News / Africa

    Urbanization Grows Worldwide

    World Urban Forum, Naples 2012World Urban Forum, Naples 2012
    x
    World Urban Forum, Naples 2012
    World Urban Forum, Naples 2012
    Joe DeCapua
    The World Urban Forum (9/1-7) gets underway Saturday in Naples, Italy to address the growing trend toward urbanization. About 3-thousand participants from 114 countries are expected to attend the conference. This year’s theme is The Urban Future.



    The 6th World Urban Forum will address social, economic and environmental issues. These include quality of life, equity and prosperity, job creation and energy and transportation.

    “The World Urban Forum is a U.N. event held every two years, primarily organized by U.N. Habitat. And it’s really a space for people to come together and have a dialogue about urbanization. [It’s] possibly less of a political space, and more of a debate and dialogue space dominated by U.N. agencies, academics and particularly city-level government officials,” said Ramona Vijeyarasa of the anti- poverty organization ActionAid International.

    Vijeyarasa, ActionAid’s Senior Women’s Rights Program Manager, is attending the forum.

    “We’re actually at a point now where more than half the world’s population lives in cities or urban spaces. And what’s even more interesting is that the pace of urban poverty reduction has been slower than rural poverty reduction. So for us, we’re seeing a real urbanization of poverty. And I think even within the development sector, we’re not talking enough about urban poverty. And yet it’s the issue that’s affecting more of the world’s population than any other, in my view, at the moment,” she said.

    Urbanization, she said, has two sides. It can bring marginalization, violence and sub-standard housing for the poor, while at the same time offering opportunities to grow and advance.

    ActionAid will take part in a presentation at the World Urban Forum on the insecurity women face in cities. Vijeyarasa said this includes unlit, insecure spaces, police departments that are insensitive to women’s issues and higher levels of crime.

    “Really, we’re often talking about migrant women in these areas, as well. So even more isolation and even less access to services and ways of reporting crime and violence,” she said.

    She added that better urban planning can address some of these issues.

    “Certainly, ideally, we would be looking at cities that are new and emerging. So a lot of the peri-urban or rural communities that are increasingly urbanizing present a really good opportunity to design the city in a gender-sensitive way. But as you know, a lot of the cities that we’re talking about, for example the work we’re doing in Kenya or Ethiopia, are already established cities. So we’re working to try and fix the problem.”

    However, Vijeyarasa said there are plenty of solutions available. But she says people must first be aware of the problems before they can solve them.

    She said, “I think gender really isn’t necessarily on the table. Urban planning is a very male-dominated sector. And I even expect that the World Urban Forum is a particularly male-dominated space. So the first thing is to get gender on the agenda and to seek accountability from stakeholders, who are responsible for urbanization, urban planning and safety and security. There are all sorts of mechanisms that have been tested in some places: an increased number of female police, training of police forces generally, even training of transport workers have been tried in countries like India.”

    She said ActionAid research in Ghana, South Africa and India shows that young women – ages 19 to 24 – are especially vulnerable to sexual and economic exploitation, and face a lack of health and reproductive services.

    On the positive side, urban areas offer greater educational opportunities for women and girls, bigger markets for the goods they produce, and a chance to network with other women to form political or lobbying groups.

    You May Like

    S. African Farmer Goes From 'Voice in the Wilderness' to Sought-After Expert

    Margarest Roberts has authored more than 40 books on subjects like organic farming, urban agriculture, herbs and ‘superfoods'

    Millennial Men Prefer Bucks Over Beauty

    U.S. men aged 18 to 34 say the finances of a potential significant other are more important than her looks

    Multimedia Lebanese Clown Troupe Marks Valentine's Day Amid Stink

    Activists resort to unusual approaches to raise public awareness of country’s ongoing trash crisis

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.