30/8/2011 - Take part in ICLEI’s FutureCityLeaders initiative.
29/8/2011 - Berlin Wall Site Now a Hot Neighborhood.
28/8/2011 - Water for Life - UN-Water best practice award.
28/8/2011 - Montevideo, Uruguay moves forward with its GHG emissions inventory.
27/8/2011 - Why Latin America Needs a Planning Revolution.
27/8/2011 - Showcasing Hamburg: European Green Capital 2011.
26/8/2011 - Philadelphia's Stormwater Solution.
26/8/2011 - New Efus project to gather knowledge on street violence.
25/8/2011 - San Francisco Could Require Bicycle Parking in Downtown Buildings.
25/8/2011 - Sustainable Smart Town project launched in Fujisawa, Japan.
24/8/2011 - Reinterpreting the City Clutter of Utility Boxes.
24/8/2011 - Combined Mobility is the answer for modern mobility needs.
24/8/2011 - 7th EU Framework Programme: Smart Cities and Communities & Energy-Efficient Buildings.
23/8/2011 - UN-HABITAT's Urban Youth Fund awards 59 small grants to urban youth-led projects in 43 countries .
23/8/2011 - The city of Munich hosts the next CLUSNET policy seminar on 7-9 September.
23/8/2011 - European cities lead the charge for change to sustainable procurement through market engagement.
22/8/2011 - Bringing New Life to Urban Rail Lines.
22/8/2011 - Murcia offers trolley passes in exchange for permanently giving up their cars.
21/8/2011 - Salt Lake City Region Opens Two Light-rail Lines.
21/8/2011 - ICLEI-CASS engage in a dialogue on urban sustainability.
20/8/2011 - 9th UN-HABITAT DIA Best Practices Award 2012 – sponsored by Dubai.
19/8/2011 - Singapore's Green Plant Revolution.
19/8/2011 - Municipalities identify challenges for sustainable energy and climate protection at local level.
19/8/2011 - How a Small Town Absorbs 80,000 Concertgoers.
18/8/2011 - Shortlisted EUROCITIES 2011 awards entries announced.
18/8/2011 - Affordable Housing Gives Life to The Bronx.
17/8/2011 - East African towns benefit from training and capacity building programme.
17/8/2011 - Gas Guzzled to Differing Degrees in U.S. Cities.
17/8/2011 - Schools in Hiroshima City, Japan joined forces to monitor environmental impacts.
17/8/2011 - Will Postcarbon Cities be More Kid-Friendly?
16/8/2011 - New project on prevention of violence in sport to be submitted to the European Commission.
16/8/2011 - Chicago Opens Doors and Land to Urban Gardening.
16/8/2011 - Cities for Active Inclusion: eight workshops coming up this autumn.
15/8/2011 - Survey: Communities achieve sustainability in many ways.
15/8/2011 - Vilnius Mayor Crushes Parking Violators With Tank.
15/8/2011 - In Toronto Suburb, Putting Curvaceous Into Condominiums.
14/8/2011 - What recession? Councils are still spending.
13/8/2011 - Cities Adapting to Older Populations.
13/8/2011 - Software Helps Cities See the Future.
12/8/2011 - Climate Change TV launches 2011 video awards.
12/8/2011 - Parking Location Makes All the Difference.
12/8/2011 - Municipalities and regions of Europe: become a partner of the European Local Democracy Week!
11/8/2011 - Singapore Uni Launches “ICity” Project.
11/8/2011 - Rhode Island town declares bankruptcy.
10/8/2011 - Urban Parks for Healthy Cities.
10/8/2011 - Active inclusion of young people in 9 European cities.
10/8/2011 - Shanghai to Create Suburbs as Remedy for Urban Density.
9/8/2011 - Health Concerns For Urban Cyclists.
9/8/2011 - Carbon efficiency of new cars is increasing.
8/8/2011 - A long term initiative to promote moral courage.
8/8/2011 - Why Bike-Friendly Cities are Safer.
8/8/2011 - VMT Has Peaked In Cities, Says New Report.
7/8/2011 - Strengthening Urban Climate Change Education in Africa.
7/8/2011 - Europe's Most Dynamic City.
7/8/2011 - Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative Launched.
6/8/2011 - Cities Cut Parking Supply to Discourage Driving.
6/8/2011 - The Intelligent Energy Europe Programme must be maintained!
5/8/2011 - New Results of URBACT Projects Now Available!
4/8/2011 - Neighborhood Sustainability the Focus of New Code Ideas in Seattle.
4/8/2011 - Youth voices against racism, using sport as a vehicle to combat racism.
3/8/2011 - Investing in Europe’s Future: 9th European Week of Regions and Cities in Brussels.
3/8/2011 - Vancouver Plans Big Build to End Homelessness.
3/8/2011 - City of Stirling, Australia rolls out a Water Smart Parks strategy.
3/8/2011 - Miami Shifts Urban Form.
2/8/2011 - UN-HABITAT proposes National Urban Policies to face the increase of urban population, poverty and inequality.
2/8/2011 - Tear Down the Freeway, Or Not?.
2/8/2011 - Openness and the Competitive Advantage of Diversity - OPENCities Results.
1/8/2011 - Stockholm's congestion charge on the political agenda again (Sweden).
1/8/2011 - Deadline for contribution to CEMR consultation on European citizenship extended.
Take part in ICLEI’s FutureCityLeaders initiative
The call for applications is on for ICLEI‘s FutureCityLeaders 2-year capacity building program for 21 selected young Mayors and Council members.
The capacity building program is based on the following elements:
•personal & professional capacity building of the individual young leader;
•facilitated interactions with partners from international organizations, business, science, and NGOs;
•networking among the participating young leaders.
The initiative, endorsed by UN-HABITAT and the World Mayors Council on Climate Change, encourages young municipal leaders up to the age of 35 from developed and developing countries to apply.
For more information and to apply, please visit www.iclei.org/futurecityleaders
Water for Life - UN-Water best practice award
UN-Water invites you to nominate your best practice for the 2nd ‘Water for Life’ UN-Water Best Practices Award.
The application period runs from 30 June to 30 September 2011, focusing on ‘Water for Food Security’.
The purpose of the Award is to promote efforts to fulfill international commitments made on water and water-related issues by 2015, through the recognition of outstanding best practices that can ensure the long-term sustainable management of water resources and contribute to the achievement of internationally agreed goals and targets in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.
The prize is awarded yearly in two categories, one in best water management practices and another one in best participatory, communication, awareness-raising and education practices.
More information is available at www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/waterforlifeaward
Montevideo, Uruguay moves forward with its GHG emissions inventory
The municipality of Montevideo, Uruguay's largest city with 1.9 million inhabitants, is one of the first cities to establish a GHG emissions inventory in the country. Results of which were presented in June 2010, and revealed that two-thirds of the city's emissions stem from the burning of fossil fuels.
Based on these results, the city has prepared a low-carbon and resilient climate roadmap, which aims to reduce the city's GHG emissions and improve its resilience against flooding and extreme weather events.
The inventory, which provides the basis for forecasting emission levels, has also enabled the city’s Climate Change Work group to propose policies that promote a low-carbon economy and more efficient use of energy.
Despite climate change being a global problem, solutions are available at the local level. Montevideo's inventory illustrates that local governments are important and can act as key drivers for sustainable public policies.
Such is also the case for the carbonn Cities Climate Registry (cCCR). A registry launched by ICLEI and partners in in Mexico City last year, the cCCR enables cities and local governments to publicly register their GHG reduction commitments, report performances and showcase action. Visit www.citiesclimateregistry.org for more information.
Why Latin America Needs a Planning Revolution
Futile efforts to deal with rampant urbanization could fetter the region's robust economy and squander its potential to become a global economic powerhouse, according to the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI).
In a 60-page report titled "Building globally competitive cities: The key to Latin America growth," MGI argues that the region's largest cities are so "congested, poorly planned and dangerous" that "their institutional, social and environmental support structures have not kept up with their expanding populations."
The Economist weighs in, stressing the importance of establishing good planning practices in this emerging part of the world:
"Compared with their peers in developed countries, Latin America’s top ten cities are unsafe, suffer endemic housing shortages, poor schooling and weak health services. They are also inefficient in their energy use and waste management."
"Unplanned sprawl leads to a shortage of green space, strains transport systems, and makes it hard for businesses or housing developers to find sites. All this is harder still when cities expand beyond their political boundaries, creating problems of co-ordination (Mexico City is split between the Federal District and the surrounding State of Mexico, for example). [...] Along with land use, transport is the biggest headache facing city authorities. Vehicle ownership is likely to expand by 4% a year over the next 15 years, further clogging the streets."
Showcasing Hamburg: European Green Capital 2011
New video showcasing projects from the European Green Capital 2011
The European Green Capital award each year recognises a city which has a consistent record of high environmental standards and continues to strive for further environmental improvement. These cities act as role models for others hoping to achieve similar green credentials.
The following video illustrates the qualities that helped this year’s title-holder and EUROCITIES member, Hamburg, to become the 2011 European Green Capital. In addition to this video, Hamburg came up with a novel idea to share its green ideas with the rest of Europe. The ‘Train of Ideas’ left Hamburg on the 15 April 2011 and will travel to 18 European cities – all EUROCITIES members – by the end of October, showcasing the city’s best sustainable practices in the form of an onboard exhibition.
Follow the link below to view the video. The attached document explains how to apply for the European Green Capital 2014.
Philadelphia's Stormwater Solution
Philadelphia is embarking on a $2 billion, 25-year project to improve the way it absorbs and processes stormwater.
The current system combines sewage and stormwater, which can cause sewage overflows during heavy rains.
"The project will replace as much as one-third of the city’s existing impervious cover – about 4,000 acres – with natural or porous surfaces that can intercept stormwater, store it, and then release it at a controlled rate.
Proposals include natural water storage and filtering solutions such as rain gardens (native vegetation planted near waterways), kerbside planters and green rooftops. Porous asphalt, concrete and paving slabs will also be installed in car parks and on streets. Taken together, these technologies should prevent between 5 and 8 billion gallons of wastewater from overflowing each year – that’s up to 50% of the total for the area. Other benefits would include the creation of 250 green jobs each year, increased carbon sequestration from the vegetation, and a boost in recreational space."
New Efus project to gather knowledge on street violence
Most large European cities are confronted with the problem of violence in public spaces caused by groups of youths. Often, these gangs are responsible for the majority of offences committed in a city, and they create a feeling of insecurity among inhabitants. But youngsters who belong to these groups suffer violence on a much wider scale than the average population. Also, street violence which had long be confined to certain neighbourhoods is now spreading outside these areas.
To tackle this problem, many cities are implementing dedicated prevention programmes. These experiences, policies and local practices are not very well known yet. Know-how in this field is not used fully, because it is fragmented and not disseminated.
The project “EU RECO STREET VIOLENCE’, which has obtained the support of the European Commission in 2010 within the framework of the Daphné III, programme, aims at gathering existing knowledge on this subject and making it available to practictioners, political decision-makers and researchers.
The objective of the project is to create a database of recommendations, accessible online and available both in English and in French. This tool will help establish analyses and comparisons in order to define policy guidelines suitable for all member States and cities of the EU.
This project is implemented in partnership with the Spanish and Belgian Forums for Prevention and Urban Security, the Emilia-Romagna Region (Italy), the National Community Safety Network – (NCSN, UK) and the database specialist Psytel. It is coordinated by Efus, in close cooperation with the French Forum.
Work on this project has begun in the spring of 2011. The project partners will meet in Paris on July 4 and 5 to discuss their preliminary findings, recommendations and best practices. In the following phase, Efus members cities will be invited to share their expertise and showcase their best practices.
More information on the website of the project.
San Francisco Could Require Bicycle Parking in Downtown Buildings
Commercial buildings in downtown San Francisco could be required to provide indoor bicycle parking accommodations under a proposal introduced at last week's Board of Supervisors meeting. Providing secure bicycle parking would encourage would-be bicycle commuters deterred by the prospect of leaving their bicycle locked to on-street poles and bike racks for hours, where they could be vulnerable to theft. "It's the last major gap in solving the commuter bike parking problem," said Dave Snyder, executive director of the California Bicycle Coalition.
Sustainable Smart Town project launched in Fujisawa, Japan
Panasonic Corporation and eight other companies want to build an innovative smart town in ICLEI’s Member City Fujisawa, deploying services and energy systems based on Panasonic's Eco Ideas for green lifestyles. Panasonic Corporation will work together with these companies to implement a smart town concept called Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town (Fujisawa SST).
Global demand for the development of new cities, mainly driven by Asia, is prompting numerous projects in cities throughout the world for the development of smart cities and eco-cities aimed at achieving low carbon societies.
In order to promote the full-scale deployment of smart cities and eco-cities on a global scale, it is important to provide urban dwellers with solutions for achieving a new lifestyle as well as enhancing home's value and economic merits through the development of ecology-minded towns.
The project is set to create an advanced model of a town demonstrating efficient use of energy by promoting widespread use of energy-saving devices and proposing new solutions that integrate measures for energy creation, storage and management.
It also aims to realize a safe, secure and sustainable smart town that embraces nature to the fullest extent as well as produces energy for local use in the town.
Reinterpreting the City Clutter of Utility Boxes
Utility boxes are cluttering city streets all over the world. But they're not going away, and cities should start to try to find new ways to blend them into the urban fabric, according to this article from the San Francisco Chronicle.
John King writes that the large boxes that hold utility equipment require more thought from city officials and the public.
"San Francisco and other cities instead need to accept the clutter for what it is - part of today's landscape - and work to make it as unobtrusive as possible.
The challenge is particularly daunting in a dense city like ours, where some older neighborhoods lack the street trees and shrubbery that can shield things like utility boxes from sight.
In such districts, there's no obvious place to hide the "telecommunications cabinets" that AT&T wants to install as part of an effort to bring fiber-optic service into homes and businesses. The cabinets are 48 inches tall, 52 inches wide and 26 inches deep."
Combined Mobility is the answer for modern mobility needs
In a Focus Paper by the UITP, the International Association of Public Transport, different Combined Mobility services are presented, showing the economic and ecological advantages of partnerships, highlighting areas where coordination is mutually beneficial and giving advice on how best to collaborate. The aim of the paper is to convince public transport authorities and operators of the benefits of Combined Mobility services and to show them what services are missing in their product portfolio in order to become real mobility providers.
7th EU Framework Programme: Smart Cities and Communities & Energy-Efficient Buildings
On 20 July 2011, a number of calls under the EU’s 7th Framework Programme (FP 7) were launched, addressing top-level basic research, trans-national and collaborative research projects and the promotion of the training and career prospects of researchers and scientists. FP 7 is the short name for the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, which runs from 2007 to 2013 and constitutes one of the EU’s major instruments for funding research in Europe.
UN-HABITAT's Urban Youth Fund awards 59 small grants to urban youth-led projects in 43 countries
Now in its third year, the Urban Youth Fund established by UN-HABITAT with funding from the Government of Norway has supported several thousand young people across the world to improve their lives and their urban communities. UN-HABITAT recognizes the rapidly growing youth population in cities of the developing world as potential partners in sustainable urban development. "So many of us are working hard to make opportunities for ourselves and it is sad when local leaders won't trust us. The Fund is special because it sees we can make a difference if we are empowered," says Linda, 22, from Nairobi, Kenya.
The city of Munich hosts the next CLUSNET policy seminar on 7-9 September
Munich is Germany 's third biggest city after Berlin and Hamburg with a population of 5.48 million in its Metropolitan Region.
The Bavarian capital and its surrounding area constitute one of Europe 's most dynamic economic regions. This is due to its enviable geographic location, a successful mix of business and industry and impressive infrastructure which attract the corporate sector. Blue-chip companies such as Allianz, BMW, Munich Re, Linde, Siemens and MAN have their headquarters in Munich . Alongside them, a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) representing different sectors (industry, technology and skilled crafts) form the backbone of the healthy Munich mix. With more than 25.000 businesses created per year, Munich is one of the most dynamic business locations of Europe .
In keeping with this spirit, to stimulate business creation Munich ’s four universities have begun to apply various programmes to make them more entrepreneurial.
The CLUSNET seminar that will take place on September 7 -9 offers the unique opportunity to show cities what they can do to support regional stakeholders in offering services normally provided by an official cluster management. It stresses the role of the private sector and will show the enabler function of public authorities. In the current economic climate, it should open new ways of creating wealth by stimulating private engagement and an entrepreneurial spirit.
For more information or free registration please contact email@example.com
European cities lead the charge for change to sustainable procurement through market engagement
Many cities are making waves across Europe by using the procurement tools developed through the European 'SMART SPP project - innovation through sustainable procurement‘. ICLEI Members Cascais (Portugal), Kolding (Denmark) and the Basque Country (Spain) are participating in the project.
These tools enable purchasers to calculate the real cost of products during their life span, and provide step-by-step guidance on how public bodies can get the best value out of their procurement actions. The tools were officially launched at the 'Smart Procurement – reducing costs and saving energy‘ conference on 29 June 2011 in Brussels, Belgium.
Public authorities purchase large volumes of products and technologies such as lighting, vehicles, heating and cooling systems, information and communication technologies (ICT) and electricity production. They have a responsibility to their communities to reduce the carbon emissions of the products and services they buy. Demand from public authorities for innovative technologies can therefore play an important role in the development and mainstreaming of these technologies. For more information visit www.smart-spp.eu
Bringing New Life to Urban Rail Lines
Cities across the country are breathing new life into abandoned and disused inner city rail lines.
Following on the success of the High Line in New York City, other cities are looking at underused inner city rail lines as opportunities.
"cities around the country, including Chicago, Philadelphia and St. Louis, are working up plans to renovate their aging railroad trestles, tracks and railways for parkland. Cities with little public space are realizing they badly need more parks, and the High Line has taught that renovating an old railway can be the spark that helps improve a neighborhood and attract development.
The High Line’s first and second sections cost $153 million, but have generated an estimated $2 billion in new developments. In the five years since construction started on the High Line, 29 new projects have been built or are under way in the neighborhood, according to the New York City Department of City Planning. More than 2,500 new residential units, 1,000 hotel rooms and over 500,000 square feet of office and art gallery space have gone up."
Murcia offers trolley passes in exchange for permanently giving up their cars
To get citizens out of their cars and onto a newly-opened public trolley system, the city of Murcia, Spain recently embarked on a rather radical campaign: it offered people lifetime trolley passes in exchange for permanently relinquishing their cars.
Reduce your carbon footprint by giving up your car
Despite the growing popularity of hybrid and electric vehicles, giving up your car is still the single best way to reduce your carbon footprint. Car sharing services like Zipcar and RelayRides make a significant impact, but the bottom line is that those vehicles still contribute to poor air quality, traffic, and wear and tear on the roadways. But not everyone lives in a bikeable or walkable city, and public transportation, is usually only an option for those that live in dense metropolitan areas. So convincing people that they can survive without their cars takes some creative marketing.
Salt Lake City Region Opens Two Light-rail Lines
The Utah Transit Authority recently opened two major light-rail lines on the same day, a first in the United States. The two new lines were funded by a voter-approved quarter-cent sales tax increase, along with federal stimulus and local developer funding. The new lines will more than double the number of train cars operating in Utah, and will nearly double overall light-rail mileage in the state. More than 14,000 people per day are expected to use the two lines.
ICLEI-CASS engage in a dialogue on urban sustainability
In his recent trip to Beijing, China, ICLEI Secretary General Konrad Otto-Zimmermann delivered a talk at the Research Centre for Sustainable Development (RCSD) of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, upon invitation by its Executive Director Professor Pan Jiahua.
Otto-Zimmermann presented ICLEI's mission, goals and thematic agendas with an emphasis on climate change mitigation ("low-carbon city") and adaptation ("resilient city") as well as local government preparations for the Rio+20 UN conference to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012.
The talk was followed by a discussion focusing on the concept of urban sustainability, methodological issues related to low-carbon urban development, and ICLEI's ideas for an effective outcome of the Rio+20 conference. Mr. Otto-Zimmermann noted the supportive role China is taking in the Rio+20 preparations and suggested items where the world could learn from the Chinese experience.
CASS and ICLEI intend to continue and further deepen their dialogue on urban sustainability.
9th UN-HABITAT DIA Best Practices Award 2012 – sponsored by Dubai
In March 2012, UN-HABITAT will present the DIA Award for Best Practices for the ninth time. The DIA Award is the oldest prize for innovative urban programmes. It was launched in 1996 in the run-up to the UN Conference on Human Settlements (HABITAT II Conference), and since then has been sponsored by Dubai. Since that time, it has been awarded every two years to ten outstanding urban programmes. In 2002, the steering group of the Best Practices Programme decided to particularly recognise the transfer of such programmes to other cities by awarding two additional prizes for programme transfer. The collection, scientific processing and transfer of innovative solutions for planning and planning implementation constitute the major tasks of UN-HABITAT's Best Practices Programme, of which the City of Vienna's Best Practices Hub has been a partner since 1999.
Singapore's Green Plant Revolution
As Singapore's population booms, officials are working through plans to help the city absorb its people but also provide them with adequate green space.
"In Singapore’s next “green road map,” its 10-year development plan, the country aims to go from being “a garden city” to “a city in a garden.” “The difference might sound very small,” says Poon Hong Yuen, the chief executive of the country’s National Parks Board, “but it’s a bit like saying my house has a garden and my house is in the middle of a garden. What it means is having pervasive greenery, as well as biodiversity, including wildlife, all around you.”
More and more cities are waking up to the need to be more than sweatshops on a citywide scale. Singapore rose to international prominence by constructing a country that was orderly and efficient. But being globally competitive today is about more than productivity. It is about sustainability, too."
It's a strategy the city-state has employed since the 1960s.
Municipalities identify challenges for sustainable energy and climate protection at local level
Sustainable energy and climate protection at the local level are complex issues and require commitment, the involvement of multiple stakeholders, financing and supportive policy, as well as local-national partnerships.
Such were the main findings of a summary paper exploring the challenges and needs of local governments in the context of the current climate and energy situation. The paper, whose input was collected between June 2009 and May 2011, was produced by cities, towns and their representative associations and networks from 30 European countries, including the 27 EU member states, Croatia, Lichtenstein and Norway.
The paper is a result of the Local Government Action project, which came to a close in July 2011 and aimed at developing actions to involve local governments in the EU and the international energy and climate debates. Also, the project is closely linked to the Covenant of Mayors, especially regarding planning actions to monitor greenhouse gas reductions.
How a Small Town Absorbs 80,000 Concertgoers
Every summer, tiny Manchester, Tennessee, becomes a metropolis of rockers and concertgoers as the Bonnaroo music festival comes to a nearby farm. This piece from Governing looks at how the town adapts to the surge.
"All that can be more than a little overwhelming for the small town of Manchester, a sleepy burg of about 10,000 people, about 65 miles southeast of Nashville. When Bonnaroo’s not around, Manchester has the lazy feel of Anytown, U.S.A., with a placid little courthouse square at one end of the main drag and a string of fast-food chains out by the interstate. Hosting a large-scale event is a challenge for any city, but it’s particularly daunting when a festival’s arrival means a tenfold increase in the local population. Handling the onslaught of traffic, crime and health needs of that many people is an art form for local officials. The event this June marked the concert’s 10th anniversary, and officials say the past decade has been an extended course in crowd control.
'Bonnaroo is a lot of work,' says Manchester Mayor Betty Superstein. 'But it’s a lot of fun. And the community really has kind of embraced it.'"
The event boosts the local economy by about $20 million a year.
Shortlisted EUROCITIES 2011 awards entries announced
From over 50 entries the jury have selected 3 shortlisted entries for each category - innovation, cooperation and participation.
Over 50 entries were submitted by 30 cities for this year’s edition of EUROCITIES Awards, the network’s annual competition which recognises outstanding achievements by members in delivering local activities which improve the quality of life for citizens. The annual EUROCITIES awards recognise outstanding achievement by EUROCITIES members in the delivery of local activities or practices which improve the quality of life for citizens.
The awards are judged in the context of the theme of the EUROCITIES annual conference. This year’s conference, held in Genoa from 2 to 5 November, will focus on ‘planning for people’, so the jury was looking for projects which successfully demonstrated this theme.
Affordable Housing Gives Life to The Bronx
The Bronx is slowly shedding its negative image as it boasts a job growth that is outpacing the entire New York City, and the fastest wage increases than any other borough in the city, reports Daniel Massey for Crain's New York Business.
The Bronx used to be a place that people fled, but Massey how it has made a turnaround:
"Housing has played a vital role in the borough's turnaround, attracting people to a borough they once fled and setting the stage for a gradual economic revitalization."
"Fueled by its relative affordability, its proximity to Manhattan and its transportation links, the Bronx is 'the last bastion of opportunity in the city,' said Marlene Cintron, president of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp. 'The Bronx is the place that is ripe for development.'"
East African towns benefit from training and capacity building programme
Eleven towns in the Lake Victoria Basin are now able to provide improved urban management and basic services following the recent completion of an integrated programme of training and capacity building which targeted municipal councils, service providers, NGOs, Multi-Stakeholder Forums and Community-Based Organizations.
The Training and Capacity Building Programme is a component of the Lake Victoria Region Water and Sanitation Phase I which is delivering water, sanitation and solid waste management improvements in 11 towns of Kisii, Homa Bay and Bondo in Kenya; Masaka, Kyotera Mutukula and Bugembe in Uganda and Bukoba, Muleba, Mutukula and Bunda in Tanzania.
Gas Guzzled to Differing Degrees in U.S. Cities
Cities are filled with gas-guzzlers, but some guzzle more than others. This infographic from Mint looks at which U.S. cities spend the most and least on gas.
New York, Washington D.C., and Boston come out on the bottom of the list, while San Jose, Birmingham and Jacksonville spend the most on gas per month.
The graphic also looks at which cities have the highest and lowest amounts of gas transactions per month.
Schools in Hiroshima City, Japan joined forces to monitor environmental impacts
From February to March 2011, ICLEI Member City, Hiroshima, Japan worked together with Hiroshima University, Hiroshima Municipal Motomachi Senior High School, and Hiroshima Municipal Technical High School to facilitate environmental information monitoring within the city.
The schools participated in experiments sponsored by Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications which demonstrates a cloud computing service and establishes a regional ICT system base aimed at reducing environmental impacts.
The data collected by sensors were used to raise awareness on reducing environmental impacts. One example is the digital sign installed at the City Hall and inside Hiroshima electric railway streetcars.
Students of Hiroshima Municipal Motomachi Senior High School were in charge of designing awareness materials, and the Hiroshima City University was responsible for developing a system to visualize the data collected, including a module to link the data and digital signs.
On the other hand, Hiroshima Municipal Technical High School put forth related efforts by developing an educational tool that shows the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air in the form of colors on a LED display. This device was distributed to primary and junior high schools in Hiroshima City.
Will Postcarbon Cities be More Kid-Friendly?
The post-carbon city will require dramatically different planning. Why not plan them with children in mind, writes Jason McLennan?
McLennan argues that the very features that made the postwar city so energy-consumptive -- freeways, skyscrapers and alienating sprawl -- also made it hostile to children. Auto-dominated landscapes make it dangerous to walk or bike to where kids want to travel, resulting in kids spending ever more time in front of televisions and computer consoles. However, with the end of the age of cheap oil comes an opportunity to rethink cities in terms of how they can be made more friendly to young people. McLennan writes,
"Think about what makes a place great for kids: a focus on found learning, serendipitous personal interactions with others, opportunities to interact with nature and natural systems (water in particular), right-sized designs that aren’t intimidating and automobile-based, a city with an all-around gentle touch. Now consider a city that extended such considerations to everybody. If communities were built in ways that nurtured children rather than worked around them, all ages would be the better for it. By catering our infrastructure to those among us who have the least control, we actually usher in greater opportunities across multiple demographic segments.
It’s bad enough that typical futuristic images of our cities are ecologically impossible; what’s also crazy is that they never appear to be very nice places for children. It seems that the visionaries who craft these plans of soaring buildings and concrete landscapes—or even present-day housing developments with endless rows of identical homes—have forgotten the importance of what it means to just go outside and play."
New project on prevention of violence in sport to be submitted to the European Commission
The Efus will submit during the week of July 25, 2011, its project aimed at developing a network to prevent and fight violence in football, in the framework of the call for proposals ‘Preparatory action in the field of sport 2011’.
The Efus will build this project on the existing partnership of the Goal project (2008-2012) but wishes to expand and strengthen this network by integrating all local authorities and NGOs active in this field. The main objective is to develop a platform that will gather knowledge (mainly local), allow exchanges between actors, and be a permanent interlocutor of European and national institutions.
Chicago Opens Doors and Land to Urban Gardening
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed a change to local rules that would allow urban gardens to expand and sell produce within the city.
Proponents argue that the city's estimated 14,000 empty lots could serve as mini farms.
"The new ordinance would expand limits on community garden plot size to 25,000 square feet (about half an acre), allow limited produce sales in residentially zoned areas, relax rules on fencing and parking for large commercial urban farms, and allow aquaponics (a system of cultivating both fish and produce) outdoors in hoop houses.
The measure is expected to be introduced Thursday to the City Council and could be voted on in September."
Cities for Active Inclusion: eight workshops coming up this autumn
As part of the Cities for Active Inclusion (EUROCITIES-NLAO) initiative, eight major European cities will organise a national workshop between September and October.
The events will focus on the active inclusion of young people, presenting their main research findings and promoting the exchange of knowledge between national stakeholders.
The workshops will bring together key stakeholders and practitioners, discussing the latest developments at EU level on active inclusion policies. Several successful local practices aimed at supporting the active inclusion of young people will be presented, focussing particularly on integrating youth into the labour market.
Survey: Communities achieve sustainability in many ways
Achieving sustainability remains an important goal of many local governments, but turning abstract goals into concrete action remains a challenge, according to a new survey from the Washington-based International City/County Management Association (ICMA). ICMA's survey of more than 2,100 local governments, "Breaking New Ground: Promoting Environmental and Energy Programs in Local Government," provides tips for creating successful sustainability initiatives.
The survey found that most governments were still at the early stages of adopting a full range of measured sustainability activities, but most agreed that sustainability is an important goal. "Sustainability is the ability of communities to consistently thrive over time and involves making decisions to improve a community today without sacrificing its future," says ICMA Chief Operating Officer Ron Carlee. "Increasingly …sustainability is considered in the context of a ‘triple bottom line' — the environment, the economy and social equity — three dimensions necessary for society to flourish in the near and long term."
Vilnius Mayor Crushes Parking Violators With Tank
Arturas Zuokas, mayor of the Lithuanian capital, has taken enforcement of cars parked illegally in cycle lanes into his own hands. In a YouTube video, Zuokas is shown riding on top of a tank as it crushes a car parked illegally in a cycle lane.
The crushed car was bought specifically for the stunt video, which was released by the city government, reports Miriam Elder for the Guardian.
In Toronto Suburb, Putting Curvaceous Into Condominiums
People looking for the latest in twisting, gravity-defying architecture might start with the international cities of the Middle East or China, but you wouldn’t expect them to look here, in the suburbs outside Toronto.
But the first residents are moving into an extremely curvaceous, 56-story condominium tower in Mississauga, a city of about 738,000 people. The skyscraper, called the “Marilyn Monroe” by locals for its voluptuous curves, was the result of an international design competition initiated in 2005 by the tower’s development company, Fernbrook Cityzen.
Now, joining London’s spiraling Gherkin building and New York’s rippling 8 Spruce Street is Mississauga’s buxom Absolute tower — or rather, two of them, both designed by the Chinese architect Ma Yansong, assisted by his partner, Qun Dang. Sales were so brisk in the 428-unit “Marilyn” tower that the developers asked the architect to deliver a second, 50-story high-rise with 433 units.
What recession? Councils are still spending
If planned 2011-2012 council expenditures (CAPEX), on their capital projects are any guide, then the current challenging economic circumstances of the country appear not to be a problem for most New Zealand local councils.
The recently completed NZLG CAPEX Annual project has produced some interesting data, pointing to a boomer year for contractors – or at least for the firms who provide their services to New Zealand’s territorial local authorities.
The total CAPEX planned for the year to June 2012 is $3.4 billion, compared to the last five-year average figure of $2.2 billion, up a whopping 54 per cent. This total has been bolstered by earthquake-related works of $450 million plus the impact of 2011 Rugby World Cup projects, stadiums and RWC events in the main.
Council-funded roading expenditures still lead the charge and for 2011-2012 total $1.4 billion. This total is inflated somewhat because of the practice of councils including their renewals (maintenance expenditures) under the CAPEX heading.
Cities Adapting to Older Populations
Cities with high populations of older adults are beginning to alter their programs and street signs to make it easier to respond to senior citizens' needs.
"Ahead of a federal mandate that will kick in in 2012, Aiken has begun installing oversize street signs downtown and on major thoroughfares; they have increased reflectivity as well, designed to help older drivers who may not see as well as they used to.
In Mayfield, Ohio (23.8 percent over age 65), the large number of seniors who no longer drive threatened to swamp a program offering $3 rides for older people to doctor’s offices, shopping and the like. Says Stacey O’Brien, director of the Tri-City Consortium on Aging, “The demand is far greater than we anticipated.” After analyzing people’s travel patterns and consulting with the managers of complexes with high senior populations, the consortium is making plans to move away from what has essentially been a taxi system and toward a scheduled shuttle that would run a loop among set locations such as grocery stores and medical facilities."
The U.S. population older than 65 is expected to nearly double by 2050.
Software Helps Cities See the Future
Sometimes the public expects government to see the future. Good decisions are to be expected while bad decisions — judged with the benefit of hindsight — are derided.
Some help is on the way. IBM is betting that software can give cities a better look into their future.
The company unveiled new software this week designed to help decision-makers forecast the consequences of actions that affect citizens. In turn, IBM said the software, called System Dynamics for Smarter Cities, can also help policymakers make decisions that generate positive results.
What could the software be used for?
Imagine if a city eliminated student subsidies for public transportation. The software’s analysis of results might show that a municipal transportation agency would reduce costs, thus improving its financial picture. On the other hand, because more students would bypass mass transit and instead drive themselves to school, the city might suffer more traffic congestion, worse air quality, and might be forced to deploy more first responders, said Naveen Lamba, IBM’s leader on intelligent transportation and smarter government efforts for GBS — IBM’s consulting section.
Climate Change TV launches 2011 video awards
Climate Change TV presents a whole host of videos, submitted by people all over the world. These are shown entirely randomly and the order changes each time the video competition page is accessed. Vote for your favorites and they could win US$5,000!
Parking Location Makes All the Difference
The location of parked cars can either destroy walkability or enhance it, writes urbanist Steve Mouzon.
Forcing cars off the street damages urbanism and the environment in different ways, writes Mouzon, depending on whether they're parked in front of the building, beside it, or behind it. Surface parking and parking decks damage both in their own ways as well. On-street parking, on the other hand, has several virtues, including the fact that it forms a pedestrian shield, and that it helps adjacent retail to thrive:
"One major source of fear is the possibility that a car might run off the street and hit you. On-street parking alleviates this fear, because each of those park cars acts as a shield of several thousand pounds of metal between you and the moving traffic. People don't consciously realize this all the time, but you've never seen a sidewalk cafe next to the expressway, have you?"
Municipalities and regions of Europe: become a partner of the European Local Democracy Week!
The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) encourages local and regional authorities to become a partner of the 2011 edition of the European Local Democracy Week (ELDW), to take place from 10 to 16 October 2011.
This year's theme will be “human rights at the local level”, as a number of social and civic rights and freedoms are implemented at local level, including equal access to public services and the protection of disadvantaged people, of elderly people and of minorities.
The ELDW 2011 will thus aim at promoting more cohesive cities and towns and at preventing and combating intolerance, discrimination and social exclusion.
Launched in 2007, the ELDW is an annual week-long European event during which local and regional authorities organise national and local activities, public debates, exhibitions and competitions in order to promote local democracy.
The week takes place each year around 15 October as a tribute to the Council of Europe's European Charter of Local Self-Government, which was launched on that same date in 1985. The Charter was inspired by the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)'s European Charter of Local Liberties, which was opened for signature in 1953.
Singapore Uni Launches “ICity” Project
Singapore Management University is establishing a research lab for developing cloud-based IT solutions for cities across the globe, and especially in Asia.
In a first in the Asia-Pacific region, SMU has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Tata Consultancy Services for “integrating cloud technology with the relevant business know-how to create urban management IT solutions,” said Steven Miller, Dean, School of Information Systems (SIS), SMU.
Inaugurating the initiative, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance and Manpower Tharman Shanmugaratnam commended both TCS and SMU and hoped that initiatives like these will take Singapore’s though leadership forward. He said though “Singapore is in a leading position in the region in providing an efficient, convenient and satisfied quality of life to its people, it is a never-ending journey and that it strives to develop and adopt best governance practices.”
Rhode Island town declares bankruptcy
Central Falls, R.I., filed for bankruptcy on Monday. As part of the process, collective bargaining agreements with city employees, including police officers and firefighters, could be overturned, changes have been made to employee health care plans, and pension payments to retired employees have been reduced.
Central Falls Receiver Robert Flanders announced Monday that Central Falls filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in federal court. Flanders said that he had filed a motion to immediately reject the collective bargaining agreements with the police and firefighters' unions, as well as the municipal workers' union. Under the bankruptcy restructuring, active employees and retirees will pay a higher deductible on their health care plans, as well as higher co-payments and a 20 percent co-share of premiums. The next pension payments, which would be received at the end of August or early September, will be reduced by no more than 50 percent for retirees receiving a pension for more than $10,000.
Urban Parks for Healthy Cities
Urban parks have an important role to play in solving the health and fitness crisis, but too many acres of parkland are not helping people become healthier. How can park systems be designed to be better-used and live up to their potential?
The Trust for Public Land has released a report, detailing numerous ways in which the park system can maximize their contributions to the health of individuals. Many urban parks make it too difficult to exercise, whether they are uninviting, confusing, or simply don't offer enough choices for activity.
Peter Harnik and Coleen Gentles write, "Even if parks didn't provide all the urban benefits they are known for -- improving the environment, attracting tourists, building community, enhancing property values -- they'd still be critically important because of their potential contribution to public health and wellness. But platitudes about healthy parks aren't enough. If park agencies are to truly justify all the land and tax money they use, they must actually serve their health functions as powerfully as do doctors, hospitals, and health agencies."
Some specific strategies for achieving this goal include adding running and jogging trails around golf courses, adding fitness zones adjacent to playgrounds so that adults can exercise while kids play, and ensuring a balance between unstructured open space and specialized athletic complexes.
Active inclusion of young people in 9 European cities
In the first six months of 2011 the Cities for Active Inclusion partners have focussed their research activities on the topic of active inclusion of young people. 9 city reports on the main trends, good practices and challenges for municipalities in integrating disadvantaged youths are now available
Shanghai to Create Suburbs as Remedy for Urban Density
Shanghai in its 12th Five-Year Plan is modeling seven new satellite cities as suburbs to alleviate the density in the city center, reports Yu Ran, China Daily.
Shanghai government's plan shows by including quality of life services in the new cities such as "schools, hospitals and cultural centers," people will leave urban areas and move toward the suburbs.
"The goal for the Songjiang New City, the biggest among the seven new cities, was to have as many as 1.1 million residents in an area of 120 sq km by 2020. Population targets have been set for six other new cities as well."
"'The urban plan for new cities in the suburbs of Shanghai fits the city structure well by having resources divided reasonably to relieve the crowded city center by encouraging people to live in the suburbs,' said Li Tianhua, registered urban planner for the Shanghai Urban Planning and Design Research Institute."
Health Concerns For Urban Cyclists
A new Canadian study should be of interest to any urban cyclist concerned about his/her health. The study shows what is apparent to most cyclists already - smoking tailpipes, especially from diesel trucks and buses, can have serious health impacts.
The Chronicle provides a San Francisco-based article on the study "published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives ( that) shows a link between biking in heavy traffic and heart health risks, with cyclists having heart irregularities in the hours after their exposure to a variety of air pollutants on busy roads."
"The study by scientists from Health Canada, Environment Canada and the University of Ottawa does not suggest that bikers would be better off driving." However, they do offer "a simple solution: Avoid busy streets."
The study could also encourage cyclists to join clean air advocates in pushing state environmental agencies and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to get older diesel trucks retrofitted and eventually replaced with newer models.
Carbon efficiency of new cars is increasing
Preliminary data by the European Environment Agency (EEA) shows that new passenger cars registered in the European Union (EU) in 2010 are emitting 3.7 % less CO2 per kilometre travelled than new cars from 2009. The transport sector is the second largest source of CO2 emissions in the EU. In 2009, the EU adopted targets for average CO2 emissions of new passenger cars as part of its strategy to reduce emissions from transport.
A long term initiative to promote moral courage
The city of Düsseldorf has reported regular acts of violence that have been witnessed by passers-by who did not intervene. It seems that many people don’t know how to intervene efficiently without putting themselves in danger. However, a small gesture such as making an emergency call or alerting other passers-by can often have an important impact. Stakeholders agree that only a long-term plan could actually change behaviours. Therefore the city initiated the project “Get Involved!” (Flagge zeigen!).
Why Bike-Friendly Cities are Safer
Street design strategies that attract bike riders are the same ones that improve road safety for all road users, according to a recent study in the journal Environmental Practice. The study shows that cities with very high use of bikes for routine transportation almost always have much lower average traffic fatality rates. The study results strongly suggest that crashes in the bike-friendly cities are occurring at lower speeds and, as such, the result of any given crash is less catastrophic.
VMT Has Peaked In Cities, Says New Report
An Australian study indicates that in large cities in Europe, North America and Australia, driving has 'peaked' largely due to congestion causing a limit to commuter's travel, known as the Marchetti wall.
"A study (PDF) from the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute says that many cities--including Vienna, Zurich, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Houston--have already seen a decline in car usage between 1995 and 2005."
The study points to 'Marchetti's Constant',"a term for the average amount of time spent traveling each day, which is approximately one and a half hours."
The study notes that increasing VMT in the developing world may overwhelm the decline in vehicle usage in urban areas of developed nations.
From DC Streetsblog: Has America Passed Peak Car Use, or Is It Just a Cyclical Decline?: "Meanwhile, new data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics adds to the body of research about the decline in driving — but whether that amounts to “peak car use” is worth further consideration. The report shows a leveling off in vehicle miles traveled, beginning at the end of 2007."
Strengthening Urban Climate Change Education in Africa
In collaboration with Uganda's Makerere University, UN-HABITAT held a workshop from 3 to 5 May 2011 for African Universities aiming to strengthen urban education by integrating climate change dimensions. The meeting conceptualized generic modules to be used in urban planning and related courses. These modules covered: an introduction to climate change and urban planning, urban vulnerability assessments, climate change and disaster risk reduction, climate change and water cycle management as well as comprehensive planning for climate change. The meeting also aimed to position African universities for the global meeting of the Cities and Climate Change Academy held in Bonn from 1-2 June 2011.
For more information read the report
Europe's Most Dynamic City
Berlin, Brussels or Bruges? Against the backdrop of an ongoing debt crisis, planning pundits deliberate on which European city is the true "dynamic center of Europe."
In making their final selection, the eight panelists of The New York Times look for a dynamic city that is a "magnet of creativity, energy and ideas."
Josef Joffe of Stanford University writes, "What makes cities great? It is always the same combination of wealth and power, dynamism and freedom which draws talent and ambition from all over the world. This makes for a critical mass of people who create, invent and break the mold." Joffe's pick is London.
Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative Launched
The Obama Administration has launched Strong Cities, Strong Communities, a new initiative to strengthen local capacity and spark economic growth in local communities. Federal agencies will provide experienced staff to work directly with six cities: Chester, PA; Cleveland, OH; Detroit, MI; Fresno, CA; Memphis, TN; and New Orleans, LA. These teams will work with local governments, the private sector, and other institutions to leverage federal dollars and support the work being done at the local level.
Cities Cut Parking Supply to Discourage Driving
Cities plan to cut off individual parking garages is a gamble, says Josie Garthwaite in National Geographic -- yet making it impossible to park is one of the few yet most effective tools that reduces driving.
Though replacing parking stalls for infrastructure that is beneficial for walking, bicycling and mass transit is effective, the action can backfire.
"'On the one hand, a shortage of car parking supply,' can motivate people to get out of their cars and onto the sidewalk or bike lane, Sareco researchers Eric Gantelet and Christophe Begon explained in their report. Yet an imperfect system can also increase traffic congestion caused by circling for on-street parking."
"As Gantelet and Begon noted, if parking is tough to find in a downtown shopping district, people might simply opt to drive out to a shopping mall with a large parking lot instead."
Yet the idea that there is a demand for parking, says Racehl Weinberger, assistant professor of city and regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania, is actually a "demand for access to a location."
"If a private car is the only way to access a given restaurant, shopping center, workplace, or neighborhood, she argued, then “that translates to demand for parking."
"In fact, according to research from the Paris-based firm Sareco, people choose their mode of transportation for urban trips based on the parking conditions at their origin and destination."
The Intelligent Energy Europe Programme must be maintained!
On 29 June 2011, the European Commission published its proposal for the EU Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) for the period 2014-2020. According to this document, the Commission abandons the only centrally-managed programme focused entirely and exclusively on the promotion of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources – the Intelligent Energy Europe programme (IEE) worth € 730 million for the period 2007-2013. This decision is not understandable and it is unacceptable for Energy Cities.
The IEE Programme contribution to the European energy and climate goals over the past years is undisputed:
- Support to the creation of hundreds of local and regional energy agencies,
- Co-financing of hundreds of innovative projects, often focused on local issues,
- Support to different relevant EU initiatives like ManagEnergy, European Sustainable Energy Week and more recently the Covenant of Mayors gathering more than 2,800 local authorities thus proving an exceptional model of multi-level governance,
- Creation of innovative financial instruments such as ELENA-EIB technical assistance which leveraged on €21.8 million EU contribution to trigger €1.6 billion in investments and which is now being replicated (ELENA-KfW, ELENA-CEB).
This programme contributes to increased energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy by supporting innovative solutions, market replication tools, pilot and demonstration projects, networking and exchange of experiences among local, regional and national stakeholders. It also fosters behavioural change, education, technical assistance and creation of new jobs. These ‘soft measures’ with a huge leverage effect have proved to be as important as ‘technological solutions’.
Energy Cities is well aware that the “LIFE+ Climate Sub-programme” is proposed to support exchange of best practices, capacity building and pilot projects focused on climate change mitigation and adaptation and governance.
However, Energy Cities warns that sustainable energy should not be considered only as a sub-part of climate issues. It should be considered as a self-contained issue of utmost importance, especially in a time when the energy debate is re-launched in Europe and will require very innovative solutions.
If it is up to Member States to finance IEE-like programmes at national level, there is no guarantee that this will to be their priority. Even if they decide to implement such programmes, an added value of networking and exchange of experiences at European level and a significant leverage effect of soft actions would disappear. No more inspiration coming from another country, no more exchange of ideas – the Member States would start again ‘reinventing the wheel’!
Therefore, Energy Cities strongly requests to maintain – and refresh - the Intelligent Energy Europe programme that clearly supports ‘soft measures’ in the field of energy efficiency and renewables. It should focus on innovative and new solutions which would facilitate the achievement of the EU energy and climate goals while feeding sectoral policies, such as the regional policy.
New Results of URBACT Projects Now Available!
20 URBACT projects have just completed their programme of exchange and learning activities. The project partners have been working relentlessly for three years looking for joint, effective and sustainable solutions to major urban challenges. These projects have brought to light solutions that have proven effective and providing valuable support for policy makers and practitioners involved in tackling these challenges. Each project will publish in the coming weeks their final publications and recommendations. Following HerO and REDIS projects' results, here is a look at the results, recommendations and outputs of three projects!
Neighborhood Sustainability the Focus of New Code Ideas in Seattle
A set of recommendations for changes to land-use regulations in Seattle is being highlighted by Mayor Mike McGinn as a way to both create sustainable neighborhoods and jobs. One of the authors of the recommendations explains.
Chuck Wolfe, member of a roundtable group of experts that has crafted recommendations, discusses how the changes to the code can help improve the way development happens in the city.
"While the initial menu of fixes is designed to avoid duplication and enhance the prospect for new construction, the group will continue to work on longer term issues in association with pending revisions to Seattle's Comprehensive Plan. Those revisions are mandated by the Growth Management Act and championed through a dynamic update process recently launched by the Department of Planning and Development and the Planning Commission.
The group's goal is broad and ambitious: to help Seattle residents live closer to where they work. The starting place is to simplify and update the city's Land Use Code, what Sightline's Eric de Place calls 'making sustainability legal.'"
Youth voices against racism, using sport as a vehicle to combat racism
UNESCO and the FC Barcelona signed a project partnership called ‘Youth voices against racism’ which affirms their joint commitment to raise public awareness on the role of education and sport in the development and wellbeing of children and youth and in promoting dialogue, mutual understanding and social cohesion.
Investing in Europe’s Future: 9th European Week of Regions and Cities in Brussels (10-13 October 2011)
For the 9th time since 2003, the European Commission’s Regional Policy Directorate-General and the Committee of the Regions have joined forces with 206 regions and cities from 35 countries and several companies, business and civil society organisations, and financial institutions for the “European Week of Regions and Cities-OPEN DAYS". The 2011 programme will consist of 111 seminars and workshops about one quarter of which dedicated to urban development. Coming just in time with the European Commission’s proposal on the design of EU cohesion policy 2014-2020, the event will involve over 600 speakers to attract an expected audience of 6,000. Under the headline "Investing in Europe's future: Regions and cities delivering smart, sustainable and inclusive growth" the OPEN DAYS 2011 will be structured around three thematic priorities:
(1) "Europe 2020" will focus on discussing how cohesion policy contributes to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, the key aspects of the Europe 2020 strategy.
(2) "Better delivery" will focus on how to improve delivery of structural funds programmes in the current period and post-2013.
(3) "Geography matters" will focus on highlighting the usefulness of territorial approaches when identifying needs and exploiting potentials at regional and local level.
More about the free-of-charge OPEN DAYS can be found at: www.opendays.europa.eu
Vancouver Plans Big Build to End Homelessness
The city of Vancouver is planning to offer more than $42 million in land and capital grants aimed at developing affordable housing. Its part of a 10-year plan to end homelessness in the city.
More than 38,000 units of affordable housing would be built under the plan.
"The comprehensive plan calls for an additional 7,900 supportive and social housing units, 11,000 rental units, and 20,000 new condos and “ownership” units to be built in Vancouver, resulting in more affordable housing for everyone by 2021.
If approved, the Housing and Homelessness Strategy will unfold in two phases, beginning with a three-year strategy to stamp out homelessness by 2015."
City of Stirling, Australia rolls out a Water Smart Parks strategy
The irrigation of parks, gardens and playing fields represents the largest use of water by local governments in Western Australia, constituting in most cases, over half a local government’s water consumption.
The City of Stirling, Western Australia’s largest local government, uses groundwater to irrigate areas of open space and playing fields as is the case with most local governments in the Perth metropolitan region.
However, the increasingly dry climate in the region is causing a decline in the amount of water being returned to groundwater aquifers.
In addition, the widespread use of groundwater by commercial and private sectors means groundwater levels are rapidly falling, causing changes in wetland hydrological regimes, acid sulphate soils and saline groundwater intrusion.
The city, which operates what is arguably the largest irrigation system in Western Australia – if not the whole of Australia – has set up a new standard for appropriate watering techniques through its Water Smart Parks strategy to do everything in their power to protect groundwater supplies.
Achieving sustainable use of groundwater resources is an important part of the city's sustainability vision.
Miami Shifts Urban Form
Though much of its urban form requires a car to traverse, a few new projects in Miami are shifting the city away from its past of parking lot sprawl.
"Miami is a city that has always inspired pride and envy for its core offers of escapism, partying, sunshine and sex, but until recently the quality of its urban and cultural environment lagged some way behind. A highly suburban car-based city, Miami's centres had been dominated by sprawling surface car parking lots and with some exceptions Miami's contemporary architecture was nothing to write home about.
But now the city's credentials have been bolstered by a roster of fine new buildings, some fantastic public space and an array of cultural facilities with more in the pipeline. Given the quality and coherence of these elements, it does not seem overstated to describe what is happening as an 'urban renaissance'."
A new cinema, a small-scale bike sharing system and even a new take on the parking structure are showing how the city is in the midst of a shift in its physical form.
UN-HABITAT proposes National Urban Policies to face the increase of urban population, poverty and inequality
Dr. Joan Clos, UN-Habitat Executive Director and UN Under Secretary General, called today for national urban policies to help countries to face rapid urbanization without economic growth, resulting in increasing poverty and inequality.
Clos, who has participated at a Ford Foundation forum marking its 75th anniversary to speak about urban leadership on the global stage, has pointed out that next October 2011 the world population will reach the seven billion mark and more than a half, 52%, of the population will be living in cities. Among the seven billion world population, one billion is living in slums and the population of slum dwellers around the world continues to grow nearly 10 per cent every year.
"We are living a unique phenomenon of urban population increase and we have to prepare our countries for this challenge and to develop national urban policies, urban legal frameworks, planned city enlargements, urban energy and mobility plans and to strength the financial capacity of our cities. We cannot accept that 6 out of 10 citizens of the Global South lack basic services such as water, sanitation, and housing, and have poor access to health and education facilities. It is a humanitarian catastrophe", he said.
UN-Habitat Executive Director explained that despite the rapid urbanization, countries and local authorities do not have appropriate legal, institutional, and governance frameworks in place. He stressed that if the growth of cities is planned at scale, in advance, and in phases to address the projected growth over the next 30 years, fast-growing cities, particularly those in developing countries, will be successful in transforming the very real threat of poverty into an opportunity for national economic growth. Rather than confine their work to upgrading existing slums, cities can get ahead of their urban future and prevent new slums from being formed.
"We need to re-think the urban agenda and to adopt a new approach to the huge urbanization challenge. It is time for urban policies beyond housing policies we have had in the past years. Our future cities must generate wealth, equity and freedom", Dr. Clos stressed.
Tear Down the Freeway, Or Not?
Using a federal grant, New York City is studying the effects of a highway teardown not just on transportation but on housing, jobs, park access and quality of life.
Should the Sheridan Expressway come down, or not? The NY DOT is undertaking an extensive study of alternatives to determine the answer:
"The new study includes not only an expanded transportation analysis looking at the area’s broader highway system, but also issues like access to the Bronx River, which is cut off from neighborhoods by the Sheridan, and the development of housing and jobs. That study is now well underway, and after some initial bumps, advocates for replacing the highway with new development are feeling encouraged."
Openness and the Competitive Advantage of Diversity - OPENCities Results
Within the European Union, we are seeing changes in the migratory movements of people: while certain countries are beginning or continuing to benefit from positive flows, the new Member States are confronted with an on-going exodus of their populations. With the observation that cities open to migrants are more competitive than others as a starting point, the 9 cities participating in the URBACT OPENCities project sought to identify the criteria that found a city's "openness" and international attractiveness, and to develop strategies that not only enable achieving this objective, but also to get ore and more mobile migratory populations to settle in their territory. As a conclusion of OPENCities three-years of exchange and learning activities, here is a look at its main results!
Stockholm's congestion charge on the political agenda again (Sweden)
An active network of politicians and influential stakeholders has brought the doubling of congestion charges back to the political agenda.
The congestion charge in Stockholm was implemented in 2007. Today there are 18 fully automated payment stations. The fees are tax-deductible for companies and for private motorists when used for commuting.
Deadline for contribution to CEMR consultation on European citizenship extended
In order to allow all interested parties and stakeholders to submit their responses to its public consultation on a new European citizenship, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)'s.has extended the deadline for the submission of contributions to 5 August 2011.
The results of the consultation will notably allow for CEMR to put forward recommendations for the future post-2013 European programme “Europe for citizens”.
Questions include the following: What does a “Europe without borders” mean? What kind of political decision would help to strengthen your feeling of belonging to Europe? What role can citizens of immigrant origin play at local level to promote intercultural dialogue and tolerance? How can we prepare the citizens and local actors from countries heading towards European Union accession and promote mutual understanding between the citizens from EU and non-EU members?