30/4/2014 - Sustainable urban development in African cities starts with strong local capital markets
30/4/2014 - Enabling GrEEEn Cities: a sustainable urban future for Southeast Asia
29/4/2014 - Coastal cities unsure of next move
29/4/2014 - Sustainability reaching its limit in top Chinese cities
29/4/2014 - Bayonne: Restoring Buildings and Citizen Participation with URBACT
29/4/2014 - Ranking the Most Resilient Cities
28/4/2014 - Development heavyweights weigh in on urban financing
28/4/2014 - Financing municipalities to sustainable energy initiatives
28/4/2014 - Watching the city; urban surveillance in France
27/4/2014 - How Buenos Aires unclogged its most iconic street
27/4/2014 - What Makes a “World-Class” City?
27/4/2014 - Smart Urban Freight Conference: few places left!
26/4/2014 - 11 reasons the UN should make cities the focus of its forthcoming sustainable development goals
26/4/2014 - Denser cities drive China's development plan
26/4/2014 - In Many Cities, Rent Is Rising Out of Reach of Middle Class
25/4/2014 - Sustainable territorial and local development
25/4/2014 - Los Angeles' Initiative to Streamline Its Development Process
25/4/2014 - European Parliament adopts rules to make lorry cab design safer for pedestrians and cyclists
24/4/2014 - China's 'eco-cities': empty of hospitals, shopping centres and people
24/4/2014 - Compendium for the Civic Economy: Turning innovations into 25 practices
24/4/2014 - What makes a city competitive?
23/4/2014 - Practices aimed at renewing relations between generations in neighbourhoods
23/4/2014 - Top 25 List of Cities with Most Energy Star Buildings
23/4/2014 - Launch of UN-Habitat’s new free online resource – the Global Urban Lectures
23/4/2014 - Mortgage Default Lower in Walkable Communities
22/4/2014 - Innovation, collaboration and their citizens make cities smart
22/4/2014 - Urbanisation Provides Unprecedented Opportunities to Transition to a Green Economy
22/4/2014 - Heat Energy Efficiency Depends on Building Configurations
22/4/2014 - Urban Safety in The South
21/4/2014 - Should cities be for animals too?
21/4/2014 - Take part in UCLG's International Poster Competition!
21/4/2014 - Quimper uses innovative energy-saving solution
21/4/2014 - Focus on Parking May Inhibit Economic Development, Increase Car Use
20/4/2014 - Towards interoperable traffic systems in Europe
20/4/2014 - Public lighting systems for better quality of life
20/4/2014 - 7th World Urban Forum Medellín Declaration
19/4/2014 - My City’s Policy for Land Use? Two Mayors in the Limelight
19/4/2014 - The smart city vision has been forcefully introduced into urban policies
19/4/2014 - Measuring Sprawl 2014
18/4/2014 - Launch of TIDE e-learning seminars
18/4/2014 - City showcase on innovative transport solutions
18/4/2014 - New urban resilience partnership announced
17/4/2014 - Euronews: how to grow a city
17/4/2014 - DELI: Cities maximising benefits of diverse end inclusive entrepreneurship
17/4/2014 - Sustainability, According to Plan
17/4/2014 - Survey shows: two thirds of Austrians want Smart Cities
16/4/2014 - Alcohol, city and nightlife
16/4/2014 - Co-funding available for European sustainable mobility projects
16/4/2014 - Dubai eyes affordable housing for all sectors
16/4/2014 - A new approach for efficient, inclusive, sustainable urbanization in China
16/4/2014 - Eurobarometer survey reveals high level of physical inactivity in Europe
15/4/2014 - Too-smart cities? Why these visions of utopia need an urgent reality check
15/4/2014 - Taking services closer to the citizens: An example from Bangladesh
15/4/2014 - Smart Growth and Economic Success: Strategies for Local Governments
15/4/2014 - Re-cycling the streets
14/4/2014 - Launching the C4i – Communication for Integration
14/4/2014 - AppMyCity: calling the best city apps
14/4/2014 - Birmingham joins San Francisco and Oslo in global green cities club
14/4/2014 - Happy City: Transforming our Lives through Urban Design
13/4/2014 - Future Urban Challenges call for renewed and integrated policy approaches
13/4/2014 - Towards Intercultural Limerick
13/4/2014 - Successful innovation at local level in Scotland
13/4/2014 - California cities seek united front to counter earthquake and flood threats
12/4/2014 - Call for covering less privileged in urban planning
12/4/2014 - 'Heathrow City' plan if airport moves from west London
12/4/2014 - Call for the presentation of good practices on human rights policies at local level
12/4/2014 - Dublin city awarded IBM 'Smart City' grant
11/4/2014 - World Urban Forum highlights opportunities for sustainable cities
11/4/2014 - New report captures local authorities' experiences of clean fleet procurement
11/4/2014 - Trillions of Dollars of Public Spending to be Directed Towards Greening Global Markets
11/4/2014 - Fund to transform London's streets announced
11/4/2014 - Smart Cities and the Technology of Walking
10/4/2014 - Swedish city embarks on 6-hour workday experiment
10/4/2014 - Stakeholder consultation: carbon footprinting in the transport sector
10/4/2014 - Cities and the Case for Migration
10/4/2014 - Millionair Club Charity Urban Garden aims to feed homeless, create jobs
10/4/2014 - Cities Ranked on Walkable Access to Grocery Stores
9/4/2014 - Energy Cities Annual Rendezvous 2014 shifted from Riga to Brussels
9/4/2014 - Strong calls for better urban equity at WUF7
9/4/2014 - Cities for Human Rights
9/4/2014 - Pumas: Mobility concept for the paths “Schwechat-Vienna-Airport Region”
9/4/2014 - Call for the new Metropolis Initiatives is now open
9/4/2014 - London's bike hire scheme improves users' health (United Kingdom)
8/4/2014 - Moving forward with the Istanbul Water Consensus
8/4/2014 - Infrastructure Bottlenecks Hold Back Urban Residents in LATAM
8/4/2014 - Cities in the Forefront of Fight against Racism
8/4/2014 - Suzhou awarded Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize 2014
8/4/2014 - China Releases Plan to Incorporate Farmers Into Cities
7/4/2014 - Cape Town wins the Earth Hour City Challenge
7/4/2014 - America's Biggest Cities Growing Faster than Smaller Metros and Rural Areas
7/4/2014 - Urban management officers replaced by plants
7/4/2014 - Seminars on TOD & airport city, Taipei, Taiwan
6/4/2014 - Save the date: EPTA Final conference, 28 May 2014, Brussels
6/4/2014 - In These Towns, Being Annoying Is a Criminal Offense
6/4/2014 - The 2014 Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation is now open to applications!
6/4/2014 - The death of a great American city: why does anyone still live in Detroit?
5/4/2014 - Ljubljana wins 2013 European Mobility Week award
5/4/2014 - Getting Cities Right
5/4/2014 - Active ageing Webinar
5/4/2014 - Better urban design for traffic safety and greater bicycle use
4/4/2014 - URBACT III: a glimpse into the new programme
4/4/2014 - Queue jumper transit signal priority (TSP) can reduce bus delay
4/4/2014 - EUKN conducts research on socio-economic and spatial dimensions of urban poverty
4/4/2014 - Planning Surveys: Finding Out What People Want
4/4/2014 - Urban areas may contribute 75% of GDP by 2020: Barclays
3/4/2014 - Local and regional governments advocate decentralised cooperation at UN Development Cooperation Symposium
3/4/2014 - Anne Hidalgo: first woman Mayor of Paris
3/4/2014 - Cuba’s Urban Farming Revolution: How to Create Self-Sufficient Cities
3/4/2014 - South Africa’s Cities Share Knowledge to Spur Development
3/4/2014 - Lean Urbanism - the next big thing?
3/4/2014 - UN-Women calls for increased access to mobility for women in cities
2/4/2014 - UK becomes first country to develop smart cities standards
2/4/2014 - ‘Mayors Adapt’ – The Covenant of Mayors model extends to climate adaptation
2/4/2014 - Happy City: Transforming our Lives through Urban Design
2/4/2014 - Shrinking Cities - a solution?
1/4/2014 - Cities for Mobility - registration open
1/4/2014 - Climate change can lead to water stress: UN chief
1/4/2014 - US Public Transit Use At Highest Level Since the 1950s
1/4/2014 - China: A New Approach for Efficient, Inclusive, Sustainable Urbanization
1/4/2014 - Green growth best practices - first ever global assessment
Sustainable urban development in African cities starts with strong local capital markets
Cities in developing countries are growing fast, but they often have difficulty accessing the financing needed for sustainable, resilient infrastructure.
The World Bank and PPIAF launched the City Creditworthiness Academy to help cities lay the groundwork for developing those finance streams.
At the first workshop, officials from 18 African cities conducted self-assessments. The results highlight common themes, including the need to develop local capital markets.
What is holding developing country cities back from accessing the financing they need for sustainable urban development?
Enabling GrEEEn Cities: a sustainable urban future for Southeast Asia
The Asian Development Bank will host a Regional Conference on “Enabling GrEEEn Cities: a Sustainable Urban Future for Southeast Asia” from 13-14 May 2014. ADB Urban Operational Plan 2012-2020 provides direction for ADB’s response to addressing the urban challenge by fostering investments in sustainable development. The plan presents a 3E’s approach (Economy + Environment + Equity) to sustainable and liveable cities that are competitive, green, and inclusive.
Coastal cities unsure of next move
The waters are rising, and cities can’t move out of the way. Can we act decisively enough to avert catastrophic climate change?
How much higher will the oceans rise? No one knows, in part because of scientific uncertainty, but mostly because of political uncertainty. We don’t know if humanity will be capable of changing course, which really amounts to leaving a lot of fossil fuels in the ground, unburned.
Everyone knows the basic science by now: Burning fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases into the air. Greenhouse gases cause climate change. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other heat-trapping gases. As we emit more of these noxious gases, global temperatures will rise. The concentration of these gases in the atmosphere today is higher than it’s been in the last 3 million years. The climate is already changing.
Sustainability reaching its limit in top Chinese cities
The richest cities on the mainland, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, have reached a turning point at which improvement of the sustainability of their development has slowed or even stalled, a Beijing-based think tank said.
New growth models were needed for them to close the gap with benchmark international cities, said the Urban China Initiative, a think tank backed by global consulting firm McKinsey, Columbia University in New York and Tsinghua University in Beijing.
Bayonne: Restoring Buildings and Citizen Participation with URBACT
Europe’s old towns reflect the continent’s long and articulated history. Their beauty attracts visitors from all over the world, making their dwellers proud of their cultural heritage. However, living in a historical centre is often challenging: poor living conditions inherited from past concepts of urban space and architecture clash with the need for comfort of its inhabitants. The need for sustainability and energetic performance in renovation represents an additional challenge that needs to be coped with. To tackle this challenge, the city of Bayonne (France) decided to embark on an URBACT journey with partners from all over Europe. As part of this experience, the municipality had to gather relevant stakeholders and work with them to draft a local action plan. The Local Support Group set up in this perspective quickly became a driver in mobilizing citizens and local organizations around the “eco-restoration” agenda.
Ranking the Most Resilient Cities
Real estate investors often worry that their portfolios might be pummeled by economic factors such as rising interest rates. But there are plenty of other concerns—rising sea levels, earthquakes, overpopulation, social inequity, pollution, crime, and poorly functioning government. Globalization, climate change, and aging populations are creating dramatic changes at the country, city, and neighborhood level. These changes, in turn, are likely to have a profound impact on the built environment.
Development heavyweights weigh in on urban financing
Key players from across the globe came together at the World Urban Forum for a special session on Financing the New Urban Agenda. The debate revolved around the implementation of the Habitat Agenda with a special focus on its adequate financing, including exploration of viable innovations and new partnerships to be proposed ahead of the United Nations Third Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development, Habitat III, taking place in 2016.
The panelists were Luis Moreno, President of the Inter-American Development Bank; Shaun Donovan, US Secretary for Housing and Urban Development; Enrique Garcia, President of the Development Bank of Latin America; Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Regional Policy; Zoubida Allaoua, Acting Vice President of the World Bank; and Anne Paugam, Chief Executive Officer of the French Development Agency (AFD). Between them they underscored the importance of local project ownership through financial and in-kind contributions, as well as the need for projects to be embedded in a broader urban strategy.
Financing municipalities to sustainable energy initiatives
To assist municipalities in finding ways to finance their sustainable energy initiatives, the Covenant of Mayors will soon set up a Working Group on Finance. The aim of this group is to build bridges between cities and European funding programmes, as well as other private and public finance providers, ultimately channelling more funds (beyond grants) towards municipal projects.
The Finance Working Group will contribute to increasing the capacity of qualified parties to access financing, and will provide opportunities to share best practices and gain recognition for leadership. Addressing 'non-technical' barriers preventing otherwise economically and technically-viable investments (especially in energy efficiency) will be given special emphasis.
Watching the city; urban surveillance in France
An interview with Jean-Louis Touraine, Member of Parliament, Rhône, and former Deputy Mayor of Lyon in charge of public order and security
A work group, gathering a dozen European cities, among which some French cities, has been set up. It is tasked with studying the practices implemented by cities regarding surveillance technologies (not limited to video surveillance).
On the occasion of a meeting organised in Lyon as part of this project, on 27 February 2014, and presided by Jean-Louis Touraine, Member of Parliament, Rhône, and former Deputy Mayor of Lyon in charge of public order and security, Mark Burton-Page and Sebastian Sperber, of Efus, interviewed him on Lyon’s policy on surveillance technologies.
How Buenos Aires unclogged its most iconic street
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — The postcard image of this proud city is Avenida 9 de Julio, a triumphant boulevard that is by some accounts the widest street in the world. There’s two parts to the picture everyone knows. One is the towering Obelisk commemorating the founding of Buenos Aires. The other is the 20 lanes of traffic commemorating the city’s love of cars. In the past year, half of that image has changed dramatically. City work crews ripped out four of those traffic lanes in the middle of the roadway. In just seven months, they gave the space entirely to buses and the people who ride them. Buses used to be stuck in the mix of traffic on 9 de Julio, jostling with with cars, taxis and trucks. Now, buses have their own lanes for 3 km before peeling off into traffic to get to their destinations. More than 200,000 commuters, many of them traveling to or from the suburbs, enjoy a faster ride that also makes a subway transfer obsolete.
What Makes a “World-Class” City?
Atop the gleaming Four Seasons Hotel in Worli, Mumbai, wealthy locals and affluent tourists sit on plush couches and sip $18 cocktails. From this glamorous rooftop bar, five-star hotels, gleaming condominium towers, and other elements of the modern Mumbai skyline are visible, and that view is a testament to the city’s growing wealth. But a closer look reveals the many slums that dot the Mumbai landscape—slums that are stacked alongside highways, nestled under bridges, and even strewn across sidewalks.
Despite inhabiting the same expanse of 200 square miles, the poor and the wealthy in Mumbai face each other across a deepening physical and social chasm. This separation is a reflection of the increasingly prevalent vision among city governments in the developing world to become “world-class.” From Accra to Jakarta, cities across the globe seek to model themselves after their perception of what a world-class city should look like. It’s a model—exemplified by cities such as Singapore and Dubai—in which the defining characteristics are a modern skyline, a high level of efficiency, and an absence of visible signs of poverty.
Smart Urban Freight Conference: few places left!
NewRail & POLIS are pleased to announce the Smart Urban Freight Conference 2014, to be held on 12th June in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK.
The day will be a combination of micro-lectures, given by invited experts, and poster presentations, and will provide an excellent dissemination and networking opportunity for anyone with an interest in Smart Urban Freight.
The event is open to all and free to attend, registration can be made via the online form.
11 reasons the UN should make cities the focus of its forthcoming sustainable development goals
By Richard Florida
Last week I attended the seventh World Urban Forum in Medellín, Colombia, where more than 20,000 city leaders, urbanists, and planners from more than 160 countries met to discuss the future of cities across the globe.
While there, I called for the United Nations to make cities the centerpiece of its forthcoming Sustainable Development Goals, which are intended to replace the Millennium Development Goals that have guided its economic, social, and human development programs since 2000. In his closing remarks to the Forum, Joan Clos, the Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlement Program and former mayor of Barcelona, also called for cities to be at the at the forefront of the new goals, a point that was echoed by Eugénie Birch, a professor of Urban Research at the University of Pennsylvania and the chair of the World Urban Campaign.
Denser cities drive China's development plan
Nearly a month after China unveiled its ambitious urbanization program, questions persist about the impact of moving more than 100 million rural residents to cities in the next seven years.
On March 16, the government announced its "national new-type urbanization plan," which has been years in the making.
The initiative would raise China's share of city dwellers from 53.7 percent to 60 percent by 2020, relying on major social and economic reforms for a population that reached 1.361 billion last year, according to National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data.
In Many Cities, Rent Is Rising Out of Reach of Middle Class
For rent and utilities to be considered affordable, they are supposed to take up no more than 30 percent of a household’s income. But that goal is increasingly unattainable for middle-income families as a tightening market pushes up rents ever faster, outrunning modest rises in pay.
The strain is not limited to the usual high-cost cities like New York and San Francisco. An analysis for The New York Times by Zillow, the real estate website, found 90 cities where the median rent — not including utilities — was more than 30 percent of the median gross income.
Sustainable territorial and local development
Europe has 23 cities with more than a million people and 325 cities with a population of around 100,000. Two thirds of us live in cities, generating 67% of Europe’s GDP. If we add those numbers up, it is clear that urbanisation is important. To better understand this issue, Euronews produced a video that explores urbanisation and the growth strategies of various types of cities and towns, including Venice and Lisbon.
This round-up of cities and towns was conducted while the European Commission is to come forward with a a strengthened profile of the urban dimension within EU policies. Johannes Hahn, EU commissioner for regional policy, told Euronews: “In the previous period (2007-2013), the share of the structural fund money for cities was 40% of our budget. In the new one (2014-2030), I expect up to 60% to be spent in urban structures in order to improve quality of life.”
Los Angeles' Initiative to Streamline Its Development Process
Conversation about merging the Los Angeles Departments of City Planning and Building & Safety began at the end of former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s term, and has continued into Mayor Eric Garcetti’s administration, with Matrix Consulting Group hired to evaluate its feasibility and efficacy. Matrix released a report outlining findings in February, with a cover report by the CAO and CLA. Mayor Garcetti has announced that he does not support a full merger of the departments. Kevin Keller serves as the Director of Planning and Housing Policy under Garcetti, and formerly worked as a senior city planner in the LA Department of City Planning. Keller sat down with TPR to offer his takeaways from the report, provide context, and explain the administration’s likely course of action on development services reform.
European Parliament adopts rules to make lorry cab design safer for pedestrians and cyclists
The European Parliament endorsed the Transport Committee’s proposal to make safety requirements to lorry cab design mandatory by an overwhelming 570 MEPs for and 88 against.
China's 'eco-cities': empty of hospitals, shopping centres and people
As part of its plan to move tens of millions of people out of the countryside, China is building hundreds of brand-new cities. Tianjin Eco-city is a relatively successful example, but many of its 'green' buildings still echo like gymnasiums
Compendium for the Civic Economy: Turning innovations into 25 practices
“The idea at the heart of the Big Society is a very simple one: that real change can’t come from government alone. We’re only going to make life better for everyone in this country if everyone plays their part – if change in our economy and our society is driven from the bottom up.” Compendium for the Civic Economy by the London-based research and design bureau 00:/ presents 25 cases on how we can envision the future, do a new form of economy, and organize society in the UK and elsewhere.
What makes a city competitive?
What do the cities Bandung, Bucaramanga, Izmir, Kigali, Patna, and Agadir have in common? They are all cities that have outperformed their national economies and are growing jobs. The World Bank's urban development and private sector development departments are jointly working on a new knowledge base on Competitive Cities. The project includes in-depth case studies of economically successful cities across all continents, beginning with the six listed above. What makes these particular cities so interesting?
Practices aimed at renewing relations between generations in neighbourhoods
The Belgian Forum for Urban Security, in partnership with the King Baudouin Foundation, recently published a report that presents concrete courses of action aimed at renewing the relationship between young and elderly people in neighbourhoods affected by intergenerational and intercultural tensions. The publication also presents the views of two researchers, Christine Schaut and Pascal Debruyne, who put forward a sociological interpretation of the conflicts between generations in public spaces.
By means of this publication, the King Baudouin Foundation and the Belgian Forum aim to provide greater visibility to local initiatives that have succeeded in reducing tensions between generations living in the same neighbourhood. This publication is also intended to be an opportunity for public authorities and stakeholders to be inspired by tools and concrete practices.
Top 25 List of Cities with Most Energy Star Buildings
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the sixth annual list of the top 25 U.S. metropolitan areas with the most Energy Star certified buildings. The cities on this list demonstrate the economic and environmental benefits achieved by facility owners and managers when they apply a proven approach to energy efficiency to their buildings.
The Top 10 cities on the list are: Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; New York; San Francisco; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Philadelphia; and Houston.
Launch of UN-Habitat’s new free online resource – the Global Urban Lectures
The Global Urban Lecture series is an online repository of 15 min video lectures that make available knowledge and experience of world renowned scholars and experts associated with UN-Habitat’s work.
The series is offered as a free resource by UN-Habitat, aimed at universities, urban practitioners, and policy makers, as well as the general public who is interested in cities and sustainable urbanization.
Each lecture package consists of a synopsis of the lecture, biography of the speaker, links to associated materials for in-depth study, and the 15 min video. The packages can be applied either for personal use, as additions to ongoing or new university courses, or for screening in public events as introduction to debates on subjects relevant to cities and urban development.
Mortgage Default Lower in Walkable Communities
A recent study from the University of Arizona looked at the relationship between mortgage default and Walkscores for multifamily housing developments. The study found a strong inverse relationship—low Walkscores were associated with high risk of mortgage default, and high Walkscores were associated with low risk of mortgage default. The relationship was strongest at the extremes, with the least-walkable housing areas having a default rate more than 120 percent higher than average, and the most-walkable housing areas having a default rate 60 percent lower than average.
Innovation, collaboration and their citizens make cities smart
Set amidst the premise of promoting dialogue between cities and companies, the Global Town Hall 2014 brought to the forefront the need for collaboration, innovation and citizen participation.
The ICLEI Global Town Hall 2014 at the Metropolitan Solutions trade show in Hannover, Germany came to an end today. Set amidst the premise of promoting dialogue between cities and companies, the Global Town Hall 2014 brought to the forefront the need for collaboration among not just businesses and cities but all stakeholders. Participants asked, answered and explored the challenges and solutions of sustainable development, both on and off the stage.
A smart city is not just smart technology. “A smart city is a city which can provide- with fewer resources- more efficiency, more services for its citizens and a higher quality of life in a rapidly urbanizing world,” says, Gino Van Begin, Secretary General, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. As cities move towards becoming smart cities intricacies of networking, involvement and innovation become a reality. “It has become obvious that we need much more interconnectivity and interaction of all responsibilities within a city and also within businesses to work towards creating smart cities,” says Monika Zimmermann, Deputy Secretary General of ICLEI. Solutions no longer work in a bubble, a city’s needs are never singular and therefore solutions cannot be limited to one sphere.
Urbanisation Provides Unprecedented Opportunities to Transition to a Green Economy
As Consumers of Over 75% of Natural Resources, Cities Are Uniquely Placed to Contribute to Efficiency and Sustainability
With over half of the global population now living in urban areas, cities are increasingly facing the challenge of ensuring decent standards of living for their inhabitants. Demand for a higher quality of life is increasing despite growing pressures on natural resources and ecosystems.
In this context, a new report launched jointly today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Cities Alliance at the 2014 World Urban Forum finds that the rapid pace of urbanisation represents an opportunity to build more sustainable, innovative and equitable towns and cities, and to use the world’s natural resources more efficiently.
Heat Energy Efficiency Depends on Building Configurations
Buildings represent a large energy demand in cities. How does their spatial configuration impact the energy demand in cities? The report Urban Morphology and Heat Energy Demand, by LSE Cities at the London School of Economics and Political Science and the European Institute for Energy Research (EIFER) at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, focuses on heat energy efficiencies created by the spatial configuration of four large European cities.
Urban Safety in The South
Many cities and urban areas in the global South are confronted by crises of urban violence and crime. The multidimensional spatial, social and economic effects of this unsafety that impact on urban development and residents’ quality of life are a global development challenge.
In order to facilitate learning between countries of the South that share challenges and solutions related to urban violence, GIZ, as part of the Inclusive Violence and Crime Prevention for Safe Public Spaces Programme (VCP), has collaborated with the South African Cities Network (SACN) to organise a study tour for South African partners to two selected Latin American countries with a proven track record of making cities safer. The contribution to, and participation in, the World Urban Forum 7 in Medellin (5th to 11 April 2014) will be linked to exposure visits and expert discussions in selected cities in Brazil (Rio de Janeiro) and Colombia (Bogota and Medellin).
In order share the learning’s and insights of this study tour with a wider community a blog has been created.
The blog can be accessed here: http://urban-safety.blogspot.com.
Should cities be for animals too?
Half the world's people live in cities – but urban environments have just a 10th of the species present in equivalent countryside habitats. Should we care and what can we do about it?
Take part in UCLG's International Poster Competition!
In May 2004, mayors and political leaders from all over the world came together in Paris for the Founding Congress of the World Organization of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG). Ten years later, UCLG continues to represent and defend all types of local and regional governments on the world stage. To celebrate this decade of work, the World Organization, headquartered in Barcelona, will launch a poster competition aiming to reflect the achievements of the past ten years.
Quimper uses innovative energy-saving solution
Climate and energy-related issues are crucial for Quimper Communauté, (France). The urban community of Quimper, which signed the Covenant of Mayors in 2011, gathered and took action by developing a “Climate & Energy Territorial Action Plan”.
This Action Plan is composed of numerous actions to be undertaken, e.g. deploying distributed load shedding. This innovative solution, which has already been tested on a large scale, consists in generating energy savings by stopping energy-intensive equipment from running for a short period of time so as to redirect power where it is needed. A box installed in the electric control panel operates those power load sheds in real-time and allows for precise energy use monitoring. Set up as an alternative to backup energy production (emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases), distributed load shedding contributes to saving energy, reducing CO2 emissions and securing electricity supply, which is a burning issue for the region of Quimper.
Focus on Parking May Inhibit Economic Development, Increase Car Use
Two new studies from the University of Connecticut examine the economic and sociological impacts of parking trends in six US cities from 1960 to 2000. The studies conclude that some car-centric cities forfeit more than a thousand dollars per parking space per year in potential municipal revenues by using land for parking rather than more lucrative alternatives. The researchers also found that minimum parking requirements inhibit development and exacerbate traffic by placing incentives on car use rather than on walking and cycling.
Towards interoperable traffic systems in Europe
A series of national workshops will be held around Europe to debate the adoption of open specifications and standards (OSS) in transport. OSS are useful to support system interoperability and to overcome vendor lock-in, leading to lower costs and greater system innovation.
Public lighting systems for better quality of life
The partner cities of the FP7-funded ENIGMA project aim to achieve this by installing an innovative public lighting system that will positively impact upon their sustainability and vibrancy.
The system should not only reduce energy consumption and emissions, but should also decrease development and maintenance costs, thus doing more with a reduced public budget. The purchasing municipalities also want the system to improve their residents' feelings of safety and to encourage them to spend more time outside, therefore promoting an active lifestyle, developing stronger social networks and stimulating local economic activity.
7th World Urban Forum Medellín Declaration
We, the participants of theSeventh World Urban Forum — governments, private sector, international organizations, academia, professionals and civil society — reaffirm our commitment to integrate urban equity into the development agenda, employing all means and resources available to ensure that cities are transformed into inclusive, safe, prosperous and harmonious spaces for all. As a matter of urgency, we must take action, collectively and individually, to bring the benefits of sustainable urban development to all.
We, the participants of the World Urban Forum, commit ourselves to advance this vision, and to promote equitable urban development in our communities, towns, cities and countries.
My City’s Policy for Land Use? Two Mayors in the Limelight
The question of land use and the intelligent reuse of existing locations is becoming ever more important for EU cities. But how do East European cities tackle this issue? Is the question as urgent for them as for EU15 cities? Here is an interview with Mayors Catalin Chereche? and Jozef Dvonc from the Cities of Baia Mare (RO) and Nitra (SK), both members of USEAct network.
The smart city vision has been forcefully introduced into urban policies
The concept ‘smart city’ has become ubiquitous in discussions about the city and urban development models throughout the world. On the one hand, smart city policies support new ways of imagining, organizing and managing the city and its flows. On the other hand, however, the concept becomes a buzz word and a powerful tool for hyper technological rationalizations lead by the private sector, political legitimisation, and governmentality. In his paper Smartmentality: The Smart City as a Disciplinary Strategy, Alberto Vanolo analyses why we need a critical perspective on the concept smart city by presenting theoretical arguments and using Italy as a case study.
Measuring Sprawl 2014
Measuring Sprawl 2014, an updated study from Smart Growth America, analyzes development patterns in 221 metropolitan areas and 994 counties in the United States, to see which communities are more compact and connected and which are more sprawling. Researchers used four primary factors—residential and employment density; neighborhood mix of homes, jobs, and services; strength of activity centers and downtowns; and accessibility of the street network—to evaluate development in these areas and assign a Sprawl Index score to each.
Launch of TIDE e-learning seminars
The EU TIDE project has established a series of online courses for those interested in bringing innovative transport solutions to their own town, city or region.
The TIDE courses are intended for those working in the field of urban mobility but with relatively little experience in the specific topic area. No detailed pre-knowledge of the topics is required. The courses should take 2-4 hours over four weeks and are designed to include interaction with experts and other participants.
Participants will gain access to online courses with advice from European experts and a connection to mobility practitioners from all over Europe.
City showcase on innovative transport solutions
Taking place in Gothenburg on 12-14 May, the 'city showcase' will focus on innovative approaches to urban logistics, road safety, public transport, traffic management and mobility planning
Gothenburg hosts the first ‘city showcase’ on 12-14 May 2014. The event is organised in the framework of Viajeo Plus, an international cooperation project funded by the European Commission, which aims to benchmark outstanding solutions for innovative and green urban mobility in Europe, Latin America, China and Singapore.
New urban resilience partnership announced
A new urban resilience partnership was announced at the final day of the World Urban Forum in Medellin, Colombia. ICLEI is among the nine key partners committing to build urban resilience worldwide.
The new partnership aims to build urban resilience to disasters and to strengthen the social, economic and environmental fabric of the world’s urban spaces. Its key partners include: the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat); the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR); The World Bank Group; the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR); the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); the Rockefeller Foundation; the 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge Programme, pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation; the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group; and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability.
Euronews: how to grow a city
Euronews documentary looks at the challenges of growing a sustainable city
A new documentary produced by Euronews looks at the challenges of promoting sustainable economic growth in Europe’s large and mid-sized cities.
With some 70% of Europe’s population living in cities, their sustainable economic growth is critical to Europe’s overall recovery. Creating new jobs and protecting existing jobs, attracting and retaining young talent, ensuring adequate infrastructure and protecting quality of life and the environment are major concerns for our cities.
DELI: Cities maximising benefits of diverse end inclusive entrepreneurship
Launched in January 2014, the project DELI focuses on two important issues for the European society and economy: migrants and entrepreneurship. While it is recognised that the entrepreneurship is essential to economic growth and innovation, the impact of migrants on European economy remains the issue subject to many misconceptions and doubts. Nevertheless, migrants and people from ethnic minorities represent an important pool of entrepreneurs in Europe. At present there are roughly 24 million non-nationals living in the countries of the European Union, many of them from ethnic minority populations. Their businesses - mainly small and micro enterprises - play an important role in the European society and in particular in urban areas.
Sustainability, According to Plan
The Town of Breckenridge, Colorado is well-known for its scenic landscapes, stellar ski slopes, and quaint, community centric atmosphere. Yet from an environmental perspective, this tiny Colorado town is a prime example of how having a sustainability plan and sticking to it is essential to cutting carbon emissions, greening local businesses, and funneling energy savings back into the people who call this mountain municipality home.
Beginning in 2008, the Town’s leadership, led by their “Green Team,” began a series of studies, discussions, and public meetings to identify exactly what sustainability meant to their broader community. The resultant report, called the SustainableBreck Plan, was adopted in 2011 and clearly defines Breckenridge’s environmental, economic, and social commitments for 2030.
Survey shows: two thirds of Austrians want Smart Cities
A recent, Austria-wide representative survey* by IMMOBILIEN.net and the market research company poolpilots, supported by the Smart City Wien agency, found out that 64% of the population would like to see Smart City investments in their home town in future.
For Austrians this includes the key aspects of the Smart City concept: modern city planning projects, optimised traffic solutions, and housing provisions such as modern building technologies as well as a dedication to energy efficiency and renewable energy. The survey shows that Austrians disagree about the Smart City concept and shows what they understand by it. People are becoming more sensitive when it comes to the provisions for reducing energy consumption. “The high level of support for the ‘Smart City’ concept indicates that the significance of climate protection and the conservation of resources is becoming more apparent and important to the people“, IMMOBILIEN.net chief executive, Martin Giesswein, explaining the high level of interest in the ‘Smart City’ concept.
Alcohol, city and nightlife
Lyon, France, February 2014 – Even though the European “Safer Drinking Scenes” project is now closed, discussions within the European and French Forums on the theme of nightlife continue and are gaining pace. Cities member of our network show a lot of interest in this topic and they are determined to keep sharing their views and experience in order to build together a common vision.
Ten French cities participated on 27 and 28 February in a meeting in Lyon, on the initiative of the French and European Forums for Urban Security. The objectives of this meeting, organised in partnership with the city of Lyon, were to present the approach adopted by Lyon, to take part in a night time field visit, and to exchange on the current developments in the participating cities (notably Lille, Bordeaux, Brest, La Rochelle, Lorient, Montpellier and Marseille), their problems, projects and needs. The aim was also to build a work programme.
Co-funding available for European sustainable mobility projects
CIVITAS CAPITAL is offering co-funding of up to 50 per cent for urban mobility projects. To be eligible, the projects must focus on one of six topics: integrated planning; urban freight logistics; demand management strategies; transport telematics; safety and security; and clean fuels and vehicles.
The project is supporting the take-up of sustainable urban mobility measures through an Activity Fund. This co-financing mechanism will encourage the transfer of successful measures from ‘pioneer’ cities to ‘take-up’ cities. Co-funding will be made available via four competitive calls between 2014 and 2015. A sum of €120,000 is available in this first call, which runs from 28 February to 4 April 2014.
Dubai eyes affordable housing for all sectors
You will see more manmade islands, skyscrapers and multiple projects expanding the growth of Dubai in its march towards sustainable and competitive urban development planned for 2020.
But, at the core of the Dubai 2020 Urban Master Plan lies the vision for integrated land use with the provision of housing and community facilities for all sectors, it was revealed at the Urban Agenda 2020 Conference on Monday.
The government is indeed supporting the major developers to come up with fantastic projects that will add to the global image of Dubai. However, the government will have to interfere if the developers only focus on high-end projects and leave aside a section of the population who will suffer due to the lack of affordable housing, the head of the emirate’s Sustainability Committee Abdullah Raffia said at a panel discussion at the conference.
A new approach for efficient, inclusive, sustainable urbanization in China
China can save a total $1.4 trillion (15% of last year's GDP) if it builds more efficient, denser cities. A new World Bank-China joint report recommends using those savings to expand social services to all people—including migrants.
Eurobarometer survey reveals high level of physical inactivity in Europe
The 3rd edition of the Eurobarometer survey on sports and physical activity in the European Union points to lack of uptake in message of physical activity for individual health and well-being.
Too-smart cities? Why these visions of utopia need an urgent reality check
Responsive urban technology sounds enticing but citizens must not be disconnected from plans drawn up on their behalf
I recently attended a government meeting about future cities and found that all the discussion related to branding, bio-tech innovation, hi-tech transport infrastructure and opportunities for universities.
I pointed out that at least half the population doesn't engage with such things directly, if at all. Most people are more concerned with how to get by, and even how to survive in an increasingly hostile city. One civil servant replied, "Oh, you mean the dark underbelly …" This, it seems to me, is exactly how elevated mandarins in London see normal people who live in inner-city communities.
Taking services closer to the citizens: An example from Bangladesh
The Government of Bangladesh aims to deliver citizen-responsive services that empower citizens, ensure their rights, and reduce corruption in the municipalities (pourashavas). Germany, through GIZ, is supporting this process by digitizing data management, improving interaction with citizens, and optimizing work flows within the municipal administration.
The educational video and horizontal learning approach is targeting other pourashavas and shall inspire them to adopt a similar approach with their own limited means and resources. The motto is "We have done it before and we believe that you can do it, too."
Smart Growth and Economic Success: Strategies for Local Governments
This report from EPA's Smart Growth Program reviews the connection between smart growth approaches and the fiscal strength of local governments, and helps them make decisions about where and how to grow. Topics include compact development in established town and city centers; transit that connects homes and jobs; and neighborhoods and streets that make walking and biking safe, convenient, and enjoyable.
Re-cycling the streets
Is it a good idea to change use of road space from on-street car parking to dedicated cycle ways? Jean Beetham has been studying the feasibility of a cycle way between Wellington’s southern suburbs and city centre.
Jean’s research identifies a significant latent demand for transport cycling in Wellington and a desire for a continuous and connected safe network of cycle ways – people say they would cycle more for transport if there was a cycle path.
Jean also examined the potential economic impact of the loss of car parks to make way for a cycle lane. This study found that the contribution to retail vitality in the nearby shops of those who use on-street parking is minor compared to the contribution of those who don’t require parking or who use off-street parking.
Launching the C4i – Communication for Integration
Have you ever heard expressions like "Immigrants receive more financial aid to open their businesses, and they don’t pay taxes…"; "Immigrants are overcrowding our health services…" or "Immigrants don’t want to integrate or learn our language…"? Such ideas, generally unsupported by facts and data, target specific groups as ‘problematic’ and it generate mistrust and social conflict.
C4i – Communication for Integration project aims to fight against misconceptions and prejudices, rumours and stereotypes by using viral information techniques to provide evidence-based answers to common misconceptions. Active participation from citizens as "anti-rumor agents" is a key feature of C4i.
AppMyCity: calling the best city apps
Is there an urban app you just can’t do without?
Guardian Cities has teamed up with the New Cities Foundation to launch ‘AppMyCity’ a global competition to find the best urban mobile apps.
They’re looking for apps that improve the urban experience, connect people or make cities more fun, vibrant and sustainable. They can be specific to your city or apps that have gone global.
Birmingham joins San Francisco and Oslo in global green cities club
City famous for its industrial heritage joins network of 'biophilic' cities celebrated for their open spaces and links to nature
The city of Birmingham is renowned for its great industrial history, vibrant cosmopolitan communities, an extensive canal system (larger than that of Venice) and, at a push, its football clubs.
But now, possibly to the surprise of many outsiders and even some of its own citizens, England's second city joins the likes of San Francisco, Wellington and Oslo in a global network of “biophilic cities” – urban centres celebrated for their green credentials, their open spaces and their links to nature.
Happy City: Transforming our Lives through Urban Design
"We might not be able to fix the economy. We might not be able to make everyone as rich as Americans. But we can design the city to give people dignity, to make them feel rich. The city can make them happier." On a sunny day in 2007, writer and journalist Charles Montgomery, follows Bogotá mayor Enrique Peñalosa: an ambitious and optimistic man trying to bring happiness to his city and its citizens. Montgomery's encounter with the Mayor of Happy forms the beginning of a journey around the world, trying to uncover what it is that can turn cities into true sources of happiness.
Future Urban Challenges call for renewed and integrated policy approaches
The research Joint Programming Initiative Urban Europe released two studies on urban global megatrends – climate change, economic and demographic development – and their long term impacts on European cities and urban regions. The reports were presented and debated at a high level event organised at the Committee of the Regions in Brussels on 27 March 2014. One of the most important conclusions is the need for increased co-production of knowledge in order to bridge the gap between civil society, citizen participation, policy development as well as research and innovation.
The analysis of urban global megatrends indicates that the diversity across Europe will increase in the next years and decades. The challenges will affect European regions in different intensity and ways and result in growing East-West and North-South gaps regarding economic growth, in- and outmigration and needs to adapt to climate change. New strategies are required to manage these developments and ensure that the urban development in Europe is well-balanced. Furthermore, there is sheer evidence for differing developments in large cities and in smaller and mid-sized cities, which should be acknowledged in research and innovations activities, as there is much diversity in city-size in Europe.
Towards Intercultural Limerick
In December 2013 Limerick City Council unanimously endorsed the city’s new Integration Plan, Integrating Limerick 2013-2016: Towards Intercultural Limerick.
Limerick Manager, Conn Murray, spoke of the importance of ensuring that the migrant voice and underlined Limerick City and County Council’s commitment to the Integration Working Group and the implementation of this Plan during the next three years. Each of the key themes of the Integration Plan is linked with one of the EU Common Basic Principles on Integration and to the Intercultural Cities policy principles.
Successful innovation at local level in Scotland
Every year, the Scottish association COSLA rewards the best initiatives in the domain of service provision. Among the laureates of the Awards are Glasgow City, the municipalities of Perth and Kinross or the Highland Council.
These awards honour and give visibility to initiatives undertaken by Scottish local and regional authorities that improve their citizens’ living conditions in several domains, such as “Service innovation and improvement”, “Strong and sustainable communities” or “Securing a workforce for the Future”.
California cities seek united front to counter earthquake and flood threats
Tremor on day of San Francisco Bay Area workshop offers a potent reminder of the need to plan for shocks and stresses
Shortly after 6am in the morning, at home in Los Angeles but in the midst of preparing to fly to the 100 Resilient Cities "Agenda-Setting Workshop" in San Francisco, I felt an earthquake. The 4.4-magnitude temblor , epicentered not far from UCLA about 10 miles away, did no major damage, but still served as a potent reminder of California's vulnerability to shifting tectonic plates.
This is as true, of course, for the cities to its north, four of which – San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, and Alameda – the Rockefeller Foundation has selected for inclusion in its 100 Resilient Cities Program . Discussions of what exactly makes a city resilient, and how the amenities provided by the program might make it more so, took up much of the schedule for the two-day workshop, the program's first to include multiple cities.
Call for covering less privileged in urban planning
“Architects, please design suitable, adaptable housing that will suit poor people,” said honorary professor of housing at the city and regional planning department, Cardiff University, Prof Yap Kioe Sheng, during his keynote address on ‘The right to adequate housing for all’.
He was speaking at the 9th seminar on urban and regional planning, ‘Housing for all’, organized by the department of architecture and planning of the NED University of Engineering and Technology on the campus on Saturday.
'Heathrow City' plan if airport moves from west London
A new city with 190,000 homes and thousands of jobs could be created if the hub airport moves from Heathrow in west London, Mayor Boris Johnson said.
The Heathrow City plan envisions the future if the Airports Commission rejects plans for a third runway and opts for a new hub at Thames Estuary.
Labour say the plans would "wreck west London's economy" and the Greens warned about the estuary's environment.
The Airports Commission will rule on the estuary option later this year.
Call for the presentation of good practices on human rights policies at local level
The UCLG Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights has been requested by the UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee to assist in conducting a study on the role of local governments in the promotion and protection of human rights.
In order to broaden the Committee information on the practice of local authorities in this field, we would like to kindly invite interested cities to answer the following questionnaire:
Dublin city awarded IBM 'Smart City' grant
Dublin City Council is one of 16 cities and regions around the world to be awarded an IBM grant worth $500,000, which aims to help it solve a problem using data analytics technology.
The IBM Smart Cities Challenge will see a team from the computer giant analyse a specified problem over a number of months, and then travel to Dublin on a pro-bono basis to try to solve that problem using technology.
Smart cities are urban areas where information and data about the operations and services in the city is gathered in real-time and then analysed to identify problems and solutions to ongoing issues.
Dublin City Council is already working with IBM on a smart city project analysing the use of transport within the city, which the council claims has already led to improved services for users.
World Urban Forum highlights opportunities for sustainable cities
In recent months, popular protests have broken out in cities around the globe. The causes were different: soaring pollution in Beijing; violent, gender-based crime in New Delhi; and access to public services in São Paulo. But, for each, inequality was a significant underlying factor.
Many cities face increasing pressure. The urban population has increased five-fold since 1950. Vehicle ownership is on course to double by 2050, while traffic accidents lead to 1.3 million deaths each year. Cities emit approximately 70 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. All of this is even more staggering when you consider that 1.5 billion people will move into cities in the next two decades, bringing the total to 5 billion worldwide.
New report captures local authorities' experiences of clean fleet procurement
The Clean Fleets project has produced a report for public bus procurers and transport operators which provides a comprehensive review of fuel and technology options for clean buses.
Titled Clean Buses - Experiences with Fuel and Technology Options, the report brings together the experiences of over 100 European public authorities and transport operators. It seeks to give a clear and in-depth analysis with examples of trials and demonstrations of using buses with a range of fuel and technology options and innovative bus solutions.
Trillions of Dollars of Public Spending to be Directed Towards Greening Global Markets
A new global programme will harness the power of the trillions of dollars that governments spend on public procurement each year towards a shift to a more resource-efficient world.
The Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) Programme - the first action to get underway as part of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP) - will assist governments to redirect public spending into goods and services that bring significant environmental and social benefits.
Co-led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, and the Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute (KEITI), the SPPwill enable this shift by improving knowledge of sustainable procurement's benefits and supporting implementation through access to experts and tools.
Fund to transform London's streets announced
London's mayor Boris Johnson has announced a new £1.8 million (€2.16 million) fund to boost sustainable transport and alternative road usage.
Titled 'Future Streets Incubator Fund', the scheme will support innovative projects to turn public spaces into creative and social locations. Proposals are expected from boroughs, Business Improvement Districts and community groups throughout the capital.
Smart Cities and the Technology of Walking
For more than a century, automobiles have been the preferred method of transportation in the U.S., providing an efficient means for getting us from place to place. In response to the expansive, sprawl-based development that has characterized the growth of many metropolitan areas over the years, cars increasingly became a must for navigating the vast ecosystem of arterials that connect us with work, home, and other places we frequent.
In today’s auto-centric culture, the operative question for local and regional leaders as well as transportation planners is this: How do we address the growing list of public externalities ensuing from America’s perceived love affair with cars? Traffic congestion, parking demand, environmental issues, and more garner concern as today’s built environments increase in size and complexity.
Swedish city embarks on 6-hour workday experiment
A Swedish city has embarked on an experiment in limiting the workday to six hours in an effort to improve productivity.
A section of employees of the municipality of Gothenburg will now work an hour less a day than the seven hours customary in the Scandinavian social democracy famed for its work-life balance.
The measure is being self-consciously conceived of as an experiment, with a group of municipal employees working fewer hours and a control group working regular hours - all on the same pay. The groups’ performances will then be compared.
It is hoped that the experiment will ultimately save money by making employees more productive in their working hours.
Stakeholder consultation: carbon footprinting in the transport sector
Companies, public authorities, academia, associations and other stakeholders with an interest in the standardisation and harmonisation of carbon footprinting in the transport sector are invited to contribute to a new stakeholder consultation by the European Commission's Directorate General for Transport.
Cities and the Case for Migration
Cities have long been the primary entry point for immigrants. That is where opportunities exist at scale. Like others before them, immigrants flock to cities for success – economic and personal. In the process, they contribute to the vitality of local neighbourhoods and the growth and development of urban regions that drive a nation’s prosperity. It is in the interest of cities to manage this process well and help newcomers settle and integrate. How to shape and influence this process and related topics will be debated at the second International Cities of Migration Conference in Berlin this June.
Millionair Club Charity Urban Garden aims to feed homeless, create jobs
A Seattle-based charity has launched an urban farming initiative to build Seattle’s first commercial hydroponic farms.
The program, which was started by Millionair Club Charity [sic], will supply homeless individuals and families with donated fresh produce.
The fully operational hydroponic urban farm doesn’t need large tracks of land to grow quality crops. The first 250-square-foot garden, located in the basement of the Millionair Club Charity, was completed in November.
Lettuces, kale and bok choy are grown using energy efficient LumiGrow LED grow lights and nutrient-rich water. The garden is able to grow about 800 plants per month, which can produce 1,600 bowls of salad per month or 19,200 bowls annually.
Cities Ranked on Walkable Access to Grocery Stores
Walk Score has developed a new ranking of the best and worst American cities for walkable access to food. The organization cross-referenced millions of walking routes with a database of grocery store locations, then ranked cities according to the share of residents who can walk to a grocery store in five minutes or less. Walk Score found that 72 percent of New York City residents can walk to nearby grocery stores within the five-minute timeframe. Several cities are adapting the Walk Score algorithm to examine and address their own local food-access issues.
Energy Cities Annual Rendezvous 2014 shifted from Riga to Brussels
Due to ‘’circumstances beyond their control’’, the City of Riga cannot host the Annual Rendezvous 2014 anymore.
Consequently, it has been decided to shift the event to Brussels on 23-25 April (same dates).
For those of you who had not registered yet, you will have the possibility to do so in the next days.
We express our sincere apologies to those to whom this shift of place might cause any inconveniences. Please be assured that we will do our best to make this event in Brussels a great success despite this unforeseen development.
We will keep you informed and provide you with further details on www.energy-cities.eu/brussels2014
Strong calls for better urban equity at WUF7
The Seventh Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF7) officially opened in Medellin, Columbia with strong calls to increase opportunities for all those living in cities.
In a video message, United Nations Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon welcomed the participants saying, “We need inclusive development to eradicate extreme poverty.”
On his part, Medellin Mayor Mr. Aníbal Gaviria, said the city was not a finished piece of work but it is an inspiring city. He added that: “We want to face the creation of a more equitable city and we show that we can do it with innovation.”
Cities for Human Rights
The city of Gwangju, South Korea, will discuss with the members of de Committee on Social Inclusion how to foster “Cities for the human Rights” From 15 to 18 May 2014 the mayor of Gwangju, Mr. Kang Un-Tae, has called the 4th World Human Rights Cities Forum, which this year will be celebrated under the topic "Towards a global alliance of human rights cities for all". Organized since 2001, the WHRCF is an annual meeting of key actors and stakeholders engaged in building human rights cities (local governments, experts, United Nations agencies, professionals, etc.).
Pumas: Mobility concept for the paths “Schwechat-Vienna-Airport Region”
The cooperation between the city of Vienna, the surrounding regions, and communities is particularly important in regards to the field of transport. Here the interconnections are vast. The city and its surrounding regions are constantly growing and highly interdependent. Only by means of cooperation, problems can be solved and long-term solutions can be ensured through coordinated planning. For the first time and as a part of the PUMAS project, a regional and state-crossing mobility project is being developed. TINA Vienna Urban Technologies & Strategies supports the MA18, which together with the CEIT ALANOVA is a project partner within the Pumas project.
Call for the new Metropolis Initiatives is now open
April is the month for Metropolis members and partners to apply for the new Metropolis Initiatives. If your city or organization runs projects and/or provides services in matters concerning Governance, Urban economy, Urban Innovation, Sustainability or Social Inclusion, it may be eligible to lead a Metropolis Initiative starting in 2015.
London's bike hire scheme improves users' health (United Kingdom)
The potential for injury and harm from air pollution are outweighed by increased physical activity when cycling around the British capital.
The bike hire scheme in London (United Kingdom), nicknamed ‘Boris Bikes’ after the mayor who introduced them, has been shown to have significant health benefits for Londoners. A study carried out by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has found that despite the increased risk of air pollution, there is an overall increase in health for users of the scheme.
Moving forward with the Istanbul Water Consensus
Local and Regional Authorities commitments to water and sanitation in the face of global changes Marseille-Barcelona-Medellín, 4 April, 2014 - Cities and their suburbs are continuously growing, pollution is increasing, and the impact of climate change is being felt. All these factors are putting pressure on water resources, threatening human, economic and environmental security, and of course upon cities, which play a vital role in ensuring clean water and adequate sanitation for their citizens. Today, water service provision is increasingly decentralized. Managing water equitably, efficiently and sustainably requires cities to coordinate action and find solutions at a local level.
Infrastructure Bottlenecks Hold Back Urban Residents in LATAM
Substandard public transport service and lack of access to basic amenities is preventing millions of Latin Americans from improving their living condition. Therefore, urban dwellers across the region are increasingly eager to participate in government decisions on infrastructure development, a new survey by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has found. According to the report, population growth in cities is putting strong pressure on resources of local governments, leaving officials struggling to provide basic amenities for all residents.
Cities in the Forefront of Fight against Racism
On March 21, 1960, South African police opened fire on black protesters who had surrounded a police station in Sharpeville, killing 69 people. The protest was over the ruling regime’s pass laws, which required blacks to carry passbooks with them any time they traveled out of their designated home areas. The shooting sparked protests and riots and was a turning point in the history of apartheid. It also brought international condemnation on South Africa. In 1966, the United Nation proclaimed March 21 as “International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination” and has been urging member states to organize events during the “Action Week against Racism.” Cities across the world, from Auckland to Montréal, marked the week through various programs like the “I am Aotearoa New Zealand … te ranga tahi, together we grow.” For many cities in Europe and other parts of the world, campaigns against racism and xenophobia are year-round efforts.
Suzhou awarded Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize 2014
Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China was announced the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize 2014 Laureate for its demonstration of sound planning principles and good urban management. The Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize is a biennial international award that honours outstanding achievements and contributions to the creation of liveable, vibrant and sustainable urban communities around the world.
China Releases Plan to Incorporate Farmers Into Cities
China has announced a sweeping plan to manage the flow of rural residents into cities, promising to promote urbanization but also to solve some of the drastic side effects of this great uprooting.
The plan — the country’s first attempt at broadly coordinating one of the greatest migrations in history — foresees 100 million more people moving to China’s cities by 2020, while providing better access to schools and hospitals for 100 million former farmers already living in cities but currently denied many basic services. Underpinning these projections would be government spending to build roads, railways, hospitals, schools and housing.
Cape Town wins the Earth Hour City Challenge
In 2014 year of climate ambition, Cape Town blazes a trail for urban action. Three prominent personalities in the field of climate action - UNFCCC, Bloomberg and ICLEI - congratulate Cape Town for winning this year's Earth Hour City Challenge.
The Earth Hour City Challenge is a year-long competition to promote renewable energy and prepare for climate change. It is organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature. Cape Town received this year’s award at a special ceremony in Vancouver on Thursday night.
In a joint statement, Gino Van Begin, Secretary-General of the global cities network ICLEI, Special Envoy for Cities and Climate change Michael R. Bloomberg and Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said:
“Cape Town is a worthy winner of the Earth Hour Capital 2014 prize and is especially notable for being the first city from the south to receive this prestigious award. This achievement clearly demonstrates the important contribution emerging economies can make in the fight against climate change.
America's Biggest Cities Growing Faster than Smaller Metros and Rural Areas
About 40 percent of the nation's largest metropolitan populations grew faster than the national average, according to an article on TheAtlanticCities.com website. Many large metros grew two to three times faster than the average. An influx of immigrants and the millennial generation seeking knowledge-based jobs and vibrant urban cores may explain some of this growth disparity.
Urban management officers replaced by plants
More and more it appears Kunming streets and sidewalks are becoming the domain of unregistered vendors who sell all manner of things from mats and tables on the pavement. In the past, many seemingly half-hearted attempts have been made to restrict such behavior, especially in places where vendors block traffic.
None of the initiatives have proved particularly successful. However, a new strategy was unveiled early on the morning of March 25, when city planners decided to simply eliminate some empty pedestrian space. Local news outlets have dubbed the tactic 'Plants vs Zombies', a reference to the incredibly popular video game of the same name.
Seminars on TOD & airport city, Taipei, Taiwan
Improved integration of infrastructure and urban development is an essential condition for the development of truly sustainable cities. Good interconnections of all transportation modes (car, bicycle, railway, bus, and pedestrian, as well as high-speed rail, airplane, and boat) by means of hubs can create a single integrated and sustainable mobility network
New mobility options need to respond to both population shifts (density, residential zones, economic centers) and stakeholders’ needs to provide travel structures that are truly smart and sustainable.
For Ton Venhoeven, describing multimodal mobility networks (Metro in Progress, Brussels 2013), all modes of transport will increase substantially in the coming decades at the worldwide level. Freight and air travel are expected to grow most substantially. Paradoxically, this growth offers major opportunities for increasing the quality of life and health in cities and urban regions, while helping these areas function smarter and better in the process.
Save the date: EPTA Final conference, 28 May 2014, Brussels
On 28 May, the EPTA project team will hold its final conference entitled "Public Transport Authority - a key factor leading to transport sustainability. Lessons learnt, impacts, and commitments".
The conference will be co-organized with the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).
The programme includes a morning session focusing on experience and lessons from the work during the EPTA project and from participating EPTA cities. In an afternoon session, speakers from the European institutions will present current legislative instruments and policies.
In These Towns, Being Annoying Is a Criminal Offense
Willian Barboza was arrested for being annoying.
The 23-year-old Connecticut native was sore about a speeding ticket he got in the Village of Liberty in upstate New York in 2012. And when he sent in payment for the fine, he let the town of 4,400 know exactly how he felt.
"[Expletive] YOUR [expletive] TOWN [expletive]," Mr. Barboza wrote on the payment form, scratching out "Liberty" and replacing it with "TYRANNY."
The town wasn't amused. It rejected the payment and prosecuted him under New York's aggravated harassment law, which bans telephone calls and written communication "likely to cause annoyance or alarm."
The 2014 Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation is now open to applications!
The Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation is co-sponsored by the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), the World Association of the Major Metropolises (Metropolis) and the City of Guangzhou. The aim of the Guangzhou Award is to recognize innovation.
The death of a great American city: why does anyone still live in Detroit?
The city’s social contract was shredded long ago and everyone knows time is running out – but some Detroiters have hope
Khalil Ligon couldn’t tell if the robbers were in her house. She had just returned home to find her front window smashed and a brick lying among shattered glass on the floor. Ligon, an urban planner who lives alone on Detroit’s east side, stepped out and called the police.
It wasn’t the first time Ligon’s home had been broken into, she told me. And when Detroit police officers finally arrived the next day, surveying an area marred by abandoned structures and overgrown vegetation, they asked Ligon a question she often ponders herself: why is she still in Detroit?
Ljubljana wins 2013 European Mobility Week award
EUROCITIES member Ljubljana has won the European Mobility Week (EMW) award for the second time. The Slovenian city was previously awarded the title in 2003, and has now been recognised for its efforts to promote sustainable mobility and raise awareness of the importance of air quality among school pupils. Through more than 250 events, the city engaged with 29 primary schools and 16 kindergartens for its campaign. For the annual ‘car free day’, Ljubljana restricted access to one of its main boulevards, Slovenska Street, which is usually heavily congested. The city is now in the process of pedestrianising the zone.
Getting Cities Right
The developing world is experiencing rapid urbanization, with the number of city dwellers set to reach four billion in 2030 – double its 2000 level. But unplanned and uncoordinated urban development is risky, threatening to replace migrants’ hopes for a better life with unsanitary living conditions, joblessness, and high exposure to natural disasters.
In many respects, urbanization is rational. After all, cities are the hubs of prosperity, where more than 80% of global economic activity is concentrated. And their density facilitates the delivery of public services, including education, health care, and basic services. Indeed, it costs $0.70-0.80 per cubic meter to provide piped water in urban areas, compared to $2 in sparsely populated areas.
But the high concentration of assets and people, especially in coastal areas, is an economic liability, with around $3 trillion in assets at risk from natural hazards. Vulnerability will increase further over the next two decades, as cities triple their built-up land, to 600,000 square kilometers, often without basic infrastructure or policies to prevent construction and settlement on disaster-prone and vulnerable sites.
Active ageing Webinar
Join us during the first webinar on solution to demographic change, on Tuesday 29 April at 11:00
The online presentation will take place during the European Day of Solidarity between Generations and will constitute an opportunity to introduce our activities through the thematic network for age-friendly environments (AFE-INNOVNET).
More information about this event is available on AFE-INNOVNET's website.
Better urban design for traffic safety and greater bicycle use
The City of Houten is renowned for its design, which prioritises walking and cycling. Houten has been called “heaven for bicycles”, and for good reason. The city has 129 kilometres of bicycle lanes, a double-decker roundabout separating cyclists from other traffic, and roads where cars are considered guests and must adapt to bicycle-speed. This advanced urban design has resulted in a traffic safety level for cyclists and pedestrians that is twice as high as similar towns in the Netherlands.
URBACT III: a glimpse into the new programme
Where are we heading with URBACT III? Which are the main features and elements of innovation for the new programming period? Adele Bucella, Finance Manager for URBACT Secretariat and member of the team that is drafting the URBACT III Operational Programme answered our questions on the topic.
Queue jumper transit signal priority (TSP) can reduce bus delay
Transit signal priority (TSP) systems generally operate in mixed-traffic lanes, which can limit the effectiveness of TSP deployments, particularly during heavy volume peak hours when the system is most needed. This microsimulation compared several measures of effectiveness for TSP with mixed-traffic vs. queue jumper lanes, as well as near-side vs. far-side stop placement. Queue jumper lanes allow buses to bypass queues at traffic signals, similar to that of a bus lane, but then requires the vehicle to merge back into mixed-traffic lanes after the signal.
EUKN conducts research on socio-economic and spatial dimensions of urban poverty
EUKN is currently conducting research to deliver a policy brief on the socio-economic and spatial dimensions of urban poverty. The research will be carried out in cooperation with the Greek Presidency of the Council of the EU and the DGs responsible for urban development and territorial cohesion.
Planning Surveys: Finding Out What People Want
What do people want? What do community members like or dislike? As planners, these are the types of questions we generally ask as part of any planning process. Obviously, one way to find out is by conducting a survey. I previously wrote an article about the American Community Survey (ACS) which is an example of a comprehensive survey used to collect data for planning and funding allocation purposes. While creating a survey may sound simple, it really is not. It is much more than just coming up with some questions and then having some people answer them.
Urban areas may contribute 75% of GDP by 2020: Barclays
Mumbai: With the government focusing on improving infrastructure and allied services, the urban sector is likely to contribute nearly 70-75 percent of the GDP by 2020, according to a Barclays report.
"The urban sector could witness a revival as the government has started taking many measures on improving infrastructure and services. The government is focusing on increasing subsidies for cooking gas, electricity and piped water and is also taking initiatives to improve urban infrastructure and organized sector jobs," the report said.
Local and regional governments advocate decentralised cooperation at UN Development Cooperation Symposium
United Cities and Local Governments took part to the United Nations Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) High-Level Symposium from 19-21 March 2014 in Berlin. The meetings were hosted by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the German Government. The symposium featured participation of 170 experts and stakeholders to discuss 'Accountable and effective development cooperation in a post-2015 era.'
The meetings served as the last preparatory sessions of the UN Development Cooperation Forum, that takes place every two years, and that will be held in New York, on 10-11 July 2014.
A delegation of local and regional governments attended the Symposium, including the President of the Region Champagne-Ardenne (France), the Mayor of Bagangté (Cameroon), the President of the Province of Azuay (Ecuador) and the Mayor of Chefchaouen (Morocco). The participation of local and regional governments in the Symposium was an opportunity to strengthen the role of local and regional governments in international development cooperation and to promote the specific advantages of decentralised cooperation.
Anne Hidalgo: first woman Mayor of Paris
Anne Hidalgo was the First Deputy Mayor of Paris, in charge of Gender Equality (2001-2008) and of Urbanism and Architecture (since 2008). She also is a regional Councillor for the Ile-de-France Region. With twenty year-experience as an expert in Social Law and Employment, among which ten as a Health & Safety Inspector, she became in 1997 Councillor in the Cabinet of Martine Aubry, the Minister of Employment and Solidarity, followed by, from April 1998, the Cabinet of Nicole Péry, the State Secretary for Women’s Rights and Training.
Cuba’s Urban Farming Revolution: How to Create Self-Sufficient Cities
When Cuba found itself abruptly cut off from trade with the Soviet bloc in 1989, the country entered into an economic crisis of unprecedented severity. Already sidelined from international trade due to US embargoes, Cuba became, almost overnight, a country detached from the rest of the world. In the years that followed, the tiny island nation struggled to export sugar and citrus fruits for more critical imports: the cereals, corn and meat that had become the staples of the Cuban diet. This was the beginning of Cuba’s food crisis, a period in which residents lost, on average, access to one third of their daily calories, the government instituted a peacetime austerity programme for food rationing, and most Cubans experienced widespread, inescapable hunger.
Along with the evaporation of food imports, Cuba lost access to the animal feed, fertilisers and fuel that had sustained the island’s agricultural efforts. Oil scarcity became so pervasive that it curbed pesticide and fertiliser production, limited the use of tractors and industrial farming equipment, and ultimately seized the transport and refrigeration network that was needed to deliver vegetables, meat and fruit to the tables throughout the region. Without the feed, fertilisers and fuel that had once sustained the nation, Cuba’s Green Revolution system of agriculture effectively unravelled.
South Africa’s Cities Share Knowledge to Spur Development
South Africa’s cities present unique challenges, having been designed to reinforce decades of apartheid policies. Neighbourhoods were racially segregated, with non-white townships relegated to the urban fringe. They received poor services and had strict restrictions on economic, civic, and political activities. Already severely weakened by the end of the 1980s, the policy of “separate development” finally ended with the country’s first democratic elections in 1994. Hopes ran high for changes in all spheres of society, including an urban transformation, but thus far, progress has been uneven.
Johannesburg was the first city to start attempting to change these patterns; other cities watched and began their own sets of reforms. Rather than support individual cities, the South African Government chose to create a network that would better enable all of them to flourish, by helping them learn from one another, and building their capabilities for development strategy, planning and implementation.
Lean Urbanism - the next big thing?
It’s getting hard to keep track of all the urbanisms. In the 1990s there was of course the “new urbanism,” anti-sprawl, neo-traditional town planning formally embraced in the Congress for the New Urbanism. That was followed more recently by landscape urbanism, an integration of parks and green infrastructure in cities. And there is tactical urbanism, grassroots, impromptu takeovers of public space with everything from yoga classes to Adirondack chairs.
Comes now Andrés Duany, the cigar-chomping, Cuban-born architect who was a founding member of CNU, with yet another addition to the planning lexicon: lean urbanism. Funded by a grant from the Knight Foundation, Duany is currently on the lecture circuit in an attempt to raise awareness about the red tape that so often stands in the way of even modest projects to improve urban neighborhoods.
UN-Women calls for increased access to mobility for women in cities
Deputy Executive Director for UN-Women, Lakshmi Puri, has called for increased empowerment for women when it comes to accessing mobility. She made the statement at an event for women and mobility at the 58th Session of the Commission for the Status of Women.
The event, titled “Equitable Urban Mobility – Supporting the Empowerment of Women and Girls” was coordinated by UN-Habitat to highlight the challenges facing women and girls in cities around the world every day as they try to access employment, education, and childcare and recreation facilities in the context of unsuitable, unaffordable and often unsafe transport and mobility systems.
UK becomes first country to develop smart cities standards
BSI, the business standards company has published new guidance to help support UK cities in becoming smarter. In the UK alone, 8 out of 10 people now live in cities, and as they become more complex, BSI believes, an intelligent standardised structure for using and sharing existing data and resources, becomes necessary.
The UK BIS (Department for Innovations & Skills) has worked with BSI to develop and launch an agenda around the smart city standards. The Publicly Available Specifications PAS 180 and PAS 181, address the standardisation gaps in the smart city market by providing a guidance framework and common language.
“Smart Cities need Standards,” said Scott Steedman, Director of Standards at BSI. “The UK leads the world in shaping business standards. If we are to make the most of the global opportunities from smart cities, we need to work fast to structure the knowledge that can help city leaders, communities, innovators and technology providers recognise what good looks like and how these concepts can bring benefits for all. I’m delighted that the UK is the first country to publish a set of standards that will help us navigate the governance and leadership challenges that smart technologies bring for cities everywhere.”
‘Mayors Adapt’ – The Covenant of Mayors model extends to climate adaptation
The Covenant of Mayors approach relies on multi-level governance and bottom-up action as a way of achieving the EU’s 2020 CO2 reduction objective. After the resounding success of the last six years – with close to 6,000 cities committed to local sustainable energy – the Covenant model will now be leveraged by cities to develop local climate adaptation strategies. Indeed, a new initiative, called “Mayors Adapt” has just been launched by the Climate Directorate of the European Commission.
Happy City: Transforming our Lives through Urban Design
"We might not be able to fix the economy. We might not be able to make everyone as rich as Americans. But we can design the city to give people dignity, to make them feel rich. The city can make them happier." On a sunny day in 2007, writer and journalist Charles Montgomery, follows Bogotá mayor Enrique Peñalosa: an ambitious and optimistic man trying to bring happiness to his city and its citizens. Montgomery's encounter with the Mayor of Happy forms the beginning of a journey around the world, trying to uncover what it is that can turn cities into true sources of happiness.
Shrinking Cities - a solution?
Youngstown, Ohio — a town that lost over 60 percent of its population since the 1960s — may be an emerging model of urban planning, panelists at a Ford School of Public Policy discussion Wednesday said. The optimistic outlook on Youngstown has strong implications for the futures of Detroit and other transitioning cities throughout the country.
The Ford School’s Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy hosted a panel discussion titled “Lessons from Youngstown: Planning for a Smaller, Greener City” with about 40 community members Wednesday afternoon.
The panel featured Ian Beniston, Hunter Morrison and John Russo, all urban planning professionals involved in the Youngstown Project. Urban Planning Profs. Margaret Dewar and June Manning Thomas moderated the event.
Cities for Mobility - registration open
Dear friends of Cities for Mobility,
we are happy to inform you that registration to the 7th Cities for Mobility Congress is now available. .
The program will be updated online regularly.
We are looking forward to welcoming you this June in Stuttgart.
Climate change can lead to water stress: UN chief
Climate change may aggravate water stress and scarcity in the world, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned Saturday in a message on the occasion of World Water Day. Ban said that all efforts to provide universal access to water and energy would be undermined if the current global warming trends continue.
US Public Transit Use At Highest Level Since the 1950s
More Americans used buses, trains, and subways in 2013 than in any year since 1956, according to a press release from the American Public Transportation Association. Improved transit service, growth in local economies, and travelers seeking alternatives to the automobile for in-city travel helped boost the ridership levels.
China: A New Approach for Efficient, Inclusive, Sustainable Urbanization
A new report recommends that China curb rapid urban sprawl by reforming land requisition, give migrants urban residency and equal access to basic public services, and reform local finances by finding stable revenues and by allowing local governments to borrow directly within strict central rules.
As China’s people are increasingly concentrated in cities, with 200 million more urban dwellers than a decade ago, the government needs to strengthen the enforcement of environmental legislation and reduce the number of pollution-related health problems, according to the joint report by the World Bank and the Development Research Center of China’s State Council.
The report was prepared over the last 14 months and the interim reports were shared on a continuous basis with China’s top policymakers as input to the government’s policy discussions on urbanization, providing an important basis for the formulation of policies on China’s new model of urbanization.
Green growth best practices - first ever global assessment
The Green Growth Best Practice (GGBP) initiative released a summary report in March 2014, as a synthesis of key findings from the review of green growth approaches taken in different countries and regions around the world.
Highly relevant to all levels of governance, it explores a pathway to unlocking synergies between green growth, environmental protection, poverty eradication and economic growth.
Considering the sustainable development goals in the post-2015 development agenda, green growth strategies are relevant for national and sub-national policy planning. Effective green growth approaches are based on the experience of early movers and focuses on practical guidance for governments. The link to climate change is clear. As Sam Bickersteth, Chief Executive of the Climate and Development Knowledge Network, reiterates: “Green growth, which limits manmade climate change and builds climate resilience, as well as driving economic development and poverty reduction, is a necessity not a choice. And there are synergies and trade-offs to be negotiated through careful planning, consultation and consensus building.”