The Cities This Week: Edition 9



The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is now home to the world’s biggest operating solar power station. The Shams 1 concentrated power plant (CSP) operates with a capacity of 100 MW. Its other features include 258,048 parabolic mirrors for the purpose of drawing sunlight and uses parabolic trough collectors which enables less breakage, relatively light in weight, much cheaper and it is able to increase performance under such conditions. It is capable of “displacing 175 000 tons of CO2 emissions which is equal to planting 15 million trees and taking 15 000 cars off the road”. The CSP was founded and currently operated by the Shams 1 Power Company as one means of suppressing the demand for fossil fuel and concentrate on alternative energy instead. While other initiatives in the campaign against fossil fuels include the possible implementation of carbon tax and transfer the funds back into renewable energy, as well as aiming to eliminate subsidies for fossil fuels.


Recent developments for the new passenger facilities has been revealed for Hamad International Airport in the Qatari capital. The newly anticipated airport was constructed to accommodate Qatar’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2022 and is set for its official opening on April 1, 2013.


The mayor of London, Boris Johnson is attempting to initiate a scheme that will allow the city’s local electricity producers to sell cheap power the Greater London Authority, who in turn will provide electricity to public government organisations at the cost price. By doing so, London will be the first city in England to apply for a electricity supply license. If the scheme succeeds, the mayor plans to extend the initiative to the private sector as well.


Subway commuters in New York City will soon find it easier to navigate their way going to and from their destination. A total number of 95 interactive kiosks will be allocated throughout metro underground stations, designed to provide commuters access to a broad base of information ranging from route destinations, times, delays for subway carriages; also a visual mapping of places to get to, advertisements and weather forecast details. Each kiosk will feature “a 47-inch touch screen, encapsulated in rugged stainless steel, with an operational temperature up to 200 degrees.” The kiosks will also have WiFi available for commuters which is set to be largely beneficial for those without any internet access on their mobiles.


President Barack Obama recently visited the West Bank city of Ramallah to engage in talks with the Palestinian Authority leader, Mahmoud Abbas. The US president’s visit has been a somewhat controversial one drawing mixed feelings from Palestinian residents. Poor technology and communication was one of the particular concerns expressed to President Obama, highlighting the lack of access to mobile internet in the city and that any intention to communicate with phone technology in the West Bank was futile.


City authorities are baffled at the number of dead fish that suddenly washed up in Milnerton this week. About 5 tons of dead mullet fish was found lying on the shores of Table Bay. While biodiversity personnel have expressed concern, City of Cape Town officials suspect that the cause of this may be due to a combination of factors ranging from a “lack of oxygen, high water temperatures and higher nutrient levels” present in the water. However, all is pure speculation at the moment and samples of the dead fish have been taken away for tests and will probably take days or weeks before the results are made known. In the meantime, city authorities have cautioned the public on using the water for recreational purposes until further notice.


The University of Engineering and Technology in Peru, together with MayoDraftFCBand have created and installed a water billboard that makes it possible for residents to access drinking water through the structure. The billboard is known to be the first of its kind in its ability to absorb air from the humidity and convert it into accessible freshwater. The billboard works using reverse osmosis and stores the water generated into 20 -litre tanks – the water is subsequently filtered through the bottom of the structure that can provide about 9 450 litres over a 3-month period. This has come in light of growing international concerns for an intervention into the looming water crisis while rapid urbanisation also stressing the demand for cities to provide sanitation and access to water.