Andre Vltchek – The Toughest Slums On Earth

Photo: Saleem H. Ali - The energy landscape of Khayelitsha.

Photo: Saleem H. Ali – The energy landscape of Khayelitsha. – NAIROBI — They tell you ‘peace’, but you know you are living in a warzone. You know it from the start; you’ve sensed it ever since you were a very little boy or a girl. You wake up every morning, not certain whether you will witness another dusk, whether you will experience another sunrise.

A bullet can hit you at any moment while you are walking down the road. If you are a woman, you can be ambushed and dragged into a dark back alley or filthy shack along the way, then raped.
The police are very hard to find, and are hopelessly corrupt. You prefer not to seek their ‘assistance’. You are really on your own: you own no gun, you don’t belong to a gang, and you are extremely poor.
You are exposed.

Around where you live, there are bullets flying and fires burning. Once in a while a gasoline truck explodes, or an entire gangway of some miserable hovels bursts into flames. Loud salvos of sub-machine guns often penetrate the night.

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Amnesty International Slams Slum Evictions – May, 23, 2013 – Tens of thousands of people worldwide were pushed out of slum dwellings last year to make way for shopping malls and office blocks, according to Amnesty International. Nigeria witnessed especially brutal clearances.
The bulldozers came to the settlement just before midday, when most people were busy at work. Resident Jim Tom George was there to see over 20,000 people forcibly evicted from their homes in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
“They blocked the entry points to our settlement and just started to demolish everything,” he says of the day in June 2012. “They didn’t tell us. We had no idea that the government would arrive on this day and destroy the place where we all live.”

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Josephine d’Allant – Disaster Management: What We Can Learn From the Developing World

Huffington Post – Whether in Oklahoma or Dhaka, emergencies test the fabric of the community and attest to the importance of citizen engagement. From risk assessment and public awareness, to early warning systems and trained volunteer responders, to mitigation and inclusion in recovery planning, a comprehensive approach to disaster management is essential. In cities with large urban poor populations, planning not only mitigates potential financial and human losses, it also provides a baseline measurement of what survival means for a community. The process of designing emergency preparedness, response, and recovery for informal or marginalized groups is a form of inclusion, which can be leveraged and broadened. The urgency demanded by disaster response operations also mirrors the urgency of responding to the conditions of daily disaster and chronic catastrophe that exist in these communities. Read on to see five innovative approaches to disaster relief in Nairobi, Mumbai, Jakarta, Mexico City, and Rio de Janeiro.

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Brief History Of New Media Art In Turkey

figure5_amberFestivalThe new media scene in Turkey can be viewed parallel to the establishment of Visual Communication Design (VCD) departments at universities, which goes back to the end of the 1990s. In 1996 private universities founded earliest VCD departments. Yıldız Technical University is the first state university that started such a program, as well as the first master and doctoral degree program in the field. A pioneer in this field, Bilgi University’s VCD department started organizing annual student work exhibits in 2001. These exhibits created a broader awareness of digital technologies. The opening of VCD departments in public and private universities has led to an increased interest in screen based digital media in the last decade. At present there are roughly 170 universities in Turkey, about 45 of them in İstanbul and many of them have a VCD or similar program.

There is not (yet) a department or program solely dedicated to new media in any art faculty of any Turkish university. For the most part, art education still follows a conventional art educational practice, although there seems to be a gradual shift towards conceptual artworks created with different media – even within more conservative institutions such as the Faculty of Fine Arts at Mimar Sinan and Marmara University.

Screen-based interaction has been in the curriculums of all programs from the beginning. But the first course to go beyond screen-based interaction and towards spatial and tangible interfaces in terms of design and art, was offered only recently in 2005 at Bilgi University – and it was actually by me. (I still continue to teach this course at Sabancı University). In 2005, Elif Ayiter and Selim Balcısoy started a multi-disciplinary course at Sabancı University. This course focused on the collaborative work of design and engineering students. Koray Tahiroğlu, a musician who was educated abroad, started similar courses in the Music Department at Bilgi University. In 2008 the students presented their interactive compositions in a club. This was the first event of its kind in Turkey. Read more

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Amber ’10 Art and Technology Festival, Istanbul, Turkey

WORLDGRIDLAB production team
Asli Yilmazturk

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Inclusive Cities – South Africa

TheChallengePhoto:  – The Challenge

Through the South African national government’s subsidized housing delivery program, roughly 2.3 million households have been accommodated since 1994. Under the auspices of the Financial Sector Charter, the four major banks invested R44.8billion in providing more affordable housing. However, despite these achievements, the total housing deficit has not improved significantly, and an estimated 2.1 million households in South Africa live in shacks, either in informal settlements or in the backyards of formal housing.

In 2004 the then Minister of Housing, Ms Lindiwe Sisulu, introduced two significant policy initiatives. The first, Breaking New Ground is a ‘[national] comprehensive plan for the development of sustainable human settlements’, known as The Comprehensive Plan. A key element of the plan is a commitment to have tackled the question of informal settlement upgrading by 2014. Within the framework of this comprehensive national plan the government also finalized the second significant policy initiative, a thorough and wide-ranging policy on the ‘upgrading of informal settlements’.

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