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The Cities This Week: Edition 18




Photo: Daniel Boud

The Sydney Opera House illuminated for the Vivid Sydney Festival. Photo: Daniel Boud

STOCKHOLM

It’s hard to discern a pattern in the violence that has wracked the Swedish capital Stockholm over the past week. Rioting in the city’s suburbs has raised the national debate about immigration, unemployment and social inequality. The cars attacked in the violence are not high-end – not the BMWs and Porsches you might expect to see torched by class warriors – but the vans which ordinary people need to go about their business. Schools, a station and a library have been attacked as well as a bank and a police station. In the areas affected, local people said the motive of the youths making trouble was anger over joblessness.

SEATTLE

The partial collapse on Thursday night of a heavily used river bridge on Interstate 5 north of Seattle caused no fatalities, but as the long holiday weekend began, it underscored the vulnerability of a transportation system that hinges not just on giant high-profile bridges and tunnels, but on tens of thousands of ordinary and unremarked components that travelers mostly take for granted. A section of the bridge, which crossed the Skagit River about an hour north of Seattle, crumpled around 7 p.m., apparently after being struck by an oversized truck, state officials said. Three people were injured, none of them seriously, when vehicles went into the river.

HARARE

The Harare City Council on Thursday revealed that it requires a staggering $2.5 billion to roll out a programme to address the city’s water problems. Speaking to journalists, Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda said the programme would ensure that residents have uninterrupted supplies, during a week when most residents had no water. The dormitory town of Chitungwiza, which gets its water from Harare, has been without supplies for two weeks, while suburbs like Tafara and Mabvuku last had running water seven years ago. Current water supply is estimated at 600 mega litres of water per day against a daily demand of 1,400 mega litres, according to the Herald newspaper. The state-run daily also quoted Masunda as saying the authority would like to construct three additional water works to produce at least 1,920 mega litres.

BRASILIA

Mane Garrincha National Stadium in Brasilia has begun its second life. With workers hurrying to finish the stadium in time for next month’s FIFA Confederations Cup, Brazil’s capital city’s major stadium had its official inauguration last weekend. The original Garrincha Stadium was built in 1974, and was considered outdated and incapable of serving the country’s upcoming international sporting events long before being torn down in 2010. It is being rebuilt for $750 million, not only the most expensive stadium of the 12 being erected in advance of the 2014 World Cup, but the most expensive such project in the country’s history. Plagued by delays and cost overruns, local officials say the stadium, which is designed to hold more than 70,000 fans, is 97 percent done. Only about 20,000 people were allowed to attend Saturday’s inauguration event.

DUBAI

A world away from the glitzy skyscrapers and pulsing nightclubs of downtown Dubai, Bangladeshi labourer Mohamed Ashraf stares at the metal gates of his labour camp, terrified about his future after management broke a strike at the company where he has worked for six years. Backed by security forces, bosses at Arabtec – a massive construction firm with interests across the oil-rich Gulf states – ended a strike on Monday, but the fallout continues as more workers are receiving deportation orders. “Between 20-25 people just got the [deportation] letter now,” Ashraf, a scaffolding installer at Arabtec, told Al Jazeera on Wednesday after receiving a phone call from a co-worker.

JOHANNESBURG

The City of Joburg Broadband Project will go live on 1 July 2013 after a 3 year build phase, which BWired will operate for 12 years. The completion of the fibre optic network covers all 7 regions of the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) municipality, and will deliver a live network that will immediately be able to offer key services to all municipal buildings connected to the network.  This fibre optic network was designed by Ericsson South Africa and uses world-class  technologies utilized in Smart Cities around the world, and marks one of the biggest rollouts of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere in terms of its 1.2Tb core capacity and 940km coverage, giving the City of Johannesburg true Smart City Status.

NEW YORK CITY

Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) sharpened the jockeying for the highest-paying passengers in New York, the biggest U.S. aviation market, as it opened a $1.4 billion terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport. A venture with Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd., in which Delta is taking a 49 percent stake, will include seven daily JFK flights to London’s Heathrow airport once the purchase is completed this year, President Ed Bastian said in an interview before today’s inauguration of the international facility. “JFK is going to be a big driver for us in getting international seats, a big driver in the Virgin transaction, a big driver for us in New York with banks and financial service providers,” he said May 22 at Bloomberg’s New York headquarters. “Today since we’re a relatively small player in that market, we don’t have a frequency pattern that appeals to the business traveler.”

SYDNEY

The Vivid Sydney festival kicked off on Friday. It’s host to music, events, and panel discussions as well as spectacular light installations and projections that light up some of the city’s most well known landmarks. These include the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House, Customs House, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and many other venues. Artists like the Spinifex Group and The Electric Canvas will be turning these buildings into shrines of dancing color and interactive animations with the latest projection mapping technology. Aquatique Show International will create an “immersive water theatre” with a 65 feet high wall of water and Sydney Harbour Bridge will be lit up with 100,800 LEDs which the public will be able to interact with, selecting which parts to light up.

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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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