Cities have been in the spotlight recently, as hundreds of American mayors responded to the US withdrawal from the Paris climate deal by signing onto the international agreement themselves. There’s virtually no precedent for such local engagement with global affairs.
But cities have always been labs of innovation, as well as hotbeds of crime and inequality, architectural stunners, decaying ruins and everything in between. Our series Emerging Cities examines how urban areas around the globe, from Paraguay to Iran, are changing and making change.
From citizens who sit on the boards of energy companies to neighbourhoods that help fund local wind farms, community action is critical to the environmental movement.
A former industrial region in the heart of Germany is slowly reinventing itself for the 21st century, offering urban planning lessons for how to reinvent a rust belt, from Detroit to upstate New York and beyond.
Ciudad del Este, the capital of Paraguay’s “wild, wild west”, was built to get goods to market without any pesky state intervention. A recent brazen bank heist shows that crime is just the flip side of the free-trade coin.
For decades, Brazil has worked to improve conditions in its poorest neighbourhoods: building roads, drainage, lighting, and safer housing. Will budget cuts end its ambitious slum-upgrading efforts?
Given that cities may be home to 80% of humanity by the end of the century, they can only be sustainable if eco-friendliness is one of their core features.
Without protection, Iran’s spectacular American- and Italian-designed mid-century structures – legacies of a time when a cosmopolitan Tehran welcomed architects from around the globe – will be reduced to dust, beams and concrete blocks.