31/10/2014 - SUMP Award 2014 for cities opens
31/10/2014 - Cities and the social targets of Europe 2020
31/10/2014 - Sixth CHAMP electronic newsletter online
30/10/2014 - NEC and ASCAN to launch pioneering smart waste collection service in Santander
30/10/2014 - A designer is creating "smell maps" of cities
30/10/2014 - The Dark Side of Environmental Quality
30/10/2014 - 124 million people, one in four European citizens, face poverty or social exclusion
29/10/2014 - Cameron hails plan to fast-track devolution for English cities
29/10/2014 - 2014 Biodiversity Summit spurs integration of biodiversity into all levels of government
29/10/2014 - Smart Branding Attracts the Masses to Mass Transit
28/10/2014 - Conference on citizenship
28/10/2014 - Apply immediately for the 2015 Risk Award
28/10/2014 - Capturing Economic Opportunities: How can Cities Carve out New Growth Paths?
27/10/2014 - Real change for a changing climate
27/10/2014 - Stockholm takes the lead among smart cities
26/10/2014 - Turkish city offers free transport to elderly and disabled
26/10/2014 - Kenya’s ambitious plan to build six new cities
25/10/2014 - A funny thing is happening in many US cities
25/10/2014 - Can we climate-proof cities? Six of the best conclusions from SXSW Eco 2014
24/10/2014 - Is Wall Street Making a Killing off Cities’ Debt?
24/10/2014 - Heating a city by using its own waste
24/10/2014 - City staff to share new electric cars in Turku
23/10/2014 - New evidence-based platform to unlock further funds for cities
23/10/2014 - 2014′s Best & Worst Cities for People with Disabilities
23/10/2014 - TTIP and quality local public services
22/10/2014 - Driverless, air conditioned, and shiny: London Underground unveils its new trains
22/10/2014 - Greening European Cities: a Collaborative Process
22/10/2014 - 9th edition of the distinction "Best Practice in Citizen Participation"
21/10/2014 - Four ways to look at “trust” in our changing cities
20/10/2014 - First plastic electric bus developed in Hungary
20/10/2014 - Gothenburg hosts International Cycling Safety Conference (ICSC) 2014
19/10/2014 - Paper City – an Urban Story: UN-Habitat launches video on urban challenges
19/10/2014 - How cities and digital influencers are paving the way for a global agenda on urban matters
18/10/2014 - UN Report Finds the Number of Megacities Has Tripled Since 1990
18/10/2014 - Turin communiqué highlights the essential role of local and regional governments in the implementation of the Post-2015 agenda
18/10/2014 - Introducing ClearPath
18/10/2014 - Trees in Hard Landscapes: A Guide for Delivery
17/10/2014 - Climate change must change the mindset of our cities
17/10/2014 - Urban imagination: The real promise of data in today’s cities
17/10/2014 - Changing Commuters’ Choices Helps São Paulo Reduce Traffic Congestion
16/10/2014 - Does an Amazon plan to set up shop confirm online is not all that?
16/10/2014 - “Skateboard Urbanism” Could Change Park Planning
16/10/2014 - Madrid to Eliminate Cars from City Center
16/10/2014 - The Urban Governance Survey by UN Habitat, UCLG and LSE Cities
15/10/2014 - Call for action for slum dwellers as World Habitat Day is marked globally
15/10/2014 - Urban-rural policies fundamental for local economic development
15/10/2014 - Paris Aims for Bicycle Trips to Account for 15% of Transport by 2020
15/10/2014 - Call for Registration to the International Meeting on the Right to the City
14/10/2014 - A Paradigm Shift for Guarding Delta Cities Against Floods
14/10/2014 - Generation to Generation: Empowering Newcomer Youth and Families
14/10/2014 - Why climate change should signal the end of the city-state
14/10/2014 - New study links traffic pollution to childhood obesity
13/10/2014 - Communication Channels for the City: Old Formulas Revisited and New Paths
13/10/2014 - China: Solar Schools to Help Build Green Cities
13/10/2014 - How cities are achieving low carbon livable growth
12/10/2014 - SUMP knowledge hub for cities launched
12/10/2014 - 2000 cities participate in the UN disaster resilience campaign
11/10/2014 - Wooden skyscrapers could be the future of flat-pack cities around the world
11/10/2014 - EU-Japan project unveils smart city apps
11/10/2014 - China aims to halt spread of “ghost cities”
10/10/2014 - Bologna launches DegustiBus: what do passengers really think about public transport?
10/10/2014 - When should Cities Use an Integrated Territorial Investment?
10/10/2014 - IOPD Distinction Best Practice in Citizen Participation
9/10/2014 - Global Road Safety Program Inviting Select Cities and Countries to Compete for Funding and Support
9/10/2014 - Make it grow: Rooftop Farming for Climate Change Adaptation in Cairo
9/10/2014 - Asian cities struggle with permanent underclass
8/10/2014 - Have Humans Evolved to Manage Megacities?
8/10/2014 - Building the city of the future through smart, connected urban transport
8/10/2014 - Greening European Cities: a Collaborative Process
8/10/2014 - Take the EU Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan Award for a chance to win 10 000 euros
7/10/2014 - Searching for the promised land of Public Space: The key to an equitable African city
7/10/2014 - Guess where the future's most crowded cities will be
7/10/2014 - The City Brand: Champion of Immigrant Integration or Empty Marketing Tool?
7/10/2014 - EPA-Polis workshop: en route for standardised parking solutions!
6/10/2014 - Athens, an URBACT Food Metropolis
6/10/2014 - ICT KETs and LED lighting for smart cities
6/10/2014 - Can urban agriculture work on a commercial scale?
5/10/2014 - Given €20m of taxpayers’ money, what would you do to improve your city?
5/10/2014 - What are the barriers for having / driving an electrical vehicle?
5/10/2014 - Cyclists map Antwerp’s air pollution
4/10/2014 - UCLG Celebrates Urban October
4/10/2014 - Cities in Competition - High-quality Cultural Offer Improves Attractiveness
4/10/2014 - Is the Sharing Economy Making Cities Less Cooperative?
3/10/2014 - Car Independent Neighborhoods
3/10/2014 - Why India needs to slum it out
3/10/2014 - Indiana Toll Road Bankrupcy
2/10/2014 - Seven Myths About New Urbanism
2/10/2014 - How to build a fairer city
2/10/2014 - Revitalising urban waterfronts
2/10/2014 - Cities in action: heating Budapest's zoo & garden
1/10/2014 - What a Park’s Design Does to Your Brain
1/10/2014 - Small ideas add up to big change for cities
1/10/2014 - Whatever happened to Abu Dhabi’s carbon neutral city?
1/10/2014 - Local authorities and security technologies: share your experiences
SUMP Award 2014 for cities opens
The European Commission has opened the 2014 Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) Award, which recognises the outstanding work of cities and local authorities across Europe to meet the transport needs of their communities in an effective and sustainable way. Now in its third year, the award presents the winning region or local authority with a prize of € 10 000 and gives an opportunity for them to gain international recognition for their initiatives. Towns, cities and local authorities from the European Union’s 28 Member States and the European Economic Area are eligible and encouraged to apply.
Cities and the social targets of Europe 2020
How can we better support cities in meeting the employment, poverty reduction and education aspects of the Europe 2020 strategy?
Our new policy paper on cities' experiences on the social aspects of the Europe 2020 strategy will feed into the European Commission's public consultation on Europe 2020. Since the launch of the Europe 2020 strategy in 2010, European cities have been experiencing a number of challenges in terms of the social targets, including: an exacerbation of poverty among at-risk groups; an increase in the number of working poor due to low quality and insecure jobs; greater youth unemployment and more young people not in employment, education or training; persistent long term unemployment among the over 50s; and an upward trend in early school leaving, particularly in deprived urban areas.
Sixth CHAMP electronic newsletter online
We are happy to send you the sixth issue of the CHAMP newsletter. CHAMP is a European project that brings together champion cities in the field of cycling.
Three years of intense cooperation between the CHAMP partners ended in September 2014. The project concluded on a very positive note with the final CHAMP workshop in Gent. An impressive number of participants from all over Europe confirmed that interest is and remains high in learning from the best when it comes to cycling policy.
NEC and ASCAN to launch pioneering smart waste collection service in Santander
NEC Corporation (TSE: NEC 6701) announced today that it is developing a smart waste collection solution for the city of Santander in Spain in partnership with waste management service provider ASCAN. The solution uses sensors that collect real-time data on rubbish and recycling bin levels enabling the cleaning team to optimise collection intervals and routes. The new service is expected to reduce vehicle emissions and running costs by eliminating journeys to bins that are virtually empty and result in fewer incidences of overflowing bins.
A designer is creating "smell maps" of cities
When you think of the cities you’ve visited, you probably recall the skyline, the architecture or the quirky details of a city’s streets. You’re less likely, unless the place still had open sewers, to think of the smell.
But, according to graphic designer Kate McLean, a city’s smells can be equally unique. Take Glasgow: when McLean, a graphic designer, set out to map the smells of Scotland’s largest city, in different areas, she found perfume, wet moss, carbolic soap, and the rather specific "hot Bovril at the footy".
The Dark Side of Environmental Quality
You think this is going to be another piece about the shortcomings and backfires of the California Environmental Quality Act. It’s not.
The most affecting moment in Paul Bogard's book The End of Night describes a Cherokee ritual called "opening the night." Participants sit in a quiet place – forest, desert, front lawn, mountaintop – and listen to the sounds within an armspan. Then the radius doubles. It doubles again. It keeps doubling until the listener has beheld the entire spectrum of perceptible sounds, taking in the landscape with an intimacy that those of us in busy, bright places can only imagine.
The marriage of silence and darkness is an utterly appropriate bit of synesthesia: they are two sides of the same globe. Both are in woefully short supply in California.
124 million people, one in four European citizens, face poverty or social exclusion
The EU is falling short of meeting its Europe 2020 strategy target of 96.4 million people in poverty by 2020.
28% of all children are living in poverty across Europe.
The rise of the ‘working poor’ in Europe ranges between 6% and 19%.
Cameron hails plan to fast-track devolution for English cities
The prime minister has welcomed an ambitious proposal to devolve power to UK city regions along the same brisk timetable as the Scottish devolution process, suggesting Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire could gain more autonomy in 2015.
The report from the City Growth Commission argues that devolution from Whitehall to city regions will boost economic output in the UK’s 15 largest metropolitan areas (“metros”) by £79bn per year – approaching 5% of current GDP.
It also proposes a vastly improved transport network in the north of England across the Pennines, including a northern answer to London’s Oyster card – dubbed the “Noyster”.
2014 Biodiversity Summit spurs integration of biodiversity into all levels of government
The knowledge-packed Biodiversity Summit for Cities and Subnational Governments held in parallel with the CBD COP 12 on 12-14 October in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province concluded today, inspiring greater cooperation among all levels of government and furthering the work on promoting biodiversity for sustainability. Organized by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in collaboration with the Government of Gangwon Province, the Summit saw close to 600 participants from 53 countries across all regions. Around 270 local government representatives participated in the Summit, including 40 city and sub-national leaders (governors, mayors, deputy mayors, and commissioners) as well as representatives of national, international and UN organizations, and experts in the field.
For more information, visit www.biodivercity-summit.org
Smart Branding Attracts the Masses to Mass Transit
Agencies Devote Increasing Attention to Design, Marketing Strategies to Lure Riders from their Cars
This year, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) decided that a ribbon-cutting alone would not suffice. The agency announced the opening of the first phase of its long-awaited Silver Line—a heavy rail extension through the suburbs and edge cities of northern Virginia—with a singular video. In it, suburbanites are roused from their homes by an irresistible groove. They dance, in an awkward flash mob, across their lawns, down the street, up a set of stairs and right into a waiting train. Once seated, goofy smiles and toe-tapping persist.
Conference on citizenship
Join us in Rome, discover what active citizenship is all about and how local government can benefit
Women and men, young and old, migrants or locals… we are all citizens being part of a community. But this does not necessarily imply being “active citizens”. In this increasingly connected world - culturally, politically and economically - the question of how to promote and facilitate people’s active involvement in their local communities is a key issue for Europe’s local government.
This is the reason why we have decided to devote this European Conference on citizenship and twinning to the concept of active citizenship. The conference entitled “Citizen in my city – Citizen in Europe” will take place in Rome, on 15-16 December 2014.
Apply immediately for the 2015 Risk Award
METROPOLIS wants to remind and encourage all cities and institutions part of the Making Cities Resilient Campaign to apply for the 2015 Risk Award organized jointly by Munich Re Foundation, the Global Risk Forum and UNISDR. Applications are open now until the end of next week.
The 2015 RISK Award will go to an operational project that addresses the topic of Disaster Risk Reduction. It may be a technical proposal, a plan optimizing a legal framework, e.g. affecting building codes, or land use plans. What is important is that it exhibits a tangible and sustainable approach to serving people, reducing risks or preventing new ones.
Submissions can include projects that are new or in development, that are upgrades of existing systems, technologies or services, or that adapt existing concepts to different applications. They may be submitted by individuals, teams or institutions from different sectors, including government bodies.
Capturing Economic Opportunities: How can Cities Carve out New Growth Paths?
European cities are confronted with a rapidly changing economy. The crisis has destroyed jobs across both service and manufacturing industries, and has revealed the shakiness of the financial service sector. Jobs get lost, some businesses become obsolete, but at the same time, new growth areas are emerging.
Real change for a changing climate
Alan G. Brake on how architects and urbanists can lead the fight against climate change
As we worked to finish our annual environmental issue, nearly 400,000 people marched through Midtown Manhattan to demand political action to address climate change. It was the largest gathering ever dedicated to the issue. Thousands of additional events took place around the world to echo the message that decisive action on climate change is urgently needed. Attending the march, the atmosphere was festive and empowering. The sense was that change is not only possible, but that it is long overdue. For New Yorkers the issue has become personal. The memories of Hurricane Sandy remain fresh in our minds.
Stockholm takes the lead among smart cities
The City of Stockholm will lead the prestigious European project GrowSmarter. The project looks at how smart technical solutions in the environmental field can create more jobs and make cities grow sustainably while at the same time be energy efficient, accessible and attractive to its citizens. The EU Commission contributes 25 million Euros to the effort.
One of the main goals of the project is to decrease energy consumption and transport emissions by 60 percent in targeted areas.
Turkish city offers free transport to elderly and disabled
The city of Elazig in eastern Turkey last month launched a smartcard scheme that allows elderly and disabled residents to travel for free on its public buses.
Applying for the smartcard, which will have to be validated using a card reader when entering a bus, costs 10 Turkish lira (€ 3.50), which includes an administration fee and an annual charge of five lira each.
The city also plans to develop a general smart bus pass, which will allow passengers to travel for half an hour for free, with the second half-hour available at a discounted price.
Kenya’s ambitious plan to build six new cities
Over the years, urban planners have grappled with the problem of decongesting the city of Nairobi whose population is now close to four million.
Various interventions have been outlined but little seems to have changed in urban development. But as Standard Digital reports, the Kenyan government has an ambitious plan to disperse much of Nairobi’s population through the creation of six new cities?
In March 2013, then Lands minister James Orengo signed a document entitled, Spatial Planning Concept for Nairobi Metropolitan Region, in which six thematic cities are included as part of an ambitious Government plan to reorganize economic activities around the city.
A funny thing is happening in many US cities
An article at the Urbanophile gives us a helpful graphic explaining the old and new “Donut” conceptions of the city. In the “Old Donut,” we have an impoverished central city with a ring of thriving suburbs around it.
An example of that model appears in this graph, which shows the percentage of adults over 25 with college degrees in the Charlotte, NC metro area in 1990. The x-axis is distance from the center of downtown.
Can we climate-proof cities? Six of the best conclusions from SXSW Eco 2014
Recently the city of Austin played host to SXSW Eco, the international conference on the future of sustainability. Following the global climate marches and summit of last month, its tagline, “Where urgency meets opportunity”, seemed apt. We know the problems that climate change poses: but what are the solutions? And what does this mean for cities?
The discussions largely focused on US cities, though it was stressed that cities around the world could and should learn from each other’s solutions. Here are a few of the tentative conclusions.
Is Wall Street Making a Killing off Cities’ Debt?
Urban America Can’t Seem to Break Off Its Codependent Relationship With Wall Street, No Matter How Much It Hurts
Passions often run high at city council meetings in Oakland, California. But July 3, 2012 was something special. One after another, people stepped up to the microphone to plead with the council to stop paying its bills — and, for the most part, the council agreed.
Those bills were from Goldman Sachs.
Heating a city by using its own waste
When lit soft green or red, the five metal fingers forming something like a giant hand next to a bridge here look like just another wacky piece of public art in Vancouver.
But those “fingers” are actually exhaust pipes. And they’re part of a bold experiment to change the way energy is delivered in this city.
The pipes shoot out from a building under the bridge. Inside occurs a remarkable recycling of energy. Heat is captured from a nearby neighborhood’s wastewater — sewage is actually quite warm from the runoff of hot showers and such. That captured energy is used to heat up clean water, which is sent back through a different set of underground pipes to the area’s 1,100 condos, shops and community center.
City staff to share new electric cars in Turku
The Finnish city of Turku has bought four electric cars which will be shared between the city's corporate management and environmental service staff. The cars began operating on 15 September as part of the city's aim to reduce staff use of personal cars and taxis for work purposes, and to raise the profile of clean vehicles in the city.
New evidence-based platform to unlock further funds for cities
A new platform will aim to help city planners and decision makers anywhere in the world to assist their cities become more resilient and in the process help them to attract new sources of funding.
Delegates attending the ‘Sharing cities – Bridging regions’ conference in Copenhagen, jointly run by the International Federation for Housing and Planning, the Nordic City Network and the Danish Architecture Centre, heard how the platform aims to enable planners to visualise and build a three dimensional model of resource flows from human, ecological and economic activity in city regions.
2014s Best & Worst Cities for People with Disabilities
When searching for a new city to call home, most people share a common list of priorities. Among their concerns are affordability, jobs, schools and attractions. But people with disabilities often have a larger list of considerations. Factors such as the accessibility of various facilities, the quality of health care and even the cleanliness of the air can take precedence. The availability of such elements allows them to play an important role in the community and make significant contributions to the economy.
TTIP and quality local public services
Eurocities new statement stresses that the TTIP should not compromise the quality of public services in our cities.
The EU and US have been negotiating on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) since July 2013. The partnership aims to remove trade barriers in a wide range of economic sectors to make it easier to buy and sell goods and services between the EU and the US.
The TTIP will serve as a model for future EU trade agreements with other third parties. The current discussions on the TTIP are very closely connected to the issues of public services, procurement, state aid and investment protection. TTIP provisions impacting on these issues will affect local governments on both sides of the Atlantic.
Driverless, air conditioned, and shiny: London Underground unveils its new trains
Today, Mayor Boris Johnson unveiled designs for a new generation of London Underground trains. Transport for London plans to build 250 of the new trains to increase capacity in some of the busiest parts of the network: they’ll be introduced first on the Piccadilly line, then later on the Bakerloo, Central and Waterloo & City.
And, at first glance, they are very shiny indeed.
Greening European Cities: a Collaborative Process
Interview – Dr. Edmundo Werna urban labour expert - International Labour Organization.
EUKN recently interviewed Dr. Werna regarding his thoughts on the green economy and its connection to the civic economy. European cities are discussing and passing legislation and policy in favour of a green economy. This will have impact on both individuals and businesses as we witness the shift to more green consumption and production patterns.
9th edition of the distinction "Best Practice in Citizen Participation"
The International Observatory on Participatory Democracy (IOPD) invites local government to participate to its 9th Distinction Distinction of “Best Practice in Citizen Participation”. With this distinction, the IOPD recognises projects aiming, for instance, leading to better results in the domain of gender equality or at promoting transparency in the decision-making process.
Candidates are free to apply until 29 November. The ceremony to deliver the distinction will take place in March 2015.
Four ways to look at “trust” in our changing cities
I like to play buzzword bingo at conferences — you “win” when you hear experts drop five voguish words or phrases, preferably within one stream of consciousness. At The Atlantic’s stellar CityLab summit this week in Los Angeles, winning words included most of the keywords sprinkling urban conversations today, such as apps, data, innovation, resilience, transit, biking and sharing.
But one word I heard a lot at CityLab surprised me. It came up both in conference sessions and in discussions I had with mayors and their staffs. And it surfaced in quite different contexts related to the ways urban dwellers, local leaders and businesses interact with one another.
First plastic electric bus developed in Hungary
Hungarian engineers have created the world's first electric composite bus following a three-year multi-million euro project that involved the combined effort of almost 40 Hungarian small- and medium-sized enterprises.
Rather than being constructed with metal, the frame of the Modulo bus is built out of plastic which has resulted in a bus that is two tonnes lighter than conventional models. The lightweight material is also resistant to corrosion, with the condition of the bus's body guaranteed for up to 30 years.
Gothenburg hosts International Cycling Safety Conference (ICSC) 2014
From 18-19 November 2014, Gothenburg will be be the ground for discussions on the safety of cyclists between researchers, legislators, politicians, and members of cycling associations.
Paper City – an Urban Story: UN-Habitat launches video on urban challenges
Paper City is a stop-motion video made of animated photo stills portraying today’s urban challenges and possible solutions using a paper and cardboard mock city.
How cities and digital influencers are paving the way for a global agenda on urban matters
In the following post, Pablo Chillón shares the results of his recent investigations into the attributes and characteristics of the lobby strategies developed by cities and the goals of city advocacy, as well as the extent of and insights into the global performance of true urban diplomacy by cities.
He analyses how the mix of influence, reputation and the collective efforts of mayors, advisors, private companies and individuals are contributing to the creation of an international urban agenda and a new framework for global governance, in which cities have a principal role.
UN Report Finds the Number of Megacities Has Tripled Since 1990
A United Nations report has found that the number of megacities in the world has increased almost three-fold in the past 24 years. A megacity is defined as an urban area with over 10 million inhabitants—New York City formed the world’s first in the 1950s—and as of 1990, ten such cities had grown up around the globe. But as of this year, there are now a staggering 28 megacities. And while dense urban environments may provide certain environmental benefits, they also create significant hazards.
Turin communiqué highlights the essential role of local and regional governments in the implementation of the Post-2015 agenda
The Localization of the Post-2015 Agenda global consultation process culminated on the 14th and 15th October with a High Level Global dialogue in Turin attended by eighty representatives of national, regional and local governments, UN agencies, international institutions, civil society organizations (including women, youth, and slum dwellers), the private sector, academia, foundations and development partners from more than 30 countries.
ClearPath replaces ICLEI’s popular CACP software, and also does much more. ClearPath is an all-in-one suite of online tools to complete GHG inventories, forecasts, and climate action plans at the community-wide or government operations scale
Trees in Hard Landscapes: A Guide for Delivery
Trees in Hard Landscapes: A Guide for Delivery explores the practical challenges and solutions to integrating trees in 21st century streets, civic spaces and surface car parks, detailing process, design and technical options. It will be of particular interest to highway engineers, public realm professionals and tree specialists.
Climate change must change the mindset of our cities
For too long, cities have paid little notice to global issues. Climate change must change their mindset
Mature cities can adapt and new cities can design themselves to be climate resilient from the start. Alongside unavoidable expenditure come potentially lucrative benefits for innovative businesses providing solutions – and the prize is a big one
Urban imagination: The real promise of data in today’s cities
Today over half the global population lives in urban areas; by 2050, the UN projects that number to grow to 70 percent. The World Economic Forum forecasts we’ll need to develop the same amount of infrastructure that’s been built over the past 4,000 years to accommodate the coming wave of urbanites. This will only compound the fact that cities are already responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions, sewage overflows and air pollution.
Changing Commuters’ Choices Helps São Paulo Reduce Traffic Congestion
With 8.5 million motorized vehicles and 100-kilometer-long traffic jams, São Paulo is the sixth most congested city on earth and, like many others facing this problem, is looking for ways to shift rapid motorization to a more sustainable path.
The traffic choking Brazil’s financial center is driven by the city’s rapid economic growth—along with the rest of the country—over the past decade. “Brazil has been booming, and the first thing anyone moving into the middle class thinks about is buying a car,” said Georges Bianco Darido, a senior transport specialist with the World Bank Group. “This means that a lot of people are bringing new vehicles onto the roads, and are adding to the existing congestion.”
Does an Amazon plan to set up shop confirm online is not all that?
Reports of the high street’s demise have not exactly come to fruition. True, there are fewer shops but it does seem that those who prove specialists in their chosen field and provide great experience can build a loyal following and survive. Whether Amazon, with its successful and often envied online model, can now bring its skills to bricks and mortar, remains to be seen.
“Skateboard Urbanism” Could Change Park Planning
On a Thursday afternoon in autumn, there are close to a dozen skateboarders and BMX riders weaving around Paine’s Park obstacles and each other. Josh Dubin, the executive director of Franklin’s Paine Skatepark Fund, explains that if school weren’t in session, there would be more. The Philadelphia skatepark, now open for more than a year, is the pride and joy of Dubin’s skateboarding advocacy non-profit, which works to establish new parks in the City of Brotherly Love. Runners following the adjacent Schuylkill River Trail pass by. A mother pushing a stroller cuts through a grassy inlet. “It’s like a park,” says Billy Mahoney, 20, who skates at Paine’s Park a couple of times a week, on the different kinds of visitors he sees.
Madrid to Eliminate Cars from City Center
Starting January, the City of Madrid will close off 190 hectares of its central core to traffic, expanding its restricted vehicular areas to 352 hectares. Vehicles not belonging to residents within the city’s four most central barrios will be restricted to large avenues. If a vehicle enters the car-less zone, and does not have access to one of the 13 official parking lots, the owner will be automatically ticketed €90 ($115 U.S). The new legislation is part of a larger goal to completely pedestrianization central Madrid by 2020.
The Urban Governance Survey by UN Habitat, UCLG and LSE Cities
LSE Cities, working in partnership with UN Habitat and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), is inviting local government administrations to contribute to a study on ‘Governing Urban Futures’ by taking part in a short [20 min] online survey that will cover the following thematic areas: Political power, budget & financing, multi-level governance, participation & accountability, continuity & strategic planning.
Call for action for slum dwellers as World Habitat Day is marked globally
Celebrations marking this year’s World Habitat Day took places in various places across the globe with calls for urgent action to address the plight of those living in slums.
In Nairobi, UN-Habitat staff members gathered at the Gigiri Complex for an event marked by a traditional dance, an art exhibition by slum children followed by speeches, including those from the UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon and the UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos.
Urban-rural policies fundamental for local economic development
The UCLG Working Groups on Local Economic Development and Intermediary Cities and the municipality of Chefchaouen held a learning exchange in Morocco between 24 - 27 September, which focused on the issues of local economic development and decent work in intermediary cities.
Paris Aims for Bicycle Trips to Account for 15% of Transport by 2020
More parking spaces for bikes, new bike paths on the main roadways, widespread 30km/h zones, and possibly wider bicycle paths or even banning automobile traffic surrounding markets; these are some of the measures included in the Parisian local government’s new “bike plan.” The plan, which should be finalized at the beginning of December after a period of discussion, was presented during a meeting of the “bicycle committee” of Paris’ 11th arrondissement, in the arrondissement’s city hall on September 16 by a publicly-employed engineer.
Call for Registration to the International Meeting on the Right to the City
The International Meeting on the Right to the City aims to foster global and local debates on tools and strategies in order to implement the right to the city. The meeting will be held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, from November 12th–14th. The event is free of charge and registration is available on the website:
A Paradigm Shift for Guarding Delta Cities Against Floods
Maria Belen Andaya-Eusebio, Mayor of Pasig City in the Philippines, is devoting much of her time to helping her city manage the risk of floods. Pasig City is one of the low lying cities in Metro Manila. It has to cope with excess water from the three surrounding waterways - Pasig River, Marikina River, and the Manggahan floodway - which makes it particularly vulnerable to flooding.
Bangladesh’s State Minister of Water Resources, Muhammad Nazrul Islam, also struggles with a delta country threatened by sea level rise and high river tides, especially in megacities like Dhaka.
Generation to Generation Empowering: Newcomer Youth and Families
Free Webinar Event
Learn about award-winning programs from Wellington, New Zealand and Toronto, Canada that improve language and digital literacy for immigrant families and youth by removing barriers to technology, promoting inter-generational tutoring, and strengthening community relations through education.
Why climate change should signal the end of the city-state
Our urban leaders’ belief in autonomy as the ultimate goal must be unset writes Richard Sennett. The seductive idea of a place controlling its own fortunes is out of date
New study links traffic pollution to childhood obesity
Researchers in the United States have found that exposure to air pollution can play a role in developing childhood obesity. The four-year study, which involved measuring the BMI (Body Max Index) of 4 550 10-year-old children from California, found a 0.4 unit increase among children with the most exposure to air pollution compared to those with the least exposure.
Communication Channels for the City: Old Formulas Revisited and New Paths
Integrated city branding is not about logos & campaigns, but building up unifying and updated narratives of the contemporary city. That´s in essence the brand concept when applied to cities and places...
China: Solar Schools to Help Build Green Cities
China's double-digit economic development has spurred massive consumption of total primary energy and electricity. The country’s primary energy demand is expected to grow by 2 percent annually over the next 20 years, and coal will continue to dominate its energy mix accounting for more than 50 percent of primary energy up to 2035.
Energy efficiency and renewable energy are two critical elements of sustainable urban development strategy and are central in China's push to reduce the carbon footprint of its economy. As part of the efforts, the government plans to increase the installation of rooftop solar PV systems from under 1 GW in 2010 to 3 GW by 2015.
How cities are achieving low carbon livable growth
In September 2013, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim launched the Low Carbon, Livable Cities (LC2) initiative at the Clinton Global Forum in New York City. Here we are, a full year later, with the UN Climate Summit upon us, and it’s clear that the Bank’s efforts are bearing fruit, strongly influencing or linking neatly with efforts being announced today.
SUMP knowledge hub for cities launched
The CIVITAS DYN@MO project has launched a service that will help cities to develop their own Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs). The Baltic Sea Region Competence Centre, led by the University of Gdansk in Poland, will provide cities with information and support, support the exchange of knowledge and experiences and offer training on the SUMP process. In addition, the competence centre will organise SUMP events.
2000 cities participate in the UN disaster resilience campaign
Around two thousand cities worldwide have already been enrolled on on the list of the United Nations global campaign . The campaign seeks to engage as many local governments as possible in considering the challenge of integrating disaster risk management into their development processes.
The global campaign, Making Cities Resilient: My City is Getting Ready! introduced in 2010 for a period of five years until 2015, is supported by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). At present, almost 25% of the participating cities are located in the Americas.
Wooden skyscrapers could be the future of flat-pack cities around the world
The development of engineered timber could herald a new era of eco-friendly ‘plyscrapers’. Christchurch welcomed its first multistorey timber structure this year, there are plans for Vancouver, and the talk is China could follow
When American engineer William Le Baron Jenney designed the world’s first skyscraper in Chicago in 1884, no one believed in his unconventional technologies. His lightweight steel frame relieved a structure of its heavy masonry shackles, enabling it to soar to new heights. Perplexed by this trade-in of solid brick for a spindly steel skeleton, Chicago inspectors paused the construction of the Home Insurance Building until they were certain it was structurally sound.
EU-Japan project unveils smart city apps
An EU-Japanese project has combined cloud computing and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to develop smart city applications that keep citizens up to date on events, emergencies, weather, traffic and more.
The ClouT project’s aim is to create a smart city infrastructure with near-to-infinity data processing and storage capacity. The data would come from trillions of people and ‘things’ that are integrated via cloud services.
China aims to halt spread of “ghost cities”
The presence of sparkling new cities void of residents and commerce have been a significant embarrassment for China. Megha Rajagopalan reports for Reuters that Beijing plans to carefully monitor urban development projects to ensure that more new cities do not remain empty.
Under the new restrictions, urban expansion is only permissible to accommodate population growth or in response to devastation from natural disasters. The wire story cites a report published by the government-controlled Beijing News. Deserted cities such as Ordos in China’s Inner Mongolia region and Zhengzhou have prompted scrutiny of the nation’s urbanization.
Bologna launches DegustiBus: what do passengers really think about public transport?
DegustiBus is a responsive website accessible from smartphones, tablets and desktop (a so called web-app) where PT users can rate the public transport service in their city/county/region.
When should Cities Use an Integrated Territorial Investment?
The new Integrated Territorial Investments form a key plank of the 2014-20 programming period. They are set out in regulatory terms in the Common Provisions Regulation and are part of the Article 7 of the ERDF regulation that stipulates that at least 5% of the European funds should be spent on integrated urban development.
IOPD Distinction Best Practice in Citizen Participation
The IOPD Distinction Best Practice in Citizen Participation seeks to recognize innovative experiences in the field of participatory democracy, coordinated by local governments, which may be susceptible to reply. Local government’s members of the IOPD can be submitted to this distinction, which is awarded annually as part of the Conference of the IOPD. An international jury is responsible for assessing applications and decides the winner.
Global Road Safety Program Inviting Select Cities and Countries to Compete for Funding and Support
New $125 Million Commitment Aims to Reduce Road Traffic Fatalities and Injuries in Low- and middle-income Cities and Countries
Traffic fatalities are one of the world’s leading causes of preventable death and, unless urgent action is taken, will become the seventh leading cause of death by 2030. To combat this trend, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced today a new phase of the foundation’s Global Road Safety initiative, which aims to reduce fatalities and injuries from road traffic crashes. The foundation will invite select low- and middle-income cities with populations of over two million residents to apply for grants. Low- and middle-income countries will also be invited to be part of the program.
Make it grow: Rooftop Farming for Climate Change Adaptation in Cairo
The Participatory Development Programme (PDP) in Egypt has Climate Change Adaptation in informal urban settlements as one of its main topics. Amongst several small-scale measures of climate change adaptation, PDP implemented rooftop farming in selected informal settlements of the Greater Cairo Region (GCR). This measure aimed at raising awareness about climate change and creating knowledge through environmental education to sensitize residents about the importance of urban green.
Asian cities struggle with permanent underclass
Despite the economic prosperity transforming the skylines of Asia’s major cities, a permanent underclass increasingly feels left behind.
Elaine Kurtenbach and Margie Mason report for the Associated Press that poverty for migrants streaming into Asian metropolises is staggering. As the urban elite grow wealthier, an estimated 3.6 billion throughout Asia scrape by on less than $5 a day.
“Even migrants who arrived in cities years ago feel trapped in a seemingly permanent underclass,” the article says. The economic divide can be felt across the continent, in cities such as Jakarta, Mumbai and Rangoon. It also is apparent in China, where migrants and their families account for more than a third of the urban population.
Have Humans Evolved to Manage Megacities?
The growth of large metropolitan areas around the world has been very recent and very rapid, particularly when measured against the duration of human beings’ existence as a species. For the first 95% of our time on earth, we built no settlements at all. Cities of a million people arose during only the last 1% of homo sapiens’ time on earth, and there are already 500 such cities in the world today.
If we have spent most of our existence as small wandering bands, does that mean we are ill-equipped to manage urban settlements of this vast size? The key to success in our current urban transformation may in fact be the same as the key to mankind’s earliest origins - our ability to cooperate.
Building the city of the future through smart, connected urban transport
The concept of smart, connected transport is a hot topic among city leaders looking to ride the wave of innovation to more sustainable, prosperous cities. Despite this, building a truly smart and interconnected urban transport system is more than most cities can hope to do all at once.
Three key elements of smart urban transport – communications, efficient operations, and integration – serve as important starting points and can yield significant social, environmental, and economic benefits.
Greening European Cities: a Collaborative Process
EUKN recently interviewed Dr. Werna regarding his thoughts on the green economy and its connection to the civic economy. European cities are discussing and passing legislation and policy in favour of a green economy. This will have impact on both individuals and businesses as we witness the shift to more green consumption and production patterns.
Take the EU Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan Award for a chance to win 10 000 euros
The 3rd annual edition of the EU’s Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) Award recognises outstanding work being carried out by cities and local authorities across Europe to meet the transport needs of their communities in an effective and sustainable way. The winner will be awarded with 10 000 euros.
For further information on how to apply you can have a look at Do the right mix website or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The closing date to participate is 3 November 2014.
Searching for the promised land of Public Space: The key to an equitable African city
The UCLG Committee on Urban Strategic Planning has just published a peer learning booklet titled: Searching for the promised land of Public Space: The key to an equitable African city, conducted in partnership with UN-Habitat, UCLG Africa, CoGTA and the Municipality of eThekwini (Durban). The aim of this publication is to demonstrate the need for learning exchanges between municipal, regional and international practitioners, in order to drive the debate on rethinking and reimagining public spaces.
The publication captures the main highlights, conclusions and learning outcomes of the event ‘Reimagining Public Spaces’ that was held from 4th-6th June 2014 in Durban-eThekwini, South Africa. The learning exchange was coordinated by the UCLG Committee on Strategic Urban Planning, under the firm belief that public space policies can be a means to both reshape cities and to improve quality of life, in the search for a better future.
Guess where the future's most crowded cities will be
Unless you’ve been living in a hole for the past five years, you’ll probably know that the world’s cities are getting bigger. Half the world’s population currently lives in them; by 2050, demographers predict it’ll be 70 per cent.
Some of those additional 20 per cent will live in new cities, created to meet the insatiable demand for an urban lifestyle. Sometimes, that’ll mean cities expanding; but sometimes, it’ll just mean cramming more people into existing ones.
To find out which cities will grow not just bigger, but more crowded, Bloomberg has put together a list predicting which will have the highest population density by 2025. Perhaps unsurprisingly, seven of the top 10 are in Latin America, a region whose cities are already teeming with informal slum settlements.
The City Brand: Champion of Immigrant Integration or Empty Marketing Tool?
This report by Elizabeth Collett, Director of Migration Policy Institute Europe and Senior Advisor to MPI's Transatlantic Council on Migration, explores the relationship between marketing and communications campaigns, immigration, and processes of immigrant integration. It is the latest in a Transatlantic Council series, “Cities and Regions: Reaping Migration’s Local Dividends.”
EPA-Polis workshop: en route for standardised parking solutions!
On 19 September, parking stakeholders met in Lisbon to discuss standardized approaches for on-street parking. Issues discussed were amongst others: an integrated quality framework, license plate based parking strategies and digital parking.
Athens, an URBACT Food Metropolis
From a city with 0% food self-sufficiency ratio to introducing food policy as key priority in the political agenda, Athens has come a long way. Learn how they got there and how URBACT helped them in doing that!
ICT KETs and LED lighting for smart cities
The European Commission is hosting a high level conference on 'ICT key enabling technologies at the service of citizens' in Rome on 29-30 October.
The event is being hosted as part of the Italian EU presidency, and will bring together a variety of industry stakeholders and local policy makers. The aim of the first day is to share practical experiences and ideas about how advanced photonics and micro/nanoelectronics technologies can boost the competitiveness of European industry and deliver innovative solutions to societal challenges. There will be a particular emphasis on the use of these solutions in smart cities and smart communities.
The second day will focus sharing experiences and developing strategies for accelerating the large-scale deployment of LED lighting in European cities.
Can urban agriculture work on a commercial scale?
MONTREAL, Canada — In 1999, Dickson Despommier, a professor of environmental health sciences and microbiology at Columbia University, popularized the idea of large-scale urban agriculture by releasing a conceptual model for vertical farms. Crops would grow inside tall city buildings, using very little land to produce bounties of food that would not need to be shipped far to be eaten. With nine billion people worldwide to feed by 2050, and close to 70 percent of them residing in cities, bringing food production into dense urban areas had long been seen as a logical step toward sustainable living, and Despommier’s work seemed to take us in the right direction.
Fifteen years later, despite many experiments with farming inside city buildings, the first large-scale vertical farm, as envisioned by Despommier, has yet to be built. The urban farming industry, still in its infancy, is struggling to address the engineering challenges that make growing food in cities a costly business. Sales and distribution have also proven harder than almost anybody imagined. “What’s been lacking,” says Mohamed Hage of Montréal, “are players who will do it at a true commercial scale, with the right business model.”
Given €20m of taxpayers’ money, what would you do to improve your city?
Green spaces and environmental projects receive majority of votes in Paris' €20m 'participatory budget.' What would you spend the money on for your city?
Anne Hidalgo, Paris' first female mayor, allotted 5% of the city hall investment budget to Parisians in the capital's first participatory budget – the largest sum of money ever to have been allocated to such a scheme.
Parisians voted for largely environmental projects including "living walls" of plants, swimming pools and "learning gardens".
What are the barriers for having / driving an electrical vehicle?
You don't use an electric vehicle? What are the barriers for you to have / drive an electrical vehicle?
The smartCEM project consortium seeks to find an answer to these questions by launching a questionnaire. Participate and help them figuring out why electrical vehicles are underutilised.
To learn more about the project, visit http://smartcem-project.eu
Cyclists map Antwerp’s air pollution
Cyclists with pollution monitors and GPS trackers attached to their bicycles have produced detailed maps of Antwerp’s air quality, as part of a recent study.
Researchers equipped cyclists with specially modified bicycles and sent them on two fixed routes in the city centre to measure their exposure to high levels of ultrafine particles. These particles and black carbon have been linked to health issues such as respiratory and heart problems.
A total of 354 trips were made over 11 days, taking place between 7 am and 1 pm every day. The data collected shows that a gap of just a few metres between cycle lanes and cars significantly reduces cyclists’ risk.
UCLG Celebrates Urban October
On the occasion of World Habitat Day 2014, UCLG calls upon its members to participate in the #urbanSDG Selfie Campaign, which will culminate on 31 October with the first #WorldCitiesDay.
For the first time ever, in October 2014, two important milestones of the urban calendar coincide in the same month. As every year, on the first Monday of the month, October 6, the world will be celebrating the World Habitat Day 2014. And the year's newness is the celebration of the World Cities Day 2014 on the last day of the month, October 31. The set of celebrations, events and activities taking place in this context is all grouped together under the umbrella of Urban October.
Cities in Competition - High-quality Cultural Offer Improves Attractiveness
Many cities focus on their economic development in order to become more competitive. They forget though that the soul of a city, its capacity to be festive, to make noise is a crucial parameter of attractiveness in the competition to attract industries and talents.
Philippe Kern, URBACT Thematic Expert, reminds us that cities also need to ensure an attractive quality of life to stand out.
Is the Sharing Economy Making Cities Less Cooperative?
These days every city claims to be a “smart” city, or is becoming one, with heavy investments in modern information and computing technology to attract businesses and make the city competitive.
But when mayors and developers focus on technology rather than people, smart quickly becomes stupid, threatening to exacerbate inequality and undermine the social cooperation essential to successful cities. After researching leading cities around the world, we’ve concluded that truly smart cities will be those that deploy modern technology in building a new urban commons to support communal sharing.
Car Independent Neighborhoods
While the more than 90% of Americans get around by car, their are some neighborhoods bucking the trend. Below is a list of the top 10 car independent neighborhoods in America – by the numbers. Looking at 2010 census data for car mode share (that’s the percentage of work trips done by car), the list below represents the lowest of the low. While it only considers work trips, this is usually a good indication of overall walking in a neighborhood.
Why India needs to slum it out
Indian policymakers have at last accepted that urbanisa-tion is an essential part of economic development. Indeed, current trends suggest that India will be an urban-ma-jority country by 2040. If Prime Minister Narendra Modi succeeds in implementing his plan for rapid industrialisa-tion, the country would hit the milestone even sooner. The implication of this shift is that 300-350 million additional people will have to be accommodated in urban centres within a generation. The Prime Minister clearly ap-preciates the issue and his plan to create a hundred smart cities should be seen as an attempt to create urban infra-structure in anticipation of the deluge.
Indiana Toll Road Bankrupcy
The private operator of the Indiana Toll Road, facing possible bankruptcy due to $6 billion in debt, said it expects to submit a restructuring plan in court by Monday.
ITR Concession Co. LLC, created by a Spanish-Australian partnership, said over the weekend that its strategy involves either selling its assets or recapitalizing the company by cutting debt, without a sale.
The company issued a statement saying it has "received overwhelming support from its lenders and equity sponsors."
Seven Myths About New Urbanism
Joel Kotkin, a fellow at Chapman University and an untiring defender of the suburbs, begins a recent column in the Washington Post with a valid question: “What is a city for?” He then proceeds to get that question completely wrong. But really, we should be thanking him. In his article, he neatly sums up many of the key myths emerging from the anti-urbanism set, making my job of debunking these myths a lot easier. Without further ado, here are 7 key points that critics get wrong about New Urbanism
How to build a fairer city
In an urbanising world, everybody says they want a fairer city. If that is the aspiration, the question is what stands in its way? What do we need to change to deliver that fairness?
Our manifesto is about how the fairer city can be achieved by changing both the imaginary and the practice underlying economic and social policy. The central argument is that we can move towards a fairer city by reframing our problems and rethinking our solutions in two ways:
Revitalising urban waterfronts
Many of the world’s greatest cities can trace their historical growth back to one simple and often overlooked geographical aspect: proximity to water. Whether it is the open ocean or a wide, meandering river, countless early cities came to be due to accessibility by ship and the subsequent economic influx that allowed them to flourish into regional or even global powerhouses of trade, commerce, and industry.
In the wake of globalization and post-industrialization, many once-buzzing urban ports and waterfronts have fallen into disuse and disrepair. As cities around the world become increasingly environmentally conscious, and shift their planning to be more people-focused, designers are honing in on waterfronts more than ever, with facelifts in the form of parks, plazas, or even commercial development.
Cities in action: heating Budapest's zoo & garden
An innovative scheme in Budapest is seeing some of the heat from more than 100 natural springs and a man-made well being used to warm buildings in the nearby zoo and botanical garden.
The animals and plants in the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden (BZBG) need a constant heat supply throughout the year. Recognising the potential of the nearby Széchenyi thermal bath, BZBG and Budapest Spas and Hot Springs Ltd. teamed up with the city's district heating company to implement a system to transfer waste heat from the thermal springs between the two locations. The water is too hot to use straight from the thermal spring, so must first be cooled. This surplus heat is now used to warm the facilities at the zoo and garden. It is continually monitored using a computer system.
What a Park’s Design Does to Your Brain
As a student in Poland, Agnieszka Anna Olszewska was fascinated by the way that some landscapes seemed to be more contemplative than others. She wanted to research the reasons behind that calming effect, but she found little encouragement. “People told me I can write a novel, I can write a poem about the contemplativeness of landscape, but not a scientific paper.” One well-respected landscape architect told her it couldn’t be done because of the diversity of human responses: Some of us might find a garden conducive to contemplation; others might prefer the bathroom.
But Olszewska, now a doctoral candidate in landscape architecture and urban ecology at the University of Porto in Portugal, persevered. With a neuroscience professor at the university, she conducted a pilot project that culminated, earlier this year, in a conference paper titled “Urban Planning, Neurosciences and Contemplation for Improving Well-being in Our Cities.” It combined questionnaire results with measurement of brain waves in an effort “to prove that there are certain characteristics of urban parks and gardens that can induce in the visitor the pattern of brain activity that is associated with contemplative or meditative states.”
Small ideas add up to big change for cities
Many conferences sell tickets by announcing high-wattage keynote speakers from Fortune 500 companies and sexy tech startups who present bold ideas for the future.
What makes the Urban Innovation Exchange (September 24-26 in Detroit) unique is that it's about passionate people working on the ground, doing the creative heavy lifting to make their neighborhoods and cities better.
Their projects aren't big and flashy -- in fact, they're the opposite -- but their visions are no less bold.
Whatever happened to Abu Dhabi’s carbon neutral city?
Around 10 miles from downtown Abu Dhabi, something is very slowly rising from the desert. Masdar City, designed by British architectural firm Foster and Partners and subsidised with billions of dollars from the Emirate’s government, is an attempt to create a completely carbon-neutral city. And a recent piece on the Smithsonian’s website makes the results so far sound pretty impressive:
"Nearly all of the electricity in the current phase comes from a massive 87,777-panel, 10-megawatt solar plant along with building-mounted solar panels, and demand is kept in check by an impressive array of design features that minimize the need for air conditioning despite the desert locale.
Local authorities and security technologies: share your experiences
The third meeting of the Efus SURVEILLE working group on technologies will take place in Paris (France) on 9-10 October 2014, and will be hosted jointly with the city of Paris. As in prior meetings, participants will discuss issues related to the use of technologies for urban security.
The current research topics and activities of the SURVEILLE project on the efficiency and ethics of surveillance technologies will provide insights and input for the discussion.