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The Cities This Week: Edition 13




Maputo harbour, Source: Julien Lagarde via Wikimedia Common

Maputo harbour, Source: Julien Lagarde via Wikimedia Common

MAPUTO

The Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC) announced on Wednesday that it is investing $400 million and plans to invest up to almost $2 billion over the next five years. The investment comes during the year of the 110th anniversary of the Maputo Port and will increase its capacity in future.The modernisation endeavour aims to increase the capacity and efficiency of the port through updating machinery, developing infrastructure and initiating updated worker training. It is the ambition of the MPDC to process 50 million tonnes of cargo through Maputo Port by 2020.

AMSTERDAM

It sounds like the ultimate do-it-yourself project: the print-your-own-home. In place of bricks and mortar and the need for a construction crew, a customisable building plan which transforms itself from computer screen graphics into a real-world abode thanks to the latest in 3D printing technology. That dream is still beyond our reach, but several teams of architects across the globe are engaged in efforts to take a major step towards it by creating the world’s first 3D-printed homes. Amsterdam-based Dus Architects is one of the firms involved – it plans to print a canal house in the Dutch capital.

SOUTH AFRICAN CITIES

The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) will renew its focus on lending to infrastructure sectors, CEO Patrick Dlamini said on Monday. The need for infrastructure finance in South Africa and the rest of the continent meant the bank was considering an expanded role, he told reporters in Rosebank, Johannesburg. It would seek to move beyond just a “municipal finance” institution to a broader infrastructure finance institution. “The National Treasury… approved a R7.9bn recapatilisation facility over a period of three years… to support the DBSA’s refocused mandate to drive its infrastructure funding by increasing municipal lending, state-owned enterprise infrastructure plans, regional lending and private/public partnerships,” said Dlamini.

NEW YORK CITY

New York City is busy gearing up for the long-delayed launch of its bike-share program on an undisclosed date in the next few weeks, with some 5,000 people signing up for annual memberships in the first 28 hours that they were available. In the meantime, the city keeps quietly pushing ahead building new bike infrastructure for people who have bikes of their own already. The latest addition is a first for the city, and possibly even the country. In the Manhattan neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen, bike parking corrals, rather than parked cars, are being used to protect bike lanes. Three new corrals were just installed alongside the bike lane on Ninth Avenue in response to community requests for more bike parking.

NAIROBI

The Coca Cola Company has rolled out a project for the distribution of solar panels to operators of the firm’s soft drink kiosks. This project will see owners of Coca Cola kiosks enjoy access to clean, affordable energy to power small scale needs like light, charging phone and radio. The Managing Director of Nairobi Bottlers Limited Patrick Pech said the project will have considerable social, environmental and financial benefits. “The project is being scaled up in the next 12 months to an estimated 2,000 small scale businesses in Nairobi and its environs,” Pech said during the launch on Wednesday, which is in partnership with One Degree Solar.

TORONTO

The new wealth of finely-grained information on cities — culled from Google Maps, open government data, and other sources — continues to deepen our understanding of the places where we live at a breathtaking pace. The software developers at Walkonomics recently released a walkability analysis for Toronto, examining 42,000 street segments on factors like traffic levels, number of pedestrian collisions, crime stats, and presence of street trees. The findings attempt to highlight the best places to walk in Canada’s largest city, and the places that need some improvement.

MEXICO CITY

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s latest health initiative — the much-maligned soda ban — may have been defeated in New York, but his influence is being felt in Mexico City. The Mexican capital has undertaken a “Less Salt, More Health” campaign — “Menos sal, más salud” — which encourages restaurant owners to make salt shakers available only for those patrons who request them. The law has the support the local restaurant association, and though participation is voluntary, officials are optimistic it will put a dent in salt consumption. According to El Nuevo Herald, Mexicans consume 11 grams of salt per day, almost three times the World Health Organization’s recommended intake of salt and quite a bit more than their neighbors in the United States. About a third of the population of Mexico suffers from hypertension.

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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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