Xuemei Bai, Peijun Shi& Yansui Liu – Society: Realizing China’s Urban Dream

Ills.: en.wikipedia.org

Ills.: en.wikipedia.org

China is urbanizing at an unprecedented rate. It is perhaps the greatest human-resettlement experiment in history. Between 1978 and 2012, the fraction of the nation’s population dwelling in cities increased from 17.9% to 52.6%. If the current trend holds, China’s urban population could top 1 billion people in the next two decades.

These are uncharted waters, but China has a plan. In March, the government released the National New-type Urbanization Plan, which sets targets for China’s urban population fraction to rise by 1% a year to reach 60% by 2020.

The plan is comprehensive and ambitious. It covers almost every conceivable aspect of urbanization, from rural–urban migration and integration to the spatial distribution of and linkages between cities; sustainable development; institutional arrangements; and implementation. It sets numerical goals and as a guiding principle emphasizes a sustainable and people-centred approach, paying more attention to welfare and well-being — a significant and positive shift from the current economic focus on land development. It also aims to rectify existing problems associated with the rapid urbanization in the past three decades.

The right national strategy is necessary. But it is not sufficient. It is local practices that will make or break China’s urbanization plan.


Read more: http://www.nature.com/news/society-realizing-china-s-urban-dream-1.15151

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Belinda Jack ~ What Is Reading

Neuroscience is beginning to explore what happens when we read by monitoring the areas of the brain that are stimulated while we read. Do these findings matter to the Humanities? Is there neurological evidence that the brain responds differently to ‘good’ and ‘bad’ writing? How we read clichés will be examined, as well as what the experience of re-reading tells us about reading first time round?

The transcript and downloadable versions of the lecture are available from the Gresham College website:

Gresham College has been giving free public lectures since 1597. This tradition continues today with all of our five or so public lectures a week being made available for free download from our website. There are currently over 1,500 lectures free to access or download from the website.
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Kamran Khan – The Walled Slums : Through The Looking Glass Into Peshawar’s Belly

tribune.com.pk. May ,2014. Peshawar: It is said behind every beautiful face is a story. The same is true for the provincial capital or, as it was known in the halcyon days, the city of flowers.

Peshawar, which was once known for its clean air, greenery and quiet roads, has now turned into another disfigured urban sprawl.
As the semi-organic expansion continues, one really has to struggle to find glimpses of the old city. Some reasons behind the rural-to-urban migration are routine – more jobs and better education. Others are more pressing – displacement due to militancy and military operations. Regardless of the cause, more and more vehicles spill into the streets daily. And the city’s resources and support systems are caving in under the pressure.

Read more: http://tribune.com.pk/the-looking-glass-into-peshawars-belly/

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Thathiana Gurgel – The Growing Middle Class Of Brazil’s Slums

Ills.: thisbigcity.net

Ills.: thisbigcity.net

thisbigcity.net. May, 2014. Brazil’s burgeoning middle class have an important place in the country’s slums. This finding is part of a survey released by the newly created Instituto Data Favela which established that, in 2013, 65% of the country’s slum-dwellers belonged to the middle class. In 2003, this proportion was 33%.

Celso Athayde, creator of youth group Central Única de Favelas (CUFA) and Instituto Data Favela, explains that the National Department of Strategic Affairs considers a family to be middle class, or ‘class C’ when their monthly income is in the range of R$1,064 to R$4,591 (US$480 to $2,060). “But we are not only interested in the middle class,” he argues, “We want to benefit all community residents through sustainable and comprehensive development, achieved through economic avenues.”

Somewhat inevitably, this research also showed that the lower classes have decreased in Brazil’s slums. Class D (where income is between R$768 and R$1,064 ) and class E (income less than R$768) fell from 65% in 2003 to 32% in 2013. Athayde believes this was achieved by an overall reduction in extreme poverty driven by the economic growth experienced across the country in recent years, which in turn has resulted in an increase of employment and entrepreneurship among the population.

Read more: http://thisbigcity.net/the-growing-middle-class-of-brazils-slums/


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The Wilson Center – Comparative Urban Studies Occasional Papers

Vision Statement
The Wilson Center seeks to be the leading institution for in-depth research and dialogue to inform actionable ideas on global issues.

Mission Statement
The Wilson Center, chartered by Congress as the official memorial to President Woodrow Wilson, is the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum for tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue to inform actionable ideas for Congress, the Administration and the broader policy community.

Read more: http://www.wilsoncenter.org/comparative-urban-studies-occasional-papers

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Open University – Social Housing and Working Class Heritage

Social Housing: Winners and Losers – Social Housing and Working Class Heritage

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