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The Cities this Week: Edition 2




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NEW YORK

New York’s outspoken, 3-term mayor Edward I. Koch died this past Friday. Described as “the master showman of City Hall, who parlayed shrewd political instincts and plenty of chutzpah into three tumultuous terms as New York’s mayor with all the tenacity, zest and combativeness that personified his city of golden dreams”. Read the next of the New York Times obituary here . Also a browse through some of his policies and related op-eds here, and see some of the changes New York has gone through since Koch’s reign.

Also in NEW YORK

Grand Central Station, one of the Big Apple’s most prolific spaces turned 100 this week.

In a nation of wide-open spaces, it carried the American sense of nature’s vast scale indoors, framed it in a serene Beaux Arts classicism and put both things in the service of a signature of the modern age, the railway. It is, by any measure, one of the most gracious public places in the world.

Take a photographic journey through the station’s century here.

NAIROBI

Kenya has begun construction on the new city of Konza — the so-called “Silicon Savannah” — as it seeks to cement its position as one of the main centres of Africa’s technology sector. Located 64km south of Nairobi, the £9.1bn city will turn what is currently empty savannah into 20.1km2 mixed-use city that the Kenyan government claims will eventually generate as many as 200,000 jobs by the time its final construction phase is finished in 2030. Tax breaks are being offered to companies willing to invest in moving to the new city.

CAPE TOWN

Cape Town has officially declared 2013 the year the city will be honouring former president Nelson Mandela. Speaking at a full council meeting on Thursday, Mayor Patricia de Lille said spoke of the link between Mandela’s legacy and city governance:

“I believe that we should reaffirm the values by which we govern and (the five pillars) upon which we have built this city… the opportunity city, the safe city, the caring city, the inclusive city and the well-run city”. 

WALBRZYCH

Warsaw-based design firm, Nizio Design International, has come up with a creative solution for the abandoned Stara Kopalnia coal mine in Walbrzych, Poland. The firm will reimagine this cluster of lost buildings into an engaging public space, breathing new life into this economically depressed community.

BEIJING

Residents across northern China battled through choking pollution this past week, as air quality levels rose above index limits in Beijing. Hospital admissions for respiratory complaints rose 20 percent during the latest choking smog to hit Beijing, reports said Thursday as state media demanded greater government openness on pollution.

CHICAGO

Chicago’s ambitious bus-rapid-transit plan, down Ashland Avenue, a busy thoroughfare that connects both upscale and low-income neighborhoods to a cluster of hospitals at the city’s center is set to face stiff opposition. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a professed BRT supporter, could face a storm of criticism from business owners and motorists who want no part in one of the country’s most ambitious bus projects.

SACRAMENTO

Sacramento County supervisors approved a 2,700- acre development on the eastern edge of the county despite widespread concern about the project causing sprawl and pollution.

LONDON

This week, the UK government announced the controversial route for phase 2 of “the first major railway line north of London since Victorian times.” The line, dubbed HS2, will halve journey times between northern cities and to the capital.

JOHANNESBURG

The property market in Soweto is booming; people are eager to purchase properties because of the affordability, thriving retail areas as well as its accessibility to Johannesburg.
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Melissa Meyer

Future Cape Town London-based correspondent

Urbanist-in-training from Cape Town, currently working in London. MSc City Design & Social Science.

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