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Research – City stories – recent news stories about cities and sustainability

Posted in Research by fedwards on October 12th, 2007

Below are abstracts from a series of recently published stories about cities – in China, Nicaragua and Tibet – which all relate to issues of social and environmental sustainability in the developing world. These stories highlight some of the drivers for sustainable change – issues of economic development and competition, dramatic weather events exacerbated by global warming, and the politics of urbanisation.

A Tale of Two Cities: High-Profile Events Push China’s Urban Development
Ling Li, October 2, 2007, The WorldWatch Institute

“As Beijing counts down to the 2008 Summer Olympics, Shanghai, another modern city on China’s east coast, is gearing up for its own big event: the 2010 World Expo. This marks the first time that developing-country cities will host both high-level world events. Beijing and Shanghai hope the activities will help accelerate their urban development through infrastructure investments, environmental improvement, and public participation.

China’s booming economic growth has led to rapid industrialization and urbanization, as well as to associated damage to human health, natural resources, and the environment. Half of all Chinese people will live in cities by 2010, up from some 44 percent of the population in 2006. But air contamination, lagging environmental infrastructure, and the lack of effective pollution controls remain major challenges to China’s urban environment.”

Flattened by hurricane, Mosquito Coast faces hunger and disease: Destruction of rainforest heralds long-term misery for impoverished villagers
Rory Carroll, September 26 2007, The Guardian
Abstract from,,2177270,00.html.
“It is no longer a rainforest but a tree cemetery. As far as the eye can see there are uprooted, bare and broken trunks. The canopy, a roof of foliage so lush you could walk over it, is gone. The few remaining bits
of green are no bigger than broccoli.

This is the aftermath of Hurricane Felix along Nicaragua’s Mosquito Coast. A smell of decay shrouds the landscape. Crops and livestock have vanished into swamps. So much earth and debris have washed into rivers that they resemble caramel sludge.”

100,000 Tibetan nomads ordered to settle in towns
by Staff Writers, Beijing Oct 2, 2007, Sino Daily
“China is ordering 100,000 ethnic Tibetans to give up their traditional nomadic habits and settle in towns because their way of life is threatening the environment, state press reported Tuesday.

Overgrazing from the Tibetan herders’ livestock and the growing number of people living on the grasslands of China’s far northwest Qinghai province are endangering the source of the nation’s great rivers, Xinhua news agency said.

By the end of this year, 60,000 Tibetans will have been moved into new towns in Qinghai, with the number to grow to 100,000 by 2010, Xinhua reported, citing a government document and local environment officials.”

'street of Kandking country seat' by livepine

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