The marquee matchup in MLS this week featured the top two sides in the Eastern Conference facing off, with the winner offered the chance to book a place in the MLS Cup playoffs. Only Los Angeles FC, the runaway leader in MLS this season, had already locked up a place in the playoffs so far – Bob Bradley’s side having clinched a berth in mid-August thanks to a historically good run through the campaign. LAFC came as little surprise, coming off a first season in the league in which the club looked like a budding power, but for the Union, being the second team in could be seen as something of a shocker. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Last season the club earned the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference before being bounced in the first round by New York City FC. The 2019 campaign has been a different story for Philly. With just eight losses this year compared to 14 last season, the club has already passed its points total from their last campaign with five games to spare. Saturday’s match against Atlanta United was a test of the highest order for the Union, and Jim Curtin’s club passed with flying colours. The two sides entered the night locked at the top of the East with 48 points each, and Atlanta went in front through Josef Martinez, who continued his impressive scoring run in the process, just before halftime. It was a lovely goal from Atlanta, with Martinez working a clinical one-two at the top of the box before rounding the goalkeeper and slotting home, but it wasn’t enough to dent the Union’s resolve. Brenden Aaronson answered just after the hour mark, pulling Philadelphia level, and a brilliant finish from Kacper Przybylko put the Union out in front in the 86th minute. Sergio Santos added a third for the Union two minutes later, giving the Union a 3-1 win on the night. The Union still needed help to lock up their playoff place on Saturday, but the San Jose Earthquakes were more than happy to lend a hand. A Magnus Eriksson opener and a pair of goals from Chris Wondolowski had the ‘Quakes up 3-0 at halftime over Orlando City, with San Jose holding on for the win, giving the Union the gap needed to mathematically secure one of the top seven spots in the Eastern Conference.
An ambitious grants initiative has earmarked the money for the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) to provide local authorities in developing countries with Geographical Information Systems (GIS) – sophisticated technology and training which will enable them to better manage urban areas and target their development policies.”Most local authorities in the developing world have outdated information about the state of their cities,” UN-HABITAT Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka said. “If we are going to improve the living conditions of the urban poor, city authorities must be provided with the necessary tools, software and training.”The grant, from the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) – a leading developer of GIS technology – will support UN-HABITAT’s Global Urban Observatory, an international capacity-building network created to monitor efforts underway to improve the lives of 100 million slum dwellers by 2020.To achieve that goal, which was highlighted in the 2000 Millennium Declaration, the programme will be implemented in phases, and this year will award grants to 350 cities that currently do not have access to geographical information technology. The cities will then be able to monitor and analyse urban indicators, such as poverty rates, signs of environmental degradation, failing infrastructures or lack of access to adequate land.Virtually any information that can be assigned location coordinates can be fed into a GIS. So the desktop geographical technology and Internet mapping technology provided by ESRI will allow the Observatory’s partners create, maintain and disseminate data documenting the condition of the world’s cities.