Making space for street vendors: Towards equitable urban development

As previously discussed on TheCityFix, informal street vendors in cities around the world experience daily challenges to their economic livelihoods. For example, street vendors are perceived to be detrimental to city life, unhygienic, noisy, and to obstruct smooth flow of commuters, pedestrians and traffic. In the minds of some policymakers, hawkers crowd sidewalks, plazas and parks, come too close on the subway, or sell too close to local businesses. Many of these complaints, however, are due to insufficient spaces and infrastructure for street vendors. Read more.

How a generation of young leaders is emerging from India's slums

On a recent Sunday afternoon in the tightly packed slum of Narela at the edge of Delhi, a group of children sat on a bright green rug amid broken tiles, bricks and bits of wood, engrossed in an animated discussion about their neighborhood. Hens and goats roamed around. Older women in the traditional Indian sari sauntered past. Plastic buckets, used to fetch water from the nearby standpost, lay stacked in a corner. A small child shrieked, trying to clamber aboard a push-cart. The children, roughly between the ages of 7 to 16, talked of the need for toilets, clean water, parks and street lights. The weekly meeting of their child club, known as Mannat, was in progress. Read more.

Finding the right fit with Mayorlinks clothiers

Even in a room full of almost 100 of Lagos's top executives and government leaders, David Mayowa was among the best-dressed. He and his business partner Emmanuel Gbenga were at the US Consulate pitching David's new clothing brand, Mayorlinks, and they had to dress for success. Such an occasion called for a beautiful bespoke suit. David was confident in his suit’s quality. After all, he'd made it himself – along with all the other items he and Emmanuel were wearing when they won over the judges with their clothing concept. Read more.

Innovating for smart, sustainable cities: A Q&A on urban mobility with Zipcar founder Robin Chase

2015 is a year of utmost importance for the global sustainable development agenda, and cities will play a pivotal role. Landmark global decisions over the next 12 months provide opportunities to unlock the potential of cities and improve quality of life for billions worldwide. TheCityFix sat down (for the second time!) with Robin Chase, shared mobility entrepreneur and speaker at the upcoming Transforming Transportation 2015 conference on how cities can advance urban mobility solutions that are both environmentally sustainable and people-centered. Read more.

Making a life change with Changers Laundry and Dry Cleaners

Christian Jonah Effiong knows the importance of resilience better than most aspiring business leaders. After being homeless, struggling with "street jobs" as a bus conductor and okada driver, gaining a job, losing his job, and losing his life savings and having to start again, Christian's very survival hinged on his ability to bounce back, stay focused, and keep moving forward. Read more.

'We have to get urbanization right': A Q&A with Felipe Calderón on cities in the New Climate Economy

2015 is a year of utmost importance for the global sustainable development agenda, and cities will play a pivotal role. Landmark global decisions over the next 12 months provide opportunities to unlock the potential of cities and improve quality of life for billions worldwide. We sat down with Felipe Calderón, Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate and keynote speaker at the upcoming Transforming Transportation 2015 conference, to learn more about how cities can drive forward sustainable, low-carbon economic growth. Read more.

Alain Bertaud on "Top Down Design vs. Spontaneous Order: Impact on Housing Affordability"

The spatial structure of large cities is a mix of top-down design and spontaneous order determined by the market. In his talk at the Cities and Development conference, Alain Bertaud argued that although top-down design is indispensable for establishing city-wide primary infrastructure, the city planners' urge to control often goes too far. At the neighborhood level, he explained, cities need spontaneity. Read more.

Edward Glaeser: "Cities in the Developing World"

In his talk on "Cities in the Developing World," Edward Glaeser started by arguing that cities do not make people poor, but rather attract poor people who previously lived in more rural areas. Today, the world’s poorest countries are urbanizing rapidly. This is a stark difference from richer countries in the Global North, which had comparatively more wealth before their respective historic periods of rapid urbanization. Glaeser suggested that one of the main explanations for this divergence is the state of the global agriculture industry. When western nations underwent urbanization in the 19th century, the global trade economy was relatively small. In order for large parts of the population to move to cities, a country’s agricultural industry had to already be well-developed enough to sustain the national population as fewer and fewer people worked on farms. A country needed to reach a certain level of wealth before urbanization could happen. Today, with a global economy in which food can be shipped all over the world, individual countries do not require a strong domestic agricultural industry in order for many people to move to cities, and so urbanization can occur in poorer contexts. Read more.

William Easterly and Laura Freschi on "A Long History of a Short Block"

William Easterly and Laura Freschi proposed a new approach to tackling the question of whether development flourishes under planned or spontaneous conditions. Rather than examining development at the nation-state level or city level, they zoomed in to a single New York City block: Greene Street, between Houston and Prince streets. Read more.

Paul Romer on "The Power of the Grid"

Professor Paul Romer started his talk by suggesting that the interventions we have come to associate with international development – like cash transfers, women's self-help groups, deworming, bed nets and better stoves – are not necessarily the big drivers of economic growth and development. These approaches did not play a role in the economic development of rich countries in Europe and North America, so why do we assume they will help countries in the Global South? Read more.