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The Cities This Week: Edition 43




Activists of Ukrainian opposition parties clash with riot police as they attempt to get into the mayoral office during a rally against the Kiev mayoral election, which were earlier postponed until 2015, in Kiev October 2, 2013. Credit: Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko

Activists of Ukrainian opposition parties clash with riot police as they attempt to get into the mayoral office during a rally against the Kiev mayoral election, which were earlier postponed until 2015, in Kiev October 2, 2013. Credit: Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko

JOHANNESBURG

“Over the past few months the City of Johannesburg has taken a number of game-changing steps to change the urban landscape and prepare the ground for a period of unprecedented development and economic growth. The City of Johannesburg Executive Mayor, Clr Parks Tau held the stakeholder engagement session on the Corridors of Freedom at Mapungubwe Hotel today. The session was focusing on the provision of affordable social housing. It was attended by property developers, social housing investors and development planners. Executive Mayor said, “at the core of this, is our belief that a rejuvenated infrastructure and a strong focus on transit-oriented development should guide our development priorities in the coming decades. In this, Johannesburg is not different from other global cities such as Vancouver, Hong Kong, Melbourne and the San Francisco Bay Area, where investment in infrastructure resulted in resurgence, in broader economic activity and the rebirth of the city landscapes”.” – Joburg.org.za

KIEV

“More than 100,000 people in the Ukrainian capital Kiev are protesting against the government’s move to delay an association deal with the EU under pressure from Russia. The protest is said to be the largest since the 2004 Orange Revolution, which overturned a rigged presidential poll. Police fired tear gas as protesters tried to break through a cordon around government buildings. A pro-government rally a few miles away attracted about 10,000 people. Kiev police said they had fired tear gas after protesters threw a smoke grenade at officers in an attempt to break into the Cabinet of Ministers building. Ukraine made the decision on the EU deal last week, saying it could not afford to break ties with Moscow. Russia is trying to bring Kiev into its own customs union.” – BBC News

DALLAS

“Dallas is a city born as a low-rise post of agricultural trade and developed into the gleaming mecca of a 20th-century petrochemical boom. It is a city synonymous, for many Americans, with big hats, oil money and the gunman that took the life of John F. Kennedy — and with that, ended an era. Its downtown of shiny towers, and the sprawl radiating from there, expresses all of that, as does a population boom that has nearly doubled the city’s size since 1963. Although Dallas deserves some of the infamy that Texas in general has earned for its sprawl, recent developments demonstrate support for revisiting some of the city’s urban design failures. These show how far Dallas has come since the day at the book depository, a time when the city saw relatively little major construction save the modernist office box of the Republic National Bank Building, designed by Harrell & Hamilton and opened in 1964. In the last year, Dallas has completed an ambitious highway deck park project, and some of its leaders envision removing a freeway altogether. A streetcar line is under construction. Still, challenges remain in transcending an architecturally fragmented landscape that lacks powerful landmarks of civic identity.” – Next City

LONDON

“Tube trains will run throughout the night at weekends, London Underground has announced – but most tube ticket offices will go and 750 jobs will be lost. From 2015 trains will run on Friday and Saturday nights on core parts of the tube network, as part of a package of measures for a “21st-century tube service“, including direct payment by bank cards. But unions and Labour hit out at moves to close ticket offices and cut jobs. London Underground says the move to redeploy staff will make them “available to give the best personal and face-to-face service to customers”. According to Transport for London (TfL), fewer than 3% of tube journeys start with passengers visiting a ticket office. After redeployment, around 750 jobs will be lost with ticket office closures, LU said, although it promised no compulsory redundancies. The plans will save TfL £270m over five years and it said it was talking to online retailers about converting ticket offices to “drop-off” or “click-and-collect” points for their goods.” – The Guardian

CAPE TOWN

“On 19 November, the V&A Waterfront unveiled the ZEITZ Museum of Contemporary Art Africa(MOCAA) as the major new cultural institution to be housed in the Grain Silo building. Built in 1921, and at 57m tall, the Grain Silo remains an icon of the Cape Town skyline.It will become a platform for artists across Africa and house the largest collection of African contemporary art across 9,500 sqm of space. A major new cultural institution that will focus on collecting, preserving, researching, and exhibiting cutting edge contemporary art from Africa and its Diaspora, Zeitz MOCAA, is a new not-for-profit institution, with the V&A committing over R500-million to the development required for the establishment of the Museum.  This investment will further the development of art in Africa and acknowledges the important cultural and financial contribution the visual arts sector makes. The height of the Grain Silo and its strong silhouette gives it a character that has set it apart as an unusual structure within the V&A Waterfront. The reuse of the structure to house Zeitz MOCAA combines ingenuity, resourcefulness and beauty in a way that will be unique for Africa and give greater respect to the work displayed.” – Future Cape Town

ARUSHA

“If The Hague is the legal capital of the world, it is hoped that the city of Arusha will soon be its African equivalent. The government of Tanzania plans to expand the legal prowess and jurisdiction of the city’s institutions. Arusha has hosted many historically significant commissions and judgments. Tanzania Daily News reports: “Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda revealed the plans during the opening session of the ongoing Continental Judicial Dialogue with National Judiciaries, an event bringing together institutions of the African human rights system. ‘Arusha already hosts the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the East African Court of Justice, the East African Law Society and the United Nations’ International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda which means the stage for the city’s position to handle international criminal cases and other continental legal proceedings is already set,’ pointed out the Premier.” – Urban Africa

LAGOS

“Some residents in Lagos have called on government to set up a task force to enforce the official N50 per litre pump price of kerosene. The resident told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews in Lagos on Friday many dealers were selling kerosene as high as N150 per litre. Mr Felix Balogun, an official of First Bank, told NAN that many marketers were not selling kerosene at the official price of N50 and this had made cooking difficult in some homes. Balogun urged the regulatory agencies to sanction marketers selling above the official pump price. He also urged the Federal Government to find a lasting solution to the persistent high cost of the product. “The high price of kerosene is exposing many Nigerians to difficulties and causing a drain in their pockets. “Most families have been forced to use firewood in spite of its cumbersome process,’’ Balogun said.” – Daily Post

ROME

“Italian riot police have clashed with demonstrators opposed to the construction of a high-speed rail link between Italy and France. The clashes broke out in central Rome on Wednesday while Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta met French President Francois Hollande in the capital, Reuters reported. The two leaders were meeting at Rome’s Villa Madama, where the two confirmed the high-speed train project was going ahead as planned. The demonstrators threw stones, smoke grenades and firecrackers at riot police after baton-wielding officers tried to stop them from reaching the French Embassy. The protesters say the construction of tunnels through the mountainous region poses environmental hazards, and that there is no need for such a large-scale project, while the nation is suffering from a two-year recession.” – Press TV
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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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