Our weekly roundup of the most intriguing articles about cities and urbanism we've come across in the past seven days. Share your favorites on Twitter with #cityreads.
"The Unlikely Ascent of Palestine’s Green Architects," Joseph Dana, Next City
Amid a stalled peace progress and an increasingly hopeless political atmosphere, a growing number of young Palestinians are betting that they can design their way into a better future. In Ramallah, the de-facto Palestinian capital, young designers are making furniture out of trash in hopes of reducing landfill waste while increasing their country’s self-reliance. In East Jerusalem, Jews and Palestinians are working together to provide basic services to a Jerusalem neighborhood that ended up on the wrong side of the Israeli separation barriers. In villages across the region, people are working to preserve and reintroduce life to traditional Arab villages, even as the country begins its first stab at a planned California-style development. Middle-East based journalist Joseph Dana talks to these proactive architects and designers to find out how Palestine’s unlikely sustainability movement came into being — and where it is likely to go.
"Dividing Lines: The Battle Over Hyderabad's Metro," Mark Bergen, The Caravan
NINE YEARS SINCE IT WAS FIRST ANNOUNCED, the Hyderabad metro remains marred by controversy over its design, execution, funding and cost. It is also far from complete. To hear Kapoor speak on their campus, Akshay and his friend had crossed the crowded old city, where the metro’s three proposed lines will some day cross. From there, their bus route had taken them on one of the lonely roads of suburban Hyderabad, through a rocky, sparsely populated landscape shaped by nature and Chandrababu Naidu. More than a decade ago, the then-chief minister of Andhra Pradesh had conceived of a metro for the fast-growing state capital that would carry 2.5 million commuters per day by 2025 and be the most modern transit system in the world. His vision has had a troubled journey since.
"Tough Laws Do Little to Slow Calif. Gun Rush," Scott Detrow, KQED
California has some of the toughest gun laws in the United States. They don’t appear to be stopping people from purchasing firearms.
Despite 10-day waiting periods, expansive background checks, a limit on one handgun purchase every 30 days and a broad “assault weapons” ban, California experienced a 180 percent increase in attempted gun purchases over the last decade.
"Rust-Belt Reaches for Immigrant Tide," Mark Peters and Jack Nicas, Wall Street Journal
Worries over immigrants potentially taking jobs from native-born Americans run high in parts of the nation, but some U.S. cities are taking a different view: Wooing immigrants can reverse long-term declines in population.
Cities, mostly in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic states, are betting that attracting foreign-born residents can spur business creation and revive neighborhoods. Steps vary from proclamations welcoming immigrants, to adding staff focused on attracting newcomers and translating government websites, to efforts to connect international students with local companies.
"Why Is China Stealing Cities, Towns, and Buildings?" Ryan O'Hanlon, Pacific Standard
Hallstatt, Austria, is in China. So is the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal, Christ the Redeemer, and a soon-to-be-completed Manhattan. There are others, too, and it’s all part of this weird (at least to us Westerners, or this one Westerner who is writing this) proliferation of what are being called “copy towns.” They’re villages and buildings and cities in China that are being constructed as replicas of non-Chinese places from around the world—and people are living in them. Hallstatt, China, has an artificial lake, and they imported doves to make it more Hallstatt-like.