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Urban society
City Mayors reports on developments in urban society and behaviour and reviews relevant research

Urban population is growing
by one million people a week

The world’s urban population will grow from 2.86 billion in 2000 to 4.98 billion by 2030, of which high-income countries will account for only 28 million out of the expected increase of 2.12 billion. The world’s annual urban growth rate is projected at 1.8 per cent in contrast to the rural growth rate of 0.1 per cent and about 60 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities. MORE

While Congress dithers, American
mayors push for stricter gun laws

May 2021: Guns and gun violence are seemingly normal in American culture. More than 40,000 Americans die each year from gun violence. The average number of gun deaths has risen over the past 20 years, as federal regulations on gun ownership have eased and American buy and use more guns. The pandemic, recent police shootings of unarmed African-Americans, and a flurry of mass shootings have highlighted the racial, social, and economic inequalities in America. MORE

American mayors defend
moral values in politics

January 2021:
The US presidential election on 3 November 2020, and events in the weeks that followed, reinforced the notion that America is deeply polarized along partisan lines: Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal, red and blue. At the heart of the division, and its potential repair, is the weight afforded moral values in American politics. American city mayors have taken the lead in defending and applying core values to make systemic change. In the November 2020 US presidential election, Donald Trump, running as a Republican, received 74.2 million votes, not enough to win, but more than enough to reinforce the sense of a divided America. As president, Trump used lying, mockery, bullying, race-baiting, and indecency as governing tools. He brazenly flouted the courts and the law, actively undermined public integrity, and willfully spread mistrust and cynicism. MORE

An American Dream
for the 21st century

October 2020: It seems that America has once again reached a point where the nation’s consciousness is waking up, or owning up, to what Americans experiencing discrimination are saying. If more Americans, especially white Americans, are “woke”, or alert, to economic and social inequality and injustice - and the inseparability of race from inequality - it is because the politics of awareness has changed. American cities and the mayors who lead them are at the forefront of the changing moral awareness. MORE

City Equity Offices to counter
systematic racism in America

September 2020:
In August 2014, a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old Black man. The killing precipitated protests in Ferguson and soul searching throughout America over racial discrimination. Within a few years of the death of Michael Brown, at least 32 cities in the United States established or strengthened a municipal equity office, including Austin, Louisville, Boston, and Oakland. These offices represented the first efforts ever undertaken by American cities to focus explicitly on systemic racism. The offices examine city governments’ internal processes and/or delivery of public services with a goal of eliminating institutional inequities and the discrimination born of it ||| ANALYSIS ||| FULL LIST |||

Black Americans three times
as likely to be killed by police
than white Americans

June 2020: After nationwide race riots in the second half of the 1960s, the Kerner commission set up by US President Lyndon B Johnson concluded that racism and police brutality were the primary cause of the riots. One sentence in the report summed up the state of American society: “America is moving toward two societies, one black, one white – separate and unequal.” The police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man from Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Monday, 25 May 2020, like many similar tragedies in the past ten years, shows that the words of Illinois Governor Otto Kerner are as relevant today as they were in 1968. LZ Granderson, who writes for the Los Angeles Times, added: “How can a nation born out of genocide, built on slavery and a system, which places minorities firmly behind their white counterparts…have peace.”

Inequality exposes black Americans
to greater risk of COVID-19 infection

May 2020: America’s black communities are among the hardest hit by the CoronaVirus pandemic. The numbers are stark. The impact of COVID-19 on African Americans has been extraordinary and disproportionate. Almost one-third of infections nationwide have affected black Americans, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control, though Blacks represent only 13 per cent of the US population. Associated Press adds that nearly one-third of those who have died across the country are black. Systemic racial inequality continues to exist in the US. The neighbourhoods where most African Americans live, the jobs they have, the prevalence of health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes and the way they are treated by the medical professions have all contributed to the disproportionate numbers of infections and deaths among Blacks. FULL RESEARCH REPORT

Homelessness in US cities:
California is facing a crisis

February 2020: At the beginning of 2020, more than half a million Americans were homeless. After a decade of decline, homelessness in the US started to rise again in 2016. It now stands at 568,000, with 63 per cent of that total living in sheltered accommodation. The national increase is primarily due to a leap in homelessness in California where it grew by 16.4 per cent between 2018 and 2019. In terms of absolute numbers, California has more than half - 53 per cent - of all unsheltered homeless people in the US. In 2019, the West Coast state registered 108,400 people as homeless, nearly nine times as many as Florida, the state with the second highest number of homeless. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, nearly a quarter of all people experiencing homelessness live in either New York or Los Angeles. Seattle, San Jose and San Diego. MORE

US cities are waking up to
the harm done by trauma
in childhood and adult life

September 2019: The challenges facing US cities and US mayors are well-known: crime and gun violence, public health, public education, housing, economic change and growth, social justice and access to opportunity, infrastructure, and climate change adaptation, among others. One of the major underlying issues which affects how mayors can respond to many of these challenges is also one of the least discussed politically and publicly: Trauma. 

People living in high-poverty neighborhoods in US cities are typically exposed to multiple on-going traumas, such as generational school failure, substance abuse, incarceration, violence in the home and surrounding neighborhood, and teen pregnancy. Exposure to chronic trauma increases the likelihood of negative outcomes for individuals and their families and for neighborhoods and cities. MORE

Corrupt US mayors pose a
threat to decency in society

Society: The preamble to the City Mayors’ Code of Ethics states that honest local government is the foundation of any nation that strives to provide its citizens with happiness, security and prosperity. It continues to say that corruption and misconduct by local government officials threaten fundamental decency in a society. America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which warns that public corruption poses a fundamental threat to national security and the US way of life, has over the past four decades brought to justice thousands of elected officials, who used their positions to enrich themselves. Among those convicted are leaders of some of the largest US cities, including Nashville, Detroit, New Orleans or Baltimore, but also many mayors from small-town America. FULL REPORT

In the US, cities lead
in fighting poverty

April 2019: Income inequality and social mobility generate intense discussion in the United States. A number of recent studies suggest that people at the bottom of the income ladder are unlikely to climb very far over the next twenty or more years; in fact, they will likely see the gap widen between them and the next rung of the ladder. Poverty in the US, it seems, is persistent, if not intractable. Many cities are inspired by the success of New York City’s anti-poverty program. Between 2013 and 2016 the number of New Yorkers in poverty or near poverty (the percentage living below 150% of the city’s poverty threshold) decreased by 141,000, and the city is on pace to reach its target of moving 800,000 people out of poverty or near poverty by 2025. MORE

Massacres in schools and churches
will not change America’s gun culture

December 2018: Deadly shootings in schools, churches or shopping malls do not deter Americans from buying and owning guns. Between 1 January 2018 and the end of November 2018, some 13,400 people were killed by guns in the US. The number of 12 to 17 year old teenagers shot dead or injured stood at 2,600, while 324 mass shootings occurred. The states with the highest ratio of mass shooting incidents include Washington DC, Alabama and Illinois. Research conducted in 2017, reveals that some 30 per cent of American adults own at least one gun, with another 11 per cent living with someone who does. America’s deadliest mass shooting this century occurred in October 2017 in Las Vegas where a lone gunman opened fire on concertgoers, killing 58 and injuring more than 500. FULL 2018 REPORT

US mayors tell President Trump:
“You will not deport our Dreamers”

September 2017:
American mayors called US President Donald Trump’s decision to terminate the DREAMers programme “deeply flawed”, “morally deficient”, “deeply disheartening”, “cruel”. US Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared that the government would wind down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme, which was introduced by former President Barack Obama in 2012 to provide some 800,000 young immigrants with a reprieve from deportation and allow them to work legally in the US. MORE

German cities on social media:
Usage, ranking and followers

September 2017:
The use of social media by German cities has become increasingly popular during the past ten years. The cities’ town halls, their marketing and tourism offices use Facebook, Twitter and other platforms to inform residents, promote tourism and investment as well as provide visitors with details of cultural and sporting events. Hamburg and Dresden were one of the first major German cities to open Twitter accounts in 2007. By 2009, cities like Munich, Bremen, Nürnberg and Münster had all signed up to the 140-character social media service. However, during the past five years, Facebook has replaced Twitter as the most popular social media platform among towns and cities in Germany. MORE

America’s undocumented immigrants:
Where they live and pay billions in tax

August 2017:
At the start of the Trump presidency, in January 2017, more than eleven million undocumented immigrants not only lived and worked in the US but also contributed substantially to the American economy. A study by the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy, published in February 2016, found that undocumented immigrants pay some US$11.6 billion annually in state and local taxes. The Institute estimates that undocumented immigrants nationwide pay roughly eight per cent of their incomes in taxes and compared this figure with the effective tax rate of 5.4 per cent paid by the top one per cent of US taxpayers. MORE

Chicago and other sanctuary cities
prepare to fight President Trump’s
administration over immigration

7 August 2017: Chicago has joined a number of US cities and states suing the Trump administration over its threats to deny federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities, cities which provide undocumented immigrants with some protection against deportation. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the city would not let police officers become political pawns in a debate on immigration. "Chicago will not let our residents have their fundamental rights isolated and violated. And Chicago will never relinquish our status as a welcoming city,” the Mayor detailed. Jeff Sessions, America’s Attorney General (justice minister), has said that his department would withhold justice assistance grants from cities that fail to comply with new requirements to allow federal Homeland Security officers to enter local prisons. In the past, cities have used the grants to finance police training programmes or buy police equipment. MORE

American public and mayors say:
Keep Obamacare, forget Trumpcare

21 June 2017: It took seven years and 61 attempts, but, in May, the US House of Representatives managed to repeal the ‘Affordable Care Act’, commonly known as Obamacare, and replace it with the ‘American Health Care Act’ (call it Trumpcare). The fate of Trumpcare is now in the hands of the US Senate, which could pass the House's bill without changes, modify it, or ignore it. Until it is repealed by the Senate, Obamacare remains the law. Mayors of US cities have been outspoken in their condemnation of the House's repeated actions to repeal and replace Obamacare with Trumpcare. MORE

More public involvement in law
enforcement needed to ease strain
between police and US communities

4 October 2016: If a city in the United States wants to build a road, it will have to follow strict design and construction standards regarding pavement depth and materials, lane width, and traffic speed, among other regulations. City codes typically also regulate such actions as sidewalk vendors and property maintenance. Often, local urban planning and economic development proposals require public hearings. Local policing, however, is rarely regulated in the same way. MORE

World’s most violent cities
are in Latin America,
South Africa and the USA

13 May 2016: Latin America's cities are the most dangerous in the world. Drug trafficking, gang wars, political instability, corruption, and poverty are the main causes of the continent’s extreme urban violence. Residents of cities in Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico and Colombia are particularly at risk of being caught up in battles between warring gangs. Outside Latin America, US cities like St Louis and Baltimore as well as the South African cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg have also witnessed an increased number of homicides. MORE

Mayors weigh up pros and cons
as drones take off across America

11 June 2015: When the City Council of Ferndale, Michigan, near Detroit, proposed a law in April 2015 banning the use of drones on public property in response to the privacy concerns of some city residents, a public outcry forced council members to withdraw the ordinance. Residents with privacy concerns were far outnumbered by residents who believed that restricting the use of drones would “crush the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship that the drone era is ushering in,” in the words of one person who spoke to the Ferndale City Council at a public hearing about the proposed legislation. MORE

Latin American cities are the
most dangerous in the world

12 November 2014: Latin America's cities are the most dangerous in the world. Drug trafficking, gang wars, political instability, corruption, and poverty combine are the main causes of the continent’s extreme urban violence. Residents of cities in Brazil, Mexico and Colombia are particularly at risk of being caught up in battles between warring gangs. For the third year running, San Pedro Sula, a city of some 720,000 people in northern Honduras is thought to be the most dangerous city in the world with 187 murders per 100,000 inhabitants per annum (187 HTIs*). With 134 HTIs, Venezuela’s capital Caracas is the second most murderous city in the global ranking, with Acapulco in third place. Cape Town, Detroit and New Orleans are the cities with the highest murder rates outside Latin America. MORE

Increasing number of US cities
end stigmatization of ex-felons

22 June 2014: The US government’s War on Drugs began in the 1970s. Drug possession and use were seen as gateways to crimes such as burglary, robbery, assault and prostitution, as well as to the breakdown of families and neighborhoods. Prisoners of the federal War on Drugs received draconian prison sentences, mandatory minimum sentences, and no parole for nonviolent and victimless crimes. MORE

US mayors look to education
in response to school violence

16 April 2014: The 16-year-old boy who on 9 April 2014 stabbed and slashed 21 of his fellow students in a school near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will be tried as an adult. Law enforcement officials have no choice; the law requires the young offender to be accorded adult status. The response to repeated incidents of school violence in the United States over the past 20 years has led to ‘hard’ solutions, such as reducing the age at which youth must be tried as adults; posting police officers at schools; expanding the death penalty to juveniles; and making bullying a crime. Simultaneously, with much less fanfare, another type of response has been growing quietly. Public schools in at least 30 states now promote ‘character education’ as an anecdote to safety concerns, as well as troubling issues like teen pregnancy, truancy, and poor academic performance. MORE

Newly-elected American mayors
spearhead fight against inequality
24 February 2014: President Obama pledged to work towards reducing income inequality in the United States in his 2014 State of the Union Address, building on his 2012 Address when he called inequality the “defining issue of our time”. Despite the President’s call to action, relatively few urban mayors in the US have publicly pointed to inequality as a key problem facing their cities. But several recently elected American mayors, including those in New York City, Boston, Minneapolis and Pittsburgh, have committed their administrations to working to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor in their cities. More

A second tier of US metro areas
is attracting mobile Americans

18 November 2013: America is known as a mobile society, and Americans move for many reasons: better jobs, better weather, lower housing costs, lower taxes, and so on. The trend to urbanization is national in scope, affecting every state and almost every region of the country. General population movements between regions have also been notable, of course, the most prominent being the shift from Rustbelt in the north to Sunbelt in the south. While the general population migrations receive most of the attention, a more particular shift appears to be occurring among metro areas. Approximately 15 second-tier metro areas have become ‘centers of gravity’, attracting people and capital from other metro areas. More

Voting rights remain a contentious
issue after US Supreme Court ruling

4 July 2013: The practical limits of democracy in the United States are defined by who can vote in free and fair elections. As more groups gained the right to vote in America, especially women and minorities, political structures changed and the way people experienced democracy expanded. Voting, in other words, brings the practice of democracy closer to the ideal of democracy in America. Democracy, of course, is never passive. It is both a function and a driver of popular struggles for rights and power. It’s not too much of a surprise, then, that voting - the most basic expression of democratic practice - continues to be a contentious issue in the United States. More

Women in cities give much
but take far less than men

7 May 2013: Women in developing countries contribute significantly to the prosperity of cities but they are often the last to benefit. This becomes evident, a new report says, in notable gender gaps in labour and employment, pay, tenure rights, access to and accumulation of assets, personal security and safety and representation in formal structures of urban governance. The report Gender and the Prosperity of Cities recommends that cities formulate gender policies, strengthen accountability for gender equality and enhance strategies for the economic empowerment and livelihoods of women. More

Racial profiling again under
scrutiny in the United States

5 April 2013: A federal court in New York City is considering the legality of the New York Police Department’s ‘stop and frisk’ practices. The NYPD maintains that stopping and searching suspicious persons has resulted in the confiscation of illegal weapons and drugs, thus preventing crimes and saving lives. The plaintiffs in the court case argue that Blacks and Latinos are illegally characterized, or ‘profiled’, as troublemakers and stopped and frisked at higher rates than whites. Moreover, they say, there is no constitutional justification for the majority of the stops - that most people stopped aren’t 'suspicious' in any meaningful, objective way - and that there is no oversight of the police department’s practice. More

Hunger and homelessness remain
most pressing issues for US cities

23 December 2012: Despite dwindling resources, US cities are facing an increasing demand to provide emergency food and shelter to poor Americans. In its annual report on hunger and homelessness, the US Conference of Mayors notes that in more than 64 per cent of cities homeless families were being turned away by emergency shelters because no beds were available. And emergency kitchens and food pantries in many cities had to serve smaller meals to clients. In many instances the lack of resources meant people in need had to be turned away. More

Mayors stand up to
American gun lobby

20 December 2012: “The time has come for mayors from America’s towns and cities to make a stand against the nation's gun lobby and tell their members that the lives of children and their teachers must not be put in danger by allowing owners of assault weapons to pursue their hobbies,” so wrote a mayor to City Mayors. Separately, hundreds of US mayors have written to President Barack Obama urging him to use all his powers and the moral authority of his office to reign in the spread and use of guns. More

Multi-faceted cities preferred
Obama’s vision for America

11 December 2012: Metro America voted solidly for President Obama in the 2012 election. But how important was geography? Were voters’ political preferences affected by the density of their living conditions? Or do Americans live where they do because of historical public policies, many of which were debated during the presidential campaign? More

Flourishing cities
embrace immigrants

4 October 2012: Without migration homo sapiens would not dominate today’s world. Had our ancestors stayed in central Africa some 50,000 years ago, the human race would have developed very differently. The drive to spread out geographically, for whatever reason, is part of our make-up and is behind Man’s success story. Many recent scientific and technological advances - e.g. the telephone, the internet, space exploration - are the result of our need to move beyond local boundaries. Migration will remain a dominant feature of further human development, a fact recognised by many progressive city mayors from around the world. More

US debates use of marijuana
and its effect on urban areas

10 May 2012: President Obama’s trip to Colombia in April 2012 threw a spotlight on America’s drug policy. The presidents of Colombia, Mexico, and Guatemala - countries that have seen limited returns for their inordinate sacrifices of human lives and financial resources to control the supply of illegal drugs - publicly chastised the United States for failing to curb its demand for drugs. The international focus on American drug policy has resurrected a debate within the US about the legalization of drugs, especially marijuana and how it may affect urban areas. More

The non-profit sector has become
a vital component of urban America

8 March 2012: Not too many years ago, American cities viewed the non-profit organizations working within their municipal boundaries with suspicion and even condescension. Non-profits opened soup kitchens and homeless shelters that made economic development difficult for city administrators, for what entrepreneur wants to open a new store with homeless people milling about? And city staffs often held the capabilities of their non-profit colleagues in low regard, considering them naïve rather than realistic, dreamers not doers. More

American cities fight back against
big government and corporations

6 February 2012: The Occupy Wall Street movement in the United States has been all but stopped by winter and the police, perhaps to be reinvigorated in the Spring with a new strategy. Regardless of the future of the movement, it gave a voice and a face to widespread public frustration. Many US cities feel that state and federal legal and regulatory systems are biased towards businesses. More

American abortion debate characterizes the
relationship between city, state and the Union

1 November 2011: Few issues in the United States are more polarizing than abortion - President Obama once called the opposing camps on abortion “irreconcilable” - yet it is difficult to find a mayor of a large American city that is entirely against abortion. Democrats, Republicans, and Independents usually disagree about taxation, policing, housing, social welfare, and other policies. But the right of a woman to choose her own method of reproductive health is something upon which, say, Republican Mayor Jerry Sanders of San Diego, Democratic Mayor Vincent Gray of Washington, DC, and Independent Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City all agree. More

The larger the city, the larger
the gap between rich and poor

29 May 2011: The largest cities in the United States are generally considered to be at the vanguard of social and economic progress. For example, Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ 2011 Cities of Opportunity report on the world’s top cities calls New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles “vibrant engines of the global economy.” However, city size in the US is also directly related to income inequality according to another recent study — the larger the city, the larger the income gap between rich and poor residents. More

Cities bear the brunt of
prison closures in the US

29 April 2011: According to the 2010 US Census, two million of the 2.3 million prisoners in America’s federal, state, and local jails come from urban cities and counties. Wayne County (Detroit), Michigan, for example, has less than 20 per cent of the state’s population, but accounts for 40 per cent of the inmates in the state’s prison system. Harris County (Houston), Texas has 25,000 residents in state prison; Dallas, 20,000. More

US clergy increasingly
active in local politics

1 February 2011: Clergy in the US, particularly Protestant clergy, have become more politically active in the last decade. A new study, however, finds that the public is becoming uneasy with the political activities of religious leaders, raising questions about the future of government contracts with faith-based groups. More

Localism key to successful
integration of immigrants

23 January 2011: Immigration policy may be nationally determined but the experience of settlement and integration is a uniquely local experience. So what is the role of localism in ensuring the benefits of migration are realised? This articles discusses initiatives in the US and France and asks what lessons can British cities learn. More

American mayors take
action to reduce poverty

7 January 2011: The week before Christmas 2010, the US Census Bureau released its latest poverty statistics. The numbers are sobering. Forty-four million people - one in seven Americans - lived below the official poverty level in 2009, the most since the Census Bureau began tracking poverty rates 51 years ago. In 2009, 40 million Americans received government assistance to purchase food each month, and 50 million went hungry at one time or another during the year. Fifty-one million Americans lacked health coverage in 2009. More

Cities must embrace cultural
and ethnic diversity to flourish

30 December 2010: We live in a period of transition from mono-ethnic cities to multi-ethnic cities and ultimately inter-ethnic cities. With the shared conviction that migrants integration is key for better intercultural relations, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the International Organization for Migration IOM have created together a program on Migration called IBIS - Integration: Building Inclusive Societies. More

Good policing is about social integration
and not about ‘zero tolerance’ measures

25 July 2010: In an interview with City Mayors, Latin American security expert and judicial Argentinean reformer, Carlos Arslanian, who is known for his progressive ideas for overcoming security threats in Latin American cities, described ‘zero tolerance’ and ‘tough on crime’ measures as total failures. “They’ve created a symbolic criminal law system, a criminal law system that fools citizens or utilizes the collective idea that with strong penalties we solve the problems,” he said. More

American cities face new
realities after lost decade

8 June 2010: American market research firms systematically classify the residents of a metropolitan area according to their purchasing power. Each consumer group receives a descriptive moniker according to its specific demographic, economic, and social characteristics: “Successful Suburbanites”, for example or “Urban Working Families” or “Low Income Southern Blacks”. The communities in which these groups live are likewise labeled: “Wealthy Seaboard Suburbs”, “Distressed Neighborhoods”, “Rustbelt Neighborhoods”, and so on. More

Economics and politics of
Arizona’s immigration law

15 May 2010: US mayors who have reacted to Arizona’s controversial new immigration law have done so primarily on economic grounds. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wrote in the New York Daily News that “laws that have the potential to hassle [immigrants] could prove devastating to our economy. Basic free market economics tells us we need more legal immigrants - immigrants who will start new businesses and help build the foundation for future economic growth.” More

The state of Muslims in
Western European cities

22 March 2010: There are estimated to be 15 to 20 million Muslims living in the European Union (EU); this population is expected to double by 2025. Muslims in Europe are a diverse population of citizens, as well as newly arrived migrants. Most live in capital cities and large industrial towns. Though the majority of Muslims are a long-standing and integral part of the fabric of their cities, many experience discrimination and social and economic disadvantages. Muslims in Europe today are also under heightened suspicion and scrutiny. More

The largest cities in the
world and their mayors

15 February 2010: The mayors of the world’s 25 largest cities are each responsible for more people than most national prime ministers. For example, London, ranked 23rd in the world, has more residents than nations like Paraguay, Denmark, New Zealand or Ireland, and if Karachi, globally the largest city, was a country it would rank above Greece, Portugal or Hungary. The combined population of the world’s eleven megacities - cities with more than 10 million inhabitants - equals that of Japan. More

Socio-economic changes may compel
US mayors to consider power sharing

29 January 2010: Several research centers in the United States marked the beginning of the new decade with the release of demographic and economic data. Each data set provides a specific perspective of socioeconomic change and is compelling in its own right. Viewed together, however, they indicate a convergence of powerful trends with potentially momentous consequences for US cities, mayors, and government structures. More

New legislation could make
US cities great for everyone

10 December 2009: A characteristic of American metropolitan areas is residential segregation by race and class. “If you give me a person’s address, I can almost always tell you his income, the quality of public schools his children attend, and the color of his skin,” says William A Johnson, former mayor of Rochester, New York. More

US cities take the lead
in advancing gay rights

7 October 2009: Despite preparing for a large budget deficit, Cleveland, Ohio, Mayor Frank Jackson recently approved US$700,000 to help his city’s bid to land the 2014 Gay Games. “It’s the right thing to do,” said a spokesperson for Mayor Jackson. Meanwhile, across the country, Anchorage, Alaska Mayor Dan Sullivan vetoed a measure designed to counteract anti-gay discrimination in his city, saying that he was “not sure of the need for the ordinance.” More

US mayors maintain silence
on high-profile racial incident

4 August 2009: The US media have been buzzing since the 16 July arrest and release of a prominent African-American scholar and subsequent comments by President Obama. The incident touches a nerve about race and class in America – the very issues that US urban mayors must contend with every single day. Curiously, American mayors, rarely shy in front of television cameras or newspaper reporters, have largely avoided commenting on the controversy. More

Youth curfews popular with American cities
but effectiveness and legality are questioned

21 July 2009: At least 500 US cities have curfews on teenage youth, including 78 of the 92 cities with a population greater than 180,000. In most of these cities, curfews prohibit children under 18 from being on the streets after 11:00 pm during the week and after midnight on weekends. About 100 cities also have daytime curfews to keep children off the streets during school hours. The curfews are designed to prevent crime, increase parental responsibility for their children, and give police greater ability to stop people involved in suspicious activity. More

Do not handcuff the
poor and homeless

7 July 2009: The housing and homelessness crisis in the United States has worsened over the past two years, particularly due to the current economic and foreclosure crises. By some estimates, more than 311,000 tenants nationwide have been evicted from homes this year after lenders took over the properties. People being evicted from foreclosed properties and the economic crisis in general have contributed to the growing homeless population. As more people fall into homelessness, local service providers are seeing an increase in the demand for services. In Denver, nearly 30 per cent of the homeless population are newly homeless. More

Ghana mayors beautify their
cities while urban poor suffer

30 June 2009: With 70 per cent of Ghana’s urban population living in slums, 20 per cent in poverty and 13 per cent officially classified as unemployed, the ‘urban question’ is of the utmost difficulty for the government and people to resolve. But the question threatens to be even more demanding because in 2010, just one year away, Ghana will undergo an ‘urban explosion’ – where for the first time more people will live in cities than in the country. More

American cities debate
English-only legislation
25 June 2009: In June 2009, Albertville, Alabama, became the latest US city to pass an ordinance making English the city’s official language.  Albertville Mayor Lindsay Lyons maintains the ordinance will be “a unifying factor,” bringing together immigrants and English speakers. At least 30 US cities have adopted English-only legislation. More

Critics of surveillance cameras
fear racial profiling in US cities

11 June 2009: Since the terrorist attacks in 2001, hundreds of US cities have installed security cameras to monitor their streets. The cameras are funded by billions of dollars from the federal Department of Homeland Security, as well as state and local revenues. Urban video security systems range from a single camera in Liberty, Kansas (population 95) to New York City’s “ring of steel” network of hundreds of integrated video devices, based on London’s ubiquitous surveillance cameras. More

President accused of corruption
while gangs reign in Guatemala

27 May 2009: Government and judicial corruption, organised crime and wholesale murder, all threaten Guatemala’s fragile democracy. While the country is feared to be on the verge of becoming a failed state, its young people are rising up in a fervour they have never before displayed in its history. More

Philippine mayor reported
to approve assassinations

19 April 2009: The Philippine government should investigate alleged "death squads" responsible for hundreds of targeted killings in Davao City and other cities on the southeastern island of Mindanao, the New York-based NGO Human Rights Watch said in a report released this month. The report, You Can Die Any Time: Death Squad Killings in Mindanao, details the involvement of police and local government officials in targeted killings of alleged drug dealers and petty criminals, street children, and others, and describes the lack of any effort by the authorities to investigate the killings and bring those responsible to justice. More

Mexican cities rocked
by ferocious drug war

11 February 2009: Mexico's ongoing war with drug smuggling cartels claimed more than 5,300 lives in 2008 and one of the most violent places in the Latin American nation is Ciudad Juarez, right across the border from El Paso, Texas in the United States. Drug cartel killers have decapitated policemen, shot up restaurants and left bodies on streets all over the city of more than one million 300,000 people. El Paso remains relatively calm, but, the climate of fear affects both cities. More

China’s urban transition
causes growing inequality

27 November 2008: The word transition perhaps best describes China: the world’s most populous country is transitioning from a predominantly rural society to an urban one. China’s urbanization process in the last two decades has been extraordinary: the urbanization level in the country has nearly doubled from 25 per cent in 1987 to roughly 42 per cent in 2007; it is estimated that by 2030, 60 per cent of the country’s population will be urban. While urbanization has led to unprecedented economic growth it has also caused massive inequalities. More

Obama promises to become
America’s first urban president

25 November 2008: Barack Obama has promised to advance a number of issues important to mayors of US cities soon after he takes office on 20 January 2009. America's 44th President says he will create 2.5 million well-paying jobs during the first two years of his administration by renovating infrastructure and schools and developing alternative energy sources. More

Not all cities will benefit
from rising urbanization

22 November 2008: While more than 70 per cent of the populations of Europe, North America and Latin America are already urban, Asia and Africa, which are predominately rural, with 41 per cent and 39 per cent of their populations living in urban areas, respectively, are in for a major demographic shift. More

Western Europe has the most
egalitarian cities in the world

19 November 2008: Major cities in the United States, such as Atlanta, New Orleans, Washington D.C., Miami, and New York, have the highest levels of inequality in the country, similar to those of Abidjan, Nairobi, Buenos Aires, and Santiago. At the other end of the world, Beijing is considered to be the most equal city in the world while, on average, the most egalitarian cities in the world are located in Western Europe. More

Supreme Court rules against
US cities fighting gun violence

28 June 2008: A June 2008 US Supreme Court ruling on gun control appears to be a clear defeat for American cities struggling to control gun violence. The ruling struck down the city of Washington, DC’s ban on handguns and will likely lead to fewer restrictions on the ownership, sale, and possession of firearms. More

American Catholic Church struggles
to maintain presence in inner cities

20 April 2008: Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the United States demonstrated his support for the 67 million Roman Catholics in America, about 25 per cent of the total population. It also provided an opportunity to examine the changing role of the Catholic Church in US cities. More

America prefers to punish
rather than to provide care

22 March 2008: An African-America boy born in the US in 2001 has a 1 in 3 chance of going to prison in his lifetime.  A Latino boy has a 1 in 6 chance. These statistics are from a recently released report America’s Cradle to Prison Pipeline by the Children’s Defense Fund, a nonprofit organization that encourages preventive investment in youth and families before problems occur.  The report blames America’s disproportionate investment in punishment rather than prevention for trapping many children in a trajectory that leads to marginalized lives and imprisonment. More

Blacks increasingly wary as Latinos
become fastest-growing US minority

28 November 2007: Traditional minorities – Blacks, Latinos, Asians -- are expected to become the majority in the US by 2050. This is the consensus of most American demographers. According to data released in 2007 by the US Census Bureau, Latinos continue to be the largest minority group in the US at 42.7 million. They are also the fastest growing minority group, increasing 3.3 per cent over the past year, and 19.7 per cent in the past five years. Most of the growth is due to immigration from Mexico. More

With good government, urbanisation
will produce higher living standards

20 November 2007: Almost every part of the inhabited world has been urbanising. Today, half the world’s population lives in urban areas and most of the world’s growth in population is likely to be in urban areas. In addition, there is a profound long-term shift in the distribution of the world’s urban population. Neither Europe nor North America have most of the world’s urban population or most of its largest cities. Europe now has none of the world’s 100 fastest-growing cities — but most of its declining ones. More

Asia has become home to the
world’s fastest growing cities

24 October 2007: Africa now has a larger urban population than North America and has 25 of the world's fastest growing large cities. Half of the world's urban population now lives in Asia, which also has half of the world's largest cities and fastest growing large cities. Europe's share of the world's 100 largest cities has fallen from more than half to under ten per cent in the past century. It now has none of the world's 100 fastest growing cities and most of its declining ones. More

The world’s urban poor suffer most
from crime, violence and disasters

4 October 2007: The world’s poor are the worst affected by urban crime and violence, insecurity of tenure and forced eviction, and natural and human-made disasters, regardless of their geographical location. “Over the past decade the world has witnessed growing threats to the safety and security of cities and towns. Some have come in the form of catastrophic events, while others have been manifestations of poverty and inequality or of rapid and chaotic urbanization processes,” said the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. More

Cities will benefit from and must care for
an increasing number of older residents

3 October 2007: The world is rapidly ageing. The number of people aged 60 and over as a proportion of the global population will double from 11 per cent in 2006 to 22 per cent by 2050. By then, there will be more older people than children (aged 0–14 years) in the population for the first time in human history. And, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), already 75 per cent of older people in developed countries live in cities. More

US mayors concerned about
collapse of immigration reform

15 July 2007: The collapse last month of US immigration reform legislation in June 2007 heightened concerns of mayors. “We will not have an economy, we will not have an America without a constant stream of immigrants coming into this country,” New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg told the New York Post newspaper. Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigoas set up a special commission to explore ways his city can deal with illegal, but necessary, immigrant workers. More

NYC Mayor offers innovative
approach to tackling poverty

10 July 2007: Even for public servants with the best of intentions, the seeming intractability of poverty in America can be awfully discouraging. Its causes are complex and past efforts have met with limited success. Until Hurricane Katrina hit land, poverty had been absent from the public agenda for so long that there was little consensus among policymakers in how to respond. Not only was the toolbox of effective antipoverty proposals empty but partisan gamesmanship often seems to block innovative, good faith efforts to address it. More

For humanity’s sake, developing world
must prepare for soaring urbanisation

28 June 2007: In 2008, the world reaches an invisible but momentous milestone: For the first time in history, more than half its human population, 3.3 billion people, will be living in urban areas. By 2030, this is expected to swell to almost five billion. Many of the new urbanites will be poor. Their future, the future of cities in developing countries, the future of humanity itself, all depend very much on decisions made now in preparation for this growth. More

US cities offer very different ways
of dealing with illegal immigration

31 May 2007: Illegal Immigration has become one of the United States’ most difficult social and economic problems. More than 12 million ‘undocumented immigrants’ – mostly from Mexico – are now estimated to be in the US. American cities have been dealing with this reality for years. More

Britain’s ‘irregular’ immigrants
demand integration in society

Economists question 'official' poverty
statistics used for US mayors' report

Up to 10 million American children suffer
the consequences of convicted parents

21st century cities: Home to
new riches and great misery

Progress in the world’s cities will
decide the future of Planet Earth

Affordable housing crisis casts a
shadow over the American Dream

Mexican city paralysed as people wait
for government to end teachers strike

Urban poor worse off than rural poor
but good policies can reduce slums

Megacities must urgently address the needs
of slum dwellers to prevent human disaster

Success of future megacities will depend on
cooperation between citizens and authorities

Mauritania’s urban slums offer
no support to rural newcomers

Authorities ready to go to war
against criminal street gangs

China is at the forefront of the greatest
urban-industrial revolution of all time

With America’s population approaching 300 million
the country’s cities will become ethnic melting pots

America’s poor caught up in clash
between cities and nonprofit groups

Black American men hardest hit
by dysfunctional US inner cities

Hispanic, Black and Asian Americans
are spreading out across the country

NYC Mayor’s policies on welfare
contribute to city’s rising poverty

Economic circumstances discouraged
one million migrants from settling in LA

Amnesty International calls on African
governments to stop forced evictions

Closing the divide between those who
are starving and those who waste food

Changes in Asia’s fast growing cities
are closely watched across the world

Attacks on welfare largely to blame
for New York City’s hidden poverty

Mexico’s urban poor
work harder for less

By 2030 Africa will change
from rural to urban society

Kyrgyzstan rural young move to cities
in search for better jobs and education

Afghan cities offer few opportunities
for rising numbers of rural migrants

Poverty, crime and migration are acute issues
as Eastern European cities continue to grow

Cities can offer the best security
to the greatest number of people

Little behavioural difference between
urban and suburban teenagers

South American cities spearhead
development of direct democracy

World Mayor 20/21