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Urban Development

Lessons I learned while building shared homes in Port-au-Prince

Lora Vicariot's picture
Also available in: Español

Delmas 32 is a tangled web of narrow alleys, defined by haphazard housing and makeshift structures. This community has been digging its way out of the 2010 earthquake, slowly but surely, and large piles of sand, rubble, bricks, and rebar pushing to the sky are a constant reminder of the work that remains.

“La buseta”, “el pesero” and other things we miss in public transportation from Bogota and Mexico City

Leonardo Canon Rubiano's picture


Safe, Clean, Affordable Transport is the motto of the World Bank’s Transport Sector. Evidence from several analyses for urban transport systems suggests that improving the transport system:

  • reduces passenger travel times, 
  • reduces GHG emissions due to transport, 
  • reduces vehicle operating costs for the transport system, and 
  • reduces transport-related road accidents (injuries and fatalities). 

Targeting motorcycle users to improve traffic safety in Latin America

Anna Okola's picture
Also available in: Español


Motorcycle riders and passengers have long been vulnerable users of motorized transport. In the Americas, with the increasing ownership of motorcycles, given the ease and lower costs, this trend is worrisome as the number of vulnerable users as well as those impacted by traffic crashes increases, sometimes masking a shift from pedestrian or bicycle casualties to motorcycle victims. These trends would be similar in regions such as Africa which also share the motorcycle-taxi (mototaxi) phenomenon.

How a ramp for people with disabilities can make a difference for a big city

Arturo Ardila's picture
Also available in: Español


Can a ramp for people with disabilities make a difference in a big city? The answer may seem obvious to many, but I encourage you to read on to find out the complexities and nuances surrounding the issue of mobility in a large Latin American metropolis. This is a true story. I was attending the launch of a project “Mainstreaming Inclusive Design and Universal Mobility in Lima ”project -  financed by the Japan Policy and Human Resources Development (PHRD) program and I was surprised to see people in wheelchairs asked to move away from the table where coffee, pastries and fruit were being served during the break. 
 
 At the same time blind, deaf and people with cognitive impairments, among other disabilities, were being actively welcomed.
 

The most “human” bike-sharing system in the world lives in Buenos Aires

Andres Gartner's picture
Also available in: Español

As porteñas as tango, yellow bicycles from the Buenos Aires’ bike-sharing system have undoubtedly become a part of the urban landmark. In a city dominated by buses and taxis, bicycles have recently made a comeback and are slowly reclaiming the road through the bike sharing system –or bicing as we all call it. Known as Ecobici, this system has celebrated the millionth trip last December and is here to stay.

What makes Ecobici different from other bike sharing systems around the world? We think it’s about two simple answers: it is operated manually and doesn’t cost an Argentinian peso.

What if crossing the road was the last thing you did?

Verónica Raffo's picture
Also available in: Español

What do the former South African president and Nobel Prize winner Nelson Mandela and Uruguayan soccer star Diego Forlán have in common? Both of their families have experienced tragedies caused by unsafe roads and have turned their pain into a commitment to do something about it.

Three years ago, Zenani Mandela was hit by a drunk driver as she was returning home from the World Cup opening ceremony in South Africa.  Zenani was just 13 years old. Forlán’s sister ended up in a wheelchair after a serious car accident 20 years ago.

Panama: plan, prepare, mitigate – key actions for disaster prevention

Jeannette Fernandez's picture
Also available in: Español

Tiny homes made of non-reinforced concrete blocks, without columns in the corners or ties where the walls and roof and the walls and foundation meet. These are dwellings that can collapse like a deck of cards in the event of an earthquake. Photo: World Bank.

I have lived in Panama City for nearly two years and there are two things that still capture my attention: the traffic that gets worse by the day due to the more than 36,000 new vehicles on the road every year and the pace of construction.
The number of new buildings popping up in the city daily is amazing.

Huge, luxurious, expensive buildings in fashionable areas, but also housing projects promoted by the national government and a large supply of houses for the Panamanian middle class responsible for the private sector.

Putting the patient first in Haiti's health system

Maryanne Sharp's picture

También disponible en español y en francés

The tree provides shade but scant respite from the heat. Chantal, four months pregnant, has just returned from washing her family’s clothes in the nearby river.

Her small village, just twenty houses and a single dirt road located about 60 kilometers north of the capital Port-au-Prince, has no health facilities of any kind. The nearest health post (staffed for two hours a day by a high school graduate) is an hour’s walk away while the nearest health center is two.

Colombia: Getting due credit for disaster prevention

Gloria M. Grandolini's picture

También disponible en español

Natural disasters

Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, floods or droughts are the same worldwide. Whether in Mexico, Colombia, Haiti or Pakistan, these are natural events or "disasters" of varying intensity. 

What changes are the effects and consequences. Water and land become the mortal enemies of populations who pay the highest price with their lives and property.

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