She has barely ever been in a car, and never eaten meat or flown. Now 31, she lives on the 15th floor of a city centre tower from where she can just see the ocean 500 yards away on one side and the suburbs and informal settlements sprawling as far as the eye can see on the other. Life is OK in this megacity. She earns the exact median income and is as green as she feels she can be: she has no children yet, her carbon footprint is negligible, and her apartment, built in the early 2000s, has been retrofitted for climate change with deep insulation, its own solar air-con and heating systems. It has a “living” wall of plants and a balcony where she grows a few vegetables. Waste is automatically sorted or composted. Outside it may be roasting, with temperatures often higher than 40C. Inside, she’s cool. She loves where she lives, even though the water tastes slightly salty sometimes and there are often electricity outages in the summer months because of the frequent … [Read more...] about The climate crisis in 2050: what happens if cities act but nations don’t?
10 richest cities in the world
If you live in Glasgow, you are more likely to die young. Men die a full seven years earlier than their counterparts in other UK cities. Until recently, the causes of this excess mortality remained a mystery. “Deep-fried Mars bars,” some have speculated. “The weather,” others suggested. For years, those reasons were as good as any. In 2012, the Economist described it thus: “It is as if a malign vapour rises from the Clyde at night and settles in the lungs of sleeping Glaswegians.” The phenomenon has become known as the Glasgow effect. But David Walsh, a public health programme manager at the Glasgow Centre for Population Health, who led a study on the excess deaths in 2010, wasn’t satisfied with how the term was being used. “It turned into a Scooby-Doo mystery but it’s not an exciting thing,” he says. “It’s about people dying young, it’s about grief.” He wanted to work out why Glaswegians have a 30% … [Read more...] about Urban living makes us miserable – this city is trying to change that
By Manami Miura, award-winning sake sommelier at the Ginza Kimijimaya liquor store, instagram.com/sakephygram My city in a nutshellTokyo is a city of gigantic proportions: 47 neighbourhoods slotting together like parts of an elaborate puzzle, home to more than 4,000 shrines and temples, 6,000 parks, and 300,000 restaurants (10 times as many as New York). Quiet shrines stand near neon-lit electronics shops, and serene parks edge up against alleyways lined with late-night ramen bars. But it wasn’t always this way: in the 1600s, when Tokyo was still called Edo, it was nothing but a tiny fishing village, until the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu decided to build a castle here. In 1868, it was made the capital, and it is now among the largest cities in the world. If you do one thingAsk 100 people what to do in Tokyo and you’ll probably get 100 different answers. I tell people to walk around Ginza. This central neighbourhood is one of Japan’s wealthiest postcodes, where glossy … [Read more...] about The insiders’ guide to Japan’s Rugby World Cup cities
Two bodyguards trotted behind Enrique Peñalosa, their pistols jostling in holsters. There was nothing remarkable about that, given his profession – and his locale. Peñalosa was a politician on yet another campaign, and this was Bogotá, a city with a reputation for kidnapping and assassination. What was unusual was this: Peñalosa didn't climb into the armoured SUV. Instead, he hopped on a mountain bike. His bodyguards and I pedalled madly behind, like a throng of teenagers in the wake of a rock star. A few years earlier, this ride would have been a radical and – in the opinion of many Bogotáns – suicidal act. If you wanted to be assaulted, asphyxiated by exhaust fumes or run over, the city's streets were the place to be. But Peñalosa insisted that things had changed. "We're living an experiment," he yelled back at me. "We might not be able to fix the economy. But we can design the city to give people dignity, to make … [Read more...] about The secrets of the world’s happiest cities
The men employed on building the 40,000-seat al-Rayyan football stadium were having their lunch, in the model accommodation camp of the “supreme committee” organising the 2022 World Cup, when I talked with them about their lives as migrant workers in the wealthiest country on earth. They had come from Ghana, where they said adverts about construction jobs in Qatar were broadcast on the radio, and about 300 of them had taken the opportunity. All four had paid agents, an exploitation that is officially outlawed but is endemic in the recruitment of millions of people from poorer countries to work all over the oil and gas-rich Gulf. “The agent said to me: ‘Qatar is the richest country in the world; you can Google it,’” one man told me. “He said we would earn a ‘huge salary’. But when we came here, we found it was the opposite.” Al-Rayyan is one of seven dazzling stadiums being built around the Qatari capital, Doha, in addition to … [Read more...] about Qatar 2022: £40 a week to build the World Cup stadiums