29/7/2016 - Bridging the GAP: What are older persons looking for in the New Urban Agenda?
29/7/2016 - Good urban design is actually a sharing economy
28/7/2016 - Madrid is the first city joining the worldwide Hackathon! Happening this July and August 2016!
28/7/2016 - How will we know if the New Urban Agenda has been successful?
28/7/2016 - White privilege and gentrification in Denver, 'America’s favourite city'
28/7/2016 - How one Virginia city is re-framing sea-level rise as an opportunity
27/7/2016 - Europe's towns and regions remain united within CEMR
27/7/2016 - Calgary versus the car: the city that declared war on urban sprawl
27/7/2016 - How Cops and Mayors Are Making the Most of Pokémon Go
27/7/2016 - Five reasons cities should take a leading role on food waste
26/7/2016 - Mayors, leaders pledge to make cities safe and sustainable
26/7/2016 - Could the 20-minute neighborhood work in Detroit?
26/7/2016 - FLOW Portfolio of Measures on the role of walking and cycling in reducing congestion
26/7/2016 - Understanding urban planning, land use, transportation and traffic
25/7/2016 - Denmark allows more kids in cargo bikes
25/7/2016 - CIVITAS e-courses expanded to include new topics
25/7/2016 - Teenagers Surrounded by Green Are Less Aggressive
25/7/2016 - Berlin becomes 7th Western city to divest from fossil fuels
24/7/2016 - A 'lightning rod' for sustainable urban development
24/7/2016 - Disturbing New Data on Police Violence in Rio de Janeiro
24/7/2016 - Geneva hosts City Prosperity Initiative meeting on municipal finance and urban economy
24/7/2016 - How to globalize the sustainable city
23/7/2016 - Eight stubborn facts about housing policies
23/7/2016 - Why adequate housing is crucial to sustainable urbanisation
23/7/2016 - Take part in the 2016 world Climathon
23/7/2016 - Cities welcome refugees - Refugee job fair in Vienna
22/7/2016 - CNU24 Detroit: Summary and celebration
22/7/2016 - The Reality of Living in Anytown, USA
22/7/2016 - The case against tiny houses
22/7/2016 - More people in less space: rapid urbanisation threatens global health
21/7/2016 - Up for slum dwellers- transforming a billion lives campaign unveiled in Europe
21/7/2016 - Paris bans cars built before 1997 (France)
21/7/2016 - Registration to the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development is open
21/7/2016 - Designing an Active, Healthier City
20/7/2016 - It's time to get health on the urban agenda
20/7/2016 - The curse of urban sprawl: how cities grow, and why this has to change
20/7/2016 - European towns and cities, raise your flag on 28 July!
20/7/2016 - A New Life for Urban Alleys
19/7/2016 - Transit Riders Want Good Service, Not Free WiFi
19/7/2016 - These Whimsical Parklets Promote Walkability
19/7/2016 - All Signs Point To Transit-Oriented Development
19/7/2016 - How to advance effective development : going local
18/7/2016 - Santiago, Windhoek, Curitiba honored for sustainable transport
18/7/2016 - More Cities Could Soon Adopt London’s Contactless Transit Payment System
18/7/2016 - Innovation to Overcome Transportation and Mobility Pain Points
18/7/2016 - Canadian Cities leading renewable charge
17/7/2016 - Local Government Spending and the Brexit Factor
17/7/2016 - A New Approach to Cities: Everyone Counts
17/7/2016 - Riga: a storied city With vibrant City Makers
17/7/2016 - Cycling Without Age
16/7/2016 - Science has a key part to play in planning the future of cities
16/7/2016 - The rise and fall of great world cities: 5,700 years of urbanisation – mapped
16/7/2016 - EC published study on Public Service Obligations in Public Transport
16/7/2016 - Transportation must connect communities to opportunity
15/7/2016 - The New Urban Agenda Needs to Tackle Gender Equality
15/7/2016 - 'SimCity 2000' Teaches 2016 Urban Planners to Reconsider Rebuilding, Alien Attacks
15/7/2016 - Could intercity cycle highways revolutionise the daily commute?
15/7/2016 - 8 Placemaking Principles for Innovation Districts
14/7/2016 - Berlin becomes 7th Western city to divest from fossil fuels
14/7/2016 - What Works Cities Resource Toolkit
14/7/2016 - Sprawl Costs Americans $107 Billion a Year, Says Study
14/7/2016 - “Berlin Recommendations for the Cities of Tomorrow” sees an urban future with EcoMobility
13/7/2016 - Driverless Cars to Fuel Suburban Sprawl
13/7/2016 - Building sustainable cities starts with smart urban design
13/7/2016 - CIVITAS workshop on electric charging infrastructure: presentations available!
13/7/2016 - The Next Destination for Millennials: Small Cities with Innovation Districts
12/7/2016 - Silicon Valley Investors Want to Create a City From Scratch
12/7/2016 - Three lessons for cities in Denmark’s clean-energy revolution
12/7/2016 - Only Three US Cities Have Good Jobs, Affordable Housing, and High Quality of Life
12/7/2016 - EU urbanites use public transport over 150 times a year
11/7/2016 - Second City Pool workshop on C-ITS and cities
11/7/2016 - Urban Design that Discourages Wasteful Travel
11/7/2016 - Sweden launches pilot e-highway project
11/7/2016 - The seven benefits of bringing nature back to the city
10/7/2016 - Well-Lit Urban Centers Are Driving Up the Arrival of Spring
10/7/2016 - Should we plan for families in the ‘new’ city?
10/7/2016 - 6 battlegrounds in the global war on cars
10/7/2016 - Five ways to increase citizen participation in local waste services
9/7/2016 - Nijmegen wins Green Capital Award 2018
9/7/2016 - What Really Makes a Successful City?
9/7/2016 - City Green: Innovative Green Infrastructure Solutions for Downtowns and Infill Locations
9/7/2016 - Energy-efficient e-bikes restricted by Chinese cities
8/7/2016 - The Economic Impact of Naturalization on Immigrants and Cities
8/7/2016 - Freiburg nears completion of citywide carsharing network
8/7/2016 - Boosting cooperation between cities: Energy Cities Conference success
8/7/2016 - Canada ramping up climate action by empowering low-carbon communities
7/7/2016 - The Ideal Digital City
7/7/2016 - Terrorism, threat to albinos and xenophobia biggest challenges to safety in urban Africa
7/7/2016 - Why Affordable Housing Is Hard to Build
7/7/2016 - Covenant of Mayors goes global to reach climate targets
6/7/2016 - Dream Neighbourhoods: City Innovation in Refugee Housing
6/7/2016 - We need to talk about smart specialisation!
6/7/2016 - Re-designing Europe through a large pan-European citizen debate
6/7/2016 - Gender Inclusion Critical for Sustainable Urbanization
5/7/2016 - Polis Smart Cities Position and Growsmarter Stockholm interview
5/7/2016 - Women in the City #2: Public Space
5/7/2016 - Air quality: cities count on ambitious and binding EU targets
5/7/2016 - Renewable energy is rising with cities at the center
4/7/2016 - A Desert City's Sustainability Turnaround
4/7/2016 - Daegu pioneers South Korea’s ‘Internet of Things’ network
4/7/2016 - Out now: EVIDENCE on Urban Freight
4/7/2016 - Urban Agenda for the EU – what’s in it for towns and cities?
3/7/2016 - Methods and Tools for a Strategic Approach to Urban Security
3/7/2016 - Local governments call for states to #listen2cities on World Refugee Day
3/7/2016 - BREXIT: what is next for urban transport?
3/7/2016 - Simulating a World Without Climate Change
2/7/2016 - Superblocks to the rescue
2/7/2016 - Rome’s first female mayor targets corruption
2/7/2016 - CIVITAS Insight on bike-sharing released
2/7/2016 - Atlantic City of the year 2017 contest launched
1/7/2016 - Cities Without Children
1/7/2016 - Investments in energy efficiency need to happen locally
1/7/2016 - How to implement “open innovation” in city government
1/7/2016 - How Zika Could Infect the Municipal Bond Market
Bridging the GAP: What are older persons looking for in the New Urban Agenda?
Nearly 60 percent of the world’s older population lives in cities, and the new norm is ‘aging in place.
This story is part of an occasional series on the General Assembly of Partners (GAP), the main vehicle for civil society to organize and advocate ahead of Habitat III, the U.?N. urbanization summit in October in Quito. The GAP represents a wide range of interests, which have coalesced into 15 constituent groups. Citiscope is profiling these groups about their preparations on the road to Quito with a focus on why sustainable urban development matters to their constituents.
Whether it involves ads targeting those who are soon to retire from well-paying jobs in developed countries, or the tug of a childhood home for migrants to the big city at the end of their working lives, the imagery is often the same: a quiet house surrounded by nature.
Good urban design is actually a sharing economy
Lines are on trend. There’s New York’s High Line that created a linear garden above the streets of Manhattan, soon to be joined by the Lowline promising the same through Lower East Side tunnels, where sunlight is to be directed underground using fibre optics. Sydney has got in on the act with its Goods Line and South London is pondering the Coal Line over disused railway viaducts. The vogue was invented in Paris – where else? – with the creation of the Viaduc des Arts near Bastille back in 1994.
Madrid is the first city joining the worldwide Hackathon! Happening this July and August 2016!
Madrid, through EMT Madrid and MobilityLabs, is the first city joining the Global Y4PT Hackathon, willing to give hundreds of people the opportunity to reach bigger audiences with their ideas, offer a platform for exchange, a place and time where their skills can be finally be shown to the world of urban mobility.
How will we know if the New Urban Agenda has been successful?
The revised version of the Habitat III strategy is still vague on follow-up and review.
The vision of the U.?N.’s major new strategy on sustainable urban development — the New Urban Agenda — is increasingly taking shape, and in mid-June the document’s first major revision was released, following a month of negotiations. Yet that revised document continues to raise a question: Once the agenda is agreed upon at the Habitat III conference in October, how will we know if its goals are actually being achieved?
White privilege and gentrification in Denver, 'America’s favourite city'
For the first time in its history, Denver is so desirable that its vast neighbourhoods of bungalows are proving finite. The cost of this growth is the displacement of the city’s remaining working class
How one Virginia city is re-framing sea-level rise as an opportunity
Climate change is going to be expensive.
Adaptation and mitigation will cost the world billions, maybe trillions, of dollars. It’ll be a massive hit to the global economy.
But at least some of that cost is also an economic opportunity, and everyone from snow-machine makers to agribusinesses are angling to make money off of climate change.
Add to that list the city of Norfolk, Virginia.
Norfolk businesses, universities, and even the local government itself in the low-lying coastal city are trying to re-frame the risk of sea-level rise as an opportunity.
Europe's towns and regions remain united within CEMR
“We wish to extend our friendship and our support to our members in the UK.” With these words, the members of CEMR's Executive Bureau reacted to the UK’s decision to leave the European Union; sending a message of unity and support to CEMR’s British member associations.
This reaction is part of the statement adopted by the Executive Bureau in Bratislava on 8 July. The UK is set to leave the EU. This will have a strong impact on local governments and their representative associations. The full repercussions of the referendum may not even be known for many years.
Calgary versus the car: the city that declared war on urban sprawl
Calgary is like any other Canadian city that grew outwards, not upwards. But led by progressive mayor Naheed Nenshi, the oil-rich, car-friendly city has become an unlikely leader in the battle to limit urban sprawl
How Cops and Mayors Are Making the Most of Pokémon Go
City officials across the country are using the gaming craze to educate and engage with the public -- and have some fun.
Yesterday wasn’t the first time the police in Prince William County, Va., warned citizens to stop looking at their phones while crossing the street and driving. But it was the first time they used cartoon characters to do it.
When news outlets began covering the craze over Pokémon Go -- a newly available game on smartphones that has quickly become one of the most popular apps in the world -- Sgt. Jonathan Perok saw a golden opportunity to reinforce some public safety messages.
“I know that people think it’s funny and witty, but they do need to be safe while using the game,” said Perok.
Five reasons cities should take a leading role on food waste
Reported figures from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on food loss and food waste highlight its importance to the global environment. Food loss and waste annually contribute 3.3 gigagrams of CO2 equivalent, or over twice the total emissions of India; waste 250 cubic kilometers of water which is equivalent to 100 million Olympic-sized swimming pools; and 1.4 billion hectares of agricultural land, an area larger than China. Considering that, if only 1/4 of the food lost or wasted across the globe could be recovered, it could feed 750 million people, it is also shocking when presented in the context of global food insecurity and hunger.
Mayors, leaders pledge to make cities safe and sustainable
Mayors and city leaders from round the world have pledged to make cities safe, inclusive, resilient and sustainable, including ensuring flexibility in urban plans to adjust to changing socio-economic conditions over time
Could the 20-minute neighborhood work in Detroit?
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan recently introduced the idea of rebuilding Detroit around the concept of the 20-minute neighborhood, where folks can walk or bike to everything they need outside of work.
Great idea, but could it work in Detroit?
For those who have never heard of it, a 20-minute neighborhood is an active, safe, walkable, convenient, predominantly residential neighborhood. A place where people can get most of their day-to-day goods and services — shopping with good food, access to transit, parks and schools — within a 20-minute walk. According to the Portland Plan of 2009, 20-minute neighborhoods have three basic characteristics: a walkable environment, destinations that support a range of basic living needs and residential density. Or as they say in real estate: “rooftops.”
FLOW Portfolio of Measures on the role of walking and cycling in reducing congestion
The Portfolio of Measures produced by the FLOW project presents information on the potential of walking and cycling measures to relieve urban congestion. Cities are actively seeking information and implementation experience from other cities. However, information available on websites, portals and good-practice guides is of mixed quality. In providing more information on the impact of walking and cycling measures, this portfolio aims at contributing to political agenda setting and measure selection.
Understanding urban planning, land use, transportation and traffic
We know the problems and solutions. Now, it’s time to have the will to implement.
In observing the government over the years, it is hard to avoid the feeling that there is a general lack of appreciation for urban, metropolitan, regional, and environmental planning. Traffic congestion has been considered as a man-made disaster in the Philippine cities. The poor understanding of comprehensive planning shows in the response to tackle “traffic” through traffic management, piecemeal solutions, and engineering.
Denmark allows more kids in cargo bikes
Denmark has introduced new legislation that allows cyclists with cargo bikes to transport a total of six children.
Previously, Danish law allowed only four children in a cargo bike.
But now the Danish Road Safety Agency has said that six can travel as long as the bicycle is adapted to their height and weight and that there is enough seating and facilities to securely fasten them in the trailer.
CIVITAS e-courses expanded to include new topics
The CIVITAS suite of online courses now includes 10 different topics that are available to anyone who wants to increase their knowledge of sustainable urban mobility.
The CIVITAS suite of online courses now includes 10 different topics, offering foundational information to users in a concise and interactive format. There are three courses on CIVITAS ‘essentials’ or broad themes, which includes public involvement, Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans, and traffic and mobility fundamentals.
Teenagers Surrounded by Green Are Less Aggressive
It’s the call no parent wants to get: one from a school official, or, worse, a police officer, informing them their kid has gotten into yet another fight. This sort of belligerent behavior can be triggered in teenagers by everything from violent video games to divorce, but new research points to another, more subtle factor: whether they are growing up surrounded by trees and grass.
In a first-of-its-kind longitudinal study, researchers from the University of Southern California report urban adolescents who grow up in neighborhoods with more greenery are less likely to engage in aggressive behavior.
Berlin becomes 7th Western city to divest from fossil fuels
On Thursday 23 June, Berlin’s officials voted to divest the city’s €750 million public pension from coal, oil and gas companies.
Following Stockholm, which announced its divestment from fossil fuel on June 15, Berlin becomes the seventh major Western city to join a divestment movement that already includes Paris, Copenhagen, Oslo, Seattle, Portland and Melbourne.
A 'lightning rod' for sustainable urban development
By 2050, 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. To accommodate such a huge shift in urban life will require a transformation in how we interact with our fellow citizens at a city level.
In this Devex video William Cobbett, director of Cities Alliance, discusses how new and innovative responses to urban challenges are vital for the future.
To map out a strategy for sustainable urban development — dubbed the New Urban Agenda — United Nations member states are building on last year’s Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris climate change agreement.
Disturbing New Data on Police Violence in Rio de Janeiro
Human Rights Watch has uncovered some of the most damning evidence yet against police-involved killings in the host state of the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Tension and violence between the police and communities of color is a well-documented problem in the United States, but it’s by no means uniquely American. A new report by Human Rights Watch released this week reveals the profound extent to which law enforcement operates with impunity in the state of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, where military police are estimated to have killed more than 8,000 people over the past decade. Of those killed at the hands of police in Rio, an estimated 70 percent were black.
Geneva hosts City Prosperity Initiative meeting on municipal finance and urban economy
A two-day conference “The City Prosperity Initiative for Metropolitan Cities: municipal finance and urban economy” was recently held at the UN Headquarters, Palais des Nations in Geneva. The event, which saw presentations by various international experts, was jointly organized by International City Leaders (ICL) and UN-Habitat, with the support of City Bank of Iran.
“Urban economy and municipal finance is one of the three basic principles of the approach to productive urbanization, alongside a strong legal and regulatory framework and good urban planning and design”, said Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, via his video address.
How to globalize the sustainable city
The New Urban Agenda must reinforce three key city assets: Ambitious leaders, skilled staff, and strong community and stakeholder engagement.
This is life in a sustainable city. You weave through other cyclists each morning on a seamless network of cycle tracks that bring you straight to work at a renewable-energy start-up. The air is fresh and light, filtered by native trees and shrubs that line the streets.
Your office is adjacent to a public park that replaced a once-vacant plot of land. It has a popular picnic area that is full of different languages and accents when the weather is dry and a rain garden to absorb excess water from storms. When leaving the office after dark, you can see bright constellations of stars in the sky.
Eight stubborn facts about housing policies
As John Adams famously warned, “facts are stubborn things” that we cannot wish away. Governments in the developing world are finally facing up to the increasing need for affordable housing: today 1.2 billion people live in substandard housing; by 2030, 3 billion will need new housing. While challenges may vary by country, I believe there are at least eight “stubborn facts” about housing policy that should not be ignored.
Why adequate housing is crucial to sustainable urbanisation
As participants at the United Nations’ Habitat III conference in Ecuador in October 2016 develop strategies for sustainable urban development over the next 20 years, they must look for ways to build cities that will be engines of opportunity for all, and housing must be a critical part of the conversation.
Take part in the 2016 world Climathon
Climate-KIC is looking for cities around the world to join the Climathon movement on 28 October 2016, and drive climate action. Climathon is a global 24-hour climate change event which will take place simultaneously in major cities around the world.
19 cities around the world took part in the first Climathon challenge on 18 June 2015. It engaged more than 2.6 million people worldwide to take climate action. Participating in this initiative will help you involve your stakeholders and implement your sustainable action plan.
Cities welcome refugees - Refugee job fair in Vienna
Over 3,500 refugees attended a ‘refugee job fair’ in late June in Vienna. This private initiative was supported by the regional Public Employment Services and the Vienna Business Agency, an agency and fund run by the city of Vienna to promote entrepreneurship.
The organisers and private partners were impressed by the high levels of education and professionalism displayed by the participating refugees. A thousand job offers were made on the spot, with many people hired right away. The organisers were aiming to reach those refugees who have already been granted asylum or subsidiary protection, and therefore hold a valid work permit for Austria.
CNU24 Detroit: Summary and celebration
You know how the sweet spot for blogs is 500 words? Well, this isn’t one of those. It’s the geek’s guide to the 24th Congress for the New Urbanism in Detroit. Feeling grateful for the food for thought, and wanting to keep the ideas fresh. This blog compiles city planning tweets from June 8 through 11 on the subject, grouping the ideas into categories of Community, Equity, Lean Urbanism, Transportation, Infrastructure, Suburban Retrofit, and Architecture, along with inspiration from Detroit and Charleston.
Here’s a shout out to all the Twitter-using urbanists in Detroit who used the hashtag #CNU24 to share this wealth of ideas, and I highly recommend following the credits list at the end, along with many others using that hashtag, whose rich content would require an encyclopedia to truly do it justice. Check out the Twitter feed for the ideas I wasn’t able to cover.
The Reality of Living in Anytown, USA
Cities love to boast that they're special. It's not always true, but it can be a useful myth.
A long time ago, on a train rumbling through rural France, a local asked me where I was from. I told him. His face lit up. “Chicago!” he exclaimed. “Bang bang, eh!”
“That’s right,” I said. “Bang bang.”
I suppose I could have taken offense at a stranger’s depiction of my hometown as the world capital of gangster violence, but instead I felt a certain amount of pride. If I had told him I was from Kansas City or Columbus, he would have drawn a blank. Chicago had an identity, even if it was, by most standards, a dubious one.
The case against tiny houses
From a purely aesthetic standpoint, I love tiny houses. My own apartment is a little over 300 square feet, most of which is taken up by a Murphy bed. The idea of building an entire free-standing structure where every appliance and piece of furniture can fold into something else is very appealing.
And for decades now, that's what the tiny house movement has been doing.
Typically, the houses are pre-made by some place like the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company and then, to circumvent minimum house size rules present in many jurisdictions' zoning codes, are placed on wheels and parked in a backyard or trailer park.
More people in less space: rapid urbanisation threatens global health
As city populations swell worldwide, our ability to prevent and control infectious disease will come under ever greater strain
The global population looks set to rise to 9.7 billion people by 2050, when it is expected that more than two-thirds of humanity will be living in urban areas. The global health community is bracing itself. Compared to a more traditional rural existence, the shift in lifestyle and inevitable increase in exposure to pollution will lead to significant long-term rises in non-communicable diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Up for slum dwellers- transforming a billion lives campaign unveiled in Europe
In a bid to raise financial resources aimed at tackling the slum challenge, the Up for Slum Dwellers- Transforming a Billion Lives Campaign was unveiled to the European Union countries for the first time. The campaign is an ambitious global public-private partnership being implemented through the framework of UN-Habitat’s World Urban Campaign (WUC).
“Today, 1.6 billion people do not have access to adequate shelter around the world. One billion of those live in informal settlements and about one in four people live in conditions that harm their health, safety, prosperity and opportunities,” said Mr. Alioune Badiane, the UN-Habitat Director of Programmes.
Paris bans cars built before 1997 (France)
France’s capital has introduced a ban that stops older cars and motorcycles from driving into the city.
The new rule, put into effect on 1 July, bars any car registered before 1 January 1997 and any motorcycle registered before June 1999 from the city's streets from Monday to Friday, 8 am to 8 pm.
According to the Le Monde newspaper, 50 000 out of the 750 000 passenger cars registered in Paris were manufactured before 1999. It also says that 13 000 motorcycles were registered before 1999.
Registration to the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development is open
The HABITAT Conferences of the UN are organised once every 20 years to discuss about urban developments, identify and address new and emerging challenges, assess accomplishments to date and set goals related to urbanisation worldwide. At a time when urbanisation is stronger than ever, the biggest objective of the upcoming HABITAT III Conference is to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable urban development. The conference will result in a concise, focused, forward-looking and action-oriented outcome document, called the New Urban Agenda. This document will cover priorities for city development for the next 20 years.
Designing an Active, Healthier City
Despite a firm reputation for being walkers, New Yorkers have an obesity epidemic on their hands. Lee Altman, a former employee of New York City’s Department of Design and Construction, explains it this way: “We did a very good job at designing physical activity out of our daily lives.”
According to the city’s health department, more than half of the city’s adult population is either overweight (34 percent) or obese (22 percent), and the convenience of their environment has contributed to this. “Everything is dependent on a car, elevator; you sit in front of a computer,” said Altman, “not moving around a lot.”
This is not just a New York phenomenon. Mass urbanization has caused populations the world over to reduce the amount of time they spend moving their bodies. But the root of the problem runs deep in a city’s infrastructure.
It's time to get health on the urban agenda
It will come as no great surprise that city living presents enormous challenges for encouraging healthy behaviours. Foods that are high in sugar, fat and salt and low in nutrients are seemingly available on every street corner. Achieving the necessary physical activity to support good health has become increasingly difficult. Many cities are designed so that using a private motor vehicle is the automatic choice to get from A to B, while in developing countries in particular, walking or cycling pose all too real risks of injury or death. Parks and green spaces once available for free leisure activity by all ages are reduced to development opportunities for the next square of concrete jungle. Outdoor air pollution is visible not only in the putrid smog that engulfs cities, but in the 3.7 million deaths (in the same range as deaths from tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol) that occur annually.
The curse of urban sprawl: how cities grow, and why this has to change
The total area covered by the world’s cities is set to triple in the next 40 years – eating up farmland and threatening the planet’s sustainability. Ahead of the latest Urban Age conference, Mark Swilling says it is time to stop the sprawl
European towns and cities, raise your flag on 28 July!
The city of Joensuu, Finland, has launched a campaign – the Joensuu calling – to invite all European towns and cities to display the European flag at their town halls on 28 July. The goal of the campaign is to connect and show unity between European towns and cities, and to promote the value of being European.
A New Life for Urban Alleys
The alley is dark no longer.
In the United States, these almost-accidental spaces between buildings have existed in a sort of limbo: not quite streets, but still thoroughfares; not private, but not public enough to feel protected; backdrops to crime, or filled with trash heaps.
But as cities grow increasingly strapped for space, neglecting these narrow streets is no longer a viable option. Cities from Los Angeles to Baltimore to Seattle are rethinking their alleyways and transforming dead ends into into places of connectivity and productivity.
Transit Riders Want Good Service, Not Free WiFi
To identify the improvements that would increase transit ridership, it helps to start with two basic questions: How are people riding transit now, and what do they value about it?
That’s the approach taken with the new report “Who’s on Board,” released Monday by TransitCenter, an NYC-based policy and advocacy nonprofit. Based on surveys of approximately 3,000 people who ride transit in 17 regions, plus focus groups in Raleigh, Denver and New York, the report makes the expected suggestions for improving transit — increase frequency and speed — but also comes to some conclusions that question transportation industry dogma regarding who rides transit and why.
These Whimsical Parklets Promote Walkability
In Covington, Kentucky, local businesses and design teams collaborated on quirky installations that take up as much space as a car.
In front of the Left Bank Coffeehouse in Covington, Kentucky, a giant wooden igloo-like structure sits flush against the sidewalk. It takes up an entire parking space. From its beams, passerby hang their personal, handwritten wishes out to flutter in the breeze.
All Signs Point To Transit-Oriented Development
State’s Crumbling Infrastructure Doesn’t Allow Easy Commutes
Middle class life is increasingly under siege in Greater Boston, and not just from crazy home prices, as maddening as they are.
Our increasingly traffic-jammed roads and creaky, overstressed train and subway lines have turned even simple commutes into grueling ordeals. And the impact of our growing gridlock can be seen in a very interesting statistic – the dramatic rise in popularity of new office and commercial developments near subway and commuter rail stations.
The amount of vacant office and lab space within 15 minutes of a train or subway station in the Boston area is a super-low 7.4 percent, according to a new report out by Encompass Real Estate Strategy Inc. By contrast, the vacancy rate in corporate suites and labs beyond that 15 minute radius is nearly double that, weighing in at 13.8 percent, finds the report, Node 2016.1.
How to advance effective development : going local
"Local governments can be a very important catalyser to address the challenges that we have identified in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and other international agreements", said UCLG Deputy Secretary General Emilia Sáiz at a workshop of the Global Partnership on Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) in Barcelona.
UCLG hosted the meeting in Barcelona, in cooperation with the CIB Working Group, to show national governments, multilateral organizations, foundations, civil society organizations and other actors the importance of including local governments in the implementation of the principles on effective development.
Santiago, Windhoek, Curitiba honored for sustainable transport
Santiago, Chile will receive top honors in January 2017 at the International Sustainable Transport Awards ceremony in Washington, D.?C.
The event, in conjunction with the Transport Research Board’s annual meeting, also will honor Windhoek, Namibia and Curitiba, Brazil. All three will be recognized for efforts to promote walkability and public transit, according to the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.
The Chilean capital wins plaudits for “major improvements” in recent years to mass transit, pedestrian space and cycling, the institute says. The changes are evident at the formerly car-clogged Calle Aillavilú central market. It is now an auto-free, pedestrian zone. Calle Placer, a popular shopping street, was closed to vehicular traffic on weekends following a US$2.2 million facelift.
More Cities Could Soon Adopt London’s Contactless Transit Payment System
The contactless ticketing system used throughout London’s public transit network will be coming to major cities across the world as part of a £15 million deal.
The agreement between Transport for London (TfL) and fare tech company Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS), which brought NYC the MetroCard, will also help London freeze fares for the next four years.
CTS already provides smartcard ticketing systems to a number of cities, including Vancouver and Chicago, but hasn’t yet expanded its contactless technologies further than London and TfL. Now cities using CTS will be able to tailor the contactless system for their public transit network.
Innovation to Overcome Transportation and Mobility Pain Points
Cubic Transportation Systems announced that Bob Deiter, vice president of strategic opportunities, would participate in a panel discussion on transportation and mobility in smart cities at the World Smart City Forum 2016 held in Singapore on July 13.
The conference brought together experts and industry leaders to discuss the top “pain points” slowing the development of smart cities and explore the potential for efficiency gains when cities are physically and virtually connected. At the event, Deiter discussed ways to improve mobility through smart transportation technology.
“With technological disruptors like mobile apps driving rapid change in transportation, agencies and governments are being challenged to adapt policy and legislation to embrace technology gains, while ensuring open access and protection of personal information,” Deiter said. “Cubic has learned many lessons while implementingtransportation systems and services for some of the world’s most renowned transport authorities. However, the most important lesson is to continuously collaborate with the authorities and travelers to drive innovation.”
Canadian Cities leading renewable charge
A number of Canadian municipalities are energy and climate leaders: Vancouver, BC and Oxford County, ON both have comprehensive strategies to transition to 100% renewable energy and Toronto and Ottawa have targets to reduce carbon emissions 80% by 2050. While cities are home to the majority of Canada’s population and hold many of the levers that directly or indirectly influence energy use, without the support of more senior levels of government the path towards transitioning urban energy systems will be challenging.
Local Government Spending and the Brexit Factor
Important budget decisions needn't be made in an atmosphere of anger or ignorance. There's much that governments can do to engage the public in the process.
June's Brexit vote was remarkable for several reasons, but the one that caught my attention was the apparent buyer's remorse of so many of those who voted for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. Millions of people have signed a petition asking for a "ReBrexit" vote -- essentially a do-over. And a large number of voters, it's now clear, didn't understand what they were voting against. Google reports that the second most googled term following the election was "What is the EU?"
A New Approach to Cities: Everyone Counts
What does it mean to make a city inclusive?
For Bui Thi Mai in Ho Chi Mihn City, Vietnam, it means a clean, safe street so her business can grow and prosper.
“The alley was so narrow that only one motorbike could get in,” she said. “There was no drainage so it was often flooded, making garbage float and mosquitos breed. It was unsafe for our health. There were few streetlights, allowing criminals to hide in dark corners. Running my business is much easier because the street is cleaner and safer. Trucks can carry goods to my door. More shops and restaurants are opening along this big street.”
Riga: a storied city With vibrant City Makers
‘In Riga, Latvia’s capital city, the past is alive – and complicated.’
Riga is a city rich with a complex history that can be sensed on its cobbled streets. The multiplicity of influences that have shaped this city is mirrored in its rich intricate details that may not be recognisable at first glance. For example, the city boasts the largest collection of art nouveau buildings in the world.
‘Despite the prettiness of the historic areas, more recent developments in Riga give it an overall air of shabby and slightly chaotic grandeur. From the spire of St Peter’s church, you can see how the city spreads out from the old town, through art nouveau extravagances, to Soviet apartment blocks, skyscrapers, bridges and the Eiffel-esque TV tower.’
Another striking aspect of the city is the resilience of its people which is particularly visible in the City Makers who are shaping Riga’s future.
Cycling Without Age
Cycling Without Age, an initiative that bridges issues related to mobility, social cohesion and aging populations combats issues of loneliness and limited mobility, bringing happiness to different cities around the world. It was started by Ole Kassow in Copenhagen who noticed an elderly man sitting outside with his walker on his daily commute by bike. Ole would become great friends with this man, Takil as they would ride together through Copenhagen embarking upon the beginnings of Cycling Without Age.
Science has a key part to play in planning the future of cities
This role must be recognized at Habitat III and formalized in the New Urban Agenda.
Cities are where the issue of sustainable development will be won or lost, and scientists will need to play a key role in deciding on the details of that outcome.
It was only in 1992, at a global conference widely known as the Earth Summit, that the United Nations broadly recognized that civil society needs to be part of the conversation on sustainable development. Previously, multilateral discussions had been dominated by national governments.
Thereafter, nine groupings of stakeholders — known in U.?N. parlance as “major groups” — were formed. Twenty years later, the participation of these groups was formalized in all parts of the preparatory process for a follow-up conference to the Earth Summit, known as Rio+20. It was there that the idea of sustainable development began to take full shape, including around a framework for its implementation: the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were finalized this past year.
The rise and fall of great world cities: 5,700 years of urbanisation – mapped
Recent research provides a better understanding of urban populations throughout history, digitising almost 6,000 years of data for the first time.
Urbanisation is one of the defining processes of modern times, with more than half of the world’s population now living in cities, and new mega-metropolises mushrooming in Asia, Latin America and Africa. But a comprehensive, digitised database of city populations through world history has been lacking, with the United Nations’ dataset only extending as far back as 1950.
EC published study on Public Service Obligations in Public Transport
The EC has published the outcomes of the study on economic and financial effects of the implementation of Regulation 1370/2007 on public passenger transport services. The regulation applies to the national and international operation of public passenger t ransport services by rail and other track-based modes and by road. Several studies have addressed the impacts of the regulation, but this is the first to fully investigate the effects on urban public transport. Polis members Manchester and Budapest are included as case studies.
Transportation must connect communities to opportunity
Fenway Park is Major League Baseball’s oldest ballpark. Even with its age-old quirks and idiosyncrasies, Fenway represents the best of baseball’s august traditions, from the red seat that marks the longest home run ever hit there (502 feet, by Ted Williams, on June 9, 1946) to its verdant wall high above left field. However, in all its unintended points of fascination, architect James McLaughlin was duly thoughtful in his design of the ballpark.
The New Urban Agenda Needs to Tackle Gender Equality
The international community has made important progress in recognizing the role of gender equality in sustainable development over recent years. The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda includes a stand-alone goal on gender (SDG 5) and integrates a gender perspective into many of the 17 goals. The local and regional governments ofUnited Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) strongly believe that the Habitat III Conference should build on this momentum, and that its outcomes will be critical to the empowerment of women by making cities centers of opportunity.
'SimCity 2000' Teaches 2016 Urban Planners to Reconsider Rebuilding, Alien Attacks
When I was a kid, I was obsessed with SimCity 2000, a computer game that tasked players with building a city from scratch then running it like a despot. It was the best gun-free game out there even if it felt — even at the time — a bit like a relic, what with the blocky graphics and the Jane Jacobs morality lessons. Today, the game just feels innocent. SimCity 2000 arrived before the effects of climate change, before technology began to revolutionize city services, before the housing bubble popped, and before Uber.
Could intercity cycle highways revolutionise the daily commute?
Germany is building the world’s biggest ‘bicycle autobahn’ to connect 10 cities and remove 50,000 cars from the road every day. With the popularity of e-bikes growing too, is Europe about to see a new era of long-distance cycle commuting?
8 Placemaking Principles for Innovation Districts
Increasingly, startups, incubators and accelerators around the world are clustering around leading-edge companies and institutions in dense urban settings called “innovation districts.” By creating shared value, placemaking has much to offer this emerging geography of innovation in cities. It can play an important role in an integrated strategy designed to attract, retain and cultivate talent; to improve networking and communication flows between innovators; and to make the district a distinct, memorable destination. As this article shows, by averting, sharing, and externalizing costs, quality places can also accomplish these goals with a greater return on investment than many conventional approaches.
Berlin becomes 7th Western city to divest from fossil fuels
On Thursday 23 June, Berlin’s officials voted to divest the city’s $852.8 million public pension from coal, oil and gas companies.
Following Stockholm, which announced its divestment from fossil fuel on June 15, Berlin becomes the seventh major Western city to join a divestment movement that already includes Paris, Copenhagen, Oslo, Seattle, Portland and Melbourne.
What Works Cities Resource Toolkit
What Works Cities Resource ToolkitThe What Works Cities Resource Toolkit includes best practices in designing open data policies and creating robust open data portals, advancing performance management programs by setting stronger targets, utilizing behavioral insights to run randomized control trials and strategically managing city contracts.
Sprawl Costs Americans $107 Billion a Year, Says Study
Urban sprawl isn't a new phenomenon. But new analysis from City Observatory has finally quantified the cost of building cities that make us travel farther between the places where we live, work, and play. They call it the "Sprawl Tax."
Based on numbers from a 2015 Brookings report, the new study found that commuters in the country's 50 largest metro areas pay an additional $107 billion a year in travel costs and time navigating the sprawl between work and home—at an average of almost $1,400 per person. If our cities were built to be more dense, commuters could shave 3.9 billion hours off of their commutes each year, according to the analysis.
“Berlin Recommendations for the Cities of Tomorrow” sees an urban future with EcoMobility
On 1-2 June 2016, the German Habitat Forum brought together over 1,000 attendees from 74 countries. The main outcome of this meeting was the “Berlin Recommendations for the Cities of Tomorrow”, a set of recommendations contributing to negotiations on the New Urban Agenda, which will be adopted at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016.
Driverless Cars to Fuel Suburban Sprawl
Research suggests advances in transportation technology contribute to bigger and more sprawling cities
Imagine a world in which hardly anyone owns a car. Instead, most people subscribe to a service for self-driving cars, probably a mashup of the current players in the space, which include Google, Uber, Lyft, Apple, Chrysler, Volkswagen, Tesla, BMW, Toyota, General Motors, Ford and others.
Building sustainable cities starts with smart urban design
The global conversation about urban sustainability focuses primarily on the big picture: how to reduce the carbon footprint and energy consumption of cities? How can we provide the infrastructure and services necessary to meet the needs of a soaring urban population? How can cities create enough jobs for everyone?
These issues are critically important, no doubt. But what about the city itself as a physical space? What should a sustainable city "look like"? Are there any big design principles that all successful urban planners should follow?
CIVITAS workshop on electric charging infrastructure: presentations available!
On the 16 and 17 of June several local authorities presented during a CIVITAS workshop hosted in Rotterdam their key strategies, measures, needs and challenges when deploying electric charging infrastructure.
The Next Destination for Millennials: Small Cities with Innovation Districts
The closed innovation environment of yesterday, where businesses cloistered amongst themselves in office parks, is gone.
In its place are innovation districts: environments in city-centers where ideas move freely. Innovation districts allow talent, startups, established firms, non-profits, cultural assets, and more to come together in one place to innovate and create new ideas, policies and technologies.
Innovation districts have been shown to usher in new eras of prosperity in some of the world’s largest cities—from Boston to Barcelona—but do they have the same effect in smaller metropolises? This question was confronted head-on when Chattanooga announced its plans to become the first mid-sized American city to establish an innovation district.
Silicon Valley Investors Want to Create a City From Scratch
The startup accelerator that incubated Airbnb and Dropbox wants to take game-changing to a whole new level. As Tech Insider reports, Y Combinator is exploring the possibility of creating a city from scratch.
According to a job listing posted to its website on Monday, the Mountain View-based accelerator is looking to hire a full-time team to research the city of the future. “The world is full of people who aren’t realizing their potential in large part because their cities don’t provide the opportunities and living conditions necessary for success,” reads the announcement.
Three lessons for cities in Denmark’s clean-energy revolution
To find the world’s most aggressive clean energy targets, look no further than Denmark.
The city of Copenhagen is working hard toward meeting a pledge to become carbon-neutral by 2025. A much smaller municipality near the German border, Sønderborg, wants to do the same by 2029.
The targets are not onerous national mandates imposed on unwilling local governments. Instead, in a mutually reinforcing cycle, robust action by municipalities to cut carbon and add clean energy to the grid begets ever-more ambitious policy at the national level. By 2020, at least half of Denmark’s electricity will be supplied by wind turbines. By 2050, the country intends to be free of fossil fuels.
Only Three US Cities Have Good Jobs, Affordable Housing, and High Quality of Life
When looking for a place to live, people are generally looking for three things: affordability, a strong economy, and good quality of life. Most US cities can only claim excellence in one of these areas. A dozen cities specialize in two. But if you truly want it all, you only have three choices.
And they’re all in the Midwest.
That’s the finding of Josh Lehner at the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis, who explored what’s being called the “housing trilemma”—the idea that due to the housing crisis, Americans have to make big tradeoffs in deciding where to live. Lehner looked at the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the country, comparing them for quality of life, affordability and economic strength across several metrics using Census data and several other indicators.
EU urbanites use public transport over 150 times a year
A new report says that EU citizens living in urban areas are using public transport an average of 152 times a year – or three times a week.
The study by the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) reports that the countries ranking above the EU average in terms of public transport journeys per urban inhabitant are located either in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) or in Northern Europe.
CEE countries that joined the EU in 2004, 2007 and 2013 generally had high levels of public transport demand.
Second City Pool workshop on C-ITS and cities
The second City Pool workshop on C-ITS and cities, held in Glasgow on 6 June 2016, drew some 35 participants, including more than half from the public sector (national and local authorities), to learn about C-ITS developments and to share views on them.
Urban Design that Discourages Wasteful Travel
Tips for developers to convince potential residents to leave the car behind.
Communities located close to a variety of transportation options are on the rise, and some developers are even creating completely car-free communities. While many people would gladly say goodbye to car payments and high maintenance costs associated with car ownership, others would be less likely to leave the car behind. However, there are effective ways developers can reach potential residents and convey the benefits of living without a car.
Sweden launches pilot e-highway project
Swedish ministers last week opened a highway with electrified overhead wires that will power freight trucks straight from the grid.
The innonative system is part of two-year pilot project by German tech giant Siemens and Swedish heavy-truck manufacturer Scania.
A two-kilometre stretch of the E16 highway north of Stockholm will test the Siemens catenary system for trucks, using two diesel hybrid Scania vehicles.
The seven benefits of bringing nature back to the city
Nature scarcity in cities has been observed for centuries. Only recently have we detailed the acute symptoms of separation anxiety felt by urban society. Urban greening creates projects that simultaneously restore our health and invite plants and animals to reclaim their place among us.
The first step to reconnecting to the natural world may be rethinking the appropriate daily dose. The Biophilic Cities Project, led by Tim Beatley at University of Virginia, proposes everyone would benefit from consuming his or her “minimum daily requirement of nature,” similar to caloric intake requirements.
Well-Lit Urban Centers Are Driving Up the Arrival of Spring
Light pollution makes trees bud at least a week before normal, say researchers.
Here’s yet more info on how trees are so much more complex than we tend to think. In addition to warning each other about pests, and actually drooping as if tired when they’re “asleep,” there’s evidence they respond to light pollution by budding earlier in the year, in effect making for a premature spring.
Should we plan for families in the ‘new’ city?
“Moving to the city,” “live-work-play,” and “sharing economy” – these are some of the soundbites of the new generation. As some metro areas compete to recruit and capitalize on the next workforce, are they overlooking or even sacrificing sound planning principals that focus on the long term retention of the next wave?
What happens when the tech star millennial gives up on tinder and falls in love and chooses to have a family? Can they build off of their success and keep their ‘experience driven’ lifestyle in the heart of the city or do they now need to move to, at best, the ‘uburbs’ or at worst, the suburbs? One could argue that the answer to this question could be a powerful measure of city’s success.
6 battlegrounds in the global war on cars
In 2010, the number of cars in the world soared past the 1b mark, and the automotive population has been increasing rapidly since then. So it may seem absurd to talk about the rise of car-free places. But our planet is full of paradoxes, and the world’s wholehearted embrace of the privately owned automobile is countered by a growing movement to create (or maintain) sanctuaries without the internal-combustion engine.
Five ways to increase citizen participation in local waste services
Web platforms, apps, and citizen surveys are changing how solid waste management services are conducted globally and showing that waste infrastructure alone is simply not enough. These interactive platforms provide incentives, quantify actions, and increase pressure on service providers, and thereby improve waste management with greater citizen engagement.
The World Bank recently hosted five individuals representing organizations and projects that use information and communications technology (ICT) to engage citizens with local waste services. Their varied approaches reveal incentive models that effectively lead to strategic behavior change.
Nijmegen wins Green Capital Award 2018
Nijmegen has won the right to call itself Green Capital of Europe in 2018. This was announced today at the finals for the European Green Capital Award in Ljubljana. Nijmegen outshone her competitors ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Umea.
What Really Makes a Successful City?
When you look at things in a holistic way, a truly useful picture emerges. For Madison, it all comes together.
You see them all over the news: The Best Cities for Singles. America's Best Cities for Foodies. 2015's Best and Worst Cities for Pet Lovers. The list of lists goes on and on, often to the point of inanity that dilutes any true meaning or insight.
That's why, when we were creating our Community Progress Index, we wanted to do something different. We wanted to undertake a holistic, comprehensive examination of the 100 most populous American cities, to look beyond simple GDP measures of success and capture the entire human experience. Taking our cue from the Social Progress Imperative -- a nonprofit that has indexed progress globally since 2012 -- we sought to create an analytical framework uniquely tailored to American communities. Fifty-two individual metrics and more than ten thousand data points later, we had created an index ranking cities in five major categories: health and wellness; education and opportunity; sustainability; economic vitality; and environmental responsibility.
City Green: Innovative Green Infrastructure Solutions for Downtowns and Infill Locations
Communities of all sizes and in all climates are using green infrastructure to manage stormwater where it falls using the natural processes associated with soils and vegetation to capture, slow down, and filter runoff, often allowing it to recharge ground water. Green infrastructure manages stormwater to control flooding from small storms and improve water quality and offers a wide range of other environmental, economic, public health, and social benefits.
Energy-efficient e-bikes restricted by Chinese cities
Electric bikes, or e-bikes, are often touted as a solution for Asia’s clogged streets. They’re a fuel-efficient transport option with two distinct advantages over cars and motorbikes: less noise and no fumes.
So why are they being restricted by Beijing and other Chinese cities? Liu Quin reports for Chinadialogue that the crackdown is in response to reckless drivers who ride on sidewalks and defy traffic rules.
In Beijing, where there are an estimated 4 million e-bikes, the battery-powered two-wheelers accounted for 37 percent of traffic accidents last year, the article says. That translates to more than 31,000 collisions and 113 fatalities. According to Chinadialogue, the capital restricted e-bikes on ten major thoroughfares. Shenzhen confiscated 18,000 e-bikes in March and arrested almost 900 drivers.
The Economic Impact of Naturalization on Immigrants and Cities
Using American Community Survey data for 21 cities, we find that if the immigrants who are eligible for naturalization became citizens, their earnings would increase 8.9 percent, and combined earnings for the 21 cities would increase $5.7 billion. Federal, state, and city tax revenue would increase $2.0 billion. Expenditures in government benefits would decline $34 million in New York City and increase $4 million in San Francisco. With an additional $789 million in taxes for New York City and $90 million for San Francisco, the net fiscal impact of naturalization on these two cities is overwhelmingly positive.
Freiburg nears completion of citywide carsharing network (Germany)
The south-west German city of Freiburg launched its latest public carsharing station, bringing it closer to its target of opening 68 public carsharing stations in the city in a year.
The newest station, with space for seven cars, opened in the city's Wiehre district next to a railway station.
Together with 47 carsharing stations on private land, there are now 115 stations with spaces for 279 vehicles in Freiburg.
Boosting cooperation between cities: Energy Cities Conference success
Last month, at our Annual Conference in Bornova (Turkey), Mayors of cities in Europe and its Mediterranean neighbourhood have committed to acting together to ensure an energy transition to a fairer model based on the use of renewables and the reduction of CO2 emissions.
Canada ramping up climate action by empowering low-carbon communities
A new report from Columbia Institute, “Top Asks for Climate Action”, underscores how Canada can ramp up climate action by empowering local communities. Building on the crucial role of Canadian local governments, whose decisions directly or indirectly impact over 50% of Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the report suggests levers for federal, provincial and territorial elected governments to facilitate the work of local leaders and help maximize their climate action.
The Ideal Digital City
To help understand the building blocks to a successful digital city, The Digital Communities Special Report looks at five key technologies — broadband, open data, GIS, CRM and analytics — and provides a window into how they are helping city governments cope with economic, educational and societal demands.
Terrorism, threat to albinos and xenophobia biggest challenges to safety in urban Africa
Terrorism by Boko Haram, Al Shabab, threat to albinos as xenophobic attacks and gender based violence remain some of the biggest challenges to safety and security in African urban centres, Director of Programmes at UN-Habitat Alioune Badiane said Wednesday.“We abhor the revulsive attacks by Boko Haram mainly in West Africa and the Lake Chad region, the Al Shaabab in East Africa, xenophobic attacks mainly seen in Southern Africa and gender based violence which is cross cutting,” he said. Mr. Badiane was delivering the keynote address at the official launch of the African Forum for Urban Safety in Durban, South Africa.
Why Affordable Housing Is Hard to Build
There are lots of ideas out there. None of them are working very well.
In just about every political constituency in the country, there are things you can’t say and expect to get elected. You can’t endorse gun control in Tennessee. You can’t make light of climate change in Seattle. In Arlington, Va., where I live, you have to watch what you say about affordable housing.
To question the suburban county’s ambitious subsidized housing goals is to risk alienating what is perhaps the most vocal lobby in town. I know that the citizens of Arlington who advocate for expanded housing opportunity don’t think of themselves as power brokers. They don’t put big sums of money into campaigns. They’re almost always quiet and polite. But they are in possession of a sacred cow, and they know how to milk it.
Covenant of Mayors goes global to reach climate targets
“The merger of the Covenant of Mayors and the Compact of Mayors is a great step to combine everyone’s efforts to tackle climate change and fulfil the Paris agreement of the COP21”, stated CEMR Secretary General Frédéric Vallier, concerning the new “Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy”, launched today.
The Global Covenant of Mayors is the world’s largest coalition of Mayors who voluntarily commit to tackling and adapting to climate change by implementing ambitious action plans and strategies.
Dream Neighbourhoods: City Innovation in Refugee Housing
Community leaders, nonprofit groups and public officials weaves refugee housing into plans for revitalizing derelict neighbourhoods.
reimagining clevelandThis is the year where refugee housing contributes to the economic revitalization of a Cleveland community. Three City Councillors have come together to create a “Dream Neighborhood” that spans their city wards. It’s an area hard hit by the housing crisis and has had a difficult time recovering.
For the past year, the Councillors have worked on a plan to provide affordable housing, social supports and community inclusion and economic opportunities for refugees settling in Cleveland. They’re not looking for simple neighborhood improvement, but transformation If they succeed, they won’t only improve existing conditions but also help refugees with the kind of fresh start few receive.
We need to talk about smart specialisation!
Why cities need a stronger role in smart specialisation to drive innovation in Cohesion Policy
Innovation in Cohesion policy has gone from four pilots in 1994 to being ex-ante conditionality in the 2014-20 regulations. This is like going from the wild fringes to being at the centre of policy. It is thought likely that this programme period has more than the 85 Billion Euros that were dedicated to Innovation in the 2006-13 periods making up 25% of the Structural Funds.
As defined in the smart specialisation guidance and only hinted at in the ERDF regulation: “a ‘Smart specialisation strategy’ means the national or regional innovation strategies which set priorities in order to build competitive advantage by developing and matching research and innovation own strengths to business needs in order to address emerging opportunities and market developments in a coherent manner, while avoiding duplication and fragmentation of efforts…. Smart specialisation strategies shall be developed through involving national or regional managing authorities and stakeholders such as universities and other higher education institutions, industry and social partners in an entrepreneurial discovery process.”
Re-designing Europe through a large pan-European citizen debate
“Different towns, same message : There’s no decent work’ ; ‘the politicians don’t care about us’ ; ‘we’ve been forgotten’.” reported Mike Carter, journalist at The Guardian who walked from Liverpool to London to speak with UK citizens. For him, the BREXIT vote was no surprise.
Could Europe provide an answer to bridge this gap between politicians and citizens ? It is not currently perceived as being the case. Europe could but Europe isn’t doing it, for the moment anyhow. For example, Europe has the power to protect EU citizens with the Charter of Fundamental rights included in the last Treaty. But Europe does not feel strong enough to fight against governments to enforce these rights.
Gender Inclusion Critical for Sustainable Urbanization
A panel discussion held in New York this month brought together representatives of UN Women, UN-Habitat, Cities Alliance and the Huairou Commission to discuss results of the Expert Group Meeting on Gender Perspectives of the New Urban Agenda. Panelists included Ms. Aisa Kaycira, Deputy Executive Director of UN-Habitat; Ms. Sylvia Hordosch, Policy Adviser, UN Women; Violet Shivutse of the Huairou Commission and Laura Lima, Urban Specialist, Cities Alliance.
Noting that urbanisation is about connecting rural and urban populations, and connecting the places where people make their homes and the places where they make their livelihoods, Ms. Kacyira said policy initiatives have the potential to bring about real change on the ground when they are inclusive and well co-ordinated. She thanked UN Women, Cities Alliance, the Huairou Commission and other civil society partners for advocating for the voice of the people, and those of women in particular, to be consistently taken into account in urban policy dialogue for it to be meaningful.
Polis Smart Cities Position and Growsmarter Stockholm interview
On the latest edition of Eurotransport magazine, Polis highlighted its position paper and the City of Stockholm presented its views concerning the deployment of electric charging infrastrucure in its urban area.
Women in the City #2: Public Space
Who owns the public space?
In this series, we will explore the role of women in- and outside the city. Different urban issues concerning the lives of women will be discussed in this series. This article will cover the topic of women and public spaces. The time when women were confined to their own homes is long gone and women are nowadays just as visible and present as men in European cities. Therefore, we should rethink who owns the public space and who operate it. The formerly male-dominated sphere should make way for a gender neutral approach. In this article, we will zoom in on the problems women encounter in public spaces and what has been done so far to solve these problems.
Air quality: cities count on ambitious and binding EU targets
The EU institutions are finalising negotiations which will set binding targets in the revised directive on national emissions ceilings (NEC), but early signs indicate the final outcome will lack ambition and will introduce loopholes.
The directive will set limits on certain harmful pollutants to be met by the member states by 2030 but as the fifth round of negotiation between the European Parliament and the Council of the EU took place on 21 June, the European Parliament rejected the Council’s watered down ambition proposal but showed willingness to compromise on its own level of ambition and on the range of flexibilities countries will be allowed to use.
Renewable energy is rising with cities at the center
The global transition to a renewable energy future is gaining momentum as renewables are now established as mainstream sources of energy. 2015 was a record breaking year for new installations, policy targets, investment and jobs - and cities are at the center of current and future advancements.
A Desert City's Sustainability Turnaround
Once derided as the world's least environmentally sustainable city, Phoenix is in the midst of a remarkable transformation.
From a sustainable city perspective, historians may someday note November 2011 as a pivotal point in Phoenix's history. It marked the publication of the book Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World's Least Sustainable City, Andrew Ross's scathing narrative disparaging Phoenix's public- and private-sector leadership for fast-growth/low-density policies that created an unsustainable urban environment.
Daegu pioneers South Korea’s ‘Internet of Things’ network
Daegu is poised for a high-tech makeover.
Catherine Shu reports for TechCrunch that South Korea’s fourth largest city is its first to be tethered to the so-called “Internet of Things”. New long-range wireless technology would enable the city to deploy a range of innovations, including self-driving cars and sensor-equipped street lights that dim or brighten automatically.
The city of more than 2.5 million joins Amsterdam, which launched a similar wireless network last August, the article says. Daegu‘s upgrade is part of a national effort to to invest 100 billion won (US$85 million) in autonomous vehicles and other new technologies by 2024, TechCrunch notes.
Out now: EVIDENCE on Urban Freight
The EVIDENCE project has analysed the economic evidence in more than 20 reports and papers on Urban Freight initiatives. Most evidence focuses on Urban Freight Consolidation Centres (UFCCs), showing positive impacts, in terms of cost savings and better service to logistics operators and final customers.
UFCC Interventions are often small-scale with few impacts at city scale. Better economic assessment of schemes will require greater understanding of supply chain costs and benefits associated with urban freight measures. Commercial sensitivities, the lack of standardised evaluation and the experimental nature of some freight initiatives can make assessment more difficult.
Urban Agenda for the EU – what’s in it for towns and cities?
“The Urban Agenda for the EU is a success for local government in EU policy making, however, it would be better if multilevel governance were mentioned”, stated CEMR secretary general Frédéric Vallier, reacting to the Council of the EU’s conclusions on an Urban Agenda for the EU.
Methods and Tools for a Strategic Approach to Urban Security
The implementation of local actions to improve individual and collective security requires a clear and precise understanding both of crime in a given community and of the various perceptions of safety held by different groups of the population.
The purpose of this new guidebook is to encourage and help European local policy-makers and practitioners to build and review their security policies using reliable information and data collected on the ground.
Local governments call for states to #listen2cities on World Refugee Day
Local and regional governments are on the front line of welcoming and integrating people seeking refuge from violence and insecurity. Now, more than ever, states must hear our voices.
Our world is facing unprecedented migration by people seeking refuge from regions in conflict. We, local and regional governments, are convinced that solidarity and strong local responses are essential to addressing these challenges.
BREXIT: what is next for urban transport?
The outcome of the UK Referendum is still fresh, and history is in the making as we write this article. Is it quite certain that over the next half year, the United Kingdom will start a (maximum) two year’s negotiation about conditions to leave the European Union.
Simulating a World Without Climate Change
A new tool could help cities test whether (and how much) specific energy policies can slow global warming.
On a warm, sunny April afternoon in a classroom on the campus of George Washington University in the nation’s capital, about 25 professors, students, and community and environmental leaders got an inkling of what it will take to limit global temperature rise to no more than 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, between now and the year 2100.
That’s the goal 196 countries agreed to work toward late last year under the landmark climate change pact known as the Paris Agreement. Each nation has pledged to reduce greenhouse gases in an effort to slow global warming. But preventing an increase in the Earth’s temperature -- even by 2 degrees -- is no small task.
Superblocks to the rescue
The plan is based around the idea of creating mini neighbourhoods around which traffic will flow, and in which spaces will be repurposed to “fill our city with life”
The lack of green spaces, for people’s enjoyment, are influencing their sedentary lifestyles. Traffic is also related to this issue, besides the pollution it causes. The plan involves the reduction of car use by 21% over the next two years and increases mobility by foot, bike and public transport. The main goal is to make residents spend more time on the streets!
Rome’s first female mayor targets corruption
After sweeping to victory, Rome’s first female mayor is ready to clean house.
Angus MacKinnon reports for AFP that Virginia Raggi vows to accomplish what many Romans long considered impossible: end the corruption that permeates city hall.
At just 37, this lawyer and former city council member is poised to transform the Eternal City after winning two-thirds of the vote in a run-off election, the article says. She has pledged to improve unreliable bus and tram service, fill potholes and tidy litter-strewn streets.
But her biggest challenge will be rooting out corruption. Raggi says the city can recoup €1.2 billion (US$1.3 billion) annually by reducing waste, fraud and mismanagement. The money would be spent on municipal improvements. Achieving that goal, however, won’t be easy. It requires taking on criminal networks that have infiltrated city hall and overhauling a contract bidding process prone to bribes and kickbacks.
CIVITAS Insight on bike-sharing released
The 10th CIVITAS Insight is now available, giving information on bike-sharing and its ability to improve the cycling culture in cities and to encourage people to cycle more.
Bike-sharing systems provide public access to bicycles for a limited time, a concept which has been successfully exported globally.
At the time of writing there are nearly 1,000 bike-sharing schemes around the world with an estimated fleet of more than 1.2 million bicycles.
Atlantic City of the year 2017 contest launched
Last 10 March, in Liverpool, the Conference of the Atlantic Arc Cities launched the “Atlantic City of the year 2017” competition, that will be open until 15 September, 2016.
Interested cities must send their application through a form. The requirements are simple: being located in the Atlantic Arc and demonstrate an environmentally-friendly urban policy, with a social character and in cooperation with other European players.
Cities Without Children
A bevy of trend-conscious city planners, opportunistic real-estate developers, municipal officials eager to grow their cities’ tax bases, and entrepreneurial urban gurus (most prominently the consultant Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class) ballyhoo the national renaissance of what inevitably gets described as the Vibrant Urban Neighborhood. The VUN—with its standard-issue bike shops and vintage clothiers, its “authentic” live-work spaces and dive bars, its predictable purveyors of vinyl records and locally-sourced foodstuffs, its de rigueur venues for generically hip “live music,” its uniform throngs of overwhelmingly unmarried and childless active or aspiring knowledge workers ritualistically intoning the shibboleth of “diversity”—has metastasized from those erstwhile white-hot centers of hipness—Williamsburg, the Mission, Wicker Park, Silverlake—converting Bell Town and Bushwick, Echo Park, Seward, and the Pearl District, transforming D.C.’s H Street Corridor, LA’s Highland Park, and dozens of other districts.
Investments in energy efficiency need to happen locally
On 12 May, local governments and stakeholders (energy service companies, energy agencies, financial institutions…) in the energy services sector came together in Budapest to discuss financing solutions for the renovation of the building stock in Hungary. The goal of the CITYnvest workshop was to increase the capacities of towns and regions to launch renovation programmes and attract adequate financing.
Prioritising energy efficiency is often promoted by EU policy makers, but at the end of the day, investments in energy efficiency need to happen locally. As Dan Staniaszek from the Buildings Performance Institute of Europe told the participants: “You are the ones that mobilise local stakeholders, you engage with the building owners and citizens, and all of you are potential real project champions!”
How to implement “open innovation” in city government
City officials are facing increasingly complex challenges. As urbanization rates grow, cities face higher demand for services from a larger and more densely distributed population. On the other hand, rapid changes in the global economy are affecting cities that struggle to adapt to these changes, often resulting in economic depression and population drain.
“Open innovation” is the latest buzz word circulating in forums on how to address the increased volume and complexity of challenges for cities and governments in general.
How Zika Could Infect the Municipal Bond Market
When you walk through Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, it’s hard to ignore the solemn warnings that the city could be an entry point for the Zika virus into the United States.
Everywhere, large signs picturing a menacing mosquito warn travelers: “Don’t let this bad bug bite you.” Other signs warn pregnant travelers about a Zika health advisory. Last month, airport concessionaires began selling insect repellent with the recommended level of DEET to keep mosquitoes at bay.
But there are also financial implications of Atlanta’s status as a gateway to Central and South American travel, and for other cities like it. According to a new report by the investment firm, Loop Capital Markets, the Zika virus could make it more expensive for some municipalities to borrow money.
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