31/7/2013 - Introducing the PPI Platform
31/7/2013 - Copenhagen’s Host Programme facilitates the integration process
31/7/2013 - Mayors for Peace to promote World Urban Campaign as City Changers
31/7/2013 - How Can Cities Manage the Post-Growth Transition?
30/7/2013 - Making non-residential buildings energy efficient: Ever heard of the GreenBuilding Programme?
30/7/2013 - Is a City Still a City If It Can't Serve Its Residents?
30/7/2013 - IDC IDs China’s smart cities
30/7/2013 - 14 Ways San Francisco Has Given New Life to Its Historic Assets
29/7/2013 - UN Volunteers to start e-discussion on children & youngsters in Urban Areas
29/7/2013 - More Jobs: Better Cities - A Framework for City Action on Jobs
29/7/2013 - What is Poverty? Accounting for the True Expense of City Life
29/7/2013 - URBIS website provides searchable database of biodiversity case studies
28/7/2013 - Are Vancouver's Leaders 'Tone-Deaf' to Residents' Vision for the City?
28/7/2013 - New EC policy on procurement of interoperable ICT
28/7/2013 - How Will Bike-Centric Urbanism Reshape Our Cities?
28/7/2013 - UN launches World Economic and Social Survey: New strategies needed to address impacts of rapid urbanization
27/7/2013 - London's Dubious Olympic Legacy
27/7/2013 - Parking and urban access - contribute to the AIPARK-Sapienza survey
27/7/2013 - A New Way To Compare Cities, From The Creator Of TED
27/7/2013 - New edition of the publication “For a World of Inclusive Cities”
26/7/2013 - Census changes a problem for city’s planners
26/7/2013 - Suwon sets EcoMobility model for cities worldwide
26/7/2013 - Partner Cities Meet to "Enjoy" Sustainable Food in Gothenburg
26/7/2013 - Reinventing Inner-Ring Suburbs
25/7/2013 - Vote for the best EU low-carbon project
25/7/2013 - EU funding boost to promote sustainable transport in 18 countries
25/7/2013 - World Town Planning Day Online Conference
24/7/2013 - Is Urban Planning Effective in the Developing World?
24/7/2013 - Scholarships available for the course "Strengthening the Capacity of City Officials for Urban Adaptation and Resilience"
24/7/2013 - Local authorities’ engagement in Rio+20 implementation
23/7/2013 - The Human Scale-A documentary on urban development
23/7/2013 - Chinese Cities Lead List of the World's Most Unaffordable
22/7/2013 - How to make money and energy savings through LED lighting
22/7/2013 - Towards low carbon schools: Covenant cities experience the Atlas project
21/7/2013 - The Future of Civic Engagement
21/7/2013 - Homeowners Less Likely to Default on Mortgages in Smart Growth Neighborhoods
20/7/2013 - Survey on surveillance and security technology
20/7/2013 - UN-Habitat hosts roundtable on urbanization and youth bulge
19/7/2013 - Giving Waterfronts Back to the People
19/7/2013 - How India's urban poor also HELP the economy grow
19/7/2013 - Is climate change action making cities healthier and wealthier?
18/7/2013 - What Makes a City 'Global'?
18/7/2013 - Thinking small
18/7/2013 - New strategies needed as rapid urbanization threatens sustainable development - UN report
17/7/2013 - Humans at the center of the urban maze
17/7/2013 - The Great Repurposing: Envisioning the City of Driverless Cars
17/7/2013 - Regen Europe at The International Festival for Business
17/7/2013 - Urban Home Values Rising Faster than Homes in Suburbs
17/7/2013 - What future do Local and Regional Governments want? Take part in the online Summit debates
16/7/2013 - Bicycling Increasingly Popular in the United States
16/7/2013 - Despite Lean Budgets, European Transit Goes Green
16/7/2013 - Smart cities, smart citizens
15/7/2013 - EUROCITIES awards 2013 shortlist announced
15/7/2013 - Frankfurt to renew its energy!
14/7/2013 - Why We'll Likely See a Lot More Urban-Oriented Protests in the Future
14/7/2013 - Suwon sets EcoMobility model for cities worldwide
13/7/2013 - Highway Upgrades Encourage Less Driving
13/7/2013 - Polis position paper on open transport data
13/7/2013 - Urban Libraries Council Recognizes Top Innovators
13/7/2013 - Dublin's Transport Links, Racism Divides
12/7/2013 - Cities for a more sustainable future: join us at the ECOCITY summit
12/7/2013 - Sydney benefits from EcoMobility Alliance
12/7/2013 - Aging Baby Boomers Pose Challenges to Street Design
11/7/2013 - Flanders sets out priorities for Flemish ITS Action Plan
11/7/2013 - ICLEI and AMR sign agreement to help Romanian cities reduce CO2
11/7/2013 - Seeing Dollar Signs, Developers Cater to Cyclists
10/7/2013 - Rotterdam praised for its job centre system
10/7/2013 - What Cities Want study looks into tomorrow’s mobility
10/7/2013 - Become the European Green Capital in 2016
9/7/2013 - Pentagon Issues Mandatory Smart Growth Planning Criteria
9/7/2013 - Bonn Climate Conference 2013
9/7/2013 - How Jan Gehl Turned Melbourne into a Pedestrian Paradise
9/7/2013 - Energy Cities' EUSEW Workshop: "Local authorities are our best allies"
8/7/2013 - Energy-efficient housing: Dutch project ‘House full of Energy’ opens doors
8/7/2013 - ASSISTANT helps older people navigate public transport
8/7/2013 - The Art of Urban Farming
8/7/2013 - New programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI)
7/7/2013 - Upcoming Webinar Dialogue Circles: Building Intercultural Understanding between Immigrant and Indigenous Communities
7/7/2013 - How the Internet is Helping Cities in the Western World to Loosen Up
6/7/2013 - Milan kicks-off its SUMP process with a public meeting with all stakeholders on July 3rd
6/7/2013 - Health and economic benefits of active mobility (Germany)
5/7/2013 - CTBUH Names Best Tall Buildings for 2013
5/7/2013 - The 8 Most Promising Ideas in Open Gov
5/7/2013 - ImpleMentoring peer visits support migrant integration in cities
5/7/2013 - Investing in Character: Calgary's Immigrant Access Fund
4/7/2013 - How Parking Minimums Beget Ugly Urban Environments
4/7/2013 - Indian cities, states and national leaders discuss EcoMobility
3/7/2013 - Cities for a more sustainable future: join us at the ECOCITY summit
3/7/2013 - Temporary Camps Become Permanent Cities for Refugees
3/7/2013 - 3iBS: towards intelligent, innovative and integrated bus systems
3/7/2013 - Three Everyday Ways to Inspire Urban Change
2/7/2013 - German bike capital Münster shares EcoMobility strategies
2/7/2013 - The urban dream lives on
2/7/2013 - Alcohol, partying and nightlife: European cities call for a balance between health and security
2/7/2013 - Sharing Responsibility for Building a Resilient City
1/7/2013 - Afghan Cities Sign Up for Resilient Cities
1/7/2013 - Express your Needs and Expectations on Future URBACT Programme
1/7/2013 - 'Lost Recipe' for Ancient Concrete Provides Foundation for Future Cities
1/7/2013 - Building Energy Efficiency in European Cities - URBACT (2013)
Introducing the PPI Platform
The Public Procurement of Innovation (PPI) Platform is now live at www.innovation-procurement.org. The Platform is a brand new system that aims to make public procurement of innovation a wide-spread reality in Europe.
With Europe’s economy facing serious challenges with regard to growth and competitiveness, the need to find innovative and sustainable solutions is more important than ever before. Procurement is a powerful tool to stimulate the market to offer innovative and sustainable solutions. The Platform has been developed to help public authorities, procurers, policy makers, researchers and other stakeholders harness the power of PPI. Custom-made to meet the needs of users, the PPI Platform is comprised of three elements.
The website is the first port of call for all things related to PPI and pre-commercial procurement (PCP). It contains the latest news on PPI and PCP developments and events, the European legal framework, policy support and more specifically, it will offer the latest updates on PPI and PCP related projects.
The Procurement Forum is a space for procurers and related stakeholders to discuss, share and connect, allowing them to post comments and upload documents, images or videos. Users can create groups, which are ideal for developing and coordinating projects involving numerous partners.
The Resource Centre provides a centralised database for PPI guidance, gathering useful documents in one place. Resources include national and European policy and strategy documents, tools, case studies, details of projects and initiatives, and reports.
The platform has been developed by ICLEI with support from the European Commission, and in partnership with 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.
Feedback on the platform is welcomed. The platform is set out to create a user experience that is rewarding, informative, and enjoyable - any input that helps to achieve this is most welcome. All features are fully functioning, but in case of any issues or feedback please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To visit the platform, click here. http://www.innovation-procurement.org/
Copenhagen’s Host Programme facilitates the integration process
Copenhagen’s Host Programme seeks to facilitate encounters between newly arrived migrants and Copenhageners who wish to volunteer as hosts. It is coordinated by the city’s Department for Integration and Language which is responsible for administrating the Integration Act in the municipality of Copenhagen. The programme is operated in close collaboration with two local organisations. The “Danish Refugee Council” carries out social activities with newly arrived inhabitants including Danish conversation courses and provides information on the local community, cultural activities and those carried out by local associations.
Mayors for Peace to promote World Urban Campaign as City Changers
The representative of Mayors for Peace to the African Union this week signed an agreement with UN-Habitat inviting African mayors to be Associate Partners of the World Urban Campaign.
The agreement was signed in Nairobi, by Dr. Joan Clos, Under – Secretary -General and Executive Director of United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and Ambassador Mussie Hailu, the representative of Mayors for Peace to the African Union.
Dr. Clos highlighted that the role of Mayors for Peace in mobilizing Mayors through the network they have in each city is very important to engage in launching campaigns under the slogan ‘I’m a City Changer’Those campaigns shall enable Mayors to engage citizens, communities and their partners, to promote positive actions towards a green, inclusive, productive, better planned, resilient, safe, and healthy city.
How Can Cities Manage the Post-Growth Transition?
While cities are growing, it's comparatively easy to keep a healthy balance sheet. But for cities like Charlotte, managing the transition from a growth economy to economic sustainability is a treacherous one. Aaron Renn delivers a cautionary tale.
"Rapidly growing cities benefit from scale economics. As a city grows, it spreads the fixed costs of providing services across more units, thus lowering unit costs and enabling taxes to stay low," explains Renn. "The real question is what happens when the growth cycle ends and unit costs either flatline or start going up. Can the city find sustainability demographically, economically and fiscally without growth as a fuel?"
"This is the mark of a great city," he continues. "A London or a New York can sustain and reinvent itself across growth cycles. Too many places, particularly our Rust Belt cities, have not met this challenge. When the economy shifted and growth ended, they went into a decline that has not yet abated."
"Rather than making today's Sun Belt boomtowns smug, this should serve as a cautionary tale. Even the most prosperous and seemingly invincible cities can be undone when trends shift and growth fades."
Making non-residential buildings energy efficient: Ever heard of the GreenBuilding Programme?
The building sector is one of the largest CO2 emitters in the EU and a crucial field of action that Covenant signatory cities ought to include in their Sustainable Energy Action Plans. For local authorities, addressing the non-residential sector – outside of their sphere of competence - can often prove a considerable challenge.
In this context, the European Commission’s voluntary GreenBuilding Programme (GBP) can provide significant help, as it supports energy efficiency improvements in both existing and new, non-residential buildings across Europe. Via this programme, the European Commission gives partner status to companies implementing sustainable energy measures in their building stock, and provides them with information support and public recognition.
Is a City Still a City If It Can't Serve Its Residents?
Police response times average 58 minutes for worst crimes and at times only 10 of the city's 36 ambulances are in service: Detroit's woes extend far beyond its unpaid debts. Many residents are hoping emergency management will bring drastic change.
"As officials negotiate urgently with creditors and unions in a last-ditch effort to spare Detroit from plunging into the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation’s history, residents say the city has worse problems than its estimated $18 billion debt," writes Monica Davey.
“'The city is past being a city now; it’s gone,' said Kendrick Benguche, whose family lives on a block with a single streetlight, just down from a vacant firehouse that sits beside a burned-out home."
While some residents fret about the impacts of a possible bankruptcy filing, others are ready for drastic change.
“'For a lot of people, I think city government has become a nonentity here,' said Kurt Metzger, the director of Data Driven Detroit, which tracks demographic, economic and housing trends in the region. 'People almost feel like the city goes on in spite of city government — that city government in this case certainly doesn’t define the city — and that affects how they’re feeling about what comes next.'”
IDC IDs China’s smart cities
China’s smart city market is expected to reach $10,8-billion in 2013, representing an increase of 18,5% compared to the previous year, says IDC
This is one of the key findings of IDC’s China 100 Smart Cities Evaluation and Recommendation: Penetrating the Appropriate Target Cities Is Key.
In it, IDC identifies target cities with more market opportunities, larger market space and development opportunity based on the maturity level of city informatisation and regional characteristics.
In addition, IDC integrated the construction, upfront investment and competition situations of provincial city circles into its findings to create a Smart City Evaluation Index System that provides decision-making support for vendors who are considering to expand into specific target cities.
14 Ways San Francisco Has Given New Life to Its Historic Assets
In the current feature story from its 'Urbanist' magazine, the Bay Area planning think tank SPUR looks at 14 efforts to preserve the soul of San Francisco through the adaptive reuse, incorporation and juxtaposition of the city's historic buildings.
"Great cities are built in layers: New buildings can help reinforce older urban forms and old buildings can be reimagined to serve new uses," write SPUR and San Francisco Architectural Heritage. "It is the juxtaposition of old and new that gives cities their interesting corners, their urban surprises, their texture."
The 14 creative, challenging, and sometimes controversial preservation efforts examined in the article are grouped into three categories:
•Adaptive Reuse — when old buildings are repurposed for a use that they were not originally designed to serve.
•Incorporation — when elements of old buildings are incorporated into new buildings.
•Juxtaposition — when something new responds to, but does not mimic the old.
Featured projects include the hugely successful 2003 rehabilitation of the Ferry Building, the "highly provocative" incorporation of the rotunda and glass dome of the City of Paris department store into Philip Johnson's Neiman Marcus building, and the addition of four "sleek glass" stories of apartments above the former Arc Light Company Station B building.
UN Volunteers to start e-discussion on children & youngsters in Urban Areas
As part of UNV’s effort in the framework of the post-2015 process, UNV presents a concrete opportunity for civil society and youth in particular to speak up their voices.
Starting August 1, UNICEF, UN-Habitat, the Major Group for Children and Youth and UNV will be moderating an e-discussion on the theme “Children and Young People living in Urban Areas”. UNV would like to invite you to take part to the consultation by engaging your constituency in actively participate in the conversation.
This proposed e-discussion precedes “Urban inequalities and inequities in the post-2015 agenda, “a panel led by UNICEF and the Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights of the UCLG. The panel will be part of the World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders, 4th UCLG Congress: Imagine Society, Build Democracy, which will take place in Rabat, Morocco, 1-4 October, 2013.
More Jobs: Better Cities - A Framework for City Action on Jobs
How to help cities support and grow more and better jobs for the recovery? This is the key challenge tackled by the paper "More Jobs: Better Cities - A Framework for City Action on Jobs" part of a series of six new URBACT thematic reports "Cities of Tomorrow: Action Today". Written by Mike Campbell and Alison Partridge, this report provides a framework for city action on jobs. It can be used as a tool to review and develop existing approaches, stimulating a rethinking of city action and providing advice and guidance to policy-makers and practitioners.
What is Poverty? Accounting for the True Expense of City Life
At $23,550, the federal poverty line is a blunt instrument used to measure the nuances of affordability. A tool provided by the Economic Policy Institute shows how much more a family needs to make for a modicum of security in cities across the U.S.
"The Economic Policy Institute offers a more comprehensive calculator, one that was recently updated for 2013 and that now includes 600 communities across the country and six family types," reports Emily Badger. "The EPI Family Budget Calculator includes geographically adjusted costs for housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, other necessities, and taxes, in search of what it takes to achieve a 'secure yet modest living standard.'"
"The numbers that come out the other end don't look anything like the federal poverty line. How much does a two-parent, two-child household in New York City need? $93,502."
URBIS website provides searchable database of biodiversity case studies
The Urban Biosphere (URBIS) Initiative, a global alliance of partners encouraging conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources to be made priorities in urban development, have launched a new website, providing an online resource platform on sustainable urban development and effective biodiversity management.
Users can view publications, guidelines and case studies from around the world, searchable by location, Aichi Target, and other categories. To join URBIS, cities must submit at least one case study, detailing their work on biodiversity conservation within sustainable urban development. All case studies are fully searchable, and feature a range of useful experiences.
Members come from across the globe, including ICLEI members Barcelona (Spain), Cape Town (South Africa), Cascais (Portugal) and Auckland (New Zealand) among others. The website is still in its soft-launch phase, with certain content gaps, but will be continuously improving. Those who wish to join the initiative can do so via online form.
To view the website, click here. http://urbis.iclei.org/home
Are Vancouver's Leaders 'Tone-Deaf' to Residents' Vision for the City?
After less than a year on the job, Vancouver's planning manager is under fire for controversial proposals. Do the recent misfires reflect poor messaging, tight budgets, and short timelines; or a more fundamental problem with the city's leaders?
"After a series of public rebellions against new developments in Vancouver the last four years, the city’s recently hired planning manager promised that things would be different," writes Frances Bula. "Instead of getting embroiled in one-off battles over individual projects, general manager Brian Jackson said planners would develop thoughtful blueprints for four key neighbourhoods. They would listen to the residents. They would provide specific details about height and density so no one would be surprised by anything that came along."
"That utopian vision has taken a beating in the last couple of weeks after major uproars about two of the plans – one covering the city’s popular Commercial Drive area, called Grandview-Woodland, the other in the Marpole area near the Fraser River."
"In both cases, residents said those weren’t their ideas at all, but concepts that seemed to come out of nowhere," explains Bula. "And activists in the two other communities slated for plans – the West End and the Downtown Eastside – say more public opposition is coming."
"The uproar has demonstrated to many residents that the city’s political leaders and planners are still tone-deaf when it comes to hearing what kind of city people want."
New EC policy on procurement of interoperable ICT
The EC has recently adopted a new policy to help public authorities avoid dependence on a single ICT supplier. The EC has launched a 'Guide for the procurement of standards-based ICT — Elements of Good Practice' accompanied by a Communication 'Against lock-in: building open ICT systems by making better use of standards in public'. UTMC and OCIT, the two open standards and specifications frameworks within the POSSE project, are cited in the guide.
How Will Bike-Centric Urbanism Reshape Our Cities?
For the past half-century, the automobile has played a profound role in shaping the form of our cities and suburbs. A new book examines the effects cycle-centric planning will have on the built environment.
"Cycle Infrastructure, written by the architects behind Dutch planning practice Artgineering, presents a survey of best-practice cycle routes from around the world, alongside interviews with the people that made them happen," writes Oliver Wainwright. "There is also an enlightening section on innovations, from Copenhagen's conversation lanes, to the bike-friendly traffic lights in Groningen – which turn green for cyclists earlier when it's raining or snowing."
"In their survey, which travels from Vancouver's separated lanes to Lisbon's waterside route, via Cambridge, Vienna and Wuppertal, they ask how cycle highways might start to influence the fundamental ways we make our cities. 'Will we begin to see new cycling-driven typologies,' they ask, 'in the same way that the motorway led to the creation of the shopping mall?'”
UN launches World Economic and Social Survey: New strategies needed to address impacts of rapid urbanization
New strategies are needed to address the impacts of rapid urbaniza tion around the world, including increasing demands for energy, water, sanitation, public services, education and health, according to the World Economic and Social Survey 2013, launched today at the United Nations.
The 2013 Survey examines the many challenges that must be ad dressed to achieve sustainable development. The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development—Rio+20 set out a framework for action and follow-up across a wide range of issues and the survey zooms in on three critical challenges – food security, energy transformation a nd sustainable cities [...]."
London's Dubious Olympic Legacy
A year after the city staged an Olympic games intended to provide a legacy of revitalization for East London, Oliver Wainwright checks in on the progress. While the early results are 'not auspicious', he still finds reason for optimism.
"Presented as a benevolent behemoth of fast-track regeneration, the Games were supposed to leave behind a shiny new world of 12,000 homes and 10,000 jobs, set amid the rolling hills of the largest new park in Europe. It would be the miracle cure for the maligned East End, cleansing a swath of the Lower Lea valley – a site conveniently branded as a toxic dumping ground, at the nexus of London's poorest boroughs."
"Walking down Stratford High Street, along the south-east border of the Olympic park, the signs are not auspicious," Wainwright observes. "At every junction of this roaring A-road sprouts a steroidal tower, each clad in ever more lurid colours, transforming the street into a gauntlet of competing ambitions. Looming over adjacent council estates, these brash totems are a monument to Olympian greed."
However, he continues, "Despite all the blunders around the edge of the site, there are reasons to be optimistic. The communities within could yet be successful. But an uneasy fact remains: that building on the site of a global event – making workable streets from tarmac wastes and weaving housing around velodromes – is a difficult and expensive way of producing a good city."
Parking and urban access - contribute to the AIPARK-Sapienza survey
AIPARK and Sapienza – University of Rome started a cooperative study on the contemporary situation of parking management and practice in Europe with a special focus on accessibility problems to urban central areas. Polis members are invited to contribute.
A New Way To Compare Cities, From The Creator Of TED
The creator of the TED conference has teamed up with Esri to develop an innovative interactive exhibit and online mapping tool to compare 16 global cities along 16 data points, including: population density, open space, and traffic.
Richard Saul Wurman, the creator of the TED conference, has been interested in being able to compare cities at the same scale for more than 50 years. But only recently was he able to create a means to effectively, and attractively, display comparative patterns.
Wurman, Jon Kamen of Radical Media, and Esri president Jack Dangermond, have together created the Urban Observatory, "an immersive exhibit featuring standardized comparative data on over 16 cities. Zoom in on one city map and other cities will simultaneously zoom in at the same scale, making it possible to compare data on traffic density, vegetation, residential land use, and so on," says Ariel Schwartz.
"The Observatory features 16 data sets in five categories: work, movement, people, public, and systems. 'It’s shocking that it hasn’t been done 40 years ago, 50 years ago,' says Wurman."
New edition of the publication “For a World of Inclusive Cities”
The UCLG Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights reissued its publication "For a World of Inclusive Cities”. The publication follows the graphical line of its previous publications: the Charter-Agenda for Human Rights in the City, the European Charter for the Safeguarding of Human Rights in the City and the Inclusive Cities Observatory brochure. “For a world of inclusive cities” aims to disseminate the policy paper on social inclusion drafted by the Committee and adopted by UCLG in 2008. The paper presents the main policy guidelines that cities are recommended to follow when conceiving and developing public policies on social inclusion. It also aims to facilitate UCLG’s position on this issue and foster dialogue with other organizations or agencies. The document was inspired by the conclusions of the “1st International Seminar on Innovative Local Policies for Social Inclusion”, held in Barcelona in 2007, as well as the political discussions that took place within UCLG through its regional sections and working committees. The experiences presented at the Seminar are available on the website of the Inclusive Cities Observatory: http://www.uclg-cisdp.org/observatory. We invite you to download the publication through the following link: For a World of Inclusive Cities or to consult the section of the Committee website devoted to this document: web section about For a World of Inclusive Cities.
See more at: http://www.uclg.org/en/media/news/new-edition-publication-%E2%80%9C-world-inclusive-cities%E2%80%9D#sthash.kmyieZSY.dpuf
Census changes a problem for city’s planners
The federal government's controversial decision to scrap Canada's long-form census in 2011 and replace it with a voluntary household survey is coming home to roost, as cities across the country dismiss its skewed results.
"Weaknesses in the most recent national census mean the City of Ottawa is treating the data skeptically and relying more on its own sources of information about the city’s population, says the city’s chief urban-planning statistician."
"Decrying the mandatory long-form census as an invasion of privacy, then industry minister Tony Clement, who oversaw Statistics Canada, replaced it with a voluntary 'National Household Survey.' Since filling out the survey in 2011 was optional, the results are necessarily skewed: there’s no way to be sure if any particular group of people is more or less likely to choose to fill out the form, so there’s no way to know whether the survey accurately represents Canada’s actual population," writes David Reevely.
According to Anna Mehler Paperny, the city of Toronto has already decided it will not use the survey results as a tool for historical comparison. "Toronto, like other cities and a multitude of government and private organizations, relies on data from the long-form census to get a sense of where the community’s going."
"At least, it used to."
"Now, every city department – from planning to transit, traffic and social services – will need to find another way to figure out how Toronto’s communities are changing."
Suwon sets EcoMobility model for cities worldwide
How are big and continuously growing Asian cities coping with urban challenges, and particularly transportation, in an era where climate change and its impacts are becoming more visible and relevant to the urban population? ICLEI speaks to Yeom Tae-Young, Mayor of Suwon City, who envisions EcoMobility – carbon-free and resource-efficient means of transport – as the key to creating ecofriendly and people-centered cities of the future.
Partner Cities Meet to "Enjoy" Sustainable Food in Gothenburg
Sustainable, healthy food is a hot topic in Europe, and the Sustainable Food for Urban Communities URBACT project is now tackling this vast subject. Interesting and enjoyable exchanges on the theme "Enjoying" took place at the project workshop in Gothenburg late May 2013 focusing on the role of canteens and consumer behaviour in making improving our food system. Discover what happened during this transnational meeting and the project outputs.
Reinventing Inner-Ring Suburbs
Inner-ring suburbs are becoming denser and more populated, according to a recent article by the Urban Land Institute (ULI). Municipalities are responding by promoting compact development near transit. Creating nodes of mixed-use infill projects in these suburbs will be key to meeting consumer demand for more walkable communities, notes the ULI.
Vote for the best EU low-carbon project
The first stage in the search for Europe's best solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has come to a close.
The World You Like Challenge invited the most creative minds from across the EU to put their low-carbon innovations to the test. ICLEI Europe is a partner of the " A world you like. With a climate you like" campaign.
Vote for the most practical, cost-efficient and effective climate solutions, which can also be applied in other European countries!
EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard said: “It has been truly encouraging to see so many innovative projects out there – from low-carbon transport solutions and digital tools to make sustainable living easier, to companies, schools and homes producing their own renewable energy. Now that the voting is about to start, what do YOU think are the best solutions to create a world we like? I look forward to rewarding the best ones at our award show in Copenhagen this autumn."
Until 19 August, the public will be able to decide which ten European projects should go on to the next stage through an online vote. These projects will then be put to a jury led by Commissioner Hedegaard, which will select three finalists to be honoured at the Sustainia Award Ceremony in Copenhagen this autumn.
One finalist will be awarded the grand prize: the European media package. The winner will be given the chance to produce a professional video based on their entry and will receive a wealth of media support to promote their successful project across Europe.
As the campaign has a special focus on Bulgaria, Italy, Lithuania, Poland and Portugal, a national winner will be selected in each of these five countries. The winning entries will be featured on billboard campaigns in their own capital this autumn.
Public voting on http://world-you-like.europa.eu from 19 June to 19 August;
EU funding boost to promote sustainable transport in 18 countries
The European Commission has released the names of another 18 winning actions to be awarded funding. Each action will receive up to EUR 7000. This financial support will enable campaigners involved in a range of pursuits to expand their activities promoting sustainable urban mobility.
In July 2012, the European Commission launched the Sustainable Urban Mobility campaign. Under the slogan ‘Do the Right Mix’, the campaign showcases and supports local, regional, and national promotional actions across Europe. The central aim is to encourage EU citizens to embrace multi-modality – that is to say to combine or ‘mix’ multiple modes of transport in their everyday lives.
Since the launch of the campaign in 2012, nearly 380 sustainable urban mobility actions have been registered on the central www.dotherightmix.eu website. The ongoing and upcoming actions are displayed on the innovative Mobility Map, which provides enhanced Europe-wide visibility for campaigners. The website also features a fun and interactive Facebook game in which users must choose the most sustainable transport options for the central character, Edgar, and can win a foldable bike.
The second call for funding saw 74 applications from 18 eligible countries. The application process was open until 31 May 2013 and successful applicants were selected by a panel of expert judges, all experienced in the field of sustainable urban mobility. One outstanding activity in each country was granted financial support.
Read the European Commission press release on the winning SUM actions here.
World Town Planning Day Online Conference
Professional planning associations from around the world are celebrating World Town Planning Day in November with an international on-line conference.
The theme this year is WATER AND PLANNING: THE FLUID CHALLENGE.
Most Planning professionals around the world have dealt with at least one major water-related challenge in their career: flood, drought, climate change, supply shortages or demand management. The way the profession responds has a significant impact on the future of our communities. This Online Conference will bring together ideas from around the world and we are especially keen to attract speakers who provide a perspective from outside the traditional realm of ‘planning and design’ and draw on multi-disciplinary material. We hope to offer insights to help improve the built environment - our cities, towns, rural communities – and the natural environment
We invite you to contribute to the fifth Online Conference for World Town Planning Day. Please join us and share ways to plan for our communities in the face of so many issues related to water. To offer a paper, please send a 200-word abstracts to email@example.com by 20th August.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org, visit the website www.planningtheworld.net
Is Urban Planning Effective in the Developing World?
A common question raised by those working in the developing world is whether urban planning is useful in those environments. Since questions often focus on planning of a comprehensive type, they overlook planning's intrinsic value and flexibility.
Chyi-Yun Huang, an Urban Specialist at the World Bank, continues a discussion started at the Bank's South Asia Region workshop on whether comprehensive long term planning works in such countries as Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Nepal, that "face immediate urgencies, and more often than not, system failures in its urban development."
"There are perhaps two common misconceptions about urban planning: (i) it is a costly exercise that takes a very long time to complete; and (ii) a plan is a rigid, inflexible regulatory document that does not respond to on-the-ground needs and changes," she observes. "Yes, while the typical developed country model of comprehensive urban planning may require high technology, high capacity analysis, extensive modeling and typically large amount of resources, that is not the only form of planning. Gathering a block of residents and agree that a road is needed at a certain alignment is planning; the roads agency meeting the drainage agency to coordinate construction schedule for a road is planning; the community leader discussing with the residents on the vision of the community is planning."
She goes on to detail three elements that demonstrate the intrinsic value of planning, representing its ability to be effective in such environments:
•Urban planning embodies a vision...
•Urban planning is a value creation tool...
•Urban planning is a coordination and communication instrument...
Scholarships available for the course "Strengthening the Capacity of City Officials for Urban Adaptation and Resilience"
A one-week course called "Strengthening the Capacity of City Officials for Urban Adaptation and Resilience" is planned for the staff of local governments. There are full scholarships available to cover the costs for participants from low- and middle-income nations.
In the next 20 years the world’s urban population is expected to rise from 3.3 billion to 5 billion. Urbanisation will increase the pressure on infrastructure and services like road networks and the provision of electricity and water and sanitation. Climate change presents an additional challenge for cities in both developed and developing countries. Increasing temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, rising sea levels and more frequent and severe extreme events threaten to overwhelm urban infrastructure, emergency services, social services and urban management systems.
Adaptation will require action at the local level to adapt to climate change and protect the residents, industries, societies and economies from the impacts of climate change.
This course is aimed at strengthening the capacity of city officials who have been mandated to engage with adaptation and resilience in urban areas. It will be particularly appropriate for local government employees in towns and cities that have recently identified climate change adaptation as a priority, but that are still at early stages in developing their responses.
Local authorities’ engagement in Rio+20 implementation
The Member States are currently working and negotiating, in the follow up of Rio+20 process, involving local and regional authorities. International Conferences and processes led by the United Nations are intergovernmental by nature as the only official actors of the UN international processes are the States. However, these processes increasingly involve non state actors’ participation through the Major Groups.
In the follow up of Rio+20 process, the implementation of the main outcomes of the Conference is made through two important mechanisms: The Open Working Group and the High Level Political Forum. These two mechanisms will also play a key role in the definition of the new development agenda and the Post 2015 policy. UCLG has been nominated as organizing partner of the Local Authorities Major Group (LAMG) for the Rio+20 Process (together with nrg4SD and ICLEI), as contact point between the Secretariat and the members of the constituency.
The Human Scale-A documentary on urban development
‘The Human Scale’, a documentary on urban development provides a glimpse into the influence the development of cities have on the life of the people. It is about designing spaces for human beings, providing a view on where we’ve gone wrong and where success can be achieved. Activist Mark Gorton goes as far to say “We’ve made our own human living environment deadly for people”. Surely that’s not a path we want to continue on.
A documentary inspired by the respected work of Jan Gehl and his team of architects and urban designers. Jan Gehl, Danish architect and professor might be best known to Wayfinding Forum regulars as the man contracted by the City of Sydney to help transform its urban landscape but this is only a recent addition to a career spanning over 40 years. He has received awards and recognition for his work in London and New York as well as other cities across Australia and in New Zealand. He is also popular figure for documenting how modern cities repel human interaction, arguing that we can build cities in a way which takes human needs for inclusion and intimacy into account.
The documentary describes life in a mega city as both “enchanting and problematic” citing peak oil, climate change, loneliness and severe health issues amongst our current challenges. It states that on the whole this is caused by “our way of life”, but Gehl offers an alternative solution.
Chinese Cities Lead List of the World's Most Unaffordable
While it may not have the world's highest absolute property values, Beijing has the highest imbalance between housing prices and incomes. Gwynn Guilford examines why this is problematic for the country's economic and social wellbeing.
"Five big Chinese cities rank among the priciest housing markets in the world, surpassing notoriously expensive cities like Tokyo, London and New York, based on calculations by the International Monetary Fund," reports Guilford. By measuring the price-to-wage ratio (median housing prices versus median disposable incomes), the IMF data shows that "the mid-range price of an apartment in New York is 6.2 times more than what a typical family makes in a year. By comparison, it would take nearly a quarter-century of earnings to buy a pad in Beijing’s capital outright."
"Residential property is a big mess for the Chinese government—and it’s not going away," adds Guilford. "That’s worrying news for the government; housing prices are a major source of public resentment. The danger isn’t just the threat of popular unrest, though: It’s that soaring property prices make people feel less wealthy and less inclined to consume. And that’s exactly what the government needs them to do in order to wean the economy off its dependency on exports and credit-driven investment."
How to make money and energy savings through LED lighting
In its recent announcement about the newly-published guidelines on how to prepare the transition to LED lighting, the European Commission Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content & Technology mentions the example of six Covenant of Mayors Signatories having succeeded in the field, namely Albertslund (Denmark), Birmingham (UK), Eindhoven (The Netherlands), Lyon (France), Mechelen (Belgium) and Tilburg (The Netherlands).
Considering that lighting accounts for 50% of electricity consumption in the urban environment, the transition to LED solutions can be a powerful contributor to the CO2 reduction ambitions of signatory cities.
In its report "Lighting the Cities", the European Commission outlines the various stages of the LED transition process, touching on context assessment, stakeholders’ engagement, financing, procurement and overall costs and benefits.
Towards low carbon schools: Covenant cities experience the Atlas project
Targeting local authorities, school staff and pupils the Atlas project encourages schools to reduce their energy consumption by better understanding the activities impacting their carbon footprint. Between 75 and 80% of schools in Europe are energy inefficient, and one of the more common obstacles to change is the difficulty in gathering data.
Thanks to the low carbon toolkit developed through this project – and downloadable for free – an action plan is generated which identifies short and medium-term measures to help the school authorities move towards this goal. In the Covenant cities of Matera and London, results have already been shared.
Action spans from building refurbishment to soft mobility, sustainable food consumption and recycling initiatives, encouraging a very holistic approach to reducing energy consumption.
Thanks to the savings made through building refurbishment and other measures, schools are able to reallocate funds to other priorities, also benefiting businesses working with low carbon products and solutions.
The project is currently running with schools in Italy, Poland, the Netherlands and the UK.
The Future of Civic Engagement
Seeking to maximize the power of the Internet to expand public outreach efforts, a plethora of engagement platforms have proliferated in recent years. Government Technology looks at five of the most promising new models of civic engagement.
The open house, the charrette, the visioning meeting, the public hearing: time intensive platforms for civic participation have shown their limitations in being able to bring a wide swath of community members into the planning process. But web-based platforms like Neighborland, Textizen, and Community PlanIt are allowing a new generation to connect to their local governments.
The editors at Government Technology look at a few other platforms that are new to us. One is Voterheads, "a free online engagement platform that alerts citizens via email when their city, county or school board is discussing a topic that they’re interested in." Another is Open Town Hall, which promises to "[move] the public meeting process online, acknowledging some 21st-century realities and offering a few other advantages too."
"Open Town Hall requires registration, and the topics are presented by the jurisdiction," explain the authors. "Rather than restricting input, said [Peak Democracy co-founder Mike Cohen], it broadens the appeal of participation and brings in many more moderate views. Open Town Hall also requires a geocoded address so that input on an issue can be evaluated based on its location."
A "platform to watch" is Placehood.org: a “virtual place to discuss real places that you want to see transformed.”
Homeowners Less Likely to Default on Mortgages in Smart Growth Neighborhoods
Fannie Mae recently published a mortgage default analysis of 37,000 mortgages from across the nation. The analysis found that homeowners in neighborhoods with smart growth features are substantially less likely to incur default on mortgage payments than are homeowners in locations without smart growth attributes. Specific factors correlated with a reduced risk of default include reduced commute time, use of rail transit, walkability, and proximity to parks and open space.
Survey on surveillance and security technology
Which security and surveillance technologies are being used in European cities and for what purpose? Is investing in technologies worthwhile, given that in terms of prevention every euro can only be spent once?
UN-Habitat hosts roundtable on urbanization and youth bulge
UN-Habitat hosted a high-level Segment Ministerial Breakfast Roundtable last week on “Harnessing the Dual Global Trends of Urbanization and Demographic Youth Bulge” during the ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva. The roundtable was chaired by UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos and participants included ECOSOC member states, Vice President of ECOSOC ambassador Martin Sajdik, representatives of United Nations agencies, high level business officials and representative from international organizations.
Giving Waterfronts Back to the People
Does D.C. want to be a swamp? Are waterfronts for tow parks or people? Heidi Petersen reports on a panel discussion on the past and future of Washington's waterfront at the National Building Museum.
Remembering the industrial past of riverfronts, a discussion panel of planning professionals, gathered at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. in June to discuss building along rivers, brought up the salient question: "Is the waterfront a back door or a front door?"
With a focus on recreational development along the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, the panel concluded that riverfronts are important to both commerce and recreational activity.
Part of the discussion focused on the bureaucratic hurdles that must be jumped in order to implement any significant change for which there is great demand, such as non-motorized recreational boating on the D.C. waterfront. The discussion also meandered to the river as a "double-edged sword," both helping and hindering development with the potential for flooding, particularly in Prince George's County, home to the infamous "rain tax" on impervious surfaces.
The Yards, a new park on the Potomac in Georgetown, has become very popular with the public, an example of the riverfront being used as front door, above the flood zone, of course.
How India's urban poor also HELP the economy grow
Most informal enterprises in slums employ local residents, generating benefits for the local economy. They make profits, pay rent and taxes, Kala Seetharam Sridhar and A Venugopala Reddy point out.
India's urban poverty is over 25 per cent. Rightly, the Reserve Bank of India has asked banks to bring metropolitan areas under the lead bank scheme for the first time since 1969, a move aimed at providing to the urban poor doorstep banking and direct transfer of cash benefits under social welfare programmes.
The central bank has admitted that financial exclusion is not merely a rural phenomenon.
Since policy makers have always viewed the urban poor as burdens on public services and infrastructure, the apex bank's initiative is a step in the right direction.
Is climate change action making cities healthier and wealthier?
A new report of 110 cities worldwide reveals that climate change action can improve quality of life
A recent report claims that climate change action is giving us healthier, wealthier cities. The 2013 report, carried out by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and based on data from 110 cities worldwide, reveals three key findings.
The first relates to the financial savings resulting from cities adapting to climate change. The report states that one out of every two actions being taken by cities to reduce municipal emissions focuses on efficiency. Cities are carrying out actions such as reducing energy demand in public buildings, improving fuel efficiency in municipal fleets and reducing energy consumption in public lighting. As a result, they are reporting savings of up to $40 million (€31 million) each year.
Secondly, cities believe that taking action to reduce emissions will help attract new business investment and grow the economy. Cleaner cities offer businesses more efficient buildings, less congestion and better air quality. All in all, cleaner cities are more attractive places in which to work and live. While 91% of cities surveyed believe that taking action against climate change will help create new economic opportunities, 98% are certain that inaction would have harmful effects on the urban environment and economic health.
Finally, these actions have a positive effect on the quality of life and health of citizens. Over half (55%) of the contributing cities taking action to reduce emissions are focusing on promoting sustainable modes of transport such as walking and cycling, which have a knock-on effect on citizens’ health. Cleaner air and more green spaces are also conducive to improving public health.
What Makes a City 'Global'?
In an era of mobile people and capital, the most ambitious cities position themselves as international players. By examining the 10 key traits of successful "global" cities, Brookings hopes to help local leaders "gauge their global starting point."
"Aware of the enormous untapped opportunities offered through trade and global engagement, many U.S. metropolitan leaders are abandoning their path dependent focus on the U.S. market by improving their region’s global fluency," observe Brad McDearman and Joseph Parilla. "Our new report, 'The Ten Traits of Globally Fluent Metro Areas,' defines global fluency as the level of global understanding, competence, practice, and reach that a metro area exhibits to facilitate progress toward its desired economic future."
"In this report," say the authors, "we specifically isolate the 10 key traits associated with cities that have achieved global success. Many of these traits align with the key inputs to economic competitiveness: distinct specializations, infrastructure, human capital and innovation, capital investment, and good governance to name a few."
"The 10 traits below have proven to be particularly strong determinants of a metro area’s ability to succeed in global markets, manage the negative consequences of globalization, and better secure its desired economic future. The most successful cities are those that have a long-term outlook and achieve some level of integration between many of the traits."
Truly dynamic cities are zones of the future. They are constantly being planned, rethought, redeveloped to account for future needs, aspirations and exigencies. In different ways, and for vast stretches of their existence, Delhi and Mumbai have heeded this imperative to upgrade. Delhi lays claim to greatness stretching back centuries, its location in the northern plains recommending it serially as a political capital. It has for ever been a city of power-brokers, but in the shadow of its pomp and show have thrived assorted industries and creative clusters, dependent on the rulers to provide enabling conditions for growth. Mumbai takes pride in a more organic growth, with a unique participatory collaboration between the governing classes and the city's private citizens making it worthy of its place, in modern times, among the world's leading financial capitals. That in both cities, today, there is so much confusion not only on how to imagine their future selves, but also on how to define and meet the needs of the more immediate present, is emblematic of the crisis that assails India's urban planning.
New strategies needed as rapid urbanization threatens sustainable development - UN report
Without fresh ideas to address rapid urbanization, the number of people living in slums lacking access to basic infrastructure and services such as sanitation, electricity, and health care may skyrocket from one billion at present to three billion by 2050, the United Nations today reported.
That wake up call is one of several alarm bells sounded in the , which was launched today in Geneva and which focuses this year on sustainable development and the challenges facing its economic, social and environmental dimensions.
According to the Survey, the vision of promoting economic and social wellbeing while protecting the environment has not been achieved due to rising inequality, gaps and shortfalls in development partnerships, rapid population growth, climate change and environmental degradation.
Humans at the center of the urban maze
Heavier emphasis on science in architecture will improve the way China's urbanization works, British expert says
Scientific research will become increasingly important as the emphasis in urbanization in China is put on quality rather than quantity, an urban planner says.
"In the past 10 years China has been building a huge amount, often without sufficient attention to quality, and sometimes the quality of construction has not been good enough," says Tim Stonor, managing director of the urban planning company Space Syntax.
"China is now reconsidering this approach."
This rethinking has led Chinese urban planners to increasingly value research, and the emphasis attached to research in China in some cases is "even more than in the UK", Stonor says.
"In my discussions with Chinese municipalities, they are all concerned about the social outcomes of urbanization, and this provides opportunities for the human-focused approach that we take at Space Syntax."
The Great Repurposing: Envisioning the City of Driverless Cars
With driverless cars poised to appear in the not-too-distant future, planners and engineers are beginning to envision the effect on the urban landscape and the spaces within cars themselves. Nick Bilton shares some of the predictions.
"While driverless cars might still seem like science fiction outside the [Silicon] Valley, the people working and thinking about these technologies are starting to ask what these autos could mean for the city of the future," writes Bilton. "The short answer is 'a lot.'"
"Inner-city parking lots could become parks. Traffic lights could be less common because hidden sensors in cars and streets coordinate traffic. And, yes, parking tickets could become a rarity since cars would be smart enough to know where they are not supposed to be."
"As scientists and car companies forge ahead — many expect self-driving cars to become commonplace in the next decade — researchers, city planners and engineers are contemplating how city spaces could change if our cars start doing the driving for us. There are risks, of course: People might be more open to a longer daily commute, leading to even more urban sprawl."
While some are more circumspect, others envision massive change. “'What automation is going to allow is repurposing, both of spaces in cities, and of the car itself,' said Ryan Calo, an assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Law, who specializes in robotics and drones."
Regen Europe at The International Festival for Business
Regen Europe will be one of over one hundred business focussed events that form part of the government backed International Festival for Business taking place in Liverpool during June and July 2014. To understand the enormous scope of the festival and the business leaders from around the globe who will participate, please visit http://www.ifb2014.com/.
As part of this ground-breaking business showcase, we are delighted to announce as part of The IFB, the launch of Regen Europe, a key event for regeneration practitioners from around Europe to listen, learn, discuss and debate the challenges facing our major towns and cities as they seek to emerge stronger from recent economic challenges. We are sending you this because you have been on previous regeneration databases that we have and we believe the event may be of interest. If not please click the unsubscribe button at the bottom of this email. If upon reviewing the information you are interested in exhibiting at or becoming a sponsor of the show please do contact us.
The conference: - A 32 speaker conference where industry leaders lend their expertise, share their knowledge and offer lively debate to the proceedings. Delegates can attend on one or both days, but conference entrance is strictly on a first come first served basis.
The exhibition: - strictly limited to 100 organisations from around Europe, including city councils, urban regeneration & development companies, city regeneration investment agencies, architects, urban design companies, local corporate companies,government agencies and community programmes. With up to 3000 visitors expected, business opportunities for exhibitors will be truly exceptional.
The Liverpool city regeneration tour: -enjoy a coach tour around some of the major regeneration areas of Liverpool showcasing success stories from around the city.
The website for the new show will be launched in the next few weeks along with regular monthly newsletters. Be part of the Regen Europe and The International Festival for Business 2014 and open up new business opportunities for your organisation. In the words of the Director General of The Confederation of British Industry, “The IFB 2014 is the place to be seen at. It’s the place to be and that’s why the CBI wants to be there”.
Urban Home Values Rising Faster than Homes in Suburbs
Recent data reported in Atlantic Cites compared urban and suburban home price changes over the past year. In 16 of the 20 metropolitan areas analyzed, urban home prices rose significantly more than prices in suburban areas. According to Atlantic Cities, the data suggests the urban shift in the housing market is real, and that the places people desire most are denser, more mixed use, diverse neighborhoods.
What future do Local and Regional Governments want? Take part in the online Summit debates
Only 78 days to go! As the World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders approaches, UCLG is offering citizens all over the world the opportunity to participate in the central debates of this global event. To facilitate active citizen participation, we have created the Twitter hashtag #Rabat2013 to bring together all of the news, comments and contributions on the Summit's theme, 'Imagine Society, Build Democracy'.
Deciding the future for towns, cities and regions is a task for everyone. In this new initiative for the 4th edition of the Summit, the key issues that will be addressed during the thematic round tables of the World Summit will be analysed, debated and expanded on before the event through social networks throughout September; the month leading up to the celebration of the event. Twitter will be the main channel and motor of these debates, which will be structured around the four topics of the thematic round tables.
HOW WILL THE DEBATES WORK?
To participate in the chat, follow @uclg_org on Twitter and use the #Rabat2013 and the hashtag for each of the themes: fostering wellbeing (#UCLGWellbeing), Strengthening solidarity among territories (#UCLG4dev), Supporting new local governance (#UCLGlocalgov) and promoting diversity (#UCLGdiversity).
Each debate will include contributions by an expert on the issue, who will also moderate the discussion and respond during the specific time slots allocated for each theme.
The chats are designed to attract the greatest number of participants possible, whether they are linked to the municipal movement or not. Contributions are welcome in any of the official languages of UCLG: English, French and Spanish.
In addition to the contributions of the experts, the inputs of online users will also be compiled and responded to by UCLG during a special week allocated to each of the themes. At the end of the month, when all four debates have been concluded, the top comments will be compiled and presented as contributions to the plenary sessions of the Summit in the city of Rabat from 1st to 4th October. A summary of online contributions will also be published on the UCLG blog.
3 September: Fostering wellbeing
In what way can local governments contribute to guaranteeing a dignified life for their citizens?
10 September: Strengthening solidarity among territories
How can development alliances be built between different spheres of government?
17 September: Supporting new local governance
What role can local authorities play to help alleviate social and economic crises?
23 September: Promoting diversity
How can diversity be promoted on all levels, through local and regional public policies?
You can also follow these updates live via the UCLG Facebook page and the UCLG LinkedIn profile.
Start having your say today!
Bicycling Increasingly Popular in the United States
Between 2000 and 2011, bicycle commuting in the United States was up 47 percent overall and up 80 percent in communities that are bike-friendly, according to an article in The Christian Science Monitor. In 2013, at least 18 new cities will set up bike-share networks — a 50 percent increase over 2012. "I think we're at a new standard for cycling in America," said Ray LaHood, the outgoing US Secretary of Transportation. "I think we've reached the tipping point, and we're going way beyond that."
Despite Lean Budgets, European Transit Goes Green
Despite widespread budget woes and austerity programs, European cities are pushing forward with plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by retrofitting existing transit systems in a "slow-motion revolution" in electric transport, reports Erica Gies.
"As Vienna shifts to electric buses, it is striving to be a leader in green transportation by testing new systems that can potentially create a cleaner, quieter downtown," writes Gies. "Vienna is one of several European cities — struggling to square tight budgets with civic goals to meet climate targets — that are experimenting with new electric vehicles and infrastructure systems for buses and trains."
"With the European Union’s ambitious goals to reduce global warming, these cutting-edge technologies are part of a slow-motion revolution in urban transit," she adds.
"These technologies are not yet a clear economic success. For now, city governments, like Heilbronn and Vienna, regularly subsidize ticket prices. Some cities, cautious about vehicle and battery performance, are limiting electric buses to lines with lighter passenger loads and shorter routes. But companies say they are playing the long game, evolving their electric transit technologies to reduce air and noise pollution and add convenience that attracts additional passengers."
Smart cities, smart citizens
An article by Paul Bevan was published on the Parliament Magazine website
Making our cities smarter will help drive sustainable, innovative and smart growth in Europe. But Paul Bevan argues in his latest article that citizens need to be at the centre of smart city initiatives for us to reap their full potential.
Paul Bevan argues that it is people who provide the dynamism and creativity to generate cultural and economic wealth in cities. By improving citizens’ access to digital technologies, opening up access to public data and allowing citizens to take the initiative, open innovation and co-creation will be able to thrive. New businesses and jobs will be created and the liveability of our cities will improve.
For this to happen, he believes it is important to have initiatives like the European Commission’s Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities. But the partnership should be an equal one between cities and industry. Successful pilots should be replicated so that all cities can benefit. There should also be sufficient investment in smart city initiatives and strong public-private partnerships can pave the way for ambitious and large-scale actions.
EUROCITIES awards 2013 shortlist announced
Innovative projects connected to ‘smart citizens’ are in the running for the EUROCITIES awards
Nine projects from seven of our members are in the running for the EUROCITIES awards 2013.
The shortlist was drawn up by an independent jury, composed of Freya van den Bossche, Flemish minister for cities, housing, energy and the social economy; Stephen Clark, head of web communications at the European Parliament; Cheryl Miller, executive director of Zen Digital Europe; Belgian political journalist Rob Heirbaut; and Prof. dr. Lieven De Marez from the University of Ghent.
Frankfurt to renew its energy!
Since the beginning of this year, the City of Frankfurt is engaged in a 4-year project to set-up a new masterplan 100% renewables until 2050. Entitled "Wir erneuern Frankfurt’s Energie!" (We renew Frankfurt’s energy!), this local initiative also takes place in 18 other German cities in the framework and with the funding support (up to 80%) of the German Federal Climate Protection Campaign "Klimaschutz".
The Hessen city, which is the financial centre of continental Europe and already well-known for being the city of passive houses and of decentralised CHP, used a forecasting methodology, with some experts, to develop a scenario towards 100% renewables (with 50% of savings) for itself and the Hessen region. It will also put emphasis on participative methods involving each and every stakeholder in this ambitious project for the future.
Why We'll Likely See a Lot More Urban-Oriented Protests in the Future
If there's one common thread uniting the recent protests in Brazil and Turkey, it's the growing inequality evident in cities, and the inability (or disinterest) of the public sector in bridging that gap through public services.
"Brazil is on fire, with hundreds of thousands of people hitting the streets to vent their anger and rage at corruption, the high cost of living, and proposed hikes in bus fares. Protests in Istanbul are still raging after nearly a month. Even Stockholm was raging in the recent weeks," writes Janine di Giovanni. "Welcome to the first truly urban century. It’s not going to be pretty. Reasons for these protests are nearly impossible to define, even on a superficial level, but one through line is clear—these are cases of city dwellers being plain fed up."
As Kerwin Datu posits in The Global Urbanist, "Apart from being concerned with the productive or residential dimensions of cities, people are now reacting against declines in their ability to consume the city — its public services, its public spaces, its public infrastructure. (In the case of anti-austerity protests, it is the ability to consume health services, education services, community services, etc.)"
"With more and more people flocking to urban life, is there a way we can look to the future to make our cities more habitable?" asks di Giovanni.
"John Rossant, the chairman and founder of New Cities Foundation, which convened the São Paulo conference, claims that these uprisings, as well as the Arab Spring awakenings, are linked. Lessons must be learned from the past if we wish to live harmoniously, especially as populations explode and more of us become city dwellers."
"So how do we find a way to live harmoniously in urban settings? Rossant and many others believe that the Brazil riots are just the start of many. What’s important, he notes, is that politics in this first truly urban century will largely take place in cities and will largely be about cities. And we must pay attention."
Suwon sets EcoMobility model for cities worldwide
How are big and continuously growing Asian cities coping with urban challenges, and particularly transportation, in an era where climate change and its impacts are becoming more visible and relevant to the urban population? ICLEI speaks to Yeom Tae-Young, Mayor of Suwon City, who envisions EcoMobility – carbon-free and resource-efficient means of transport – as the key to creating ecofriendly and people-centered cities of the future
Highway Upgrades Encourage Less Driving
Upgrades to the highway that connects Denver and Boulder will include a variety of elements intended to reduce congestion and offer alternatives to the traditional solo auto commute, according to a recent story in The New York Times. U.S. Highway 36 will incorporate bus rapid transit service, an electronic toll system for single-occupant cars, a bike path, and a special fast lane for high-occupancy vehicles. "It is, in other words, a highway designed to encourage people to drive less," said the Times.
Polis position paper on open transport data
Polis has released its position paper on open transport data. The paper describes why local authorities gather transport data and what are the findings to date from publishing transport data. Bulding on the why and the what, the paper also makes recommendations to the EC about the ITS Directive.
Urban Libraries Council Recognizes Top Innovators
Winning Initiatives Demonstrate Value and Impact of Public Libraries in the Community
The Urban Libraries Council (ULC) today recognized 10 libraries for innovative programs that offer everything from hands-on science projects to community gardens, often delivering their resources in unique ways.
The 2013 Top Innovators, announced during the ULC Annual Forum in Chicago, were chosen by a panel of expert judges who considered more than 140 applications. In addition, for the first time ULC honored three libraries for their response to community crises: a hurricane, wildfires and a mass shooting.
"These innovations continue to represent the leadership and value of high-performing public libraries," said ULC President and CEO Susan Benton. "From helping parents access information about early childhood literacy skills through a mobile App to creating a library presence at an international airport to helping their community after a natural disaster, public libraries are continuing to broaden and deepen their roles as vital community resources."
The 2013 Top Innovators in the 10 categories are:
Learning: Howard County Library System (MD) HiTech: The Road to a STEM Career delivers cutting-edge science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education using hands-on technology projects, experiential learning and peer-to-peer communications.
Civic and Community Engagement: Los Angeles Public Library (CA) Your Path to Citizenship Starts at the Los Angeles Public Library program provides a safe place for immigrants to access a wide range of services. Nearly 10,000 people have taken advantage of the resources available in "citizenship corners" in all 73 library locations.
Collections: Nashville Public Library (TN) Limitless Libraries increased circulation of school library resources by 79 percent since its launch in 2009. Today, it serves all 128 schools with two full-time collection development librarians and a materials budget of more than $1 million.
Customer Experience: Calgary Public Library (AB) Grow a Reader Early Literacy App takes the fun, interactive contents from early childhood literacy programs and delivers it to parents via mobile devices. In less than two months, the Grow a Reader app was downloaded 1,200 times.
Economic and Workforce Development: Saint Paul Public Library (MN) NorthStar Digital Literacy Project has led to more outcome-driven digital literacy instruction by using assessments for pre- and post- tests and tailoring program content to the assessment standards. The certificate of mastery has also increased interest in computer literacy classes, particularly among non-English speakers.
Health, Wellness and Safety: Pima County Public Library (AZ) Library Nurses Program provides a safe and welcoming environment for all patrons and staff at library branches and minimizes the number of 911 calls. During the program's first year, library nurses interacted with more than 2,800 patrons, and 911 medical calls from libraries fell by 20 percent.
Operations: New York and Brooklyn Public Libraries (NY) BookOps: Shared Library Technical Services will combine acquisitions, cataloguing, processing, sorting and delivery of books and resources to the New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library and will save the two library systems up to $3.5 million annually.
Organizational Change and Strategic Management: San Francisco Public Library (CA) Community Impact through Renewed Engagement initiated a research process to renew community connections in five city neighborhoods. From walks in the neighborhoods, to ride-alongs with police, to interviews with community members, the teams spent three months gathering data and then presented their findings to community members and library staff.
Positioning the Library: Free Library of Philadelphia (PA) Flying High: Library of Philadelphia Touches Down in the International Airport provides library resources to airport travelers and employees. The library's presence at the airport is part of its commitment to ensuring that the library remains a hub of possibilities for residents and those just passing through the region.
Sustainability: Sacramento Public Library (CA) Read and Feed: Partnerships for Building Healthy Communities supports a comprehensive healthy communities initiative in a neighborhood with a majority of its children living in poverty and limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
"Congratulations to the 2013 Top Innovators, as well as to every library that submitted for the Innovations Awards this year," said Benton. "Each library submission demonstrates how much of an impact public libraries have on communities through these remarkable and innovative initiatives."
Dublin's Transport Links, Racism Divides
Doing your job shouldn't make you the target of abuse. For frontline public transport workers with an immigrant background, the spectre of racism can add a disturbing edge.
Dublin transport companies in partnership with the Irish Immigrant Council and the Dublin City Council have introduced an industry-specific anti-racism campaign to respond to the problem. The “Dublin’s Transport Links, Racism Divides” slogan and advertising are displayed by its public transport partners on buses, trams, suburban trains and around taxi stands.
Cities for a more sustainable future: join us at the ECOCITY summit
Have you ever considered involving your citizens in sustainable projects, for instance, through the creation of local energy cooperatives? And how local authorities could benefit from the EU emission trading system?.
Join us at “New partnerships to support local action”, a workshop on how local government and civil society can cooperate to jointly implement sustainable projects. This session is organised together with our French section (AFCCRE) and Climate Alliance - a network of cities and municipalities working on the protection of the world's climate - in the frame of the ECOCITY summit from 25 to 27 September 2013 in Nantes (France).
Sydney benefits from EcoMobility Alliance
With 85% modal share in public transport, the City of Sydney says it still desires to further improve its e-mobility. Aligning the city’s two-week cycling festival and Walk21- the international conference on walking and liveable communities, Sydney is also hosting the next EcoMobility Alliance meeting in October 2014.
“Our European and Asian colleagues are surprised to hear that a new city, comparatively, like Sydney already has an 85 per cent mode split to public transport, walking and cycling. However, our cycling split is very low to many of the European members of the Alliance and we are learning a lot from them, and in return we are able to offer management tips for controlling parking rates and public transport congestion.” said Terry Lee-Williams, the City’s Executive Manager of City Access and Transport.
Aging Baby Boomers Pose Challenges to Street Design
As the Baby Boomer generation ages, the number of Americans who no longer drive is increasing. Designing streets and sidewalks to better serve the needs of aging pedestrians is a major challenge, but many communities are responding with innovative approaches. Age-friendly street design features include safer curbs and traffic crossings, more sidewalk benches, and increased lighting in subway entrances.
Flanders sets out priorities for Flemish ITS Action Plan
Open data was high on the agenda of the roundtable conference organised by the Flemish Region last week. Flanders has decided to make its traffic data available to the private sector, thus encouraging the development of digital traffic applications.
ICLEI and AMR sign agreement to help Romanian cities reduce CO2
Making cities more energy efficient and introducing renewable energy technologies are vital steps in curbing harmful emissions, and in creating more sustainable and liveable urban areas. With this in mind, ICLEI Europe and the Association of Romanian Municipalities (AMR) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Monday, committing both parties to a strategic alliance within the SEAP-PLUS project.
SEAP-PLUS, co-financed by the Intelligent Energy Europe programme, provides support to cities in meeting the objective of the Covenant of Mayors; namely going beyond the European Union objective of a 20 percent CO2 reduction by 2020.
ICLEI Europe, as an experienced partner, will transfer know-how and technical knowledge to AMR on preparing, implementing and monitoring Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs).
The organisation will also offer a tool for greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories preparation; offer training for Romanian municipalities on how to access and manage energy data, develop inventories and ideas for start-up implementation, stakeholder involvement; and contribute with relevant know-how and expertise, whenever applicable.
In response, AMR will disseminate lessons learnt, helpful tools and appropriate methodologies developed or suggested by ICLEI Europe; translate content into Romanian where feasible; indicate best practices in Romania; and introduce to others the role that ICLEI plays in the energy and climate debate at international and European level as a representative of local governments.
ICLEI Secretary General Gino Van Begin said: "We have experienced AMR as a very active and supportive national association of local governments. SEAP-PLUS builds upon this strong relationship, helping to fine-tune support resources for Romanian local authorities. Through our joint efforts we will facilitate the development of at least five SEAPs in Romania and hope to create a ripple effect within AMR’s members".
Signed by Wolfgang Teubner, Regional Director for Europe, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, and Tudor Pendiuc, President of AMR and Mayor of Piteşti Municipality (Romania), both parties have agreed to sustain their cooperation beyond the project's lifetime.
Seeing Dollar Signs, Developers Cater to Cyclists
Seeing an opportunity to cut costs, attract residents, and respond to changing demands of tenants, commercial and residential developers in the Seattle area are investing in amenities for bicyclists.
"If there really is a War on Cars, more and more employers and commercial developers are siding with the bicyclists," says Marc Stiles. "That’s clear when you look over building plans and hear developers talk about their projects."
Examples abound in the Seattle region, from the cycle tracks Amazon.com is building at its new three-block office complex to an entire apartment building for bicyclists called Velo, planned for the city's Fremont neighborhood. "Even Kemper Development, which touts the 10,000 free vehicle parking spaces at its Bellevue Collection, is building a bike commuter 'lounge' in the 4-million-square-foot retail, office, residential and hotel complex," adds Stiles.
"These are just a few of the many Seattle-area businesses and developers trying to capitalize on the popularity of bicycling — and to save lots of money, too. That $300,000 that Kemper is spending to handle dozens of cyclists, for example, is dwarfed by the $40,000 it can cost a landlord to build just one car stall in a parking structure."
"Nevertheless, developers’ increasing investment in bike commuting is generating work for a wide variety of businesses, from plumbers who install office showers, to makers of bike racks, to designers and consultants in the burgeoning bike arena."
Rotterdam praised for its job centre system
The European Commission wants to set up a platform to compare how well member states are tackling youth unemployment. The platform will help public employment services across the EU to cooperate more, share best practices and match job seekers with job vacancies in other countries.
Laszlo Andor, European commissioner for employment, social affairs and inclusion, said that this new platform will not “introduce a miracle-overnight cure to Europe’s unemployment problems”. It will however help to match job with skills, filling some of the 1.7 million unfilled vacancies in the EU.
Commissioner Andor highlighted EUROCITIES member Rotterdam as a positive example of a well-manged job centre system. City officials in Rotterdam set up a single contact point that centralises all the services aimed to help young get work, advice, and assistance.
What Cities Want study looks into tomorrow’s mobility
In "What Cities Want" – a current study by the Technical University of Munich, commissioned by MAN Group – 15 international cities provide information on how they want to more positively design their urban traffic in the future. This is especially interesting in accordance with SUMP.
Become the European Green Capital in 2016
Is your city actively involved in the protection of nature and biodiversity? Does it pay special attention to issues such as the air quality or acoustic environment? Is it a sustainable city model? If so, apply for the European Green Capital Award.
This European initiative aims to reward cities’ efforts to face environmental challenges. Due to its reputation, the prize is a source of inspiration for other cities wishing to place sustainable development at the heart of their policies and activities.
Pentagon Issues Mandatory Smart Growth Planning Criteria
The Pentagon has released new criteria that incorporate smart growth planning approaches to redesign the vast amounts of land it controls at its military bases. The new criteria incorporate principles of compact, transit-oriented, mixed-use infill development. The criteria state that "high connectivity, mixed land uses, and well-designed pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure decrease auto dependence and increase levels of walking, running, and cycling."
Bonn Climate Conference 2013
One more step forward to engage local and subnational governments in global climate regime
Throughout the UN Bonn Climate Conference from 3 to14 June, ICLEI updated negotiators on global progress in local climate action and advanced dialogues with national governments regarding new partnerships to be formulated within the scope of a renewed global climate advocacy of local and subnational governments towards Warsaw 2013 and Paris 2015.
How Jan Gehl Turned Melbourne into a Pedestrian Paradise
Danish architect Jan Gehl and a steadfast group of local collaborators have transformed Melbourne from a lifeless 9-5 city into a preeminently livable place. Mitra Anderson-Oliver looks at the principles that have guided their work.
"Working with the City of Melbourne in 1993 (Gehl was invited by the council to conduct a Public Spaces and Public Life survey – and again for a 2004 update [PDF]), a key recommendation was to create opportunities for outdoor dining, mimicking the success of the grand boulevards of Paris and the communal squares of Rome," notes Anderson-Oliver. "The suggestion was ridiculed in a city famous for its icy southerlies and four-seasons-in-one-day climate. Yet, twenty years later, Melbourne boasts the highest ratio of street furniture per person in the world; outdoor cafes have increased from less than 50 in 1990 to over 600 today; the number of pedestrians in the city on weekday evenings has doubled; and Swanston Street has more pedestrians per day than Regent Street in London."
"Forty years of this close observation of human behavior (rather than a more theoretical engagement with urban studies: 'I am not much into reading', he confesses) lies behind Gehl’s core beliefs of treating pedestrians and cyclists 'sweetly' and the need for the city to be an 'invitation' to spend time, a welcoming and sustaining place for people to live. 'A good city is like a good party', he says. 'You know it’s working when people stay for much longer than really necessary, because they are enjoying themselves.'"
Energy Cities' EUSEW Workshop: "Local authorities are our best allies"
The key role of local and regional authorities in EU climate and energy policy was emphasized at Energy Cities’ EUSEW workshop, while the need for a European multi-stakeholders alliance is getting more and more obvious.
On Wednesday 26 June, in the framework of EUSEW’s High Level Policy Conference, Energy Cities held a workshop entitled "Proposals for the energy transition of cities and towns".
Energy-efficient housing: Dutch project ‘House full of Energy’ opens doors
More and more people realise that it is smart to live in houses that are energy neutral, that is houses that actually produce as much energy that you need. Benefits: it’s comfortable, it’s climate friendly and it’s cost-efficient (it actually saves you money). In the Netherlands a project called ‘House full of energy’ (Huis vol energie) recently organised an open day during which people with energy neutral houses opened their doors to the general public. In this way anybody interested in energy neutral housing could visit energy neutral houses and meet with these homeowners.
ASSISTANT helps older people navigate public transport
It is estimated that in Europe today, older people make about half of their trips by car. The ASSISTANT project (Aiding SuStainable Independent Senior TrAvellers to Navigate in Towns) is creating tools to reduce their dependency on the car.
The Art of Urban Farming
Architectural historian Richard Ingersoll surveys creative 'civic agriculture' projects in the United States and Europe where abandoned lots have been transformed into edible landscapes.
"Urban development has eaten away the clear edges of cities," writes Richard Ingersoll, "leaving ambiguous empty spaces."
On Places, IIngersoll explores how innovative landscape architects and urbanists are grappling with these "patchy areas," and he proposes an alternative approach he calls "civic agriculture" — the reconceptualization of cities as diverse agricultural zones, from productive parks to allotments, with the ultimate goal of a richer public realm.
He discusses landscape designs and artworks by Gilles Clément, Alan Sonfist and Carlo Scoccianti; as well as models of urban farming in Denmark, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the United States.
New programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI)
The European Commission has welcomed the political agreement reached with the European Parliament and the Council on the EU programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) with a proposed budget of €815 million for the 2014-20 period.
The EaSI merges three existing programmes: Progress (Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity), EURES (European Employment Services) and the European Progress Microfinance Facility. These will receive 61%, 18% and 21% of the budget respectively. Their scope will be extended and the EaSI will contribute to the Europe 2020 Strategy for Jobs and Growth.
Dialogue Circles: Building Intercultural Understanding between Immigrant and Indigenous Communities
July 23/24, 2013
Join us to learn about groundbreaking initiatives in Wellington, New Zealand, and Vancouver, Canada, that are bringing new immigrant and indigenous communities together for intercultural learning and meaningful exchange as an essential part of newcomer settlement and welcome in these multicultural societies.
How the Internet is Helping Cities in the Western World to Loosen Up
While cities in the developing world embrace the chaos and risk inherent in their informal landscapes, the Western world excels at regulation. But this dynamic is starting to change, to the dismay of incumbent industries and establishment regulators.
Over the last two decades, the social web has helped facilitate the "de-formalization of every sector of the economy and society [in the developed world], from transportation, to wellness and healthcare, to travel, to journalism, to humanitarian aid, and on and on and on," argues Nick Grossman, “Activist in Residence” at Union Square Ventures and a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab. "In effect, [these platforms] are applying highly formal structures to these 'informal' personal interactions, bridging the gap between the industrial economy and the informal economy."
"Not surprisingly, we’re seeing this conflict unfold as the new informal economy, operating at web scale, draws the ire of both incumbent industries and establishment regulators whose livelihoods it threatens," he explains. "Sharing rides is illegal. Sharing apartments is illegal. Making person-to-person loans is illegal. Even free online education is illegal. For now."
One might draw parallels with the tactical urbanism movement, and the pushback from local authorities that several projects have received.
"Slowly but surely, however, jurisdictions are adapting their regulatory positions to recognize and support the new informal economy, powered by the tools of the social web, and recognizing some of the legal precedents that have allowed the web to thrive," Grossman adds. "The challenge will be to continue pursuing the goals of safety, accountability and equity, while simultaneously embracing this return to the informal."
Milan kicks-off its SUMP process with a public meeting with all stakeholders on July 3rd
After 10 years Milan has started the review of its Piano Urbano della Mobilità Sostenibile (SUMP). Stakeholders participation in the SUMP process will kick-off at public meeting this Wednesday, July 3rd in the prestigious Mayor's Office at Palazzo Marino.
Health and economic benefits of active mobility (Germany)
The German Federal Environment Agency has released a study about the economic aspects of non-technical measures to reduce traffic emissions. It reveals that green mobility can also benefit the economy, public health and people’s individual budgets.
CTBUH Names Best Tall Buildings for 2013
Regional winners from Canada, China, UK and UAE; 10-Year, Innovation and Overall awards announced next; Lifetime achievement awards: Henry Cobb, Clyde Baker
Highly distinctive towers in Canada, China, the UK and UAE have been named the best tall buildings in the world for 2013 by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH).
The four regional winners include The Bow in Calgary, Canada (Americas); CCTV in Beijing, China (Asia and Australia); The Shard in London, United Kingdom (Europe); Sowwah Square in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (Middle East and Africa).
The 8 Most Promising Ideas in Open Gov
This week, the Knight Foundation announced the eight recipients (out of 886 applicants) to share in $3.2 million in grant funds intended to promote the use of public data "to improve the way people and governments interact."
Ariel Schwartz highlights two of the winning projects that promise new tools to "make public data more helpful."
"One of the most exciting projects is Open Gov for the Rest of Us, a project that gives residents of low-income Chicago neighborhoods the tools to ask for better data about foreclosure, immigration, crime, and schools. This isn’t just an app--it’s an entire engagement campaign for low-income parts of the city."
"Our other favorite winner is OpenCounter," she notes, "a team that makes it easier for residents to navigate the tricky world of business permitting, which too often turns off burgeoning entrepreneurs. As the brief explains: 'Whether it’s a startup, boutique or restaurant, OpenCounter helps to simplify this interaction with city government. It collects and sorts data on existing regulations while providing running totals of the costs and time involved in setting up shop.'"
More detailed descriptions of each of the winning projects can be found at Nieman Journalism Lab, along with a discussion of the bigger news that "the News Challenge 'may be finished' as Knight looks for better ways to identify fundable innovation ideas in journalism, media, and communities."
ImpleMentoring peer visits support migrant integration in cities
The ImpleMentoring peer visits to partner cities took place in June 2013. While Malmo visited Ghent to work on the participation of migrants in the Dampoort neighbourhood, Genoa was working on the perception of migration and diversity in the Baltic city of Riga. The same subject was explored in early June in Lublin, which welcomed a mentor from Tampere, while Dublin worked in Rotterdam on youth participation in the Kralingen-Crooswijk district. Manchester then visited Copenhagen to address the need to reflect and manage diversity in public administration.
All mentor visits are attended by a facilitator from the consultancy ‘Migration Work’ and a member of EUROCITIES staff. They are an opportunity for participants to meet elected officials, city staff, civil society organisations, researchers and engaged citizens for a series of focused interviews spread over three to four days.
Investing in Character: Calgary's Immigrant Access Fund
Take un- or underemployed skilled immigrants with tremendous drive and character, but no credit history, no assets, and no success with mainstream lending institutions. Mix in a community that sees incredible potential in its newcomer population and is willing to put their credit where their confidence is. What do you get? Calgary’s Immigrant Access Fund (IAF).
The IAF Loan Program provides internationally trained newcomers, regardless of occupation or training, with loans of up to $5,000 to help cover the costs to get back to work in their field in Canada.
How Parking Minimums Beget Ugly Urban Environments
In the Pacific Northwest, and elsewhere, excessive parking requirements dictate the form and footprint of buildings, mostly to the detriment of urban environments. In a lavish photo essay, Alyse Nelson explores the damage inflicted by parking laws.
"Cars have shaped much of the North American West, including Cascadia, where drive-through restaurants, shopping centers, highway strip malls, and single-family neighborhoods miles from commercial services dominate much of the urban and suburban landscape," observes Nelson. "Less obvious to the casual observer is the impact that parking regulations have had on architectural forms."
"This photo essay looks at some of the ugly architecture in Cascadia that has resulted from parking minimums. Many of the photos were sent in by readers who responded to our request for examples from their communities."
What follows is a lengthy look at the ugly architecture found in Cascadia’s cities and towns, from "ubiquitous seas of suburban parking" to the “dingbat buildings” common throughout the West Coast.
Indian cities, states and national leaders discuss EcoMobility
Bringing together representatives from 13 Indian cities, including mayors, municipal commissioners, representatives from partner organizations and key officials from the national and state levels, a round-table meeting was convened in New Delhi on 28 May 2013 to discuss the results of the Ecomobility Readiness Assessment project – a study of over 20 Indian cities to review the strengths and gaps of local governments in terms of their policy, capacity, resources and awareness towards ecomobility, as well as their willingness to implement ecomobility projects in their cities.
Cities for a more sustainable future: join us at the ECOCITY summit
Have you ever considered involving your citizens in sustainable projects, for instance, through the creation of local energy cooperatives? And how local authorities could benefit from the EU emission trading system?.
Join us at “New partnerships to support local action”, a workshop on how local government and civil society can cooperate to jointly implement sustainable projects. This session is organised together with our French section (AFCCRE) and Climate Alliance - a network of cities and municipalities working on the protection of the world's climate - in the frame of the ECOCITY summit from 25 to 27 September 2013 in Nantes (France).
ECOCITY 2013 is the first edition to be held in the European Union and we have been invited to collaborate in its preparation. Speakers will include CEMR president, Wolfgang Schuster, CEMR’s global organisation (UCLG) secretary general, Josep Roig, and its spokesman on international negotiations on climate change, Ronan Dantec.
The ECOCITY meeting is a world summit which promotes exchanges among local, regional, governmental decision-makers and civil society on how to design cities with consideration of environmental impact. Under the motto “the city as a vital area of work to grapple with the global sustainability issues”, the event will focus on five points: reducing the environmental footprint, addressing the energy challenges of the city, organising the sustainable city, strengthening solidarity and mobilising enabling factors.
Date: from 25 to 27 September 2013
Venue: Great Hall of La Cité Nantes Events Center, Nantes, France
Temporary Camps Become Permanent Cities for Refugees
Published to coincide with World Refugee Day, Smithsonian has assembled an interactive map of the 50 largest refugee camps in the world. Many of the camps, which together house 1.9 million people, are comparable in size to medium-sized U.S. cities.
"Today, about 45.2 million refugees are scattered around the world, a record high in nearly two decades," writes Marina Koren. "Of those, 80 percent are women and children. For 34 million of them, the United Nations High Commission on Refugees offers protection and life-saving supplies at refugee camps in more than 125 countries."
"Despite the terminology used—'camps' or 'settlements'—many are not temporary; some have existed for years, and for many young refugees, these camps are the only homes they know," she adds. "The Dadaab complex in Kenya, which includes the three biggest camps in the world, was constructed in the early 1990s. The largest of the three, Hagadera, houses 138,102 refugees, which is equivalent to the population of Pasadena, California. For each camp on the map, a comparable American city is listed to convey size."
3iBS: towards intelligent, innovative and integrated bus systems
3iBS is a follow-up project which aims to improve the performance, accessibility and efficiency of urban bus systems, moving from research to implementation
3iBS is a continuation of the ‘European Bus Systems of the Future’ project, which looked at innovative approaches to increase the performance, accessibility and efficiency of urban bus systems.
Coordinated by UITP, the International Association for Public Transport, 3iBS is co-funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme. Throughout the project, running until March 2015, we will support the dissemination of results and encourage members to share expertise.
3iBS aims to move from research to implementation by: capitalising on successful concepts and solutions; stimulating coordinated research; spreading EU bus system research achievements; and supporting the deployment of solutions with high potential of standardisation.
More specifically, the project will study innovative approaches related to: accessibility and safety; bus service operations during special events; intermodality with private and public transport modes; level of service; internal and external modularity; energy-efficiency; and IT standardisation.
The main outputs and activities of 3iBS include: development of case studies; transferability guidelines and recommendations; organisation of roundtables and expert group meetings; and follow up on the European standardisation process.
By developing a ‘Roadmap for Innovative Bus Systems’, 3IBS will also support European and national institutions by identifying the main areas and priorities for bus system research and suitable funding scenarios.
For more information about 3iBS, visit the website: www.3ibs.eu
Three Everyday Ways to Inspire Urban Change
Writing in The Huffington Post, Chuck Wolfe provides three suggestions for advancing civic dialogue about evolving cities.
He begins with an evocative photo of the Nice, France tramway--a city-center transit line which has helped to transform a former automobile-oriented downtown, arguing:
Immersion in the real look and feel (and sometimes sound and smell) of a more compact and sustainable local experience can feed arguments for change, justify expenditures or tell how to cast a strategic election vote. Personal involvement is the most powerful and verifiable way to champion the city cause, over and above mere acceptance of empirical data, article prose and illustrations.
But how best, he asks, to inspire others' personal preferences for cities when an in-person visit to an inspirational place is not possible? How do we translate in real terms the popular arguments in favor of urban density and moderated use of the automobile?
Based on his prior writing, advocacy and research experience, Wolfe suggests and illustrates three methods to bring innovative messages home in a meaningful way:
•By example, in order to create personal meaning from an abstract goal.
•By gestalt, and the value of a surprise event that recalls something well-known.
•By local reinvention, including firsthand observation that is closer to home, where local action can supplement big ideas through demonstrable implementation.
German bike capital Münster shares EcoMobility strategies
Pledging to raise its already high modal share of cycling from 40% to 50%, the German bike capital Münster – the “Most livable city worldwide” in 2004, shared its successful experience in creating a bicycle-friendly city at the Second EcoMobility Alliance workshop in April 2013, where participants explored traffic safety solutions, e-mobility and its relation to public spaces, health and infrastructural planning.
The urban dream lives on
Even if the swelling modern metropolis doesn't reflect the gleaming city of science fiction, Edwin Heathcote finds much to be optimistic about with regard to the future of cities on a rapidly urbanizing planet.
The numbers are astonishing. After surpassing the threshold at which more people live in cities than do not for the first time in recorded history in the last few years, 75 percent of humans will live in cities within 20 years.
"Can cities cope with these explosive increases in population?" asks Heathcote. "The city of the future used to be envisioned as a sci-fi landscape of flying cars and elevated walkways, of skyscrapers and spaceports. But now we are more likely to see the grim, endless expanses of mass-produced housing on the edges of the booming Chinese cities, or the self-built shacks of the informal settlements tumbling down hillsides adjacent to some of the world’s most desirable property."
"Yet something keeps people coming," he says. "The worst abuses of corruption and slum landlords, of homelessness and joblessness, are not enough to send people back to the country. It is rarely remarked on, but once rural dwellers make up their minds to come to the city, no matter how tough life is without the support networks of the village, they almost never return. City life seduces." Or perhaps they don't have any other choice.
"If the migration is inevitable, the question is: how can we create more equitable cities? How can we alleviate the worst of the problems facing the new 2bn and the countless others who are already there?"
Alcohol, partying and nightlife: European cities call for a balance between health and security
Ten European cities presented their recommendations for improving the prevention and management of binge drinking among young people in public spaces, and called for a balanced approach taking into consideration public health and public order, at a conference organised jointly by the European (Efus) and French Forum for Urban Security (FFSU), held in Nantes (France) on 13 and 14 June 2013.
Sharing Responsibility for Building a Resilient City
The City of San Francisco announced this week that the numerous sharing economy companies headquartered in the the Bay Area will work with public officials to utilize their technologies in enhancing the city's disaster preparedness and response.
"Today Mayor Edwin M. Lee and Board President David Chiu announced a first-of-its-kind partnership between San Francisco’s growing sharing economy and local government focused on disaster preparedness and response," says a press release announcing the partnership. "BayShare, a collaborative of sharing economy stakeholders, will also share their skills and resources to make San Francisco a more resilient city."
"The sharing economy, also known as 'collaborative consumption,' uses technology and social media to promote the sharing and re-use of underutilized assets such as cars, bikes, tools, rooms, spaces, skills and other goods." Companies headquartered in the region include ZipCar, Airbnb, and Taskrabbit.
"One immediate outcome of this new partnership is the launch of BayShare member Airbnb’s new tool to quickly deliver housing assistance to displaced residents following a disaster," says the press release. "Inspired by the Airbnb community’s work to donate housing to victims of Superstorm Sandy, the tool will help provide free emergency housing to families in need in cities in every part of the world."
“Actual emergencies look more like people coming together than cities falling apart,” said San Francisco Department of Emergency Management (DEM) Executive Director Anne Kronenberg. “San Francisco’s recovery starts with the community and our partners that are there to lend a hand. We’re excited to have BayShare as one of our preparedness partners.”
Afghan Cities Sign Up for Resilient Cities
Five Afghan cities have joined the Making Cities Resilient Campaign hosted by the Kabul Municipality and Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA), in coordination with UN-Habitat and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction UNISDR.
On the occasion of the visit to Afghanistan by Ms. Margareta Wahlström, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and UNISDR, the campaign on “Making Cities Resilient” was launched with the aim of strengthening the partnership between the Government, the United Nations and the people of Afghanistan. The cities that joined the campaign are Jalalabad City in Nangarhar Province, Charikar City in Parwan Province, Nili City in Daikundi Province, Pul-e Alam in Logar Province and Maidan Shar City in Wardak Province.
Express your Needs and Expectations on Future URBACT Programme
URBACT will continue to support cities for integrated and sustainable urban development in Europe during the 2014-2020 Programming Period. In the perspective of the next programme, it is crucial today to reflect on how the URBACT programme can better support cities to address the various challenges they face and to develop efficient urban policies. We invite you to express your views on your needs and expectations related to the future URBACT programme. Contribute now!
'Lost Recipe' for Ancient Concrete Provides Foundation for Future Cities
Portland cement doesn't come close to matching the resiliency of the concrete created by ancient Romans. After years of research, scientists believe they've unraveled the ingredients and production techniques that made Roman concrete so superior.
"After 2,000 years, a long-lost secret behind the creation of one of the world’s most durable man-made creations ever—Roman concrete—has finally been discovered by an international team of scientists, and it may have a significant impact on how we build cities of the future," writes Bernhard Warner.
After a decade of work, "the researchers now know why ancient Roman concrete is so superior," he reports. "They extracted from the floor of Italy’s Pozzuoili Bay, in the northern tip of the Bay of Naples, a sample of concrete breakwater that dates back to 37 B.C. and analyzed its mineral components at research labs in Europe and the U.S., including at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source. The analysis, the scientists believe, reveals the lost recipe of Roman concrete, and it also points to how much more stable and less environmentally damaging it is than today’s blend."
Building Energy Efficiency in European Cities - URBACT (2013)
This new URBACT report argues that for cities to play a central role in the reduction of CO2 emissions and the fight against climate change, they must seriously address the topic of Energy Efficiency in Buildings. In the report the main challenges and opportunities regarding Energy Efficiency are highlighted, including the issues of fuel poverty and the opportunities of integrated urban strategies.