The Cities this Week: Edition 4

London Britannia Airport - Gensler, image by Vyonyx

London Britannia Airport – Gensler, image by Vyonyx

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The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has appointed a team of experts to help develop plans for a multi-runway hub airport in the southeast of England. Around 15 different proposals for a new hub airport in the southeast have been made public so far, and the Mayor is due to announce a shortlist of options in the coming weeks. The selected proposals on the shortlist will then be subjected to feasibility studies conducted by the new group of experts, which will then in turn be submitted to the Aviation Committee led by Sir Howard Davies.


Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to install 100 miles of protected bicycle lanes in Chicago by 2015 is running into a speed bump thrown down by the state. The protected lanes are designed to improve safety for cyclists by creating a physical barrier — a parking lane or flexible posts — between moving vehicles and bikes.


The Zambian government has signed contracts with two Zambian companies to construct a modern market and an international bus terminus in Livingstone at a cost of KR70 million (K70 billion). This is part of preparations for the August 2013 United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly.


Who uses Twitter in Africa – and where are they based? Mark Graham and the team at the Oxford Internet Institute have looked at Tweets from key African cities – and the variation tells you a lot about access to technology across the continent. Take a look, for example, at the striking difference between Johannesberg and Mogadishu.


The Big Apple felt the love this Valentine’s Day. The annual “Times Square Valentine Heart Design” competition hosted by Times Square Arts and the Design Trust for Public Space is back- this year boasting an installation made from used wood from Superstorm Sandy-ravaged boardwalks in the Rockaways, Queens, and Long Beach, as well as New Jersey’s Sea Girt and Atlantic City. The Heartwalk installation “wraps around the visitors, providing a moment of pause amidst the country’s most public space.” Also take a look at artist Tracey Emin’s public love letter to the city dotted around Times Square.


Zambia’s third largest city is set for the construction of another shopping mall.  The project, costing around S$7 million, will be done in three phases and is expected to commence next month and completion is set for June 2015. The project’s environmental impact assessment states that the mall will be single level, and is expected to comprise 32 shops, including a large super store, restaurants, pubs, coffee shops and a business café. Other entities include an entertainment area, an administration area, a parking area of about 275 vehicles and 43 taxis and two landscaped courtyard spaces.


Ease and convenience while paying bills was the primary selling point of the Unified Billing System (UBS), which was launched this week in Ethiopia’s capital city. It was a way to kill three birds with one stone, processing the electricity, water and telephone bills of customers in one place at any of the 31 centres, called Lehulu, around the City. The situation was to the contrary however, for Asamenech Zewdu and countless others who came to pay their bills using the new system at various centres last week.

And finally,


President Zuma’s 2013 State of the Nation Adress, while at times focusing explicitly on South Africa’s cities, left much to be desired in terms of explicit urban strategies. Lookout for Future Cape Town MD Rashiq Fataar’s take on the speech early next week.

“Apartheid spatial patterns still persist in our towns and cities. Municipalities alone cannot deal with the challenges. We need a national approach. While rural development remains a priority of government, it is crucial that we also develop a national integrated urban development framework to assist municipalities to effectively manage rapid urbanisation.
As part of implementing the National Development Plan, all three spheres of government need to manage the new wave of urbanisation in ways that also contribute to rural development.”