28/8/2014 - Bogota Declaration echoes global voices in praising UrbanSDG
28/8/2014 - French parliament fosters development EV charging stations in its territory
28/8/2014 - UN-backed disaster resilience campaign tops 2,000 participating cities
27/8/2014 - Why Mayors Need a UN-Like Organization of Their Own
27/8/2014 - Neighbouring Polish cities to integrate public transport tickets and tariffs
27/8/2014 - London is letting citizens track their own health using new technologies.
27/8/2014 - Urban-Rural Policies for Economic Development
26/8/2014 - The Cost of Retrofitting Multifamily for Resilience
26/8/2014 - Global City Teams Challenge
26/8/2014 - How cities can benefit from urbanization
25/8/2014 - Electric car sales double in EU
25/8/2014 - Singapore uses latest technology for transforming urban development sector
25/8/2014 - Public Procurement of Innovation Award jury selects six finalists
24/8/2014 - Yubari, Japan: a city learns how to die
24/8/2014 - The recently finished DELIVER demonstrator vehicle for clean urban delivery continues touring
24/8/2014 - Italian sustainable e-bike delivery service heads to the beach
23/8/2014 - How Outdated Parking Laws Price Families Out of the City
23/8/2014 - Transforming Mobility in Our Cities
23/8/2014 - Culture as a priority for cities, regional and local governments
22/8/2014 - Should we stop building tall cities?
22/8/2014 - Traffic-free routes encourage more walking and cycling, says UK study
22/8/2014 - Food security and nutrition in Africa’s cities
21/8/2014 - Garden cities and smart cities: the business case for urban regeneration
21/8/2014 - Register now for free! 11th METROPOLIS World Congress
20/8/2014 - Playing Together: New Citizens, Sports and Belonging
20/8/2014 - 3rd VRUITS Newsletter: discover progress on assessment of ITS applications for VRU safety and comfort
20/8/2014 - ICLEI Canada launches suite of urban biodiversity management resources
19/8/2014 - Jury of experts evaluates the proposals of the new METROPOLIS Initiatives
19/8/2014 - 100 urban windmills to power Copenhagen
19/8/2014 - Olympic afterlife: the real legacy of the London Games for Stratford
18/8/2014 - Polis and the Covenant of Mayors organise a joint webinar
18/8/2014 - Basic Services for all in an Urbanizing World: GOLD III, Book review
18/8/2014 - More bikes, safer roads?
17/8/2014 - Resilience on the fly: Christchurch’s SCIRT offers a model for rebuilding after a disaster
17/8/2014 - Networking cities to achieve energy targets
17/8/2014 - Taking a Closer Look at Secondary Cities
16/8/2014 - Save the date! POLITE final conference
16/8/2014 - Africa’s cities crying out for re-imagination
16/8/2014 - Germany opens Europe's first zero-emission train station
15/8/2014 - UCLG and UN Habitat invite you to share your experience
15/8/2014 - Affordable Housing Draws Middle Class to Inland Cities
15/8/2014 - Migrants Give Auckland an Edge over Other Cities
14/8/2014 - 5 key ideas on Security & Tourism
14/8/2014 - Sydney leads the way for visually impaired citizens
14/8/2014 - Pedestrians Dying at Disproportionate Rates in America's Poorer Neighborhoods
13/8/2014 - The Inclusive City: Approaches to combat urban poverty and social exclusion in Europe
13/8/2014 - Tour to New Zealand on Resilient Cities
13/8/2014 - The Infrastructure the Next Generation of Cities Will Need
12/8/2014 - Municipal IDs as a Tool for Inclusion
12/8/2014 - The Next Chapter for Urban Libraries Is Here
12/8/2014 - The great diesel scandal: how cheap fuel is choking our cities
11/8/2014 - New Survey: What Makes a City Great?
11/8/2014 - Utrecht’s sustainable freight transport
11/8/2014 - Call for World Smart Cities Awards 2014
10/8/2014 - What makes a city a smart one?
10/8/2014 - Parks and Climate Change: The L.A. County Story
10/8/2014 - 5th UCLG ASPAC Congress 2014 Taipei
9/8/2014 - Outraged by 'poor doors'? See how you like the alternatives
9/8/2014 - Enhanced WISETRIP final event on multimodal travel information
9/8/2014 - The floating school in Lagos that rises with the tide
8/8/2014 - Gender Mainstreaming in Spatial Planning
8/8/2014 - Fast transit adds value
8/8/2014 - Can we design the perfect city for getting old?
7/8/2014 - GPC 2.0 – an improved harmonized method for measuring cities’ GHG emissions
7/8/2014 - Final conference of POSSE project
7/8/2014 - OPTICITIES: enhancing smart mobility
6/8/2014 - Baltimore Boosts Urban Farming With City Farms
6/8/2014 - America's new gold rush city
6/8/2014 - Italy takes on EU presidency with a pledge to be closer to citizens and to foster economic growth
5/8/2014 - Trade vs. Megacities
5/8/2014 - Biophilic city model gains popularity
5/8/2014 - Reading station, one of the nine NODES testing sites
4/8/2014 - How City Park Design Contributes to Resident Health
4/8/2014 - Urban physics helps in studying structure of cities
4/8/2014 - UNOSSC assumes leadership of the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty
4/8/2014 - 6th cohesion report
3/8/2014 - Rebuilding Málaga on Community Power
3/8/2014 - Urban commuters spend eight days in traffic jams per year
3/8/2014 - Elevated bike lane opens in Copenhagen
2/8/2014 - More cities across the U.S. consider homelessness a crime
2/8/2014 - Online platform to track impact of programming in Afghanistan
2/8/2014 - Dijon adapts its urban thinking to the needs of an ageing population
1/8/2014 - Location of world's “most polluted” street a surprise
1/8/2014 - Resiliency Campaign Celebrates One Year of Climate Preparedness Action
1/8/2014 - Cities are key to international migration policy
1/8/2014 - Networking cities to achieve energy targets
Previous month's news
Bogota Declaration echoes global voices in praising UrbanSDG
Cities are key to achieving sustainable development goals, states the new Bogota Declaration. The Declaration, to be presented at the Habitat III preparatory meeting in New York in September, is the main outcome document of the conference Rio+20 High-level Dialogue on Sustainable Cities, Transport and Tourism held on 10-12 August 2014 in Bogota, Colombia.
Convening over 500 experts and local government leaders, the conference tackled current environmental challenges and identified climate change as one of the main obstacle in achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) globally.
French parliament fosters development EV charging stations in its territory
Driven by the willingness to develop a national network of charging infrastructure on the French territory, French Members of Parliament voted in July on tax exemption to any operators building or maintaining EV charging points.
UN-backed disaster resilience campaign tops 2,000 participating cities
With the addition of Aguas da Prata, Brazil, two thousand cities worldwide are now enrolled in a United Nations global campaign engaging as many local governments as possible to take on the challenge of integrating disaster risk management into their development processes.
The global campaign, Making Cities Resilient: My City is Getting Ready!, launched in 2010 for a period of five years until 2015, is promoted by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). As it stands now, about 25 per cent of the participating cities are located in the Americas, and approximately 11 per cent (or 226) of all cities are situated in Brazil.
Why Mayors Need a UN-Like Organization of Their Own
The world’s mayors are running the biggest and most important cities in all of human history. They need to have a forum.
There can be no doubt about it: The world’s economic action is centered in its cities. More than half the people in the world live in metros, a figure that is projected to rise to nearly three-quarters by mid-century. The world’s 40 largest mega-regions (geographical clusters of cities, many of them crossing national boundaries) account for less than a fifth of the world’s population while producing two thirds of the world’s economic output and nearly 90 percent of its innovations.
Neighbouring Polish cities to integrate public transport tickets and tariffs
Bydgoszcz and Torun, in the north west of Poland, are creating a new smartcard that will allow greater flexibility and integration of public transport in and between both cities.
Set to replace the existing BiT City ticket, which allows only single cross-city fares or monthly passes, the new Metropolitan Ticket System (SBM) ticket will offer a fuller range of fare options to give passengers more choice and flexibility.
London is letting citizens track their own health using new technologies.
Digital Citizens: The Road to Good Health
Challenge: public health
Too often, people lack the tools they need to effectively monitor and improve their own health in ways that can dramatically improve quality of life and reduce healthcare costs across the system. London will combat these problems with a coordinated, multi-stakeholder platform and new technologies (e.g., sensors and web and mobile apps), allowing citizens to track their own health and government to intervene to help at-risk patients.
Urban-Rural Policies for Economic Development
UCLG and the city of Chefchaouen will celebrate a learning exchange in Northern Africa from the 24 - 27th of September on the issue of Local Economic Development (LED) and Decent Work in Cultural Economies of Intermediary Cities. Under the leadership of the Mayor of Chefchaouen, Morocco, the aim of this workshop is to share valuable knowledge and experiences on the development of integrated rural-urban strategies, strategic involvement in cultural economies, heritage, and food production and markets; emphasizing the development of urban policies for economic development that respond to rural potential and needs.
The Cost of Retrofitting Multifamily for Resilience
For all the havoc that Superstorm Sandy wreaked on single-family homes, the vast majority of residential units in flood zones were in multifamily buildings. A new report from New York University’s Furman Center underscores the challenges of retrofitting New York City’s multifamily housing stock—ranging from walkups with a half-dozen units to large towers with more than 100 units—against the threat of rising sea levels and extreme weather events.
The report—The Price of Resilience: Can Multifamily Housing Afford to Adapt?—describes design solutions and offers policy recommendations for municipal officials and for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) aimed at removing barriers to achieving long-term resilience in the city’s limited stock of affordable housing, most of which is multifamily.
Global City Teams Challenge
Cyber-physical systems (CPS), sometimes referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT), involves connecting smart devices and systems in diverse sectors such as transportation, energy, manufacturing, and healthcare in fundamentally new ways. Cities and communities around the world are increasingly turning to these advanced technologies to improve services, promote economic growth, and enhance the quality of life—to become “smart cities.”
Because many smart community development efforts are isolated, customized projects, NIST is launching the Global City Teams Challenge to encourage collaboration and the development of standards so that communities can benefit from the experience of others to improve efficiency and lower costs.
How cities can benefit from urbanization
Countries around the world need to devolve power to cities and be more open to foreigners if they are to benefit from new patterns of urbanization, says Razeen Sally, associate professor at the National University of Singapore in this World Economic Forum video.
Electric car sales double in EU
The number of electric cars in the European Union has doubled in 2013, but the zero-emission vehicles still only account for one in every 250 new cars sold, a new report says.
Around 50,000 plug-in vehicles were sold in 2013, up from 22,000 in 2012. Three electric vehicle (EV) models that sold about 8,000 each were responsible for the boost, according to an analysis of European Environment Agency data.
Singapore uses latest technology for transforming urban development sector
Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has been utilising GIS and 3D mapping technology to transform its urban development sector. Recently the URA announced that it is collaborating with Esri, the GIS firm to develop a new planning tool that will let planners to programme Singapore’s diverse land use laws into the software itself. Esri’s CityEngine platform will be used to change the two-dimensional town planning data into interactive 3D models, by recording data about the nation’s planning and urban design rules into the computer programme.
Victor Chua, Senior System Analyst at URA addressed an audience of 15,000 professionals at Esri’s International User Conference in San Diego. He explained that “urban planning is a complicated and iterative process because it requires the ability to quickly simulate and evaluate multiple scenarios which conform to planning guidelines”.
Public Procurement of Innovation Award jury selects six finalists
The contracting authorities shortlist for the Public Procurement of Innovation Award has been narrowed to six finalists, representing the most innovative and impressive public procurement activities carried out in Europe. The Award is presented as part of the Procurement of Innovation Platform project, an online hub that helps public authorities, procurers, policy makers, researchers and other stakeholders harness the power of innovation procurement.
The finalists and their suppliers will be invited to an award ceremony at the EcoProcura conference, taking place in Ghent (Belgium) from 24 – 26 September 2014.
The finalists are:
•Région Rhône Alpes, for using robotics to allow school pupils to virtually attend classes when not physically present
•Het Waterschapshuis, for a data service for better water barrier management
•Erasmus MC, for an efficient bed washing facility modelled on car-production-line robotics
•A Coruña City Council, for an innovative smart city solution
•The Federal Procurement Agency Austria, for an improved form of delivering official documents via safe electronic channels
•The City of Oslo, for a platform that allows elderly residents of nursing homes to communicate with relatives and health care providers
A more in-depth profile on each finalist, detailing their organisation, procured innovation and supplier, is available here.
Yubari, Japan: a city learns how to die
Known in its heyday as the capital of coal, Yubari has lost 90% of its population in 50 years. With deer roaming freely, are there lessons for rustbelt cities around the world?
Few cities in the developed world can have been put as comprehensively through the wringer as Yubari, on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido and known in its heyday as the capital of coal. From a peak of just shy of 120,000 people in 1960, Yubari’s population plummeted to 21,000 in 1990, the year the last colliery closed and the last miners fled. It has since more than halved again, to below 10,000, as those who stayed on aged and died or drifted away in the wake of the city’s tumultuous 2007 bankruptcy.
The recently finished DELIVER demonstrator vehicle for clean urban delivery continues touring
The DELIVER Project demonstrator vehicle was finished in the spring and has been touring exhibitions since June 2014. It will continue being exposed throughout the autumn at a wide range of expert meetings.
Italian sustainable e-bike delivery service heads to the beach
An eco-friendly city logistics service has joined with a global express delivery company to transport parcels to beachgoers at Italian resorts this summer.
The Triclò service, which uses bicycles with electric motors that assist a rider's pedaling, is joining with DHL Express to take deliveries to the Marina di Porto Cervo, Forte dei Marmi and Riccione beach resorts. A zero-emission sustainable form of transport, Triclò says its bicycles are ideal for the distribution and delivery of goods in the historic centres of cities and the beach.
How Outdated Parking Laws Price Families Out of the City
There's no question that Generation Y loves the city, but demographers and urban planners can't help but wonder how long that love will last. Given their lower income relative to previous generations, many urban Millennials favor small-footprint living: studios, a few one bedrooms, some congregate housing, and micro-units. But what happens as they age and have family? Will the need for two or three bedrooms force them to the suburbs, or will cities create the types of family-oriented units to keep them in place?
Families need at least two bedrooms (and preferably more) to be comfortable. Ideally they would have separate (or semi-private) rooms for teenagers of different genders, or for relatives who come to visit. They want yards and access to safe places for their children to play. Many cities want to encourage the production of family-sized apartment units, but few two and three-bedroom apartment units are being built. Most new apartment projects continue to be developed primarily with studios and one-bedroom units.
Transforming Mobility in Our Cities
By Gino Van Begin, ICLEI Secretary General
I believe that we all here agree that the future of our planet is dependent of how our cities develop and evolve and that within that development and transformation, urban mobility plays an important role. We have come to see that our current excessive automobile dependence has various negative impacts, and the brunt of it, is borne by our cities. The symptoms are visible in the form of increasing congestion, deterioration of our air quality, and a loss of public spaces. In addition, the economic loss due to these symptoms is considerable. In Europe, European cities lose 100 billion Euros annually or 1% of EU’s GDP due to congestion. And a quarter of EU’s transport emissions arise from urban areas. In Asia, Asian Development Bank estimates that the annual congestion cost is around 2–5% of GDP. Indeed, Asian cities also suffer from the highest air pollution levels in the world and 80% of this is attributed to urban transport.
Culture as a priority for cities, regional and local governments
SAVE THE DATE: UCLG Culture Summit will be hosted by the City of Bilbao, 18-20 March 2015 The process to elaborate the new Agenda 21 for culture was initiated by the Committee on Culture in 2013 through subsequent debates in Lille-Métropole, Buenos Aires and Rabat, and will continue in 2014, with meetings, seminars, articles, questionnaires and visits to pilot cities. The process will conclude with a major event: a “Culture Summit of UCLG”, when a new document on culture and local sustainable development will be presented.
Should we stop building tall cities?
We once built tall structures to get closer to the heavens, literally closer. We arranged buildings to align with celestial phenomena, with gods. Then tall was employed for other means: for walls, for fortifications, to view threats from above. But we could only get so high. The practical occupancy of tall was limited by the strength of building materials and gravity’s affect on water. Then came steel and elevators and the pressurization of water, and buildings grew taller. Engineering advanced.
Traffic-free routes encourage more walking and cycling, says UK study
The creation of new high-quality and traffic-free cycling and walking routes in local communities has encouraged more people to get about by foot and by bike, according to a new UK study.
The University of Cambridge surveyed adults living in three communities before and after they benefited from a national initiative led by the sustainable transport charity Sustrans to build or improve walking and cycling routes at 84 towns, cities and villages around the UK.
Food security and nutrition in Africa’s cities
Food insecurity and malnutrition, closely related plagues once restricted mainly to rural sub-Saharan Africa, are spreading rapidly into the continent’s cities, saddling already hard-pressed governments in the region with new and worrisome social, political and development problems.
Despite the implications of these challenges, the international development community remains focused on small farmer agricultural productivity in rural Africa.
Garden cities and smart cities: the business case for urban regeneration
Housing shortages mean the government's idea of garden cities has an appeal, but the jobs and economic activities that go with homes must also be tackled
It is often said that generals' approach to military planning is always to address the battles in the last war, rather than to address future conflicts. There is a similar risk that the approach to garden cities may well be planning for housing delivery based on previous views of population trends and changing market demand.
Register now for free! 11th METROPOLIS World Congress
Register now for the 11th METROPOLIS World Congress for free as courtesy of the State of Telanagana
10 reasons to join more than 2000 world leaders and experts in Hyderabad (October 7-10, 2014)
1. Engage high-level government leaders, city officials, international organisations, academia, NGOs, solutions and service providers, policy makers, industry partners and global experts.
2. Witness key political messages and declarations from the community of mayors worldwide
Playing Together: New Citizens, Sports and Belonging
Maria, a new Canadian citizen from Romania, is an avid tennis fan. On settling down in Canada, she was thrilled to have a tennis club across the street from where she lived. But it took her two years to work up the courage to join it. “Because they were looking so, you know, so Canadian, so [at ease] in their own thing there. I never dressed in a skirt, for example. Just cultural difference, you know? Every woman had [a] short skirt and equipment, very nice equipment, and I usually play like, not so well dressed,” Maria told a focus group for a national study exploring new citizens’ participation in sports.
3rd VRUITS Newsletter: discover progress on assessment of ITS applications for VRU safety and comfort
The third newsletter edition of VRUITS – improving the Safety and Mobility of Vulnerable Road Users through ITS Application – is now available. Its publication coincides with a milestone in the project: after having completed the qualitative assessment of the 21 ITS applications selected in VRUITS, the project now moves into a quantitative assessment of a selected number of applications.
ICLEI Canada launches suite of urban biodiversity management resources
People want to work, live and play in cities because cities are dynamic nodes of activity, idea centers and economic engines that offer wide ranging services and amenities.
With rapidly shifting rural-to-urban migration, new thinking and innovative approaches to city building are needed, guided by strong and progressive leadership to help meet the ever-increasing demands being placed on cities. A key to meeting these demands is recognizing the foundational role that urban biodiversity plays in supporting all aspects of a sustainable city: fresh air to breath, clean water to drink, healthy food to eat and materials for shelter.
Jury of experts evaluates the proposals of the new METROPOLIS Initiatives
With the submission of 16 proposals from Agra, Barcelona, Berlin, Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Île-de-France (Paris),Johannesburg, Mexico City, Rosario, São Paulo State, Santiago de Chile and the Kreanta Foundation, the selection process for the new METROPOLIS Initiatives is now underway. The jury of experts has started evaluating the projects, which are related to the themes of governance, socioeconomic inclusion, urban innovation and sustainability, and suggest the collaboration with other cities, private firms, civil-society organisations and academic.
100 urban windmills to power Copenhagen
While other countries debate whether to install wind turbines offshore or in remote areas, Denmark is building them right in its capital. Three windmills were recently inaugurated in a Copenhagen neighbourhood, and the city plans to add another 97. “We’ve made a very ambitious commitment to make Copenhagen CO2-neutral by 2025,” Frank Jensen, the mayor, says.
Olympic afterlife: the real legacy of the London Games for Stratford
With construction limiting public services and investors cashing in on ‘the Olympic effect’, Stratford’s residents are wondering whether hosting the Games was really worth it.
We moved to Stratford in the autumn of 2011 – an exigency forced on us by London’s housing bubble. It was a reluctant emigration: the river Lea marked the eastern boundary of my experience of the capital, barring a few brief but harrowing visits after falling asleep on night buses as a student 10 years earlier. There was only one good pub, and the 2012 Olympics, about which I felt no joy, loomed large over the area.
Polis and the Covenant of Mayors organise a joint webinar
Save the date! A webinar on Sustainable Energy Action Plans and Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans –analysing and planning for energy efficient urban mobility will take place on 10 September 2014 at 2pm CET, lasting for approximately 90 minutes. This webinar is aimed at municipal offcers, transport practitioners and anyone interested in SEAP's and SUMP's.
Basic Services for all in an Urbanizing World: GOLD III, Book review
Basic Services for All in an Urbanizing World is the third instalment in United Cities and Local Government’s (UCLG) flagship series of global reports on local democracy and decentralisation (GOLD III). In the context of rapid urbanisation, climate change and economic uncertainty the report is an impressive attempt.
More bikes, safer roads?
Attention, drivers: You might want to think twice before flipping the bird at that morning cycling group for slowing down your commute. In fact, you should probably thank them.
A study published in the April issue of Accident Analysis & Prevention suggests that more bikes make roads safer for cyclists and motorists — a finding that could have national implications as more and more Americans hop on two wheels. “Improving the streets to better accommodate bicycles may enhance safety for everyone,” said Wesley Marshall, an assistant professor of civil engineering at the University of Colorado Denver and co-author of the study.
Resilience on the fly: Christchurch’s SCIRT offers a model for rebuilding after a disaster
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — You don’t see it, but you certainly know when it’s not there: infrastructure, the miles of underground pipes carrying drinking water, stormwater and wastewater, utilities such as gas and electricity, and fiber-optics and communications cables that spread likes veins and arteries under the streets of a city.
No showers, no cups of tea or coffee, no flushing toilets, no lights, no heating, and no traffic lights — a modern bustling city immediately shuts down. Factor in damaged roads, bridges, and retaining walls above ground, and the situation is dire.
That calamity hit Christchurch, New Zealand, in a series of earthquakes that devastated the city in 2010 and 2011.
Networking cities to achieve energy targets
The CASCADE final report describes the achievements & lessons learnt through the project.
Our CASCADE project on local energy leadership has published a final report summarising the experience and knowledge shared through its learning and networking activities.
The report outlines the main challenges, ideas and solutions exchanged through the project, and describes the improvements and progress made in each of the 76 cities involved.
Taking a Closer Look at Secondary Cities
Much ink has been devoted to the role large cities such as Mumbai, São Paulo and Cairo can play in a country’s economic growth. But not enough attention is being paid to the fastest growing urban areas of all, and the ones most likely to shape our urban future: secondary cities.
These cities, ranging in size from between 150,000 and five million, are becoming increasingly important for global development. Some 75 per cent of the world’s population lives urban settlements of less than 500,000 people.
Despite their growing role, countries often ignore the productive role that secondary cities can play in a balanced national system of cities.
As a result, many secondary cities are facing numerous development challenges – including creating jobs, attracting investment for needed infrastructure, and diversifying or revitalising their economies – with far fewer options than their larger counterparts.
Save the date! POLITE final conference
The final conference of the POLITE project will take place in Cosenza, Italy, on October 9, 2014. POLITE partners have worked together to exchange and transfer experiences and improve policies, knowledge and good practices on infomobility services in their regions.
Africa’s cities crying out for re-imagination
Last week, during the budget debates, Human Settlements minister Lindiwe Sisulu admitted that the delivery of housing in all South African provinces was a massive problem and that it had “dropped drastically”. As Rebecca Davis wrote, “The problem, in crude terms, is that too many people are moving to South African cities, and there isn’t enough land available for them.
Germany opens Europe's first zero-emission train station
A solar-powered and geothermal train station, thought to be Europe’s first carbon-neutral train station, was opened in June by German railway company Deutsche Bahn.
The € 4.3m project is the first to be produced from Deutsche Bahn’s 'Grüner Bahnhof' (Station Green) programme and features innovative eco-friendly design and various sustainable technologies.
UCLG and UN Habitat invite you to share your experience
According to the World Bank, 180 000 people come to live in cities everyday worldwide. By 2050, 84% of the world population is expected to live in urban areas. As the world becomes increasingly urbanised, urban governance and decentralisation are placed at the heart of the debates on the future international development agenda.
This is why our global organisation, UCLG, in collaboration with UN Habitat and the research centre LSE Cities, launched a survey among all local and regional governments aiming at having a clear idea of the state of urban governance worldwide, by pursuing 3 main objectives:
Affordable Housing Draws Middle Class to Inland Cities
Americans have never hesitated to pack up the U-Haul in search of the big time, a better job or just warmer weather. But these days, domestic migrants are increasingly driven by the quest for cheaper housing.
The country’s fastest-growing cities are now those where housing is more affordable than average, a decisive reversal from the early years of the millennium, when easy credit allowed cities to grow without regard to housing cost and when the fastest-growing cities had housing that was less affordable than the national average. Among people who have moved long distances, the number of those who cite housing as their primary motivation for doing so has more than doubled since 2007.
Migrants Give Auckland an Edge over Other Cities
As we become more globally connected, more than half the world lives in cities which are becoming more ethnically diverse.
Immigrants overwhelmingly choose to migrate to cities because that’s where opportunities exist on a large scale. Cities feel urbanization and immigration profoundly.
They can be contentious policy issues at national level. But at city level, they are lived realities.
Having listened to many great examples from speakers from around the globe at the Cities of Migration conference in Berlin [June 4-6, 2014], I am convinced Auckland – with more than 40 per cent of our population born overseas and 12-14 per cent of children born to immigrants – has a huge competitive advantage over other cities.
5 key ideas on Security & Tourism
The European Forum for Urban Security has produced a short video presenting 5 key ideas on security and tourism in urban environments. It is based on the principles of its Manifesto of Aubervilliers and Saint-Denis and the collected experience of urban life and tourism skateholders from various countries.
Sydney leads the way for visually impaired citizens
Australia’s most extensive network of pedestrian Braille signs that will help visually impaired citizens and visitors navigate the streets of Sydney is nearing completion.
The first stage of the project will see 38 prototypes of the new tactile signs installed along one of the city’s busy pedestrian routes. The results will be used to refine the design before the full roll-out of an estimated 2 000 signs at all signalised city pedestrian crossings.
Pedestrians Dying at Disproportionate Rates in America's Poorer Neighborhoods
Many cities have made pedestrian safety a priority, but their efforts rarely focus on poorer areas, which have approximately double the fatality rates of wealthier communities.
In the middle of a four-lane roadway in one of Miami’s poorest neighborhoods, Carl Jones stood over a solid double yellow line as he waited to cross one morning in 2012. Just before a car traveling west could pass, another vehicle heading in the opposite direction hit Jones, sending the homeless man airborne. Police found him more than a hundred feet away; he died at a hospital shortly thereafter. The driver never stopped.
The Inclusive City: Approaches to combat urban poverty and social exclusion in Europe
The European Urban Knowledge Network (EUKN) presented at the beginning of the Italian Presidency of the EU a report on the socio-economic and spatial dimensions of poverty in Europe. The study provides an overview of urban poverty in the European context and analyses good practices in various European cities. The study was commissioned by Greece, the previous President of the Council of the European Union, and by Belgium and the Netherlands. It is part of the European Urban Agenda that is prepared by EU Member States and the European Commission.
Tour to New Zealand on Resilient Cities
The FRIENZ project (Facilitating Research and Innovation cooperation between Europe and New Zealand) project is co-funded by the European Commission and the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. FRIENZ has recently released a call for representatives from the European Union research, university and innovation sectors to participate in a study tour to New Zealand for approximately 5 days beginning 1 December 2014.
The Infrastructure the Next Generation of Cities Will Need
It will be technology that will enable "Cities 3.0" -- the transformation of metropolitan centers into hubs of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Are we truly entering an era of "Cities 3.0"? Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is an advocate of that notion, and few elected officials are in a better position to look at cities from a broad, historical perspective than is Johnson, the new president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Municipal IDs as a Tool for Inclusion
When New York Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a new law for issuing an ID card for any local resident who wants one -including undocumented immigrants- on July 10, 2014, he set into motion the largest program of its kind in the United States.
When rolled out in early 2015, New York City’s ID system will offer a photo identification card with less stringent documentation standards than driver’s licenses or state IDs. Cities such as New Haven, Conn., Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., already have similar programs.
The Next Chapter for Urban Libraries Is Here
How the fustiest urban amenity is rewriting its future
Judge Nelson R. Wolff has been an avid reader for more than seven decades. He’s written four memoirs; his home library boasts an extensive collection of rare books. So he’s an unlikely leader of a movement that renounces paper and ink.
But in Bexar County, Texas, Wolff is overseeing a technology experiment that seeks to recreate a struggling American icon: the public library.
The great diesel scandal: how cheap fuel is choking our cities
Diesel's popularity with motorists has surged, but its green image was an illusion. Now concern is growing over the damage caused by emissions, with children particularly vulnerable
New Survey: What Makes a City Great?
A new survey commissioned by planning and design firm Sasaki Associates asked 1,000 urbanites in San Francisco, Chicago, Austin, New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C. what they love most about their city. The findings, which cover diverse aspects of city life, offer truly fascinating insights for urban planners, landscape architects, and architects. One example: 60 percent of residents of these cities say they will still be in the city five years from now. Here are some other highlights.
Utrecht’s sustainable freight transport
The city of Utrecht is a densely populated city, with its centre being of major historical and cultural importance. But its ancient streets are being damaged by traditional forms of road freight transport. To tackle this problem the city introduced two new and innovative methods of transport: the waterborne electric Beer Boat, and the solar-powered electric freight road vehicle known as the Cargohopper. This has resulted in a reduction in emissions, noise and freight traffic, and increased the safety and quality of life for city residents.
Call for World Smart Cities Awards 2014
The fourth edition of the World Smart Cities Awards will be held in 2014. This pioneering initiative recognizes the most ambitious Smart City strategies, the most advanced projects and the most innovative initiatives around the world fostering the development of the Smart City concept.
What makes a city a smart one?
There’s a lot of buzz around the idea of a “smart city.” IBM is involved. Cisco is involved. And so are many others. But what exactly is a smart city? In the Electric City talk below, Adam Greenfield distills it down to one simple idea: It’s the missing link — the connective tissue — between the real estate and technology sectors. I like that a lot.
But he also goes on to argue that the way we’re largely thinking about smart cities today is incorrect. We’re far too centralized and administrative in our thinking. Instead, we should be focused on leveraging the crowds of people in our cities that are now virtually all networked.
Parks and Climate Change: The L.A. County Story
Local and regional parks can be used to mitigate the urban heat island effect and minimize local climate change. Unfortunately, this idea is not often shared, discussed, and/or adequately understood. If you do a search on the web on “climate change and parks,” you will find that most of the results are links to information about how climate change is impacting national parks.
5th UCLG ASPAC Congress 2014 Taipei
The Fifth UCLG ASPAC Congress, to be held during September 3rd to 5th this year, will take place in Formosa Regent Hotel, Taipei. With the theme “Adaptive City: Embedding Design in City Governance”, the Congress will discuss four major issues in concurrent sessions: “Development and Application of Smart Cities”, “Adaptive City- the Spirit of Taipei”, “Developing Trend of Green Transportaion”, and “How to Establish Material Recycling and Zero-waste Society”.
Outraged by 'poor doors'? See how you like the alternatives
We may recoil from the idea of housing developments with separate entrances for the rich and the rest, but they are just a symptom of a much bigger problem in London
Like business class air travel or first class train carriages, apartment blocks with backstreet entrances - so-called "poor doors" - and worse facilities for residents of their cheaper flats hit a raw nerve. In London, they set in stone - or, more likely, steel and glass - the very standard class status of some Londoners compared with others, many of whom don't actually live in London at all and are just passing through.
Enhanced WISETRIP final event on multimodal travel information
The Enhanced WISETRIP Final Event will provide an opportunity to showcase the achievements of the Enhanced WISTERIP project and contribute to the debate on priorities for delivering EU-wide multi-modal travel information.
The floating school in Lagos that rises with the tide
Makoko Floating School by NLÉ studio is a prototype structure that addresses physical and social needs in view of the growing challenges of climate change in an urbanizing African context. The movable ‘building’ is currently located in the aquatic community of Makoko in Lagos, the lagoon heart of Africa’s second most populous city. Here about 100,000 people live in housing units built on stilts with no roads, no land and no formal infrastructure to support day-to-day survival.
Gender Mainstreaming in Spatial Planning
Introducing Gender Mainstreaming to spatial planning means to differentiate the practical and strategic needs that women and men may have regarding the development of their territory. Up till now, spatial planning procedures and instruments consider only the population as a whole, resulting often in the prioritisation of projects that mainly benefit those who are traditionally best enabled to voice their demands. Hence, it is crucial to introduce Gender Mainstreaming into the participation mechanisms in order to incorporate the demands and needs of specifically women. By that means, spatial planning can be an instrument to close gender gaps in the aim of territorial development.
Fast transit adds value
Residents of the Twin Cities greeted the opening of the new Green Line light rail link last month with joy and excitement, finally able to take advantage of a train connection between downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. The 11-mile rail line runs through a relatively densely populated area, serves two business districts, and travels through the heart of a university.
It’s also alarmingly slow. Green Line trains are taking up to an hour to complete their journeys, and even optimistic schedules released by the local transit agency put running times at 48 minutes, or less than 14 mph on average.
Of course, the Twin Cities are hardly alone in their predicament. Recent transit lines elsewhere in the country feature similarly leisurely travel times. The new Houston North Line, for example, is averaging 17 mph. Los Angeles’ Expo Line is slightly quicker at 18 mph. Bus rapid transit and streetcar projects popping up virtually everywhere are often significantly slower. Only the Washington, D.C. Metro Silver Line, which will extend that region’s subway deep into the Virginia suburbs, will speed commuters along at an average of 32 mph. It will do so while only stopping at 5 stations, all of which will be located in the middle of expressways.
Can we design the perfect city for getting old?
Over the next 15 years, 10,000 Americans will turn 65 every single day. By 2030, 20 percent of the U.S. will be senior citizens, compared to 13 percent today. Cities will have to adapt, not just to a growing population of elderly, but to the baby boomers’ idea of what it means to be elderly, which is already proving to be different than previous generations’ ideas. Forget about bringing Bob Dylan to the nursing home — AARP has found in study after study that baby boomers want many of the same things as millennials. They want to be mobile and social, with easy access to bus stops, grocery stores, parks, pharmacies and hospitals. Those who can afford it are moving into cities while those who stay put in the suburbs are demanding their neighborhoods urbanize. Writer Ted McClelland takes us to Indiana, where the population is aging faster than anywhere else in the nation and cities are realizing they must adapt.
GPC 2.0 – an improved harmonized method for measuring cities’ GHG emissions
After a successful nine-month pilot test from May 2013 to January 2014, the improved second version of the Global Protocol for Community-scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GPC 2.0) is now open for public comments until 18 August 2014. Practitioners and technical experts in the fields of energy, transportation, waste management, agriculture and forestry, and city officials are invited to comment.
The GPC is a global framework that harmonizes emissions measurement and reporting processes for cities of all sizes, economies, and geographies. Jointly developed by ICLEI, WRI, C40 and with additional collaboration by the World Bank, UNEP, and UN-HABITAT, the GPC also enables cities to develop effective climate action plans and low-emission development strategies.
Final conference of POSSE project
The POSSE project on open specifications and standards in urban traffic management and ITS is coming to an end this year. POSSE partners welcome all interested local authorities, ITS associations’ representatives, the ITS industry and all other interested stakeholders to the POSSE final conference.
OPTICITIES: enhancing smart mobility
Launched in November 2013, OPTICITIES will develop and test urban ITS solutions.
OPTICITIES is a project designed to improve smart mobility. It will develop and test urban ITS (intelligent transport systems) in six different cities to make it easier for people to travel around cities and to simplify urban logistics.
Baltimore Boosts Urban Farming With City Farms
Urban gardening is a long-time tradition in the city of Baltimore, Maryland, according to the new City Farms Coordinator Harold McCray.
“Its original purpose was in response to urban hunger and malnutrition—that was its root,” McCray says.
The idea to include community gardens within Baltimore’s parks developed later, according to McCray. Former Mayor William Donald Schaefer suggested a garden network, beginning as a horticulture division of Recreation and Parks which became City Farms. In 1978, the first City Farms garden, located in Clifton Park, took root.
America's new gold rush city
The most expensive place to rent new housing in the US isn't Miami, LA or even New York. Thanks to the fracking boom, it's Williston, North Dakota, where Walmart pays $20/hour and new arrivals sleep in shipping containers. How does a city cope with a modern-day gold rush?
Italy takes on EU presidency with a pledge to be closer to citizens and to foster economic growth
Following the European parliamentary elections of May 2014 and in view of the renewal of the European Commission at the end of the year, the Trio (Italy, Latvia and Luxembourg) that takes the presidency of the European Council for the next 18 months pledged to give priority to bringing European institutions closer to citizens. Since July 1st, each of the three countries will take the presidency for a period of six months.
The Italian presidency aims to bring Europe closer to citizens by eliminating hurdles and procedures and by making European institutions more accountable and transparent. Regarding the need to bring Europe and citizens closer within a space of democracy, rights and freedoms, the Italian presidency wants to promote a more active role for the EU in areas where it creates added value, such as the protection of fundamental rights in policies regarding asylum and migration.
Trade vs. Megacities
In 2000, Port-au-Prince and San Juan accounted for 62 percent of the urban population respectively of Haiti and Puerto Rico. Though they tied for number one in the world rankings as those urban agglomerations that had the highest percentage of their countries urban populations, they were by no means exceptions. Luanda had 57 percent of the urban population of Angola, while Brazzaville had 54 percent of that of Congo. The list goes on to include many developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Biophilic city model gains popularity
Biophilia refers to love of life or a passion for life. Erich Fromm, the Swedish psychologist used the term first in 1964 to describe being drawn to nature. Biophilic cities are different from green cities as the former focus on wellbeing and health more than simply environmental conservation. Biophilic design takes inspiration from natural patterns and landscape processes as well as the human factors such as historical, cultural, ecological influences.
Singapore has been considered as an ideal prototype of a biophilic city with the government investing parks, green spaces and canopy walks. These parks are linked through 200 km of park connectors. It seeks to balance nature with the increasing population density rates. Planting trees, community gardens and green walls and rooftops are all part of the efforts made in achieving the balance.
Reading station, one of the nine NODES testing sites
On the 17th of July, Queen Elisabeth II inaugurated the new Reading railway station. It is one of the none interchanges that is testing tools in the NODES (New Tools for Design and Operation of Urban Transport Interchanges) project.
How City Park Design Contributes to Resident Health
City parks are more than pretty outdoor spaces — research shows they can also be critical to improving a community’s health. In fact, from the earliest days of their implementation, parks have been tools for boosting air quality, encouraging safe physical recreation, reducing disease and discouraging crime, according to the George Wright Forum. That’s why park design is so important. The way a park is set up and organized plays a crucial role in how much it is used and, therefore, what level of impact it can make.
How are some of America’s parks influential in city environments today? What are some examples of urban parks that are contributing to their communities’ overall physical well-being? To help answer these questions, here’s a look at a few of America’s healthiest cities and the parks that you’ll find in them.
Urban physics helps in studying structure of cities
Franz-Josef Ulm, Engineering Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology analyses properties, patterns and environmental potential of concrete structures. Cities when looked from a distance appear as a cluster of molecules. Ulm began studying cities and observed factors such as arrangement of buildings, the building’s center of mass and how they were arranged near each other. The conclusion was cities could be put into categories: Boston’s structure can be compared to ‘amorphous liquid’. Chicago meanwhile is designed on grid, resembling glass while New York reminds viewers of a highly ordered crystal.
UNOSSC assumes leadership of the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty
The World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty (WACAP) is a platform and network facilitating the exchange of knowledge and best practices among (local) stakeholders and interest groups in poverty reduction, urban development and access to services. WACAP´s mandate given by the UN General Assembly comprises the promotion, facilitation and coordination of efforts supporting South-South and triangular cooperation on a global and UN-wide scale.
Until recently WACAP was part of UNDP´s administration but moved to the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation. The new stewardship was announced in late June 2014.
Yiping Zhou, UNOSSC Director, stresses that “WACAP will ensure mayors from all regions can engage in meaningful contributions to make our cities – especially those in the Global South – cleaner and safer, more resilient and sustainable, more affordable, accessible and livable for all.”
For further information please visit http://www.wacapnetwork.org/
6th cohesion report
The new EU cohesion policy package will put a strong focus on energy efficiency and youth employment
Between 2014 and 2020, the European Commission will invest €38 billion for energy efficiency in order to move towards a more environmentally-friendly economy. Over €80 billion will be dedicated to tackle high youth unemployment rates.
These are some of the key investment orientations emphasized by the European Commission’s 6th report on Economic, Social and Territorial Cohesion for the coming years. This report displays a general assessment of the results of the previous period of cohesion policy and details the Commission’s strategy for the 2014-2020 programming period.
Rebuilding Málaga on Community Power
"Each city is like a different world," says Fernando Barreiro, Lead Expert of the USER network, "but there are many things they can learn from each other". Understanding this was precisely what made the active Spanish city of Málaga join a network with other cities across Europe, aiming to share knowledge and experience on how to engage citizens in the caretaking of their surroundings and, together with other stakeholders, the creation of better public spaces.
Urban commuters spend eight days in traffic jams per year
An annual ranking of the world’s most traffic-congested cities offers insights that might be useful to city leaders. Urban commuters spend an average of eight days stuck in traffic each year. Building more roads doesn’t always alleviate the jams, writes Jim Gorzelany, a Chicago-based automotive journalist, in Forbes.
In fact, secondary roads can be worse than major arteries, according to stats compiled by TomTom, an Amsterdam-based company that makes navigation devices for vehicles. “The traditional responses to congestion, such as building new roads or widening existing ones are no longer proving to be effective,” TomTom CEO Harold Goddijn tells the publication.
Elevated bike lane opens in Copenhagen
Constructed over the harbour, Cykelslangen, or 'Cycle Snake', is Copenhagen's newest elevated cycle path. The orange cycle lane connects to the harbour bridge, leaving the ground level free for pedestrians.
Cykelslangen was opened on 29 June, after eight years of planning and construction. It is four metres wide with two lanes and is 220 metres long.
Cyclists have reacted to Cykelslangen with excitement, as they no longer have to share the narrow spaces at ground level with pedestrians, or take their bicycles up and down stairs when using the bridge at the harbour.
More cities across the U.S. consider homelessness a crime
It’s getting harder to be homeless in America.
Laws that criminalize homelessness are cropping up in cities throughout the country, while simultaneously, a national shortage of shelter beds and housing options is roiling the system.
Since 2001, the U.S. has lost nearly 13 percent of its low-income housing according to a report by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty that surveyed 187 cities.
The advocacy group’s report found that laws placing restrictions on loitering, begging, sitting and lying down in public have increased nationwide since 2009. Eighteen percent of cities now ban sleeping in public and 42 percent of cities ban sleeping in vehicles.
Online platform to track impact of programming in Afghanistan
UN-Habitat has launched an innovative online monitoring tool employing Google Maps to document the progress of community and municipal-led development projects in Afghanistan.
Dijon adapts its urban thinking to the needs of an ageing population
The French city is at the forefront of an urban network aiming to actively improve the lives of its older residents
When you reach a certain age, the difference between a friendly place and a hostile one may depend on apparently insignificant details. Like benches, essential if you need a rest, or steps that can delay you or trip you up, and of course shops and public transport. As studies have shown, movement is a key factor in ageing well and isolation should be avoided at all costs. "A little activity does a huge amount to slow ageing," says Christiane Gindre, a pensioner and member of the Age Observatory in Dijon. This city in eastern France is working to ensure that planners and other public services make full allowance for such factors.
Location of world's “most polluted” street a surprise
Where is the world’s most polluted street? If you guessed Beijing, Delhi, Dhaka, Nairobi, Mexico City or Los Angeles you’re on the right track — but have the wrong continent. Zoe Williams reports in the Guardian that the most polluted street is in a city heralded for green policies: London.
Researchers at King’s College London determined that Oxford Street, a busy shopping thoroughfare, tops the charts on automobile emissions, the article says. Pollution levels were higher than in smog-ridden cities where pedestrians routinely don face masks.
Resiliency Campaign Celebrates One Year of Climate Preparedness Action
One year ago, in the aftermath of record-breaking tornados and severe storms in the Midwest, a group of leading mayors and local officials convened at the National Press Club as a commitment to strengthen their response to an era of extreme climate weather. The 45 Inaugural Signatories of the Resilient Communities for America campaign (RC4A) represented a burgeoning movement of local leaders who saw that—in a new age of rapid change and disruption—our communities must be better prepared and built to flourish in the face of emerging challenges.
Cities are key to international migration policy
The Barcelona Declaration, signed by representatives from cities and international organisations gathered in the Catalan capital, underlines the importance of local authorities in terms of integration for migrants, and calls for further recognition of this role.
The Forum on Migration, Mobility and Development, which was held in Barcelona, ended with all the attendees accepting the ‘Barcelona Declaration’.
The document states that, "faced with the challenge of governing migration, mobility and development, cities are responsible for the processes of integration and social cohesion. These processes are started in neighbourhoods, districts and cities, in public spaces, schools and workplaces”.
Networking cities to achieve energy targets
The CASCADE final report describes the achievements & lessons learnt through the project.
Our CASCADE project on local energy leadership has published a final report summarising the experience and knowledge shared through its learning and networking activities.
The report outlines the main challenges, ideas and solutions exchanged through the project, and describes the improvements and progress made in each of the 76 cities involved.