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Sustainable Communities

Integrated urban flood risk management: Learning from the Japanese experience

Jolanta Kryspin-Watson's picture
Participants from 9 countries participated at the 2nd Technical Deep Dive (TDD) for Integrated Urban Flood Risk Management in Tokyo, Kobe and Osaka, Japan.

In the summer of 1742, two typhoons swept across Japan in quick succession, bringing torrents of heavy rain and flooding major rivers. Records from a young monk who witnessed the floods describe a muddy wave destroying levees and sweeping through villages. As levees and rivers collapsed, floodwaters rose in Edo, Japan’s largest city and political capital, abating only days later, and resulting in fatalities of a reported 6,000 in the city.
 
While floods were not an uncommon occurrence in Japan, the Great Kanto Flood of 1742 was the worst flood in the country’s early modern era, and the first flood disaster in its largest urban area. It highlighted the river engineering changes that had facilitated the growth of Edo, but also increased the city’s vulnerability to floods.

Investing in modern hydromet services for a climate-resilient Africa

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez's picture
 


In Sub-Saharan Africa, if no action is taken, an estimated 40 million people could fall back into poverty by 2030 because of weather and climate shocks.
 
To help reduce these impacts, modernized weather – or “hydromet” – services bring together meteorological and hydrological agencies, disaster risk managers, and end-users across all sectors to deliver actionable, timely, and usable climate and weather information to support decision making.
 
Hydromet and early warning services provide life-saving information that protect people and assets, preserve livelihoods, and promote prosperity in climate and disaster risk prone areas. For example, early warning systems reduce the impacts of floods, droughts, storms and other natural hazards while protecting citizens, assets, and businesses.

Standing for women’s land and property rights in Kosovo

Albena Reshitaj's picture
 

Women’s property rights are an important development issue, not only for women’s empowerment but to also improve human capital outcomes for families – for example, improved children’s health and higher education outcomes.


In Kosovo, the World Bank-financed Real Estate Cadastre and Registration Project (RECAP) took on the issue of women’s property rights head on. Under the project, the implementing entity – the Kosovo Cadastre Agency (KCA) – reprogrammed the country’s land information system to produce gender-disaggregated property ownership data. The data revealed that women’s ownership was close to 12% in 2010 and increased to just under 17% by 2018. Together, the KCA and the Agency for Gender Equality created a program to register joint ownership of marital property between spouses free of charge.

Several public awareness activities helped raise the profile of the issue and advance the agenda of women’s property rights in Kosovo. The KCA continues its work on promoting women’s property rights, and such activities will be supported in the World Bank’s Real Estate Cadastre and Geospatial Information Project (REGIP).

Watch a video with Albena Reshitaj, Political Advisor to the Prime Minister of Kosovo, and Aanchal Anand, Land Administration Specialist to learn more about Kosovo’s commitment to empowering women in decision-making and its efforts to promote women’s property rights nationwide.

Rebuilding communities after disasters – four and a half lessons learned

Abhas Jha's picture

Rebuilding after Cyclone Idai. (Photo: Denis Onyodi / IFRC/DRK/Climate Centre via Flickr CC)

The death toll from Cyclone Idai that ripped into Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi in March 2019 is now above 1,000, with damages estimated at $2 billion. In 2018, more than 10,000 people lost their lives in disasters (with $225 billion of economic losses). Approximately 79 percent of fatalities occurred in the Asia Pacific region, including the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island. In fact, 2017 and 2018 have been estimated as the most expensive back-to-back years for weather disasters, totaling $653 billion of losses.

Chongqing 2035: Shifting away from quantity to quality to build sustainable cities in China

Xueman Wang's picture

Urban architecture and skyline of Chongqing, China. (Photo: 4045 / iStock)

​Chongqing, the largest municipality in China, is investing in sustainable urban growth.

As China transitions from pursuing high-speed growth at any cost to a growth model that focuses on sustainability, inclusivity, and efficiency, cities like Chongqing are a critical part of this new urbanization strategy.

Cities for the people

Abhas Jha's picture
Singapore Chinatown - Lois Goh / World Bank

Overcrowded, dirty, and disorderly cities undermine residents’ health as much as their happiness. With urbanization occurring at an unprecedented rate, there is an urgent need for careful planning, collaboration, communication, and consensus.

SINGAPORE – Dante’s Divine Comedy describes one level of hell (the City of Dis) as“Satan’s wretched city … full of distress and torment terrible.” He could well have been describing many modern-day metropolises.

The world, especially Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, is experiencing a massive wave of urbanization. And yet it is occurring largely in the absence of urban planning, with even those municipalities that attempt to create plans often failing to enforce them effectively or account properly for the needs of the majority. The result is overcrowded, dirty, and disorderly cities that undermine residents’ health and happiness.

Why does people-centric design matter for sustainable cities?

Gerald Ollivier's picture
 


By 2050, urbanization – combined with the overall growth of the world’s population – could add another 2.5 billion people to urban areas by 2050. Close to 90% of this increase will take place in Asia and Africa. While this bodes well for economic agglomerations, many cities are constrained by livability.  Pressure on land resources and urban space is immense in Asia and Africa, with high population densities, leading to congestion, low-quality urban environment, pollution, and low safety.

The core long-term solution to such challenges requires land use and physical planning at different scales, from the national level to the metropolitan, city, neighborhood, and all the way down to the street level. Such an approach can ensure a functioning labor market where a maximum number of jobs can be reached by all citizens, while creating inclusive, livable, and vibrant urban areas.

Two approaches to building sustainable cities

Cyclone Idai: Building climate and disaster resilience in Mozambique and beyond

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez's picture
Mozambique after Cyclone Idai. Photo by Denis Onyodi / IFRC / DRK / Climate Centre via Flickr CC

Cyclone Idai is one of the most devastating storms to ever hit Africa, causing catastrophic damage in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe.
 
Starting off in early March 2019 as a tropical depression, the storm rapidly evolved into a cyclone, affecting over 2 million people and killing close to 1,000 in the three countries affected. The port city of Beira, Mozambique – the hardest hit – is struggling to reemerge from the rubble.

#BuildBetterBefore to save lives and strengthen economies

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez's picture
 

For those of us who have family and friends living in earthquake and hurricane prone areas, the 1.3 million people that have died in disasters in the last 25 years are more than a staggering statistic. It’s personal.

In this video, Luis Triveno (@luis_triveno), Urban Specialist, sits down with Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez (@Ede_WBG), Senior Director, to discuss what the World Bank is doing to make homes safer – before it’s too late.

How can we use analytical approaches to generate urban climate investments in Africa?

Prashant Kapoor's picture
As the world rushes to reduce the negative impacts of climate change, ambitious sub-national actors are rising to the fore. The recent One Planet Summit exemplifies this trend. Earlier this month, urban leaders joined CEOs, financial institutions, researchers, Heads of State, and more in the adoption of the Africa Pledge, calling for immediate voluntary actions and a specific commitment to invest in sustainable infrastructure across the continent. After all, the infrastructure investments we make today set the agenda for how cities will grow in the future.

For example, Sub-Saharan Africa is largely rural, but is also the region with the fastest urbanization rates. Currently, almost 40 percent of the people live in cities in Sub-Saharan Africa, but this is expected to grow to 60 percent or more by 2050. So while urbanization provides economic and social opportunity, it can overburden traditional municipal resource and service delivery approaches.
 
Figure 1: Urban and Rural Population Growth Rate - excluding high income countries (Source: World Development Indicators)

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