Tracking emerging technology, tools and practices that support agile and low-emission development in urban centers in the developing world.

From urban gangs to global markets: youth netting new opportunities in global ornamental fish market

Jamaican youth are finding entrepreneurial opportunities in the $4 billion global ornamental fish market. The amenable local climate, visionary leaders, neighborhood collaboration, and raw personal initiative combine to pull young urbanites out of poverty. Read more.

Urban farming: cultivating community, livelihoods and nutrition

Throughout the developing world, urban farming is taking root in a variety of forms and yielding not only food but also livelihoods and community. Above-ground planting beds, kitchen gardens, and rooftop greenhouses are cropping up in urban centers. Farming is transforming tall buildings, empty lots and abandoned warehouses. In many cases, people are using the most basic tools or extremely innovative new combinations of existing tools. Some examples are leveraging newer production methods and tools. Read more.

Turning garbage into gold

Some of the fastest-growing cities in the world are in Africa. According to the United Nations, there will be over a billion people living in slums in Africa by 2050. This concentration of humanity with little clean water and no sanitation yet with a surplus of refuse presents growing public health hazards. What signals are there of new solutions to meeting these urgent issues? Read more.

Opening the mobile device world for the entire world

With the roll out of its Firefox OS phone on July 2, 2013, the Mozilla Foundation, nonprofit provider of Firefox browser, has made a huge contribution to the open-source movement and expanding global to smart devices. The Firefox OS phone is the first mobile device to be run completely on web technologies. Launched initially in Spain, Telefónica will sell the ZTE Open powered by Firefox OS for 69 Euros (about $90), and will include 30 Euros worth of credits for pre-paid customers. Read more.

Process and technology innovation: public transit opportunities in fast-growth economies

The fastest growing urban centers are also home to the world’s worst commuter experiences. Eight of the top ten painful metro areas reported in IBM’s most recent Commuter Pain Index are in fast-growth economies. Development of public transit systems is moving at a rapid pace in many areas, and some places may be investing in more than they actually need or can afford. Read more.

Mobilizing care: improving health through mobile technology

In the area of health, mobile devices are enabling developing countries to not only leap-frog the wired world but also rise above persistent social, political, economic barriers. Examples from emerging economies around world illustrate a variety of innovations that hold promise and demonstrate success for improved health in urban centers with the greatest need. Read more.

The mobile phone: an emerging platform for entrepreneurship

Mobile phone usage is growing and new service models emerging. Some hold great expectations for how the growing ubiquity of mobile phones will solve many problems related to poverty in the developing world. Positive impacts cited include disaster relief, banking for the poor, disease management, literacy, commute flows, as well as government accountability and delivery of services. A recently published book, The Great Indian Phone Book, examines what might prove to be the most disruptive communications device in history. In this early stage of the mobile phone revolution, new opportunities for micro enterprise are growing. Read more.