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.

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.

The Chinese: from Yellow Peril to Green Peril?

Daniel Ben-Ami writes a thought provocating essay on China that debunks some of the generalisations that we have read over the years about China and its disregard for the environment

The possibility that China could become a fully industrialised and urbanised society, with living standards akin to those in the West, has become the ultimate environmentalist nightmare. Whereas China under Mao was sometimes called the ‘red peril’, and before that was sometimes referred to by Western racists as the ‘yellow peril’, contemporary China is often viewed as a ‘green peril’.

Source: spiked – The Chinese: from Yellow Peril to Green Peril? .

Good Design is Good Business – May 23 2008

BusinessWeek and Architectural Record will honor building and planning projects that are reshaping modern China at the second biannual “Good Design Is Good Business” China Awards in Shanghai on May 23, 2008. A jury of editors has selected 13 projects, as well as this year’s “Best Client,” innovative real-estate developer China Vanke Co., Ltd., from more than 100 entries from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, based on their use of design to achieve strategic business and civic objectives.

“This year’s winning projects reflect the growing sophistication of architecture and construction in China,” said Robert Ivy, FAIA, vice president and editorial director for McGraw-Hill Construction and editor in chief of Architectural Record, “and this year’s business winners demonstrate that good design is changing the face of China in complex larger projects and individual buildings.”

“The degree to which design projects make sense from both a functional and aesthetic perspective dictates their success,” said David Rocks, international senior editor of BusinessWeek. “These architects and clients have developed innovative venues with measureable results, spaces that yield benefits beyond being useful, but that positively affect the businesses, organizations and visitors on a daily basis.”

Winners include the architects and clients of projects that range from major new additions to a city’s urban fabric (Shanghai South Station and Beijing Finance Street), to important cultural facilities (Liangzhu Culture Museum, Dafen Art Museum, Suzhou Museum, and the Sino-French Center at Tongji University).

Source: McGraw Hill Construction

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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