The Cities This Week: Edition 22

Luke Macgregor/Reuters

London Pride (Luke Macgregor/Reuters)


South African riot police clashed with protesters in Soweto on Saturday shortly before a visit to the sprawling Johannesburg township by U.S. President Barack Obama, a Reuters photographer said. Armed police fired stun grenades to disperse the crowd of several hundred protesters, who had gathered outside the Soweto campus of the University of Johannesburg, where Obama was due to address a town hall meeting with students.


Thousands of people have joined the Pride parade through central London. The parade began in Baker Street, passing through Oxford Street, Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square before ending at Whitehall. Organisers said this could be the biggest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender event in London over the last decade. The theme this year is Love and Marriage to coincide with MPs considering the Equal Marriage Bill.


A ground-breaking archaeological discovery in Cambodia has revealed a colossal 700-year old urban landscape connecting ancient cities and temples to Angkor Wat. A monumental, sophisticated, densely populated urban landscape, which dates back more than 700 years, has been identified. It includes and connects Angkor cities such as Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Bayon, with the rarely visited medieval city ruins of Phnom Kulen, Beng Mealea and Koh Ker, over 100km away.


San Francisco had much to celebrate this week with the Supreme Court’s double slam against DOMA and California’s anti-gay-marriage Prop 8. San Francisco’s City Hall is celebrating gay rights in its own peacockish way, with a rainbow-colored lightshow blazing on the building’s facade. Work crews put up the lights earlier this week to recognize SF Pride, which culminates in this Sunday’s LGBT Pride Parade. But the spectacle has gained extra glory in the wake of the recent decisions from the nation’s highest court.


Thousands of supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi have gathered in Cairo as political violence continued to worsen across the country, with at least two people killed in the northern city of Alexandria. Clashes broke out on Friday between pro- and anti-government protesters in Alexandria’s Sidi Gaber neighbourhood, outside the local headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP). Local health officials said that two people were killed, one of them an American citizen who was stabbed, the other an Egyptian who died from gunshot wounds.


Cape Town is the city with the fittest people in South Africa, according to an index by Discovery Vitality. “The Mother City’s urban infrastructure gives Capetonians the edge when it comes to facilities and an environment that encourages and facilitates exercise,” the company said in a statement on Thursday. “Cape Town’s residents have the lowest car dependency in the country and are the biggest users of public transport.” The city also had the greatest number of sports clubs, gyms, fitness facilities, and parks per 100,000 people. The Discovery Vitality Fittest City Index was developed to determine how each of the country’s six major metropolitan areas ranked in physical activity-related health and infrastructure that promoted physical activity.


The Department of Transportation has teamed up with Pentagram, CityID, Billings Jackson Design, RBA Group, and T-Kartor to create WalkNYC, a new line of street maps targeted specifically at assisting the city’s pedestrians. The maps’ most notable feature is certainly their perspective. While most public maps always depict north as being up, WalkNYC maps are oriented in the direction a user is facing, just like the first-person view of a GPS. Given that these signs each have two sides, that means the maps aren’t merely duplicated–they’re flipped to match the very specific way you’d be facing to read them. “Orienting yourself on a static, north-oriented map is difficult when you’re not oriented yourself–which is likely why you’re looking at a map in the first place,” Sadik-Khan explains, adding that this quasi-GPS approach has already worked in cities like London.


A new ‘FoodPrint Calculator’, developed by social enterprise Landshare and sustainability consultancy Best Foot Forward, aims to help cities understand the impact of their population’s diet on the environment. Oxford is the first city in the world to be ‘foodprinted’ using the new calculator. Sustainability experts examined where its food comes from and how it is produced, as well as the energy sources, food waste and packaging involved. Using the calculator, the researchers estimated that feeding Oxford’s population of 150,000 people represents 20% of the city’s overall greenhouse gas emissions, and requires a total of 53,000 hectares of agricultural land, 6.6 million gigajoules of energy from fossil fuels, and 398 million tonnes of water, annually.