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By Roger Vickerman. Posted February 19, 2020
The scale of investments in high-speed rail (HSR) raises questions about the most appropriate methods of appraisal. Increasingly the reliance on conventional cost–benefit analysis, based essentially on the direct benefits to users and the direct costs to operators, has been questioned.
The disappointing scale-back of California’s showcase high-speed rail system between San Francisco and Anaheim has many experts asking what lessons can be learned. Similar pushbacks have occurred on other continents: witness the popular resistance to construction of a new superstation as part of Stuttgart’s urban renewal, which escalated into violent demonstrations, delays, and stalemates.
As we are increasingly relying on technical innovations to solve some of society’s most complex problems, technological advancements such as artificial intelligence are contributing to new, modern modes of transportation, especially to enhancing safety. However, technology is only one of many critical factors for safety, and there is a need to understand the other factors.
The Smart Cities Mission, launched by the Government of India, aims to transform the urban governance ecosystem, especially urban local bodies (ULBs). It is hoped that the mission will help attract innovation, expertise, and financial resources for the holistic development of the ever-expanding urban areas. The creation of sector-focused, region-specific “special purpose vehicles” (SPVs) is an attempt to unleash the potential of a consortium-based approach in delivering the interdisciplinary ideation and implementation of projects.
Reports from the United Nations estimate that India will add 404 million persons to its urban areas between 2014 and 2050 (UN DESA 2014) and that it will have seven cities with a population of more than 10 million by 2030 (UN DESA 2016). Currently, India is making an ambitious effort in its urban transformation under the “Smart Cities Mission” of the Union Government. With the guidance of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, India’s urban local bodies (ULBs) have been proactively working to achieve better efficiency and equity in the utilization of financial resources for developing municipal infrastructure. They have been augmenting their financial autonomy by developing data-driven and market-based financial instruments that attract investments to their projects.
By Shreyas P. Bharule. Posted June 14, 2018
In 1969, Professor Edward Norton Lorenz coined the term “butterfly effect” to state that subtle changes in conditions can influence or cause seemingly unrelated results elsewhere. The flutter of a butterfly’s wings at place A can eventually develop into a hurricane at place B even though A and B are not related. Almost two decades after the term was coined, Japan National Railways (JNR) was privatized and split into several corporations, and now JR East manages the largest network of railway lines in Japan.
New challenges, opportunities, and strategic choices for financing sustainable urbanization in the PRC
By Li Xu. Posted December 15, 2017
In recent years, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has accelerated its urbanization process and increased its urbanization rate from 35.88% in 2000 to 56.7% in 2016, equating to over 1% year-on-year growth. The PRC proposed the “people-oriented” New-type Urbanization Plan in 2014 to definitively release further domestic demand potential, promote social equity and welfare improvements, and facilitate economic, social, and ecological integrated development.
This article evaluates housing policy in the Republic of Korea over the past 5 decades or so, and describes new challenges arising from the changing environment. The most pressing housing problem in the early phase of development of the Republic of Korea was an absolute shortage of housing. The country addressed this problem with the pragmatic approach of engaging the market using government intervention as leverage.
By Tristan Kenderdine. Posted July 27, 2017
International capacity cooperation (国际产能合作guoji channeng hezuo) was a 2014 addition to the “Go Global” policy suite that the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) central bureaucracy expanded throughout 2016. It is the result of seeking a way forward from “new normal” low industrial growth rates and is a novel solution to the industrial capacity utilization problems the PRC has suffered since the 2008–2009 spending stimulus flooded into traditional industries. Steel, cement, aluminum, paper, glass, and everything from pork production to robots are in 2017 mired in cyclical overcapacity.
Africa and Asia are latecomers to urbanization. In these two continents, less than half live in urban centers, while elsewhere, more than 70% of people do. But Africa and Asia are now rapidly urbanizing, with Asian cities growing at an average of 1.5% per year and Africa’s at 1.1% per year.
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