Blog

Unique insights into what is happening in cities worldwide.

COVID-19: Learning Lessons About Local Action From Past Outbreaks

Mar 13, 2020

I am relatively new to the world of urban policy and research. My background is in anthropology and I’ve been researching health systems and diseases for the last 10 years. I came to the urban space via the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. I’d been working in rural Sierra Leone on another viral haemorrhagic fever…

Understanding the Urban Innovation Cycle: Eight Key Takeaways

Mar 09, 2020

In 2019, NewCities and UrbanLeap set out to establish a baseline for urban innovation. We wanted to better understand the ongoing, evolutionary journey of how public servants discovered, tested, and shared ideas to improve their city. Together, we surveyed 581 local and regional public sector representatives from all over the United States and Canada about…

8 questions for Kathryn Travers

Mar 06, 2020

International Women’s Day Special 1. Can you tell us more about your career path and how you got to where you are now? I always knew I wanted to do international work, so I approached the International Centre for the Prevention of Crime to complete an internship as part of my BA. I worked under…

Letter to Evie

Jan 28, 2020

Set in the alternate future of The Training Commission — their critically acclaimed 2019 novella exploring a post-climate change, post-civil conflict America — Byrne and Burrington’s “Letter to Evie” explores the intersection of climate refugees, NGOs, and Wall Street machinations. Written in the epistolary style of their earlier work, the story springboards off the Obama…

Our Inevitable Retreat

Jan 28, 2020

“If you would lift me up, you’ve got to be on higher ground.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson In October 2012, two days before Halloween, the Hudson River rose over its banks and flooded Hoboken, New Jersey. I was one of the lucky residents whose home was spared by Superstorm Sandy’s historic surge. Despite its waterfront location,…

Here’s How Cities Are Committing to Wellbeing — and How Yours Can, Too

Jan 08, 2020

For much of the last decade, the Smart Cities movement received much attention from policymakers by offering to improve the efficiency, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness of city services by optimizing data management. But for all of these promises of radical improvements, have the proponents of smart cities actually managed to improve life in cities? Has optimization…

Three Things Cities Could Do Immediately to Make Cities More Affordable

Oct 24, 2019

Cities are becoming increasingly unaffordable. Almost a million NYC renters are rent-burdened, with more than half of those renters paying more than 50% of their income in rent. Urban rents have been climbing faster than wages for decades, a trend that has only accelerated over the past 10 years. With that in mind, it’s not…

AI, Cities and Climate Change: Whoever Said It Would Be Easy?

Jun 14, 2019

The fate of cities, whether in Africa, Asia, America or Europe, is increasingly linked to climate change. Natural disasters – heat waves, floods, drought, earthquakes, violent storms – are more frequent and costly. Told that the goal of limiting the increase in CO2 emissions by 2050, and the rise in annual average temperatures, is unreachable,…

Wellness: A Foundational Attribute of New City Planning

Jun 13, 2019

Although there have been numerous efforts in the past few decades to plan, build, and operate new cities at scale, success has proven exceptionally challenging. At a minimum, such an undertaking requires an elusive mix of political will, massive funding, deep subject-matter expertise, and a strategic location. For a number of years, I was part…

Senior Living Challenges in Affordable Housing

Jun 04, 2019

It’s getting harder to get older in the United States, and finding an affordable place to live in the community you’ve spent years in may be next to impossible. Kids are out of the house, you are ready to retire and downsize from the expensive to maintain the single-family home that you’ve lived in. Hopefully,…

Why the Provision of Affordable Housing is Necessary for the Realization of Human Rights in Cities in the 21st Century

Jun 04, 2019

In an increasingly urbanizing world where cities play a pivotal role, the sustainable and inclusive development of our planet is intrinsically linked to the capability of governments to fulfill their obligations in offering equal opportunities and in protecting the basic human rights of their citizens. Considering housing and residential use can consume more than 70…

When Construction Is the Easiest Part of Housing Development

Jun 04, 2019

Developing affordable housing in Haiti is, to put it mildly, difficult. Despite a massive need for adequate and affordable housing in Haiti, few interventions have successfully addressed the housing crisis – a crisis made worse by the widespread devastation of the 2010 earthquake. After the earthquake, non-government organizations (NGOs), humanitarian aid workers, and international building…