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
Modesto city schools
An Alabama second-grader gave his mother a scary surprise when he came home from school on Tuesday with what looked like a bullet wound on his forehead. Amonn Jackson, aged seven, received the realistic-looking wound, created from special effects makeup, during his school's drama class at Phillip's Academy in Birmingham. But his mother Zakiya Milhouse was furious over what she believes was a culturally insensitive move by the school, and shared a photo of her sons's fake bullet wound on Facebook. She wrote: 'So they did this in drama class and my boy said the teacher said it's like he got shot. I don't like that s*** ! I don’t care if it’s Halloween or NOT ! A bullet hole in the head.' Alabama Second-grader Amonn Jackson (pictured) came home from school on Tuesday with a fake bullet wound on his forehead Milhouse told AL.com that her concern turned to anger when she realized what the face paint was and that this is far from an proper school lesson … [Read more...] about Seven-year-old boy returns home from school with a BULLET WOUND painted on his head
I first met Jane Jacobs in the early 90s. She was sitting in the front row of a large Toronto auditorium as I delivered a one-hour lecture. I did not know who she was. When I was done, the first hand up – sharply so – belonged to this elderly person. How wonderful, I thought, a citizen who has never stopped being engaged. What came out of her mouth, though, was one of the sharpest critiques of my way of analysing the city that I’d ever heard – and probably ever will. She pursued a line of questioning quite different from what I usually get. She continously returned to the issue of “place”, and its importance when considering the implementation of urban policies – notably the loss of neighbourhoods and erasure of local residents’ experiences. Her input made me shift my thinking to more “micro” levels; I am still doing quite a bit of work today on the need to relocalise pieces of national and city economies. So perhaps now, on … [Read more...] about How Jane Jacobs changed the way we look at cities
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?
Arne Hendriks is so enthralled by fat that he is building his own “fatberg” – a huge congealed slab of fat, oil and grease. He currently has almost 50kg worth in a giant tank. Eventually he hopes to float it in the ocean. At a science conference in a Newcastle University lecture theatre, the Dutch artist explains his fascination with fat. “It is the iconic substance of our age. Fat is life’s battery and allows us to move away from direct energy sources. It allows us to regard ourselves as embodied energy.” But for cities around the world, fatbergs – made up of fats, oils and greases or FOGs – are a problem to be solved, not a substance to be celebrated. Last month on the streets of Malabon, just north of Manila, paddle boats replaced cars after typhoons Egay and Falcon were exacerbated by FOGs from restaurants and fast-food chains, clogging the sewers and submerging the streets. Nor is Manila’s sewer system the only one with … [Read more...] about Fighting the fatbergs: how cities are waging war on clogged sewers