Updates on the Mega Cities Project!

Apologies for our long pause.  We are back now and look forward to sharing ideas and hearing from you.
The Mega-Cities Project is now working with a several outstanding Graduate Students Interns from the School of International and Public Affairs and the Urban Planning Division at Columbia University. The 4 projects we are doing are: 1. The conceptualization and strategic action plan for MC2;    2)  The impact of Mega-Events in Mega-Cities in terms of social justice —3-year research project focusing on the World Cup and Olympics preparation, actualization  and aftermath in Rio de Janeiro;   3) China’ s Mega-Cities and urban slums; Tier 2 and 3 cities and “ghost cities; and 4) preparation of a paper and talk on Mega-Cities” for a Roundtable at the Vatican on “ Sustainable Humanity and Sustainable Nature”  in May.   Attached are the brief descriptions of each project.

1. Mega-Cities/Mega-Change (MC2) –this is an opportunity to build a sustainable non-profit organization working in the largest cities in the world–in all regions.  It is about what the next generation of urban leaders can do to improve urban inclusion and environmental regeneration, using the earlier cohort of Mega-Cities coordinators as mentors to “shorten the lag time between ideas and implementation”  AND to “shorten the lag time between promising young leaders and their ability to make a difference.  It will involve Strategic Planning, a 3-year plan, outreach, social media and decisions about how participation on open platform will intersect with face-to-face networks. There is a research agenda on the life cycle of innovations and the conditions for new ideas to arise, thrive and adapt to change.  This is the beginning of a 25-year initiative of sharing what works among informal communities and activists and scaling that into public policy.  It is about “system-challenging innovations”, involving new players at the table, new incentive systems and new rules of the game.

2. Mega-Events in Mega-Cities: Social Justice Impacts in the Case of Rio’s Favelas: will be developing a 3-year study of how the favelas are affected in the lead-up, duration and after the World Cup and Olympics and what the reactions are from:  community-based groups and residents, NGOs, student activists working with NGOs and residents, business community and city, state, and national government. Need to conceptualize the study from start to finish and lay out the literature review, analytical framework and research methodology.

3. China Cities Project:  potential planning work on the smaller Tier 2 and 3 cities and on the “ghost cities” –which are newly built, ready for occupancy and remain abandoned;  and on migrants and migrant slum communities in the large cities.   We are in discussions with a non-profit based in Beijing and with a construction company interested in anticipating future urban infrastructure needs.  If this works out, it would be an opportunity to influence the human livability and quality of life in cities and to test various forms of circular rather than linear infrastructure by trying decentralized models for energy, water, sanitation, garbage, road paving and building materials.

4. Vatican Workshop on Sustainable Humanity and Nature: May 2-9, 2014. We will be giving a presentation on THE CHALLENGE/PROMISE OF THE MEGA-CITIES   This will be one of the only presentations on cities in the entire meeting, most of which will cover environmental issues from Oceans to Forests to Climate Change.    We will cover an overview of urbanization and in formalization trends, the implications for environmental sustainability, and ideas for policy, planning and practice and wish to illustrate this with striking images, graphics and up-to-date information.

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