2011 Year in Review

Happy New Year Urbanist!  2011 has been an exciting year for Encountering Urbanization’s writers as we began the year as graduate students in New York City researching international urban planning and now have moved across the world to South Africa, Tanzania and Singapore for work.  Here is a recap of our ten most read posts of 2011.  We look forward to sharing many more stories with you in 2012!

10. Curitiba, Brazil: Model of Sustainability  “Curitiba won the Global Sustainable City Award 2010 and is hosting a few World Cup matches in 2014.  To prepare for this planners have realized that they need to improve the city’s infrastructure to handle the huge influx of football fans.  CNN also featured a story on Curitiba after it was awarded the Global Sustainable City Award in 2010.”

9. Visiting Navotas: The Slums of Manila  “In the third and final article of his series on Manila, the capital mega-city region of the Philippines, Australian urban planner Marcus Tudehope ventures to  Navotas, one of the seventeen cities that make of the Metro Manila region.”

8. Film: Dharavi, Slum for Sale  “A new documentary by Director Lutz Konermann portrays the story of the controversial redevelopment of Dharavi in Mumbai, India.  Dharavi, the largest slum in India and possibly the largest in the world, is home to over one million people and millions of dollars of industry. US trained developer Mukesh Mehta’s Dharavi Redevelopment Project (DRP) seeks to demolition the slum and build high-rise buildings that will both rehouse the existing squatters and provide extra housing to be sold at market rates that will fund the rest of the project.”

7. Singapore: Efficient vs Resilient City  “As I wait for a shuttle bus this Sunday morning to take me across the island instead of the much faster, less crowded train I can’t help but be as upset as my fellow passengers at SMRT for using Sunday morning to finish their track inspection. As I wait on the bus though and read the many opinion pieces in the paper and blogs about this planned outage it suddenly occurred to me: I would never have left my Brooklyn apartment on the weekend without first checking the MTA’s website for disruptions in the F train service.”

6. China’s First Property Tax  “While studying in Shanghai this summer I learned that many newly rich Chinese acquire property as an investment because there are very few other legal investment options that are as lucrative.   The absence of property tax also provides an incentive for hoarding property since there are no annual costs.  However this is about to change in Shanghai and Chongqing as the national government announced last week that it would allow cities for the first time to impose property taxes on homeowners in hopes of stopping speculation in the housing market and to shift a major source of government funding away from land auctions to property taxes.”

5. Comparing Urban Form  “Have you ever wondered how New York City’s urban form compares to London?  Or the ancient streets of Rome?  This comparison from Bricoleurbanism compares eight famous cities’ urban form at the same scale to the city of Mississauga, ON, revealing ‘the inherent problems of scale in trying to evolve any suburban, auto-oriented area into a more pedestrian-oriented center.'”

4. Urban Form in Shanghai vs. New York City  “After walking the massive blocks of Pudong this summer I was not that surprised when I realize that one block in Pudong was the same size as about 6 blocks in Lower Manhattan.  What is surprising though is to consider what the size of these city blocks may mean about the density of these cities if future development mirrored these sections.”

3. Ranking the World’s Mass Transit Systems  “Have you ever wondered what the best mass transit systems in the world are?  Most New Yorkers would agree that we do not have the cleanest system in the world, nor the most efficient system given recent MTA service cuts and constant construction.  However New York certainly does have the busiest and more efficient public transit system in the US…”

2. Rebuilding after Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunami  “As Japanese authorities are still trying to avoid nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture while also dealing with at least 350,000 homeless citizens, it is difficult to think about plans to rebuild Japan.  However groups like Architecture for Humanity already are thinking about rebuilding efforts….”

1. Dar es Salaam: Underwater and Underreported  “If you’re reading this from outside of Tanzania, chances are you haven’t heard that large swaths of the 3-million plus city of Dar es Salaam have been underwater for several days. It’s a situation of superlatives: flash floods due to several month’s worth of rain in 72 hours, including the highest rainfall ever recorded in a single day, have caused the worst flooding the city has seen in 57 years. Thousands are homeless, much of the city has been paralyzed with damaged roads and power outages….”

Happy New Year from the Encountering Urbanization Team!

For photo and graphic sources see original articles.


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