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30/11/2013 - UN Habitat extends assistance to Philippine’s typhoon victims

30/11/2013 - Sustainable Cities Days in New York: Meeting of the Global Taskforce

30/11/2013 - Europe and China Join Forces to Upgrade Urban Mobility

30/11/2013 - New EU Budget for 2014-2020 – what does it mean for cities?

29/11/2013 - Warsaw lays down the path for engaging local and subnational governments in Paris 2015 outcomes

29/11/2013 - UCLG highlights the role of sub-national authorities in the SDGs governance framework

29/11/2013 - Cohesion" package - A step in the right direction

29/11/2013 - Bike-Friendly Micro-Apartments under Construction in Portland

28/11/2013 - USER Partners in Riga to Discuss Safer Public Spaces

28/11/2013 - Handbook of good practices - Satellites Going Local 2013: The water edition

28/11/2013 - Experts meet on guidelines on urban and territorial planning

28/11/2013 - Can Toronto keep Bixi alive?

27/11/2013 - Quality of life in European cities

27/11/2013 - Efus calls for the European Union to support local authorities in welcoming and integrating migrants

27/11/2013 - Blighted Cities Prefer Razing to Rebuilding

27/11/2013 - The Global Taskforce for Post-2015 and Habitat III launches its brand new website

26/11/2013 - INTA37 World Congress - Who's speaking?

26/11/2013 - Record number of Green Capital applicants

26/11/2013 - Let your city ride the cycle cha(lle)nge!

26/11/2013 - USEAct Project – Interview with the the Mayor of Viladecans

25/11/2013 - 414 cities report raft of inspiring climate actions

25/11/2013 - How Cities Are Using Data To Save Lives

25/11/2013 - Peru Strives to Deepen Social Inclusion

25/11/2013 - City role in tackling climate change: Warsaw example

24/11/2013 - A Brazilian Boom Town of ‘Eternal Beauty’ Faces Its Troubled Side

24/11/2013 - Consultation on Urban HEART

24/11/2013 - How to Make Planning Law Work for Africa

24/11/2013 - Realtors® Survey Finds Mixed-Use, Walkable Communities Preferred

23/11/2013 - CASCADE toolkit now online

23/11/2013 - Boris Johnson accused of dodging responsibility over cycling deaths

23/11/2013 - The 4D Cities Project Seeks Partnerships Between Health and Knowledge for an Economic Growth

23/11/2013 - Shared-use Mobility Summit explores future of urban mobility

22/11/2013 - New China Cities: Shoddy Homes, Broken Hope

22/11/2013 - Chicago's Bike-Share Program to Be Largest in North America

22/11/2013 - Street connectivity linked to city prosperity – finds UN-Habitat report

22/11/2013 - World Bank urges greater investment in managing climate, disasters

21/11/2013 - Walk Score Names New York City, San Francisco, and Boston Most Walkable US Cities

21/11/2013 - Smart cities: innovation in energy will drive sustainable cities

21/11/2013 - Energy Cities launches a series of webinars on energy transition examples

21/11/2013 - UN Climate Talks go local: First ever “Cities Day” to raise the bar of climate ambition through local action

20/11/2013 - Boston gentrifies fastest

20/11/2013 - Exchanging knowledge on building “Energy Efficient Cities”

20/11/2013 - Hamburg's answer to climate change

20/11/2013 - We must leverage potential of cities

19/11/2013 - Leading cities network ICLEI spurs dialogues to scale up local action

19/11/2013 - Copenhagen expands upwards to house more attic dwellers

19/11/2013 - Rich Nations Failing to Detail Climate Aid Pledges

19/11/2013 - Bogota will host the UCLG’S World Summit of Local and Regional Governments in 2016

18/11/2013 - Driverless 12mph pods with room for two passengers to take to pavements

18/11/2013 - Renewable energy futures to 2050

18/11/2013 - Toronto peers into the future to curb high cost of climate risks

18/11/2013 - UCLG supports a stand-alone urban goal: Join the awareness raising campaign

17/11/2013 - FOCUS ON the URBACT project CSI Europe

17/11/2013 - Maufacturing Solutions

17/11/2013 - Growth of small scale solutions and small vehicle use in city logistics

17/11/2013 - Covenant capaCITY study tour in Padua and Vicenza (Italy)

16/11/2013 - What Covenant signatory cities can teach about sustainable neighborhoods

16/11/2013 - The World You like Challenge - Winner announced!

16/11/2013 - Urban Planning For A Changing Climate

16/11/2013 - Oakland Planning Director Cuts Off Latham Square Pilot, Lets Cars Back In

15/11/2013 - Seoul Mayor appointed regional chair of safer cities network

15/11/2013 - Workshop - Preserving community history through energy efficiency

15/11/2013 - URBACT Markets Guidelines Offers Cities New Route Map for Development

15/11/2013 - 10 Traits of 'Globally Fluent' Cities

15/11/2013 - "Counter Terror Expo to Incorporate Five New Featured Zones to Reflect the Evolving Security Threat

15/11/2013 - Myths and Facts about Internal Migration in India: New UNESCO Publication

14/11/2013 - UN-Habitat and partners launch guidebook on urban planning

14/11/2013 - The secrets of the world's happiest cities

14/11/2013 - Disaster-proof development offers incalculable benefits

14/11/2013 - How Traffic Congestion Affects Economic Growth

13/11/2013 - Malaga charges electric buses on the move (Spain)

13/11/2013 - Urban Agriculture Center Breaks Ground on Brownfield in Bridgeport

13/11/2013 - Cities for Mobility returns

13/11/2013 - Dortmund goes electric (Germany)

13/11/2013 - Roma migrants could cause riots in cities

12/11/2013 - Urbanisation making us more susceptible to natural disasters, says global report

12/11/2013 - How cities can help on the child-care front

12/11/2013 - PPI Platform officially launches

12/11/2013 - Why Do Cities Struggle to Replicate Best Practices?

11/11/2013 - Building Cities for a Bulging World

11/11/2013 - Bogota wins City Climate Leadership Award for urban transport (Colombia)

11/11/2013 - Operation Black Vote

11/11/2013 - United States promotes safer cities for women

10/11/2013 - European local government leaders look to Freiburg, Germany, for energy policy inspiration

10/11/2013 - Climate action plan: Gaziantep is a pionneer in Turkey!

10/11/2013 - Bringing New Eco-Friendly Designs to China

10/11/2013 - Bicycle-Friendly Communities Announced

9/11/2013 - The Youth Ambassador Project

9/11/2013 - Rights of way: mobility and the city

9/11/2013 - Kolkata bans bikes to reduce traffic

9/11/2013 - Urban zoning does more harm than good in fight for affordable housing

8/11/2013 - Unlocking Auckland’s Diversity

8/11/2013 - Nantes Declaration refuels hopes for local governments

8/11/2013 - EU makes good progress in achieving 2020 climate and energy targets

8/11/2013 - ‘Airpocalypse’ Hits Harbin, Closing Schools

7/11/2013 - Conceptual Skyscraper to Grow Food and Foster Community

7/11/2013 - Why sustainable urbanisation needs to be a pillar of the post-2015 Agenda

7/11/2013 - EPA Awards $400,000 to Communities to Reduce Water Pollution and Build Resilience to Climate Change

7/11/2013 - Growth of small scale solutions and small vehicle use in city logistics

6/11/2013 - Housing That’s Not a Luxury

6/11/2013 - Securing the cyber city of the future

6/11/2013 - Europe's first carbon neutral neighbourhood

6/11/2013 - Bikes outselling new cars across Europe

5/11/2013 - Vancouver Olympics worth the $7-billion price tag, study says

5/11/2013 - African policy makers train on climate change

5/11/2013 - Urban Woodlands Project Sprouts on Blighted Land in Detroit

5/11/2013 - Cities and Biodiversity Outlook - Action and Policy

4/11/2013 - Northeast Asian cities seek ways to improve urban and transnational air quality

4/11/2013 - Smart cities to aid urbanization

4/11/2013 - Smart cities get their own operating system

4/11/2013 - First BESTFACT Best Practice cases published!

3/11/2013 - UN-Habitat launches regional Report on the State of European Cities in transition 2013

3/11/2013 - Renewable energy Champions League

3/11/2013 - ICLEI: Genuine low-carbon progress starts with cities

3/11/2013 - Resilient cities are the next big thing

2/11/2013 - Safe Public spaces for women and girls - Join the Orange Day conversation!

2/11/2013 - New UCLG Presidency elected in Rabat

2/11/2013 - UK cities ranked for actions to adapt and mitigate climate change

2/11/2013 - CIVITAS Forum kicks off the next stage of the EU initiative: CIVITAS Capital

1/11/2013 - Colombia warms up for World Urban Forum 7

1/11/2013 - CITIES THAT TALK : 8th AESOP-YA Conference 10-13 March 2014

1/11/2013 - Free webinar series discusses adaptation challenges starting with urban food policies

1/11/2013 - A City That Turns Garbage Into Energy Copes With a Shortage

UN Habitat extends assistance to Philippine’s typhoon victims

Two weeks after super typhoon Haiyan swept across the Visayas region of the Philippines, UN-Habitat is leading an assessment of damages to smaller communities affected by the storm.
Although media attention has mostly focused on the destruction in Tacloban City, the Philippines’ Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) requested UN-Habitat to assist communities in Region VI, which have been similarly affected.  At current count, it is estimated that 2.71 million people in Region VI have been affected by the typhoon, nearly half of the local population.

UN-Habitat’s team was well received on the ground by municipal authorities. While there the team managed to see first-hand the complete destruction of many coastal settlements. The agency has been actively conducting an assessment of shelter and settlement needs across Region VI of the Western Visayas.  The current damage count stands at 458, 331 homes, with more than half experiencing totally damaged shelters.


Sustainable Cities Days in New York: Meeting of the Global Taskforce

next meeting of the Global Taskforce will take place at the occasion of the special event “Sustainable Cities; Key to Sustainability and Development”. This event is organized at the invitation of UCLG, UN Habitat and the Group of friends of sustainable cities at the ECOSOC Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, in New York on 13 December.
The Session will be the occasion to advocate for a greater role for local governance and urbanization in the SDGs. Ahead of the Open Working Group session on sustainable cites and human settlements to take place from 6 to 10 January 2014 in New York, Political Representatives will discuss the localization of targets and indicators under the future sustainable development goals and call for the adoption of a stand-alone goal on sustainable urbanisation.
UCLG calls upon its members to contribute to this campaign, which has already gathered near 50 signatories among which cities and local governments like Istanbul, Quito, Rabat, Bilbao, Bordeaux, Kazan, Victoria or Région Ile-de-France. We invite you to visit the website: and join the campaign #urbanSDG!


Europe and China Join Forces to Upgrade Urban Mobility

The European Union and China are working together to improve urban mobility. Hundreds of European and Chinese city mayors as well as academics and business representatives with an interest in the future of urbanization gathered in Beijing at the Second EU China Urban Forum Thursday through Saturday to share ideas and identify future co-operation activities.
In his keynote address on opening day in the Great Hall of the People, European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas said, “The impact of our urbanization efforts goes beyond European and Chinese domestic interests. We need to ensure the sustainable development of our cities not only for our citizens and our economies but because our cities have a global impact on environment, resources and greenhouse gas emissions – with significant geo-political consequences.”


New EU Budget for 2014-2020 – what does it mean for cities?

The new EU Budget for the next 7 years was approved this week by the European Parliament. The Cohesion Policy will invest in Europe's Member States, their regions and cities to deliver the EU-wide goals of growth and jobs, as well as tackling climate change, energy dependence and social exclusion.–_what_does_it_mean_for_cities


Warsaw lays down the path for engaging local and subnational governments in Paris 2015 outcomes

At the recently concluded UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw (COP19/CMP9), countries have decided to advance the engagement of local governments in the global climate regime.

The decisions include (1) facilitating the exchange of experiences and best practices between cities and subnational authorities in identifying and implementing opportunities to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change, and (2) convening a specific forum as part of the UN Bonn Climate Conference in June 2014.


UCLG highlights the role of sub-national authorities in the SDGs governance framework

Recently, the 22nd the Open Working Group on sustainable development goals had conveyed a dialogue between Major Groups and other stakeholders and Member States addressing cross-cutting issues for the SDGs process.

On behalf of the Local Authorities Major Group, UCLG delivered a statement on good governance and partnership which reminded the strong evidence that competent, accountable sub-national and local governments have had central roles in reducing inequalities and raising the voice of the poor and most vulnerable.
With this in mind, it called Member States to recognize the governmental nature of local and sub-national authorities in any new governance framework for sustainable development from consultation to participation in decision making.


Cohesion" package - A step in the right direction

The European Parliament’s adoption of a new legislative package on cohesion policy (2014-2020) marks a step in the right direction. CEMR welcomes this adoption as it will allow local and regional authorities to negotiate their investment priorities for the benefit of companies, associations, citizens and communities, within a stable legal framework. However, several provisions approved at the plenary session contradict the needs of local and regional authorities and the reality on the ground.


Bike-Friendly Micro-Apartments under Construction in Portland

In response to an intense shortage of rental housing in Portland, several new apartment complexes are under construction with rental units only 200 to 300 square feet in size. Each rental unit, sometimes called an "aPodment" or a "micro-apartment," shares a kitchen with five similar units. The apartment complexes offer no off-street parking, but do offer on-site bicycle parking. To attract tenants despite the small size of the individual units, the apartment complexes are located in areas with diverse cultural and retail opportunities and excellent multimodal transportation options.


USER Partners in Riga to Discuss Safer Public Spaces

Safety in public spaces is usually understood in terms of policing, i.e. safety from physical assault, video surveillance and the presence of police officers. But the USER URBACT project wants to go further and look at the feeling of insecurity that users can experience in public spaces, whether or not there are objective grounds for that feeling. How do we design public spaces in which users will not feel afraid? What uses should we support so that public spaces are conducive to socializing, and not a source of anxiety? These are the questions that were discussed at the second USER thematic seminar in Riga which revolved around the presentation by Paul Landauer, a French architect specialised in safety in open spaces. Learn more on this project and its on-going activities.


Handbook of good practices - Satellites Going Local 2013: The water edition

The third annual edition of Eurisy's Satellites Going Local is now available!
Local and regional administrators and private companies who use or manage water sources can draw ideas and inspiration from these hands-on experiences shared by their peers.
The examples show how satellite services are used to improve water management in many key areas, from agriculture to utilities, from environmental protection to energy and risk management.
Another novelty with this edition is that each good practice is linked to a reference to European or international legislation or policy objective that the satellite solution helps users comply with.


Experts meet on guidelines on urban and territorial planning

A group of international experts gathered in Paris, France, late last month for the first face-to-face meeting to advance the drafting of the International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning (IG-UTP).
The experts discussed and approved the draft outline, structure and possible elements of the contents of the IGUTP. Further, participants accorded on a practical road map that will lead to the submission of the Guidelines for consideration at the 25th UN-Habitat Governing Council in April 2015. The high level experts were nominated by their respective governments and institutions. The experts represented national and local governments, international development agencies, research and academia, professional and civil society organizations from Africa, Asia, Europe and America. The meeting was convened, sponsored and hosted by the French Ministry of Foreign affairs and UN-Habitat, in collaboration with United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP).


Can Toronto keep Bixi alive?

Over the objections of an absent Mayor Rob Ford, the Toronto city council voted  to bail out the financially troubled Toronto Bike Share program operated by Bixi.
Bixi Toronto began in May 2011 with 1000 bikes at 80 stations using a $4.8 million loan backed by the city of Toronto. Bixi has been struggling to make its Toronto loan payments this year and was in danger of insolvency by the end of the 2013 calendar year.
Cycling advocates in Toronto asked the Toronto council to help the financially struggling operation. The council today voted to provide additional financial propping, using $5 million available from a settlement between an outdoor toilet provider and the Toronto Parking Authority in a “toilets-for-bikes” swap. The council also directed the city planning director to consider a provision of bike sharing stations and bikes as part of the planning approval process with the goal of complementing, strengthening and expanding Toronto’s bike share program.


Quality of life in European cities

The recently published results of a 2012 Eurobarometer survey give a snapshot of how Europe's citizens view their cities
The European Commission released the results of the 2012 edition of the three-yearly Eurobarometer survey on ‘Perception of quality of life in European cities’ on 8 October 2013. The results are a snapshot of how citizens of the 79 responding cities in all EU member states, as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey, see their cities. A total of 41,000 inhabitants rated their satisfaction with a range of aspects that contribute to urban life, from quality of green spaces to provision of public services.


Efus calls for the European Union to support local authorities in welcoming and integrating migrants

During its meeting in Reggio Emilia (Italy), the Executive Committee of the European Forum for Urban Security adopted a resolution calling for the European Union to support local authorities confronted with serious humanitarian crises caused by important inflows of migrants and to implement a shared responsibility scheme with Member states in order to face these daily tragedies.

Faced with the daily tragedies caused by migration influxes on the coasts of southern Europe, the Executive Committee of the European Forum for Urban Security calls once again for the European Union to support local authorities in managing this problem, which is likely to increase in the next few years.
As Efus has already pointed out in its previous resolutions1, it is the cities that find themselves on the front line, taking responsibility for the migrants, and they are not equipped to deal with these constant influxes. That is why the local authorities that are members of Efus are calling for the joint responsibility of the member countries and for solidarity between cities in welcoming and integrating these migrants. Every country that is a member of the EU should accept that they must take responsibility for some of the migrants in order to help the countries with the highest influxes due to their geographical location.


Blighted Cities Prefer Razing to Rebuilding

BALTIMORE — Shivihah Smith’s East Baltimore neighborhood, where he lives with his mother and grandmother, is disappearing. The block one over is gone. A dozen rowhouses on an adjacent block were removed one afternoon last year. And on the corner a few weeks ago, a pair of houses that were damaged by fire collapsed. The city bulldozed those and two others, leaving scavengers to pick through the debris for bits of metal and copper wire.
“The city doesn’t want these old houses,” lamented Mr. Smith, 36.

For the Smiths, the bulldozing of city blocks is a source of anguish. But for Baltimore, as for a number of American cities in the Northeast and Midwest that have lost big chunks of their population, it is increasingly regarded as a path to salvation. Because despite the well-publicized embrace by young professionals of once-struggling city centers in New York, Seattle and Los Angeles, for many cities urban planning has often become a form of creative destruction.


The Global Taskforce for Post-2015 and Habitat III launches its brand new website

Local and regional government leaders and their organizations have gathered together in the and Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments in order to build a joint strategy to contribute to the international policy making debates within the framework of the Post 2015 agenda, Rio+20 follow-up and towards Habitat III.
The new website not only provides key information and resources on these processes but also highlights the main milestones and messages of the Global Taskforce.
The structure of the website is organized around three highlighted sections: “About”, “What We Stand For” and "Messages" but also contains other sections such as upcoming events on the Taskforce's activity.

Coming next will be an event at the ECOSOC Chamber at the UN in New York on 13 December. The Session “Sustainable Cities; Key to Sustainability and Development” will be the occasion to advocate for a greater role for local governance and urbanization in the SDGs. Political Representatives will discuss the localization of targets and indicators under the future sustainable development goals and call for the adoption of a stand-alone goal on sustainable urbanisation.
Join the campaign #urbanSDG!

Don’t miss the new website


INTA37 World Congress - Who's speaking?

Speakers from more than 10 different nationalities, representatives from the private sector and officials from the South East Asia, Europe and Africa will be there to share today's urban development challenges.
Check out more about the Congress' programme and speakers' profiles


Record number of Green Capital applicants

The 2016 edition of the European Green Capital award has received the greatest number of applicants yet. Twelve cities including five EUROCITIES member have applied for the title, which rewards cities that are making efforts to improve the urban environment and move towards healthier and more sustainable living areas. The initiative began in 2010 titand provides a springboard for sharing best practices, spreading ideas and inspiring other cities.


Let your city ride the cycle cha(lle)nge!

The City of Bologna and SRM - the Agency for mobility and local public transport - invite European Cities and urban cyclists to the third edition of the friendly competition "European Cycling Challenge 2014 - ECC2014".


USEAct Project – Interview with the the Mayor of Viladecans

The themes of protection of empty land and the reuse and re-functionalization of inner urban areas are among key European strategies for the cities’ sustainable development and growth. In this context the USEAct URBACT project aims at exploring the urban development interventions and new or improved settlement opportunities for people and businesses, using existing locations without consumption of further land. In an interview conducted by the USEAct Team, the Mayor of Viladecans, Carles Ruiz Novella, explains his vision of Urban Growth Management and  how he supports urban regeneration in his city.


414 cities report raft of inspiring climate actions

Looking for inspiration when tackling climate change? Take a look at what Cities do….
Cities and towns of diverse sizes and economic standings are registering more climate commitments, actions and performance – and are generally more ambitious than their national governments.
In its November 2013 report, the carbonn Cities Climate Registry (cCCR) announced that 414 cities registered over 4,000 climate actions which are either completed or in progress until 2020. 63% of the reduction commitments are above 1% per year, exceeding the value of even the most ambitious national governments under the Kyoto Protocol.


How Cities Are Using Data To Save Lives

From Denver's schools to Baltimore's stretched budget, cities are creating major urban policy wins that are powered by cold, hard data.
Baltimore reached the lowest infant mortality rate the city has ever recorded in 2012. Denver Public School students saw test scores improve by 14% in reading and 23% in math. And between 2006 and 2012, low-income New Yorkers have accessed an additional $100 million in tax credits that they were previously leaving on the table.
These urban policy wins were not merely the products of creativity and inspiration. They were powered by cold, hard, data. Bridgespan, a nonprofit consultancy for philanthropists and mission-driven organizations, and the education organization America Achieves have released a big report packed with case studies that illuminate a broader trend: how data-driven decision making can lead to the most effective use of a city's limited financial resources.


Peru Strives to Deepen Social Inclusion

Social inclusion in Peru will be enhanced through a further development of investments with poverty and extreme poverty rates having dropped dramatically due to the implementation of major projects, the National Society of Industries (SNI) has reported.
Peru's Executive branch stressed the Andean nation has been hailed worldwide for its ability to generate inclusion very quickly.
"True inclusion means inserting the person within the economic and social world. For that you need to keep up the cycle of investment and growth. Peru is on that path and we must keep on it," Salazar told El Peruano official daily.


City role in tackling climate change: Warsaw example

Warsaw's efforts to reduce its carbon emissions are featured in a new Covenant of Mayors video case study
EUROCITIES member Warsaw is featured in the latest Covenant of Mayors video case study. The video highlights some of the activities the Polish capital has undertaken to reduce its CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020.
These include replacing its outdated lighting system with LED lighting using energy performance contracts; the construction of a new metro line; and the retrofitting of public buildings.


A Brazilian Boom Town of ‘Eternal Beauty’ Faces Its Troubled Side

SALVADOR, Brazil — Baroque architectural gems grace this city. Musicians enthrall audiences with high-octane performances reflecting Salvador’s status as a bastion of Brazil’s popular culture. Luxury residential towers overlook a stunning harbor. The industrial park on the city’s outskirts contains cutting-edge plants opened by Ford and other multinational corporations.

Salvador, the largest city in northeastern Brazil, a region that is still posting enviable economic growth even as the national economy slows, should have the wind at its back. But the boom here is producing another outcome: Instead of celebrating Salvador as its residents have long done — the writer Jorge Amado once called it a laid-back place of “eternal beauty” — many people here are increasingly revolted by their city.

In what may serve as a cautionary tale for other cities in the developing world, Salvador’s rising prosperity, on display in new shopping malls, sprawling megachurches and well-guarded gated communities, exists alongside a troubled reality. A surge in violent crime has transformed Salvador into Brazil’s murder capital, motorists grapple with traffic that ranks among the most chaotic and violent of any South American city and resentment festers over the metamorphosis of once-elegant seaside districts into crime-ridden areas with abandoned buildings best described as ruins.


Consultation on Urban HEART

Metropolis participated in the three days expert consultation on the Health Equity Assessment and Response Tool “Urban HEART” held in Kobe, Japan from 6 to 8 November.
Urban HEART is a user-friendly guide for local and national officials to identify health inequities and plan actions to reduce them. It encourages policy-makers to develop a holistic approach in tackling health equity.
The key target audiences are Mayors and local governments, Ministry of Health, Education, Transport etc., and independent organizations.
Urban HEART works on three main pillars of implementation: sound evidence, cross-sectoral action and community participation.


How to Make Planning Law Work for Africa

As competition for land intensifies in Africa's rapidly growing towns and cities, planning laws assume a fundamental importance. They determine how urban growth is managed and directed. In most countries outdated, inappropriate and unintegrated laws are exacerbating urban dysfunction.
The reform of planning law is frequently advocated as a necessary step for better management of urbanisation in Africa. But reform initiatives consistently founder.
This is inevitable, given the approaches adopted. The promotion of "one-size-fits-all" and "model" planning laws from outside the continent has not served Africa well. Invariably it has created further legal uncertainty and a series of unanticipated, often pernicious consequences.


Realtors® Survey Finds Mixed-Use, Walkable Communities Preferred

American consumers prefer walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods and shorter commutes when choosing a community, according to a new survey from the National Association of Realtors®. Six in 10 respondents favored a neighborhood with a mix of houses, stores, and other businesses within walking distance, rather than neighborhoods that require more driving time between home, work, and recreation. A suburban neighborhood with a housing and shopping mix ranked as Americans' ideal community, with the least-preferred community being a suburban neighborhood of only houses.


CASCADE toolkit now online

CASCADE toolkit gives guidance on peer-to-peer learning methodologies
Eurocities' CASCADE project on local energy leadership has published its peer-to-peer toolkit on local energy leadership.

The toolkit is available on the CASCADE website at
The toolkit offers guidance and support on how to use the four CASCADE peer-to-peer learning and networking methods (peer review, mentoring, work shadowing and study visits) as a tool for improving the implementation of climate and energy policies in cities. It explains what peer-to–peer learning is, what the benefits are of using each of the four CASCADE learning methods, and how to organise successful peer-to-peer learning visits


Boris Johnson accused of dodging responsibility over cycling deaths

London assembly member claims mayor trying to blame cyclists after Johnson says they have duty to obey laws of the road
Boris Johnson has been accused of "gross insensitivity" and "dodging responsibility" after he suggested that the deaths of five cyclists on the streets of London over the past nine days underlined the need for cyclists to obey the laws of the road.
The mayor of London also appeared to shrug off calls for an urgent, independent review of cycling safety in the capital, arguing that, if cyclists did not follow the rules, "there's no amount of traffic engineering that we invest in that is going to save people's lives".
Johnson's remarks came hours after a man in his 30s became the 13th cyclist to die on London's streets this year after he was hit by a bus in east London.


The 4D Cities Project Seeks Partnerships Between Health and Knowledge for an Economic Growth

The URBACT 4D Cities project led by Igualada (Spain) continues pushing in the field of Health Innovation to turn it into an engine of economic growth for cities. At the last meeting, held in Jena (Germany) on November 7-8, the eight members of the network talked about the role that universities and research, learning and training health centres should develop to make it possible.


Shared-use Mobility Summit explores future of urban mobility

Shared mobility is the cornerstone of the sharing economy, which is spurred by demographic changes, increased environmental consciousness, and the global economic downturn. Sharing maximizes the use of assets in our society while giving more people the access to the resources they need. The idea that “access trumps ownership” is increasingly popular reflects the explosive growth of shared mobility.

On October 10 and 11, the Shared-use Mobility Summit brought public policy makers, private sector actors, non-for-profit organizations, and academics together in San Francisco. The conference explored the future of urban mobility by discussing current trends, policies, and opportunities in carsharing, bikesharing, and ridesharing. As the first shared mobility conference ever, it provided a cutting-edge opportunity for various stakeholders to have a direct, open, and timely dialogue on how to better provide urban mobility in an integrated way.


New China Cities: Shoddy Homes, Broken Hope

HUAMING, China — Three years ago, the Shanghai World Expo featured this newly built town as a model for how China would move from being a land of farms to a land of cities. In a dazzling pavilion visited by more than a million people, visitors learned how farmers were being given a new life through a fair-and-square deal that did not cost them anything.

Today, Huaming may be an example of another transformation: the ghettoization of China’s new towns.
Signs of social dysfunction abound. Young people, who while away their days in Internet cafes or pool halls, say that only a small fraction of them have jobs. The elderly are forced to take menial work to make ends meet. Neighborhood and family structures have been damaged.
Most worrying are the suicides, which local residents say have become an all-too-familiar sign of despair.


Chicago's Bike-Share Program to Be Largest in North America

Chicago is expected to become home to North America's largest bike-share program (named Divvy) after 175 stations are added to the system in 2014, increasing the total number of bike stations in Chicago to 475. A $3 million federal grant will fund Chicago's bike-share expansion. The expansion will rank Chicago's bike-share program above New York City's program, which has 331 stations, and Montreal's program, which has 434 stations. Chicago's bike-share program has sold more than 125,000 daily passes and 11,000 annual memberships since its launch early in 2013.


Street connectivity linked to city prosperity – finds UN-Habitat report

UN-Habitat, the United Nations Programme for Human Settlements has launched a new report exploring the link between street connectivity and city prosperity which includes the Composite Street Connectivity Index.
The report, launched by the agency’s Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos, finds that cities with good street connectivity have been able to achieve higher overall rates of city prosperity – incorporating infrastructure, environmental sustainability, productivity, quality of life and equity and social inclusion – because strong street layouts facilitate the effective provision of services and efficient mobility of people and goods.


World Bank urges greater investment in managing climate, disasters

More can be done to help vulnerable countries adapt to climate change, as well as prepare for and respond to weather-related disasters, according to a new World Bank’s report released yesterday on the sidelines of the United Nations (UN) climate talks in Warsaw.
The summit, with the title “Building Resilience: Integrating  Climate and Disaster Risk into Development”, looks at the gradual or slow-onset effects of climate change like sea-level rise, salinisation of freshwater sources and droughts, as well as extreme weather events like floods, heat-waves or cyclones.


Walk Score Names New York City, San Francisco, and Boston Most Walkable US Cities

Walk Score has released its 2014 rankings of the most walkable US cities, with New York City, San Francisco, and Boston claiming the top three spots. The number of real estate Internet sites that display Walk Scores has jumped to 30,000 sites in 2013 from 5,000 sites in 2010, bringing the concept of walkability into sharp focus for many people searching for homes online. Walk Scores are calculated by analyzing walking routes to nearby amenities, pedestrian-friendliness, and metrics such as block length and intersection density.


Smart cities: innovation in energy will drive sustainable cities

Urbanisation makes cities a main focus for environmental policy. Digital technology and innovation will enable a better quality of life and reduced energy consumption
Cities represent three quarters of energy consumption and 80% of CO2 emissions worldwide, and represent the largest of any environmental policy challenge. Urbanisation is only set to increase, cities house half the world's population today but are set to host three quarters in 2050.

To cope with this continued urban growth we will need to invent new ways to manage cities and make them more effective. The convergence between digital technology and the world of energy, or Energy 3.0, will pave the way for a new ecosystem of services which will enable both a better quality of life and reduced energy consumption.


Energy Cities launches a series of webinars on energy transition examples

We are pleased to invite you to participate in Energy Cities’ 1st webinar of a series based on energy transition examples.
Save the date! Thursday 12 December – 10:30 > 12:00 CET.
Two of our member cities, Munich & Leicester, will present their respective local alliances – how did they get started? What for? With whom? What have the results been so far?
You will get the opportunity to freely exchange and ask them your questions!


UN Climate Talks go local: First ever “Cities Day” to raise the bar of climate ambition through local action

21 November marks a monumental day for cities and regions as they gather for the first ever “Cities Day” at the ongoing UN Warsaw Climate Conference (COP19/CMP9). A joint initiative of the COP Presidency, the UNFCCC Secretariat, the City of Warsaw, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability and partners, the “Cities Day” bundles a series of city-focused events that will showcase and spark local climate action.

Home to 3.5 billion people, cities are frontrunners in delivering climate action and in setting the bar of climate ambitions, according to the carbonn Cities Climate Registry 2013 report. The newly launched report presents data from 414 cities which represent a seventh of the world’s urban population. As of the latest count, these cities have registered 4208 mitigation and adaptation actions, 836 climate and energy commitments and 770 greenhouse gas inventories. More than half of the cities have pledged to cut their emissions by more than 1% per year, exceeding the cuts of even the most ambitious national governments under the Kyoto Protocol.


Boston gentrifies fastest

Love it or hate it, gentrification improves property values. And, between 2000 and 2007, 26 percent of Boston was gentrified outpacing the rest of America’s cities, according to new analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
Daniel Hartley, a research economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, explored the spread of gentrification in America’s 55 largest cities from 2000 to 2007 by analyzing which census tracts were primed for gentrification (those with below median home value) and how the housing prices, rents and income levels changed in those tracts over the seven year period. You can see all of Hartley’s data here.

Boston led the way with 26 percent. Washington, D.C., was hot on its heels with 19 percent and New York City just behind at 18 percent. So, East Coast cities were at the forefront of all of this. For once, statistical analysis dovetails with arguments generally had in dive bars. (Here’s an unexpected data point: Tampa had 18 percent of its city gentrified, the same as New York. Lena Dunham is cackling somewhere.)


Exchanging knowledge on building “Energy Efficient Cities

On the 6th and 7th of November, the 6th annual EUKN conference has gathered experts, practioners and policy makers from all over Europe, in Oradea, to discuss the progress but also the barriers in building Energy Efficient Cities.
EUKN has organized another successful conference on a pressing urban topic – Energy Efficiency in the Built Environment. The conference took place in Oradea, a city in the Northwest of Romania, and it was organized back-to-back with an IMEA meeting, an EU FP7 project coordinated by EUKN and with partners from several European cities working on Energy Efficiency, including Oradea.

The conference, organized in cooperation with the Oradea Metropolitan Area, attracted both internationals and Romanians coming mainly from the region but also from other parts of the country.

More information


Hamburg's answer to climate change

The German city is planning a green network that will cover 40% of the city area, contributing to resilience and allowing biking, swimming and nature watching in the city
Boris Johnson, don't read this: there's a European commercial hub that promotes bicycling as the main mode of transportation. It is, in fact, embarking on a plan to build a network around bikes and pedestrians, linking car-free roads to parks and playgrounds, from the city centre to the suburbs.

Welcome to Hamburg, an environmental pioneer in the mould of its regional neighbour Copenhagen. Its planned green network will cover 40% of the city's area. "It will connect parks, recreational areas, playgrounds, gardens and cemeteries through green paths", Angelika Fritsch, a spokeswoman for the city's department of urban planning and the environment, tells Guardian Sustainable Business. "Other cities, including London, have green rings, but the green network will be unique in covering an area from the outskirts to the city centre. In 15 to 20 years you'll be able to explore the city exclusively on bike and foot." The green network will even connect animal habitats, enabling critters to crisscross the city without risk of being run over. Perhaps more importantly, the network will absorb CO2 emissions and help prevent floods when inevitable superstorms strike.


We must leverage potential of cities

The recent census data underscores the fact that South Africa's cities and towns mirror international trends as people continue to move from rural to urban areas. This is a process that has been under way across the world for centuries, and is not unique to South Africa.
In arguing the need for an integrated urban development framework during this year's State of the Nation address, President Jacob Zuma pointed to the rapid urbanisation that is taking place. He reminded the nation that the 2011 census tells us that six in 10 people in South Africa live in urban areas and that this is predicted to increase to more than seven in 10 people by 2030. As a country we need to plan for this.

Learning from other parts of the world, we know it is possible to harness urbanisation to stimulate economic growth and sustainable livelihoods. The density and diversity of people in cities contributes to diversified economies and entrepreneurship.
It can also facilitate more equitable access to public goods such as health care, education and quality public transport.


Leading cities network ICLEI spurs dialogues to scale up local action

At the upcoming UN Warsaw Climate Conference, cities will be at the heart of the negotiations, rather than at the periphery - a direct and positive response of the global climate community to years of advocacy where ICLEI played a pioneering role.

At the upcoming UN Warsaw Climate Conference (COP19/CMP9), cities will be at the heart of the negotiations scaling up climate action, rather than at the periphery - a direct and positive response of the global climate community to years of advocacy where ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability played a pioneering role.
With the unprecedented 21 November Cities Day, the inaugural Ministerial-Mayors Dialogue, the ADP workshop on sustainable urbanization and numerous other city-related side events, ICLEI welcomes that local and subnational governments have now firmly cemented their role as governmental stakeholders in the global climate arena.


Copenhagen expands upwards to house more attic dwellers

As city's population continues to grow, previously dead spaces are being converted into penthouse apartments
Copenhagen is growing at a rate of 1,000 new residents each month and all of those people need a place to live.

In order to promote the construction of penthouse flats in the attics of buildings in the older parts of the city, the City Council has changed building codes to allow the conversion of previously sloped roofs into vertical walls, according to Poul Nielsen, who heads up the council's construction department. This turns small attics into larger living spaces. An analysis from the Technical University of Denmark showed that attic penthouses could provide homes for 22,000 people.


Rich Nations Failing to Detail Climate Aid Pledges

Poor nations have been left in the dark on how much finance wealthy ones will provide to help them adapt to the effects of climate change and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, the development charity Oxfam said.
While rich countries have pledged a total of $16.3 billion of climate aid for 2013, murky accounting and a lack of transparency mean the actual amount offered is probably closer to $7.6 billion, Oxford, England-based Oxfam said today as two weeks of United Nations climate talks started in Warsaw.

Climate aid is a linchpin of the discussions because developing countries say industrialized nations caused the bulk of global warming through two centuries of greenhouse gas emissions and must take the lead in fixing the problem. Envoys haven’t said how they will boost climate finance to the $100 billion a year they’ve promised in 2020. That’s 10 times the annual amount they had committed for 2010 through 2012.


Bogota will host the UCLG’S World Summit of Local and Regional Governments in 2016

The City of Bogota was chosen during the UCLG World Council meeting in Rabat as the host of the next UCLG World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders in 2016. After, Paris (2004), Jeju (2007) and Mexico (2010), and Rabat (2013), Bogota was chosen to host the forthcoming world Congress of UCLG, celebrated once every three years. This selection was made in during the 2013 edition in Rabat and included the presence of Susana Muhamad, Bogota's City Hall Secretary General, and Alexandra Torres, Bogota Convention Bureau’s Executive Director, acting as candidacy advocates in the absence of the Mayor, Gustavo Petro Urrego, who sent his gratitude from Bogota. Susana Mohamad, on behalf of Colombian mayor, underlined the commitment of the city to provide the ideal scenario for UCLG to present its policy priorities. She stressed that the 2016 Congress will be one in which the citizens of Bogota and its entrepreneurial sector will be closely involved and will showcase the values and principles of UCLG. It will be carbon neutral, socially and culturally responsible as well as representative of the truly global network that UCLG constitutes. Kadir Topbas President of UCLG, highlighted that: “Bogota means transformation and peace, and we would love it to have this opportunity of being the host of the next UCLG’ World Summit in 2016 (…) We hope that this occasion will impulse the city and we will mark the difference for Habitat III. We wait for you all in Bogota”.


Driverless 12mph pods with room for two passengers to take to pavements

Driverless cars which are controlled by a smartphone app are being launched in England for the first time.
Around 100 'pods' will begin travelling around Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, from 2015 and will feature enough room for two passengers and luggage.
They will be powered by an electric motor in each wheel and will travel along the pavements at up to 12mph.


Renewable energy futures to 2050

Dr. Martinot presented some findings from his recent work, the REN21 Renewables Global Futures Report. This report provides a synthesis of the full range of credible possibilities for the future of renewable energy. The report is not one scenario or viewpoint, but captures the contemporary thinking of 170 leading experts from around the world, including CEOs and parliamentarians, as expressed in face-to-face interviews with the author. The report also incorporates the results of 50 recently published and prominent energy scenarios by a range of organizations. The report looks at future shares of energy, investment levels, technology development, and the range of integration options for electric power grids, buildings, industry, and transport. It also highlights the role of local governments and presents visions, practices, and policies for incorporating renewable energy at the local/city level.


Toronto peers into the future to curb high cost of climate risks

Toronto's infrastructure has struggled to keep up with the climatic changes of recent decades, so Canada's biggest metropolis is now looking to the future to find the solutions it will need to be more resilient.
"There's no sense in building infrastructure that was designed for the weather patterns in the '60s or '70s," said Lawson Oates, director of the Toronto Environment Office. "We need to be thinking forward 20 to 30 years out."
The city isn't new to the climate issue, he said. In 1988, Toronto hosted the first major international congregation of scientists and politicians to combat global warming, which set aggressive emissions reductions goals and played an important role in establishing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
But since then, the city has started to look inward and shift its focus toward adaptation.


UCLG supports a stand-alone urban goal: Join the awareness raising campaign

This initiative follows the Rabat World Congress Declaration call for a single and universal development agenda that should include a stand-alone goal on Sustainable Urbanization and the UCLG World Council decision to publicly support the initiative of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s titled “Why the world needs an urban sustainable development goal”.

See more at:


FOCUS ON the URBACT project CSI Europe

The City of Leipzig is project partner in the URBACT network “CSI Europe” which is led by the City of Manchester and which focusses on urban development funds.
The focus of each city is to implement new financial instruments on local level. By being partner in the project the cities can debate different kinds of models and ways how to achieve this goal with regards to the JESSICA-initiative.
The idea of the project is related to the end of traditional ways for financing urban development projects and the necessity for searching financing alternatives.


Maufacturing Solutions

Three years ago, Natividad Seefeld was living in her mobile home in Park Plaza, Fridley, Minnesota, paying rent to the owner of the land it sat on with no guarantee that the following month wouldn’t bring news of a rent hike or the sale of the property and possible eviction. Today she is the president of the resident-owned cooperative that holds title to the land the community sits on, making mortgage payments along with her neighbors and safe in the knowledge that the site will remain her home for as long as she wants.
Seefeld’s is one of a growing number of success stories where residents are gaining ownership of their communities and their futures, thanks to a number of organizations that recently recognized the untapped potential of the millions of manufactured homes in addressing the affordable housing crisis, and the role residents can play in that transformation.


Growth of small scale solutions and small vehicle use in city logistics

The BESTFACT project will have an open expert workshop on the 29-30 of January 2014 in Brussels in which small-scale solutions such as cargocycles or small battery electric vans will be presented.
There is a current market tendency to be observed, in which small scale solutions develop within a  specialised niche market in urban freight, green logistics and  e-freight. This is especially the case for clean technology solutions such as small cargocycles, small battery electric vans, for consolidation centres and for the IT used in urban context.
The objective of this workshop will be to have an exchange on the most up to date business solutions, markets, technology aspects and policy/regulatory frameworks designed to support the uptake of these small-scale solutions.


Covenant capaCITY study tour in Padua and Vicenza (Italy)

Padua & Vicenza (Italy) - April 2014        
Are you starting up or looking for ideas to improve your municipal Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP)?
Need ideas for measures? Want to become more ambitious? Solve problems?
Be inspired - share useful guidance, great ideas and tips on how to proceed with developing and financing your SEAP.  
Who? Local political decision-makers, technical staff working on a Local Action Plan; Local Governments Associations and Energy Agencies.

For more information and to register contact and visit


What Covenant signatory cities can teach about sustainable neighborhoods

The Covenant city of Manchester is one of the project partners that coordinated the development of the ICT Roadmap for Energy Efficient Neighborhoods (IREEN), a project funded under the 7th Framework Programme.
Several Covenant of Mayors signatory cities, including Ghent, Amsterdam, Leeds, Vantaa, Cardiff, Barcelona and many others, have contributed to this document which seeks to showcase ways in which ICT-enabled solutions and stakeholders’ involvement support the planning and implementation of sustainable neighborhoods.
Concrete methodologies, testimonials and recommendations of how smart and efficient energy management can maximise environmental and social benefits are presented, going beyond individual buildings and systems by considering entire neighbourhoods and districts.
More information can be found on the IREEN website


The World You like Challenge - Winner announced!

The European Commission announced on 8 November the overall winner of its World You Like Challenge competition for the best solutions to climate change.
The World You Like Challenge brought together creative minds from across the EU to put their low-carbon innovations to the test. Among the 269 submitted projects, the public could vote for their favourites online. The best among these were then presented to the Sustania Award Committee.
European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard announced the winner at the Sustainia Award Ceremony in Copenhagen, where the Portuguese project Sown Biodiverse Pastures was crowned winner for its innovative solution in reducing CO2 emissions, soil erosion and the risk of wild fires while increasing the productivity of pasturelands.
As the campaign had a special focus on Bulgaria, Italy, Lithuania, Poland and Portugal, a national winner was selected in each of these five countries.
The national winners are being rewarded with billboard campaigns in the capital cities in their countries during the course of this month. 
For more information about the World You Like campaign and challenge:


Urban Planning For A Changing Climate

Rising sea levels, severe storms, droughts, hotter summers and colder winters are just some of the threats Europe's cities face from a changing climate. Urban planners need to be able to take into account these and other effects of climate change if they are to successfully reduce their impact on the urban environment, the economy and people.
The EU-funded project SUDPLAN ('Sustainable Urban Development Planner for Climate Change Adaptation') is addressing the need through an innovative web-based tool for urban planners that takes into account future climate change forecasts.
The work of the SUDPLAN partners, led by the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), will help ensure that buildings and infrastructure stand the test of time and changing weather patterns. This will reduce the risk that your office, house or street will be flooded, your water cut off during a drought, or your city affected by dangerous levels of air pollution.


Oakland Planning Director Cuts Off Latham Square Pilot, Lets Cars Back In

The crowning achievement for Oakland’s new planning and building director so far might be ensuring that cars are being driven through the Latham Square pilot plaza once again.
The Latham Square pilot was supposed to last for six months, but after just six weeks, the widely-lauded, one-block plaza at the foot of Telegraph Avenue is no longer car-free. “The pilot program of having the pedestrian-only area was cut short and one southbound lane was reopened to cars without any warning to pedestrians,” said Jonathan Bair, board president of Walk Oakland Bike Oakland. The current configuration leaves some reclaimed pedestrian space in the middle of the street, but it is no longer connected to the sidewalk. Now the City Council will consider whether to keep it that way.
Oakland Planning and Building Director Rachel Flynn told Streetsblog the car-free pilot had been given enough time, and that “there’s only so many people that are going to come into Oakland at this time.”


Seoul Mayor appointed regional chair of safer cities network

The mayor of Seoul Mr. Mayor Won Soon Park has been appointed the regional chair of the steering committee of the UN-Habitat Global Network on Safer Cities.
Making the announcement, UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos said Mr. Park was chosen to provide guidance and advocate the objectives of the Network in the Asia Pacific region and globally.

"In this context, your role as regional chair is premised on your desire and commitment to contribute to the United Nations’ efforts to raise awareness of the aims, objectives and priorities of the Safer Cities Programme of UN-Habitat, and particularly to convey messages about its activities and to extend the public outreach of the Global Network on Safer Cities, including the World Urban Campaign efforts on sustainable urban development," Dr. Clos said.


Workshop - Preserving community history through energy efficiency

Krakow, Poland - 26 November 2013
Who? Open to local political decision-makers who guide the urban planning strategy and/or climate protection work of the municipality and technical staff working with monument protection, building and energy.

This workshop aims to ensure exchange and knowledge-sharing on topics such as the economic feasibility of refurbishing historic buildings, recommendations and experiences on how to save historic buildings and energy to meet the challenges of growing tourism in European historic centers.

For more information and to register, contact: and visit:


URBACT Markets Guidelines Offers Cities New Route Map for Development

Understand and explore the role of urban markets as key drivers of change in terms of local economic development, regeneration and sustainable living. This is the obective of the URBACT Markets project led by the Spanish city of Barcelona. The project is structured in three main themes : Town Centre Regeneration, Low Carbon Economy and  Employment and Entrepreneurship.  A set of three thematic Guidelines written up by Barcelona, London and Torino have been developed to support this process and are now available.


10 Traits of 'Globally Fluent' Cities

We hear a lot that technology is making the world smaller, so cities must compete on a world stage. How can cities make that happen?
This week, the Brookings Institution and the think tank Centre for London published the 58-page international version of the report "The Ten Traits of Globally Fluent Metro Areas." This builds on a US-focused version published in June and is part of the five-year Global Cities Initiative between the Brookings Institution and JP Morgan Chase. The initiative launched in March 2012 to help US cities compete globally.

The latest report lists 10 traits that the authors say will enable cities to succeed in global markets, manage the negative impacts of globalization, and build a strong economic future. The new version, edited by Greg Clark and Tim Moonen, includes more case studies from around the world, and it makes interesting reading for cities with global ambitions.


"Counter Terror Expo to Incorporate Five New Featured Zones to Reflect the Evolving Security Threat

Counter Terror Expo has grown year-on-year to become the largest international counter terrorism and security event of its kind. CTX 2013 saw a 9% increase in the number of attendees to the show and that pattern of growth is expected to continue into 2014 when some 9500+ visitors, 400+ exhibitors and 350+ VIP and international delegations are expected to attend.

Key to the success of Counter Terror Expo has been the event’s responsiveness to the ever evolving nature of terrorism. Last year, the Counter Terror Expo organisers, Clarion Events, introduced new Feature Zones to the exhibition in order to highlight the best products, systems and solutions available to meet emerging threats in specific areas of the counter terrorism and security arena. For 2014, to reflect the evolving international security threat, five new zones are being added.



Myths and Facts about Internal Migration in India: New UNESCO Publication

On the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Hon’ble Shri Jairam Ramesh, Minister of Rural Development, Government of India, releases UNESCO publication, Social Inclusion of Internal Migrants in India, at UN Conference Hall, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi. The Hon’ble Minister says, “Internal migration is a force for good for the migrant family, a force for good for the local economy, and a force for good for the country”. At this occasion, an expert panel composed of Government officials, researchers, social activists and partners, share their experiences on social inclusion of internal migrants and interact with the media.

The publication, supported by Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and UNICEF, focuses on the many positive aspects of internal migration and to this end displays ten key areas that are essential to the social inclusion of internal migrants: Registration and Identity; Political and Civic Inclusion; Labour Market Inclusion; Legal Aid and Dispute Resolution; Inclusion of Women Migrants; Inclusion through Access to Food; Inclusion through Housing; Educational Inclusion; Public Health Inclusion and Financial Inclusion. It provides an overview of existing innovative practices that help to increase the inclusion of internal migrants in society and dispels current myths and misconceptions about internal migrants.

More information


UN-Habitat and partners launch guidebook on urban planning

A guidebook on urban planning was this week launched on the sidelines of the Regional Network of Local Authorities (CITYNET) Seoul Congress 2013.
UN-Habitat together with CITYNET Secretary General Vijay Jagannathan and Vinay Lall of Society for Development Studies, India launched the Urban Planning for Coty Leaders guidebook. The book introduces in a plain and direct language key planning principles to mayors and is rich of examples and visual materials. It also links urban planning decisions to the key problems faced by mayors: congestion, service provision, spreading informality, urban insecurity etc.
Mr. Jagannath stressed the importance for mayors to access information relevant for their work and in the right format, and the interest of CITYNET in further using the material within its network. 'I have read the book and I found it both easy to read and informative. The format with information on each topic concentrated in few pages makes the content really accessible and easy to use".

Mr. Lall appreciated CITYNET’s involvement in the preparation of the book and stressed the importance of the link made by the book between urban planning and municipal financing and the need to develop this understanding among mayors.


The secrets of the world's happiest cities

Two bodyguards trotted behind Enrique Peñalosa, their pistols jostling in holsters. There was nothing remarkable about that, given his profession – and his locale. Peñalosa was a politician on yet another campaign, and this was Bogotá, a city with a reputation for kidnapping and assassination. What was unusual was this: Peñalosa didn't climb into the armoured SUV. Instead, he hopped on a mountain bike. His bodyguards and I pedalled madly behind, like a throng of teenagers in the wake of a rock star.

A few years earlier, this ride would have been a radical and – in the opinion of many Bogotáns – suicidal act. If you wanted to be assaulted, asphyxiated by exhaust fumes or run over, the city's streets were the place to be. But Peñalosa insisted that things had changed. "We're living an experiment," he yelled back at me. "We might not be able to fix the economy. But we can design the city to give people dignity, to make them feel rich. The city can make them happier."

I first saw the Mayor of Happiness work his rhetorical magic back in the spring of 2006. The United Nations had just announced that some day in the following months, one more child would be born in an urban hospital or a migrant would stumble into a metropolitan shantytown, and from that moment on, more than half the world's people would be living in cities. By 2030, almost 5 billion of us will be urban.


Disaster-proof development offers incalculable benefits

Over the last three decades, economic losses associated with natural disasters like floods, storm surges, hurricanes and droughts have risen in lockstep with the steady climb in global temperatures. Data from a growing number of governments suggest that so far this century such losses have amounted to around $2.5 trillion. And as the latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns, the worst is yet to come.

This escalation will, of course, be driven largely by the increasingly frequent and intense weather events associated with higher global temperatures. But inadequate preparation will exacerbate the problem considerably.


How Traffic Congestion Affects Economic Growth

Our relationship to traffic is pretty simple: We hate it. We also loathe its awful-sounding synonyms, congestion and gridlock.
"Without failure, people find it a tremendous inconvenience," says Matthias Sweet, a researcher at the McMaster Institute for Transportation and Logistics at McMaster University. "I’ve never talked to anybody over a dinner table conversation, or making it late to a meeting, saying 'boy, I’m glad I got stuck in traffic.'"

Yet traffic's relationship to the economy of whole metro regions is much more complicated, so much so that researchers haven't entirely explained it. Congestion makes people late to work. It stresses us out before we even get there. Deliveries can't arrive on time. All that gas costs money. But many of the American cities with the worst congestion also have the largest economies. And, to a certain extent, congestion is a sign that an awful lot of people have jobs to get to, which is indisputably a good thing. (Case in point: During the government shutdown, congestion in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington noticeably declined, a bittersweet benefit for the region.)


Malaga charges electric buses on the move (Spain)

The city of Malaga is running a pilot programme that charges electric buses while they are on the move. The scheme uses electrical induction technology at charging stations, but also utilises wireless inductive lane charging system.


Urban Agriculture Center Breaks Ground on Brownfield in Bridgeport

A flagship farm and community training center broke ground recently on a blighted brownfield in Bridgeport. Approximately 80,000 square feet of computer-controlled greenhouses will produce 800,000 pounds of fresh produce per year for local consumption, as well as 40 full time green collar jobs for the community. The state of Connecticut contributed $1.0 million for the project, with an additional $700,000 in loan funds provided by EPA to cover environmental cleanup of the brownfield property.


Cities for Mobility returns

Cities for Mobility is back on track! We are happy to announce the 7th International Congress of the network which will take place on 1-3 June 2014 in Stuttgart. As in previous years, participants can expect an exciting program with trendsetting topics, networking opportunities and a great atmosphere. The program will have a good mix of presentations, workshops, site visits and tours. Make sure to save the date now. More information on the congress will be available on our website this December.
The Mayor of Stuttgart, Fritz Kuhn and the coordination team of Cities for Mobility are looking forward to welcoming you in Stuttgart next summer.


Dortmund goes electric (Germany)

The city of Dortmund is one of the most advanced when it comes to e-mobility in Europe. The German city is implementing a wide array of measures in close collaboration with citizens to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicle technology.
In 2010, the city of Dortmund, Germany, has developed a climate action plan, in which the city set itself the target of reducing CO2 emissions by at least 40 percent by 2020, using 1990 levels as the baseline. Within this context, opportunities for saving emissions from transport were analysed and a number of areas for potential carbon savings were identified. Based on these findings, the city council has made e-mobility a priority.

Dortmund started by purchasing ten electric vehicles and pedelecs for the municipal fleet. The city also introduced a new procurement regulation according to which the possibility of opting for an electric vehicle needs to be assessed for every public vehicle purchase.


Roma migrants could cause riots in cities.

British cities could face race riots as an influx of Roma migrants creates “frictions” with local people, David Blunkett, a former home secretary has warned.
Anti-social behaviour by Roma people in his Sheffield constituency has resulted in “understandable tensions” among the indigenous community that must be addressed to avert disorder, Mr Blunkett said.
Roma migrants from Slovakia must “change their culture” and send their children to school, stop dumping rubbish and loitering in the streets in order to soothe tensions, Mr Blunkett said.


Urbanisation making us more susceptible to natural disasters, says global report

Rapid growth in the number of people living in urban areas is increasing the world’s susceptibility to natural disasters, warns a recent global report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), a London body representing engineers from various fields.
The report, titled Natural Disasters: Saving Lives Today, Building Resilience Tomorrow, calls for a much greater focus on preparing people for possible extreme natural events and building disaster resilience among locals.

It says that about 78,000 people are killed annually in natural disasters and another 200 million (or about 3 per cent of the human population) are directly affected by them. Economic loss from these tragedies stretches across the globe and ranges around US $100 billion a year, the report says, while citing the instance of tsunami that hit Japan in 2011.


How cities can help on the child-care front

In 2004, when he published his bestselling The Rise of the Creative Class, University of Toronto urban scholar Richard Florida says that cities were neglecting talented young professionals – couples like Gillian and Chris Quigley, cosmopolitan twentysomethings who arrived a few years ago from London, keen to live in the heart of Vancouver.

But today, the Quigleys fall into a different demographic, one less focused on the artsy lofts and flashy nightlife that Prof. Florida’s converts urged cities to build: They have started a family.

Now on parental leave from her job with a mining company, Ms. Quigley, 32, has discovered that downtown living has a gaping hole. In three months, she goes back to work, and she can’t find child care for her daughter, Isla. Five months pregnant when she applied to the nonprofit centre near her office (as well as three others), she finds she is still far down the waiting list.


PPI Platform officially launches

New platform supports public authorities to engage in public procurement of innovation
With Europe’s economy facing serious challenges, the imperative to find innovative and sustainable solutions to stimulate the market is greater than ever. The Procurement of Innovation Platform has been developed as an online hub that helps public authorities, procurers, policy makers, researchers and other stakeholders harness the power of Public Procurement of Innovation (PPI) and Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP).
“Public procurement of sustainable and innovative goods and services is one of the essential tools for stimulating new technological or service solutions while helping to create jobs and boosting the competitiveness of the European industry and SMEs. It also encourages more efficient public services. It is therefore time for action. Public procurers in Europe must have a significant role to play in this societal transformation” said Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the EC and European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship.

Custom-made to meet user’s needs, the online heart of the Procurement of Innovation Platform is comprised of three elements: Website, Procurement Forum, and Resource Centre. The website contains the latest news on PPI and PCP developments and events, as well as policy support and background information on the European legal framework. The Procurement Forum is a specially designed networking tool. It is a space for procurers and stakeholders from around Europe to discuss, share and connect. Users can also create private groups, which are ideal for coordinating both large and small projects. Over 1,000 people have registered with the Procurement Forum so far. Finally, the Resource Centre provides a centralised database for PPI guidance, gathering documents in one place. Resources include national and European policy and strategy documents, useful tools, good practice case studies, details of projects and initiatives, as well as reports and valuable links on procuring innovation.
The Platform wants to move PPI from theory to mainstream practice. This is why the Platform will create practical guides on how public authorities can implement PPI. These guides will shortly be finished and will be opened to consultation from 15 February – 31 March 2014.
European public authorities will also be invited to apply for the Public Procurement of Innovation Award, to be presented to exemplary public authorities that purchase innovative, effective and efficient products and services. Applications for the first edition of the award close in March.
In addition, the platform will provide hands-on support to European public authorities through a series of training courses focused on tools and techniques, and an experience exchange programme, held between more and less advanced public authorities. The first training will take place on 28 November 2013 in The Hague, Netherlands.

The Procurement of Innovation Platform has been developed with support from the European Commission, and in partnership with ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, PIANOo – the Dutch Public Procurement Expertise Centre, REC – the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe and IWT – the Flemish Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology.

For more information, to sign up to the Platform or to register for training, visit


Why Do Cities Struggle to Replicate Best Practices?

When cities struggle, as Detroit is doing now or New York did nearly 40 years ago, why don’t they just follow the blueprint from more successful urban areas? For the past 20 years or more, we have been subjected to a battery of best practices from which all cities should be able to learn.
If only the failing, struggling, decaying cities would have the courage and political will to enact the same set of policies that the dynamic, creative, fast-growth, magnet cities had enacted, everyone would be better. The secrets would become known, and the erstwhile magicians of city vitality will have let everyone know so that all can prosper.
If it only were so simple.


Building Cities for a Bulging World

Only about 150 million people lived cities in 1900. By 2000, it was 2.8 billion, a 19-fold increase. In 2008, more than half of the global population, 3.3 billion lived in cities, making our kind, for the first time, Homo urbanus - an urban species. By 2030, 5 billion people will live in cities.

Cities probably emerged from a network of villages, established in the Middle East and beyond between about 9000 and 4000 BC, from which the two great civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt developed and the city first emerged. But the process of large-scale urbanization has its origins partly in the development of industrialization and through the colonial influence.


Bogota wins City Climate Leadership Award for urban transport (Colombia)

Bogota was awarded the City Climate Leadership Award in the category of urban transportation for its bus rapid transit (BRT) system and its e-taxis project. The city is widely known for its efforts to reduce carbon emissions from transport.
Despite financial constraints and a rapidly growing population, the capital city of Colombia has taken on the challenge to improve its public transport system. With neither a metro nor trams, about 5 million people commute by diesel bus every day.

As a result, Bogota suffers from high levels of sulphur dioxide pollution. To address this issue, the city introduced a BRT system called TransMilenio in 2000. Today, TransMilenio carries some 1.5 million passengers a day on a network of 87 kilometres.
The city has started testing electric and hybrid buses with the aim to replace thousands of buses with low-emission vehicles by the end of next year. This marks one of the most ambitious electric vehicle programmes in the world.


Operation Black Vote

Ever looked at your political leaders and thought how far they are from representing diverse populations? In the UK, just 4% of the national Members of Parliament (MPs) and local councillors originate from an ethnic minority background, despite minorities making up 14% of the wider population. The absence of ethnic minority leaders is common across other areas of public life too, including in local policing, education and the voluntary sector. But Kacey Akpoteni’s experience suggests that, with a helping hand, people from ethnic minority backgrounds can leap forward to be local and national leaders. A resident of Birmingham, Akpoteni had always been interested in playing a leading role in her local community. But it wasn’t until she joined the newly launched West Midlands Civic Leadership Program in her neighbourhood, that she received a fast-track education in the road ahead to becoming a local leader. -

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United States promotes safer cities for women

The United States, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), has announced a $250,000 grant to UN Women, which is a part of the Global Safe Cities Initiative. The grant is for the ongoing program "Delhi Safe City - Free of Violence against Women and Girls," that will be implemented in partnership with Indian civil society organizations. The announcement comes in the same month as the International Day of the Girl Child and on the eve of the international community's 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence beginning late November.

Working with local urban civic planning, public transport, education, urban infrastructure authorities, and civil society, the Delhi Safe City programme focuses on increasing safety among women and girls. It also works to help prevent and reduce violence, including sexual harassment, in public spaces. The program encourages municipalities and their partners to take action, such as improving lighting on streets and designing new public safety plans that focus on women and girls. It also engages men and boys as critical partners in preventing violence, and partners with schools and colleges to create awareness and to organize campaigns for safer cities for women and girls.


European local government leaders look to Freiburg, Germany, for energy policy inspiration

Over 180 participants representing cities from 18 European countries, including mayors, vice-mayors and heads of public authorities, came together in Freiburg, Germany, to learn from the city’s radical efforts to improve energy-efficiency. A study tour and workshop were held from 23 – 25 October in the framework of the Covenant CapaCITY project, in collaboration with the Local Renewables series.
“It was inspiring to hear how the city has turned energy into a powerful tool to improve sustainability. The study tour and workshop have provided a wealth of ideas, which can be adapted to our own context.” said Antonio Marco Dalla Pozza, Councillor for sustainability and planning of the City of Vicenza, Italy.
Participants heard first-hand accounts of the challenges faced and solutions found in implementing Freiburg’s exemplary energy policies. Klaus Hoppe of the Energy Department and Dieter Bootz of the Department of Waste Management (ASF) outlined how the German city is using its energy policy to reach broader climate mitigation goals.
The green district of Vauban was the first stop on the study tour. A former military base developed into a residential area in the 1990s, Vauban is an internationally known model of sustainable urban planning.
Next was the district of Rieselfeld, a model of ecological housing and the region’s largest neighbourhood project. All residences are built as low-energy buildings, and the use of renewable energy and district heating are part of a far-sighted energy concept.
Participants also viewed “Buggingerstraße 50”, Germany’s first high rise building renovated to passive house standard. It now consumes 78 percent less energy than the original building, with minimal rent increases.
The final stop was a tour of the recycling facilities in the district of Haslach. The city of Freiburg’s waste policy is based on strict sustainability principles, and favours waste prevention, followed by waste recovery, and finally, if no alternative is open, ecological disposal.
The workshop, titled ‘Procurement and Financing at Local Renewables’, took place on the second day of the event, and looked at improving financial access to sustainable energy roll-out, a particularly important topic in a time of widespread financial austerity in Europe.
The event was supported by the Conurbant project and the City of Freiburg, with the participation of the LEAP project. Covenant capaCITY, Conurbant and LEAP are all co-funded by the European Commission’s Intelligent Energy Europe Programme.


Climate action plan: Gaziantep is a pionneer in Turkey!

In 2010, the Metropolitan Municipality of Gaziantep (MMP), supported by the French Development Agency (AFD) and the French Agency of Environment and Energy Management (ADEME) implemented a pilot-project consisting in preparing a Territorial Climate Plan (TCP) based on the methodology of the ADEME.
By developping a Climate Action Plan, Gaziantep has proved to be a pionneer in the field of sustainable urban policy in Turkey.
A climate action plan aims at analysing and assessing the current situation of a municipality, being aware of the threats and opportunities that may arise in the near future and proactively taking action in favour of climate change mitigation and adaptation.


Bringing New Eco-Friendly Designs to China

YOU'RE GONNA HAVE TO serve somebody," trills Zack McKown as he tries to explain his nearly 30 years of collaboration with partner Calvin Tsao. It's not often that you hear an architect quoting a Bob Dylan song when describing a business philosophy, but Tsao & McKown Architects is far from the typical firm. Since the duo—Tsao, 60, and McKown, 61—opened their office in 1985, they have worked for a variety of clients, from bold-faced names like Ian Schrager (an apartment and bar at Morgans hotel in Midtown Manhattan) and André Balazs (a 47-story condominium in Lower Manhattan) to the decidedly lower-profile, like the group of Buddhists monks in Bhutan for whom they're currently planning a retirement home. Now, thanks to Octave, a development company Tsao cofounded with his brother, Fred, the architects are working on their most ambitious project yet: designing new communities in China that stand in stark opposition to the monolithic cities that seem to sprout up across the country overnight.


Bicycle-Friendly Communities Announced

The League of American Bicyclists recently announced its annual selection of Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC). Several suburban towns, including Menlo Park, California; Elmhurst, Illinois; and Ferguson, Missouri were chosen for the award, demonstrating that large urban centers aren't the only areas making biking better for millions of Americans.

From the latest round of applications, the League chose 32 new BFCs, growing the overall number to 291 BFCs in 48 states. The BFC program provides cities and towns with a roadmap and know-how to make effective investments and take meaningful steps to increase bicycling in their communities.


The Youth Ambassador Project

A mayor, a boxer and a bishop walk into a hip-hop video…. It sounds like the beginning of a joke. But, in the Belgian city of Ghent, it’s the culmination of the city’s exceptional efforts to create a welcoming and inclusive city. Launched in celebration of Ghent’s Day against Racism campaign, the video is only one part of the city’s 10-point action plan to eliminate racism and discrimination. An innovative Youth Ambassador project is also helping move the city strategy forward. - See more at:



December 5, 2013 – May 26, 2014
Rights of Way: Mobility and the City will be a global exploration of mobility and transportation in cities. The exhibition will feature dozens of examples of visionary urban thinking, showing how the city is shaped by the ways people move through it. Curated by James Graham and Meredith Miller of MILLIGRAM-office, Rights of Way will demonstrate that our urban environment is the result of constant negotiation among designers, policy makers, the private sector, and individual residents. By claiming that access to mobility is access to opportunity and that everyone has his or her own “right of way,” this futuristic show will reveal how those public rights are always at play in the shared commons of the city. The exhibition will examine large-scale urban futures, contemporary examples of innovative design for transit and public space, historical attempts at remaking the city, and individual adaptations of mobility systems.

Rights of Way will also include three projects from the 2012 Audi Urban Future Award, focusing on three megaregions: the Pearl River Delta in China’s Guangdong Province; São Paulo; and the Boston–Washington, DC (BosWash) Corridor. Renderings, drawings, photography, videos, infographics, and a media library that will allow visitors to delve further into the issues raised by the exhibition content will be on display. In addition, the first floor of BSA Space will display a rotating gallery of “digital residencies,” in which designers, artists, and thinkers from around the world will stake their own claims about mobility in the city.
This exhibition is part of Overhaul: The 2013-2014 Transportation Series at the BSA, (October 29 – June 2014), an expansive series of design exhibitions, lectures, and other programs focusing on urban-transportation visioning in Greater Boston and beyond. Overhaul also includes the authoritative speaker series, Traffic Advisory. Full details


Kolkata bans bikes to reduce traffic

For the milkmen and newspaper delivery boys of Kol­kata, navigating the city’s clogged lanes is always a challenge. But now they face a new obstacle: traffic cops waiting to write them a ticket.
Just for riding a bike.

A ban on cycling in one of India’s most polluted and crowded cities has sparked protests in recent days and reignited civic debate over the country’s attitudes toward its poor — many of whom cannot afford even a bus ride — and its commitment to addressing air quality.


Urban zoning does more harm than good in fight for affordable housing

The complexities of urban zoning by state governments, who openly advocate affordable housing initiatives, are in truth are doing quite the reverse. 
The debate about house prices rises or falling, and what is, or isn’t a good for the economy, continues to dominate headlines – and not just in Australia. 
Indeed, the cost of accommodation in most developing nations, is often coupled with wide spread reports of a growing divide between those who entered ownership early enough to reap the financial rewards stemming from a substantive period of healthy capital gains, against a generation who are finding the challenge of funding vastly higher capital prices, is coupled with less than desirable choices resulting from poor supply side policies.


Unlocking Auckland’s Diversity

In November 2010, the new City of Auckland emerged as seven authorities from the greater metropolitan area were consolidated into one unitary body, the Auckland Council, making it the largest local government reform in Australasia. These sweeping changes are grounded in the Mayor’s vision of Auckland moving up in the ranks of the world’s Top 10 Most Liveable Cities — and in the hearts of all Aucklanders. A large part of Auckland’s liveability is its diversity: 37% of Aucklanders and 46% of its working age population were born overseas. The city is the gateway to New Zealand and the place where most international newcomers, both immigrants and refugees, settle. The “world” at Auckland’s door has propelled the settlement and diversity agenda and its impact on the economy to the fore. - See more at:


Nantes Declaration refuels hopes for local governments

"Amid IPCC report, over 50 mayors from 30 countries affirm their commitment to scale up climate actions 30 September 2013 - With the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report painting a clear and worrying picture regarding man-made climate change, cities and regions came together at the World Mayors Summit on Climate Change on Saturday to affirm their commitment to scale up climate actions, urge engagement with the global level on climate change, and enhance access to finance.

The Nantes Declaration of Mayors and Subnational Leaders on Climate Change was adopted with the support of over 50 mayors from 30 countries, and more than 20 regional and global networks of local and subnational governments. Adoption of the Declaration marks the start of a new phase for the Local Government Climate Roadmap, an advocacy process aimed at recognising, engaging and empowering local governments within the global climate regime.


EU makes good progress in achieving 2020 climate and energy targets

Last week, the European Environment Agency (EEA) has published its 2013 annual report - "Trends and projections in Europe 2013 - Tracking progress towards Europe’s climate and energy targets until 2020".
The report assesses the progress made by European countries in meeting their Kyoto Protocol commitments and the EU 3x20 climate and energy objectives.
Major takeaways from the report include that 6 out of the EU-15 countries (France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Sweden and the UK) and 11 out of 13 new Member States as well as Iceland and Norway are set to meet their Kyoto targets through domestic reductions only.

With regards to the EU 3x20 package, by 2020 the EU-28 GHG emissions are expected to reach 21% below 1990 levels and the Union is on track towards its 20% renewable energy consumption target. However, EU Member States’ policy measures will be insufficient to achieve the 20% energy efficiency target by 2020.
Local authorities undertake concrete actions to help the EU achieve its 2020 climate and energy targets that should also be taken into consideration when assessing the progress towards the climate and energy targets.

Local authorities have demonstrated their ambition in the framework of the Covenant of Mayors as more than 5,000 signatories have committed to going beyond the EU 2020 objectives!
Based on 1287 accepted SEAPs that cover 50.9 million inhabitants, Covenant signatories are set to achieve 29% CO2 emissions reduction by 2020!
Local authorities’ enthusiasm should serve as inspiration to EU policy makers and their efforts need to be acknowledged and supported in the EU 2030 climate and energy framework!


‘Airpocalypse’ Hits Harbin, Closing Schools

School was canceled, traffic was nearly paralyzed and the airport was shut down in the northeast Chinese city of Harbin on Monday as off-the-charts pollution dropped visibility to less than 10 meters in parts of the provincial capital.

A dark, gray cloud that the local weather bureau described as “heavy fog” has shrouded the city of 10 million since Thursday, but the smoke thickened significantly on Sunday, soon after the government turned on the coal-powered municipal heating system for the winter.
“You can’t see your own fingers in front of you,” the city’s official news site explained helpfully. In the same vein, a resident of Harbin commented on Sina Weibo, the popular microblog platform, “You can hear the person you are talking to, but not see him.” Another resident added that he couldn’t see the person he was holding hands with.


Conceptual Skyscraper to Grow Food and Foster Community

Architects Agnieskzka Preibisz and Peter Sandhaus have unveiled plans for a figure-eight-shaped conceptual residential tower for the eastern quarter of Berlin. Sited at the Alexanderplatz, Green8 would be a "vertical garden city" designed to cultivate healthy food and a community environment.
The proposed tower features a network of gardens that fit into the figure-eight's two hollow parts, while the residences are arranged to encourage interaction and community-building. The tower would include sport and leisure amenities, as well as care facilities for children and seniors.

If it is built, the creators of Green8 hope that the building would be cooperatively owned. The architects are in the process of finding a cooperative of potential owners, and are talking with engineers about the tower's feasibility.


Why sustainable urbanisation needs to be a pillar of the post-2015 Agenda

CEMR and its international organisation, UCLG, call for the inclusion of a specific objective dedicated to ‘sustainable urbanisation’ in the post-2015 UN development programme.

The UN is searching for new development objectives. Several propositions have been put forth in domains such as gender equality and access to healthcare, for example. In order to ensure that the role of local and regional government is taken into account in the new development programme, CEMR calls on cities, municipalities and regions to support an awareness campaign to adopt a development agenda that includes sustainable urbanisation as an objective.


EPA Awards $400,000 to Communities to Reduce Water Pollution and Build Resilience to Climate Change

EPA has awarded $400,000 to help six communities expand their use of green infrastructure to reduce water pollution and boost resilience to the impacts of climate change.
This new funding continues the agency's support for communities using green infrastructure to reduce water pollution and protect human health while increasing economic activity and neighborhood revitalization, job creation, energy savings, and open space. Green infrastructure builds resilience to the impacts of climate change, particularly by reducing the burden on local water infrastructure.

The six new communities to receive assistance include Providence, Rhode Island; Detroit, Michigan; Lincoln, Nebraska; Gary, Indiana; Pima County, Arizona; and Spartanburg, South Carolina.


Growth of small scale solutions and small vehicle use in city logistics

The BESTFACT project will have an open expert workshop on the 29-30 of January 2014 in Brussels in which small-scale solutions such as cargocycles or small battery electric vans will be presented.


Housing That’s Not a Luxury

More than 8 in 10 New Yorkers want affordable housing to be a priority, a New York Times poll found. But federal housing funds are shrinking and people around the country are spending more than is recommended for home costs. The Democratic mayoral candidate, Bill de Blasio, wants 20 percent of buildings in rezoned areas set aside for below-market rents. The Republican candidate, Joe Lhota, proposes tax incentives for developers.
But what other programs could increase the amount of affordable homes in New York and elsewhere?


Securing the cyber city of the future

Our urban infrastructure is now under constant threat of cyberattack and a growing range of disasters-both natural and man-made. Our privacy is under threat from overzealous response. Real places and city services are vulnerable to hackers, but we can protect our water, power, transportation, and other vital systems.
On October 11, 2012, on board the USS Intrepid aircraftcarrier, then- Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta warned Americans that the nation faces the prospect of a "cyber Pearl Harbor"-an attack that could come with devastating losses.

"An aggressor nation or extremist group could use ... cyber tools to gain control of critical switches to ... derail passenger trains or-even more dangerous-derail passenger trains loaded with lethal chemicals. They could contaminate the water supply in major cities or shut down the power grid across large parts of the country," he said, pulling no punches. Panetta's challenge to Congress was primarily aimed at passage of new legislation to impose new cyber-security standards, but a number of experts confirmed his warnings to be far from hyperbole.


Europe's first carbon neutral neighbourhood

With a smart heating and cooling system and renewable energy, the city district of Västra Hamnen (Western Harbor), in Malmö, Sweden has established itself as the first carbon-neutral neighbourhood in Europe, says Mayor of Malmö Ilmar Reepalu.

Västra Hamnen, also known as "the City of Tomorrow", was transformed from a former shipyard in 2001 and is now home to 4,000 people.
The district uses an aquifer thermal energy storage system to store water collected during the summer 70 meters (230 feet) underground and pump it up with wind energy to heat the homes during the winter. The chilled water is then reused to cool buildings in the summer.


Bikes outselling new cars across Europe

This week it was reported  that bike sales throughout Europe are soaring, and  new car sales have slumped to a 20 year low. These figures were seen in 23 countries across Eastern and Western Europe.


Vancouver Olympics worth the $7-billion price tag, study says

The 2010 Winter Olympics cost more than $7-billion to stage, but they were worth it because they spurred major infrastructure developments that helped transform Vancouver and Whistler, a new study concludes.
But while Canada got an image boost and felt a surge of national pride, the tangible benefits have mostly been enjoyed by the two host cities, says Rob VanWynsberghe, an education professor at the University of British Columbia who researched the event for the Canadian Olympic Committee.


African policy makers train on climate change

African policy makers and practitioners on climate change, renewable energy and energy efficiency converged in Nairobi this week for a three-day training workshop.
The workshop that drew participants from 11 African countries was jointly opened by UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director, Dr. Aisa Kacyira, and a representative of Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources Prof. Judi Wakhungu.Also gracing the occasion were Mr. Harry Kalaba, the Minister for Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Minister, of the Republic of Zambia, mayors of leading African cities; officials from national and local governments from over eleven African countries; representatives of the World Bank and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP); international experts and trainers on climate change and several development partners.


Urban Woodlands Project Sprouts on Blighted Land in Detroit

The City of Detroit has approved the sale of 1,500 blighted parcels of land to the Hantz Woodlands urban agriculture project. The lots being sold to establish Hantz Woodlands consist of approximately 140 acres of abandoned land in the city. Hantz Woodlands has committed to cleaning up all vacant land acquired and mowing vegetation at least every three weeks during the growing season. Hantz will also demolish at least 50 dilapidated structures on the properties, while planting at least 15,000 hardwood trees that will eventually be harvested and sold.


Cities and Biodiversity Outlook - Action and Policy

The world's first global assessment on the links between urbanization, biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Cities and Biodiversity Outlook  – Action and Policy provides the summary of a global assessment of the links between urbanization, biodiversity, and ecosystem services. Drawing on contributions from more than 120 scientists and policy-makers from around the world, it summarizes how urbanization affects biodiversity and ecosystem services and presents 10 key messages for strengthening conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in an urban context. It also showcases best practices and lessons learned, and provides information on how to incorporate the topics of biodiversity and ecosystem services into urban agendas and policies. CBO – Action and Policy emphasize challenges and opportunities in rapidly urbanizing developing countries. A workshop in Cape Town in February 2012 was specifically organized to bring together urban planners, policymakers and scientists from many different African countries to inform about current and future urban developments in Africa.The Aichi Biodiversity Targets (in Appendix 1) highlighted throughout the key messages reinforce the mission


Northeast Asian cities seek ways to improve urban and transnational air quality

Cities across Northeast Asia are facing air pollution – an issue that at times receives less attention that it should due to its “invisibility” and slow-onset impacts on health and livelihoods. To raise awareness among policymakers and find solutions to improve air quality in the region, the Northeast Asian International Seminar on Air Quality Improvement was held in Seoul, South Korea on 17 October 2013.

Hosted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, Korean Society for Atmospheric Environment and ICLEI East Asia Secretariat, the seminar featured presentations from Chinese, Japanese and Korean experts, including a presentation of a Sino-Japanese technical cooperation project to improve air quality in Xian City, China by Hiroyuki Hashimoto, program manager of ICLEI Japan Office.


Smart cities to aid urbanization

Many factors can make visions become a reality ¡ª sometimes it's a traffic jam, other times it's a pleasant drive.
How well can China travel on its path to unprecedented urbanization ¡ª a process that will give some 200 million rural people urban jobs and homes and welfare coverage in about a decade?

How will the country be able to accommodate so many people in its already overpopulated cities?
How can it build new cities and new urban districts properly and guarantee their new residents a basic level of living?
How can the managers of everything, from roads to emergency aid and healthcare services, to various retirement plans, cope with such an increase in their daily workloads?


Smart cities get their own operating system

Cities could soon be looking after their citizens all by themselves thanks to an operating system designed for the metropolis.
The Urban OS works just like a PC operating system but keeps buildings, traffic and services running smoothly.
The software takes in data from sensors dotted around the city to keep an eye on what is happening.
In the event of a fire the Urban OS might manage traffic lights so fire engines can reach the blaze swiftly.
The idea is for the Urban OS to gather data from sensors buried in buildings and many other places to keep an eye on what is happening in an urban area.


First BESTFACT Best Practice cases published!
More than 50 best practice cases in the areas of Urban Freight, Green Logistics & Co-modality and eFreight have been published, including experiences from Polis' members Berlin, Utrecht and Bilbao.


UN-Habitat launches regional Report on the State of European Cities in transition 2013

During the 11th European Week of Regions and Cities in Brussels, UN-Habitat launched its latest regional report - The State of European Cities in transition 2013: Taking Stock After 20 Years of Reform.

The report’s launch was hosted by the Permanent Representation of Lithuania to the European Union and introduced by the Lithuanian Vice-Minister of the Environment, Daiva Matoniene, and by Aisa Kacyira Kirabo, UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director. This first European Regional State of Cities Report provides an in-depth study of the monumental transition to democratic and market systems by 23 Eastern and Central European countries and territories.


Renewable energy Champions League

The Covenant signatory cities of Mouscron in Belgium and Bergamo in Italy have been awarded the third place prize– in two separate categories – of the RES Champion’s League at the occasion of the 4th European ceremony held in Kassel, Germany.

A total of 12 champions were awarded prizes in four different divisions: general ranking, small, medium and large cities. For this fourth edition of the championship, involving 12 countries and over 10,000 municipalities, the selection process was strengthened through the use of a more complete questionnaire including 30 criteria.  This time, the jury did not only look at the quantitative aspect of installed renewable energy capacity, but also at more qualitative measures being undertaken by the local and regional authorities.


ICLEI: Genuine low-carbon progress starts with cities

With the fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report recently released presenting a worrying prognosis for the future of cities, ICLEI Secretary General Gino Van Begin explains how cities and local governments worldwide are indeed offering hope and fighting global climate change at the frontline.
By Gino Van Begin

As the Secretary General of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, an organization that works with cities to create more sustainable urban areas, I witness on a daily basis the transformative power of local action, and the global impact it has.
One recent example is The Nantes Declaration of Mayors and Subnational Leaders on Climate Change, a document signed by mayors from around the world at the World Mayors Summit on Climate Change held in the European Environmental Capital Nantes, France, under the patronage of François Hollande, President of the Republic of France and with the support of the French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

The document affirms local government’s commitment to scale up climate actions, urges engagement with the global level on climate change, and calls for enhanced local access to finance. The declaration also offers a commitment to work with other levels of government, the private and financial sectors, and relevant stakeholders.


Resilient cities are the next big thing

THE true test of how ready a city is to tackle all threats is how well it operates in storms as well as in sunny conditions.
Urban resilience has long been the desired goal for urban planners and city dwellers alike.

Now, such resilience is a must-have because deep-pocket corporations and investors are saying they want to move their assets only to cities that will not be shaken easily by sudden or prolonged shocks, whether they are flash floods, smog or a dearth of younger skilled workers.
That's according to global government and education chief Jeffrey Rhoda of technology giant IBM, the company that has long been a champion of the idea of smart cities.


Safe Public spaces for women and girls - Join the Orange Day conversation!

In July last year the Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign proclaimed every 25th of the month as Orange Day. Initiated and led by the UNiTE campaign Global Youth Network, worldwide activities implemented on this day by UN country offices and civil society organizations strive to highlight issues relevant to preventing and ending violence against women and girls, not only once a year, on 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), but every month. On October 25 the UNiTE campaign will highlight ‘Safe Public Spaces for Women and Girls’.

The Metropolis Women International Network is also working on the safety of women in cities. Last April 2013, Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, successfully inaugurated the First Symposium "Safe Cities Within the sphere of Public space and Gender"organized by Metropolis Women International Network with the support of UN- Habitat, Barcelona Metropolitan Area, Barcelona City Council, Barcelona Provincial Council, the Government of Catalonia. Whatch the Symposium's video here.


New UCLG Presidency elected in Rabat

Kadir Topbas, Mayor of Istanbul, Turkey, was re-elected President of the organisation.
The Co-Presidents elected were: Augusto Barrera, Mayor of Quito (Ecuador), Anne Hidalgo, Deputy Mayor of Paris (France) and President of UCLG Standing Committee on Gender Equality,  Chen Jianhua, Mayor of Guangzhou (China), Alain Juppé, Mayor of Bordeaux (France) and President of the French Association of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (AFCCRE), Ilsur Metshin, Mayor of Kazan (Russia), Jacqueline Moustache Belle, Mayor of Victoria and President of the Association of Districts of Victoria (Seychelles).

Fathallah Oualalou, Mayor of Rabat (Morocco) was elected Treasurer for UCLG. Berry Vrbanovic, Councillor of Kitchener (Canada) and Emeritus President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), was nominated deputy-treasurer.

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UK cities ranked for actions to adapt and mitigate climate change

London and Leicester are two of the most prepared cities in the UK when it comes to climate change according to new research by Newcastle University.
London was found to have one of the most advanced strategies in place, mitigating the impact on climate change through measures such as increasing the use of renewables and the introduction of greener modes of transport.London was found to have one of the most advanced strategies in place, mitigating the impact on climate change through measures such as increasing the use of renewables and the introduction of greener modes of transport. Also of interest Using city deals to drive low carbon growth   Going Green: How cities are leading the next economy   London 2012: Final sustainability report highlights successes and lessons 
Researchers ranked 30 cities by giving them ‘Urban Climate Change Preparedness Scores’ based on four levels of readiness: assessment, planning, action and monitoring.

Publishing their results in the academic journal Climatic Change, they reveal huge variation across the UK with London and Leicester gaining the highest scores both for adaptation and mitigation and Wrexham and Derry the lowest.
Newcastle University’s Dr Oliver Heidrich who led the research said: “Of the 30 cities we assessed, all of them acknowledged that climate change was a threat and all except two had a strategy or policy in place to reduce emissions and also adapt to cope better with future weather patterns, in particular flooding,” said Heidrich, a senior researcher in the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences.


CIVITAS Forum kicks off the next stage of the EU initiative: CIVITAS Capital

The 11th edition of the CIVITAS Forum took place last week in the City of Brest which also marked the beginning of the next stage of the CIVITAS initiative with CIVITAS Capital. The forum also placed the spotlight on two Polis members, Bologna and Aalborg, who proudly received recognition for their work to improve sustainable mobility during the CIVITAS awards ceremony.


Colombia warms up for World Urban Forum 7

On World Habitat Day this year, the Colombian Minister of Housing, Luis Felipe Henao Cardona, the Mayor of Medellin, Anibal Gaviria and the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Dr. Joan Clos, oversaw the presentation of the Seventh Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF7) in Medellin, that will be held in the same city from 5-11 April next year.

The event opened with an official message by the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, in which expressed the support of the Colombia on the global discussion of sustainable urbanization. The Mayor of Medellin highlighted the theme of the Forum – “Urban Equity in Development – Cities for Life” as a crucial debate for a city like Medellin. Anibal Gaviria said that the World Urban Forum will be the biggest international event held in Medellin ever and he stressed his commitment to the sustainable urban transformation of the city.


CITIES THAT TALK : 8th AESOP-YA Conference 10-13 March 2014

AESOP Young Academics Network is proud to announce the 8th annual Conference in Gothenburg, Sweden, 10 – 13th March, 2014: Cities that Talk. The conference theme responds to the contemporary phenomena of urban resistances that have significantly challenged traditional practices of urban planning worldwide. Urban resistances range from everyday life insurgencies, through protests and riots, to urban social movements. These resistances request planning systems to stop the invention and authorization of particular traditions, histories, meanings, identities, landscapes, and lifestyles in their cities. Instead, planning systems ought to work through new kinds of institutional arrangements and urban policies that are not only sensitive to the local context but also responsive to the diverse cultural and social identities in a city based on social and environmental justice, wellbeing and quality of life, and coexistence and equal representation.


Free webinar series discusses adaptation challenges starting with urban food policies

A free ICLEI webinar series on key urban resilience themes started last week with expert presentations from the cities of Toronto, Cape Town, and RUAF Foundation on urban food policies. The series represents a follow-up to the most recent Resilient Cities Congress for those who could not attend and those interested in further in-depth discussions.

“Are vegetables cultivated in the urban environment of a sufficient quality? How do you prove that?” asked a student from Sweden and a city office manager from Bratislava.
Practical questions like these are increasingly posed as the demand for information and training about food system policies in cities rises. Climate change and urbanization are pressuring global food supplies more and more, which means cities must act now to safeguard the food and nutritional security of their citizens.


A City That Turns Garbage Into Energy Copes With a Shortage

OSLO — This is a city that imports garbage. Some comes from England, some from Ireland. Some is from neighboring Sweden. It even has designs on the American market.
“I’d like to take some from the United States,” said Pal Mikkelsen, in his office at a huge plant on the edge of town that turns garbage into heat and electricity. “Sea transport is cheap.”

Oslo, a recycling-friendly place where roughly half the city and most of its schools are heated by burning garbage — household trash, industrial waste, even toxic and dangerous waste from hospitals and drug arrests — has a problem: it has literally run out of garbage to burn.