Iron ore slides despite China growth

The price of iron ore has now fallen by more than 30% since its February peak, despite news this week of better-than-expected GDP growth in China.

Iron ore was trading at US$66.25 a tonne overnight, as the gap between supply and demand continues to grow.

The price is down more than 10% in a week, and more than 30% since the US$95 a tonne peak price seen in February.

BHP Billiton’s share price on the ASX has dropped 6.0% in a week, while Rio Tinto’s is down 2.3%, and Fortescue Metals Group’s is down 10.6%.

The iron ore slide is reportedly due to weak steel demand in China, which comes despite the country reporting 6.9% GDP growth in the first quarter – a higher mark than what was anticipated.

China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported the 6.9% growth in the first quarter of 2017, compared to the same quarter in 2016, and 1.3% growth on the final quarter of 2016.

Primary industry value added was up 3.0%, secondary industry value added was up 6.4%, and growth in tertiary industry was 7.7%.

“Since the beginning of 2017,” the Bureau wrote in its quarterly report, “people from all regions … adhered to the general working guideline of making progress while maintaining stability, steered the new normal in economic development with the new development philosophy, and advanced the supply-side structural reform.

“As positive changes kept emerging and major indicators performed better than expected, the national economy maintained the momentum of steady and sound development from the second half of last year, getting off to a good start in 2017 and laying a solid foundation for accomplishing the whole-year growth target.”

Coal wagons Aurizon. Photo: Aurizon

Debbie to cost Aurizon $100 million

Aurizon has lowered its earnings forecast for FY17 by between $100 million and $115 million, because of extended shutdowns after Cyclone Debbie battered Queensland in late March.

Three of Aurizon’s four Queensland coal networks have now been re-opened.

The Blackwater System was re-opened on April 10, while Moura was re-opened April 12, and Newlands was re-opened April 13.

But the Goonyella System received significant damage, and will remain closed until April 26, at which stage trains will be able to run with speed restrictions and reduced capacity.

Aurizon’s shares were put on hold on the ASX on Tuesday so its board could meet to discuss the implications of the closures.

Overall, the company expects to lose between 12 million tonnes and 14 million tonnes of above rail volumes, reducing its forecast above rail volume for FY17 from 200-212 million tonnes, to 190-200 million tonnes.

Aurizon’s below rail volumes – i.e. coal carried on Aurizon’s network by other companies – will drop by 19 to 21 million tonnes.

The company expects these lost volumes to take a $70 million to $80 million bite out of its below rail revenue, but said the incident would trigger take-or-pay provisions of roughly $30 million, reducing the overall impact to between $40 million and $50 million.

On top of that, Aurizon’s has had to pay between $40 million and $50 million in flood repair costs.

All told, the cyclone will impact Aurizon’s earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) by between $100 million and $115 million in FY17.

EBIT will now be be in the rainge of $800-850 million, rather than the previously-advised $900-950 million, Aurizon said.

The company said it would be able to recover approximately $70 million to $80 million of the lost revenue through regulatory procedures over the next few financial years.

Aurizon began trading on the ASX again just before 2pm on Tuesday, but closed just 1.51% down, at $5.21.

Rail funding for Adani would breach policy, green group claims

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) says a $1 billion loan from the Commonwealth’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) for a rail line to Adani’s Carmichael coal project in Queensland should be in breach of the NAIF’s directives.

The ACF last week rejected Adani’s push for NAIF funding, saying directors of the government facility would be in breach of their duties if they helped finance the rail line.

The ACF believes the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act, which governs the NAIF, requires the fund to consider the financial risks from climate change in its decision making.

The ACF believes this “requisite standard of care and diligence” should prohibit NAIF investment in the proposed Adani and Aurizon rail projects, which would transport coal from the mine to port.

“The Adani coal mine will fuel the global warming that is making the Reef sick, threaten 70,000 tourism jobs that rely on it, and divert urgent investment from renewable energy,” ACF president Geoff Cousins said.

“If NAIF Board directors burn $1 billion of public money on coal infrastructure that will help destroy the Reef and jobs, then absolutely they should be held to account.”

Cousins said the ACF would consider all avenues and legal options to stop the project from getting government funding.

“NAIF must consider climate risks,” he said.

“These are assets that will be useless within a decade.

“Investment in coal infrastructure risks public money and in the meantime helps to drive dangerous global warming.

“NAIF directors who support it should be held accountable.”

Environmental Justice Australia lawyer David Barnden said NAIF directors would expose Australian taxpayers – and themselves – to “huge risks” if they gave a loan to the proposed coal railway.

“Our analysis concludes NAIF directors will breach their duties if they support any rail project to cart coal from the Galilee Basin to the Great Barrier Reef coast,” Barnden said.

“Recent legal developments mean NAIF support for Adani’s coal project – which is incompatible with keeping global warming below 2°C – would put the NAIF directors in conflict with their duties.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited with Adani chairman Guatan Adani during a trip to India last week.

Turnbull confirmed he had discussed the company’s plans to apply for a $1 billion loan under the NAIF.

“Mr Adani in our discussions simply noted that his company expects to make an application to the NAIF on the basis that we’ve described several times,” the PM said.

“That’s got an independent board, it will assess the application on its merits and it is obviously going to be dependent on there being other funding as well from the private sector, from external sources to support the railway line.”

Turnbull also indicated his Cabinet was working to progress legislation which will overturn a controversial decision in the Federal Court in February, which enforced the Native Title Act requirement that an Indigenous land use agreement must be signed by all traditional owners to be valid.

Aurizon coal train. Photo: Aurizon

Aurizon to help cyclone-affected communities

Aurizon has announced it is opening a “one-off” special round of their Community Giving Fund to help Queensland communities impacted by Cyclone Debbie.

MD & CEO Andrew Harding said that the fund is making available grants of up to $20,000 to assist community groups in rebuilding and recovery after the natural disaster.

The company’s Giving Fund, established in 2011, has supported “more than 240 charities and not-for-profits across the country in education, community safety, environment as well as health and wellbeing,” Harding said.

Aurizon itself did not emerge from the storm unscathed. Infrastructure damage and flooding led to the temporary closure of the Central Queensland Coal Network’s four rail systems, and Harding indicated that several of Aurizon’s depots and facilities in Central and North Queensland had been impacted.

According to Hardy, Aurizon employees have already been helping local communities in these areas, “supporting clean-up efforts, delivering much needed supplies, and preparing and recovering from the impacts of floodwaters”.

The CEO solicited communities affected by the cyclone to seek financial assistance from the Giving Fund.

“This special round of the Giving Fund will pump money straight into those towns and regions that have been hardest hit and help fund grassroots projects and initiatives to help the community rebuild,” Harding said.

Applications to the Fund’s “special round” opened on Monday April 10 and will close on June 2.

Report cites ‘cabinet direction’ against rail in NSW

A new report from Fairfax has suggested Transport for NSW is being driven to prioritise toll road projects over public transport by the state government.

The Monday article in The Sydney Morning Herald cites an internal Transport for NSW memo, acquired through the Government Information (Public Access) Act.

According to the Herald, the September 26, 2016 memo referenced a direction made by the state cabinet to not compare to cost of a toll road against a public transport alternative.

The road in question was the F6 Extension, a proposed link between the M1 Princes Motorway at Waterfall, and the WestConnex interchange at St Peters.

The memo quoted by Fairfax appears to criticise a lack of consideration for public transport alternatives, in Transport for NSW’s analysis of the F6 Extension.

“In the case of the F6 Extension, a diverse range of design and location options were considered, but only in the context of a tolled and untolled road-based solution,” the memo is quoted as saying.

“The existence of a cabinet direction not to consider other options must not preclude the consideration of public transport.”

The document also reportedly referenced similar cabinet directives for studies of the proposed Western Harbour Tunnel, and Beaches Link road tunnel project.

But NSW transport minister Andrew Constance has reportedly dismissed the story.

“[The memo] is an email that has been cobbled together by some bureaucrat which is ill-informed of the cabinet process,” Constance was quoted as saying by on Monday.

Constance reportedly pointed to the number of major public transport currently underway in New South Wales, including the Sydney Metro rail project and the Sydney CBD and South East light rail project.

But critics of the F6 Extension have said the public transport alternative is to complete the Maldon to Dombarton rail line.

The Maldon-Dombarton is a partially constructed rail line, cancelled in 1988, that would diverge from the Main South Line at Maldon, and would link to the Moss Vale-Unanderra line at Dombarton, 35 kilometres away.

The public transport aspect of the project is that it would remove coal trains from the Illawarra line, boosting capacity for passenger trains, and reducing the journey from Wollongong to Central from 90 minutes, to 60 minutes.

“We need a faster rail alternative for people to get to the Sydney CBD from Wollongong, not an expensive new toll road in the South,” Greens NSW transport spokesperson Mehreen Faruqi said on Monday.

“The Government’s obsession with toll roads means the public loses out on cheaper public transport solutions. A clear cabinet directive not to consider rail as an alternative to the M6 is outrageous.

“Is the government promising private toll road operators that they will not build public transport to compete with a super profit generating toll road?

“An F6 toll road will funnel even more cars into the Westconnex forcing people to pay higher and higher tolls.

“The government does PPP’s with private companies behind closed doors or as unsolicited projects. There is no involvement of the public in secret public-private partnerships.”

How do we restore the public’s faith in transport planning?

COMMENT: Politicised transport projects that flout proper process lead to hostility between residents and governments, and give planners a bad name, Crystal Legacy, Jan Scheurer, and Carey Curtis write.

The Conversation

Opposition to proposed road projects has become a feature of state and federal elections.

In Western Australia, protests against the Roe Highway Stage 8 escalated just before Christmas 2016. On the eve of the state election, Main Roads WA contractors (acting at the behest of the then Liberal-National government) pushed forward with the destruction of the environmentally significant Beeliar wetlands.

This happened despite considerable community opposition. The Labor opposition, now the newly elected government, declared it would halt the construction if elected.

Politics as usual puts planning under a cloud

In our recently published paper, we compared road projects in Melbourne (East West Link), Sydney (WestConnex) and Perth (Perth Freight Link). Based on observational, policy and media analysis, we found growing antagonism between the state governments and their residents.

Roe 8 is just the latest freeway battle in Australia, following those in Sydney and Melbourne, where the Labor government cancelled the East West Link.

To the casual observer, these protests, and promises by parties in opposition to scrap contracts if elected, could be seen simply as “politics as usual”.

However, normalising politics in transport can veil the deficiencies and shortcuts that undermine planners’ ability to act in the public interest. For this reason, it is critical that we examine what dynamics are at play, and how planning serves and/or exacerbates these.

Professional planning bypassed

In the case of Roe 8, good planning was circumvented.

Not only is this undermining efforts to reduce car dependency and invest in public transport – goals adopted in these three cities’ metropolitan strategic plans since at least the 1990s – it is undermining professional planning practice.

The evasion of due process in planning has recently come into sharp focus. Reports by the Australian Auditor-General on the WestConnex project in Sydney and by the Victorian Auditor-General on the East West Link in Melbourne are severely critical of processes taken. The report on the East West Link concluded that the Victorian government lacked “a sound basis for the government’s decision to commit to the investment”.

In the case of Roe 8, Main Roads WA documents provided to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development were recently released under FOI after a two-year court battle to keep them secret. These show a rushed and partial assessment of the transport case for the road was put to Infrastructure Australia.

The latter, in its own assessment, alerts us to concerns about inadequate analysis:

A rapid BCR (benefit cost ratio) was completed for the preferred option only … [and] a rapid BCR was not completed for additional options to determine if the preferred option provided the greatest net benefits.

Traffic planning is only one part of the process. A Freight Network Review commenced in 2001 and concluded in 2003 found that Roe 8 was not needed. There is no publicly available report stating why this sound planning was set aside.

In addition, proper planning process has been bypassed. The previous WA government argued that the Roe Highway had been reserved in the Metropolitan Region Scheme (MRS) since the 1960s and that this was good long-term planning. However, the detailed road alignment falls outside this reserve at three locations.

This triggered the use by the WA Planning Commission of a “Planning Control Area” (PCA), the purpose of which is to protect land until “proper planning” can take place. After this, an MRS amendment must be initiated and advertised for public comment.

Construction began before any public consultation on the MRS amendment. Was this to avoid public scrutiny?

Public consultation is an important part of any good planning process. It was undertaken for other 1960s major road reserves. These were reviewed against current knowledge and policy, and in some cases deleted (the Stirling Highway, for example).

Public input into the planning process provides an opportunity for governments to bring the community with them through both owning the planning problem and arriving at a solution that the public can support.

Risks of politicisation are high

Large transport projects are likely to attract opposition from affected communities. Construction is disruptive and the visual, noise and amenity changes are significant.

These projects are also transformational. They lead to profound city-wide, and even region-wide, changes to the environment and the working of a city.

For these reasons, planning for transport projects must be a process of careful consideration. It requires sound professional planning based on reasoned justification drawing on the best available evidence. This process must be transparent to all.

When politicians choose a different course to planning advice, this must be on their own account and again transparent. We need a strong discussion on professional ethics and the need for clear separation of planners’ independent advice from elected politicians’ decisions.

In the case of Roe 8, are we to assume that the analysis and conduct of the planning process we see revealed reflects what planners at Main Roads WA and the Western Australian Planning Commission believe is sound professional practice? Or are they simply building a case for politicians?

Without clear and transparent documentation, planners leave themselves open to criticism and bring the profession into disrepute.

Room for improvement

Based on our research, we assert the need to recognise that the gap between strategic planning and project planning needs to be filled by a more community-oriented decision-making process.

We must challenge “urgency” – when governments aim to sign contracts before we have had sound planning analysis and community input.

Long-term planning does not mean that a project like Roe 8, which was first mooted more than 50 years ago, must be built today. We need to take into account new knowledge and current views on our future. We must place equality and environmental and economic sustainability in balance, as weighed by community values.

The political process is one place where those values must be considered holistically. This is immensely important, but it should not undermine transparent and sound planning.

This article draws on a research paper by the authors in a new special issue of the international journal, Urban Policy and Research, on critical urban infrastructure. You can read other published articles in our series here.

Crystal Legacy is Australian Research Council (DECRA) Fellow and Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow, Centre for Urban Research, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University; Carey Curtis is Professor of City Planning and Transport, Curtin University, and Jan Scheurer is Senior Research Fellow, Curtin UniversityThis article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article here.

Ground broken at Moorebank

Construction on the long-anticipated intermodal terminal at Moorebank has formally begun this week, with a sod-turning ceremony on Thursday morning.

Moorebank Intermodal Company chairman Kerry Schott and Qube chairman Chris Corrigan were joined by federal finance minister Mathias Cormann and transport and infrastructure minister Darren Chester at the site.

The government’s Moorebank Intermodal Company reached financial close on their agreement to develop and operate the site with Qube in late January.

Corrigan welcomed the commencement of construction, noting Moorebank was identified as a priority location for a freight terminal as early as 2004.

“The site has a direct rail link to Port Botany and the interstate freight network which, along with its proximity to major motorways, makes it ideal for an intermodal facility,” he said.

“Moorebank Logistics Park will transform the freight and logistics supply chain along the East Coast.”

Schott said the government and Qube shared a long-term strategy.

“The commencement of construction is a significant milestone that recognises our success and brings us a step closer to realising the substantial benefits this development will deliver for the people of southwest Sydney, and NSW more broadly,” Schott said.

“Moorebank Logistics Park is a nationally significant infrastructure project that will be a major economic contributor to local and regional communities for years to come.”

Chester and Cormann noted in a joint statement that the Commonwealth has committed to contribute $370 million to the project, along with 158 ha of land.

“By leveraging private sector financing, the combined precinct will deliver all the significant benefits for the economy, but at a much lower cost and less risk to the Australian taxpayer,” the joint statement read.

“These benefits will include lower freight costs, less congestion on our roads and reduced road damage as heavy vehicle use is reduced.

“Over $3 billion of benefits are expected as a result of reduced travel time for cars and trucks and over $170 million of benefits expected from road accidents avoided by taking trucks off the road.”

Moorebank’s import-export freight terminal is expected to be open by late 2018, while the interstate terminal is set to open in 2020.

Both terminals are to operate under an open access regime, the ministers said.

Environmental work begins on Olive Downs mine and rail

An 18-kilometre rail spur serving around eight trains per day would be part of a proposed $1 billion coal mine under environmental assessment in the Bowen Basin.

Draft terms of reference were made available this week for the environmental assessment of the Olive Downs mine proposal near Moranbah.

The mine would produce up to 14 million tonnes per annum of mostly metallurgical coal over a 30-year lifespan, Lynham said.

An 18-kilometre rail spur would be built to link the mine to the Norwich Park Branch railway, part of the Goonyella System.

The project would also include an on-site rail loop.

Coal would be moved to the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal, south of Mackay, for export.

Visiting the region on April 6, Queensland state development minister Anthony Lynham was certain to assure residents the project would receive a thorough environmental assessment.

“The resources sector is fundamental to jobs and business opportunities, particularly in our regional communities, and rigorous environmental processes are important to keeping this vital industry sustainable,” he said.

“This is the first step in a rigorous process for this mine proposal that could create more than 500 construction jobs a year over two years.”

The mine is being proposed by Pembroke Resources, which was launched in 2014, and is backed by US-based energy and mining group Denham Capital.

Pembroke is targeting first export from the Olive Downs mine by 2020.

Water to drive debate over Southern Highlands mine, rail project

A move by South Korean steelmaker POSCO to build a new coal mine in the New South Wales Southern Highlands is set to kick off a major battle between the company and local residents.

An Environmental Impact Statement for the Hume Coal Project was released on March 31.

The 3mtpa coal mine would export at Port Kembla, via the Berrima Rail Project, which would require a separate development application.

The mine’s EIS, available here, suggests it would consume as much as 2.3 billion litres of water a year, resulting in major impacts to a number of bores in the area.

“Groundwater inflows to the mine will occur during its operational life and for three years after coal extraction ceases (i.e. for approximately 22 years’ duration in total),” the EIS states.

“It is predicted that 93 private landowner bores on 71 properties will experience a drawdown of two metres or more due to the project.”

The drawdowns will impact each bore for an average of 36 years, and as much as 65 years in some places, the EIS said.

The South Korean company said it would compensate locals who saw bore levels decline by more than two metres.

“All bores drawn-down by more than two metres due to the project will be eligible for compensation (financial or otherwise),” the EIS said.

In some cases, the miner would work with residents to improve or redrill their bores due to the impact of the mine on the groundwater level.

Community group Battle for Berrima rejected the premise that such a significant impact to groundwater could be justified through compensation.

“The simple fact is that farmers, landowners and residents will be directly affected by Hume Coal’s proposal for up to seven decades if it is approved by the Berejiklian Government,” Battle for Berrima president Ken Wilson said on Tuesday.

“It is an outrage that this level of impact on existing landowners, their businesses, livelihood and local economy can be even considered by Hume Coal.

“What is even more egregious is that Hume Coal feels it is an appropriate solution to simply compensate farmers if their bores go dry.”

But POSCO’s Hume Coal project director Greig Duncan said the impact on groundwater bores was limited.

“Around a third of the affected bores will experience increased pumping cost and no other capital works or supplementary measures are required,” Duncan said.

“Another third of the bores have been assessed as potentially needing their submersible pump repositioned.

“The final third may require redrilling, or repositioning to maintain water supply; typically these bores are either shallow, or screened in, or below the coal seam itself, or within close proximity to the top of the target coal seam.”

From Smart Cities 1.0 to 2.0: it’s not (only) about the tech

Australia has lagged behind some other countries in its investment in smart cities, but in retrospect that may not have been such a bad thing, Sarah Barns, Donald McNeill, Ellie Cosgrave, and Michele Acuto write.The Conversation

Australia, one of the world’s most urbanised nations, is looking to up its investment in digital technologies to make our cities work better.

In coming months, tech companies, local governments and other eligible organisations will be teaming up to apply for round one of the federal government’s A$50 million Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. The program is seeking ideas for prototypes and platforms that can help solve a local urban challenge of some kind.

As the draft guidelines suggest, project funding could be used for anything from managing waste better, making local precincts more liveable, or helping citizens become more engaged with their councils, to developing systems that help planners better predict local development impacts.

Compared to other areas of federal infrastructure spending – like roads – $50 million for smart city investments may not sound like much. But it’s a bit of a windfall for an area that has struggled to get off the ground in Australia for the past few years.

Australia has been in no hurry to become smart. Overseas, many cities have put significant effort into building their profile as smart cities. They have invested in technology acceleration, data analytics, visualisation and instrumentation programs, and so on.

Before launching the federal program, Australia had made relatively few investments in smart city programs. Those investments remained relatively modest.

The benefits of not rushing in

In retrospect, perhaps this wasn’t such a bad thing. It’s now widely recognised that, despite the rhetoric of technology vendors, much of the early investment in smart cities failed to demonstrate significant benefits to cities and their citizens.

This period of “Smart Cities 1.0” investment was dominated by relatively small or experimental prototypes involving separate systems and infrastructures. Think a Cisco smart light trial, combined with a smart parking app. These have been small, interesting prototypes, but not necessarily generating the efficiencies and value sometimes claimed for smart cities.

Adelaide and Cisco have run a smart street lighting trial in the CBD.

The embrace of relatively small or experimental prototypes in Smart Cities 1.0 created vertical “data silos” and failed to scale or demonstrate real benefits. The emerging logic of “Smart Cities 2.0” is quite different. Smart Cities 2.0 investments focus on creating platforms for data access, sharing, re-use and inter-operability.

Part of the reason for this shift lies in the changing nature of the technologies themselves. Our urban environments are turning into landscapes populated by more and more connected “Things” equipped with many different sensors for data capture and analytics. This is driving a growing need for inter-operable platforms and standards that give more players wider access to city data.

A city that invests in these platforms can kick-start a wider technology ecosystem, enabling innovation in city services to thrive.

The emerging critical infrastructures for Smart Cities 2.0 are turning out to be city data markets, data exchanges, and data protocols, standards and specifications. These have been developed by groups like the Hypercat and LORA alliances.

It is becoming more clear that these infrastructures will require more strategic collaborations between governments, industry, communities, citizens and researchers.

Reinventing government as ‘a platform’?

For those of us who are happy to hear tech vendors talk about data sharing and open innovation, this all sounds great. We do hope some of this thinking makes its way into the funding of pilots and prototypes under the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program.

But we should be mindful here that what is perhaps most radical about this new phase is not the technologies themselves, but the way they are repositioning the role of government.

Governments are increasingly positioning themselves as the “platform” for wider innovation in data services. Australia’s Digital Transformation Office has embraced this idea of services “built on a shared (data) core”. Many other agencies are following suit.

But if cities “run on information” are going to make a real difference, we need to think about how these new platforms can be used to overcome the endemic governance challenges our cities face.

Major Australian cities are made up of a patchwork of local government areas overlaid with state and federal jurisdictions responsible for transport, education, health and so on. No single agency “runs” the city. Many of them even work against each other.

The result is that instruments for strategic planning, like the metropolitan strategy, have tended to remain relatively weak. Modelled on the Greater London Authority, the Greater Sydney Commission represents a shift towards metropolitan-scale governance. This creates an opportunity to scale up investments in data infrastructures, building scalable city-wide data architecture like the London Data Store.

Though we might not be able to solve the endemic challenges of patchwork municipal governance, we can encourage our city governments to invest in data-rich platforms to help foster data-driven collaborations and services that benefit our cities.

Responsive governance the key

The ingredients of a smart city include a raft of technology innovations, as well as a willingness to experiment with new ways of doing things.

Today’s Internet of Things technologies, data analytics platforms and sensor-enabled services are sure to deliver new ways to understand, visualise and analyse the nature and scale of many of our most pressing urban challenges.

But solving challenges such as waste management, urban liveability and land-use planning will require more than technology investments, data-capture services or digital prototypes. Solutions will also depend on effective long-term partnerships within and beyond government.

While the digital infrastructure is no doubt important, it will be the city governments that invest in new ways to collaborate and co-innovate that will ultimately lead the way in delivering the smarter, more responsive services our cities so desperately need.

This article draws on a research paper by the authors in a new special issue of the international journal, Urban Policy and Research, on critical urban infrastructure. You can read other published articles in the series here.

Sarah Barns is Urban Studies Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University; Donald McNeill is Professor of Urban and Cultural Geography, Western Sydney University; Ellie Cosgrave is Research Associate, UCL, and Michele Acuto is Professor of Diplomacy and Urban Theory, UCLThis article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.