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September 18, 2015

URBAN GATEWAY For The International Urban Development Community

HABITAT III SET TO ADDRESS GLOBAL HOUSING NEEDS Photo: “Homes, Inlay Lake, Myanmar” by worak/Wikimedia Commons

Welcome to the Urban Gateway

URBAN GATEWAY is an online community that helps cities and urban practitioners across the world unite to share knowledge and take action. The Urban Gateway is the first web platform of its kind to leverage the energy and resources of the global urban development community. It will allow UN-HABITAT and its external partners to network,exchange knowledge, discuss issues and share opportunities related to sustainable urbanization worldwide. It responds to the needs of our partners - from governments and local authorities, to researchers, civil society organizations and the private sector - to establish a central hub of practical knowledge on building sustainable towns and cities. Users of the Gateway are able to find and contact other members, form common interest groups, offer and apply for opportunities, share experiences and get the latest local and global news on urban issues in their language. The Urban Gateway maintains the momentum, discussions and networks developed at the World Urban Forums, reinforces partnerships and highlights the impact of World Urban Campaign. We invite all partners to join the Gateway at


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Photo: “Syrian refugees strike at the platform of Budapest Keleti railway station. Refugee crisis. Budapest, Hungary, Central Europe, 4 September 2015. (3)� by Mstyslav Chernov/Wikimedia Commons

Habitat III and global housing needs


Urbanization and migration in developing Asia


Urbanization sparks development in East Africa


Photo: “Montreal night view� by Paolostefano1412/Wikimedia Commons


Habitat III and the housing needs of half the world


The Manila Urban Thinkers Campus, which took place recently on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Housing Forum, focused on alleviating the “cycle of poverty housing” in the region.


he housing backlog in the Philippines has left over four million families in need of decent shelter — some 5 percent of the population. Those families are forced into unsanitary and often unsafe conditions along the sides of roads or under bridges, even though many have incomes that would qualify them for subsidized housing. To close this gap, advocates say, local governments must take steps to spur the production of affordable housing and make it accessible to vulnerable families. That was the message out of Manila during the fifth Asia-Pacific Housing Forum. While the forum took place principally in Hong Kong at the beginning of this month, satellite events also went forward in India and the Philippines. The convening in Manila was also an Urban Thinkers Campus (UTC), one of more than two dozen scheduled across the world in coming months to gather input for a document known as The City We Need. This process will in turn inform the drafting of the New Urban Agenda, the 20-year urbanization strategy that will be decided upon at the Habitat III cities conference next year.

Photo: “Inle-Yawnghwe” by 3coma14/Wikimedia Commons


How European cities promote tourist safety



ities are often loath to market themselves as ‘safe’ with many fearing this will deter a would-be tourist. Jonathan Andrews explores how a new European project is helping cities and the tourism sector work together to improve tourists’ security Despite Europe attracting 60 million international tourists a year, which contributes 5 percent of GDP and provides 12 percent of jobs in the EU, there is little official research or data regarding tourism and safety in cities. One reason according to Rob Mawby, visiting Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of South Wales, United Kingdom has been the reluctance from cities and the tourist sector to make the link with crime and terrorism. “There is a general problem within the tourist sector with regard to crime that ‘no news is good news’, and that any security measure is an acknowledgement that there is a problem,” says Mawby. “We’ve experienced problems in the past with gaining cooperation for research for this reason.” To help overcome this, the European Forum for Urban Security (Efus), a network of 250 local authorities dedicated to urban security, launched a two-year project in 2013 with seven cities, which were diverse in geography, size and the type of tourists they attract. The project has drawn on the experience of Alba, Barcelona, Brasov, Munich, Rome, Saint-Denis and Brussels, along with the support of criminology and tourist experts, to establish recommendations to help other cities that are facing similar issues.

Photo: “Toulouse Capitole Night Wikimedia Commons” by Benh LIEU SONG/Wikimedia Commons


Urbanization and migration in developing Asia



sian developing countries are facing numerous challenges, only two of which are urbanization and migration. While urbanization is gathering momentum in developing Asian countries, it should be noted that understanding the implications of urbanization in an overall Asian context is very difficult. Even the very definition of urbanization may vary significantly from one country to another. Regrettably, most national and international organizations, and even noted academics, have failed to appreciate these differences. For example, most Asian developing countries define urbanization by population; others use administrative declarations. Even among those who define urbanization by population, some consider an area to be urban when the population exceeds 5,000. Others define it to be when the area has more than 20,000 people. The differences and implications are huge. For example, if we use 5,000 population to be urban, India is already a heavily urbanized country! The factors that lead to rural-urban migration are many. The motivations could be economic when rural people migrate for a better standard of living, including long-term employment and the availability of business opportunities that could improve their quality of life. It could also be an attempt to escape grinding poverty, frequent crop failures, or even famines. The causes could also be social, like a desire for better education for their children, improved health care facilities, a five-day work week in contrast to working seven days on the farms, or the availability of entertainment facilities. Often the reasons are combinations of these issues.

Photo: “Guangzhou dusk panorama� by chensiyuan/Wikimedia Commons


Urbanisation sparks construction and development in East Africa



ccording to the African Development Bank, East Africa will grow by 5.6% in 2015 and by 6.7% in 2016 making it the fastest growing region on the continent. Today 54% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, but by 2050 the urban population is expected to rise as high as 62% in Africa. Currently only about 40% of African people live in urban environments, but as urbanisation rates continue to climb, some African cities will swell by up to 85% of their current size over the next 30 years. Urban growth in sub-Saharan Africa is already double the world’s average at 3.6%. Shifting African demographics see more people flocking to cities, and as cities densify it is imperative that urban development focuses not only on housing delivery but also on the development of sustainable cities. East Africa is a region at the forefront of infrastructure development and new construction business opportunities as the region’s growing middle class spurs demand for local service delivery. As East African nations implement policies and projects in line with growth and demand, Totally Concrete East Africa has emerged as the leading platform in the region where infrastructure delivery goals are defined and strategic planning is implemented.

Photo: “Nairobi UhuruPark Panorama 2010” by Arthurbuliva/Wikimedia Commons


Habitat III ‘thematic meetings’ process now underway



s the Habitat III calendar fills up just 13 months before next year’s major cities conference in Quito, Ecuador, a milestone has now been passed, offering crucial input to the strategy that is to come out of that event has taken shape. This week, Tel Aviv hosted the first formal “thematic meeting” on the Habitat III schedule, focused on civic engagement. Over the next seven months, from now until the April release of the zero draft of the Habitat III strategy — known as the New Urban Agenda — there will be seven thematic meetings as well as four regional meetings. Together, these events will aim to cover the geographic and topical scope of global urbanization. Each will offer input into the drafting of the New Urban Agenda.

Photo: “Panoramic View - Quito, Ecuador - South America” by David Berkowitz/Wikimedia Commons


Getting men to behave on Mexico City buses 14


EXICO CITY, Mexico — Carolina Gomez had an experience on a bus earlier this year that women in this metro area of 21 million find all too common. Gomez, a university student, was headed on a long cross-town trip to a busy subway hub. When she boarded the crowded bus, she ended up lodged in a mob of people standing in the aisle. As the vehicle moved, Gomez felt a man press up against her, aroused. She froze. “It was awful and I felt overwhelmed about saying anything,” she recalls. Gomez says several passengers noticed the incident as it happened, but did not intervene.

Photo: “Mexico City Urban Bus - 0011492” by Rafael.lcw0120/Wikimedia Commons

For women in Mexico City, riding public transit can be a treacherous experience. Seven out of ten women who ride public transportation in Mexico City say they have faced gender-based violence, which can include anything from lascivious looks to touching to more serious attacks, according to Inmujeres, a government agency that fights violence against women. The reality is probably worse, as city officials say only one of five victims actually reports the abuse. When the Thomson Reuters Foundation surveyed women in 16 global cities last year on transit safety, Mexico City emerged as the second most dangerous transit system for women. (Bogota, Colombia was first.)


NB: Press Cutting Service The Urban Gateway culls articles from daily press coverage from around the world. These articles are posted on the Urban Gateway by way of keeping all users informed about matters of interest. The opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and in no way reflects the opinion of UN-Habitat

Photo: “LE Eithne Operation Triton� by Irish Defence Forces/Wikimedia Commons

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