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Category : Infrastructure

  • Asia Dialogue - Looking for the Weakest Link in Kathmandu

    Looking for the Weakest Link in Kathmandu

    Sarah Rooney and Nayan Pokhrel (Fixer)

    Laxman looks at a building in Kathmandu, Nepal, he isn’t concerned with the aesthetic proportions or the comfort it provides to its inhabitants; he is looking for weakness. He examines the walls to assess the quality of concrete or brickwork. He measures up load-bearing beams and columns to gauge their strength. He searches for cracks, patches of damp, or signs of subsidence. Ultimately, he is looking to see if the building will withstand a major earthquake. READ MORE

  • Asia Dialogue - Why secondary cities are well-placed to achieve disaster and climate change resilience

    Why secondary cities are well-placed to achieve disaster and climate change resilience

    Rowan Fraser

    Here are two important statistics from the UN:

    • Firstly, that 60 per cent of the urban area of 2030 has yet to be built;
    • Secondly, that in Asia, the majority of urban growth over the upcoming decades will take place in small and medium sized cities

    READ MORE

  • Asia Dialogue - The Grosvenor ranking of urban resilience

    The Grosvenor ranking of urban resilience

    Rowan Fraser

    Finally!  I’ve been waiting for this to happen for a while now and I must say its good to see it’s been done: a global ranking of the resilience of cities.

    There are indices quantifying and ranking cities for numerous other things: quality of life, attractiveness to tourists, air quality, sustainability and economic strength, to name but a few.   But until mid-April there was no ranking of urban resilience, despite mounting attention to the issue and increasingly vocal calls to tackle urban vulnerability.

    READ MORE

  • Asia Dialogue - Why ASEAN needs an urban agenda

    Why ASEAN needs an urban agenda

    Rowan Fraser

    In 2015, ASEAN will launch the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).  The AEC, according  to ASEAN has four main objectives, namely to create a:

    • single market and production base
    • highly competitive economic region
    • region of equitable economic development
    • region fully integrated into the global economy

    READ MORE

  • Asia Dialogue - Viewing resilience as a value proposition for urban competitiveness

    Viewing resilience as a value proposition for urban competitiveness

    Rowan Fraser

    There are many reasons to invest in a city. And by ‘invest’ I’m taking a wide view: this might be living, building, producing, working or, of course, actually investing capital.  If you go through the different indices which rank the world’s cities in terms of ‘investment attractiveness’ or ‘competitiveness’, factors such as accountability of local government, market size, access to maritime ports, infrastructure quality, average per capita income, air quality and access to green space come up often.  Resilience, on the other hand, does not.  But it should. READ MORE

  • Asia Dialogue - Natural hazards are dangerous.  But city-level corruption causes more disaster

    Natural hazards are dangerous. But city-level corruption causes more disaster

    Rowan Fraser

    Oddly for such a staunchly secular activity, the insurance industry includes within its standard glossaries the term ‘Act of God.’  This is legalese for events which are considered to be beyond human control, such as floods and earthquakes, cyclones and landslides – disasters, in short. READ MORE

  • Asia Dialogue - What mangroves can and can not do for cyclone-prone coastal cities

    What mangroves can and can not do for cyclone-prone coastal cities

    Rowan Fraser

    Swampy, tangled and low-lying, the mangrove is not a particularly flamboyant tree, as far as trees go. Indeed, it’s more of a shrub.  Somehow, it comes across as down-trodden and slightly oppressed.  It lacks the gusto and charm of most other species, and of course can’t compete with the big cats, rhinos or birds for panache in terms of biodiversity.  Nonetheless, over the past few years, the humble mangrove has seen its popularity soar. READ MORE

  • Asia Dialogue - Helping homegrown communities build safer

    Helping homegrown communities build safer

    Mukta Naik

    Bakul’s son is getting married soon and he is busy adding a floor to his home in an unauthorised colony in Ghaziabad, an industrial town near India’s capital city New Delhi. To do so, he has borrowed Rs 300,000 (US$ 4800) from a cousin and engaged a local mason. In Nong Bua in Thailand’s Surin district, Somchai collects waste during the day but spends his evenings repairing his leaky roof. This is how the majority of the urban poor in a host of Asian countries build their homes. READ MORE

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