NEWS - MAY 2015

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31/5/2015 - 51st ISOCARP CONGRESS, 19-23 October 2015 - 285 Abstracts received

31/5/2015 - Post-Crisis Urban Planning: Innovative Local Solutions to Fight Environmental Degradation

30/5/2015 - Oil tankers may become floating urban neighborhoods

30/5/2015 - The Most Diverse Cities Are Often The Most Segregated

29/5/2015 - Urban challenges emerging one month after Nepal earthquake.

29/5/2015 - Towards a European Roadmap for Cycling?

29/5/2015 - Cities in action: ITS Factory

28/5/2015 - The CLARS Platform: one year on

28/5/2015 - Are Intermodal Hubs Fancy Capital Projects or Anchors for Future Investment?

28/5/2015 - Royals to attend Large Parks Conference

27/5/2015 - Urban cable cars and smart garbage cans at Day 2 of Lounge Talks

27/5/2015 - A key moment for world cities — but are nation states listening?

27/5/2015 - Everything You Wanted to Know About Tactical Urbanism

26/5/2015 - City control of development financing at issue ahead of key negotiations

26/5/2015 - SEiSMiC Forum Explores New Urban Governance

26/5/2015 - World's Business Leaders Give a Few Nods to Cities

25/5/2015 - Governing Council approves International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning

25/5/2015 - Paris launches ambitious new cycling plan

24/5/2015 - Urbanization in Africa will be powered by young people

24/5/2015 - The economic value of New York trees

24/5/2015 - PlaceMakers’ Highlight Reel from CNU23

23/5/2015 - How the Microtransit Movement Is Changing Urban Mobility

23/5/2015 - Localizing the Habitat III agenda

22/5/2015 - WalkSaferNYC: Interactive accident map

22/5/2015 - What Will Driverless Electric Cars Mean for Cities?

22/5/2015 - Optimising Aarhus's transport system with Bluetooth

22/5/2015 - Doornkop Renewable Energy Expo a huge success

21/5/2015 - ARCADIS launches Sustainable Cities Index

21/5/2015 - Making cities darker

21/5/2015 - Local and regional governments call for increased recognition by the UN in the run up to negotiations on the new urban agenda

20/5/2015 - Transformation Cities - Aberdeen's journey towards 2050

20/5/2015 - Seattle's Emerging EcoDistrict

20/5/2015 - Cities address transition from education to employment

19/5/2015 - Is India's 100 smart cities project a recipe for social apartheid?

19/5/2015 - The utter dominance of the car in American commuting

19/5/2015 - Kes McCormick interviewed on advancing the role of living labs

18/5/2015 - SUMP awards showcase cities driving sustainable urban mobility planning in Europe

18/5/2015 - CITyFiED Community of Interest: Testing and sharing smart solutions for future-proof cities

18/5/2015 - Why do Africa's mayors get so little respect?

17/5/2015 - China is building a Great Wall of Trees

17/5/2015 - Berlin's public energy cooperative

17/5/2015 - CEMR calls for a major debate on Europe's future

16/5/2015 - Plans for 'floating' cycle path unveiled

16/5/2015 - The Global South is mostly ignored by ‘Smart’ city projects

15/5/2015 - Feral Cities: How Animals are Going Urban Like Never Before

15/5/2015 - Smart cities: Interview with Júlia López from the Municipality of Barcelona

14/5/2015 - What do the elderly need in parks?

14/5/2015 - Can India Urbanize Both Fast (As It Is Doing) and Successfully?

14/5/2015 - Avoid Bikelash By Building More Bike Lanes

13/5/2015 - Qatar builds seven 'cities' to house 258,000 World Cup migrant labourers

13/5/2015 - How Urban Planning Failed Kathmandu

13/5/2015 - Visions of Paris as a ´Smart City´ in 2050

12/5/2015 - Metropolitan Solutions to feature innovative Lounge Talks for city-business networking

12/5/2015 - Urban Blight Isn't Just Bad To Look At, It's Bad For Your Health

12/5/2015 - World Habitat Awards 2014/15 Winners Announced

11/5/2015 - Designing City Resilience

11/5/2015 - Amsterdam to replace diesel buses with electric vehicles

10/5/2015 - Cities and regions commit to the sustainable and inclusive management of water

10/5/2015 - What Works Cities

9/5/2015 - Suburbs rethink transit to court millennials

9/5/2015 - 2015's Most Walkable U.S. Cities

8/5/2015 - From industrial to ‘smart’ jobs

8/5/2015 - Cities and regions commit to the sustainable and inclusive management of water

7/5/2015 - Big Cities, Big Challenges – Sustainable Urban Transport across Major Middle East and North African Cities

7/5/2015 - CityMobil2 demonstration in Lausanne

6/5/2015 - Amsterdam to tourists: Get off the beaten path

6/5/2015 - How Food Waste Costs Our Cities Millions

6/5/2015 - Despite expectations, cities in East Asia are becoming denser

5/5/2015 - The Triumph of the Farmers’ Market

5/5/2015 - Towards the Second World Assembly of Local and Regional Authorities

5/5/2015 - Submit your sustainable energy project to the European Energy Service Award 2015!

4/5/2015 - Is Your City’s Sewer System Making You Sick?

4/5/2015 - Smart cities and the plight of cultural authenticity

4/5/2015 - A Small City Doing Big Things

3/5/2015 - Human rights in cities under spotlight at the Governing Council

3/5/2015 - Charting the metropolitan century

3/5/2015 - Vancouver will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy

2/5/2015 - Predicting & avoiding congestion - OPTICITIES solutions

2/5/2015 - Is Bruges the most dementia-friendly city?

2/5/2015 - Los Angeles releases sustainability plan for city

2/5/2015 - The Future of Parking in an Era of Car-Sharing

1/5/2015 - Local and regional authorities mobilize for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development

1/5/2015 - Cities and Sustainable Infrastructure Policy Snapshot

1/5/2015 - Zurich ranks first among Europe's 'sootfree cities'

1/5/2015 - Why Shared Space Scares


51st ISOCARP CONGRESS, 19-23 October 2015 - 285 Abstracts received

We have the pleasure to inform you that 285 abstracts were submitted for this year’s congress on “Cities save the World. Let’s Reinvent Planning”. Right now General Rapporteur Judith Ryser and her congress team consisting of 12 international and 12 local co-rapporteurs are evaluating the submissions. On 28 May authors will be informed about the results. The interactive workshops of the first two days of the congress will be held in twelve different cities in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, each having its own theme and way of organizing it. 

You can join the discussions and find more information on the different workshops at


Post-Crisis Urban Planning: Innovative Local Solutions to Fight Environmental Degradation

Due to the financial crisis the heavily indebted public actors are not able any more to launch large-scale programmes to handle difficult environmental problems. Thus they have to find new, innovative ways, experiment with more flexible environmental standards and regulations.
Once upon a time in European cities the public sector had enough money to carry out large-scale programmes to improve the environment. Such programmes were usually connected to strict standards and regulations regarding the level of improvement and the use of the improved areas.


Oil tankers may become floating urban neighborhoods

Retrofitted shipping containers already double as inexpensive housing and toilets in some cities. Could retired oil-tanker ships become the next form of recycled urban architecture? 
Adele Peters reports for Fast Company that as the world transitions away from fossil fuel, thousands of massive oil tankers would cease operation. Rather than send them to scrapyards, some architects want to transform them into seaside mini-villages.
The ideas for repurposing oil tankers are seemingly endless. They could provide housing for metropolises short on land for development, or double as museums, shopping plazas and public venues for events. The tops of oil tankers could be refashioned into parks, the article says.


The Most Diverse Cities Are Often The Most Segregated

When I was a freshman at the University of Chicago in 1996, I heard the same thing again and again: Do not leave the boundaries of Hyde Park. Do not go north of 47th Street. Do not go south of 61st Street. Do not go west of Cottage Grove Avenue. 1
These boundaries were fairly explicit, almost to the point of being an official university policy. The campus police department was not committed to protecting students beyond the area,2 and the campus safety brochure advised students not to use the “El” train stops just a couple of blocks beyond them unless “traveling in groups and during the daytime.”
What usually wasn’t said — on a campus that brags about the diversity of its urban setting but where only about 5 percent of students are black — was that the neighborhoods beyond these boundaries were overwhelmingly black and poor. The U. of C. has, for many decades, treated Hyde Park as its “fortress on the South Side,” and its legacy of trying to keep its students within the neighborhood — and the black residents of surrounding communities out — has left its mark on Chicago.


Urban challenges emerging one month after Nepal earthquake.

One month after the earthquake of 25 April, the National Planning Commission of Nepal hosted an expert meeting convened by UN-Habitat to review the challenges of urbanization and reconstruction. The lead questions are to identify urban drivers for national recovery and to encourage future resilient urbanization.
Unplanned urbanization expands future risk. It will be extremely challenging to undertake reconstruction in many high-density urban neighbourhoods and in dense historic urban and peri-urban townships. A new surge in migration from affected rural areas is likely to further impede the complexities. The urban poor are most at risk.


Towards a European Roadmap for Cycling?

The European Cyclists' Federation (ECF) has launched a think tank comprising advocacy groups, city networks, representatives from local and regional authorities, European Commission, European Parliament, European Council, the World Health Organisation and businesses to get ideas on a EU Roadmap for Cycling. The first high-level meeting was hosted by the South Denmark European Office in Brussels on 19 May 2015.


Cities in action: ITS Factory

Tampere's Intelligent Transport Solutions (ITS) Factory is fast tracking innovative software solutions to transport issues by providing a collaborative working environment to support progress, from concept to commercialisation. 
Urbanisation, congestion and air pollution are all forcing cities to find new ways for citizens to move about more easily and conveniently, but with less impact on the environment. Intelligent transport solutions (ITS) have the potential to do this, using real time data to show what's happening on the streets in order to make smarter use of the transport network.


The CLARS Platform: one year on

Many urban areas are battling bad air quality, noise and congestion while still trying to stay attractive to tourists and businesses. To address these issues some local authorities restrict the number of vehicles entering their cities through a number of access regulations. If done right these regulations – for example, a congestion charge or a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) – are a key way to improve the quality of life in a city. If not, they annoy the public and stakeholders and don’t have the desired impact.


Are Intermodal Hubs Fancy Capital Projects or Anchors for Future Investment?

Are intermodal transportation hubs this year’s infrastructure must-have? With new centers going up in at least four small cities, train-bus-bike stations are starting to look like 2015’s green lane — a match-all municipal accessory to go with road, sidewalk or rail.
“They’re like train stations or bus terminals,” says Todd Litman, executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute (VTPI). “Even if what we call them changes, their basic function doesn’t.”


Royals to attend Large Parks Conference

We are very happy to inform you that Sweden’s King, His Majesty Carl XVI Gustav and Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden are coming to our conference and opening it on the 2nd of September. H.M the King officially inaugurated the Royal National Park in Stockholm twenty years ago and it is a real Copyright: honor for us to celebrate the twentieth anniversary together with him and the
H.M the King at the opening of Crown Princess at the conference.


Urban cable cars and smart garbage cans at Day 2 of Lounge Talks

The second day of ICLEI’s Lounge Talks at Metropolitan Solutions 2015 began with a discussion on ecomobility. After presentations on Doppelmayr’s urban cable cars and Rupprecht Consult’s Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans, participants engaged in an animated debate on how to make transport more environmentally sustainable. 
Speakers acknowledged that citizens are liable to opt for the easiest and cheapest mode of transport. Wholesale modal changes in transport would therefore be difficult to implement. Instead, companies like Doppelmayr and apps like Zeitmeilen are working to complement and improve existing transport systems wherever possible. 
Participants also considered how best practice could be shared. Some noted that cities were reluctant to publicize the changes they were making. Equally, cities keen to make changes are not looking to other cities for answers. The cable cars that had been successful in Koblenz and elsewhere could be replicated in other German cities but this best practice was not being replicated.


A key moment for world cities — but are nation states listening?

As the world looks toward a crucial round of climate negotiations this December in Paris, nation states are still debating what climate commitments they’re willing to make — starting in 2020.
By contrast, consider what the city of Strasbourg has been doing as long ago as 1989. Back then, this French city relied heavily on cars: 76 percent of private trips were by private autos. Since then, Strasbourg has taken steps such as barring cars from its center, installing special bike lanes and building an ambitious streetcar system. Today, auto trips are down to 35 percent. And the city is undertaking a major regional transit effort with its German sister city of Kehl across the Rhine River.


Everything You Wanted to Know About Tactical Urbanism

Tactical Urbanism: Short-term Action for Long-term Change, a new book by urban planners Mike Lydon and Anthony Garcia is the first book to really organize all the small fixes that seem to have spontaneously sprung up in so many communities in a way that everyone can understand. These fixes — some temporary and others long-term — aim to address common problems in communities today, often in streets and public spaces: a lack of safe sidewalks or crosswalks; the absence of clear signage; the dearth of neighborhood parks and plazas, and, more broadly, the lack of community connection and solidarity. Shedding its perception as an illegal or “guerrilla” approach, tactical urbanism is becoming a method of choice for innovative local governments, developers, or non-profits as well. What one learns from the book is that it’s now an approach happening everywhere, not just in New York City, with its transformation of Times Square and other car-only places into pedestrian plazas, or San Francisco, with its Pavement to Parks program, which led to the explosive growth of parklets everywhere. These types of small, yet potent interventions are going mainstream because they work — at least at fixing some problems.


City control of development financing at issue ahead of key negotiations

Sufficient trillions of dollars for anti-poverty, climate and broad development efforts worldwide are being debated in the run-up to a key conference in Addis Ababa this July. In the process, a parallel key issue has emerged: Where’s the voice for cities, where the lion’s share of future development must occur?
The negotiations are part of what’s known as the Financing for Development process, a watershed set of talks aimed at figuring out a new way to pay for the infrastructure, education, health and other development programmes that will be necessary over the coming decade and more.


SEiSMiC Forum Explores New Urban Governance

The SEiSMiC project held its first International Forum April 20-21 in Brussels, bringing together some 70 project participants from all 10 implementing countries. Participants discussed ongoing social innovation projects in their countries, as well as a handful of initiatives with cross-border elements.
The first forum, one of three planned over the next two years, focused on the topic of new urban governance. The project seeks to strengthen social innovation, and for this new frameworks and rules are needed. A regulatory “eco-system” that’s friendly to social innovation should go beyond current approaches and follow an integrated and participatory approach.


World's Business Leaders Give a Few Nods to Cities

The recent Milken Institute Global Conference brought together more CEO’s, heads of state, hedge fund managers, and industrialists than, I reckon, any other annual gathering in the United States. It’s a strange event at which to be an urbanist – and not just because it takes place in one of our most unusual cities, Beverly Hills. 
Planners, developers, and sundry folk love and believe in our cities. Many of us love our cities, and we are inspired daily by their dynamism and, in some case, their enormity. Los Angeles has 4 million people. And it functions (sort of). Amazing, right?! I think so.
But then you pass the Splenda to a CEO in the coffee line and realize that the annual revenue of his or her company might exceed that of a city’s budget, or even its gross metropolitan product. That’s humbling. It’s more humbling when you consider that some of these companies, from Twitter to Google to all the finance companies, hardly exist in physical space. They might employ a handful of people and deliver all of their products online.


Governing Council approves International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning

France, Japan, South Africa and Uganda co-sponsored the Resolution 25/6 of UN-Habitat Governing Council that approved the International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning . The Resolution calls upon ‘international financial institutions, development agencies, and UN-Habitat to assist interested member States in using and adapting the Guidelines to their territorial and national contexts, where appropriate, and further developing tools and monitoring indicators’.


Paris launches ambitious new cycling plan 

Paris has launched its 2015 - 2020 cycling strategy, which aims to double the length of the city's cycle network and triple the number of Parisians cycling every day.
The strategy was developed with the input of almost 7 000 stakeholders in a consultation period from December 2014 to January 2015.
'We have organised our priorities in order to establish what improvements need to be made. Safety is a highly important aspect,' Christophe Najdovski, Paris's Deputy Mayor for Transport and Public Space, told the Le Figaro (link is external) newspaper.


Urbanization in Africa will be powered by young people

From minerals to oil and gas reserves, Africa is replete with untapped resources. But the greatest asset cities across the continent may have to drive economic prosperity is a demographic shift toward young people, Kathleen Caulderwood writes for the International Business Times.
A 2015 trends report from Ernst & Young projects that by 2030, the vast majority of the world’s urbanized children ages 14 and lower would reside in one of Africa’s cities. As municipalities elsewhere contend with aging populations, African metropolises will benefit from a notably youthful workforce, Caulderwood emphasizes.


The economic value of New York trees

New York City, the largest city in the United States and one of the world’s major global cities, maintains trees as an integral component of the urban infrastructure (Figure 1). Since 1995, over 120,000 trees have been planted along the streets of the city’s five boroughs.
In 2007, the Center for Urban Forest Research conducted a research that demonstrates new ways in which trees add value to communities, converting results into financial terms to assist communities in stimulating more investment in trees.
This Center for Urban Forest Research has calculated that New York trees are providing $5.60 in benefits for every $1 spent on tree planting and care.


PlaceMakers’ Highlight Reel from CNU23

Having just wrapped up what may have been our favorite CNU ever, in Dallas on April 29 through May 2, we want to share some of the ideas that resonated the most with us. The topics below are snippets of great insights from many voices, including the likes of Andrés Duany, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, Doug Farr, and Lynn Richards on Social Connections; Dr. Antwi Akom and Dan Slone on Equity; Charles Montgomery and Hazel Borys on Happiness; Chris Leinberger and Peter Calthorpe on Economics; John Anderson, Bruce Tolar, and Ben Brown on Affordability; Marina Khoury, Susan Henderson, Matt Lambert, Jennifer Hurley, Peter Park, and Hazel Borys on Form-Based Codes; Jeffrey Tumlin on Parking (and Dancing), Andrés Duany, Hank Dittmar, and Sandy Sorlien on Lean Urbanism; Scott Bernstein and Lee Sobel on Pedestrian Malls; and Jon Coppage, Andrés Duany and Charles Marohn on Politics. The Congress was full of concurrent sessions we wish we could have attended, so if you’re blogging other ideas or the pieces missing from these topics, please give us those links in the comment section.


How the Microtransit Movement Is Changing Urban Mobility

There's nothing new about microtransit, but better data on mobility patterns and wide smartphone access have made flexible, on-demand transit more possible than ever. CityLab took a closer look at the good and the bad of a microtransit future, and how cities can hope to contain it.


Localizing the Habitat III agenda

By Josep Roig, UCLG Secretary General
The time is ripe for the U.N. system to recognize the special status of contributions from local and regional authorities — coming, as they do, from a sphere of government.
If you ask the mayor or councillor of a rapidly urbanizing intermediary city in the Global South what Habitat III is, she might not be able — or have time! — to tell you.
That’s ironic, because in her daily work she deals with all of the issues of concern to Habitat III, the major cities-focused conference being held next year in Quito. In fact, while the United Nations holds a Habitat conference just once every 20 years, the work of local leaders on urban planning, economic development, balancing the local budget and providing basic services never stops. Indeed, the work of local governments will be essential to the achievement of sustainable development in an urbanizing world.


WalkSaferNYC: Interactive accident map

A local firm out of New York City, Hecht Kleeger & Damashek is raising even more awareness for safety in NYC. With the recent city-wide speed limit reduction, the interactive WalkSaferNYC heat-map was created to outline the most dangerous intersections for motorists and pedestrians to avoid.
The map also shows data explaining when most accidents occur year, age, gender, and vehicle or collision type. Users are also able to break the data out based upon NYC borough, for ease of use.
The recent speed limit reduction has helped the city experience fewer accidents, and the WalkSaferNYC map hopes to reinforce these positive outcomes.


What Will Driverless Electric Cars Mean for Cities?

The story of Elon Musk and why he founded SolarCity, Tesla, and SpaceX is incredibly compelling. He chose problems and industries that he felt would move humanity forward. He felt that we needed sustainable forms of energy production (SolarCity), sustainable forms of transport (Tesla), and a way for humans to occupy other planets (SpaceX). That’s incredible ambition.
Today I want to focus on the transportation aspect.
Electric and driverless vehicles, I believe, are a step in the right direction. I honestly believe that at some point in the not too distant future we’re going to look back at that time when people used to drive their own cars and wonder how we ever allowed that to happen.


Optimising Aarhus's transport system with Bluetooth 

Policymakers are continuously trying to increase the performance of transport systems. To do this they need effective monitoring methods in place in order to understand what is going and what the issues need to be solved. That’s why in 2011 city officials in Aarhus decided to test a highly innovative Bluetooth traffic monitoring system to see how it could be used in the development of urban mobility solutions. Today, the city has more than 130 units installed across the city.


Doornkop Renewable Energy Expo a huge success

In a pioneering effort, the small urban settlement of Doornkop hosted the first Doornkop Renewable Energy Rural Expo. 
This event was organised by the local community, with support from the Steve Tshwete Local Municipality and ICLEI Africa. 
ICLEI Africa has been working with the Steve Tshwete Local Municipality to develop a low emissions development strategy. The work has spanned the past two-and-a-half years and forms part of the Urban-LEDS Program, which is being rolled out in India, Indonesia, Brazil and South Africa to assist local governments on their journey towards a more energy secure, economically efficient and environmentally friendly future.


ARCADIS launches Sustainable Cities Index

ARCADIS, a natural and built asset design and consultancy firm, has launched the inaugural Sustainable Cities Index, which seeks to bring together many data points into one place and take a more rounded view of what makes a city sustainable.
The Index, which was conducted by the Center for Economics and Business Research, explores the three demands of social (People), environmental (Planet) and economic (Profit) to develop an indicative ranking of 50 of the world’s leading cities.
“The purpose of our index is to indicate areas of opportunity as cities continue to make progress on their missions to become more sustainable economically, environmentally and for the good of their inhabitants,” John Batten, Global Cities Director at ARCADIS, told Cities Today. “As our world becomes increasingly more reliant on its urban centres, it is our hope that city leaders find the Index to be a valuable tool in assessing their priorities and pathways to urban sustainability for the good of all.”


Making cities darker

In 1909, just 30 years after Thomas Edison made electric light commercially viable, the Italian writer Filippo Tommaso Marinetti came up with an audacious idea: “let’s murder the moonlight!,” he declared in a manifesto titled by that phrase. Just a little over a century later, his idea, once the stuff of early modernist fantasy, seems truer than he may have expected. The moon’s visibility persists (sorry, Marinetti), but stars are a different story. Unless you’re reading this on a camping trip in a remote part of Montana, go outside at night, look up, and, depending on cloud cover, you’ll very likely see a monochrome canopy of muted light grey to almost-but-not-quite-black, dotted, depending on the size of your city, with a dim handful of stars.
Moving architecture and design to keep the night sky darkened might come off as quaint—something for poets to contemplate—but, as researchers study the effects of nighttime lighting, their findings point to critical public health and safety consequences, along with a bevy of ecological concerns. “It’s a problem with many layers to it, including the aesthetic and poetic problem resulting from the loss of stars,” said Linnaea Tillett, the principal of Tillett Lighting Design, a New York City–based firm. “But it’s not just a matter of poetry. There are very real ecological consequences.”


Local and regional governments call for increased recognition by the UN in the run up to negotiations on the new urban agenda

The Global Taskforce for Post-2015 Development Agenda and towards Habitat III, facilitated by UCLG, represented the voices of local and regional government organizations at the second Habitat III PrepCom from April 14-16 in Nairobi.
The United Nations Advisory Committee of Local Authorities (UNACLA), chaired by the President of UCLG and Mayor of Istanbul, Kadir Topbas, also met in Nairobi. It was decided that the agenda of the Committee would focus on preparations for Habitat III and that its membership should reflect the composition of the Global Taskforce to ensure close coordination between the two.
Over 70 local and regional government delegates from around the world, including the mayors of Istanbul, Quito, Berlin, Victoria, Almere, Morogoro and Emalahleni, came together in Nairobi to participate in a number of different sessions and side events.



When it comes to assessing economic impacts of energy, Aberdeen in the UK has a lot to say. The economy of this Scottish seaport has been entirely reliant on the oil industry since the late 1970s.
Host to Energy Cities’ 2015 Conference, the city of Aberdeen had the opportunity to introduce participants with their energy transition strategy.
Gordon Mc Intosh from the City Council’s Department for Planning & Infrastructure, Ian Booth from Aberdeen Heat & Power and John Lidderdale from the Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association gave us an insight into the actions undertaken to "transform Europe’s energy capital into a low-carbon city".


Seattle's Emerging EcoDistrict

EcoDistricts offer a framework through which communities can discuss, prioritize, and enact initiatives that address climate change and social equity. Since 2011, Seattle's Capitol Hill EcoDistrict has sought to improve sustainability and equity. This EcoDistrict is partnering with the Seattle 2030 District, a high-performance business district in downtown Seattle that aims to reduce carbon emissions 50 percent by 2030.


Cities address transition from education to employment

Birmingham hosted a first joint meeting of our working groups education and employment to consider the transition from employment to education. 
The purpose of this first joint working group meeting on 15-17 April was to better understand the challenges, issues and solutions relating to education and employment, such as poverty, and the reasons for large numbers of people not in employment, education or training (NEET). The meeting addressed in particular the transition from employment to education and the impact this can have on young people’s future.


Is India's 100 smart cities project a recipe for social apartheid?

The emergence of hi-tech prototype cities is raising concerns that India’s new urban enclaves will override local laws and use surveillance to keep out the poor
In architectural renderings, Gujarat International Financial Tec-City resembles a thicket of glassy blue skyscrapers soaring above the Sabarmati River in Gandhinagar, capital of the western Indian state of Gujarat. Its “signature towers” include the Diamond, a 410-metre spire resembling an icy stalagmite, and the 362m Gateway Towers, a bendy, sinuous version of Rem Koolhaas’s CCTV headquarters in Beijing.


The utter dominance of the car in American commuting

In small pockets of large cities around America, a growing number of people have been walking, biking, or taking public transit to work in recent years. A disproportionate focus on these cities has led advocates and journalists to celebrate the resurgence of car-free forms of transportation.
But the researchers who study overall commuting data see things very differently. "The dominant mode of travel, by far, is the single-occupant automobile," says Alan Pisarski, a co-author of the latest Commuting in America report, which has been published over the past year. And the car shows no signs of going away.
Indeed, the percentage of Americans who commute by driving alone has actually risen since 2000 (largely at the expense of carpooling). That's largely because more and more households can afford cars, and the vast majority of people who do own a car are using it to drive to work — by themselves whenever possible.


Kes McCormick interviewed on advancing the role of living labs

Urban living labs (ULL) are proliferating across Europe as a means through which public and private actors are testing innovations in buildings, transport and energy systems. Yet, despite the experimentation taking place on the ground, there is a lack of systematic learning across urban and national contexts about their impacts and effectiveness. One of the ten selected projects in JPI Urban Europe Second Call is GUST (Governance of Urban Sustainability Transitions). The aim of the GUST project is to examine, inform and advance the governance of sustainability transitions through urban living labs. Project leader Kes McCormick from Lund University in Sweden is an enthusiastic ambassador of GUST. During the JPI Urban Europe Projects Meeting in October 2014 in Brussels McCormick (with Harriet Bulkeley, Niki Frantzesaki, Frank van Steenbergen, and Christian Hartmann) presented a project poster with the research approach, methodology and outcomes.


SUMP awards showcase cities driving sustainable urban mobility planning in Europe

In 2013 the European Commission set out the concept of a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP), a strategic planning document that deals with the complexity of urban mobility in a more sustainable and integrative way. Today, cities across the continent are embracing this concept and experiencing the positive effects on their transport systems and their citizens’ quality of life.
The SUMP award , an annual competition launched by the Commission in 2012, celebrates this growing movement and recognises the outstanding achievements of cities in urban mobility planning. For this year’s award, entrants had to demonstrate to an expert jury what monitoring processes they had put in place to keep track of their planning processes and of the implementation of  measures.  Monitoring also allows cities to draw valuable lessons from their planning experience, understand what works well or not, and to build business cases and a evidence base that can be applied to similar measures in the future.


CITyFiED Community of Interest: Testing and sharing smart solutions for future-proof cities

Achieving significant reductions in energy demand, green house gas emissions and incorporating renewable technologies at district and city level is a challenge. A new community of cities is implementing and testing solutions as part of the CITyFiED project. 
CITyFiED's three demonstration sites incorporate technologies and approaches to achieve innovative and efficient districts. These sites are located in the cities of Lund, Sweden, Laguna de Duero, Spain and Soma, Turkey.  Together they will achieve more than 70 kWh/m2yr of energy savings, a reduction of at least 13,000 tons in CO2 emissions through the retrofitting of 2,300 dwellings, with the overall objective of improving the quality of life of over 7,000 citizens.


Why do Africa's mayors get so little respect?

Notwithstanding the inaugural African Mayor Awards, the continent’s presidents, prime ministers and kings don’t leave much room for the humble mayor
Who is Africa’s Ken Livingstone or Boris Johnson? Its Rudy Giuliani or Bill de Blasio? The continent has seen emperors and still possesses an absolute monarch (in Swaziland), along with presidents, prime ministers, state governors and traditional leaders such as kings, chiefs and emirs, but that doesn’t leave much room for the humble city mayor.
A plan to change that took a step forward last week when the first African mayor awards were held in Luanda, Angola, with organisers hoping to boost the profile of this oft-ignored tier of African politics. They claim the annual ceremony “showcases excellence in urban development” at a time that much of the continent’s population growth is concentrated in cities – with Luanda itself a stark example of the gap between rich and poor.


China is building a Great Wall of Trees

China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, but it is also engaged in a massive tree-planting program that has helped to offset tropical deforestation, and suck some of the climate-changing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
Reforestation efforts in China, combined with regrowth on abandoned farmland in Russia, have helped offset 81% of the loss in above-ground biomass carbon lost to tropical deforestation since 2003, according to a new study in the academic journal Nature Climate Change.


Berlin's public energy cooperative

Bürger Energie Berlin is a free, cross-party, civil union that is committed to establishing a viable, sustainable, and democratic energy policy in Berlin. In their energy cooperative every member has an equal vote, regardless of their investment.
How? By accumulating as much money as needed, through large and small investments, the cooperative sets out to buy the power grid when it is up for sale in 2015, and become the operator. Besides money, they also bring civic participation to the city, creating an attractive model for Berlin.


CEMR calls for a major debate on Europe's future

On the occasion of Europe Day, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) calls for the organisation of a wide debate on the future of Europe.
On 9 May, we celebrate the anniversary of Robert Schuman's call for a united Europe. This date marks the beginning of the European integration process. For more than 60 years, Europe has brought prosperity and peace. From the very start this European commitment was supported by mayors and local and regional representatives who aspired to a Europe built on powerful and autonomous local governments and taking ownership for the development of their localities.
Today, Europe seems remote from peoples’ daily concerns, leading to a sense of scepticism. In this context, CEMR calls for a new ambition for Europe, one which is less technocratic, closer to its citizens, and mindful of their concerns.


Plans for 'floating' cycle path unveiled 

Luxembourg has announced plans for a new cycle and pedestrian path that will be suspended beneath a bridge in the centre of Luxembourg City.
The Minister for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, François Bausch, announced the plans for the 'floating' walkway beneath the Pont Adolphe bridge, which is currently undergoing a three-year refurbishment.
The path would hang directly underneath the road of the bridge between the spans of the supporting pillars, and would link Avenue Marie-Thérèse and Boulevard de la Pétrusse on either side of the bridge. Construction of the path is expected to cost € 6.5m.


The Global South is mostly ignored by ‘Smart’ city projects

“Smart” cities that feature energy-efficient designs, newfangled technology and ample green space are the hottest trend in urban planning circles. But writing on GreenBiz, Mike Hower sees a worrisome pattern. While the need for cutting-edge cities is greatest in the Global South, most of the projects and financial muscle are focused on the wealthier Global North.
Cities such as Barcelona, Copenhagen and Songdo, South Korea, a new metropolis built from scratch, are taking the lead. They’re adding sensors to monitor traffic and weather, upgrading infrastructure and expanding public transit.


Feral Cities: How Animals are Going Urban Like Never Before

A few miles from National Geographic's headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C., coyotes roam. But they weren't here a few decades ago.
These wily denizens of the plains have so successfully spread across the country that they've been spotted hanging out on the roof of a New York City bar and bedding down at Chicago's Soldier Field Stadium.
Thanks to several factors—the food cornucopia that is suburbia, climate change expanding species' ranges, and less hunting, to name a few—wildlife is going increasingly urban worldwide. (Get facts on suburban wildlife, too.)
And that means people in cities are grappling with how to live with their wildlife neighbors, whether it's dealing with parrots in Brooklyn or monkeys in Cape Town.


Smart cities: Interview with Júlia López from the Municipality of Barcelona

What’s in a name? As always, it is what lies beneath where the real meaning and purpose are found. This month we interview Júlia López, Project Manager of European and Regional Digital Strategy, A.K.A Smart Cities, for the Municipality of Barcelona. An engineer by trade, Júlia López tells the EUKN about her understanding behind the concept of smart cities and why Barcelona is one of Europe’s pioneers in uniting technology and society. 
Discussions of smart cities are increasingly a part of urban development aims worldwide. However, despite this celebrated approach, it is still hard to describe what lies behind the labelling phenomenon of the so-called ‘smart city’. How would you define the concept?


What do the elderly need in parks? 

The senior population is growing. By 2050, a third of the U.S. will be 65 and older. The World Health Organization, AARP, and other organizations have called for more age-friendly communities, with parks and open space that offer what seniors needs to feel safe, but not enough are heeding their call. One question that came up in a session at the American Planning Association (APA) conference in Seattle is whether future parks need to be designed to be inter-generational, or designed specifically for the elderly. Two academics and a landscape architect argued the research shows seniors do better when they are around all age groups, but they need specific things to feel safe and comfortable in parks and other open spaces. If they don’t have them, they are far less likely to venture into these places.


Can India Urbanize Both Fast (As It Is Doing) and Successfully?

India will be one of the last major countries in the world to experience the urbanization of its population. In 2010, 31 percent of India’s people lived in its cities. By 2030, this is expected to rise to 40 percent. This means that an additional 220 million people will move to cities across the country.
Which cities will these people go to? Is it possible to create jobs for these people? Will they have a good quality of life?


Avoid Bikelash By Building More Bike Lanes

Here's one reason the modern biking boom is great for everyone: more bicycle trips mean fewer car trips, which can mean less congestion for people in cars and buses. But there's a catch. A recent study shows that when bicycle use rises but cities don't add bike lanes to put the new bikers in, traffic congestion actually gets worse.


Qatar builds seven 'cities' to house 258,000 World Cup migrant labourers

Officials say all seven will be up by 2016 but the largest, Labour city, will house workers on 2022 World Cup projects in next few weeks
Qatar will build seven “cities” to house 258,000 migrant labourers who are building major infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup, officials said on Tuesday.
Ministers said all seven should be built by the end of 2016 and that the largest, Labour city – for 70,000 people and with a 24,000-seat cricket stadium – will house workers in the next few weeks.


How Urban Planning Failed Kathmandu

Haphazard urbanization and rampant building code violations in Nepal pushed up the earthquake death toll.
When I visited Nepal's capital Kathmandu years ago, it was a beautiful, hilly city with clusters of quaint buildings. As I walked by the colorful markets lining narrow alleyways, shopkeepers smiled. This weekend, the city was at the epicenter of an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale. City blocks collapsed, century-old monuments were reduced to rubble, and apocalyptic cracks ran through the roads. The city I walked through all those years ago no longer exists.


Visions of Paris as a ´Smart City´ in 2050

The French firm Vincent Callebaut Architectures has developed a proposal for multiple high-rise buildings with positive energy output (BEPOS). Comprised of eight multi-use structures inhabiting various locations withinParis, the plan strives to address major sustainability problems affecting each district, while providing key functions for the city.
Commissioned in wake of the Climate Energy Plan of Paris, the aptly named Smart City aims to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In order to achieve long-term energy goals, the high-rises integrate several energy-production techniques to ensure their constant adherence to sustainable efforts, as well as encourage inhabitants to adopt eco-friendly standards of living in their daily lives. Although the techniques employed are unique to each building, the overall goals of the Smart City are cohesive: respect the rich history of Paris while embracing its potential to cultivate a healthier future by decreasing its environmental impacts.


Metropolitan Solutions to feature innovative Lounge Talks for city-business networking

Metropolitan Solutions 2015 will take place on 20-22 May 2015 in Berlin, Germany. The world's largest combined congress and trade fair for Smart Cities, Metropolitan Solutions offers 25 conference talks and an exhibition area with the latest technology. 
Taking place in the City Cube on the exhibition grounds in Berlin, the event will offer insights into topics including urban financing solutions, energy infrastructure, smart lighting, EcoMobility and many more. 
This year’s edition will feature the ICLEI Lounge Talks. The Lounge Talks will bring together representatives of cities and businesses to facilitate contact between local government representatives, experts and solution providers from the private sector.


Urban Blight Isn't Just Bad To Look At, It's Bad For Your Health

Walking past barren, trash-strewn areas makes our heart rates jump. But green spaces calm us down.
We know that abandoned lots dampen a neighborhood's economic attractiveness, scaring away prospective tenants and investors. But what about their impact on our health? Is that affected as well?
It might be. Research finds that poorly-kept areas can raise our stress levels and lead to other adverse effects, offering further reasons to invest in inner-city turnarounds. "There is increasing evidence to show that our environments do affect our health," says Gina South, a physician in the school of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "Urban planners really need to consider that as we intervene in places. Cities like Baltimore, Detroit, Cleveland, Philadelphia all have high rates of vacant land and that really impacts the health of people living in those neighborhoods."


World Habitat Awards 2014/15 Winners Announced

Winners of the 2015 World Habitat Awards were presented at the 25th Session of the UN- Habitat Governing Council in Nairobi. This year’s winners were Liter of Light, Philippines and Housing First Project by Y- Foundation, Finland. Both projects were selected on the basis of their innovative approach to housing and their impact on the lives of thousands of people.
Liter of Light is an open source movement that uses inexpensive, durable and readily available materials to provide low- cost solar lighting to homes in poor communities and remote islands. The project is also heavily focused on working with local communities, stimulating local job creation by providing community education and training programs designed to teach communities how to manufacture and install the solar bulbs themselves. Through its innovative ability to mobilize local resources and organisations against a single purpose, as well as its effective use of social media and open- source technology, the project has grown from nothing to installing more than 250 000 lights in the Philippines.


Designing City Resilience 

Designing City Resilience, a two day summit that takes place 16-17 June 2015 at 66 Portland Place, London England, has been created to foster and support an international exchange of ideas between organisations, professions, sectors and city leaders, to bring world-class thinking to the current and future challenges faced by cities around the world.
This two-day summit brings together the key groups involved in the design and construction, development and infrastructure, city leadership and governance, insurance and finance, technology and communications of a city. It will provide the opportunity to share ideas and formulate strategies that will enabling them to recommend and implement meaningful principles to make better cities, ones capable of coping with the stresses of mass urbanisation, climate change and unexpected shocks to the system.


Amsterdam to replace diesel buses with electric vehicles

Amsterdam will become the first city in the country to run a fully electric bus fleet, following agreement between the city council and city bus firm GVB. The first batch of 40 buses will be replaced by electric vehicles in two years’ time, the Volkskrant reports, and by 2025 the entire fleet will be electric. The ferries over the IJ between the city centre and Noord will also be powered by green electricity. ‘This project means we are saying goodbye to symbolic behaviour and pilot projects,’ the city’s transport alderman Abdeluheb Choho told the Volkskrant. ‘We have decided to just do it, not to experiment with five buses.’


Cities and regions commit to the sustainable and inclusive management of water

Cities and regions from all over the world, gathered at the World Water Forum on the occasion of the 4th International Conference of Local and Regional Authorities on Water in Gyeongju (Republic of Korea) on 13 and 14 April, reaffirmed the crucial need for the international community to adopt Goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which aims to ensure access to water and sanitation for all through sustainable and inclusive management.


What Works Cities

The mission of this new, national initiative from Bloomberg Philanthropies is to elevate and accelerate cities' use of data and evidence to engage citizens, make government more effective, and improve people's lives. What Works Cities will partner with mayors and other city chief executives who are committed to this approach by providing assistance targeted to local needs: on-the-ground training, access to world-class expertise, connections to peer cities tackling similar challenges, and help with the implementation of technical solutions.


Suburbs rethink transit to court millennials

After moving to Washington from Akron, Ohio, six years ago, Katie Reed and her husband, Brian, happily ditched their two cars to live in Chinatown, where they enjoy walking to restaurants and shops.
So when she searched for a new job two years ago, Katie Reed, 32, considered it “critical” to find one on a Metro line. She also wanted to walk to lunch and after-work errands.
She landed at Choice Hotels International, which had just moved its headquarters to Rockville Town Square from Silver Spring. Its old offices, just outside the Capital Beltway, were reachable only by car and bus and had one restaurant within walking distance. The new digs are across the street from the Rockville Metro station. A gym, a CVS pharmacy and loads of restaurants are steps away.


2015's Most Walkable U.S. Cities

In an announcement that will surprise no one, Walk Score, the company that produces the go-to metric for walkable cities, has once again ranked New York as the number one most walkable large U.S. city. Walk Score calculates its rankings based on an algorithm that incorporates walking routes, pedestrian friendliness and neighborhood and population characteristics for 2,500 of the country’s cities. The ten most walkable cities this year are New York, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago, DC, Seattle, Oakland and Baltimore.


From industrial to ‘smart’ jobs

How cities are managing the transition from industrial to smart jobs – reporting from our economic development forum in Genoa. 
How are cities supporting entrepreneurs, SMEs and job creation in innovative and sustainable sectors, such as energy, telecoms, creative industries and smart mobility?


Cities and regions commit to the sustainable and inclusive management of water 

Cities and regions from all over the world, gathered at the World Water Forum on the occasion of the 4th International Conference of Local and Regional Authorities on Water in Gyeongju (Republic of Korea) on 13 and 14 April, reaffirmed the crucial need for the international community to adopt Goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which aims to ensure access to water and sanitation for all through sustainable and inclusive management.
Local and regional authorities also highlighted the need for the new Post-2015 Development Agenda to be based on international cooperation among local and regional authorities, especially through financing partnerships between local and regional governments in developed and developing countries.


Big Cities, Big Challenges – Sustainable Urban Transport across Major Middle East and North African Cities 

The urban population in the MENA region is forecasted to grow significantly over the next decades. Cities in the region face major mobility challenges, as transport systems are sometimes inadequate, as investment is directed toward private cars. For cities to remain attractive to inhabitants, mobility obstacles need to be overcome. Using examples of international best practises, this report gives an overview of the challenges sustainable urban transport faces in the MENA region and offers possible solutions. Experience worldwide has shown that solving transport issues requires more than mere investment in infrastructure.


CityMobil2 demonstration in Lausanne

The second large-scale demonstration of an automated road passenger transport system was inaugurated on 16 April 2015 at the EPFL campus in Lausanne (Switzerland) in the presence of the presidents of France and Switzerland.


Amsterdam to tourists: Get off the beaten path

The shimmering canals, world-class museums and nightlife here have always been a hit with visitors, but lately the tourist crush in central Amsterdam has grown almost intolerable.
Locals call the sound of suitcase wheels clanking on cobblestones “trolley terror.” More annoying are the teams of drunks pedaling around on “beer bikes,” sort of a pub on wheels. Around Christmas, police had to close off one of the city’s main shopping streets for 20 minutes when the pedestrianized street became so crowded that shoppers could not exit the stores.


How Food Waste Costs Our Cities Millions

It would take farm land the size of Mexico just to grow the amount of food that humans produce, but do not eat, every year.
More food goes uneaten at the consumption phase of the supply chain—in places like homes, restaurants and cafeterias—than at any other stage. Almost all urban areas experience high levels of food waste—food that is fit for consumption when it reaches consumers but is discarded before or after spoiling. While food waste presents significant challenges, addressing waste also provides an opportunity for growing cities to reduce their carbon emissions, curb deforestation, and mitigate water withdrawals caused by agriculture.


Despite expectations, cities in East Asia are becoming denser

When we think of urban expansion in the 21st century, we often think of ‘sprawl’, a term that calls to mind low-density, car-oriented suburban growth, perhaps made up of single-family homes. Past studies have suggested that historically, cities around the world are becoming less dense as they grow, which has prompted worries about the environmental impacts of excess land consumption and automobile dependency. A widely cited rule of thumb is that as the population of a city doubles, its built area triples. But our new study on urban expansion in East Asia has yielded some surprising findings that are making us rethink this assumption of declining urban densities everywhere.


The Triumph of the Farmers’ Market

Nothing quite says springtime like a farmer’s table loaded with kale, mustard greens, and spinach. And with the arrival of warmer days, soon communities will be enjoying the benefits of fresh, locally grown produce. Though farmers’ markets are often criticized over affordability and exclusivity, the appetite for them has grown significantly. In 1994, there were 1,700 markets nationwide; now, there are more than eight thousand.
The proliferation of baby bok choy is indeed cause for praise. Markets help circulate dollars locally. More vegetables mean slimmer waistlines. And farmers’ markets can revitalize neighborhoods. These markets can also serve as a setting for what Jane Jacobs called the “sidewalk ballet,” a public space connecting people to each other. Their diverse functions—shopping, eating, or simply engaging neighbors—facilitate social interactions. In fact, the farmers’ market is unfortunately one of the few remaining civic places that facilitates such shared public encounters.


Towards the Second World Assembly of Local and Regional Authorities

The United Nations General Assembly will convene a third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) that will take place in Quito, Ecuador, during the week of 17 October 2016. The Second Preparatory Meeting towards Habitat III, or “PrepCom2”, will take place in Nairobi, Kenya, from 14 to 16 April followed by the 25th Governing Council of UN-Habitat (17-23 April). PrepCom2 will deal with reports on implementation of Habitat II and will define the process and agenda for the Conference next year.


Submit your sustainable energy project to the European Energy Service Award 2015!

Organised by the Berliner Energy Agency, the European Energy Service Award (EESA) honours innovative energy services in Europe.
ESCOs, energy consultancies / agencies and public authorities can apply in three categories: Best European Energy Service Promoter, Best European Energy Service Provider and Best European Energy Service Project.
Applications can be sent until 29 June 2015.


Is Your City’s Sewer System Making You Sick?

Last week was a rainy one in Chicago, and on Thursday morning a thick, brown fluid could be seen leaking into the Chicago River near the Michigan Avenue Bridge. DNA Info Chicago reports that:
A city spokesman said a department of water management investigation determined that rust and dirt inside a stormwater runoff outlet near the bridge spilled into the river following torrential rains. The spokesman said the city is working with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District to draw water samples and further determine the source of the “rust-colored plume.”
A new study from the University of Illinois at Chicago looked at the effects heavy rains had on cities with combined sewer systems, like Chicago. The study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives says that consumers whose drinking water can be contaminated by the release of untreated wastewater after heavy rains face increased risk for gastrointestinal illness.


Smart cities and the plight of cultural authenticity

The Dragon has met the Lion, with the partnership generating a predictable spectacle of showy infrastructure and corporate glitz. The Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city, a development designed for 350,000 residents and featuring malls, schools, and hospitals, has since 2007 attracted nearly US $400 million in private commercial investments, of which almost half are from Singapore-based companies. A further US $3.4 billion from China and Canada will support new industries including media, design and publishing. However, even with investment flowing and developers claiming to focus on social harmony, economic vibrancy, and environmental sustainability, the city lacks a unique cultural identity and has been slow to attract residents.


A Small City Doing Big Things

The city of Cottonwood, Arizona – population approximately 12,000 – recently received the impressive-sounding VerdeXchange-Arizona Commerce Authority 2015 Sustainable Economic Growth City of the Decade Award. More impressive is what the small city in northern Arizona did to win it, competing against 16 other cities, large urban centers among them. The city has targeted water loss and conservation, has successful transit and an open business climate, and has implemented renewable energy initiatives.


Human rights in cities under spotlight at the Governing Council

In the sidelines of the 25th session, UN-Habitat hosted a session on ‘Human Rights in Cities and Cities for All’ which discussed human rights in the context of sustainable urbanization.
With a focus on the role and mandate of UN-Habitat within the framework of Habitat III and the Post-2015 Agenda, discussion centred on the vital components of participation, non-discrimination, equality, accountability of governance and empowerment of communities. Speaking at the event, Alioune Badiane, Director of UN-Habitat’s Programme Division, emphasized the importance of affordability as one of the components of the right to adequate housing.


Charting the metropolitan century

By Greg Scruggs, Citiscope’s Habitat III correspondent
The “Century of the City” seemed forward-looking just eight years ago, when Citiscope editor Neal Peirce and his colleagues chose it as the title of their book highlighting the Rockefeller Foundation’s Global Urban Summit of 2007. But since then, the rising global tide of interest in cities has made the phrase an increasingly popular description of the times in which we live.
Now, however, come a pair of new reports released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) suggesting that it may be more accurate to call this the “metropolitan century”.


Vancouver will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy

Vancouver, Canada, has become the latest city to commit to running on 100 percent renewable energy. Following a City Council vote on March 26 in favor of making the switch, the city formally announced its commitment late last week at the ICLEI World Conference 2015 in Seoul, South Korea. Vancouver now joins a list of more than 50 cities worldwide that have pledged to run on 100 percent renewable energy, not only for their electricity needs, but for heating and cooling as well.



Predicting & avoiding congestion - OPTICITIES solutions

Imagine if traffic congestion could be predicted and you could take steps in advance to avoid accidents and CO2 emissions? 
Greater Birmingham Authority and Grand Lyon, both part of the OPTICITIES consortium, have been working together on a tool that could do just that. The tool is designed to address the predicted rise in car numbers and daily trips over the next decade, improve air quality and traffic conditions for residents, and preserve architectural heritage.


Is Bruges the most dementia-friendly city?

Shop-owners in the Belgian city make their customers with dementia feel welcome. What can UK towns and cities learn from its approach, embraced by businesses, communities and council?


Los Angeles releases sustainability plan for city

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office unveiled a sweeping city sustainability plan Wednesday that seeks to reduce the amount of imported water used by Angelenos, improve air quality levels and reduce greenhouse emissions over the next two decades.
The 105-page “Sustainable City Plan” sets out dozens of major environmental yardsticks for Los Angeles to reach by 2025 and 2035.
Matt Petersen, Garcetti’s top adviser on sustainability issues, said the plan addresses the “economic and equality” issues expected to face a city grappling with rising temperatures and denser living conditions in coming years.
By 2035, the city could have an additional half a million residents, Petersen said.


The Future of Parking in an Era of Car-Sharing

Parking requirements are the bane of almost every urban district. These areas want to be lively, walkable and accessible, but regulations requiring huge amounts of parking undermine those goals. If car-sharing services continue to gain in popularity, the whole framework for urban parking may change. Yes, people will still come and go in cars. But they won’t need to be parked as much or for as long. That should mean more real estate available for other urban oriented features.


Local and regional authorities mobilize for the 3rd Conference on Financing for Development

On the occasion of the hearings with civil society and the business sector organized by the United Nations General Assembly as part of the preparation of the third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3), the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments organized a special session dedicated to “Mobilizing local finance to implement the Post-2015 Development Agenda” on 10 April. The Global Taskforce also spoke during the first session of the hearings.
The hearing was opened on 8 April in the presence of the current President of the General Assembly, Nicholas Emiliou, Ambassador of Cyprus, and Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, as well as representatives from civil society and the business sector. In his speech, the Secretary-General of the United Nations stressed that the outcome of the “Conference in Addis Ababa would be crucial to ensuring an ambitious Post-2015 programme and a global agreement on climate change later this year.”


Cities and Sustainable Infrastructure Policy Snapshot

With the rapid rate of global city growth and the concurrent demand for improved infrastructure and city services, pressure has never been greater on city leaders and managers to make smart policy and planning decisions focusing on sustainable, smart, and resilient infrastructure. As today’s investment shapes the cities of tomorrow, infrastructure investment must balance the social, economic, and environmental needs of today with what will be needed fifty years from now. In this report, GCIF, in partnership with GDF SUEZ identify the factors that should be considered when developing and delivering sustainable infrastructure in cities and the corresponding financing options and necessary tools


Zurich ranks first among Europe's 'sootfree cities'

The bureau hailed Switzerland’s largest city for its commitment to cut pollution from vehicles, its promotion of cleaner forms of transport and for its low levels of pollution.
The “Sootfree Cities” ranking put Zurich ahead of Copenhagen, Vienna, Stockholm and Berlin.
Luxembourg, with one of the highest percentages of car users in the European Union, got the worst evaluation, just ahead of Lisbon and Rome.


Why Shared Space Scares

Can shared space work in the United States?
Surely not, was the response of many to my recent article describing the movement seeking to de-engineer and re-design our streets. For some reason this is the objection that immediately emerges everywhere the idea of shared space is raised: the British think ‘that may work for those upstanding Dutch, but not for us,’ Americans think ‘that may work for those nice Brits, but not us.’ Even in-country, you will often hear, ‘that may work in a small town, but not Jersey,’ ‘not Boston,’ ‘not where I’m from, have you seen these crazy people?’
I’m still sufficiently traumatized from my past experiences on Boston’s roads that I’ll bracket Beantown for the time being, but this is a very understandable, even desirable reaction. For shared space, the idea that pedestrians, bikes, cars all have equal claim to the street and should navigate the common space socially rather than hewing to the dictates of century-old traffic engineering, is intentionally scary.