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Property prices in the inner city are spiking across the world, forcing poor and middle-class residents out of their communities. World Policy Journal asked four experts how governments can work with the private sector to ensure that cities maintain genuinely affordable housing.
Beijing is the cosmopolitan capital; Tianjin is an international harbor—but the surrounding Hebei province is mired in poverty. Beijing-based writer Karoline Kan outlines China’s plan to integrate these three areas, known collectively as Jing-Jin-Ji, and raise the living standards of Hebei’s 73 million residents.
In major cities, subway systems are lifelines, connecting commuters to work, students to schools, and tourists from one landmark to the next. World Policy Journal compares the systems of six metro areas.
The Northern Powerhouse is an ambitious-sounding plan to revitalize the north of England and create a unified region to rival London. Architectural critic and author Owen Hatherley, however, contends that the Conservative Party’s development strategy mistakenly treats the north as a single entity and the fiercely independent cities are unlikely to come together.
Eight years ago, architects Matias Echanove and Rahul Srivastava set up their offices in Dharavi, a homegrown neighborhood in Mumbai. Instead of denigrating Dharavi as a “slum,” Echanove and Srivastava point to the lessons that other cities can learn the area's vitality and adaptability.
World Policy Institute fellow and author Kavitha Rajagopalan investigates the informal water economy of Chennai, a city in southern India. She finds that the government’s failure to dependably distribute clean water has made black-market dealings a necessity. But in such a poorly regulated environment, “clean” water is often dirty, putting millions at risk of falling ill.
Shanghai is only about 13 feet above sea level. While the Chinese government has scrambled to build dikes and seawalls, if more is not done and global temperatures warm by 4 degrees Celsius, almost the entire city will be underwater.
Urvashi Kaul explores the use of Social Capital Credits, a tool used to reinforce and create grass-roots community networks in cities across the world. She writes about her experiences in Kumasi, Ghana, and describes how "SoCCs" can help bring about nothing less than “a redefinition of wealth that takes into account the power of community.”
More than 90,000 people have been killed in Kashmir since the armed insurgency broke out in 1989. About eight years ago, the conflict transformed; gun-wielding militants were replaced by stone-throwing young men and boys. Photographer Showkat Nanda documents the clashes from the perspectives of Kashmir’s young protesters as well as the grieving mothers and wives of those who have “disappeared.”
Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister of Thailand, is one of the world’s most polarizing figures, whose words still reverberate across Southeast Asia. His tenure at the helm of the Thai government in the early 2000s marked a growing rift between Thailand’s urban middle class and the rural and working classes who adore him. After more than two years of public silence and a decade after his ouster, the former prime minister spoke with World Policy Journal.
Journalist and translator Elisabeth Zerofsky introduces her deft translation of author Kamel Daoud’s essay on sex in the Muslim world. Daoud’s piece provoked a media frenzy when it was published in France earlier this year. Everyone, including the French prime minister, seemed compelled to weigh in. Zerofsky also translated the correspondence, initially private but later published in Le Monde, between writer Adam Shatz and Daoud in which Shatz calmly confronts his friend over his contentious column.
Author and columnist Rafia Zakaria critiques the coverage of honor crimes in the West. If the project of honor-crime storytelling is to bring about a moral shift in communities, she argues, then the naming-and-shaming model of journalism has failed. Instead, stories need to be directed toward deeper, more contextualized narratives that unlock the how and why of these crimes.
Botswana owns a 15 percent share in De Beers, an unprecedented entangling of a sovereign country with a private company. Investigative reporter Khadija Sharife reveals a mutual dependence between the diamond giant, Botswana, and the country’s leading party that has perverted democracy and created an opaque revenue system that costs the southern African nation millions of dollars every year.
Since Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi took power in 2013, the list of Egyptians forcibly disappeared, unjustly detained, or held in pre-trial detention has grown. Journalist Ruth Michaelson explores Egypt’s pliant justice system and the geopolitics that enable the state to lock away alleged opposition members without due process.
When Daniel Fahey visited eastern Democratic Republic of Congo as coordinator of the U.N.’s Group of Experts, he found a charismatic charlatan known as “Mr. X” under the protection of the U.N. A star witness in a murder trial, Mr. X had convinced the U.N. of his tall tales. Fahey shows how Mr. X’s story sheds light on the emerging role of intelligence in peacekeeping operations and the unpredictable effects of its failures.
Political scientists Edward A. Fogarty and Gene Park argue that the world’s response to the 2008 economic crisis demonstrates that members of the G-20 will work together when the next global economic disaster hits. But outside of crisis, the G-20 can only be expected to take baby steps toward greater coordination and fiscal transparency.
Throughout history, politicians have wanted to demolish the “noisy, dirty, and confusing” poor neighborhoods of the inner city. World Policy Journal editor Christopher Shay argues that leaders shouldn’t be so disdainful of these areas. Diverse, complex communities can better resist markets shocks than residential or commercial monocultures mandated by the state.