. Land problems are at the heart of much Ministry of Land Affairs develop a sus-
Working with the United Nations High of the violence in the two provinces of tainable policy and legislative framework
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and North and South Kivu. Immediately after on land administration and urban spatial
the UN peacekeeping mission in Demo- conflict, access to land is the main obsta- development. u

UN-HABITAT officials ing UN-HABITAT. They also expressed the de-

sire for stronger engagement in the future given

brief UK legislators the seriousness of the issues to be addressed and

the potential contribution by the United King-

dom’s strong resource base in universities and
civil society.
wo senior UN-HABITAT officials, sues and the large scale urbanization of poverty Key issues which the inquiry sought to ad-
Paul Taylor and Michael Mutter around the world. Mr. Bruce said that most of dress included: how effectively developing coun-
made presentations on urbanization the evidence previously presented to the Com- try governments and donors, particularly the
and poverty to members of the British parlia- mittee concerned rural poverty. DFID, are addressing the challenges presented
mentary International Development Committee “We are concerned with the apparent anti-ur- by urban poverty; and DFID’s contribution to
this May. ban bias and will raise this with others who will meeting Target 7 of the Millennium Develop-
At the end of the almost two-hour session, be giving evidence before us, including the Min- ment Goals which seeks to improve the lives of
the chairman of the House of Commons Select ister for International Development,” he said. slum dwellers and the provision of basic services
Committee on International Development, Mr. The two UN-HABITAT officials noted the his- and infrastructure in slums, including energy,
Malcolm Bruce, admitted their previous lack torically important role of the Department for housing, transport, sanitation, water, health and
of awareness of the importance of urban is- International Development (DFID) in support- education. u

Obama administration to
host World Habitat Day

T he Obama Administration will co-

host with UN-HABITAT the global
celebrations of World Habitat Day
in Washington, D.C. on 5 October 2009. Cabi-
net Secretary Shaun Donovan, who heads the
foundations will join the Department for Hous-
ing and Urban Development and UN-HABITAT
in organizing a number of high-level events on
the occasion of WHD 2009.
An occasion celebrated on the first Monday in
US Department for Housing and Urban Devel- October each year, World Habitat Day this year
opment, said he welcomed the event as an op- will focus on the theme of improved urban plan-
portunity to foster collaboration between the ning so that our cities can manage and reduce
two agencies. the impacts of climate disruption, the economic
A group of 15 policy institutes, NGOs, and crisis and urban poverty around the world. u World Habitat Day will be in Washington DC
Photo © susan maxWell

u r b a n
July 2009 WORLD 65

UN-HABITAT reveals Business Award

By Jake Julian

F ive companies have been awarded

the highest accolade at the first
ever UN-HABITAT Business
Awards which will be presented at July’s
Habitat Business Forum in Delhi. The win-
assessed each submission according to four
primary criteria: impact, sustainability, inno-
vation and affordability.
The Adopt a Light and Safaricom innova-
tions stood out in particular for their effect on
ners of the Best Practice Awards include: reducing crime, a key element in UN Habi-
Mexico’s CEMEX; WIPRO Ltd of India; Chi- tat’s goal to promote sustainable city devel-
na Merchants Property Development from opment.
China; and Kenyan companies Adopt a Light Executive Director of UN Habitat, Mrs.
and Safaricom (see boxes). Anna Tibaijuka says: “The incidence of
The awards recognize those companies crime, robbery and gang violence, as well
that have improved the urban environment as gender based domestic violence, un-
through responsible business practices. dermine both macro and micro economic
The selection committee, comprised of an growth and the productivity of a country’s
international jury from countries including development, as well as societal and indi-
China, USA, India, France, Kenya and Russia vidual well-being.”u Lighting streets reduces crime
Photo © adoPt a liGht

Best Practice: Affordable Housing Solutions

Winner: CEMEX (Mexico)
CEMEX, the world’s largest construction frastructure. Under the Community Blockers
supplies company, which grossed over USD programme, people enrolled on the Patri-
21 billion in 2008, won the award for Af- monio Hoy scheme are taught how to make
fordable Housing Solutions with their Pat- the materials to build their houses. CEMEX
rimonio Hoy and Productive Centres for provides training, equipment and supplies
Self-employment (Community Blockers) for the fabrication of the materials (cement,
initiatives. The Patrimonio Hoy scheme, aggregates and steel rods) People in these
which is marketed as “build your house and communities not only learn new skills but
get empowered”, gives low-income families are given the opportunity to pay back the
Photo © cemex
living in urban and semi-urban access to loans by selling surplus materials through
loans, services, training and building mate- CEMEX’s network. As a result of these initia-
rials in order to build their own homes. The tives, the living conditions of more than one
families receive weekly instalments of MXP million people have improved. The selec-
200 (USD 14,80) with MXP 165 (USD 13,00) tion committee said: “In the face of a major
covering the cost of construction materials housing crisis in Mexico, Patrimonio Hoy
while the remaining MXP 35 (USD 1,80) presents an innovative scheme that allows
covers services such as access to consultants, low-income families to build their homes
fixed material prices for 70 weeks, one year through micro-credit saving mechanisms,
of material storage, home delivery of materi- coupled with access to affordable materials
als and improvement of public schools’ in- and technical assistance.” It is now easier for low-income families to
build their own homes Photo © cemex

u r b a n
66 WORLD July 2009

Best Practice: Sustainable Best

Water, Sanitation, Waste Management Practice:
and Urban Infrastructure Clean Urban
Winners: WIPRO Ltd. (India) and Energy
Adopt A Light (Kenya) Solutions,
Mitigation and
WIPRO Ltd, an IT company based in Ban-
galore, won the award for its design and
ing to independent research conducted in
the UK. So far, the company has installed
Adaptation to
construction of energy-efficient buildings.
By using local and regional building materi-
over 3,000 streetlights in the city, and 33
high-power, wide-coverage floodlights in
Climate Change
als it has lowered energy consumption with
an 18 to 30 percent saving in electricity use,
the slums where 60 percent of the Kenyan
work force live. The company funds instal- Winner:
and an 18 to 20 percent saving in water con-
lation by finding sponsors to adopt a light
by buying advertising space alongside China
Adopt a Light, a Nairobi based private-
public partnership with Nairobi City Coun-
the light. The revenue raised covers op-
erational and maintenance costs. The ini-
cil, launched a scheme in 2005 to light the
streets and slums of the Kenyan capital. The
tiative has additional benefits to reducing
crime in that not only are there fewer road
simple action of installing lighting reduces accidents, but also business and domestic Development
the crime rate by up to 40 percent, accord- activities can continue after dark.
Co (China)
China Merchants set out to build a com-

Best Practice: Innovative munity with low carbon emissions, clean

water and low waste output by using 65

Information and Communications percent less energy and efficient water

and wastewater treatment techniques.
Technology Solutions The Selection Committee was impressed
with the Green Hills project and praised

Winner: Safaricom (Kenya) it by saying that it had “made a consider-

able investment in exploring sustainable
development models and generating a
new approach to sustainable life styles
and urbanization for China”.
With mugging, carjacking and armed robbery ple: mobile phone users visit an agent and
rife in areas of Kenya, secure transit of money upon proving their identification are regis-
is a serious challenge. Conventional means tered. They hand over money and the agent
of transferring funds are expensive and slow. transfers an equal e-value through the M-
But Safaricom, seeing that the majority of the PESA system onto the customer’s handset.
population had a mobile phone, or at least The customer then uses this e-value to send
access to one, saw the opportunity to launch money to another registered user. People can
M-PESA, an innovative mobile phone-based use M-PESA to send, receive or withdraw
transfer system. The service, with over 10 mil- money, buy airtime, pay bills or save it in
lion users, was primarily set up to help the their account. People who previously could
four million Kenyans who do not have access not easily transfer funds, are now able to send
to a bank account but with over 5000 agents and receive money, all from their phone. The
across the country, the programme now sup- Selection Committee described the system as
ports many businesses too. The model is sim- “fast, secure, efficient and cost effective”. Renewable energy plays a big role in the
Green Hills project Photo © miGuel saavedra

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July 2009 WORLD 67

Giant steel clock marks

countdown to Expo 2010
By Katja Makelainen and Maria-Jose Olavarria

T he one-year countdown to the

Expo 2010 started 1 May at a
special ceremony in Tiananmen
Square, Beijing, where a giant clock is now
ticking off the seconds, hours and days to
potential — and the problems — of urban liv-
ing in the 21st century.”
“The United Nations pavilion at Expo
2010, with the theme One Earth, One UN,
will showcase the wide-ranging efforts of the
will enable all sponsors to show their com-
mitment to sustainable urbanization and to
the work of the United Nations around the
UN-HABITAT also announced that Crystal
go to the great exhibition due to be held in UN system to help the world to achieve sus- CG will sponsor the United Nations pavilion
Shanghai. tainable urban development,” he continues. at the Expo Online. Crystal CG is an experi-
The countdown gained fresh momentum “The exhibitions will display not only our enced multimedia provider. It was, for exam-
after United Nations agencies met for a week knowledge and best practices, but also our ple, responsible for creating the magnificent
in March to finalize plans on how they will unity of purpose advancing this crucially im- virtual worlds and design for the Beijing
showcase their work at the glittering United portant agenda.” Olympics.
Nations Pavilion. Each agency in the UN sys- The United Nations pavilion will be widely Crystal CG will partner with the United
tem will have a week next year to showcase its broadcast to our large global network of part- Nations pavilion team to bring our pavil-
work at a specially designated UN pavilion. ners. Marketing of the pavilion will include ion to virtual life and provide an unforget-
The Shanghai World Expo is being coordi- press releases, constant web updates, flyers, table experience to all those around the
nated by UN-HABITAT. regular newsletters, websites, Google Ads, world who cannot attend the Expo. The
“With half of humanity now living in an ur- events programmes, placards at the Pavilion United Nations team has also recently as-
ban environment, the world is at the dawn of and magazines – including a special UN edi- signed an in-house contact for Expo Online.
a new urban era,” says the Secretary-General, tion available to Expo visitors. E-mail: shanghaiexpo2010@unhabitat.org
Mr. Ban Ki-moon. “Expo 2010 in Shanghai, All UN bodies are encouraged to share the to reach the team. See the UN-HABITAT
under the theme Better City, Better Life, is information on sponsorship packages with website at www.unhabitat.org for further
the first global exposition dedicated to the their partners. Supporting the UN Pavilion details. u

u r b a n
68 WORLD July 2009
New UN-HABITAT publications

UN-HABITAT’s new Annual Report was launched

in Nairobi at the 22nd session of the Governing
Council. For copies of these and other publications,
see our website www.unhabitat.org

The agency has updated the booklet that tells the

UN-HABITAT story and how the agency works. It
is now available in all six languages of the United

P.O.Box 30030, GPO
Nairobi 00100, Kenya
Tel. (254-20) 762 3120
Fax. (254-20) 762 3477

www.un-habitat.org FOR A BETTER URBAN FUTURE

URBAN WATCH Book review

Medinas 2030
By Thierry Naudin

T From Morocco to Syria, old walled

cities epitomize the exceptional her-
itage that characterizes the south-
ern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean
Sea. Over centuries, these medinas thrived off
opportunities. They gradually took over from
merchants and civil servants from the 1950s
to the 1970s. As these migrants have found
out, even dilapidated areas in medinas offer
better housing than slums on the periphery,
trum lie buildings on the verge of ruin (about
10 percent of the total stock). In all cases, archi-
tectural and planning rules and regulations are
blithely disregarded, and as a result the herit-
age value of the medinas is eroding on the back
many cross-currents of a cultural, religious, so- with the souks and small traditional business- of creeping social disintegration.
cial and economic nature, as testified by their es providing all sorts of low-qualified jobs in No wonder then that, as noted by the authors,
remarkable urban and architectural features. what often remain vibrant city centres. the words “repulsive” and “kitsch” are both
The paradox is that in the present global used to characterize the current state of
age their prospects may be coming under Moroccan medinas. With their overall pop-
threat, warns a forthcoming book*. ulation due to shrink further by close to 50
With its 31 old walled cities, five of which percent by 2030 (on current trends), this
feature on the UNESCO World Heritage awkward contrast may be there to stay – if
list, Morocco provides an apt illustration of nothing is done.
the dilemmas and hard choices facing me- As the title suggests, the book envisages
dinas today – or so suggest French archi- a number of scenarios. One can only hope
tectural and urban planning experts Lucien that these will act as a wake-up call for pub-
Godin and Gérard Le Bihan in a contribu- lic authorities: so far, weak and poorly co-
tion to the book. ordinated initiatives have not matched the
Like the largest and best known among discourse on cultural heritage preservation,
them – in Marrakesh, Fez and Meknes – while the World Bank, UNESCO and often
many Moroccan medinas today find them- fledgling local conservation societies can
selves in the throes of ‘riyadh fever’: tra- only do so much.
ditional patioed residential buildings are As a result, in Morocco as in other coun-
turned into second homes or upmarket ho- tries, the available options for the future
tels by affluent foreigners, effectively driv- of the medinas have basically remained
ing out low-income populations and small the same for the past 25 years, as noted by
local businesses. This goes to show that, Marcello Balbo in his introduction to the
as in many historic city centres across the book. In the meantime, however, the threat
world, demographic and economic cross- of what the authors refer to as ““an unsched-
currents play a defining role in Morocco. uled undoing” of the medinas has become
The medinas today are home to only an es- more distinct in Morocco.
timated 700,000 people, including 1,300 for- Based on an analysis of the situation in
eigners, compared with Morocco’s 17 million total In this sense, as stressed by the authors, “me
“ - Azemmour and Meknes, Godin and Le Bihan
urban dwellers. At the same time, the fact that 70 dinas provide a very important vector of eco- map out two basic scenarios for Moroccan me-
percent of those urban dwellers live in cities that nomic and social integration”” at local level. On dinas. In the first, market forces are allowed
have preserved their medinas highlights the im- the other hand, their exceptional heritage value to take their course unfettered, opening up
portant role they can still play in local economies. is dragging them into a process of integration two opposed alternatives. Should the ongoing
In Moulay Idriss, a major pilgrimage centre, into the global economy through the forces at global credit crunch ease in a reasonably short
the medina is host to as much as 40 percent of play in the tourism market. term, local owners would continue to sell their
the whole population, compared with only 1 In the medinas poor, illiterate households medina properties to foreign investors. Current
percent in the business capital Casablanca on cram into rented abandoned buildings in vari- low-income residents and their small businesses
the Atlantic shoreline. Between them, with 20 ous states of disrepair (50 percent are consid- would be driven away with nowhere else to go,
percent (including 400 foreigners), stands the ered unhealthy); but property speculation is rife and rehabilitation would be left entirely with
famous medina of Marrakesh. as foreigners invest in spacious old mansions, private operators. The medinas would be turned
Morocco’s old walled cities today are mainly bringing alterations at odds with the local his- into gentrified enclaves for upmarket or mass
host to poor rural migrants in search of better toric style. At the other end of the housing spec- tourism; instead of social integration with the

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70 WORLD July 2009
Book review URBAN WATCH

Traditional souks in the heart of the medina Photo © serGi

G montaner

all on the back of dominant global economic them. The sources of funding must be di-
trends. Kitsch or squat? In both cases the sur- versified, taking advantage of the potential
rounding metropolitan area stands to lose. associated with existing policies (renova-
The second, preferred scenario would com- tion, public-private partnerships, etc.).
bine the development of tourism and revitali- Regulations on unhealthy buildings and
zation of the medinas. In what the authors call those on the verge of ruin should be fully
““a multiple-function medina””, social diversity enforced.
would be maintained through proper housing lLocal re-appropriation of the medinas,
rehabilitation. On top of architectural renova- some of which have become externalized.
tion and reconditioning, the overall quality of This tough, inescapable challenge must be
the heritage would be preserved, as well as the met if these age-old urban fabrics are not
Ancient buildings could be left for Moroccon
residents or developed into hotels socio-economic and religious roles of the medi- to turn into rich- or poor-only areas, and
Photo © salva BarBera nas. This, the authors add, would be “in recogni- instead play their own role in local urban
tion of a distinctive feature of Moroccan towns development.
surrounding conurbations, Morocco’s old walled and cities as the central locus for exchange and For all their diversity, Morocco’s 31 medi-
cities would largely depend on tourist circuits specific functions.” Proper infrastructure in and nas, and the cities around them, would obvi-
and the presence of vast hotel compounds and around the medinas would restore them as the ously stand to benefit from such a revitaliza-
resorts in the vicinity. historic cores of many towns and cities. tion programme. As Balbo notes, “a medina
Conversely, a prolonged global credit crisis Elaborating on this scenario, they warn that can only contribute effectively to the devel-
would put an end to property speculation in it is dependent on four distinct conditions: opment of the city as a whole if rehabilita-
Morocco’s medinas. The tourism sector would lSpecific social housing and urban revival tion is seen as an opportunity to promote
grind to halt, newly-built accommodation would policies must be designed for the medinas. social inclusion, itself a precondition for
remain idle and current plans for more would be This must include improved housing con- sustainable spatial inclusion.” This is why
abandoned. Thousands of existing or prospec- ditions and promotion of a greater social he insists that political will must come be-
tive low-qualified local jobs and other oppor- mix through appropriate housing supply fore proper policies if medinas are to survive.
tunities would be wiped off. Rural migration to and improved amenities. In the present and foreseeable economic condi-
larger towns would resume, with migrants from lBetter integration of the medinas within the tions, this can be a challenge. Short of rising up
harder-hit sub-Saharan countries adding to the larger urban areas that have developed to it, though, the cross-currents at work in the
inflow. Dilapidated buildings in the medinas around them must be encouraged. In Mo- global economy today will undo the medinas
would again become a shelter of choice for the rocco as in other countries, old walled cit- built over so many centuries. u
poorest segment of the population. Mass squat- ies typically play a triple role in towns and
ting would discourage any efforts at rehabilita- cities: as residential areas, as traditional *
*Marcello Balbo (ed.) Medinas 2030, to be
tion and scarce government funds would be di- centres (particularly for trade and culture) published in French (L’Harmattan, Paris),
Arabic (Groupe Yamama, Tunis), and English.
verted to other priorities, with insecurity driving and as touristic landmarks.
The book is based on a seminar on the future of
out any remaining foreigners. lTogether with legal and institutional frame-
Southern and Eastern Mediterranean medinas
Although the authors stop short of such works, financial resources must be aligned
held in 2008 at UN-HABITAT partner univer-
coarse characterization, market forces – if left with medina revitalization policies. The
sity IUAV Venice (Italy) with support from the
unfettered in Moroccan medinas – only seem funding of operational schemes can no European Investment Bank. Thierry Naudin is a
to pave the way for a game where the (foreign) longer rely on government subsidies and London based writer and editor.
rich, push the (local) poor out, or conversely, the year-to-year vagaries attached to

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URBAN WATCH Calendar of events

Urban Research Symposium The symposium focuses on the theme of Cities and Climate Change: Responding to an
28-30 June 2009 Urgent Agenda and aims to push forward the research agenda on climate change from
Marseille, France a city perspective. The event is structured around five broad research clusters which
http://www.urs2009.net/ represent the most relevant issues faced by cities and peri-urban areas on climate
change. Following the event further information will be available in two publications.
The first will contain the most relevant and cutting-edge research papers directed
towards academics and researchers. The second will be a handbook aimed at decision
makers of 40 short papers on the practical applications of dealing with climate change
in cities. There will be a side event on 1 July.

Habitat Business Forum – Innovative This is the first Habitat Business Forum focusing on cities that have demonstrated
Cities: Showcasing and Debating Urban planning and development innovation. The forum will provide a platform to debate
Challenges and Solutions urban challenges and solutions. The private sector, as a key driver of innovation, will
7-9 July 2009 showcase best practices and debate new solutions to housing, infrastructure, energy,
Vighan Bhawan, New Delhi, India transport and ICT needs in cities.

Multilayered Cities and Urban Systems The conference proposes to present research on and debate several themes including:
30 July – 9 August Urban Structures and Systems; Resources and Urban Requirements – Water, Energy,
Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India Services, Other Infrastructure; Security and Conflict – for the economy, the people, the
http://www.multilayeredcities.com/ environment; and Urban Infrastructure.

10th Asia Urbanization Conference The conference will address the following themes: Urban population change including
16-19 August 2009 migration; Urban systems; Quality of life; Sustainable development; City marketing
University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China and economic development; Social justice; Urban governance; Transportation; Ap-
http://www.hku.hk/asia2009 plications related to GIS; Comparative urbanization; and Environmental conditions in
Asian cities. The event is organized by the Asian Urban Research Association (AURA),
which is a non-profit and private research organization whose primary purpose is to
promote the study of urbanization and urban growth in Asian regions.

15th International Sustainable Development The conference follows the theme of Taking up the Global Challenge: Analysing the
and Research Conference implementation of innovations and governance for sustainable development. The focus
5-8 July 2009 will be on the key factors explaining successes (and failures) in the practices of imple-
Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands mentation of innovations and governance for sustainable development from all over the
http://globalchallenge2009.geo.uu.nl/ globe. The event is organized by the International Sustainable Development Research
Society (ISDRS), which aims to foster and communicate the importance of sustain-
able development in a global society. The society is a coalition of academic researchers,
teachers, government, non-governmental organizations and industry.

World Water Week Hosted and organiz ed by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), the World
16-22 August 2009 Water Week in Stockholm has been the annual focal point for the planet’s water issues
Stockholm, Sweden since 1991. The forum provides a place for the exchange of views and experiences between
http://www.worldwaterweek.org/ the scientific, business, policy and civic communities. It focuses on new thinking and
positive action toward water-related challenges and their impact on the world’s environ-
ment, health, economic and poverty reduction agendas. There will also be an award cer-
emony to celebrate projects already making a difference towards saving water.

Global Mayors Forum The First Global Mayors Forum, themed: High Growth Cities: Meeting the Chal-
15-18 September 2009 lenges for Sustainability. A total of 1,000 international guests are expected, includ-
Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China ing outstanding mayors, city administrators, leaders from the United Nations and
http://www.g-mforum.org/English/default.aspx international organizations, and experts on urban development. There will be a
number of activities, including a plenary session, parallel sessions, roundtable ses-
sions and exhibition fair.

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74 WORLD July 2009
Conference briefing URBAN WATCH

Cities at the climate

change frontline
UN-HABITAT’s Executive Director and former US President Bill Clinton joined delegates from
cities around the world in May to press home the message that action on climate change has
to be implemented in cities.

Cities should lead the way in reducing emissions Photo © soPhie

Phie montreal

T he third C40 Large Cities Climate

Summit drew together mayors and
executives from 40 cities and 17 af

note address, the former US leader, whose Clin-

filiate municipalities across the globe. In his key-
“We know that if we don’t reduce greenhouse
gases by somewhere in the range of 80 percent by
2050, bad things are going to happen,” Clinton
said in a keynote speech at the third C40 Large
Cities Climate Summit, held this year in Seoul.
“The way we plan, manage, operate and
consume energy in our cities is the key driver
behind the phenomenon of global warming.
Seventy-five percent of global energy consump-
tion occurs in cities. Roughly half of this comes
ton Climate Initiative develops programmes to “Global warming could lead to a drop in food from burning fossil fuels for urban transport,”
help cities cut the emissions blamed for global production and access to water, creating new she said.
warming, warned of dire consequences if cities dangers to public health,” Mr. Clinton warned. “In fact, urban transportation is the planets
did not enact policies to mitigate the problem. “It is absolutely certain if we let the worst hap- fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emis-
Mr. Clinton said the good practices shared pen, then the consequences will be so severe that sions. As most cities manage urban transport,
among the C40 members would advance the we won’t be able to save the planet for our grand- this is the single most important area where
reduction of greenhouse gas emissions add- children,” Clinton said. The former president, wisely invested city budgets can make the big-
ing that in the current economic crisis, it was who now runs the Clinton Climate Initiative, gest contribution in continued climate change
crucial to invest wisely. joined mayors and leaders from 70 cities around mitigation,” Mrs. Tibaijuka said.
According to Mr. Clinton, in the United the world for the three-day conference to trade She said that under the UN Framework Con-
States, for every USD 1 billion invested in advice and share experiences on ways they have vention on Climate Change, many UN agencies
building and construction, 870 jobs are cre- gone green. had worked hard to reduce impacts of the cli-
ated. It was possible today for economies to In her speech Mrs. Tibaijuka said it was no co- mate change and raise the public awareness. “I
grow without emitting greenhouse gases, and incidence that global climate change had become appreciate the participating mayors’ commit-
the world must act now to cut emissions be- a leading international development issue at the ment and kindly ask for their further coopera-
fore it is too late, he said. same time as the world has become urbanized. tion to join our activities,” she added. u

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SPECIAL FOCUS International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP)

Low carbon cities

A message from ISOCARP about its 45th World Congress to
be held in Porto, Portugal between 18 -22 October 2009
Sponsored statement

Old Porto riverside Photo © University of Porto – facUlty of engineering

Message from the

2009 will be an extremely important year in
terms of the political decisions that are needed to
combat climate change. The world’s governments
will be meeting in Copenhagen this December
to discuss and, we sincerely hope, agree upon a
successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which in 1997
started the faltering attempts to curb emissions
of greenhouse gases. The summit, COP 15, will be
the most important global climate change meet-
ing ever because there is so much at stake for the
future of our planet, its human populations and
all the other life forms that live on it. Pierre Laconte Paulo Pinho
President of ISOCARP President of the Local Organising
The science is now clear about the link between
man’s activities, the build up of greenhouse
gases and the warming of the climate system.
With their increasingly sophisticated model-
ling systems, climatologists are now able to
ferent parts of the world, for example, the devas- quacy of food and water supplies, as well as other
predict, with a reasonable degree of confi-
tating drought in south eastern Australia. key resources. At the same time, the deforestation
dence, the likely future effects of this warm-
We have reached this present position in just 10 that reduces the earth’s capacity to absorb carbon
ing within the different regions of the world.
human generations. The sober scientific evidence dioxide continues on a massive scale. The present
However, the effects are already becoming
suggests that we have a maximum of 10 years to trends are in the wrong direction.
clear, as is evident from the massive shrinkage
stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations at a level There is thus a huge weight of responsibil-
of polar sea ice, the rapid retreat of the world’s
that would avoid potentially catastrophic climate ity on the leaders who will be attending COP
glaciers, and the rising mean sea levels which
change. We face this threat at a time of continu- 15. To achieve the drastic cuts in greenhouse
threaten many of our largest cities. They are
ing population growth that is coupled, on the one gas emissions that are needed, we will have to
manifest too in the extreme weather patterns
hand, with rising material expectations but, on act on a range of fronts combining technologi-
and events that are being experienced in dif-
the other, with growing concerns about the ade- cal solutions with the pursuit of new and less

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International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP) SPECIAL FOCUS

resource intensive paths for human develop- example the Mediterranean Basin, the western
ment. We must move rapidly towards a low USA, southern Africa and north eastern Brazil –
carbon economy in which those emissions will suffer a further decrease in water resources
are a fraction of what they are now. due to climate change. By contrast, areas in high
latitudes that are already wet will receive even
An emphasis upon the cities more rainfall. Worldwide, sea level rise threatens
Over half of the world’s population now lives the integrity of many coastal cities while extreme
within cities. Because they concentrate peo- weather events will increase in their intensity. On
ple and activities, they place a particular bur- the other hand, some regions might benefit in the
den upon the world’s resources. Their future medium term, in terms of crop yields, for exam-
is crucial in the search for sustainability and, ple, before negative effects become more general.
if we are to put the world on a lower carbon The Congress seeks to address the realities
path, action based upon the cities will form a for cities and urban regions in different parts
major part of the solution. of the world. What is the right way forward for Integrated public transport in Zurich, Switzerland
Spatial planning and effective city man- specific cities? Should they adapt to observed Photo © chris gossoPP, isocarP
agement will be crucial in bringing this and anticipated climate change, or should the
about. ISOCARP’s 45th World Congress to be emphasis be on mitigation, to tackle the causes
held in Porto, Portugal this October explores the of climate change, as part of the collective effort that provide clear routes to low carbon cities?
role of planning and of all those involved in the to reduce the build up of greenhouse gases? The There is then the question of how necessary
planning and development process, in the drive view of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate growth should be channelled. Is land recycling
to achieve less resource intensive, low carbon Change (IPCC) is that, globally, a mix of strate- automatically the best option in terms of carbon
cities. As this special supplement describes, the gies that includes both mitigation and adapta- emissions or can planned urban extensions or
Congress provides a major opportunity to dis- tion is required, but which ingredient should be new settlements perform as well, given the right
seminate and share experience about strategies prioritized in any specific city, or are both equally designs? What does practical experience tell us?
and practical approaches to the planning and important? And where the needed emphasis is on restructur-

Sponsored statement
design of low carbon cities. This will be achieved There is also the challenge of how we can best ing or upgrading of older places, how can we best
through a combination of keynote presentations, foster and plan for new technologies aimed at achieve this in ways that also lead to improved en-
technical seminars, workshops, technical tours saving energy or reducing resource depletion. In ergy efficiency and reduced carbon emissions?

and other events, providing much scope for de- particular, there are immense opportunities for
bate and the reaching of conclusions regarding the development of renewable energy industries, Theme 3: Integrating transport,
best practice. amongst which wind power is the most mature. community energy, and waste/
As a final note, we are delighted that Renewables, energy efficiency and green indus- recycling strategies
UN-HABITAT has agreed to play a major role tries generally have the potential to create many Land use planning cannot on its own guar-
in our Congress. millions of jobs worldwide and to transform city antee low carbon cities and high environ-
We look forward to welcoming you to Porto economies. Will green industry be the sign of a mental quality; a spatial planning approach
this autumn! successful city in the 2020s? is vital, whereby land use considerations can
be integrated with infrastructural planning.
Theme 2: The role of strategic land use Thus, efficient public transport systems, and
Five critical themes planning measures to manage or restrain the unbri-
Porto 09 builds upon the results of ISOCARP’s The link to planning for low carbon cities is dled use of the private car, can play a major
Congress on urban sprawl held last year in Dal- through the concept of sustainable develop- role in limiting carbon emissions. Local en-
ian, China. In sustainability terms, the unre- ment. However, while we can readily recog- ergy planning, providing for energy efficient
strained, land consuming patterns of much nize urban sprawl as the antithesis of sustain- building layouts and designs, efficient local
urban growth – the manifestations of sprawl able development, it can be more difficult to electricity and heat generating plant, and the
– are the opposite of what we need to achieve. define city structures that work well in those widespread use of renewable technology, has
Encouragingly, speakers at that Congress were terms. So a key question for the Congress is also a substantial part to play. And effective
able to point to numerous examples of schemes how at the strategic scale we should shape waste planning, through waste minimization,
where planning has been able to shape cities our cities and urban regions as sustainable, recycling, and composting, as well as energy
that are more respectful of the environment low carbon places and how we should formu- recovery in appropriate cases, makes better
in its widest sense. Through its five discussion late and implement our plans to that end. use of resources, and limits landfill disposal
themes and its plenary sessions, the 45th Con- In any one place, there may be a number of op- and emissions.
gress continues the debate. It asks how in prac- tions. From a European perspective, the conven- The Congress will look at planning ap-
tical terms should low carbon cities be planned, tional planning wisdom is that a reasonably high proaches for these sectors. Thus, on trans-
designed and delivered? density, a mix between housing and employment port, it will address demand management to
uses, and a degree of self containment are among reduce the need to use the car, for example
Theme 1: Tackling the effects of the pre-requisites for low carbon areas. But how through pricing and car parking policies,
climate change on our cities and universally valid is such a vision? Also, given that while Porto’s award winning metro system
urban regions – today and tomorrow sustainability has economic and social, as well as indicates what can be done to foster the use
According to the climatologists, there is a high environmental dimensions, how should we set the of public transport. On energy, Porto 09 will
level of confidence that already dry areas – for priorities, or are there genuine ‘win win’ strategies explore the concept of community energy

u r b a n
July 2009 WORLD 77
SPECIAL FOCUS International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP)

the developers who will carry out the work, and pects, stimulates research, and improves
to the communities that will be directly affected. awareness on major planning issues. Its main
Spatially, there will be two elements to this, the event is its World Congress held annually in
new developments that will be planned and a different city each year. Other activities in-
designed following low carbon principles and clude its Urban Planning Advisory Team and
the remodelling of older areas. There is also the Young Planning Professionals programmes.
question of skills, in what for many will be an en- The Porto Congress will include presenta-
tirely new area of work. tions on both of these (see below).
So who should take the lead in this process, The Society’s publications include the
central or local government or other agencies? ISOCARP Review which is produced annually
How should the low carbon city be financed and in conjunction with the Congress. This attrac-
Solar housing in Freiburg, Germany who should be the financiers? What monitoring tive book features many of the most notable
Photo © chris gossoPP, isocarP
schemes are needed to measure environmental case studies presented at that event. Other
performance over the longer term? The switch publications include the International Man-
strategies, as well as action to combat the from present practices to low carbon cities is go- ual of Planning Practice (IMPP), a unique
growing incidence of heat islands in dense ing to require considerable management skill, compendium of, and commentary upon, the
cities where the priority is to keep the city and a great willingness to innovate. We believe world’s planning systems. The Society also
cool. Porto’s own sustainable energy action that participants in our Congress will gain many runs a number of awards; these include its
plan will provide an important case study. useful ideas. Awards of Excellence which are conferred
annually in recognition of exceptional urban
Theme 4: Design for low carbon cities initiatives.
Planning, by itself, has often been too ‘broad ISOCARP – knowledge
brushed’ to cope with the necessary detail for creation and sharing Advisory teams
a quality living and working environment. ISOCARP is a global association of experienced The Urban Planning Advisory Team (UPAT)
That is the domain of urban design. Good professional planners. It was founded in 1965 to Programme seeks to assist individual cities
Sponsored statement

design is the key to creating successful places bring together recognized and highly qualified and regions in the pursuit of specific plan-
that are sustainable in the broadest sense. planners. Today, the ISOCARP network con- ning projects and programmes.
There is a growing recognition of what con- sists of both institutional and individual mem- A UPAT gathers a select group of expert
stitutes good design and there are numerous bers drawn from more than 70 countries. It is a international planners, members of ISO-
examples from around the world of success- non-governmental organization recognized by CARP, in a multi-skilled, fast response team
ful places that both function well and are at- the United Nations (UNCHS) and the Council that works on a specific urban or regional
tractive in architectural and landscape terms. of Europe and it has formal consultative status planning issue. Within one week, the UPAT
But the new dimension is the need for those with UNESCO. generates a report that provides the commis-
places to be low carbon as well. The objectives of ISOCARP include the im- sioning local authority or other body with
The Porto Congress will address the ingre- provement of planning practice worldwide. recommendations that may serve as a basis,
dients of low carbon design. As a key ques- ISOCARP encourages exchange between or as guidelines, for design strategies for the
tion, what are the characteristics of an energy planners, promotes the profession in all as- target city or area. A group of students and/
efficient, resource conscious, building layout
and how can these best be secured within
both new developments, and within existing
ones, often the more difficult challenge? And,
underlying this, what standards of energy ef-
ficiency should we be aiming for?
Good, low carbon design also implies plac-
es that are well connected but where there
is a reduced dependence upon the car. Also,
open space and landscaping are vital as a
balance to intensive built development; they
are crucial to human health and well being,
to biodiversity and to moderating the urban
climate. There is another dimension too, in
terms of local food production; this can have
both economic and social benefits as well as
reducing ‘food miles’.

Theme 5: The management and

delivery of low carbon cities
The move towards low carbon cities will place
immense burdens upon those responsible, from
the public authorities and related agencies, to
Photo © isocarP-sitges ii

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International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP) SPECIAL FOCUS

or young planning professionals from the lo-

cality complements the team.
The UPATs hosted so far are:
l 2004 La Rioja, Spain Regional, social
and economic development
l 2005 Sitges, Spain (I) Urban regenera-
tion along the railway corridor
l 2006 Cancun, Mexico Disaster man-
l 2006 Schiphol, The Netherlands Mas-
terplan for neighbouring authorities
l 2006 Sitges, Spain (II) Historic centre
YPP Workshop in Dalian, China The Porto metro
pedestrianization Photo © Jiang ling, china Photo © University of Porto – facUlty of engineering
l 2007 Rijswijk, The Netherlands New
functions for an urban hub l Urban regeneration
The Douro YPP Workshop will take place just
l 2007 Schwechat, Austria Airport area
before the Porto Congress. As befits the theme l Environmental improvement of Porto’s
masterplan waterfront
of the Congress, it will focus upon the benefits
l 2007 Sitges, Spain (III) El Garraf re-
of using sustainable energy in the built up areas l Contemporary architecture and cultural
gional plan events
of the Douro Region, the world’s oldest demar-
l 2008 Cuenca, Spain Upgrading of the
cated wine region, now listed as a World Herit- n UPAT and YPP presentations
historic centre
age Site by UNESCO. n Porto planning presentation
l 2008 Lincoln City, USA City masterplan
The YPPs will then present their main find- For more information about the Congress
l 2008 Guadalajara, Mexico Appraisal of
ings to a special plenary session of the Porto and about ISOCARP’s many other activities,
the 2001 Panamerican Games Masterplan
Congress. Just after the main Congress, there visit www.isocarp.org u
l 2008 Zurich, Switzerland Regional plan

Sponsored statement
will be a second presentation and public dis-
l 2009 Szczecin, Poland Metropolitan re-
cussion back in the Douro Region. This will
gion development
involve Portuguese experts, technicians and
There will be a presentation of the results of
Young Planning Professionals from all over How to register
the most recent UPATs at the Porto Congress.
the world are invited to take part in future YPP
ISOCARP would welcome further invitations
Workshops which are planned in conjunction
for UPATs from individual cities and regions.
with the annual ISOCARP Congresses. For fur-
Young planners ther information please visit: www.isocarp.org ISOCARP welcomes city and regional
The Young Planning Professionals (YPP) Pro- planners from all over the world. The
gramme is a crucial component of ISOCARP’s Congress is open to any interested indi-
dedication to promote and enhance the planning More about the Congress vidual, party or organization, young plan-
profession. The objective is to provide emerging The Congress will be held at the University of ning professional, expert and interested
professionals with an opportunity to work in a Porto, which is well served by the city’s metro professional from other related disci-
multi-cultural setting and share their experi- system. The programme is a very rich one plines (ISOCARP members and/or non-
ences. Since 1991, ISOCARP has been organizing which includes the following: members).
YPP Workshops, bringing together young plan- n Plenary speeches by:
Carbon offsetting
ners from all parts of the world. The workshops l Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Vice We have calculated the anticipated emis-
are brief, but very intense, brainstorming plan- Chair of IPCC sions from this event and are offsetting
ning and design exercises in which our young l Richard Rosan, President of the Urban- these through Climate Care. The cost of
colleagues work on real-life planning problems Land Institute the offset is included in the registration
in the host city in an area defined by the local au- l Professor Eduardo de Oliveira Fernandes, fee. Climate Care will fund projects in
thority or university departments. President of Porto’s Energy Agency energy efficiency and sustainable energy
Over a concentrated period of three to four l Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Executive around the world to reduce global carbon
days, the YPPs work in closely-knit interna- Director of the European Environment emissions on our behalf.
tional teams, exchanging ideas and learning Agency Registrations are handled online at
from each other. The workshops, thus, pro- l Paul Taylor, Head of Urban Development,
www.2009.isocarp.org, via the link to
vide a synergetic platform where new ideas UN-HABITAT ‘Registrations’.
and creative solutions to complex and multi- n Technical seminars covering: Early bird registration is open until 31
faceted urban issues are produced. The tangi- l Energy, transport and the environment July 2009.
ble results are then published in a Workshop l Low carbon cities – today and tomorrow Late registrations can be accepted until
Report. The intangible ones, however, stay in n Parallel workshops addressing the five arrival at Congress.
the hearts and minds of the participant YPPs, critical themes ISOCARP accepts all major credit cards
who not only learn from each other but make n Technical tours, choices to include: and/or bank transfers.
life-long friends. l The metro project

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