Global: It´s time for humanitarian agencies to work in fragile cities / Robert Muggah

Humanitarian agencies are questioning when and how to engage with violent urban settings. Some of them are developing new and innovative approaches to protection and aid delivery. Others are more hesitant. Building on his TED talk, Robert Muggah describes four ways they are thinking about fragile cities.

The breakneck pace and scale of urbanization is precipitating an unprecedented demographic transition. Not surprising, violence is also migrating to the metropole. Overlapping forms of violence are emerging in fast growing lower-income neighborhoods and informal settlements of the South. Some war-torn cities – Aleppo, Gaza, and Mosul – are especially badly affected, with entire neighborhoods in smoldering ruins. In other municipalities – Caracas, Cape Town, Maceio and San Pedro Sula – violence is reaching epidemic levels even if the buildings are still standing. SEE MORE…

Brazil: Mapping Arms Data / Robert Muggah

What is it?
Drawing from existing data sources, the projectMAD website tracks the global trade in small arms, light weapons, and ammunition. Small arms are responsible for the vast majority of conflict deaths and homicidal violence across the globe yet the trade is poorly regulated and penetrated by illicit networks.

The MAD project increases transparency and promotes accountability in the global trade of small arms and ammunition in order to understand how they threaten security and development throughout the world.

How does it work?
The underlying data draws from over 37 publicly available sources documenting the authorized trade of arms and ammunition, covering 262 states and territories and aggregating over a million data points. Users can explore the interface to map weapons flows by country and year between 1992-2012.

The visualization displays the volume and composition of each country’s small arms transfers, differentiating between military and civilian weapons and ammunition. It also shows the direction of exports and imports and how much they are worth. SEE MORE…

Global: Preventing Fragile Cities From Becoming Failed Cities /Robert Muggah

The sheer pace and scale of urbanization is precipitating one of the most dramatic demographic shifts in human history. More than half of the world’s population now resides in cities. At least 500 cities have populations greater than one million, including over 28 megacities with ten million or more inhabitants.

In 1950 there were just 83 cities with over one million people and only three megacities.

Alongside fast growing global cities is another category of urban settlement that is falling behind. While some cities like Bogota and São Paulo are serving as national growth poles, others like Caracas and San Salvador are sinking into decay. Many are emerging in fast urbanizing parts of the Americas as well as Africa and Asia.

These urban nodes of instability have implications for poverty and inequality reduction. Some security experts believe that so-called ‘feral cities’ and their sprawling slums will serve as future landscapes of national unrest, civil conflict and urban insurgency. SEE MORE…

Global: “Fragile cities” plagued by violence, unemployment, lack of education

Unemployed youth. Lack of education. Social tension. Violence. These are among the characteristics of “fragile cities” overrun with crime and gangs, making them difficult to govern, Robert Muggah writes in Foreign Affairs.

Muggah cites a variety of factors for the trend. “Turbo-urbanization” — meteoric population surge over a short period — is a contributor. An example is Karachi, which grew from a half million people in 1947 to 21 million today. While the port city plays a key economic role for Pakistan, it’s also among the world’s most violent metropolises. Other fragile cities include Acapulco, Mexico; Maceió, Brazil; San Pedro Sula, Honduras; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo; and Lagos, Nigeria. SEE MORE…

Brazil: Stray Bullets Are No Accident / Robert Muggah

Thirty-two bullets. That’s all it took to shatter the lives of just as many innocent men, women and children in metropolitan Rio de Janeiro last month. It is an unspeakable tragedy. The victims consist of toddlers and senior citizens — all of them going about their own business. Most of them are residents of low-income neighborhoods, especially the city’s sprawling north zone.

The blame game is in full swing. The state’s Secretary for Public Security has condemned drug trafficking groups, alluding to a “nation of criminals” with brazen disregard for human life. Meanwhile, human rights activists say that the military police are also to blame. Caught in the crossfire, locals are throwing up their hands in resignation. Yet there is nothing accidental about these incidents — they are indicative of a failure of public policy. SEE MORE…

Global: Las 50 ciudades más violentas del mundo 2014

Acapulco ocupa el tercer lugar en el ranking global elaborado por la organización Seguridad, Justicia y Paz, los números públicos arrojan una disminución de la violencia en México, sin embargo, los creadores de este organismo advierten que hay riesgos de distorsión de la información.

Ocho ciudades mexicanas figuran en el ranking de las 50 ciudades más violentas del mundo elaborado por la organización Seguridad Justicia y Paz.

Por cuarto año consecutivo, con 1,317 homicidios, la ciudad hondureña de San Pedro Sula ocupó el primer lugar entre las 50 ciudades de más de 300,000 habitantes contabilizadas por la organización.VER MÁS…

Global: Fixing Fragile Cities. Solutions for Urban Violence and Poverty / Robert Muggah

In the decades to come, the city, not the state, will decide stability and development. People around the world have been converging on cities for centuries, and more than half of them live in one today. Western cities have grown so dominant that commentators now speak of “the triumph” of cities and call on mayors to rule the world.

The direction of urban population growth is shifting dramatically, as Africans and Asians, not Americans or Europeans, flock to cities in unprecedented numbers. According to the latest UN estimates, more than 90 percent of all future population growth will occur in the cities and sprawling shantytowns of the developing world. Meanwhile, urban population growth in most developed economies will slow; in some places, it could even shift into reverse. SEE MORE… 

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