Skip to content

Archive for January, 2014




12/9/2016 - Dance like a Swedish street sign: how to rejuvenate a town centre

12/9/2016 - New call for city twinning on climate change adaptation

12/9/2016 - Transport and mobility in the New Urban Agenda

11/9/2016 - Milan Food Pact looking for best urban food practices

11/9/2016 - Hungary to spend millions developing cycling routes

11/9/2016 - Rethinking The Commute With Intermodality In Leipzig

11/9/2016 - Finalists of UCLG City of Bogotá Peace Prize announced

10/9/2016 - Seminar discusses role of ‘flexible’ public transport

10/9/2016 - Electromobility – Overview, Examples, Approaches.

10/9/2016 - San Francisco Wants You to Design Its Future Transit System

10/9/2016 - 5 Common Headaches on Government Websites

9/9/2016 - Cities Get Support for Dismantling Systemic Racism

9/9/2016 - Policy paper on automated vehicles

9/9/2016 - The Benefits of Helping Struggling Cities

9/9/2016 - Youth, sports and urban space discussed at Olympics

8/9/2016 - How Street Safety Advocates Can Support Racial Justice

8/9/2016 - Brazil’s favelas pay price of hosting Olympics

8/9/2016 - Plans for Sihanoukville to Become ‘Smart City’ of the Future

8/9/2016 - Urban design: Cool districts need authentic, fine-grained foundation

7/9/2016 - Nominate your candidate for the World Mayor Prize

7/9/2016 - Study shows one-way carsharing cuts traffic

7/9/2016 - Why Bicycling Infrastructure Fails Bicyclists

7/9/2016 - Have UN Member States listened to cities in the latest draft of the New Urban Agenda for Habitat III?

6/9/2016 - Historic Reform to Transform the Urban Model in Mexico

6/9/2016 - UN-Cities? Rumoured proposal gains steam

6/9/2016 - Has China Reached Peak Urbanization?

6/9/2016 - Urban health management in megacities

5/9/2016 - Wake up, San Francisco: Other cities have problems, too

5/9/2016 - Smart bricks would enable walls to generate electricity

5/9/2016 - Millennials Bring New Life to Some Rust Belt Cities

5/9/2016 - The impact of the refugee crisis on social services in Europe

4/9/2016 - How to combine adaptation and mitigation actions

4/9/2016 - New tree ordinance could give Sacramento’s urban forest closer scrutiny

4/9/2016 - Asian urban experts root for citywide public space strategies

4/9/2016 - Retrofitting: A housing policy that saves lives

3/9/2016 - Can design halt the flood of gentrification?

3/9/2016 - Unlocking the collaborative capacity of the city

3/9/2016 - Fordlandia – the failure of Henry Ford’s utopian city in the Amazon

3/9/2016 - Building permanent paths out of poverty

2/9/2016 - Buenos Aires uses crowdsourcing to drive innovation

2/9/2016 - Urban Planners’ New Enemy

2/9/2016 - The limits of data-driven approaches to planning

2/9/2016 - How can towns and cities find innovative ways to finance energy efficiency in public buildings?

1/9/2016 - Reclaiming the streets … for cars? Why Bucharest is reining in outdoor events

1/9/2016 - Does Place Matter Anymore? Cities and the 2016 Election

1/9/2016 - Harnessing the Power of Indigenous Cultures for Better Cities

1/9/2016 - Safer buildings are the key to a disaster resilient future

Dance like a Swedish street sign: how to rejuvenate a town centre

Who said street signs were boring? In Haparanda, a town in northern Sweden, the council has launched a series of new fun street signs – where stickmen are pictured jumping, dancing, and even playing the guitar on pedestrian crossing signs.

New call for city twinning on climate change adaptation

Mayors Adapt has just launched a new series of city twinning activities after the success of the 2015 programme, and is calling for cities to participate. The events serve to accelerate the implementation of adaptation strategies at city level and local capacity building.

Transport and mobility in the New Urban Agenda

Every 20 years, the Habitat conference on urbanization series is celebrated to promote a new model of urban development that is able to integrate all facets of sustainable development to promote equity, welfare and shared prosperity. This year, the congress is set in a time in history where the majority of the worlds population is living in cities. The congress will set what is the New Urban Agenda which is an action oriented document that will guide urbanization and its actors for the next 20 years. This year in particular, local authorities are playing a big role in the future of urbanization and will be part of the process of setting what will be the New Urban Agenda.

Milan Food Pact looking for best urban food practices

The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP) is considered by the city of Milan as one of the most important legacies of Expo2015, which focused on “nourishing the planet”.
The Pact has so far been signed by 123 cities, representing over 460 million people all over the globe. ICLEI is one of the endorsing partners and many ICLEI Members are signatories of the Pact.

Hungary to spend millions developing cycling routes

Hungary‘s Ministry of National Development has announced that it will spend 30 billion Hungarian forint (€96 million) on cycling infrastructure.
The funds will develop the country’s main cycling routes, including sections of the EuroVelo 6 – Atlantic-Black Sea (link is external) and the EuroVelo 11 – East Europe Route (link is external).
Making the announcement earlier this month, Máriusz Révész, Hungary’s new commissioner for cycling and recreation, said that a newly created department would lead on the development of the cycling infrastructure.

Rethinking The Commute With Intermodality In Leipzig

Airbnb, Kickstarter, Craigslist, Uber, TaskRabbit. These names, and the ever-growing market value they each represent, are indicative of the shift to a new economy – the shared economy. From goods to accommodation, fundraising to services, “sharing” models have disrupted traditional economic cycles across sectors; mobility is no different (Roland Berger, 2014).  Shared mobility – such as bike, car and ridesharing as well as ride sourcing – offers the opportunity to fill in gaps that a city’s public transport cannot reach.

Finalists of UCLG City of Bogotá Peace Prize announced

The five finalists for the UCLG City of Bogotá Peace Prize have been selected by the high-level jury of the prize. The Peace Prize is a triennial award for local governments that have implemented innovative initiatives in conflict prevention, conflict resolution or peace building, and which have proven to have had a significant positive impact.

Seminar discusses role of ‘flexible’ public transport

Public transport comes in different forms and sizes, including demand-responsive (or ‘flexible’) services that have been part of the public transport systems for quite some time now.
In most western societies, Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT) is mainly used in areas of low demand or for special needs while elsewhere it may be the backbone of public transport.
Today DRT is increasingly challenged by new forms of competition. This situation raises questions about the very essence of how things should be done. The following key topics were identified at an international conference in Stuttgart (Germany) on 1 May 2016.

Electromobility – Overview, Examples, Approaches.

The Sustainable Urban Transport Project (SUTP) as part of GIZ has recently released a publication on Electromobility. The challenges in urban transport in regards to the environment and air quality have never been greater as they are nowadays.As technology advances, along with the clear need of removing fossil fueled vehicles, electromobility has come to the picture along with its related controversial debates.
The publication outlines the challenges in urban mobility and possible solutions through electromobility, its promotion, local contexts in conditions and user requirements. Finally, the publication shows examples from different countries showcasing the incorporation of electromobility into their transport systems.

San Francisco Wants You to Design Its Future Transit System

The city is asking for ideas on where to build future subway lines.
A subway station near the buffalo paddock in Golden Gate Park, a tunnel to Alcatraz Island—feasible or not, you can have San Francisco review your ideas for transit expansion, thanks to a tool that lets you design and submit your “dream” subway system.
The “Subway Vision” map plots existing major lines in the Bay Area, and asks you to plop in more stations and lines where you think they’re needed. It’s a joint production from San Francisco’s planning and transportation departments (as well as other stakeholders), who want to incorporate some form of crowd-sourcing in the next several decades of public-transit development.

5 Common Headaches on Government Websites

Going online for public information isn’t as easy as it should be.
Just 20 years ago, we wrote an article that called the fact that “at least ten states have begun to post legislative or consumer information on the Internet” a “dramatic development.” Today, even the tiniest communities — like Union, Ct., which boasts a population of less than 1,000 — are expected to have their own websites.
But even with all these open electronic doors, users who walk through can be easily disappointed and misinformed.

Cities Get Support for Dismantling Systemic Racism

On April 19, 2015, Freddie Gray died as a result of injuries received while in custody of the Baltimore Police Department. Reactions were all over the map, from outrage, to sadness, to disillusionment. People of all different racial and ethnic backgrounds, as well as different levels of privilege, felt something. Two weeks later, in one very privileged room, a collection of high-level financial executives and foundation leaders from around the country felt compelled to do something, but they didn’t know what.

Policy paper on automated vehicles

North American policy paper on automated vehicles calls for using automated vehicles to build the cities we want, instead of adapting cities to automated vehicles.
The policy paper, issued by the association of North American City Transportation Officials/NACTO, calls for using automated vehicles to build the cities we want, instead of adapting cities to automated vehicles.

The Benefits of Helping Struggling Cities

For financially distressed municipalities, it’s good to be in a state that intervenes, according to a new study.
Earlier this month, New Jersey stopped Atlantic City from defaulting on its debt with a $74 million bridge loan. While there was plenty of bluster and several hollow threats from legislators that they would not step in to help the financially beleaguered gambling town, it didn’t surprise anyone when they finally did.
That’s because New Jersey has a reputation in the credit market for going to any lengths to prevent one of its municipalities from entering Chapter 9 bankruptcy. In fact, no New Jersey municipality has defaulted on debt since the Great Depression. This extra layer of protection is not only comforting to local officials in struggling cities like Camden or Trenton, it’s viewed as a big plus by those who invest in New Jersey municipal debt.

Youth, sports and urban space discussed at Olympics

UN-Habitat in collaboration with Nexus Brasil hosted a high-level event last Friday to discuss the power of sport to drive social change, especially in regards to youth and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mr. Stephan Fox, the former Muay Thai world champion and the current president of AIMS (Alliance of Independent Recognized Members of Sport, representing 23 international federations), vice-president of SportAccord and General Secretary of IFMA (International Federation of Muay Thai Amateur) opened the event with his powerful story of how he works with Muay Thai, Thailand’s national treasure, on a number of socially responsible initiatives. Using the core values of Muay Thai, they work with underprivileged kids to develop their self-confidence, respect and honour and help them grow into their full potential.

How Street Safety Advocates Can Support Racial Justice

When a police officer in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, shot and killed Philando Castile earlier this month, the encounter began with a traffic stop. The stop fit a pattern: Castile had been pulled over many times before — 46 times in 13 years — but few of those citations were for dangerous driving. More prevalent were stops for minor issues like vehicle defects or misplaced license plates — the type of justifications that police are more likely to use when stopping black and Latino drivers throughout the country.

Brazil’s favelas pay price of hosting Olympics

The 2016 Rio Olympics are expected to cost roughly 11 billion euros, with some economists predicting this could escalate to as much as 18 billion euros. While organisers tout the event as a goldmine, researchers warn of the negative social impact of the Games on Brazil’s local communities, as has been the case for previous Olympics host cities.
When the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games kicked off at Maracanã stadium on 5 August, one segment stood out more than others.
It was the ‘Favela voices’, a portrayal of Brazil’s favelas (slums), showcasing happy, singing kids, that offered a very different portrait of the suffering these communities have long been subjected to.

Plans for Sihanoukville to Become ‘Smart City’ of the Future

South Korea is set to help Cambodia develop its metropolitan areas into so-called smart cities.
Chea Sophara, minister of land management, urban planning and construction, said on Monday that he was due to sign an agreement with his South Korean counterpart this week during a diplomatic visit to the country.
Under the agreement, South Korea will provide Cambodia with technical support to develop its cities more sustainable, he said.
“The idea of Smart Cities is to organize [the city into zones], such as an agricultural zone, farms, hospitals, schools … to make the city livable. That’s how we organize it to make it look more scientific, not just develop it without guaranteeing sustainability in that development,” he said.

Urban design: Cool districts need authentic, fine-grained foundation

We have in Indianapolis some fabulously cool urban districts. Earlier this year, John Birdsall of Bon Appetit quipped that he found in Indy “something way cooler” than Brooklyn. Cushman & Wakefield’s recently released “Cool Streets” annual report on the hottest urban retail markets in North America gives us another reason to take notice of the vibe surging through the city. The trends described in the report indicate a phenomenon that, while not unique to our city, might bring out the best Indy has to offer.

Nominate your candidate for the World Mayor Prize

This year, the theme for the World Mayor Prize is migrants and refugees. The winner will be a mayor “whose city has done the most to welcome immigrants and has used their skills to enrich and diversify society culturally, economically and socially.”

Study shows one-way carsharing cuts traffic

Flexible one-way carsharing models can complement existing mass transport options, reduce the number of vehicles on the road and improve mobility in densely populated urban areas, a new US study says.
The University of California Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC) studied the effect of one-way carsharing service car2go on a number of North American cities.

Why Bicycling Infrastructure Fails Bicyclists

Because cities aren’t building complete networks—and police aren’t keeping them safe.
New York City is unquestionably a bike town. According to the city’s Community Health Survey, nearly 1.6 million New York adults—and likely another few hundred thousand kids—ride bikes in the city at least a few times a year. Nearly 800,000 New Yorkers—approximately the populations of New Orleans and Atlanta together—ride bikes several times a month. About 400,000 bike trips are made every day. And 86,000 New Yorkers commute to work or school using bikes. Last Wednesday, more than 56,000 trips were taken on the city’s bike-share system, which covers just 20 square miles; for Citi Bike, that was a daily record.


Have UN Member States listened to cities in the latest draft of the New Urban Agenda for Habitat III?

The latest draft of the New Urban Agenda reveals that the voices of cities and territories are having an impact, but Habitat III must go further if it is not to be a missed opportunity to harness urbanization for sustainable development.

Historic Reform to Transform the Urban Model in Mexico

Mexico is an eminently urban country. 78 percent of the Mexican population lives in an urban locality of more than 2,500 inhabitants, and 63 percent live in urban centers with more than 15,000 inhabitants. Urban development should be a priority for Mexico’s public and political agenda, and the country needs to resolve these problems holistically. It needs to invest in the development and implementation of a compact, connected, coordinated and competitive urban vision. The great challenge to establish planning instruments that allow cities to have the financial resources, institutions, policies, programs and incentives necessary and appropriate to achieve an urban transformation at the local scale.

UN-Cities? Rumoured proposal gains steam

The perennial tug-of-war between rich and developing countries at the United Nations has found another flashpoint: the debate over the future of UN-Habitat.
The Nairobi-based agency deals with housing as well as towns and cities big and small — collectively, “human settlements” — with the bulk of its work concentrated in Africa and Asia. However, under the leadership of its current executive director, Joan Clos, UN-Habitat has pivoted to take a larger focus on the issue of “sustainable urbanization”, with a focus on the growth of cities on a majority-urban planet.

Has China Reached Peak Urbanization?

The skylines of some of China’s biggest cities sprout from land that was farmed less than a generation ago. For the government, they’re a soaring testament to the country’s transformation into an urbanized superpower. And despite China’s economic slump, there are plenty of bureaucrats who’d like to see the process continue. According to a report last week, local governments are planning to develop more than 3,500 new urban areas in the next few years, with capacity to house 3.4 billion people — or roughly half of humanity.

Urban health management in megacities

With a population surpassing 10 million people, megacities, the majority of which are concentrated in the developing world, can pose a great urban management problem. Currently, Africa has three megacities (Lagos, Cairo, and Kinshasa) with three additional ones projected to emerge by 2030 (Dar-es-Salaam, Johannesburg, and Luanda). The emergence of these megacities is accompanied with a need for more institutional, managerial, and perhaps most importantly, health-related infrastructure.

Wake up, San Francisco: Other cities have problems, too

San Francisco, it’s time for a reality check: You aren’t the only prosperous American city feeling the angst of too much, too fast, too out-of-control.
I make this observation having just returned from Denver, where homeless camps are a major issue and the mayor’s State of the City speech last week emphasized the perils of gentrification. At the same time, hip districts sprout residential compounds that are designed to make a splash rather than be a good neighbor.
If all this sounds familiar, you’re right. Here’s something else that struck me: San Francisco is in better shape than our self-absorbed bickering would suggest.

Smart bricks would enable walls to generate electricity

To develop buildings that act like “large-scale living organisms” scientists at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) are developing smart bricks which would make use of microbes to recycle wastewater, generate electricity and produce oxygen.
Microbial fuel cells (MFCs)that would be embedded in the bricks to give them their ‘smart’ capabilities have proven handy in the past, with researchers demonstrating how they can be used to generate electricity from human urine, dead flies or just plain old mud.

Millennials Bring New Life to Some Rust Belt Cities

Educated millennials are transforming some neighborhoods in several Rust Belt cities like this one, where old flour and textile mills are being converted to apartments and faded industrial districts have become thriving enclaves with colorful street life.
Staci Knobel, 28, recently moved to the once blue-collar Baltimore neighborhood of Hampden with college friends after finding herself “bored, depressed” in upstate New York. Here, she said, she has found excitement in the city’s electronic music scene and computer gaming conventions.

The impact of the refugee crisis on social services in Europe

A new publication by the ESN (The European Social Network) has delved deeper into the impact that the refugee crisis has had on local public services and their communities across Europe. The results of the ESN questionnaire among its own members, reflected that the refugee crisis impacted some states more than others. While social services in most parts of Europe have not been affected, several countries have struggled to provide for the unexpected rise in the number of people requiring public services.

How to combine adaptation and mitigation actions: Making the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy a reality

As both mitigation and adaptation ultimately aim to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change, they are essential parts of a comprehensive and efficient approach to tackling climate change. Mitigation and adaptation actions are often perceived and undertaken separately but in many cases, they can be addressed at the same time and benefit each other in the process. Combined mitigation and adaptation action has the potential to multiply the benefits and therefore make more efficient use of the money that cities spend on climate action.

New tree ordinance could give Sacramento’s urban forest closer scrutiny

In the City of Trees, a new ordinance might put more bite in protecting our bark.
The Sacramento City Council may vote Thursday on hotly contested new rules for safeguarding, maintaining and removing trees on both private and public land. The vote follows two years of contentious negotiations that failed to bring consensus.
Backers of the new ordinance say it will add protections for about 25,000 trees now excluded from city purview and create a long-term plan for preserving the leafy canopy of 100,000 trees viewed as a defining characteristic of the city.

Asian urban experts root for citywide public space strategies

UN-Habitat conducted its’ first international workshop on public spaces titled “Creating safe, inclusive and accessible public spaces for all” in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia early thismonth.
Jointly organized by Citynet and Kuala Lumpur Regional Training Center (KLRTC), the workshop attracted a wide range or participants including policy makers, technical experts and city managers from 8 different countries in Asia – Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Philippines, and Sri Lanka.

Retrofitting: A housing policy that saves lives

When a hurricane, earthquake or other natural disaster strikes a poor country, families too often suffer a double tragedy: the loss of loved ones and their most valuable (and sometimes only) asset, their home. In the aftermath of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti in 2010, which killed more than 260,000 people, 70% of asset losses were related to housing. Ecuador faces billions of dollars in reconstruction costs from last April’s 7.8 earthquake, which killed 900 and injured almost 28,000. If Peru were hit by an 8.0-degree earthquake, an estimated 80% of potential economic losses would involve housing.
And while nature’s fury does not distinguish between urban and rural areas, a large majority of disaster losses are concentrated in cities, where they disproportionately affect the poor. This creates a great challenge for low and middle-income countries.  In Latin America and the Caribbean, 200 million people—1/3 of the population—live in informal settlements, where most dwellings don’t comply with construction codes and home insurance is non-existent. Perhaps unsurprisingly, LAC’s informal districts also account for the majority of disaster-related deaths in the region.

Can design halt the flood of gentrification?

Can an architect design a kinder, gentler gentrification? That question hums like a drone through a vast empty lot in Bushwick where the Rheingold Brewery once stood. Eran Chen, the Israeli-born founder of the architecture firm ODA, has sugarplum visions for this desolate stretch: nearly 1,000 apartments and a million square feet that would slip affably into a neighborhood that, despite its real-estate hotness and brand-name cool, remains tenaciously poor. Longtime residents and their new neighbors would mingle in the woodworking shop and photo lab and hang their creations side by side in the community art gallery. A microbrewery would open up onsite, making reference to the past while providing local jobs and drinks.

Unlocking the collaborative capacity of the city 

Eindhoven (Lead Partner of the CHANGE! network), often referred to as the ‘city of innovation’, with a population of 225.000 inhabitants (2015) is the fifth-largest city in the Netherlands. It is also well-known for its Brainport framework, putting the knowledge-driven city next to Rotterdam (the main port) and Amsterdam (the main airport). The philosophy behind Brainport is the Triple Helix (nowadays often called as Quadruple Helix, including end-users) as a cooperation between local government, business and knowledge institutions to stimulate and boost technology and innovation, which enables the region to accelerate economic, social and individual growth.

Fordlandia – the failure of Henry Ford’s utopian city in the Amazon

In the 1920s the US industrialist wanted to found a city based on the values that made his company a success – while, of course, producing cheap rubber. The jungle city that bore his name ended up one of his biggest failures

Building permanent paths out of poverty

David Lambert, a structural engineer in Arup’s Los Angeles office, has spent several years volunteering with the Mbesese Initiative for Sustainable Development (MISD), a nonprofit focused on reducing poverty in rural East Africa. He recently returned from Tanzania after securing the national government’s approval to build a new vocational school outside the town of Same.
We spoke to Lambert about the project.

Buenos Aires uses crowdsourcing to drive innovation

In 2013, the Government of the City of Buenos Aires led by Mayor Mauricio Macri launched a new initiative aimed at creating a city that its 3.5 million people could be proud of–a modern, innovative metropolitan district characterised by inclusive public services and a common purpose.
Like other municipal governments in search of sustainable development in Latin America, the initiative entitled ‘Collaborative Roundtables for Innovation and Creativity’, emerged in response to the challenges posed by accelerated population growth, reliance on central funding, and a refreshing willingness to recognise its own shortcomings.

Urban Planners’ New Enemy

Cities are increasingly viewing parking in a negative light and rethinking its place in metropolitan America.
On a slow afternoon back in 2005, I found myself thumbing through one of the oddest books I had ever come across. It was a 733-page treatise on parking by Donald Shoup, an economist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who had devoted much of his career to collecting every available nugget of information on the subject. What made the book so unusual wasn’t just the level of detail. It was Shoup’s palpable enthusiasm for the material and his ability to make it interesting. He quoted Albert Einstein and Robert Frost, Lewis Carroll and Graham Greene. He filled up the pages with quirky little details about the way ordinary people go about their lives.

The limits of data-driven approaches to planning

City Observatory believes in using data to understand problems and fashion solutions. But sometimes the quantitative data that’s available is too limited to enable us to see what’s really going on. And incomplete data can lead us to the wrong conclusions.

How can towns and cities find innovative ways to finance energy efficiency in public buildings?

With public buildings being responsible for 40% of European primary energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions, investing in energy efficiency in public buildings is an urgent matter. And yet, at the same time, towns and cities in France and beyond face strong budget constraints and lack the necessary national financial support to implement energy efficiency projects.
What can local governments do when they need to invest in energy efficiency but lack the resources? Innovate.

Reclaiming the streets … for cars? Why Bucharest is reining in outdoor events

While cities around the world embrace pedestrianisation, Bucharest’s new mayor is blaming traffic on street events such as Via Sport, which closes a central boulevard to cars on weekends. Is the Romanian capital taking a step backwards?

Does Place Matter Anymore? Cities and the 2016 Election

I’m not the only one, I suspect, who’s been struck by how little, if at all, cities have figured into the presidential election up to now. To get a sense of whether this impression is accurate, I spent some time looking at the two party platforms, and the two candidate’s websites. It’s true. They don’t figure.

Harnessing the Power of Indigenous Cultures for Better Cities

As we celebrate International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples in our final stretch towards Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador, and the New Urban Agenda to be adopted this October, we must take time to reflect and take action to address the many challenges and opportunities that urbanization represents for indigenous communities.
Over the past years, the number of indigenous persons living in urban areas has been on the rise. The reasons for this vary: while many migrate to cities in search of education and employment opportunities, some are forced to relocate as their rights on their ancestral lands are trampled, while others are displaced by the impacts of climate change. In addition to this accelerating rural-urban migration, indigenous settlements are often engulfed in urban development as city limits expand past them.

Safer buildings are the key to a disaster resilient future

A few months ago, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Ecuador claimed hundreds of lives, left almost 28,000 people injured, and caused $1 to 3 billion worth of damage. Most human and economic losses were directly linked to the collapse of buildings: the tremor caused the destruction of an estimated 10,000 structures, many of which were located in unsafe areas or did not meet minimum safety standards.
The tragedy in Ecuador serves as a stark reminder that, in many cases, it is not earthquakes or other disasters that kill people, but failing building structures. Therefore, improving building safety will be key in protecting communities against rising disaster and climate risk.