The Big Picture

Exploring the trends shaping our modern cities through a curated collection of articles and op-eds

Rights-Based Housing for Refugees

Oct 24, 2022

This year, for the first time ever, the number of people forcibly displaced from their homes passed the 100 million mark. Whether fleeing political unrest, persecution, or forced to relocate due to climate change, migrants often struggle to find housing in the places they find refuge due to increasingly inaccessible and unaffordable housing markets.

Cities Have the Duty to Act on the Human Right to Housing – And the Tools to Do It, Too

Oct 24, 2022

By Elizabeth McIsaac, Maytree So much talk about housing concerns units. How many units can we build? Where are the units located? What does each unit cost? But to make real progress on the housing crisis, we need to talk about people. Which people have been shut out of the housing market? How do public policies affect how people get housing (or don’t)? What do people need to turn a physical structure into a home?

Seeking Home: Afghan Resettlement Demonstrates Barriers to Affordable Housing and Potential Solutions

Oct 19, 2022

By Hannah Presser and Chuni Lu, The International Rescue Committee Urban space in North America is continuously re-invigorated by newcomer populations. Take for example the new waves of immigrants arriving in New York City from Asia and the global south establishing themselves in Little Italy, a once European enclave. A significant portion of these newcomers are refugees arriving through the U.S. refugee resettlement program, which has welcomed over 3.7 million people into American cities and towns since its inception.

Why Cities are Best Placed to Provide Homes for Refugees: The Medellín Model

Oct 19, 2022

By Samer Saliba and Helen Elizabeth Yu, Mayors Migration Council Most refugees live in cities, which should come as no surprise, considering over half the world’s population now resides in urban areas, driven by an increasing demographic shift away from agrarian livelihoods, particularly in regions affected by forced displacement.

As Skyrocketing Rents Leave Refugees with Nowhere to Go, The Human Right to Housing is Needed More than Ever

Oct 19, 2022

By Kirsten McRae, The Shift It’s in the news every day—people are forced to flee their homes in growing numbers due to circumstances beyond their control. According to the World Economic Forum, the number of people fleeing their homes has doubled in the last ten years and it’s predicted that more than one billion people will be displaced by environmental change, conflict, and civil unrest by the year 2050. 

Mexico Redefines the Right to Safe Mobility

Feb 23, 2022

Establishing a national right to safe mobility grounded on sustainability and social justice principles By Claudio Sarmiento-Casas At 28 years old, Emmanuel Vara worked as the director of mobility for the fifth largest city in Mexico. His appointment in such a key position of his city’s local government was not undeserved, having previously worked in…

A Roadmap For Cities in 2022

Dec 01, 2021

Discover community-led solutions to some of our most pressing urban challenges:  Action for Community Wellbeing: Developing Affordable Housing and Small Businesses By Julie Rusk and Tara Barauskas Mexico Redefines the Right to Safe Mobility By Claudio Sarmiento-Casas Housing supply and affordability is the most pressing challenge cities will face in the coming year, according to…

Urban Farming: Growing Healthier Communities

Jul 16, 2021

Urban Farming: Growing Healthier Communities Where was your last meal grown? Most of us who live in urban areas don’t have a simple answer to that question; our plates are often filled with produce harvested from all corners of the globe. Our global food network and supply chains are vulnerable systems. As our planet warms and the…

The Circular Economy of Floating Farms

Jul 16, 2021

BY PETER VAN WINGERDEN July 19, 2021 In May 2019, we opened the world’s first Floating Farm in the Port of Rotterdam. Since then, we’ve had 40 cows producing healthy milk and organic manure. Let me tell you about it. Why the Floating Farm? Our planet is under tremendous strain and we are (in) directly…

Towards a Local and Sustainable Food System

Jul 15, 2021

BY RENZO MOROSI July 19, 2021   As part of its new Climate Action Plan 2050, the City of Buenos Aires will implement urban agricultural programs to transition the city towards a sustainable, nutritious food system. Urban areas are responsible for 70% of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), positioning cities as key players in the battle…