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  • Blog post

    Overcrowding and pandemic risk hotspots in Rwanda

    Proximity between people, otherwise known as population density, is the foundation of prosperity and productivity in cities. There is no empirical link between the spread of COVID-19 risk and city population density. However, when population density is not well managed and becomes overcrowding, the risk of COVID-19 and other contagious diseases, rises. The COVID-19...

    12 Oct 2020 | Jonathan Bower, Anirudh Rajashekar

  • Blog post

    The gateway to carbon pricing? Air pollution policy

    Buying carbon is too cheap and easy. 'Gateway tax', focussing on air pollution, could be initial step. Outdoor air pollution causes 4 million deaths a year. When it comes to climate policies, of those available, the economist’s preferred tool tends to be the elusive carbon tax’. Despite notable successes, the implementation of carbon...

    21 Aug 2020 | Oliver Harman, Ondine Berland

  • Blog post

    Property taxes in a pandemic world

    While increasing demands are being placed on cities to address the current crisis and plan for resilience in the future, key sources of city government revenues are drying up. Taxes based on the value of land and/or property offer extraordinary potential for cities in financing urban recovery, but crucial to this is raising tax morale through visible investments in...

    13 Aug 2020 | Astrid Haas, Priya Manwaring, Jennifer Musisi

  • Blog post

    Impact of COVID-19 on public transport

    Public transport has been hit hard by COVID-19. With ridership significantly down, operators in developing cities will have to face difficult questions for their future viability. The appropriate response must plan for contingencies, but never forget the value of shared transit in the process of economic development. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, cities across...

    6 Aug 2020 | Julia Bird, Sebastian Kriticos, Nick Tsivanidis

  • Blog post

    Rethinking regulations: Informal settlements in the time of COVID-19

    Informal settlements, given their high densities and lacking water and sanitation infrastructure, are potential hotspots for the spread of pandemics like COVID-19. To remedy this, upgrading informal settlements will be essential. However, for long term resilience, we need to tackle the regulatory challenges that keep formal housing prices unattainable for the urban...

    30 Jul 2020 | Astrid Haas, Victoria Delbridge

  • Blog post

    Crime and COVID-19: Lessons from Cape Town and Karachi

    The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder of how vulnerable cities in the global South are to devastation by contagion due to poorly managed population density, resource deprivation, and maladministration. However, there is another epidemic that has been harming these cities for much longer: urban violence. The cities of Cape Town and Karachi, both historically plagued by...

    9 Jul 2020 | Victoria Delbridge, Zoha Waseem

  • Blog post

    In defence of density

    At their core, cities are absences of space between people. You can call it density, closeness, or proximity; it is the opposite of distance. The on-going COVID-19 pandemic has brought this core feature of cities under question. But this criticism paints with a broad brush: what matters are the type of density and the way it is managed. The type of density Density alone...

    3 Jul 2020 | Shlomo Angel, Patrick Lamson-Hall, Oliver Harman, Shahrukh Wani

  • Blog post

    How clean hands can save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic

    Handwashing with soap is the first line of defence against COVID-19. But without active support to improve water, sanitation and hygiene, the world is much more likely to experience prolonged and repeated pandemics. On June 1st, 9-year-old Stephen Wamukota received the Kenyan presidential award for inventing a pedal-operated hand-washing machine. The contraption, fashioned...

    30 Jun 2020 | Sebastian Kriticos, Naison Mutizwa-Mangiza

  • Blog post

    Empowering our cities to fight the pandemics of the future

    Members of the Cities that Work council come together to delineate the critical challenges that need to be addressed to equip our cities to withstand pandemics. Cities accomplish many wonderful things - they enable people to exchange ideas, goods and services, and many other forms of collaboration. However, the fact that they serve as international and national...

    18 Jun 2020 | Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE, Paul Collier, Edward Glaeser, Astrid Haas, Craig Kesson, Jonathan Leape, Jennifer Musisi, Naison Mutizwa-Mangiza, Mohammed Adjei Sowah, Tony Venables

  • Blog post

    World Environment Day: Championing clean energy post COVID-19

    Combating climate change and ensuring clean air for all is an interdependent effort. As developing country governments electrify their populations, renewable energy offers a range of clean ways of doing so. The recent plunge in energy demand and oil prices, which threatens to reverse recent gains in renewables, should not act as a barrier to transitions towards clean energy...

    5 Jun 2020 | Joevas Asare