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The IDB Cities Network is a platform for knowledge, relationships and solutions at the municipal level that aims to socialize knowledge, learnings and good practices in environmental, economic and social sustainability of more than 200 cities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Through meetings, it promotes institutional support, innovation, and the exchange of knowledge between the public and private sectors, civil society and academia to boost demand and capacity for loans and investments to solve the main urban challenges in the region.

Climate Action Series in LAC Cities: What is climate change and why is it important for cities?

Did you know that cities in Latin America and the Caribbean face numerous challenges related to climate change? Floods, storms, droughts, and heatwaves have the potential to significantly impact the functioning of our society, as well as the daily lives of citizens. When cities are properly planned and managed, they have the capacity to offer solutions to address climate change and lead the necessary transformations towards a more sustainable world. Moreover, by maintaining close contact with citizens and local businesses, subnational governments are in a more favorable position to influence consumer and producer behaviors, as well as to implement climate policies at the urban level. In a recent webinar by the BID Cities Network, we discussed how to identify the climate challenges of cities and plan actions to address them. Additionally, we addressed the challenges and opportunities encountered by the cities of Recife, Mexico City, and Santiago de Chile.

Climate Action Series in LAC Cities: How to plan climate action in cities?: key elements to consider

Developing Climate Action Plans (CAPs) in cities is a fundamental process for effectively addressing climate change. Key elements for planning climate action include developing clear diagnostics and establishing emissions reduction goals, as well as addressing resilience through analysis of climate risks. In particular, greenhouse gas inventories are a useful tool for understanding a city's emission sources, prioritizing mitigation measures, setting emission reduction targets, and assessing progress over time. Likewise, climate risk diagnostics are a fundamental tool for understanding and addressing the potential impacts of climate change, by identifying the most relevant climate threats, assessing vulnerabilities, and informing decision-making for resilience. In a recent webinar by the BID Cities Network, we explored the challenges and opportunities cities face in incorporating climate action into their urban planning through practical cases presented by ICLEI, the Argentine Network of Municipalities against Climate Change (RAMCC), the city of Bucaramanga (Colombia), and Joao Pessoa (Brazil). Additionally, we discussed the importance of clear science-based planning to create an effective CAP in cities and combat climate change.

Climate Action Series in LAC Cities: How to implement climate action in cities?

Despite efforts in developing climate action plans, cities in Latin America and the Caribbean often face a crucial obstacle: turning climate strategies into solid and financeable projects. Many proposals never reach the investment phase due to lack of technical or institutional capacity, regulatory barriers, or lack of incentives for mobilizing resources from the public or private sector. To implement climate action, increase resilience, and adopt effective measures against climate change, it is essential to generate a flow of clear and well-structured projects that are bankable and subject to investment, and that incorporate public and private participation, promoting internal and multilevel municipal coordination. In a recent webinar by the BID Cities Network, we learned about the experience of the C40 Urban Shift program, City Adapt, City Finance Climate Gap Fund, and the BID Cities Laboratory, and how they have mobilized technical resources to implement climate change adaptation projects in the cities of San Salvador, Santo Domingo, and Xalapa.

Urban Food Security Series in LAC Cities: Moving Wholesale Markets Outside Cities: Lessons Learned

 Food security entails ensuring that all people have physical, economic, and social access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food. In this regard, wholesale food markets play a vital role in the food security of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Considering that a significant portion of the most vulnerable population lives in rural areas and on the urban periphery, should wholesale markets be located outside cities? In a recent webinar by the BID Cities Network, we shared cases of wholesale markets moved to the outskirts of cities to promote access to fresh products, economic development, and value chains.

Urban Food Security Series in LAC Cities: Connecting Food Systems and City Systems: The Role of Metropolitan Scale

Cities face food challenges that transcend their borders, requiring inter-jurisdictional governance. Issues such as land zoning and planning, urban agricultural regulations, green infrastructures for biodiversity and flood prevention, as well as large-scale agri-food projects, demand joint solutions. The term "city-region" becomes relevant when addressing these issues from a regional perspective, integrating urban, peri-urban, and rural areas. Metropolitan governments are crucial in this approach, as they have access to human and financial resources, and greater capacity to design policies, coordinate interventions, and govern multiple jurisdictions with fewer conflicts and transaction costs. In a recent webinar by the BID Cities Network, we shared experiences from Quito, Belo Horizonte, and Rosario, and had a discussion with experts on how metropolitan cooperation has achieved effective governance in food security.

Urban Food Security Series in LAC Cities: Food Security Strategies for Vulnerable Groups

Ensuring food supply is crucial for development and well-being in Latin America and the Caribbean. Between 2019 and 2021, hunger in the region increased by 13.2 million, reaching 56.5 million in 2021. In a world with a growing urban population, food security becomes urgent in Latin American and Caribbean cities, where social inequalities persist, posing a challenge for vulnerable groups. In a recent webinar by the BID Cities Network, strategies to address these needs were explored, revealing innovative solutions aimed at ensuring access to quality food in urban areas. In Manta and Quito (Ecuador), Benjamin Constant (Brazil), and Mexico City (Mexico), Urban Gardens, Food Acquisition Programs, and Food Banks are implemented. These initiatives provide local food and leverage products to serve vulnerable populations in urban environments, benefiting over 80,000 people in some cases.

Transportation-Oriented Development Series in LAC Cities: Integrating Urban Planning and Mobility

Did you know that cities in Latin America and the Caribbean face numerous challenges related to climate change? Floods, storms, droughts, and heatwaves have the potential to significantly impact the functioning of our society, as well as the daily lives of citizens. When cities are properly planned and managed, they have the capacity to offer solutions to address climate change and lead the necessary transformations towards a more sustainable world. Moreover, by maintaining close contact with citizens and local businesses, subnational governments are in a more favorable position to influence consumer and producer behaviors, as well as to implement climate policies at the urban level. In a recent webinar by the BID Cities Network, we discussed how to identify the climate challenges of cities and plan actions to address them. Additionally, we addressed the challenges and opportunities encountered by the cities of Recife, Mexico City, and Santiago de Chile.

Transportation-Oriented Development Series in LAC Cities: Financing Models for DOT Implementation

In a recent webinar by the BID Cities Network, we addressed the various sources of financing available to local administrations to fund the construction of necessary infrastructure for implementing Transportation-Oriented Development (DOT), from traditional direct revenues to non-traditional and innovative financing sources such as land value capture and urbanization fees, among others. Additionally, we learned about the experiences of Bogotá and Washington D.C. regarding the implementation of innovative approaches for funding DOT projects.

Transportation-Oriented Development Series in LAC Cities: New Mobility Trends with a Look to 2030

In a recent webinar by the BID Cities Network, as part of the Transportation-Oriented Development series, we discussed how the cities of London, Sao Paulo, and Buenos Aires have addressed changes in travel patterns in recent times, as well as the challenges and opportunities they have encountered. Additionally, we explored trends in mobility changes and land use patterns, as well as various alternatives to promote resilient cities.

Local Economic Development Agencies (ADELs): How will cities thrive? Sustainable urban regeneration and economic growth.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced cities to outline strategies for local economic development that harness innovations in business models to address the climate emergency, achieve economic recovery with resilience, social inclusion, and increased productivity, thus protecting the quality of life of their inhabitants. These concepts are in line with the IDB's 2025 Vision for Reinvesting in the Americas, which proposes a strong economic recovery based on reactivating the productive sector, promoting social progress, and strengthening good governance and institutions. Local Economic Development Agencies (ADELs) are an effective vehicle to strengthen metropolitan governance of economic growth. They are structures that combine an approach to economic development and urban regeneration through the analysis of the territory, its assets, and its potentialities. In a recent webinar of the IDB Cities Network, we discussed the strategic role and challenges of creating and consolidating local economic development agencies in the metropolitan areas of our region in the post-COVID19 stage.

Innovation and New Digital Providers: How to leverage existing contractual frameworks?

In Latin America and the Caribbean, one of the great challenges in working with new digital providers is the procurement process due to the restrictions presented by existing public procurement frameworks. However, some cities have found ways to work with these new providers and improve service provision in their cities. In this context, the IDB Cities Lab organized the webinar Innovation and New Digital Providers: How to leverage existing contractual frameworks? In this virtual space, we discussed different mechanisms to bring innovative solutions from startups and digital SMEs closer to public institutions within the framework of public procurement. Additionally, we shared the GovTech LATAM initiative (https://www.govtechlatam.org/), an open innovation platform led by IDB Lab (https://bidlab.org/es) that works to identify, test, and scale new digital solutions from startups and scaleups to address the major urban challenges and improve public services in cities in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Smart Cities Series: Cybersecurity to develop smarter cities.

The adoption of new digital technologies is an essential characteristic for the development of cities and a driver of innovation, increased communication, collaboration, equity, and efficiency. Therefore, cybersecurity in cities has become a key element of their good governance. Cyberattacks have a high potential to disrupt city operations, affect their finances and the administration's reputation, and cause significant damage to information systems indefinitely. While some cities in the region have begun to develop defense systems against cyberattacks, there are still challenges and risks in governance and risk management to proactively address cybersecurity, especially at the municipal level. In a recent webinar of the IDB Cities Network, we addressed the management of cybersecurity in subnational governments and their potential vulnerabilities, and shared the IDB's Cybersecurity Guide for Smart Cities, as well as recommendations and success stories.

Smart Cities Series: Latin America and the Caribbean towards a smart and cybersafe region, with data!

The COVID-19 pandemic contributed to accelerating the digital transformation of cities in Latin America and the Caribbean. The massive generation of data (Big Data), analysis tools, and artificial intelligence have the potential to solve major urban problems, support decision-making, and formulate evidence-based public policies. In a recent webinar of the Cities Network, we talked with international experts from Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and Colombia about cybersecurity and digital transformation using data to develop smarter cities.

Smart Cities Series: How to turn our cities into Smart Cities?

The transition to Smart Cities using ICTs and data will allow municipalities to increasingly become the engines of socio-economic development in the region. Likewise, it will enable decision-makers and social actors to innovatively address the main urban challenges related to inequality, informality, public management, and gaps in access to services and infrastructure. In a recent webinar of the IDB Cities Network, we presented the IDB's vision for the transformation of Latin America and the Caribbean into a region of smart cities. Additionally, we shared experiences, success stories, and recommendations from leaders who are promoting policies to make their cities smarter.

Market architecture in cities: innovation and rehabilitation

How to rehabilitate food markets in a sustainable way? In this third webinar of the series we address the challenges faced by cities in Latin America and the Caribbean during the rehabilitation of markets, how to transform them into tourist attractions without losing their everyday role, and how innovation can help us meet climate change, health and inclusion commitments during rehabilitation processes.

New tools for food markets management and rehabilitation

In the food sector, grocery stores and supermarkets are still struggling to turn data into useful, actionable information. The situation is even more complicated for traditional marketplaces. Unlike supermarkets, restaurants and online stores, informal marketplaces are often not regulated by formal governance structures and therefore lack information to guide their rehabilitation and management. 

In a recent IDB Cities Network webinar we discussed the need to collect data from different sources to gauge value chains, consumption patterns, rural-urban linkages, product quality and how food markets can thrive in modern cities.

Food markets: urban food systems for resilient cities

Food markets are necessary for the economic development of cities. Located in historic centers, they are part of any historic rehabilitation and are key to the food security of cities. Their connection to local producers, their links to a communications network and their ability to supply food to vulnerable populations are elements that ensure the resilience of cities. The impact of COVID-19 demonstrated how vulnerable neighborhoods are when food markets are not available nearby. In a recent IDB Cities Network webinar we presented a study, in partnership with FAO, on wholesale food markets, their crucial role in market access, food distribution and the participation and inclusion of various actors in the agri-food system.

Innopolis

In this virtual space organized by the Network and the Cities Lab, the 3 winning cities of the competition: Lima, Sao Paulo and Tuxtla Gutierrez, presented their urban innovation initiatives, their experiences implementing Urban Storytelling tools and the lessons learned during their exchanges with European cities. Discover the 3 winning projects of the urban innovation contest here.

How to estimate city growth with open source data?

In a recent webinar of the IDB Cities Network and Cities Lab, we presented an open source tool that automatically consults satellite sources to determine the physical and social characteristics of an urban area, and then predicts different future growth scenarios through simulation, estimating the degree of greenhouse gas emissions.

Artificial Intelligence in cities: Urban planning and public management

In a recent webinar of the IDB Cities Network and Cities Lab, we presented Artificial Intelligence solutions as management tools with social impact. We also made available to the audience the MAIIA tool, an algorithm that allows automated mapping of the location of informal urban settlements by analyzing satellite images.

Open source for urban planning: tools and implementation.

How to improve urban planning processes using Open Source? In a recent webinar of the Network and the Cities Lab, we presented the Open Urban Planning Toolbox and the tools it includes to improve urban planning - from the initial design to the implementation and evaluation of projects. Also, the city of Manta (Ecuador), presented its experience using the UrbanPy tool, which measures accessibility of the population to key service points (pharmacies, hospitals, banks, schools, etc), generating detailed maps that indicate the degree of isolation of each sector and the amount of population affected.

Towards sustainable urban energy

How does sustainable urban energy contribute to the economic recovery of cities? In a recent IDB Cities Network webinar, we discussed the potential of new power generation technologies, such as distributed solar energy and energy efficiency, to make cities more sustainable, resilient, and at the same time, contribute to a true green economic recovery. Topics addressed include (i) the legal framework; (ii) technologies; and (iii) financing.

Decarbonizing Cities: Innovations in Latin America and the Caribbean

How can we reduce the carbon footprint of our cities? In a recent IDB Cities Network webinar, we discussed the state of decarbonization of cities and urban transport, and presented the potential of metro cables for the region. Topics addressed included - among others - zero carbon cities, electro mobility and climate change commitments, and electro mobility as a social tool with a particular case of metro cables.

How to adapt cities to climate change? Financing and best practices

Why is it so important that our cities are prepared to adapt to climate change? In a recent webinar we discussed how to improve technical capacities and mobilize financing for adaptation, take advantage of decarbonization opportunities, develop strong local strategies, and articulate national commitments with local goals.

Towards a Green Recovery: A Climate Change Focused Agenda for LAC Cities

This event explores the region's central institutional climate challenge: coordination between the national and local level, from goal setting to financing issues, as well as monitoring and development of policies and incentives. This session summarizes the four main financing challenges and capacity gaps that cities in the LAC region face in addressing climate change in their cities: 1) adaptation; 2) infrastructure improvement; 3) decarbonization; 4) local challenges and opportunities for the design and implementation of nationally determined contributions.

The future of food markets in Latin America and the Caribbean

In the context of the current COVID-19 crisis, food markets have been among the most affected. Why are these types of spaces key to building more resilient cities, strengthening urban-rural linkages in the region, and fostering innovation to better connect producers, sellers and consumers

24-hour cities: reactivating cities at night in the new normal

What has been the impact of COVID-19 on the nighttime economy of our cities? In a recent IDB Cities Network webinar, we spoke with experts and nighttime mayors from cities such as Amsterdam and New York, who shared experiences and lessons learned on how to safely reactivate 24-hour activity in the new normal.

How to promote the reactivation of employment in Latin American and Caribbean cities?

How can local governments contribute to the reactivation of employment in their cities? We talked to various experts on public employment programs, training and job placement, and pay-for-performance proposals.

How to build safe, inclusive and sustainable cities with Open-Source Data?

In a recent webinar in conjunction with UN-Habitat, we discussed how to leverage open-source data to improve public spaces, and presented cases from Montevideo (Uruguay), Montería (Colombia) and Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic).

Building resilience: lessons learned from New Orleans and Central America

In this webinar we explore best practices and medium and long-term strategies for resilient recovery from natural disasters, such as hurricanes Eta and Iota in Central America.

GOVTECH: Technology to transform public services in cities

How are cities implementing technology to transform public services? We talked to several experts about the capacity of GovTech ecosystems in Latin America and the Caribbean, and their potential contribution to solving public governance problems.

Challenges and lessons learned by cities during the coronavirus crisis

What tactics are being implemented at the local level to combat COVID-19? In the face of the global epidemic caused by the coronavirus, city leaders are faced with the immense challenge of controlling the spread of this pandemic without eroding the local economic apparatus.

Responses for the informal city in COVID-19 times: what do we do where traditional solutions do not work?

Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the most unequal regions in the world, with 20% of its population living in informal settlements and around 50% in the informal economy. In the context of the coronavirus pandemic, isolation measures designed for formality are not so easy to comply with in the informal city, in addition to the immediate impact on the daily income of the most vulnerable populations

How are cities preparing for a reopening before COVID-19? Experiences from Europe and New York

In the recovery phase of the coronavirus pandemic, a key focus is the reopening of cities. Now, how to revive urban economies, public transportation and public spaces without creating a second wave of contagions? In the conversation of April 29, we learned about preliminary experiences of reopening European cities and New York, which can be very useful for local leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean.

 

How are Latin American and Caribbean cities preparing for a reopening to COVID-19?

Urbanism and epidemiology: two necessary visions to reopen cities once the emergency phase of the coronavirus pandemic has passed. In the May 8 webinar, we talked to the following experts about the process of reopening cities:

  • Richard Florida, urban planner and professor at the School of Cities at the University of Toronto.
  • Stefano Bertozzi, dean emeritus and professor at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley.

We then discussed the challenges of reopening through simultaneous parallel sessions on mobility, public space, housing and construction, ending with a sharing of each session.

Strategies to strengthen city revenues in COVID-19 times

The fiscal and financial situation of Latin American and Caribbean cities is facing a severe shock. Many of them are experiencing different measures, such as fiscal and economic functioning schemes. In the May 19 conversation, we learned about different experiences on how to restore cities' revenues.

Economic revival of cities: the path to the new normal after COVID-19

How to revive employment, investment, urban mobility and the use of public space in the post-pandemic city? Urban collaboration and innovation will be crucial for socio-economic solutions aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals. During the webinar that took place on May 26th, we learned about multiple strategies on economic revival.

The COVID-19 green sheet of the day: biodiversity for resilient cities

The health and socioeconomic crisis of the coronavirus occurs in the midst of a climate change crisis, thus reinforcing the impetus to think of the post-pandemic as an opportunity to include measures that contribute to increasing resilience to climate change in urban areas, whether by reducing the carbon footprint, improving adaptation measures, or ensuring the quality of nature's elements. Learn about the experiences and strategies we shared in the June 9 conversation.

What did we learn after three months of the COVID-19 crisis? Experiences and visions of Latin American and Caribbean city leade

In the aftermath of the health and socio-economic crisis unleashed by the coronavirus, city leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean have faced vital issues such as public health, safety, economic recovery and growing social needs. In addition, many of the cities are facing new challenges as they enter a reopening phase. All of this complex situation highlighted the capacity of each municipality to cope with the crisis. In the June 19 webinar, we learned about the following experiences and visions after three months of COVID-19: 

  • Colin Jordan, Minister of Labor and Social Relations of Barbados.
  • Rodrigo Neves Barreto, Mayor of Niterói, Brazil
  • Claudio Castro, Mayor of Renca, Chile
  • Martin Llaryora, Mayor of Cordoba, Argentina
  • Milena Calderón Sol de Escalón, Mayor of Santa Ana, El Salvador
  • Virna Johnson, Mayor of Santa Marta, Colombia

What did everyone say? Watch video.

Coordination between different levels of government: the key role of metropolitan governance in the management of the COVID-19 crisis

In the context of the health and socioeconomic crisis of the coronavirus, dialogue and metropolitan governance is once again emerging on the roadmap for large municipalities that share borders, as well as for national and subnational entities in search of lasting and consensual solutions on a supra-communal scale. In the July 1 conversation, we learned about the following visions and experiences in metropolitan governance:

How to regain trust in the post-pandemic city from the public space, civic culture and economy?

What role do communication, messages, authorities' actions, and behavioral economics have in improving public policy decisions? In the context of the health and socioeconomic crisis of the coronavirus, we learned about the following visions and experiences regarding citizen trust:

 The future of cities: transforming urban life in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis

Are we moving towards a new model of urban development that is more creative, productive, inclusive and resilient? In the July 31 conversation, we discussed the opportunity for Latin American and Caribbean cities in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis to implement changes in mobility, technology and human relations.

 

Economic and employment reactivation through housing projects

How can urban development projects contribute to economic and employment recovery? Investment in infrastructure and the production and improvement of social housing can play a fundamental role in the post-pandemic recovery, either because of their potential impact on employment, quality of life and/or productivity of the economy.

In complex and uncertain times, the IDB Cities Network facilitates a virtual space for dialogue between specialists and local city leaders to learn about housing projects that improve the quality of life and contribute to local economic reactivation and employment generation based on public-private collaboration.

This second webinar of the Economic Reactivation Series: Reactivating the economy and employment through housing projects, focused on new instruments, investments and incentives that promote mixed land use, social diversity, smart densities and the definition of service standards, infrastructure, safe public space and green areas.

Website | Recording | Notes

Bosai: Building Resilient Cities Beyond Disasters

The IDB Cities Network and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) invite you to the workshop "Bosai: Building Resilient Cities Beyond Disasters".

Japan has built a resilient society through the concept of "Bosai," an extremely broad Japanese term that encompasses everything from risk reduction to rebuilding and recovering cities after a natural disaster. Its holistic approach to saving both lives and the economy has a major impact on all phases of disasters: prevention, recovery, response, and mitigation. In addition, the country has improved its response capacity for economic and social recovery through investments in resilient infrastructure. Thus, for example, many cities in Japan are developing disaster-resistant, efficient, and environmentally friendly electricity systems.

This webinar is an opportunity to learn from Japanese and Latin American and Caribbean cities about how they have responded to past floods, earthquakes and tsunamis, and how their programs and policies can inspire and enhance the work we are doing.

Website | Notes

In the first webinar of the Network's Economic Revitalization Series, the objective was to engage in a conversation on how to facilitate women's access to decent and affordable housing in cities, as well as to highlight the role of financial institutions and local governments in Latin America and the Caribbean in this regard. 

The IDB Cities Network's Economic Revitalization Series seeks to strengthen the institutional and financial capacity of cities through programs and activities related to local economic development, employment generation and innovative financing mechanisms with the private sector.

Immigrating: strengthening cities

The arrival of COVID-19 is strongly affecting Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries, and especially the region's migrants, as approximately 10 million Latin American and Caribbean migrants reside in another country. The pandemic has been an additional factor for people to migrate, but COVID-19 also forced the closure of borders, which harmed the migrant population leaving many in a precarious and uncertain state. This crisis will affect cities and densified areas in particular, where this population is usually found.

The Housing and Urban Development Division of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), in coordination with the Migration Unit, presents Immigrating: Strengthening Destination Cities, which exposes the problem from the migrants' point of view so that cities can prepare themselves to be more inclusive and respond adequately to this great challenge.

Today, the global situation requires us to provide innovative, rapid and focused responses to mitigate the problems that arise during the pandemic. In this discussion, we learned about the current migration and health situation from the practical experience of three cities in LAC and the Bank's work on migration in cities.

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