Bigger cities means more poverty says UN

Urbanisation in the Asia-Pacific region has driven up poverty, says the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Escap).

The agency’s latest yearbook showed that with an increase in urbanisation and growth, urban poverty had also worsened.

This year represented a turning point in human geography. For the first time in history, more people now live in cities than in rural areas.

Although the Asia-Pacific region, along with Africa, was still one of the least urbanised regions of the world, its urban population had grown at the fastest pace in the last 15 years, said the yearbook, which describes economic, social and environmental trends in Asia and the Pacific.

Source: Bangkok Post : General news.

The triumph of ugliness – National – smh.com.au

Are Australians visually illiterate? That’s the question that architects, designers and their critics have been pondering since the first convict staggered ashore, whacked up a bark humpy on the edge of Sydney Harbour, hung an emoh ruo sign on the front door and stuck a gnome in the garden.

The Pritzker Prize-winning architect Glenn Murcutt is in no doubt.

Read more @ The triumph of ugliness – smh.com.au.

Source: Syndey MOrning Herald

ESCAP TO LAUNCH KEY ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL SURVEY ON ASIA-PACIFIC REGION

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) addresses in the latest issue of its flagship publication, the Economic and Social Survey for Asia and the Pacific 2008.

The Survey will be launched on Thursday, 27 March, 2008, at 0500 GMT, in more than 20 capitals in the region, and in New York and Geneva.

This year’s Survey, entitled “Sustaining Growth and Sharing Prosperity,” says 218 million – a third of the region’s poor, largely living in rural areas – could be lifted out of poverty by raising agricultural productivity if governments address decades of policy neglect and failure in the agricultural sector. The Survey also calls for a comprehensive liberalization of global trade in agriculture, as this would take a further 48 million people out of poverty in the region.

Source: ESCAP Press Release: ESCAP TO LAUNCH KEY ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL SURVEY ON ASIA-PACIFIC REGION.

Is Suburbia Turning Into Slumburbia?

The dark side of this surreality is that the places far from these hallowed urban cores are experiencing unprecedented decline and, according to some experts, threaten to become tomorrow’s slums.

We’re not talking about mean inner city streets getting meaner, we’re talking about the pristine, newly built developments of four-bedroom, three-bath dream homes produced in the last housing boom becoming ghettos for the poor and the disenfranchised.

Slumburbia? After decades of middle class flight from the cities in search of safe neighborhoods and good schools — a flight that continues today even from gentrified cities like San Francisco — it’s hard to conjure the image of a truly derelict suburbia. Will all those manicured lawns sprout weeds and broken bottles like a Baltimore back alley? Will drug dealers take over the local cul-de-sac? Will squatters set up camp in the neighbor’s McMansion?

Source: SFgate.com – Is Suburbia Turning Into Slumburbia?.

Urban planning a factor in rising obesity rates, says new report – ExpressNews – University of Alberta

Urban planning a factor in rising obesity rates, says new report

By Isabela C. Varela, ExpressNews Staff
Kim Raine, director of the University of Alberta’s Centre for Health Promotion Studies

March 13, 2008 – Edmonton – If you and your family are fighting the battle of the bulge, look around you: your environment may be partly to blame. Research led by the University of Alberta and funded by the Canadian Institute for Health Information confirms there are links between our urban surroundings and how likely we are to struggle with overweight or obesity

Source:  ExpressNews – University of AlbertaUrban planning a factor in rising obesity rates, says new report –

Caught out by an urban time bomb

Rural towns – even places like Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Kalgoorlie and Wadeye – are urban time bombs. Their fast-growing indigenous communities represent the biggest challenge facing policymakers in Canberra, Sydney and Darwin.

They discovered that the influx of Aborigines into rural towns has been matched by an exodus of non-indigenous Australians who have moved out, taking skills, wealth and in some cases businesses with them.

In Broken Hill the non-indigenous population dropped 5.9 per cent. In South Australia’s Port Augusta the decline was 6.8 per cent………..

Source: smh.com.au – Caught out by an urban time bomb

IT to play bigger role in urban planning

Information technologies will play a more significant role in the country’s property industry, speakers at a real estate summit said.

During the Viet Nam Connected: Real Estate Summit 2008 organised by Cisco in HCM City last week, speakers said challenges facing urban planners – how to house a growing urban population in a safe and efficient manner – could be helped by using IT.

“The world’s built environment supports six billion people. Research shows that we currently possess only about 25 per cent of the real estate that is functional to support the world’s population by 2030,” said James Chia, general director of Cisco Viet Nam.

Source: Viet Nam News.

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