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The Cities This Week: Edition 10

Joao Havelange Stadium. Source: AP

Joao Havelange Stadium. Source: AP

QINGDAO

Qingdao officially started an urbanization pilot program for small-sized cities on Tuesday, with five suburban towns in the affiliated county-level cities of Qingdao undertaking the mission to grow into mini-cities with an average population of 100,000 by 2016, according to sources at a government work conference. Li Gezhuang town in Jiaozhou city, Nancun town in Pingdu city, Jiangshan town in Laixi city, Lancun town in Jimo city and Poli town in Huangdao city are expected to grow fast through the experimental program.

CHICAGO

A $100 million federal loan to build an urban playground along the Chicago River downtown is a “done deal,” outgoing U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Thursday. Appearing along the river with LaHood, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he expects groundbreaking for the extension of the Riverwalk to take place in 2014. The six-block project would run along the south bank from State Street to West Lake Street. The Riverwalk extension is set to include a learning center focusing on the river’s ecology, a “zero-depth fountain” for children to splash in, kayak rentals and a wood-planked section dotted with floating gardens, among other amenities.

RIO DE JANEIRO

The stadium which will host the athletics at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro has been closed for an indefinite period due to safety concerns about its roof. Authorities in the Brazilian city say repairs are needed to a structural problem that poses a risk to spectators. The Joao Havelange stadium, which was built six years ago, is scheduled to host athletics events but the opening and closing ceremonies are to take place at the Maracana stadium.

KANSAS CITY

After years of trying to redevelop its downtown riverfront, Kansas City is close to landing its first private investment, a $4 million hydroponic farm expected to grow a million pounds of fresh tomatoes, lettuce and herbs annually. BrightFarms, a firm that traces its roots to rooftop gardens in New York City, has struck a deal with the Port Authority of Kansas City to build a 100,000-square-foot greenhouse on a 5-acre tract just east of the Heart of America Bridge and next to Berkley Riverfront Park.

LOKOJA

The Kogi State government has warned residents against indiscriminate dumping of refuse in Lokoja metropolis and its environs. The Acting General Manager of the state Sanitation and Waste Management Board, Mrs. Florence Titi Joseph, who stated this in a statement said they would introduce permanent mobile court to prosecute anyone, caught littering the environment. Mrs. Joseph reiterated government’s commitment in ensuring a clean environment in the state capital, saying that a clean environment produces a healthy people.

U.S. CITIES

US President Barack Obama has appealed for increased private investment in infrastructure, saying it will create jobs and boost the US economy. Mr Obama outlined his plans at Port Miami, which is undergoing a $2bn (£1.3bn) upgrade and tunnel project. Among his proposals was $4bn in new infrastructure loans and grants. He also repeated a call for a $10bn “infrastructure bank” to attract investment for projects that will have the greatest impact on the economy. The Obama administration is proposing tax breaks for foreign pension funds that invest in US infrastructure, and bonds designed to attract investors in larger projects.

SYDNEY 

Sydney has released a new Draft Metropolitan Strategy, the foundation of a new planning system for NSW, and is inviting the public to have their say. Today, 5.5 million people call Australia’s largest metropolitan city home and the new strategy prioritises housing, infrastructure and transport to better manage the growth of the city. It was initially developed through community feedback received from scheduled workshops, written submissions, online and social media activities. The draft strategy features an urbanised approach to planning and will identify nine key locations also known as “city shapers” that will demonstrate how housing, jobs and growth can be delivered in alignment with transport and infrastructure to stimulate the economy.

UGANDAN MUNICIPALITIES

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved an International Development Association (IDA) credit of US$150 million to finance urban infrastructure and improve service delivery in 14 municipalities in Uganda. The 6-year Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) project will expand urban infrastructure, and enhance the capacity of the 14 municipal local governments to generate own source revenues, improve urban planning, and strengthen financial management, procurement, environmental and social systems.

ISTANBUL

In Istanbul on day two of its inspection of the city’s Olympic bid, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) evaluation team spent time learning about Turkey’s ability and capacity to deliver the Games. A new rail network is evidence to a unique feature in Istanbul’s $19.2 billion dollar Games budget – some of the funds have already been allocated, spent and capitalized.  When complete, the project will cost $4.5 billion, but over $3 billion has already been spent, and stations, bridges and tunnels now exist as construction projects ready to be delivered.

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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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