31/7/2012 - City – port: 20 years after, a new challenge.
31/7/2012 - Cities for Active Inclusion demographic change reports.
30/7/2012 - "Involve energetic community-based organizations to successfully implement urban landscape programs" .
30/7/2012 - ICLEI Secretary General continues to advance urban agenda .
29/7/2012 - Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize to recognise outstanding city transformation.
29/7/2012 - Fat of the land: how urban design can help curb obesity.
28/7/2012 - McKinsey Reports on the Exploding Urban Economy.
28/7/2012 - EU Cities Adapt invites cities to take part in climate adaptation training .
27/7/2012 - Cities contribute to success of cohesion policy, says survey.
27/7/2012 - Billboards on Versailles, the Colosseum, or Venice Canals? .
26/7/2012 - Lagos: a future Manhattan announced.
26/7/2012 - CityHush results to reduce traffic noise shared in new newsletter and upcoming workshops for local authorities.
25/7/2012 - European citizens can have direct influence on the development of EU policy.
25/7/2012 - Advice to Cities Considering Bankruptcy: 'Don't Do It' .
25/7/2012 - Action plan for urban mobility: the time for assessment has come.
24/7/2012 - Ancient Chinese City Seeks Line Between Preservation and Implausible Perfection.
24/7/2012 - Mobility management achievements under EPOMM-PLUS.
23/7/2012 - Canadian Planners at a Crossroads.
23/7/2012 - Thames Cable Car Is Now Opened to the Citizens in London (UK) .
22/7/2012 - Results EMI and URBAN Intergroup questionnaire – Cities contribute to the success of cohesion policy .
21/7/2012 - Keen on your input for URBAN-NEXUS! .
21/7/2012 - English Cities Gain Historic New Powers.
20/7/2012 - The Grave Health Risks of Unwalkable Communities.
19/7/2012 - 'Urban Renewal' May Replace Community With Commerce in Istanbul Ghetto.
19/7/2012 - UN-Habitat invites bids for WUF7 host city.
19/7/2012 - Can Smart Growth Save Lake Tahoe? .
18/7/2012 - Olympic Traffic Pushes London to the Brink.
18/7/2012 - Londoners Mixed on the City's New Tallest Building.
18/7/2012 - Philadelphia Produces Energy with Mass Transit Braking Technology.
17/7/2012 - Klaksvik (Faroes) : a new city centre onto the Bay.
17/7/2012 - Displaced Protesters Fight Urban Developers in Taipei.
16/7/2012 - Save the date! EC Conference on Urban Mobility.
16/7/2012 - The Future of Transit, According to France.
15/7/2012 - Model “Green” Town Celebrates 75th Anniversary.
14/7/2012 - San Francisco Launches Website to Encourage DIY Urbanism.
14/7/2012 - Copenhagen, European Green Capital 2014.
13/7/2012 - The Completely Privatized City.
13/7/2012 - Abandoned Grain Elevators Revitalized in Port Cities.
12/7/2012 - Training and Capacity Building for Cities.
12/7/2012 - “Gender Equality in Local Public Policies” .
12/7/2012 - Rio is stagnating , local authorities are moving forward! .
12/7/2012 - NiCE session during East-Meets-West Congress in Cyprus.
11/7/2012 - Policy Learning in Information Technologies for Public Transport Enhancement (POLITE) project.
11/7/2012 - Major Green Redevelopment Underway in Queens.
10/7/2012 - Historic Youth Agenda Advanced at Rio +20.
10/7/2012 - How to create good living conditions for urban populations? .
10/7/2012 - DOT Awards $500 Million in TIGER Grants.
9/7/2012 - The Intellectuals That've Had the Biggest Impact on Cities.
9/7/2012 - An ethos of hospitality: the Belfast friendship club .
8/7/2012 - Brussels gives priority to pedestrians (Belgium) .
8/7/2012 - ICLEI and partners launch Global Initiative on Urban Resilience .
7/7/2012 - All your citizen needs under one roof.
7/7/2012 - Cities in Decline: Finding Something To Celebrate.
6/7/2012 - Reviving a declining Norwegian community by attracting migrants.
6/7/2012 - The Big Commuter Experiment, Gothenburg (Sweden) .
5/7/2012 - Automakers Grapple with Urbanization.
5/7/2012 - Action plan for urban mobility: the time for assessment has come.
4/7/2012 - World leaders endorse urban agenda and UN-Habitat.
4/7/2012 - Shoring up cities against disaster.
3/7/2012 - Cities in action: zoom in on your roof.
2/7/2012 - Project Seeks to Build World-Class Cycling Networks Across America.
1/7/2012 - Malmo wins city star award.
City – port: 20 years after, a new challenge
For a long time the question of the wastelands born from the relocation of the activities of the port, above all touched the waterfronts by the development of the city in place of the port. The environmental issue and economic development came to impose the necessity for an overall vision of the port community with all the challenges connected with "building the city with the port". The economic crisis of 2008 and the challenges of climate change now place the port cities in the front line of a new model of sustainable and responsible growth. It is this trajectory which is retraced here, and which leads to this New Era of the Port placed at the centre of the debates and discussions of the 13th World Conference of AIVP: an urban, entrepreneurial and citizen port.
Cities for Active Inclusion demographic change reports
Our nine Cities for Active Inclusion have this year researched demographic change taking place in their cities, its impact on the local context and how to adapt policies in order to promote active inclusion.
Three out of the nine city reports are now completed, in these you will find an overview of demographic change for each city and one case study in which one particular aspect of the demographic change in that city is dealt with. These reports come from the cities of Birmingham, Krakow and Stockholm. Birmingham’s case study is on a family support centre, aimed to reduce child poverty and improve outcomes for children. Krakow, dealing with an increasingly older population looks in their case study at active inclusion of older people and Stockholm’s case study is on a parental support programme.
The six remaining city reports will follow shortly and all of them will be online on the EUROCITIES and Cities for Active Inclusion website by mid-July. The summary of these case studies will be available in September 2012.
"Involve energetic community-based organizations to successfully implement urban landscape programs"
In this interview American designer and artist, Damon Rich, who is currently working for the city of Newark New Jersey as the city's first Chief Urban Designer, tells about challenges in his daily work, how to connect architecture with politics and differences between European and American cities.
ICLEI Secretary General continues to advance urban agenda
Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, Professor Klaus Schwab, has re-appointed ICLEI Secretary General Konrad Otto-Zimmermann to serve on the Global Agenda Council on Urbanization for the term 2012-2013.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Councils make up the world’s foremost intellectual network, convening the most relevant and knowledgeable thought leaders from business, government, academia and civil society to address key global issues.
Serving as a global brain trust, insights and recommendations from the Councils not only help inform the Forum’s programming, including at the Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, but also set the direction for global, regional and industry agendas.
There are over 80 Global Agenda Councils, invitation-only groups comprised of 15-20 members. Council Members meet virtually at least four times a year, as well as at the Summit on the Global Agenda, the world’s largest brainstorming meeting exclusively reserved for Global Agenda Council Members. This year’s Summit will be held on 12-14 November 2012 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
“Never before has there been a more urgent and relevant time for such an interdisciplinary expert network to provide forward looking and relevant thought leadership”, says Klaus Schwab.
He asks the members of the Councils to identify breakthrough ideas and new
pathways to advance critical issues and ensure progress is made on the global agenda.
As head of the world’s largest association of cities and local governments for sustainability, Mr. Otto-Zimmermann has served on the previous Global Agenda Councils - specifically on Urban Management (2008 and 2009), Urbanization (2010) and Infrastructure & Urban Development (2011).
He was also Chair of the Urbanization Council led the development of a proposal for an “urban agenda” for the World Economic Forum.
Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize to recognise outstanding city transformation
Nominations are open until March 2013 for the 2014 award
The Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize is a biennial international award recognising outstanding achievements towards creating liveable, vibrant and sustainable cities. The prize seeks to recognise cities, as well as their leaders and partner organisations who are instrumental in tackling urban challenges to bring about social, economic and environmental improvements.
The 2012 winner was the city of New York, while EUROCITIES member Bilbao took home the 2010 prize, recognised for its integrated and holistic approach urban transformation.
Nominations can be put forward by independent third parties, including academics, government officials and heads of international organisations. They can also be submitted by public and private sector organisations, NGOs and academic institutions. Nominations must include a 600 word citation outlining the key leaders and partners involved in the city’s transformation, as well as its positive impact and level of successful implementation. The deadline for nominations is 29 March 2013, after which nominated cities will be required to submit a portfolio of supporting documents.
You can find full details about the prize, former winners (‘laureates’) and the nomination procedure by clicking here.
Fat of the land: how urban design can help curb obesity
OBESE NATION: It’s time to admit it – Australia is becoming an obese nation. This series looks at how this has happened and more importantly, what we can do to stop the obesity epidemic.
Here Billie Giles-Corti and Carolyn Whitzman discuss ways to change our obesogenic environment through urban design while Jo Salmon looks at the role physical activity and exercise play in healthy lifestyles.
Compared with our grandparents, feeding, clothing, and entertaining ourselves has never been easier: a one-stop weekly shopping centre trip in a car, facilitated by convenient parking and light-weight maneuverable shopping trolleys that allow us to whiz around the supermarket with ease.
McKinsey Reports on the Exploding Urban Economy
600 cities will contribute $30 trillion in economic growth by 2025, increasing global consumption for energy and transportation. Photo by Rafael Rigues.
The McKinsey Global Institute, an initiative of management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, last week released, “Urban World: Cities and the rise of the consuming class,” a report detailing the global consumption patterns of the earth’s most economically productive 600 cities. These 600 cities—from Lagos to London—are expected to account for 65 percent of net world economic growth by 2025. Of these, 440 are located in the developing world and will contribute to half of the projected growth.
It is key to provide the necessary urban infrastructure to accommodate these massive shifts in wealth, with 600 million people expected to move from subsistence wages to consumer spending. Some of the marked impacts on cities include a demand for 80 billion cubic meters of potable water, 250 percent more port shipping infrastructure to handle increased imports, and additional office space equivalent in land area to Austria.
EU Cities Adapt invites cities to take part in climate adaptation training
European cities are invited to take part in a training aimed at building capacity on climate change adaptation. The end result will be a tailored adaptation strategy for each city in attendance. The training program will be facilitated by experienced coaches, and is organized as part of the EU Cities Adapt project. Applications can be submitted until 16 July 2012, with the training taking place at the end of the month.
Web-based tutorials, workshops, city site visits, coaching and peer exchanges, access to a web-portal with tools, guiding materials and a reference library, as well as an interactive members’ exchange forum, are all encompassed within the training program. Participants will also be offered an integrated and holistic management framework with identified steps and milestones crucial to developing an adaptation strategy.
In order to participate, cities are invited to complete an online application form. Twenty one cities will be selected according to four criteria: size, risks/vulnerabilities, adaptive capacity and cooperation. The call for applications is open to adaptation champions as well as to cities in the beginning of their adaptation journey. However, for an application to be considered the city has to have participated in the project survey.
For more information, click here.
Cities contribute to success of cohesion policy, says survey
Results of an EMI/urban intergroup survey reveal cities’ opinions on EU policies
In an effort to gain better insight into cities’ opinions on EU policies affecting them, namely cohesion policy and integrated urban policy, the European Metropolitan network Institute (EMI) and the European Parliament’s urban intergroup launched a joint questionnaire.
Some 109 professionals employed by local and metropolitan governments and regions across Europe responded with their views on current and future plans for cohesion policy, and the results have now been published.
An analysis of the findings was presented to members of the urban intergroup in Strasbourg on 5 July 2012. The results indicate that cities consider themselves to be important players when it comes to the successful implementation of EU cohesion policy.
Billboards on Versailles, the Colosseum, or Venice Canals?
As the European financial crisis drags on, money for the continent's numerous architectural and historical resources remains limited. As a result, cities are looking for new revenue streams, including billboards and image rights.
Anyone following the financial crisis knows just how hard the entirety of the European continent has been hit. With the resulting austerity measures, many of the continent's most treasured monuments are threatened by a lack of upkeep and restoration funds. As Ariana Eunjung Cha, of The Washington Post reports, "Historical buildings, churches, monuments, bridges, barracks, archaeological ruins and other sites are disintegrating from neglect. Local governments, desperate to find a way to preserve these sites before it is too late, are making up for budget shortfalls by hanging ads, selling usage rights and, in some cases, putting the structures themselves on the market."
Not everyone is pleased with the selling off of the continent's historical patrimony. "'Our monuments are being degraded by these exchanges of money between private and public powers. Are we so poor that we have to sell our grandfathers?' said Alessandra Mottola Molfino, national president of Italia Nostra, a cultural heritage group that has campaigned against the Colosseum and Fondaco di Tedesci projects."
According to Cha, "Government officials acknowledge that some of the deals they are striking are not ideal. But the officials are in a race against time. Even before the financial crisis, some local governments did not have enough money to properly maintain historic sites."
Among the countries embracing the monetization of historic sites include Italy, where space on a giant billboard on the Milan Cathedral costs $187,000 a month; France, where "the caretakers of Versailles have agreed to let two hotels open on the palace grounds;" and Spain, where construction of an office tower in the historic city center of Seville has been approved, threatening the city's status as a World Heritage site.
Lagos: a future Manhattan announced
The results of the environmental and social impact study of the "Eko Atlantic City" project have just been unveiled. One of the main objectives is to protect Victoria Island, the financial centre of Lagos, from erosion. The construction of a protecting wall several kilometres long has already started. It will also enable nearly 1000 hectares of land to be recuperated, to decongestion the city, and to create a new district with notably accommodation and offices for several hundreds of thousands of people. 150,000 new jobs are expected. The project is being steered by Royal Haskoning.
CityHush results to reduce traffic noise shared in new newsletter and upcoming workshops for local authorities
The EU project CityHush supports city administrations with the development and implementation of noise action plans according to the directive EC 2002/49. As the project entered the final phase, results have been published in the new newsletter and two workshops for local authorities will be held later in 2012 in Perugia (Italy) and Stockholm (Sweden).
European citizens can have direct influence on the development of EU policy
As of April 1st, 2012 citizens of the European Union Member States are able to organize a European citizens’ initiative. This means that citizens can ask the European Commission to focus on a subject that they find important.
Advice to Cities Considering Bankruptcy: 'Don't Do It'
As the third California city in a month files for bankruptcy protection, fears of a domino effect worry many. While bankruptcy may seem like an enticing solution, officials that have gone through it caution about the downside.
This week, another California city, San Bernardino (population over 200,000), voted to follow the fate of the Sierra Nevada resort town Mammoth Lakes, and Central Valley city Stockton, by filing for bankruptcy. With fast rising labor costs and municipal debt plaguing cities across the state, and country, the slippery slope to bankruptcy may trap other municipalities in the near future, write Phil Willon, Catherine Saillant and Abby Sewell.
"Joe Nation, a Stanford economics professor and co-author of the February report [on rising pension costs], thinks that for at least some cities, insolvency is inevitable unless they can wrest much bigger concessions on salaries and pensions from public employees."
"'I think this is the tip of the iceberg in terms of the problem,' Nation said. 'Stockton was spending $12 [million] or $13 million on pensions 10 years ago. By 2010, it was $30 million … and will double again over the next five years, unless something is changed.'"
Writing in The New York Times, Mary Williams Walsh reports that analysts were not, however, predicting a wave of defaults, at least outside of California. “I don’t believe that this is the beginning of a tidal wave of insolvency across the country,” said Richard P. Larkin, director of credit analysis at the underwriting firm H. J. Sims. “I am worried, however, that this phenomenon may grow in California.”
For those cities considering bankruptcy as a viable option, a voice of warning comes from Osby Davis, mayor of Vallejo, the Bay Area city that began the current trend of municipal bankruptcies in May 2008. His advice: don't do it. "It takes an enormous toll on everyone,'' Davis said. "And you have the stigma of being a bankrupt city. How do you come out of being labeled a bankrupt city to one that is a desirable place to live?"
Action plan for urban mobility: the time for assessment has come
The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) encourages local and regional authorities to respond before 7 September 2012 to the European Commission consultation on the implementation of the EU urban mobility action plan.
The consultation will allow for municipalities and regions to express their views on what the EU can do to help them improve their mobility policies. Indeed, support from the EU can have an important added-value at the local and regional levels, as long as the principle of subsidiarity is respected, which is why CEMR invites municipalities and regions to voice their expectations vis-à-vis the EU.
This consultation launches the review process of the action plan, launched in 2009. A workshop will notably be organised in September 2012 and an urban mobility legislative package published before the end of the year.
Ancient Chinese City Seeks Line Between Preservation and Implausible Perfection
The historic city of Pingyao, China, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, faces an uncertain future as it tries to find a balance between managing modern threats and petrification by preservation, as it attempts to maintain its historic character.
Debra Bruno examines the two extreme fates facing Pingyao, a 2,700-year-old village in the Shanxi province of China. One possibility allows tourists, overpopulation, pollution, rain, and dust from local coal mines to disintegrate the ancient city. The other is to preserve the town; but some are worried that preservation efforts could come off looking too perfect or even fake, as was the case with the overly restored city of Lijiang.
UNESCO, the Global Heritage Fund, the China Cultural Heritage Foundation, and the Pingyao county government have been working to define conservation and repair guidelines for the close to 4,000 Ming and Qing-era courtyard buildings inside the walled city.
Another element of the effort to maintain a living, working city is to slash the population down from 40,000 to a more fitting 20,000. But, more room for the residents would bring other complications. "'The exodus of indigenous residents and the loss of confidence in local Pingyao cultural traditions' may be the single biggest threat to Pingyao today, says UNESCO’s [Dr.] Du [Xiaofan]. 'There are threats that the Pingyao could become nothing but a city full of souvenir shops, restaurants and hotels,' adds Tongji University’s Shao Yong.
Mobility management achievements under EPOMM-PLUS
Looking back on EPOMM-PLUS, a project promoting mobility management
The EPOMM-PLUS project has come to a close. The project took place over 2009-2012 and was supported by Intelligent Energy Europe in the framework of their STEER programme, which focuses on sustainable transport. Its aim was to strengthen EPOMM (European Platform on Mobility Management) and with it the potential of mobility management as a tool to save energy in traffic and transport.
Under the project, we established a standardised policy and best practice transfer process. The process brings together representatives from cities, countries, projects and organisations to exchange on successful actions. We initiated 14 transfers, exchanging between 16 different countries.
Canadian Planners at a Crossroads
As several major Canadian cities seek to hire new chief urban planners, candidates are facing an emerging set of demographic and political challenges, while some question the role such officials should have in shaping the country's landscape.
John Lorinc and Siri Agrell look at the challenges facing candidates for high profile planning positions in major Canadian cities such as Toronto, Halifax, and Vancouver as some fear that amidst the turnover, "the position will be devalued, or submerged in bureaucracy."
The question of the role of chief urban planners is a vital one to address as Canadian cities look to improve livability and sustainability in both suburban and traditionally urban environments. According to Lorinc and Agrell the key question is whether, "fast-growing cities need – or indeed, want – visionary chief planners? Or do they actually require can-do administrators who have the contacts and political savvy to deliver change in modern metropolitan areas?"
Larry Beasley, Vancouver’s former co-planning director, is optimistic that the next wave of Canadian planners will be up to the challenge: “The new generation, it’s their time to take over,” he said. “I think you’re going to see some wonderful new initiatives across the country over the next few years.”
Thames Cable Car Is Now Opened to the Citizens in London (UK)
London launched a cable car linking the south-east with the east part of the city. Besides providing a useful addition to London's transport network, the "Emirates Air Line" will offer to its passangers a spectacular bird's eye view over the Thames.
Results EMI and URBAN Intergroup questionnaire – Cities contribute to the success of cohesion policy
In an effort to gain better insight into cities’ opinions on the policies from the European Commission (cohesion policy and integrated urban policy), the European Metropolitan network Institute (EMI) and URBAN Intergroup issued a joint online questionnaire and have now published the results. A group of 109 professionals employed by local and metropolitan governments and regions across Europe expressed their views on the current and future plans on cohesion policy.
After analysing the results, EMI officially presented the findings to the members of the URBAN Intergroup in Strasbourg on the 5th of July 2012. Results show that cities think themselves to be key players when it comes to the successful implementation of EU cohesion policy.
The questionnaire consists of 28 questions covering the current programming period (2007-2013) as well as the future cohesion policy period (2014-2020). Respondents were asked to assess programmes for interregional cooperation and financial instruments. Regarding future urban integrated policy, respondents gave their views on the role of cities as well as on which topics they thought future policy should focus on.
Some initial conclusions according to the results of the questionnaire:
•‘Encouraging European territorial cooperation’ is most successful objective of cohesion policy (2007-2013)
•Programmes geared towards interregional cooperation (e.g. URBACT II, INTERREG IVC) are more widely known than (specific) financial instruments (e.g. JESSICA, JASMINE)
•Regarding future cohesion policy (2014-2020), respondents feel that cities should be responsible for management of structural funds
•Future cohesion policy should prioritise combating poverty and promoting social inclusion
•There should be an urban policy on the EU level
Please download the full report for in-depth results and more initial conclusions!
Keen on your input for URBAN-NEXUS!
The EU funded FP7 project URBAN-NEXUS is starting the work on the topics Health and Quality of Life and Competing for Urban Land. The persons working on the reports on these themes are keen to hear about any policies, practices or researches that you feel should be included in these studies, and the ensuing Dialogue Café.
English Cities Gain Historic New Powers
In what Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg calls a "dramatic power shift", England's largest cities have gained new powers to control their economies and transportation, reports Sam Lister.
Seeing the potential to spur economic and job growth over the next two decades, the major English cities of Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield have all reached agreement with the central government to gain more control over infrastructure and investment decisions.
According to Clegg, the deals, whose terms vary by city, amount to “an unprecedented transfer of power from central government to local communities.”
"They are the economic powerhouses of England," says Clegg, "so it makes sense that the cities decide for themselves how to boost their local economies."
Chris Berkin, writing in Construction News, notes that, "Many cities will combine with other regional authorities in order to more effectively deliver planning and infrastructure."
The Grave Health Risks of Unwalkable Communities
In a recent article on AtlanticCities.com, Richard J. Jackson, Chair of Environmental Health Sciences at UCLA says, "Safe, walkable neighborhoods are not just an amenity, they're a matter of life or death." He also argues that it's time to "retrofit the suburbs" by adding living streets and centers for humanity to formerly sprawling areas. "These places are not just healthier, they offer a better quality of life, and if they have a mix of services and public transit, monthly transportation costs can be lower, too."
'Urban Renewal' May Replace Community With Commerce in Istanbul Ghetto
Officials and developers in the Turkish capital have set their sights on a poor but centrally-located neighborhood for an urban renewal project, leaving longtime residents worried they may not be around much longer, Jessica Bourque reports.
Long a "sanctuary for Turkey's marginalized populations," Istanbul's Tarlabaşi area has all the makings of a troubled neighborhood. The buildings, many of them historic, are falling apart; the streets are littered with garbage; and worst of all, drugs and prostitution are in no short supply.
It's a stark contrast from the "glitzy boutiques" of the monied neighborhood that sits literally across the street. And so it should come as no surprise that officials in Beyoğlu Municipality, along with Istanbul's Housing Development Administration, have selected the area for a lengthy process of urban renewal, hoping to recapture the area's latent real estate and commercial value.
“This is a good thing,” said Mustafa Yesildas, a furniture dealer who has lived in Tarlabaşi since the 70s. “Everything here is in bad shape. No one here is washing or painting. They don’t know how to take care of the historical architecture of these buildings.”
But not everyone is so optimistic. Many residents are wary of developers' profit motive – even the Housing Administration's website states that the renewal process will involve the relocation of residents to housing complexes and the eviction of squatters. Some fear that the neighborhood's strong sense of community will be lost in the process.
“Unfortunately, this is very aggressive and very wrong,” said Huseyin Kaptan, director of the Istanbul Metropolitan Planning and Urban Design Center. “To keep the social structure safe, you need to involve the people. Contractors get to build some modern thing — could be a shopping mall, could be a high-rise — but they have no regard for the people living there.”
“I call this kind of operation they’re doing, ‘killing them while kissing them.”
UN-Habitat invites bids for WUF7 host city
Habitat has formally launched a call for expressions of interest from cities wishing to host the Seventh Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF7).
The winning city to host WUF 7 in 2014 will be officially announced in Naples, during the Sixth Session of WUF. A press conference will be organized on Wednesday 5th September to announce the winner and the city selected will participate in the WUF6 Closing Ceremony on 6th September. The call for expression of interest runs from 10th July, and will close on 10th August 2012.
According to the application guidelines, all interested cities would be expected to answer a set of 10 of questions some of which include why they want to host the event; which of the cities in the bidding city's country has participated in WUF; what legacy the city would like WUF7 to leave the country, and the bidding city or the country's substantive contribution to the Habitat Agenda.
Can Smart Growth Save Lake Tahoe?
Planners in major urban areas have long been touting the virtues of density, mixed use, and public transit. But can these smart growth principles apply in a wilderness area dedicated to seasonable tourism?
"In perhaps a more sensible world, the 325,000-acre Lake Tahoe Basin would not be governed by two rival states, a handful of small cities, and embittered factions of environmentalists and resort-casino owners. Nor would it have miles of open highway or 55,000 year-round residents. Rather, it would be treated like the Grand Canyon, the Everglades, or any other of America’s major natural wonders."
"Instead, pioneers, skiers, and gamblers got to the Tahoe area before the federal government could—and, from many environmentalists’ perspective, many of them got their at the worst possible time. By the time regional planning arrived, in the form of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the basin had already been widely developed. TRPA sought mainly to bring development to a crawl, even at the possible expense of good, environmentally friendly development."
"Though the prospect of promoting development in order to achieve conservation goals may seem paradoxical, TRPA officials say that it can go a long way towards undoing some of the ecological being inflicted by existing developments....Though cities like South Lake Tahoe and Nevada’s Incline Village are not exactly metropoli, TRPA planners say that by clustering growth in small town centers and around existing resort infrastructure—such as the basin’s major ski areas—the plan will lead to reduced driving, pollution, storm water runoff, and other adverse impacts on the basin’s ecological health."
Olympic Traffic Pushes London to the Brink
After years of preparation, a slow drum roll of publicity and a steadily building mix of nerves and excitement among residents, things finally began in earnest today.
Monday marked the official start of London’s Olympic travel chaos. With athletes starting to arrive at Heathrow, the first section of the Olympic Route Network, linking the airport with West London, was shut down to all but official Olympic traffic this morning. The alleged result was a 32-mile back-up on the highway for traffic approaching the start of the Games Lanes. Even on good days this highway’s entry to London is a bottleneck – it connects London not just with Heathrow but with all Southwest England and Wales – so taking a lane out of action turns it into something more like an hourglass.
Londoners Mixed on the City's New Tallest Building
The Shard, as it is known, has brought about much debate for its futuristic design and the expensive apartments in a part of town that is facing economic challenges.
"Towering 310 metres over the south bank of the River Thames, the Shard already dominates London like no other building, its spire sometimes obscured by cloud in the British capital's often overcast skies," writes reporter Maria Golovnina. The building is 95 stories high, has a price tag of £435 million and was designed by hot architect of the moment Renzo Piano. The interior spaces are not yet completed and won't open until next year, but the building is already facing criticism.
Jonathan Jones, the art critic at The Guardian, says "The Shard is grotesquely out of scale with other London landmarks: it is so big that it demands a massive skyscraper forest around itself."
Philadelphia Produces Energy with Mass Transit Braking Technology
Philadelphia's regional transit authority, SEPTA, has unveiled a new recycled energy and optimization project which will store kinetic energy produced from trains on one of the city’s subway lines, and integrate that energy into the regional electric grid. SEPTA hopes to use revenues generated from the power sales to help fund additional systems at 10 stations along the train line.
Klaksvik (Faroes) : a new city centre onto the Bay
Hanning Larsen Architects Studio has won the international competition bearing on the re-composition of 15 hectares of Klaksvik, the second city of the Faroes. The objective was to compose a new city centre opening onto the sea. Three different sectors are proposed : a green and recreational sector, an urban zone (offices, shops, accommodation…) and a maritime district (maritime museum, cultural centre, accommodation, promenade…) One of the imperatives was also to consider the lay out of the buildings according to the prevailing winds.
Displaced Protesters Fight Urban Developers in Taipei
An urban renewal development reaches a violent climax as a clash breaks out between construction workers and protesters.
A residential development in Taipei -- which was meant to spur urban renewal in the area, but has been stalled for more than three years -- caused a violent clash between protestors and construction workers over the weekend. Following the demolition of their two houses, the Wang family and others against the development have been camped out on the site, which is being cleared to make way for a new apartment complex.
The dispute occurred after the construction company, Le Young Construction Co, arrived to the site to remove debris. The protesters grew angry and "pushed and shoved the construction workers, accusing them of trespassing on private property." The construction workers provided paperwork stating that they were sent by the government to clean the site, but the Construction Management Office denies issuing the documents. "Amid the clashes, a member of the Urban Renewal Victims’ Alliance, surnamed Kuo (郭), accused construction workers of pushing him and tearing his pants, while police stood by."
"The Taipei City Government has been criticized over its handling of the project", writes Yan-chih, having "evicted the Wang family in March, despite ongoing protests." The government agreed to support negotiations between the construction company and the Wang family, but so far no agreements have been reached.
Save the date! EC Conference on Urban Mobility
EC Vice-President Siim Kallas invites urban mobility stakeholders to the conference 'Towards competitive and resource efficient urban mobility' to take place in Brussels on the 17th of September.
This conference will mark the launch of the public consultation on the EU's urban mobility activities in the context of the White Paper 'Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area - Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system'. The event is aimed at institutional stakeholders as well as local government, transport users and operators, and industry and research representatives.
The event will also take stock of the accomplishments of the CIVITAS initiative. Launched in 2002, CIVITAS celebrates its 10th anniversary of supporting cities in implementing ambitious transport measures and policies towards sustainable urban mobility.
More information will be available on the DG Move and CIVITAS websites by mid-July 2012.
The Future of Transit, According to France
Yonah Freemark investigates France's new love affair with the tram, which is spreading like wildfire in cities across the country, supplanting major bus routes and giving transit ridership a healthy boost in the process.
As American cities scramble to secure even modest federal funding just to keep their transit systems afloat, cities across France have been making unprecedented investments to upgrade and expand services. And if the past 12 years are any indicator of what's to come, trams (i.e. trolleys and streetcars) may well set a new standard for public transportation.
Since the start of the millennium, France has quintupled the mileage of its tram rail networks, which provide a middle ground between bus rapid transit and light rail. "Like American streetcars," Freemark explains, "these tramways operate at the ground level, usually without grade separation from automobile traffic, making them relatively cheap to build. On the other hand, like American light rail, tramways operate within their own rights-of-way and they feature long trainsets that can carry the equivalent of four busloads or more — in other words, they actually improve transit capacity and performance."
The success of the new tram systems bears out in the numbers: in Lyon, a city of roughly half a million people, trams accounted for a full two-thirds of ridership growth since they were introduced in 2000. While buses are significantly less costly for cities to implement, trams provide riders a step up in terms of comfort and speed, and the resulting bump in ridership could justify the higher price tag.
This trend marks a shift in French thinking about transit development. Although "the previously fashionable automated metro networks... were seen as the future of French rail systems in the 1980s, their high construction costs, caused by the complete grade separations they require, makes them less them adaptable to the needs of less populous urban areas.... In the process, cities across the country are experiencing significantly improved transit that is attracting more and more riders."
Model “Green” Town Celebrates 75th Anniversary
Greenbelt, Maryland, one of the three greenbelt towns developed by President Franklin Roosevelt's administration, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Greenbelt was designed to be a community where walking and biking would be relatively safe, with a compact downtown design and protected pedestrian crossings.
San Francisco Launches Website to Encourage DIY Urbanism
The city recently launched SFBetterStreets.org to be a central source of information to help residents with street improvements like traffic-calming, parklets, bike corrals, plantings, art installations, and sidewalk fixtures.
The San Francisco Better Streets Program launched a new website this week to provide a central source of information to help residents procure street improvements like traffic-calming measures, parklets, bike corrals, plantings, art installations, sidewalk fixtures, and permits for car-free events in their neighborhood.
The website, sfbetterstreets.org, “combines all the city’s guidelines, permit requirements, and resources for public space development onto one site, giving the user a handy step-by-step approach toward improving San Francisco’s streets,” the Planning Department said in a release.
Launched as a collaboration of the Planning Department, Department of Public Works, SF Public Utilities Commission, and the SFMTA, the site should help spread awareness of the street improvements available to residents and guide them through the city’s bureaucratic processes.
“Before this website was launched, this information wasn’t available. For someone to go through the process, someone would have to go and contact various departments around the city,” said Joanna Linsangan, communications manager for the Planning Department. “People may not think they have the ability to do so, but if they want to, they can apply for a parklet, put out bike racks or put out planters in their neighborhood, at their storefront, and we’re trying to give them all the information to make it happen.”
The site follows the spirit of the 2010 Better Streets Plan, which is aimed at streamlining the process for making improvements to the pedestrian environment. Linsangan said the site was launched during Small Business Week since merchants often show interest in improving the areas around their storefronts.
The website features alluring pages that explain the ins and outs of permit processes, maintenance regulations, planning codes, ways for residents to build neighborhood support for projects, funding sources, and more.
Copenhagen, European Green Capital 2014
Copenhagen beat fellow EUROCITIES members Bristol and Frankfurt to become European Green Capital 2014, it was revealed on Friday
EUROCITIES president city Copenhagen will hold the title of European Green Capital in 2014, it was revealed during a ceremony in Vitoria-Gasteiz, the current title-holder, on Friday 29 June 2012. As Denmark’s most populous city, Copenhagen has made impressive efforts towards a greener future.
The city places public-private partnerships at the core of its approach to eco-innovation and sustainable employment, working with universities, businesses and organisations to help implement green growth. It has also made significant progress on the transport front, with 35% of its population having cycled to their workplace or school in 2010. Now, the city is aiming to increase this figure to 50% by 2015, and become the world’s premier cycling city. This will go some way towards the ambitious goal of becoming a carbon neutral city by 2025.
Read more about Copenhagen’s green credentials using the link below. The application process for the 2015 winner opened in June, you can apply now using the application link, below.
Copenhagen, European Green Capital 2014: bit.ly/P1CIWD
The Completely Privatized City
Sandy Springs, Georgia has taken the libertarian tip and privatized almost every city service - including planning. So does it work?
Reporter David Segal explains that while many cities have experimented with privatizing city services, "...few have taken the idea as far as Sandy Springs."
The city manager (one of the few city workers actually collecting a paycheck from the city) says the system is a proven success. Everything from building licenses to the courts are supplied by private firms in Sandy Springs. But critics contend that the community's wealth is the only thing making it possible.
But Sandy Springs is actually not the most privatized city in the country, a distinction that goes to Maywood, California, "...eight miles southeast of Los Angeles, which in 2010 fired all but one employee, its city manager. Maywood is now operated, from top to bottom, through contracts."
Abandoned Grain Elevators Revitalized in Port Cities
As economies and shipping routes change, many grain elevators in port cities have been abandoned. Unlike old office buildings and factories, converting these structures is especially complicated--the typical grain elevator is windowless, tall enough to define a skyline, and contains only a ground floor. But developers in Buffalo, Minneapolis, Baltimore, and other cities are finding creative new uses for these concrete silos.
Training and Capacity Building for Cities
On behalf of the European Commission, the EU Cities Adapt project has the pleasure to invite cities to take part in the training phase of the project, aiming at building capacity on climate change adaptation in cities.
Submit your completed application form by 16 July 2012!
Your city will have the opportunity to benefit from a comprehensive capacity development package free of charge, including a training programme facilitated by experienced coaches with the result of developing a tailored adaptation strategy. The training will encompass:
•City site visits
•Coaching and peer exchanges
•Access to a web-portal with tools
•Guiding materials and a reference library
•An interactive members' exchange forum
Adaptation champions, as well as to cities in the beginning of their adaptation journey are invited. Participation is free of charge.
The training phase will commence at the end of July. The first step will be for the selected cities to carry out an online self assessment to map out the current state of play with regard to the adaptive capacities. The webinars will start in September followed by workshops, coaching, peer reviewing and peer review visits all the way through to April 2013.
Twenty-one cities will be selected.
Take this unique opportunity to receive free guidance, material and dedicated coaching to develop an extensive long-term adaptation strategy.
For more information, visit http://eucities-adapt.eu/cms/get-involved/ and complete the application form today!
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Gender Equality in Local Public Policies”
The Meeting of Local Authorities “Gender Equality in Local Public Policies” was held in the headquarters of the Ibero-American Union of Municipalists (UIM) in Granada from 25 to 29 June 2012. It brought together mayors, authorities and representatives from organisations, women’s networks and municipal associations from a large number of Latin American cities.
Rio is stagnating , local authorities are moving forward!
For many, the Rio+20 Summit clearly failed. Even though no one was expecting a revolution, disappointment was widely expressed. However, the Energy Cities network, composed of more than 1,000 members, wants to emphasize once more that change is already being prepared in many cities and towns over Europe. Local authorities are showing courage and initiative to develop practices that are today innovative and will be spread tomorrow.
NiCE session during East-Meets-West Congress in Cyprus
Our NiCE project hosts a session on 'Green Digital Agenda in smart cities - European and Chinese cities leading by example' on 4 September 2012 in Cyprus
On 4 September 2012 NiCE will host a session titled ‘Green Digital Agenda in Smart Cities – European and Chinese cities leading by example’ during the East-Meets-West congress and exhibition on innovation and entrepreneurship, held in Cyprus from 1-4 September. The event is organised by the Cyprus European office to promote and implement new tools of effective collaboration between business and academia.
For the first time, distinguished scientists from the Middle East, North Africa and Europe will collaborate closely with the business sector to promote and implement effective collaboration between science, technology and business while sharing the common goal of harnessing the potential of entrepreneurship by transforming innovative ideas into products and services. The congress aims to improve links between scientific and business communities, promote private sector investment in science, innovation and enterprise development, encourage SMEs and scientists to exploit global knowledge resources and increase innovation financing mechanisms. Both the congress and the exhibition events are of significant importance on a local, regional and European level.
The NiCE session will run from 10.00 – 12.30 and will include an introduction of the NiCE project, presentations of the EU-China partnership, European and Chinese smart cities, and will conclude with time for questions. The purpose of this session is to share visions of green digital development in cities, discuss best practice and exchange information to achieve substantial, sustainable results at a global scale. At the same time, the session aims at deepening the EU-China cooperation started by the NiCE project.
For more information you can visit the event website at www.eastmeetswest.eu.com or you can email email@example.com.
Policy Learning in Information Technologies for Public Transport Enhancement (POLITE) project kicked-off in Reggio Calabria (Italy)
The POLITE project will exchange best practices on infomobility in public transport. It will create tools to support policy-making which partners will use to develop local implementation plans outlining local roadmaps for policy development on public transport information systems.
The POLITE project kick-off meeting was organised and hosted by the project leader, Calabria Region, and took place in the South Italian city Reggio Calabria. The consortium, consisting of good practice sites, transfer sites and the dissemination network Polis, met over two days on 21st and 22nd June 2012 to formulate a detailed plan of action and dissemination for the POLITE project. The meeting defined actions and deadlines ahead for the duration of the 3-year project until the end of 2014.
POLITE partners will work together in the exchange and transfer of experiences and improvement on policies, knowledge & good practices on infomobility services in their regions, with the goal of improving their public transport information systems. In addition, POLITE plans to establish links with other experienced regions from outside the partnership, offering support for bilateral exchange on selected infomobility topics.
The POLITE partnership approaches the issue of traveller information systems in a holistic and innovative way as it targets the relationships between the information needed by travellers at different territorial levels, to serve as an input to the definition of public policies in a perspective which enables interoperability among information systems and a consequent increase of Public Transport attractiveness. Seven partners are involved in the project.
For more information send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.polite-project.eu/
Major Green Redevelopment Underway in Queens
New York City has unveiled plans to turn a large industrial area in Queens into a new neighborhood filled with green spaces. The city will clean up 23 acres of contaminated land that formerly housed several automotive shops. Over 2,500 housing units, as well as retail shops, a hotel, and restaurants will eventually fill the area, bringing in approximately 3,000 jobs.
Historic Youth Agenda Advanced at Rio +20
While the city of Rio was in high gear hosting the Rio+ 20 summit, on 18 June, the Government of Brazil in cooperation with the Governments of Norway and Sri Lanka held a High Level panel meeting, to discuss the setting up of a United Nations Permanent Forum on Youth Issues to enhance youth engagement in the United Nations system.
The High Level meeting was moderated by Joao Scarpelini, former UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board member and coordinator of the Unition Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Major Group for Children and Youth. The opening speaker was Mr. Gilberto Carvalho, Minister of the Presidency of Brazil, Government of Brazil. Also in attendance were Mr. Heikki Holmås, Minister for International Development in Norway, H.E. Duminda Dissanayake, Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development in Sri Lanka and Ms. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira the Deputy Executive Director of UN-Habitat. In his remarks, H.E. Dissanayake expressed his commitment to the idea of establishing a Permanent Forum for youth in the United Nations. Mr. Holmås left a great inspirational impression among the audience and spoke about his time as a youth activist. Mr. Holmås concluded his speech by encouraging young people to demand the impossible, because then it would be possible.
How to create good living conditions for urban populations?
Understanding the relationship between “quality of life” and “quality of place” is a key for urban practitioners to be in a position to propose projects that improve the well-being of inhabitants.
In his article summarized here, Philip Stein, URBACT Thematic Pole Manager, analyses the results of URBACT projects dealing with quality sustainable living. According to him, the main lesson is that integrated approaches are necessary to propose sustainable solutions.
DOT Awards $500 Million in TIGER Grants
The US Department of Transportation has announced that 47 proposals will receive funds from the TIGER 2012 program. TIGER 2012 will provide a total of $500 million to multimodal projects in 34 states. The grants will support a variety of transit development, including light rail, bicycling, and pedestrian projects. Approximately $120 million of the funds were awarded to rural transit projects.
The Intellectuals That've Had the Biggest Impact on Cities
Zócalo Public Square has gathered together four accomplished planning and development professionals to give their opinions on which scholar or intellectual of the last 50 years has had the greatest impact on the cities we live in today.
Respondents Mitchell Silver, president of the American Planning Association (APA), Shelley Poticha, director for the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities at HUD, author and educator Max Grinnell, and Alfredo Brillembourg, co-principal of Urban-Think Tank, discuss their picks for the thinkers who've had a lasting impact on the form and character of our contemporary cities.
Silver recognizes planner and educator Kevin Lynch, who, "influenced a generation of planners and designers at a time when cities were not fashionable or the preferred places to live...Twenty-first century cities owe Kevin Lynch a debt of gratitude for the resurgence of placemaking and good urban design—a resurgence that has been 50 years in the making."
Grinnell cites James Q. Wilson, author of the landmark article on the “broken windows” theory. According to Grinnell, "his [Wilson's] work has found its way into the daily operations of dozens, yea hundreds, of police departments around the United States...Wilson’s work has given local law enforcement agencies the intellectual rigor and scholarly backing to engage in a carte blanche type of selective enforcement of certain violations, often leading to a continued marginalization of inner-city communities, most frequently those containing people of color."
An ethos of hospitality: the Belfast friendship club
How can Belfast—or any modern city for that matter—best manage its growing cultural diversity? One small, but important, answer to that question comes in the shape of the Belfast Friendship Club. This remarkable initiative, which provides a warm welcome to newcomers to a city still wrestling with a history of intolerance, is a model of good practice worthy of international replication. This report shows how, rooted in universal values, the friendship club offers fresh solutions to the challenges of a more cosmopolitan urban environment.
Brussels gives priority to pedestrians (Belgium)
“Walking should be taken more seriously," says Brussels Secretary of State for Mobility Bruno De Lille. Currently, 32% of trips in the capital region are made on foot. This percentage should increase to 35% by 2020 and to 40% by 2040. There is potential for change, as a quarter of the residents of Brussels use the car for trips under one kilometre. The plan contains ten guidelines for making the region's infrastructure more pedestrian-friendly.
So far this strategic plan has not been translated into concrete actions. It first needs approval from various advisory committees.
ICLEI and partners launch Global Initiative on Urban Resilience
ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability and partners unveiled a new initiative that will catalyze urban resilience action worldwide at the Rio+20 Global Town Hall today. The Global Initiative on Urban Resilience (GIUR) bolsters disaster resilience - one of the hallmark themes of the historic UN Conference on Sustainable Development, better known as Rio +20.
Urban resilience is an indispensable precondition to the attainment of sustainable development and will drive agendas, investment opportunities, and building and infrastructure development. Building urban resilience involves reducing exposure to risk and vulnerability while increasing resistance and robustness and ensuring emergency preparedness.
Konrad Otto-Zimmermann, Secretary General of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, representing an association of over 1220 local government Members, observed that, “Urban resilience must apply not only to climate change, but to all other shocks and stresses that affect community systems.”
The Report of the UN Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability: Resilient People --- Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing, outlines a compelling vision, including 56 specific recommendations as well as a call to action.
“The Secretary General’s High-Level Panel makes clear that the protean concept of resilience cuts across all issues and sectors, and provides a new and vital dimension to the cause of sustainable development,” declared Dr. Jason Hartke, Vice President for the US Green Building Council.
“Harmonized measurements and effective management are interconnected, driving innovation in urban environments,” added Jay Carson, Executive Director of C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, in partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative.
Acting as a leadership group on this important dimension of the challenge, ICLEI, the US Green Building Council, the Eye on Earth Summit, the World Bank Group, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies Program on Energy, Resources, and the Environment, and the Earth Council Alliance Rio de Janeiro Office are raising the flag and galvanizing an urban resiliency movement that can catalyze community action around the world.
“Building resilient communities worldwide requires innovation and new partnerships, bringing big money to portfolios of green economy projects," noted Dr. David Jhirad, Director of the Energy, Resources, and Environment Program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and HRH Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Professor in Energy and Environmental Policy.
Recognizing that the cause of resilience cannot be achieved by national governments alone, the GIUR will do its part to attain the High Level Panel's goals and recommendations by focusing on urban geographies, identifying the synergies between city governments, non- governmental organizations, financial institutions, and different business sectors.
“Disaster management as well as community sustainability and resiliency are both critical issues that demand our focus. On behalf of Eye on Earth Partners, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, we see the pivotal importance and urgent necessity of launching the Global Initiative on Urban Resilience,” explained Catherine Armour, Programme Manager of the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative.
All your citizen needs under one roof
A new website is launched to help Europe's citizens interact with the EU.
Citizenshouse.eu is part of a project aimed at creating a virtual and physical European Civil Society House (ECSH) in order to bridge the gap between citizens and the EU Institutions in the interests of both.
Citizenshouse.eu is led by European Citizen Action Service- ECAS, a Brussels-based international non-profit organization, independent of political parties, commercial interests and the EU Institutions. ECAS’s mission is to enable NGOs and individuals to make their voice heard with the EU by providing advice on how to lobby, fundraise, and defend European citizenship rights.
Citizenshouse.eu is independent of the EU and is designed for the citizen by the citizen. A first prototype of the website was tested on European Citizens’ panels from Bulgaria, France, Hungary and Poland during the Carrousel project in 2010.
The project has been partly funded by the Carrousel Project and the Rowntree charitable trust.
Cities in Decline: Finding Something To Celebrate
News always comes in twos; there's the good news, and then there's the bad news. In the city of Windsor, Canada, the bad news has consistently been their ailing economy. Residents look for something to celebrate.
The city of Windsor, Canada, like its neighbor, Detroit, has suffered the brunt of the nation's economic woes. With the nation's highest unemployment rate, Nate Berg, of The Atlantic Cities, writes, "Windsor is fast becoming the city that Canada is ready to forget about."
"Bringing attention – both critical and celebratory – back to Windsor has been an ongoing goal of the interdisciplinary artist collective Broken City Lab," writes Berg. The Broken City Lab develops "projects and interventions that could quickly, in some way, address the persistent problems facing Windsor, whether people not paying attention, appreciating the city for what it is, or acknowledging and acting upon those parts of it that need to change."
This "DIY-ish urban activism" is what some Windsor residents hope will encourage more residents to give more concern about the state of their city. Berg highlights a few of the successes the Broken City Lab has accomplished, such as "small magnetic planters that can hang on chain-link fences." Small improvements such as this will give rise to what Justin Langlois, assistant professor at the University of Windsor states will "introduce a sensibility of confidence in other people in creative intervening or problem-solving with little things around them."
In time, as Berg hopes, "the Broken City Lab will continue to explore these forms of civic participation and hopefully start to rewrite the narrative of what Windsor can be."
Reviving a declining Norwegian community by attracting migrants
Herøy is a small Norwegian community of about 1700 inhabitants of 25 different nationalities spread over 2,000 islands. The community was affected by a significant brain-drain among young and highly-qualified people between the 1960’s and 2009 and severe budget cuts between 2008 and 2010. As a result, Herøy had to cope with high and increasingly growing rates of unemployment and disability, evolving reliance on public assistance and child welfare costs, a low rate of university graduates and a bad reputation. These negative developments prompted the community to launch a project named "Increased Settlement" in 2010. The project aims to contribute to population growth by increasing welfare, work opportunities and living offers by 2014. The following subsidiary objectives were set forth to attain these goals: strategic good reputation building, availability of varied workplaces, attractive living and recreational activities, successful integration of newcomers and project sustainability.
The Big Commuter Experiment, Gothenburg (Sweden)
In 2010 Västtrafik launched a public campaign called "The Big Commuter Experiment". Motorists were offered a free two-week ticket on public transport. Car owners received information in a letter sent to their homes. The letter was combined with a public campaign in newspapers, on billboards and on a dedicated campaign site on the internet. 50 133 motorists applied for the free ticket, 27 498 of whom met the criteria and they all received a two-week public transport ticket in the post.
Automakers Grapple with Urbanization
In a discussion at the Automotive News Europe Congress in Monte Carlo last week, panelists said the trend towards urbanization will require making cars part of a larger eco-system of transportation.
Panelists like Barb Samardzich, vice president of product development at Ford Europe, said that that automakers will have to "radically change their business models":
Looking into the 2050 timeframe, one thing is for certain, the transportation system will be an eco-system that integrates all modes of travel together," said Samardzich, in an article by Automobile News reporter Nick Gibbs. The subject of the panel was "Future Mobility", so the prognosticating wasn't coming from left field. Yet the panel was surprisingly in synch with their message.
"The four panelists all cited the shift toward urban living as the force behind integrated and connected transport. "Urbanization is the megatrend we have to take into account," said Claus Ehlers, director of society, vehicle concepts and human factors at Daimler."
Action plan for urban mobility: the time for assessment has come
The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) encourages local and regional authorities to respond before 6 July 2012 to the European Commission consultation on the implementation of the EU urban mobility action plan.
The consultation will allow for municipalities and regions to express their views on what the EU can do to help them improve their mobility policies. Indeed, support from the EU can have an important added-value at the local and regional levels, as long as the principle of subsidiarity is respected, which is why CEMR invites municipalities and regions to voice their expectations vis-à-vis the EU.
This consultation launches the review process of the action plan, launched in 2009. A workshop will notably be organised in September 2012 and an urban mobility legislative package published before the end of the year.
World leaders endorse urban agenda and UN-Habitat
Countries around the world gathered for the Rio +20conference this week formally recognised the "important role" cities play in sustainable development citing the need to strengthen the Habitat Agenda and ensure "adequate and predictable" funding for UN-Habitat.
The renewed commitment comes in key elements of the so-called Rio +20 outcome document entitled, The future we want.
Paragraph 137 of the document states: "We recognise that partnerships among cities and communities play an important role in promoting sustainable development. In this regard, we stress the need to strengthen existing cooperation mechanisms or platforms, partnership arrangements and other implementation tools to advance the coordinated implementation of the UN Habitat Agenda with active involvement of all relevant UN entities and with the overall aim of achieving sustainable urban development. We further recognise the continuing need for adequate and predictable financial contributions to the UN Habitat and Human Settlements Foundation so as to ensure timely, effective and concrete global implementation of the Habitat Agenda."
It also said cities could promote economically, socially and environmentally sustainable societies if well planned and developed, including through integrated planning and management approaches, cities can promote economically, socially and environmentally sustainable societies.
"In this regard, we recognize the need for a holistic approach to urban development and human settlements that provides for affordable housing and infrastructure and prioritizes slum upgrading and urban regeneration," the document says. "We commit to work towards improving the quality of human settlements, including the living and working conditions of both urban and rural dwellers in the context of poverty eradication so that all people have access to basic services, housing and mobility. We also recognize the need for conservation as appropriate of the natural and cultural heritage of human settlements, the revitalization of historic districts, and the rehabilitation of city centers."
World leaders further committed themselves to promote an integrated approach to planning and building sustainable cities and urban settlements, including through supporting local authorities, increasing public awareness and enhancing participation of urban residents, including the poor, in decision making. They further committed to promote sustainable development policies which support inclusive housing and social services; a safe and healthy living environment for all, particularly children, youth, women, elderly and disabled; affordable and sustainable transport and energy; promotion, protection and restoration of safe and green urban spaces; safe and clean drinking water and sanitation; healthy air quality; job creation; improved urban planning and slum upgrading; and better waste management.
The outcome document further cites transportation and mobility as central to sustainable development. "Sustainable transportation can enhance economic growth as well as improving accessibility. Sustainable transport achieves better integration of the economy while respecting the environment. We recognize the importance of the efficient movement of people and goods, and access to environmentally sound, safe and affordable transportation as a means to improve social equity, health, resilience of cities, urban-rural linkages and productivity of rural areas."
They stressed the importance "of considering disaster risk reduction, resilience and climate risks in urban planning. We recognize the efforts of cities to balance development with rural regions."
They also cited the importance of increasing the number of metropolitan regions, cities and towns that are implementing policies for sustainable urban planning and design in order to respond effectively to the expected growth of urban populations in coming decades.
Shoring up cities against disaster
UN-Habitat on Wednesday launched a new programme on Wednesday calling on Heads of State and governments at the Rio +20 conference to provide a framework to help make cities around the world safer from disasters.
The launch of the Urban Resilience Indexing Programmefollowed a call on the Rio meeting by the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Ms. Margareta Wahlström, urging UN Member States to face up to the realities of the economic and human impact of disasters since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro 20 years ago.
During that time the world has seen record economic losses, great numbers of people killed and billions displaced, injured or rendered homeless - most of them in heavily populated urban areas - because of growing exposure to extreme events fuelled by rapid urbanisation, poverty, environmental degradation, climate change and a lack of good governance.
"The numbers tell the story. Over the last 20 years, it is conservatively estimated that disasters have killed 1.3 million people, affected 4.4 billion and resulted in when you consider what it means in terms of missed opportunities, shattered lives, lost housing, schools and health facilities destroyed, cultural losses and roads washed away," she said. "We can do better. The Rio+20 Conference needs to put down a marker and introduce time-bound, realistic sustainable development goals which will eradicate this enormous waste of human, social and economic resources. We know how to do it. We have the tools."
Ms. Wahlström and UN-Habitat Executive Director, Dr. Joan Clos, were each selected as a leading United Nations to talk about disasters and cities respectively as two of seven key topics under consideration at the global Rio +20 Sustainable Development Summit which opened on Wednesday.
Their remarks were widely broadcast on the eve of the gathering at which more than 100 Heads of State and Government, along with thousands of parliamentarians, mayors, UN officials, chief executive officers and civil society leaders will shape new policies to promote prosperity, reduce poverty and advance social equity and environmental protection.
On disasters, UN-Habitat has, as its primary aim, the sustainable development of cities, towns, and other human settlements. One key pillar of this aim is ensuring that cities are able to withstand and recover quickly from catastrophic events. In the context of UN-Habitat's World Urban Campaign, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction has its own Making Cities Resilient Campaign which addresses issues of local governance and urban risk.
But the idea of urban resilience refers to the ability of any urban system, regardless of size, culture, demography or geography, to withstand and recover from disasters. To date, no such means of calibrating urban resilience has been developed, leaving city and town administrations understanding only what their inherent vulnerabilities may be, and not their capacity for resilience.
UN-Habitat's new Urban Resilience Indexing Programme launched in Rio de Janeiro will develop new standards for measuring and scaling a city's resilience to natural, environmental, social and economic crises, and provide tools, training and support to achieving them.
Cities in action: zoom in on your roof
Eurocities latest cities in action case study looks at Antwerp's 'zoom in on your roof' project for measuring loft insulation
Using a thermographic satellite image, the city of Antwerp allows its residents to, literally, ‘zoom in on your roof’. The idea behind the project is to raise awareness of the importance of roof insulation for household energy efficiency. Residents can log onto online map, find their house and use the colour-coded image to detect the efficiency of their roofs. The online map is complemented by information days which offer tailored advice and explanations to residents, and are particularly beneficial for reaching out to those without internet access.
But raising awareness is just the first step. The city, in partnership with the regional government, offers grants to residents interested in installing loft insulation. They also offer advice on green loans, designed to finance energy saving initiatives.
The scheme is part of a wider operation in the city to raise awareness and provide advice on improved energy efficiency. It is complemented by initiatives such as the Ecohouse demonstration and advice centre and Dr Ecohouse, which offers tailored advice for residents on sustainable building practices.
The project has proven successful, with Antwerp’s municipalities noting an increased uptake on roof insulation installation and green loans. The city plans to repeat the scheme in 2013, this time addressing technical improvements such as the resolution of the map.
Project Seeks to Build World-Class Cycling Networks Across America
The last five years have seen an explosion of bicycle safety improvements across America. A new project launching this week in six cities seeks to connect officials and planners to the best practices transforming our transportation networks.
Coordinated by the Bikes Belong Foundation, and launching today in Chicago, Washington D.C., Memphis, Austin, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, the Green Lane Project, is an initiative that seeks to showcase the next-generation transportation improvements changing the landscape of America's cities.
"The project will connect elected officials, city planners, traffic engineers, bike advocates and citizens in these six cities to share experiences, trade data and swap ideas, says Project Director Martha Roskowski. Until this year she ran GO Boulder, the alternative transportation effort at the city of Boulder, Colorado, which built its first protected bike lane in the early 1990s."
“For cities, green lanes are like finding a whole new drawer of tools in your toolbox,” Roskowski notes. “Our mission is to expand the knowledge on how to use these tools. How to get them on the ground. How to fine tune them. How to make them work best.”
According to Jay Walljasper, "the name 'green lane' was chosen not only to draw attention to the typical color of protected bike lanes but also to highlight their potential in improving the urban environment and saving on transportation costs. 'Green lanes are not just a color on the street. They are paths to better cities,' the project’s website explains, adding that more people on bikes eases congestion and boosts residents’ health, sense of community and economic opportunities."
The six Green Lane Project cities will receive technical assistance and support, backed by targeted grants to help carry out their plans. Other cities around the country will soon be able to tap into a comprehensive resource center of data, documentation and best practices compiled by the project."
Malmo wins city star award
EUROCITIES member Malmo was awarded the ‘City Star Award’ at a ceremony in Brussels on 14 June 2012. The award is part of the European Commission’s annual Regio Star awards which recognise innovative and inspiring projects supported by EU regional policy.
Malmo was presented with the prize by Johannes Hahn, European commissioner for regional policy and Luc van den Brande, former president of the Committee of the Regions. The award recognised the city’s ‘South East Malmo’ project which was set up in 2008 to bring together public, private and non-profit actors to work towards sustainable growth in a number of depressed city districts. The city worked with a range of partners to identify projects and secure funding from the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).