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Call for Cities to participate in the project SOLUTIONS:
Sharing Opportunities for Low carbon Urban transportation
The European SOLUTIONS project on innovative and green urban transport solutions, is calling for cities from Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Mediterranean, to become involved in the project's innovation activities as leading, take-up or training city.


Green Leaders Summit 2013
The Green Leaders Summit brings together the world’s most influential Sustainability Leaders for inspiring thought provoking days of exchange and solution collaboration. This summit is structured to not only deliver a global picture of current sustainability challenges and innovations, but also to afford international leaders the opportunity to gain insights on solutions from some of the world’s leading minds.


Suwon takes the stage as the world's first ecomobile city
When it kicks off the world’s first EcoMobility Festival on 1 September, Suwon, a city 30 km from Seoul, South Korea will prove that a truly ecomobile city - one where citizens can move freely, safely and sustainably – can exist.
Showcasing the world’s first ecomobile city, Suwon will engage 4,300 residents to swap some 1,500 cars for ecomobile vehicles, and adopt an ecomobile lifestyle for the entire September. Haenggung-dong, one of the most crowded neighborhoods in Suwon, will be designated as a car-free zone, where various cultural and arts performance will take place.
This unique undertaking is backed by a €9 million euro (13 billion KRW) public investment to regenerate the inner city of Suwon. It is part of Suwon's Mayor Yeom Tae-young’s program to transform the neighborhood into one that prioritizes sustainability and accessibility – particularly for low-income residents whose access to employment and services was impaired.
Around 5,000 international visitors, led by influential Mayors, policy makers, CEOs and concerned citizens, will witness the transformation of a neighborhood and test the suite of human-powered and electric vehicles from around 39 manufacturers from eight countries including the United States, Germany, Taiwan and South Korea.
The newest line-up of ecomobile vehicles are: Yikebike, the smallest foldable bike; Trimobile, a tricycle that can carry three people at a time but only requires one to pedal; Nordic Cab’s multipurpose bike trailer made out of eco-friendly aluminum and hardened plastic; Gobax, a customized ambulance bike; Egretta, a bike that consolidates both sophistication and practicability; MoVi, a safe and robust light electric vehicle, and many more.
Taking place on 1 September, the grand opening parade through the converted ecomobility streets of Jeongjo road will mark the start of the Festival and the Ecomobility 2013 Suwon congress. Serving as a melting pot of ideas, the EcoMobility 2013 Suwon congress – 2nd of the EcoMobility congress series, is the perfect platform for exchanging urban transport solutions and experiencing ecomobile lifestyle in reality.
Alongside month-long exhibitions and vehicle test tracks, visitors and residents can take part in concerts, movie festivals, singing contests using pedal-powered karaoke, art fairs, street tours, conferences and workshops – all celebrating the ecomobile lifestyle.
“If we can’t build a truly ecomobile city, why not assemble a temporary one for a month?”, said Konrad Otto-Zimmermann, Creative Director of the Festival. “The EcoMobility World Festival will help visualize this future with a showcase neighborhood demonstrating what a car-free, ecomobile future will look like; a mise-en-scène in a real city, by real citizens, in real time.”
“With this Festival, we strive to deliver the message that an ecomobile city is possible. We aim to lead and inspire other cities around the world to follow suit,“ added Mayor Yeom Tae-young.
ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the world’s leading network of cities for sustainability is organizing the Festival together with the City of Suwon and UN-Habitat.


San Diego's Disturbing Lack Of Street Lights
Street lights aren’t just lights. They’re supposed not only to reveal the potholes and parking meters that would otherwise be in the dark, but also to change what’s there. Specifically, they’re supposed to reduce crime.
There is some evidence to support this. One oft-cited meta-analysis found that better street lighting could reduce crime by as much as 21%. But that reduction happened, strangely, as much during the day as at night. As much as our guts may tell us that the darkness is where crime happens, the data--and the researchers themselves--caution that it isn’t so simple.


Sustainability Consortium Develops Sprawl Alternative
Funded by a $4.25 million HUD grant, plus $2.4 million in local matching funds, the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium is finalizing a three-year plan to help Northeast Ohio fashion a vision for the future. The regional plan suggests that by steering away from automobile-oriented development in the suburbs and concentrating investments where infrastructure already exists in cities, the region could save money and be more economically competitive.


Cities Launch Anti-Poverty Centers
In light of federal budget cuts to discretionary domestic programs that serve the poor, city leaders are looking for new ways to alleviate poverty on their own. Perhaps the most high-profile example is New York City's Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO), which raises public and private funding to test social service programs and reinvest in ones that work. In the realm of anti-poverty work, the CEO model appears to be catching on.
This year Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter launched the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity, which goes by the same acronym as its New York sibling -- evocative of the corporate research-and-development approach that mayors hope will finally reduce urban poverty. About 28 percent of Philadelphians -- between 430,000 and 440,000 residents -- live below the federal poverty level. In July, the city released Shared Prosperity, a long-term plan for its anti-poverty office. As with New York City, Philadelphia intends to establish baseline indicators of local poverty as well as benchmarks for achieving progress. Also like New York, the office would demand better data collection and evaluation of programs' effectiveness.


Garden Cities: Theory & Practice of Agrarian Urbanism
The Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment is proud to present this new book by renowned US urbanist Andrés Duany. The book details a type of community plan and management that enables a comprehensive interaction of agriculture with modern society. Because of its mitigating effect on climate change, a neo-agrarian way of life should be made available to as many as possible.
"We commend Andres Duany for this work and coming up with such elegant solutions to the serious problems we face, especially how we live and feed ourselves." said Andy Kunz, USHSR President.
If the food-growing machine that is the traditional village were reorganized, it could be made viable again. Historically, most villages were based on food production and distribution as the principal economic and social activity. As the outline of the 21st century becomes clear, villages are again emerging as practical and desirable. But they will proliferate only if their design and management is handled in a thoroughly modern way to make the lifestyle appealing to more people.  Purchase book


Urban pedestrians buck a national trend
LONDON is a city made for walking. Unlike, for instance, Los Angeles its centre is easily accessible on foot. Outer boroughs are no more than an hour or two away. Its curved streets, in contrast to the rigid grid of New York, welcome idle wanderers and busy commuters alike. But despite traffic queues and teeming underground carriages most prefer to drive or to squeeze on to the Tube to get around the city. This is starting to change.
Between 2001 and 2011 the number of trips made daily on foot in London increased by 12%. Nearly a third of the Londoners sampled made a continuous walk of 30 minutes once a week between 2010 and 2011 to get from place to place, rather than for exercise. Each day 6.2m walks are made across the city.
And both rich and poor walk a similar amount. In areas such as Kensington and Chelsea 11% walk for at least 30 minutes five times a week or more. In Tower Hamlets 12% of residents do. One of the largest changes in the city over the past decade is the number of pedestrians, says Michèle Dix of Transport for London (TfL), which runs the city’s transport networks. On July 10th TfL launched the Roads Task Force, with plans to spruce up pavements.


EPA Offers $8.5 Million to U.S. Great Lakes Shoreline Cities for Green Infrastructure Projects
EPA has invited the 22 largest U.S. Great Lakes shoreline cities to apply for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding. This funding will support green infrastructure projects that will improve Great Lakes water quality. Cities can use the money to cover up to 50 percent of the cost of rain gardens, bio-swales, green roofs, porous pavement, greenways, constructed wetlands, and other green infrastructure installed on public property.


Plan to pedestrianise Roman road causes debate
Via dei Fori Imperiali, a multilane artery running through the heart of Rome, is typically a frenzy of swerving Vespas, zipping Smart cars and honking Fiat taxis.
Luciana Gasparini is planning a protest against the project. “We will block the streets,” she said.
But Mayor Ignazio Marino is seeking to transform the avenue to something calmer, where Gucci loafers and sensible sneakers would rule.
Mr. Marino’s plan to ban private traffic on the roadway, which bisects a vast archaeological site, from the central Piazza Venezia to the Colosseum, has prompted grousing and histrionic debate over a project that conservators say would solidify the world’s largest urban archaeological area.
This being Rome, the first high-impact initiative of his seven-week-old administration, which goes into effect on Saturday, has provoked its share of unfavorable comparisons with the overweening ambitions of emperors past. “The mayor’s job is not to pass into history, but to work for his citizens,” said Luciano Canfora, a professor of classics at the University of Bari. “We already had Nero, that’s more than enough.”


China Urbanization to Hit Roadblocks Amid Local Opposition
China's plan to encourage hundreds of millions of rural residents to settle in cities to boost growth faces opposition from local governments, according to Li Tie, an official with the nation’s top economic planning agency.
Officials, researchers and company executives highlighted challenges at an urbanization forum in Beijing on Aug. 10. They cited the strain on local-government finances, the dangers of overbuilding and the cost of scrapping the hukou, or residence permit, system that denies migrants the welfare, health and education benefits of city dwellers.
China's urbanization rate will rise to about two-thirds by 2030, meaning about 13 million more people will move to cities every year, the World Bank estimates. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg


Pop-up designs changing the city landscape
From a floating cinema to a car park-cum-art gallery, some of Britain's most innovative (and people-friendly) design is seen in temporary projects in public spaces. Here's what's been popping up in London and beyond this summer
It is now part of the summer, as much as Glastonbury and Henley. Queues form outside rough-at-the-edges constructions, in (mostly) just-arriving areas of (mostly) London, in anticipation of some moment of delight, something that appeals to a love of play or fun or nature. We are invited to be kids or wander in a fragmentary Eden or consume succulent morsels of food or culture, in the middle of – usually – battered tracts of urban landscape.
These are pop-ups, temporary constructions intended to enliven public places. They are often the creations of young architects who, their talent and energy outrunning their employment opportunities, initiate, design and build these glimpses of what a better city – more open, more social, more pleasurable, more surprising – might be. Often pop-ups defy economic gravity, relying on unfeasibly large quantities of unpaid enthusiasm and persistence in getting stuff on the cheap. They have the scent of intense hard work and barely averted catastrophe, and the ghostly presence of health-and-safety officers only just placated.


Six Cities Selected to Participate in Urban Sustainability Accelerator
Portland State University has selected the first "class" for its Urban Sustainability Accelerator, a year-long program designed specifically for smaller and mid-sized U.S. cities. The six selected cities will receive technical assistance to help them create active transportation networks, integrate land use and transportation planning, support urban infill, and implement techniques for curbing urban sprawl.


Poor Children Show a Decline in Obesity Rate
After years of growing concern about obesity among children, federal researchers have found the clearest evidence yet that the epidemic may be turning a corner in young children from low-income families.
The obesity rate among preschool-age children from poor families fell in 19 states and United States territories between 2008 and 2011, federal health officials said Tuesday — the first time a major government report has shown a consistent pattern of decline for low-income children after decades of rising rates.
Children from poor families have had some of the nation’s highest rates of obesity. One in eight preschoolers in the United States is obese. Among low-income children, it is one in seven. The rate is much higher for blacks (one in five) and for Hispanics (one in six).


Taipei City keen on learning lessons of Urban Renewal from Hamburg
A delegation led by Deputy Mayor Chang Chin-oh visited the Business Improvement District (BID) and Hafen City in Hamburg. The tour was led by the German city’s urban development officials and property developers. BID, the first city in Germany to carry out the business district regeneration program, has seen 10 out of 19 projects completed since the implementation of relevant self-governance law.
The Hamburg government played a crucial role in the execution of the renewal project, facilitating communications and selecting designers with participating businesses. Apart from subsidies by the government, businesses in the district operate on a self-governing basis by making investments and maintaining public and private facilities on their own—setting up a successful example of public-private collaboration.


Hours to Get to Work
Indonesians Cope With Infuriating Traffic and Inefficient Public Transit
For someone with dropping blood-sugar levels and in the early stages of dehydration, Eva Roma was rather stoic as she began her one-and-a-half-hour commute home from her office in central Jakarta.
Her journey started with an hourlong ride on a standing-room-only public bus, followed by 25 minutes in a minivan, and finally a five-minute walk to her house in the far southern confines of this Indonesian capital.
Once there, Ms. Roma, 33, a Muslim who works as a secretary at a financial services company, planned to buka puasa — break her fast in observance of the holy month of Ramadan. Getting to work the next morning would be even worse, since that trip usually takes two hours.
The daily commute, especially while refraining from eating or drinking all day, takes a toll, Ms. Roma said. But she has long since become inured to the physical realities of commuting in Jakarta, where horrific traffic and an inefficient public transportation system condemn many people to sitting in cars, buses and minivans or on motorcycles for four hours a day or longer, year-round.


Dumping grounds for the poor
High levels of unemployment, drug addiction and teenage pregnancy leave British seaside towns locked in culture of 'poverty attracting poverty'
Britain now spends almost £2 billion-a-year on welfare payments in once-thriving seaside towns
Seaside towns around Britain have become “dumping grounds” for the poor and vulnerable, leading to high levels of unemployment, drug addiction and other social problems, according to new report.
Britain is now spending almost £2 billion-a-year on welfare payments to people of working age who live in once-thriving seaside towns, leading to a culture of “poverty attracting poverty”, according to the Centre for Social Justice think tank.
With holiday-makers deserting British beach resorts in favour of overseas breaks, some seaside towns are suffering “severe social breakdown”, with high levels of school failure, teenage pregnancy, lone parenting, and worklessness.
In turn, the cost of living in these towns is being driven down as wealthier residents leave and those on low incomes are attracted into the area. Councils in wealthier areas also see the deprived seaside towns as a low-cost option for placing vulnerable people, like children in care.


Walk21 Munich 2013: Pre-Conferences
Even before the international conference Walk21 officially opens on 11 September 2013, we’ll get going on pedestrian mobility: Six pre-conferences offer the opportunity for exchange on various topics and for networking with experts. For example, you can tour pedestrian-friendly cities in Germany in a study trip by train, learn more about walking policies in other countries or the mobility needs of children, or connect with city and regional planning experts in a pre-conference entitled “design connects”! Register now at and look forward to select topics prior to the conference!

Sprawl May Limit Upward Mobility
A recent study by researchers at Harvard and UC Berkeley found that upward mobility tends to be higher in metropolitan areas where lower-income families were dispersed among mixed-income neighborhoods. The study's research team concluded that families in more sprawling areas with weak public transit systems and long commutes may find it more difficult to take advantage of job opportunities.


Cities That Used Natural Disasters to Revitalize Their Futures
Hit by tornadoes and earthquakes, Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Greensburg, Kan.; and San Francisco all learned how to turn local tragedy into a new and vibrant vision. Their lessons are a playbook for local officials dealing with disasters.
By 5:30 p.m. on April 27, 2011, Tuscaloosa, Ala., Mayor Walt Maddox knew he had become a member of a select club no city leader wants to join. Minutes earlier a mile-wide tornado had ripped a nearly 6-mile-long path through the center of the city, leveling a main commercial artery, hitting a major medical center and flattening vital city buildings.
In the following weeks, Maddox would get the final totals for the destruction: 5,362 homes impaired or demolished, 53 dead, and 1,200 injured. Twelve and a half percent of the city was destroyed. Seven thousand people were left homeless and thousands of jobs were lost. “And all this happened,” Maddox says, “in six minutes.”
Maddox’s fellow disaster-club members know what he’s talking about. Tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and snowstorms can land with a harsh and terrible swiftness, killing people, wiping out roads and leveling businesses, hospitals and homes. It’s likely to get worse. Scientists who study meteorology warn that climate change will only increase the severity of some extreme weather events in the future, namely flooding, snowstorms and hurricanes.
While cities mourn their losses, they face the huge task of rebuilding and the frustrating wait for federal and state money to help with the effort. But some cities -- Tuscaloosa among them -- take on an additional challenge: They make a post-disaster leap from replacing to revitalizing.


New Urban Regeneration
Land Use, Housing and Urban Policy Reform: an international benchmark
On the occasion of its 2013 National Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, NAHRO and INTA will jointly organise a series of three international workshops aimed at bringing forth a debate on public housing policy as leverage for urban regeneration.
This event is the first of a series marking the effective partnership between INTA and NAHRO's members and partners in the United States and North America in the field of the Habitat, Housing and Regeneration. For more detail on NAHRO see its website at
Under this general theme of Land Use, Housing and Urban Policy Reform, NAHRO and INTA intend to foster international exchanges between urban regeneration and housing practitioners on the challenges of urban disinvestment and economic restructuring versus high-minded, future-oriented community development. The workshops in Cleveland will explore policies that capitalize on a place’s unique assets and that see spatial, economic and community development as a single integrated process.
Within the NAHRO National Conference’s programme (24-26 October), these three international workshops are scheduled for Wednesday 23rd, Thursday 24th and Friday 25th October and will take the debate further through the study of benchmark cases.


TOD - Baby boomers new living choice
Hip, Urban, Middle-Aged... Baby boomers are moving into trendy urban neighborhoods
The migration of baby boomers to cities, which started in the 1990s but slowed during the recession, is now regaining steam. According to online real-estate brokerage Redfin, more than a million baby boomers moved to within 5 miles of the downtown of the 50 largest cities between 2000 and 2010, while the same number of baby boomers moved away from neighborhoods located 40 to 80 miles outside those 50 cities' downtown areas.
"The great shift is underway and cities and Transit Oriented Development is where everyone is going," said Joseph Shelhorse, USHSR Vice President.  "This trend is accelerating with young people as well as young families also choosing a vibrant, urban lifestyle."
"Baby boomers are tired of mowing the lawn. They're looking for a more diverse environment," says Chris Leinberger, chairman of the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at George Washington University School of Business. "They're also tired of spending their days stuck in traffic," added Andy Kunz, USHSR President.  "People prefer walking, hanging out in cafes, riding trains, and avoiding the high stresses of the car culture."
Fueling the shift is a change in the way cities themselves are perceived, since many cities have become safer and cleaner, and as baby boomers retire later, they want to be downtown where they can often walk to work. Their kids gone, they don't need to worry about the quality of schools, and they don't want large houses, says John McIlwain, a senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute in Washington.


2013 UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour Award - Call for Submissions
We are pleased to inform you that the Call for Submissions to the 2013 UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour Award was opened on 5 August 2013.
Dr. Joan Clos, invites you to submit an application or to nominate an initiative for consideration for this year's Award.
Deadline September 15.
Download a nomination form here:


Chongqing to host key forum for Chinese cities
Mme Li Xiaolin, President of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, has confirmed she will attend the City Infrastructure Forum in Chongqing which will be hosted by Mayor Huang on 9 and 10 September. The forum is a first for China and will bring together officials from across the country to interact with international partners on the challenges and solutions for urban development in China.
Over 150 high level guests including Mayors from Africa and Latin America and the President of the Council of European Muncipalities and Regions will attend together with experts from the World Bank, UN, World Business Council for Sustainable Development and UCLG ASPAC.
"Chongqing was relatively early in opening up to foreign trade but it was limited in scope by its location in inland China," said Huang Qifan, Mayor of Chongqing, in an interview in the July issue of Cities Today. "In recent years, China has implemented a strategy to create complementary advantages for the opening up of inland and border areas and nowadays, Chongqing is receiving more than US$10 billion of foreign investment every year, among the highest of Chinese cities."
C40 is looking to bring more Chinese cities into its membership and talks have begun with Chongqing. Yan Peng, C40 East Asia Regional Director, will moderate a key session at the forum on air and water quality in Chinese cities.
"Given that the forum theme is city infrastructure, it is crucial to present vision, approach, and best practice around how city infrastructure innovation will lead to lower emissions in both greenhouse gases and air pollutants," said Peng.
There are limited delegate places available and a full programme and further information can be obtained by logging on to or by contacting Conference Director Pippa Martin (


Study Tour - historic buildings renovation and energy efficiency: focus on Central Europe
Bolzano, Italy & Innsbruck, Austria - 19 September 2013
How can we improve energy efficiency and use renewable energy in buildings whilst also protecting our heritage? How can we ensure that this renewal brings benefits to the community?
Open to local political decision-makers who guide the urban planning strategy and/or climate protection work of the municipality and technical staff working with monument protection, building and energy based in Central Europe.
Learn from experts how advanced materials and technological options can be utilized to achieve better energy efficiency in harmony with cultural heritage. Explore your options through investigating the relevant context of local policy and urban planning through a combination of presentations by experts and guided site visits in the charming cities of Bolzano (Italy) and Innsbruck (Austria).
For more information and to register, contact: and visit:

Partnership for Sustainable Communities Conducts Regional Roundtables
The interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities has provided almost $4 billion in assistance to more than 700 communities nationwide, funding nearly 750 projects. These projects have helped improve access to affordable housing, increase transportation options, and lower transportation costs while protecting the environment. This summer, Partnership agencies are holding regional roundtables to engage stakeholders and receive feedback on how sustainable community efforts are progressing.


Eco living: is it time to protect urban trees?
The UK Government is being urged to give urban trees the same status as other vital infrastructure such as street lighting and utilities.
As the summer continues, spare a thought for the welcome shade, the cool rustle of soft new leaves, the vibrant splashes of green our urban trees provide.
But Britain’s “leafy suburbs”, desirable places to live not just for humans, but an extraordinarily diverse array of bird, bug and plant life, are under more pressure than at any time since the Second World War, arboriculture experts are warning. Now a broad coalition of conservationists, charities and urban planners are urging the Government to give urban trees the same status as other vital infrastructure such as street lighting and utilities.
Not only adding aesthetic value, urban trees perform vital functions in terms of moderating climate, preventing flash flooding and absorbing pollution. Yet, “while rural trees get lots of attention, our urban forest, where most of us live, tends to get forgotten”, says Dr Mark Johnston of Myerscough College, the national centre for arboriculture training.


Eating City Summer Camp
The Eating City meeting brought together, in a rural food-producing setting, 25 young professionals from 25 European countries, to discuss and elaborate a Declaration on the future of City Food Systems.
Between July 28th and August 3rd, 25 participants discussed topics as food provision, urban agriculture, eatable landscapes, cooking education, gardening experiences and efficient waste management, at the Eating City Summer Camp in France. They were inspired by lively discussions around the meal tables, by the cooking skills of the French chef, the delicious homemade bread and the sweet cherries handpicked from the farm trees.
Eating City International Platform
The young people represented 25 European countries at the Bergerie de Villarceux, France. The event was organized by the Eating City international platform, a project of Risteco, (an organization which started as the environmental branch of a public catering company),and it gathers people from organizations as diverse as the Terre Citoyenne Alliance, the independent agricultural think tank Groupe de Bruges and the Slow Food Movement.
From food logistics and procurement to plankton and religion
The structure of the meeting had a mix of formal and informal styles, with lectures, working groups and participating in baking and cooking activities. Lectures were given by experts in the most diverse aspects of the food system: Logistics, Fishing certification, Public Food Procurement, Local Food Marketing, and Youth Food Movements in Europe.
There were also speakers introducing less obvious topics: the nutritious potential of plankton as a widespread food; and the connections between food, culture and religion.
Declaration of Villarceux
The meeting resulted in the Declaration of Villarceux, elaborated and signed by all participants. In September the Declaration of Villarceux will be widespread through the Eating City platform and the participants’ networks throughout Europe.
The Eating City Summer Camp article is originally from:


Tweetchat with United Cities and Local Goverments prior to its Congress in Rabat!
The UCLG World Secretariat invites you to participate in tweetchats (online debates) on four main topics which will be discussed at its World Congress in Rabat, from 1 to 4 October 2013.
All tweets that include the respective hash-tag (see below) will be compiled to generate inputs for the round table debates during the World Summit.
The themes and dates for thedebates are scheduled as follows :
• Fostering wellbeing - 3 September, 4pm (GMT+1)
• Strengthening Solidarity Among Territories - 10 September, 4pm (GMT+1)
• Supporting new local governance - 17 September, 10 September, 4pm (GMT+1)
• Promoting diversity - 24 September10 September, 4pm (GMT+1)
All tweets will be posted on the UCLG Rabat Congress website


Accessible and eco-friendly neighborhoods the hallmark of a sustainable city
Backed by a €9 million euro (13 billion KRW) public investment to regenerate inner-city Suwon (South Korea), 4,300 Suwon residents are preparing to swap some 1,500 cars for ecomobile vehicles in September this year, as the city pledges to showcase a month-long prototype of accessible and eco-friendly neighborhood living.
Centered on the UNESCO heritage site Hwaseong Fortress, the revival of Suwon’s faded Haenggung-dong neighborhood and the development of high value cultural tourism asset, has long been hot on the local political agenda. The EcoMobility World Festival, led by Mayor Tae-Young Yeom and organized jointly by UN-Habitat and ICLEI is an initiative to spearhead the neighborhood’s revival, especially in terms of its accessibility and sustainability.
In 2012, a comprehensive residents’ survey was conducted by the Industry and Academic Cooperation Center in Ajou University to map the accessibility patterns and the demographic make-up of the Festival project. According to the survey, 18.7% of the residents reported a disability in access – 37% of whom experience mobility impairment, a key factor inhibiting residents’ mobility through the neighborhood and access to public transport services. 34.4% of the respondents reported narrow pathways as problematic and a further 20% considered the street environment of the project area unsafe for pedestrians.


Osmose - The bus starts here
As its contribution to the European Bus System of the Future (EBSF) project, for the past eight months transport operator RATP has been putting a concept bus stop through its paces in Paris. Mobility magazine reports how the prototype platform "Osmose" keeps waiting passengers comfortable and occupied.


UN-Habitat joins Future Policy Modeling Consortium
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) has become a member of Future Policy Modeling (FUPOL), a research consortium funded by the European Commission that aims to create a comprehensive informational communication technology model to support public policy design and implementation.
UN-Habitat was invited to join the consortium which consists of 18 partners comprising innovative information technology companies, leading research institutes, government agencies and municipalities from Austria, China, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Germany, FYR of Macedonia, Romania, Spain and the UK.
The FUPOL consortium proposes a new governance model to support the public policy design and implementation lifecycle with innovative ICT technologies. While targeting domains such as sustainable development, land use and urban segregation, it aims at reducing their complexity through a comprehensive policy spiral design lifecycle approach deemed appropriate for complex societal problems.


EcoCity Nantes hosts World Mayors Summit on Climate Change
Calling for a bottom-up approach for cities to access global financing mechanisms for local climate action, the World Mayors Summit on Climate Change, jointly organized by Nantes, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and the World Mayors Council on Climate Change is convening in the City of Nantes, France from 27-28 September. On this occasion, over 100 mayors from 30 countries, will demonstrate commitment and leadership on local climate action.
The summit, held under the patronage of François Hollande, President of the Republic of France and with the participation of the French Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault will be held back to back with the EcoCity World Summit 2013, 25-27 September. Both summits are part of Nantes’ program of events as the European Green Capital 2013.


Chinese Official warns of excessive 'empty cities'
According to a Chinese economic planning Official, “Uncontrolled expansion of cities in China has left many of them empty.” Qiao Runling, Deputy Director of the China Center for Urban Development under the National Development and Reform Commission said that local governments had relied on quick urbanization to stimulate economic growth and generate fiscal revenue.
Qiao stated quoting the result of his research at a forum on urban development held in Jiangxi Province this week "Nearly every big or medium-sized city across China has plans to erect a new town." According to the official, New towns are usually bigger than old ones and many cities are left empty as a result. "China now has an oversupply of cities, given the number of new urban districts that we have," Qiao said, adding that the excess of new urban districts are especially serious in medium and small-sized cities in central and western parts of the country.
Qiao warned that China's modern urbanization should no longer be bolstered by investment or construction projects but focus on structural reform. Official statistics showed that land used for urban construction rose by 83.41 percent from 2000 to 2010, while the urban population saw an increase of 45.12 percent in the period.


The European Sustainable Cities Movement widens its direction
Following its 2013 Conference in Geneva, the European Sustainable Cities & Towns Campaign was given a makeover: with the new name of “Sustainable Cities”, the movement has developed its own dedicated portal to be used by municipalities, regional organizations and NGOs.
While the focus remains on local actions towards sustainability, new actors will also be brought in to benefit the movement as a whole. Another function of the platform is knowledge-sharing. Sustainable Cities is a channel through which municipalities and other actors can share information and best working practices. In addition, news from a range of sources is being reported, and an events calendar has been added to help members keep up with the various sustainability conferences taking part in Europe.
Sustainable Cities will also act as a gateway for interested parties seeking information on European sustainability initiatives, the structure of regional organizations, EU law and funding opportunities. The platform is organized into themes, or “pathways”, which are intended to ease the burden of searching for information by cataloguing it in a central point.

Indian pilgrim cities to go green
Aiming to help various faiths to make their holy cities as environmental friendly and sustainable as possible according to their religious beliefs, ICLEI South Asia started the activities under the India Chapter of the Green Pilgrimage Network (GPN), that was launched in 2012 in Hyderabad, India, together with the Alliance of Religions and Conservation.
11 major Indian pilgrim centers including Amritsar, Guntur, Howrah, Visakhapatnam, Shirdi, Ujjain, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Varanasi, Bodh Gaya, and Ladakh have joined the initiative, forming part of the global network of pilgrim cities and sacred sites around the world wanting to be models of green action and care.
Launched in 2012, the GPN has founding 12 cities from India, Italy, Armenia, Israel, Nigeria, China, United Kingdom and Norway. In a recent meeting in Trondheim, Norway, the network saw its membership double in size, with 16 new cities and places joining the global initiative.
Until the end of this year, ICLEI South Asia will assist member cities of the India Chapter to take green actions, conducting environmental assessment in terms of water, sanitation, ecology and energy, preparing action plans, and developing a financial opportunity report or guidebook for implementing actions on the ground.
City profiles will also be created for holy places of different faiths, including Hindu cities Rishikesh, Muni Ki Reti and Ujiain, the Muslim Nizamuddin area, Buddhist city Ladakh, Sikh city Nanded and the Christian quarter in old Goa.
For more information, write to ramiz.khan(at)


UN-Habitat International Competition Announcement
We are excited to announce Habitat's new international competition on the "Urban Revitalization of Mass Housing". The competition is initiated by the Global Housing Strategy's campaign on "Placing Housing at the Centre" which seeks to address the challenges currently facing mass/social/public housing around the globe whilst introducing ASR (Academic Social Responsibility) and encouraging CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility).
The competition aims to render monolithic mass housing into more socially, economically and environmentally sustainable areas by integrating mixed uses, improving densities and mobility, and reducing their Eco-footprint. The contest also strives to strengthen ties between academia, professionals, local authorities, the private sector and mass housing residents.
From 1 September 2013 to 31 January 2014, teams of university students and/or recent graduates are invited to innovate and compete for seven regional prizes to be awarded at the World Urban Forum in April 2014 in Medellin, Colombia. Schools of architecture and urban planning as well as other academic and research institutions are encouraged to include this competition as part of their curriculum and course work.


Sustainable freight transport: Tools and methodologies co-produced by five Covenant cities
The Covenant of Mayors cities of Newcastle, Stuttgart, Hal-Tarxien, Emilia-Romagna and Leicester are among  seven involved in the IEE-funded project C-LIEGE which seeks to showcase good practices from European cities having developed cleaner and sustainable solutions in urban freight transport.
As the project enters its final year, a series of tools were developed by the project partners, which are now available for use outside of the pilot cities where they were originally tested. They include a Stakeholder Engagement Manual, a toolbox for the establishment of a « City Logistics Manager », the UFT Good Practice Database, the Push & Pull Measures database and the Guidelines for development of an Urban Freight Mobility Plan.
More information about this project and related materials can be found on the website at

The slum with a cinema and a cable car
Extraordinary transformation of notorious Brazilian favela which is now so safe it’s getting a MALL
The slums of Rio de Janeiro are undergoing radical transformationsas the state authority continues its hardline strategy of using the military and police to physically clear the ghettos of the drug dynasties that have controlled them for decades.
So far 140 favelas in Rio city have been pacified, the term that indicates a community has been freed from the grip of drug traffickers.
There are still, however, over 1,000 favelas in Rio State that remain unpacified.
Nevertheless, for the shanty-towns that are now experiencing peace, the cessation of violence is having a dramatic and positive effect on hundreds of lives and injecting opportunities and growth into what was a poverty-striken and neglected economy.
Recent research by Brazil’s Institute of Popular Data found that around 12 million people living in shanty-towns now earn over £16 billion a year and are fast becoming a new and lucrative consumer market.
Around 65 percent of favela residents are considered middle class, versus 37 percent in 2002.


Government debt and urbanization
The State Council, China's cabinet, has directed the National Audit Office to audit all local government debt accounts, reflecting the rising concern over debt levels amid the economic slowdown. Of late, disappointing trade figures, combined with lower than expected second quarter GDP figures, have increased the pressure on the central government to introduce some sort of financial stimulus package to boost the economy.
Many experts, however, are warning against any such stimulus for the urbanization drive. The problem is local governments' debts, which have been in the news ever since the central government announced a 4-trillion-yuan ($652-billion) stimulus package in 2008 to overcome the shocks of the global financial crisis. In fact, the experts say it's the stimulus that helped create this mountain of debt.
According to official data, local government debts today exceed 12 trillion yuan, although ratings agency Fitcsh suggests the figure could be as high as 13 trillion yuan, or a quarter of China's GDP.


Cooperative Mobility for Urban Freight Energy Efficiency in Helmond
Increasing energy efficiency and reducing emissions from goods delivery vehicles can bring significant benefits to urban areas. As a European first, the city of Helmond will operate a cooperative mobility service on a commercial basis supporting logistics operators to achieve more reliable, efficient and clean deliveries.


Saving public money: How the city of Kranj embraced energy performance contracting
The local authority of Kranj (Slovenia) joined the Covenant of Mayors initiative only recently in May 2013. However, as so many of its fellow European cities, it did so well prepared, and with a good track record of energy saving initiatives. In 2007, the city undertook the renovation of the local Olympic swimming pool, implementing this project via the Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) model. The private ESCO which was contracted for this purpose invested €780,000 in the project. Six years on, the results are promising: 50% reduction in heat consumption, 70% reduction in water consumption and 668.148 kg CO2 emission avoided on a yearly basis. Through this and other EPC projects implemented in public buildings, the city already managed to reduce its overall energy consumption by more than 22% and benefitted from 15.1% of cost savings in long term maintenance.


Stay informed on RES legislation implementation via new website
The IEE-funded ‘Keep on track!’ project has now officially launched its website: Coordinated by the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC), Keep on track! monitors the progress made by EU member states in the implementation of renewable energy legislation to achieve the 2020 RES objectives.
The project’s website features up-to-date market data as well as early warnings and solutions that help countries to overcome possible delays and barriers for RES deployment and get back on track with the trajectory set in the RES Directive. Four thematic publications – the EU Tracking Roadmap, the European Overview of Deviations and Barriers Report, the Policy Recommendations report and the Biannual National Policy Update – provide further insight on the fulfillment of RES targets across the 28 EU member states.

Paris growing faster
Following a vote in Parliament earlier this month, the city of Paris looks set — after years and years of discussions — to join with its hinterland in 2016 and become part of a huge new urban authority, one with roughly three times its current population and four times its current land area. Dubbed the "Métropole du Grand Paris," this new city authority will break down the rigid barrier between the city of Paris and what are referred to as its suburbs, despite their often being more densely populated than many American downtowns.
Admittedly, tinkering with a few boundaries and pushing the tentacles of urban power a little farther out into the ‘burbs may not be the thing to set the non-specialist’s heart racing. But the Paris power map's redraw is likely to have a major effect on the city. For while it still has a beauty that blows other European megacity competitors out of the water (sorry London), Paris has for decades been hampered by a fiddly, fragmented administration that’s frankly something of a hot mess.


Beijing plans $81b shantytown renovation project
For Zhang Yingfen, 79, who lives in a small house with her 83-year-old husband and three other family members, plans to renovate shantytowns inside Beijing's Fourth Ring Road seem to promise a great improvement in quality of life.
Her one-story house of 18 square meters in Liuhaodi is among those earmarked for the municipal government's planned urban renovations project, which will involve 500 billion yuan ($81.5 billion) of investment over the next five years.
According to the plan, more than 230,000 households will be affected in various ways, ranging from renovations of individual homes to the complete re-ordering of communities.
Zhang said her family moved to the Liuhaodi neighborhood in 1974. Located inside the capital's Second Ring Road, the area is now one of the largest shantytowns in Dongcheng district.
"The house is so crowded that my son and daughter-in-law have to rent a house in another area," Zhang said. "When my 21-year-old grandson brings his girlfriend to the house, I feel embarrassed that I cannot even find her a good place to sit."
Zhang said she hopes the government plan will provide her and her family with a new, larger house.
Eventually, the renovation project will be extended to include comprehensive improvements in old communities, urban villages and rural-urban fringe zones, according to an announcement from the Beijing Municipal Committee of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.
The five-year plan for areas within the Fourth Ring Road will involve 527 projects, 83 of which are to be completed in the first year, the committee said.
The project aims to improve quality for life for residents while fueling the economy, according to Chen Gang, deputy mayor of Beijing.
"The living area per family in the downtown area is about 20 sq m, lower than the average of 29 sq m for other areas, so the renovation will enlarge their living space," he said.
He pointed out three major problems posed by the shantytowns of Beijing. First, air quality is poor, with high use of coal, and waste left in the open air. Second, poor standards of construction and dilapidated housing mean an increased risk of fire, collapse and other such dangers. Third, the large migrant population in such areas contributes to high crime rates, meaning potential security problems for the city.
According to the current plan, most residents will be required to vacate their homes during the renovations, but will then move back to their previous homes.
Work will only start when 90 percent of residents involved in each project have agreed, and terms of compensation will be settled on the same basis.
Yi Chengdong, an associate professor from the Real Estate Research Center of Central University of Finance and Economics, said: "When it comes to urban shantytown renovation projects, the issues of land and compensation for the residents follow closely. But as most of the residents will move back after their projects finish, the compensation and relocation will pose few problems."
Dang Guoying, a researcher with the Rural Development Institute under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that many projects will involve replacing single-story homes with multistory apartment blocks, which will provide more space for existing residents, while freeing up land for additional housing. Such new apartments would be in prime city-center locations, making them attractive homes for prospective buyers.
"This could ease the pressure on space in Beijing. But the government should use the land efficiently and control the distribution, keeping it open and fair," he said.

City Invokes Seizure Laws to Save Homes
The power of eminent domain has traditionally worked against homeowners, who can be forced to sell their property to make way for a new highway or shopping mall. But now the working-class city of Richmond, Calif., hopes to use the same legal tool to help people stay right where they are.
Scarcely touched by the nation’s housing recovery and tired of waiting for federal help, Richmond is about to become the first city in the nation to try eminent domain as a way to stop foreclosures.


All Together for Public Transport Growth
All Together for Public Transport Growth’ movement will be launched in September: join this unique opportunity to act together to make the public transport sector’s voice heard. 
The movement is rapidly gaining momentum and almost 40 cities and regions around the world have already confirmed their participation. To coincide with European Mobility Week (16-22 September), participating networks will display the ‘Grow with Public Transport’ message on and in vehicles, stations, stops and websites and social media. 
For more information about the campaign, please contact

Reasons why cities need Urban Planning
Urban planning is a valuable force for city leaders to achieve sustainable development. It is a means to bring about  a difference; Planning helps make the most out of municipal budgets by informing infrastructure and services investments, balancing demands for growth with the need to protect the environment. It distributes economic development within a given territory to reach social objectives and creates a framework for collaboration between local governments, the private sector and the public at large.
Urban planning is a framework that helps leaders transform vision into implementation, using space as a key resource for development and engaging stakeholders along the way.


13th-Century Alleyways and a Modern Plague of Illegal Renovations
Wang Xue stood in the middle of his courtyard house, next to a pomegranate tree. It could have been a scene out of a Tang dynasty poem but for the sound of a jackhammer and a layer of construction dust that thinly caked the rows of potted plants and vine-covered awnings.
“The weather is warm, and with that comes construction season,” Mr. Wang, 53, said with a grimace at his home northeast of Tiananmen Square, in the middle of a Beijing neighborhood still filled with hutongs, or traditional Chinese alleyways.


The traditional high street is dead
A Government minister sounded the death knell for traditional high streets today as he said empty or boarded up shops should be turned into housing.
Nick Boles, planning minister, will grant local authorities far greater freedom to convert retail premises into private housing as the internet transforms the way Britons shop.
A consultation paper due out this week will suggest councils across England should concentrate their efforts on revitalising shopping to just one or two "prime streets". The rest can be converted.
Insiders said the change would likely see the end of "long straggly shopping streets heading out of town" and shorten existing high streets.
Mr Boles will also allow farmers to convert old agricultural buildings such as cowsheds or stables into housing.
The high street proposals mark a dramatic shift in policy from a Coalition that just two years ago hired 'Queen of Shops' Mary Portas to save high streets up and down the country.


Crystal Palace to come back from the dead
It once showcased the latest in Victorian technology and hosted the world's first pedigree cat show beneath its soaring vaults of iron and glass. Now, the Crystal Palace might be rebuilt in south London as a complex of exhibition spaces, shops and cafes, if a Chinese developer gets his way.
Ni Zhaoxing, billionaire owner of Shanghai-based real estate giant ZhongRong Holdings, has expressed his desire to create an exact replica of the 900,000 sq ft glass halls in Crystal Palace park. The majestic structure was originally designed by Joseph Paxton and first erected in Hyde Park for the Great Exhibition of 1851, assembled by 5,000 navvies at a cost of £150,000 (equivalent to £13m today). After the exhibition, it was relocated to Sydenham and redesigned in a much grander beaux arts style, complete with a barrel-vaulted roof and two new transepts – costing £1.3m (around £97m today) – before being destroyed by fire in 1936.


“Cities, culture and future”
Almost a decade after the creation of Agenda 21 for culture, and in the light of the new scenarios, the city of Buenos Aires, co-president of the Committee on culture of UCLG, organises an international seminar to discuss and to update the conceptual bases of the work of the Committee. The seminar will take place on 2-6 September 2013. The seminar considers the current contents of Agenda 21 for culture, and will analyse the challenges laid out by the global community: the UN Post-2015 Development Agenda, the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, the Sustainable Development Goals, the Declaration of Hangzhou (UNESCO) on culture and sustainable development, Habitat III in 2016...


FT/Citi Ingenuity Awards
As mass urbanisation continues, the most successful cities will be those that embrace groundbreaking solutions to meet the changing needs of their citizens. The Financial Times and Citi, in collaboration with INSEAD, have partnered to recognise the leaders, teams, organisations and community groups whose solutions are enabling progress in cities around the world. The FT/Citi Ingenuity Awards: Urban Ideas in Action programme recognises original ideas that have made life better for people living and working in cities.
FT/Citi Ingenuity Awards Regional Dinner Forums
This series of four global events brings together industry leaders, policy experts, stakeholders and academics to honour some of the strongest candidates whose ingenious solutions in city administration, energy, education, resource management and community engagement are enabling urban progress. Events take place in Singapore, London, Panama City and San Francisco. For more information or to register your interest to attend, contact

In Dublin's Fair City: the URBACT Sumer University
Dublin is a frequent partner city in URBACT projects. As it prepares to welcome delegates to the URBACT Summer University in August, we look at the Irish capital’s approach to urban development, and the benefits of its participation in four URBACT projects.


Two Supertalls Squashed in Melbourne
Plans to build what may have been the southern hemisphere's tallest skyscraper in Melbourne have been abandoned. Fender Katsalidis Architects has confirmed it is redesigning plans Australia 108 after a series of code requirements rendered the proposal "impossible."
Planning Minister Matthew Guy approved the 108-story proposal in March after a very short consultation period. This version of the design included a 388-meter (1,273-foot) AU$600 million tower housing 664 apartments and a retail precinct.
New plans for the site are expected to be shorter than 100 stories, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
The 404-meter (1,325-foot) building proposed for 555 Collins Street will reportedly also suffer a significant reduction in height before any real progress is made, according to The Age.

World Habitat Awards 2013 – finalists announced
The 10 finalists for the 2013 World Habitat Awards have been chosen from a list of over 200 projects from across the globe. Each year 2 awards are given to projects that provide practical and innovative solutions to current housing needs and problems. Every year an award of £10,000 is presented to each of the 2 winners at the annual United Nations global celebration of World Habitat Day.–_finalists_announced


Strategies for Refueling Abandoned Gas Stations
Depending who you ask, America’s first gas station opened in either St. Louis or Seattle only a handful of years following the turn of the 20th century. The automobile was young, but already well on its way to driving straight into the heart of American culture. It didn’t take long for gas stations to flood across the country, popping up along major arterial roads, prime hard corner locations, and highway off ramps—wherever traffic and auto access optimized a retailer’s pro-forma. No city, no citizen was immune. In his pastoral quest to sketch the future of a dispersed and auto-centric society, even Frank Lloyd Wright engaged in gas station design.  The gas station thus became an aesthetically regrettable but compulsory compound in the refinement of modern urban development.
Some stations have stood the test of time. Reighard’s in Atloona, Pennsylvania has been selling gasoline since 1909, making it the oldest American gas station still in operation. But others haven’t always fared so well. Aggressive expansion during the U.S’s post-war suburban boom effectively over positioned low-volume, small square footage stations throughout the country. Now the United States find itself in the midst of a multi-decade decline in the number of gas station retailers open for business across the country. And this trend persists despite metronomic increases in both the nation’s population and urban footprint over the same time period.


European Union reaffirms its recognition of local authorities
A joint communication for the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions was issued last week.
Titled “Empowering Local Authorities in partner countries for enhanced governance and more effective development outcomes”, the document recognizes the importance of local governments for development, as the institutions that are the closest to the citizens. Unlocking this potential involve the creation of mechanisms for better local governance and political willingness through legal and regulatory instruments.
This renewed support to local governments and their associations opens the door for the inclusion of the territorial approach to development, the support to decentralization processes including the allocation of EU funding to support the growing role, potential, and needs of local authorities and their associations.

IBM promotes a session on smarter cities in Rabat 2013 World Summit
The parallel session of "Smarter Cities" will be linked to the general debate on Fostering Wellbeing that will be held on 3rd October as part of the 2013 World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders in Rabat. IBM will host the session as a partner of the leading organization of Local and Regional authorities worldwide, UCLG.
The issues under debate will clarify to what extent smart technologies contribute to fostering wellbeing in the city and its citizens. They will also address how smart cities can help increase prosperity for all citizens by using information to make more insightful decisions and anticipate and resolve problems proactively by coordinating resources to operate more effectively.
Key questions will be presented as follows:
• How do smart city projects meet the demands of citizens for better access to basic services and reduce inequalities?
• How do smart city projects allow city leaders to better capitalize on existing infrastructure and better connect existing services?
• Smart city projects are very much developed in the developed countries. How can smart cities address the challenges of low-income countries?


What future do Local and Regional Governments want? Take part in the online Summit debates
As the World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders approaches, UCLG is offering citizens all over the world the opportunity to participate in the central debates of this global event. To facilitate active citizen participation, we have created the Twitter hashtag #Rabat2013 to bring together all of the news, comments and contributions on the Summit’s theme, ‘Imagine Society, Build Democracy’. Deciding the future for towns, cities and regions is a task for everyone. In this new initiative for the Summit, the key issues that will be addressed during the thematic round tables of the World Summit will be analysed, debated and expanded on before the event through social networks throughout September; the month leading up to the celebration of the event. Twitter will be the main channel and motor of these debates, which will be structured around the four topics of the thematic round tables. How will the debates work? To participate in the chat, follow @uclg_org on Twitter and use the #Rabat2013 and the hashtag for each of the themes: fostering wellbeing (#UCLGWellbeing), Strengthening solidarity among territories (#UCLG4dev), Supporting new local governance (#UCLGlocalgov) and promoting diversity (#UCLGdiversity). Each debate will include contributions by an expert on the issue, who will also moderate the discussion and respond during the specific time slots allocated for each theme. The chats are designed to attract the greatest number of participants possible, whether they are linked to the municipal movement or not. Contributions are welcome in any of the official languages of UCLG: English, French and Spanish. In addition to the contributions of the experts, the inputs of online users will also be compiled and responded to by UCLG during a special week allocated to each of the themes. At the end of the month, when all four debates have been concluded, the top comments will be compiled and presented as contributions to the plenary sessions of the Summit in the city of Rabat from 1st to 4th October. A summary of online contributions will also be published on the UCLG blog.

World’s largest bike parking space in Utrecht
Utrecht is building a much needed new Station Area. Ever since the Hoog Catharijne shopping mall was built in the 1970s, there had been overdue maintenance, neglect, a growing number of passengers, a growing city and the desire to get water back in the old canal. With the construction of a new and renewed area all these issues are being tackled at once, including the development of a brand new innovative bike parking space.


New European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) launched
The European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) is an evidence-based online platform managed by the European Commission’s DG for Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion, which builds on the work of its predecessor, the European Alliance for Families (EAF). EPIC was launched in early 2013, and follows from the European Commission’s recommendation on ‘Investing in Children- breaking the cycle of disadvantage’.


Slum Dogs and a trillion dollar industry
Today, over sixty percent – or 200 million people – of the Sub-Saharan population in Africa live in slums. Overcrowding, disease and a lack of toilets and health care services are a daily reality.
Nairobi in Kenya is home to one of the world's largest urban slums called Kibera. This slum alone is home to approximately 1.2 million people, with more than 60 percent of its population living on less than $1 per day.
But despite huge financial investments – including from Australian foreign aid – there has been little progress in slum development in recent years.
In the 2011/2012 Australian foreign aid budget eight percent was allocated directly to Africa, totalling $384 million.
Africa has seen a steady increase in funding from Australia over the past decade, with a focus on health, sanitation and reaching the millennium development goals. One of which is to 'achieve, by 2020, a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers.'


Parking and urban access - contribute to the AIPARK-Sapienza survey
AIPARK and Sapienza – University of Rome started a cooperative study on the contemporary situation of parking management and practice in Europe with a special focus on accessibility problems to urban central areas. Polis members are invited to contribute.


Call for Papers is announced for 'Major International Urban Trees Research Conference.'
Trees, People and the Built Environment II (TPBEII) builds on the highly successful international conference first organized on behalf of a Conference Partnership in April 2011.  The event is returning to Birmingham, on 2nd to 3rd April 2014, but this time to an even bigger venue due to an anticipated increase in the number of delegates and exhibitors.
The conference will be hosted by the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) as its 2014 National Conference. The event is a major partnership initiative supported by a Conference Steering Group who will guide the programme content and format.

More information

Île-de-France combines transport zones for summer
At the end of May, STIF, the transport authority in Île-de-France, approved the merger of all five travel zones in Paris Region into a single zone, for the summer period. In July and August, public transport users of zones 1 to 5 will benefit from a 7.5% reduction in their monthly transport subscriptions.


Urban Drainage Design Workshop
Urban Drainage Design Workshop is a 2-day workshop providing a detailed introduction to urban roadway drainage design. This workshop will be organized from 16th to 17th September, 2013 at Ottawa, Canada.
Design guidance for solving basic problems encountered in urban roadway drainage design is provided. The topics are hydrology including rational equation, soil conservation method, regression equations, and synthetic hydrographs; and highway drainage including gutter flow, roadway inlet interception, storm drain systems, energy and hydraulic grade lines, detention ponds and storm water management.
This workshop will emphasize on the practical application of sound planning, design, construction and maintenance practices for highway drainage systems. The designed components include storm water facilities design, open channels and culverts. An understanding of the hydrological and hydraulic principles that underlie practical design will also be developed.


Intermediary cities discuss recommendations for their development and recognition
International Forum in Lleida took place on the 28th and 29th of June and was the setting for Mayors, practitioners, experts, development partners and network representatives to come together and discuss the priorities for intermediary cities. The Forum was a joint effort by the city of Lleida - the host, the UCLG committee of Urban Strategic Planning and the network of Intermediary cities – CIMES – along with collaborating partners UN Habitat, the International Labour Organization, Cities Alliance and FMDV. The Forum brought together Mayors from countries around the world including Morocco, Bangladesh, Ecuador, South Africa, Mozambique, Philippines in addition to political representatives from Italy and Spain and practitioners and network representatives from Argentina, Brazil, Netherlands, South Africa, Turkey, Israel and Egypt, amongst others. Further to the roundtable debates and discussion sessions, the agenda of the Forum also included site visits during which the city of Lleida demonstrated its development strategies with particular focuss on agricultural and economic development and its relation with the hinterland. A Mayor´s roundtable, moderated by the Secretary General of UCLG, Mr. Josep Roig, was the opening event of the Forum and gave Mayors the opportunity to briefly present their cities and debate questions related of local economic development, spatial and environment planning, institutional and governance issues as well as social dialogue and inclusion in relation to their cities.


Domestic workers and public space in Hong Kong
First-time visitors to Hong Kong are startled when they stumble upon thousands of domestic workers congregated in the public spaces around prime real estate areas of downtown Hong Kong. While on any other typical day, there is the usual mix of local and expat businessmen, executives, and high-end shoppers walking the streets amidst soaring skyscrapers and luxury shops, on Sundays a complete metamorphosis of the city occurs. With mats made out of different materials, from towels to cardboards to shower curtains, domestic workers claim spots on the roads, elevated footpaths, parks, underpasses and sidewalks and transform the heart of Hong Kong into a festive holiday enclave.

See more at:


Preliminary programme for the UCLG Summit now available!
In just over two months, between the 1st and 4th of October, local and regional leaders and elected representatives from all over the globe will gather in Rabat for the World Summit of Local and Regional leaders - the 4th UCLG Congress.
The Summit will be a unique opportunity for the international community to define the international agenda and roadmap for local and regional governments. At the same time, the International Municipal Movement will celebrate its centenary and local and regional leaders, representatives from civil society and the private sector, academics and actors from all continents will come together to reflect on the future of local and regional governments.
Under the theme: "Imagine Society, Build Democracy", the programme of the 2013 Summit will focus on two main issues that will guide the work of UCLG over the coming years: the role of local authorities in the post-2015 agenda, and the need to meet the increasing demands of an increasingly urban world population. Both issues will contribute to preparations for the Habitat III Conference to be held by the United Nations in 2016.
The Summit will be made up of three parts:
Introduction Session, including the opening ceremony. During this session, the commemorations of the centenary of the international municipal movement will be announced.
A central programme based on four Thematic Round Tables: spaces will be allocated for parallel sessions organized by UCLG partners, committees and working groups aiming to complete and define the proposals of each theme.
Two Strategic Plenaries during which conclusions will be shared and joint actions for each theme will be decided.
Consult the full programme here
In addition to the official programme of the Summit, members and partners of UCLG will host parallel events that will take place over the 1st and 2nd of October.
These events will address topics such as: the governance of water, local development in Africa, the right to the city, justice and urban health (Tuesday 1st October), culture as a fourth pillar of sustainable development, and the modernization of local public services (Wednesday 2nd October), among others.
This global event will feature participation by important figures from the world of local and regional politics, as well as senior representatives of international organizations.
See the confirmed participants here.
We are counting on you to join us and make this Summit a success. Sign up now to benefit from the early bird rate!


Join the IFHP on a study tour to the green and vibrant city of Madrid.
The focus of the study tour will be strategic planning, innovative housing and inclusive communities.
Date(s): 02.09.13 to 04.09.13.
Discover how the giant new city-park “Madrid Rio” has transformed city life in Madrid. Hear about the revitalization of the City Centre and the extension of the Castellana Axes. Visit the housing development in Vallecas, the Ecoboulevard by Ecosistema Urbano and the development of San Chinarro, which features the housing project Mirador by MVRDV.
Target group
City planners, housing professionals and urban designers from all over the world dealing with urban development, sustainable planning and housing issues.


Participate in the European Local Democracy Week
Motivating citizens to take part in decision-making processes at the grassroots level will be at the centre of the new edition of the European Local Democracy Week (ELDW) which will be organised, this year, from 14 to 20 October in Europe and beyond.
The Congress therefore dedicates its 2013 edition to “active citizenship: voting, sharing, participating”. It calls on municipalities and associations to organise events and activities to promote democratic participation in their communities.
The ELDW is an annual European event, launched in 2007 and initiated by the Council of Europe's Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and European Committee on Local and Regional Democracy. National and local activities, public debates, exhibitions and competitions are organised during the course of the week by participating local authorities in Council of Europe member states so that they may improve and promote local democracy.
More generally speaking, the ELDW provides a great opportunity for local councillors, civil servants and citizens to raise their awareness of democratic participation at the local level as a key factor in building a democratic European society.
For more information, please visit the ELDW website.


No cars in cities of the future
There will be a widespread ban on cars in London within the next 20 years, according to one of Britain’s leading architects, who has called for cities to be designed for pedestrians and cyclists rather than for traffic.
The prediction from Lord Rogers of Riverside — who was behind the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the National Assembly Building in Cardiff and the Lloyd’s Building in London — comes as cities around the country consider restricting access for cars in their centres.
Lord Rogers predicted that small electric vehicles would become commonplace across the country and said that increasing the number of cyclists will solve the capital’s congestion problems. “By the year 2033 — my 100th birthday — you’re looking at a widespread ban on cars, certainly in the centre of town,” he said. “There will be a major change in the power and form of cars everywhere, with electric rickshaws and devices that resemble Segways a common sight.”


Cities in action: assistance for independent living
Making life easier for Sofia’s disabled residents
Assistance for independent living is a first for Bulgaria. Our latest cities in action case study looks at the scheme, which allows disabled residents to live independently with the help of up to five assistants. Service users are free to choose their assistants, and these can include family members and friends.
The assistants, who are paid by the municipality, help the service user to lead as independent a life as possible. This can include taking them to the doctor, care in the home and helping with the shopping.
Before assistance for independent living, social service care in Sofia had been mainly restricted to the home. Other assistance had to be paid for separately, which left many lower-income residents at risk of social exclusion.
Thanks to assistance for independent living, all disabled residents over the age of five and deemed at risk of social exclusion are eligible for flexible care. The service is not based on income, but candidates are selected according to their degree of impairment and level of assistance required for independent living.
Several adaptations have been made to the service since it began in 2008, including dividing it into a children’s and an adults’ service, ensuring fair access to all ages.
The number of users has tripled since 2008, and 90% claim that their lives have become easier thanks to the service. For many residents, assistance for independent living makes the difference between social exclusion and good quality of life.

It's safer in cities
Even though cities have higher rates of crime and murder, a new study finds that overall, urban areas are safer than the sticks.
However, that counterintuitive conclusion doesn't fit Philadelphia. The City of Brotherly Love turns out to be about as risky as rural areas, largely because of car accidents.
"Philadelphia does tend to be on the worse end" of the safety spectrum for big cities, said lead researcher Sage Myers, an emergency medicine physician at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
The study, by researchers at Children's and the University of Pennsylvania, is the first to look at overall death rates for all sorts of injuries - crashes, gunshots, drownings, falls, poisonings, even animal attacks - across the nation, rather than for selected areas or specific injuries.


New European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) launched
The European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) is an evidence-based online platform managed by the European Commission’s DG for Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion, which builds on the work of its predecessor, the European Alliance for Families (EAF). EPIC was launched in early 2013, and follows from the European Commission’s recommendation on ‘Investing in Children- breaking the cycle of disadvantage’.


Best practices for Sustainable Urban Water Cycle Systems
In the present chaotic urban life, there are numerous issues that need attention.  Some of them include water scarcity, aging infrastructure, demographic change, pollution, climate change and other megatrends. These urban problems create the need for a transition towards more sustainable urban water cycle services (UWCS) in the cities.
This report "Best practices for Sustainable Urban Water Cycle Systems - an overview of and enabling and constraining factors for a transition to sustainable UWCSs" deals with and reviews best practices in the water sector.


Global Initiative for Resource Efficient Cities (GI-REC)
"Resource Efficiency is a key driver of success that promotes Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP), facilitates a transition to a Green Economy and thus contributes to achieving global sustainable development. In cities, resource efficiency enhances the quality of life in urban areas by minimizing resource extraction, energy consumption and waste generation and while simultaneously safeguarding ecosystem services. UNEP defines resource efficiency from a life cycle and value chain perspective. This means reducing the total environmental impact of the production and consumption of goods and services, from raw material extraction to final use and disposal.
This Global Initiative for Resource Efficient Cities (GI-REC) seeks to connect the many different entities around the world working on Resource Efficiency, using UNEP’s convening ability to mobilize partners and different constituencies from governments at both the national and local levels, civil society, business and industry and other major groups. The ultimate goal of the Global Initiative is to mainstream resource efficiency and sustainable consumption and production into policies and tools at the city level and to change citizens’ and business’ habits accordingly."


Transit-Oriented Development Takes Off
Transit-oriented development (TOD) in Atlanta, Portland, Charlotte, and Phoenix is the topic of a recent article in Progressive Railroading. Beginning in the mid-1990s, planners in these cities visualized how they could develop land near transit stations to help drive ridership and boost revenue. These areas have now become magnets for shops, restaurants, entertainment venues, apartments, and condominiums.


TIDE call for Circle of Innovation Cities
Apply by 20 September to join TIDE's Circle of Innovation Cities
TIDE (Transport Innovation Deployment for Europe) is calling for up to 50 cities to join its Circle of Innovative Cities.
This is an opportunity for cities to engage in learning and exchange activities in the following thematic clusters:
1. road and parking pricing as demand management measures
2. non-motorised transport
3. advanced traffic management for traveller information systems
4. electric mobility
5. public transport organisation
The selected cities will find out about the latest innovations in sustainable transport in Europe. They will learn how to successfully transfer good ideas between cities. Participating cities will benefit from the knowledge and experience of other cities across Europe, and will be able to share their own knowledge and experience.


Sustainable urban transport through ADVANCE: a means to implement your SEAP
Just like SEAPs, local authorities can develop Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) to support them in the planning of their mobility activities. And given that transport-related CO2 emissions account for around 30% of greenhouse gas emissions of cities in Europe, this is a crucial field of action for Covenant Signatories. SEAPs and SUMPs are closely linked as the SUMPs tools and methodologies can be very useful to develop the mobility section of the SEAPs.
To assist municipalities and cities in developing and assessing their SUMPs, a European-funded project has been put in place, ADVANCE, which aims at improving urban transport systems by addressing a number of challenges:


European Union reaffirms its recognition of local authorities
A joint communication for the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions was issued last week.
Titled “Empowering Local Authorities in partner countries for enhanced governance and more effective development outcomes”, the document recognizes the importance of local governments for development, as the institutions that are the closest to the citizens. Unlocking this potential involve the creation of mechanisms for better local governance and political willingness through legal and regulatory instruments.
This renewed support to local governments and their associations opens the door for the inclusion of the territorial approach to development, the support to decentralization processes including the allocation of EU funding to support the growing role, potential, and needs of local authorities and their associations.
The full text of the document can be downloaded at:


Call for Projects invited for ‘Urban Intervention Award Berlin 2013’ and the ‘Urban Living Award 2013’
Call for Projects is invited for ‘Urban Intervention Award Berlin 2013’ and ‘Urban Living Award 2013’. The Urban Intervention Award Berlin, which was presented for the first time in 2010 on a European level by the Senate Department of Urban Development and the Environment Berlin, will, in cooperation with the Deutsche Wohnen AG, be expanded in 2013 to include the new Urban Living Award.
This year, for the first time, prize money in the amount of 3,000 € will be awarded for each of the categories "Built", "Temporary" and "Living". This prize money has been donated by the Deutsche Wohnen AG.


The State of Urban Youth 2012/2013, Youth in the Prosperity of Cities (UN-Habitat 2013)
This UN-Habitat report provides useful and detailed insights on the state of urban youth in cities of different continents: Cairo, Bangalore, Accra and São Paulo. The report is based on background reports prepared by local researchers.
More information


NEUCHÀTOI 2013: Cultural Interaction To Overcome Cultural Barriers
Following its success in 2006 and 2009, NEUCHÀTOI is taking place again in 2013 to promote diversity in public areas and the positive image of a plural society. From April to November 2013, the Association NeuchàToi and the Working Community for the Integration of Foreign Nationals (CTIE) are overseeing the organisation of over sixty events across the canton of Neuchâtel, which are being carried out in partnership with a wide range of private and public partners.


THE FLEXIBLE CITY International Symposium to be held at University of Oxford
THE FLEXIBLE CITY International Symposium will be organized from 24th to 25th October 2013, at University of Oxford. The event offers scholars, policymakers, investors and the public at large with an opportunity to discuss the challenges for research of contemporary and future urbanization.
Different cities over the world face complex and rapidly evolving challenges.  The challenges range from climate, poverty, economic downturns to demographic shifts, cities now need to confront wide range of issues.
To cater the issues requires ingenuity and versatility, whether in policymaking, investment decisions or everyday livelihoods. The ‘Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities’ needs to re-think the city, in theory and practice to confront these challenges.


How Moscow Came to Recognize, and Protect, Its Green Spaces
When people think of Moscow, they're unlikely to envision lush green landscapes. But over the last two decades, thanks to a burgeoning environmental movement, the city has rapidly expanded its protected green space.
Sveta Samsonova provides a brief outline of the history, current state, and future prospects for Moscow's protected green spaces. "Precursors of today's protected areas have existed since the 16th century," she explains, "when some territories were placed under special protection by the royal family and nobility as hunting grounds and private estates."
Although a greenbelt around the city limits and ring of parks around the city center were established in Moscow's 1935 General Plan, "construction of factories, residential areas and roads significantly reduced the amount of green space in and around Moscow," from 1940-1980.
However, following mass protests in the late 1980s, "[t]he Moscow Soviet of People's Deputies (Mossovet) decided to set up a system of protected areas, and the second (Bitsa Park) appeared in 1992. Since then, the network has increased substantially. In 2004, the municipal government approved a plan for the 'Development and Management of Protected Areas in Moscow' with a list of existing and planned sites up to the year 2025."