30/12/2014 - Social Innovation: What´s behind the City Scene?
30/12/2014 - Paris Mayor Pledges Bold Steps to Reduce Traffic in City Center
29/12/2014 - 2014 Polis Conference presentations and photos online
29/12/2014 - Energy planning: How to join forces across cities and regions? Two guides published
28/12/2014 - 2,000 cities participate in EMW 2014
27/12/2014 - Unaffordable cities: Singapore workers tread water on millionaires' island
24/12/2014 - The City of Paris and main local governments networks worldwide ask for a “Cities and Local Governments Day” during the COP21
24/12/2014 - The Lima Communiqué calls for an inclusive and ambitious post-2015 climate regime
24/12/2014 - Hundreds of cities poised to replicate Rio’s approach to measuring and reducing emissions
23/12/2014 - Water PiPP – bringing innovation procurement in the water sector to local governments
23/12/2014 - Parks to Farms: Urban Migration and Community Development
22/12/2014 - Electric Vehicles City Casebook available
22/12/2014 - 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction
21/12/2014 - CITYKEYS - new smart cities project
21/12/2014 - Are "green" buildings really the best for addressing climate change?
20/12/2014 - Civil society must work hand in hand with local government
20/12/2014 - Bristol secures national innovation funding to progress road transport automation
20/12/2014 - India’s view of “smart” cities differs from West
19/12/2014 - Is Jan Gehl winning his battle to make our cities liveable?
19/12/2014 - Bristol invites public to imagine, and then decide on, the future of their city
18/12/2014 - More than 300 low emission buses to be introduced into London by the end of the year
18/12/2014 - Smart city project to create 1,500 jobs
18/12/2014 - The Compact of Mayors: The biggest collaboration to accelerate climate action
17/12/2014 - Instead of Vertical Cities, should we be thinking about Linear Cities?
17/12/2014 - Lima hosts cities climate change meeting alongside COP20
17/12/2014 - Barcelona to share its secrets as a “market city”
16/12/2014 - Homelessness prevention in cities
16/12/2014 - Brussels unveils new city centre mobility plan
16/12/2014 - Do Urban Neighborhoods Need Homeowners?
15/12/2014 - Results of project on open ITS systems presented at conference
15/12/2014 - Urban planners target the restoration of Cairo
14/12/2014 - UN-Habitat and partner launch a publication on mobility
14/12/2014 - Local sustainable energy action plans are key to European energy security
13/12/2014 - Launch of First Global Standard to Measure Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Cities
13/12/2014 - In Australia, urbanisation is bringing animals and diseases closer to home
12/12/2014 - If women built cities, what would our urban landscape look like?
12/12/2014 - Designing California Cities for a Long-Term Drought
12/12/2014 - Defining Urban Resilience in Christchurch
11/12/2014 - Monograph City, Social Inclusion and Education online
11/12/2014 - Join the ECC2015: play with your citizens and promote cycling!
11/12/2014 - A new Utopia for Africa?
10/12/2014 - Rooting Out Intolerance: the Kungälv Model
10/12/2014 - City Resilience and Renaturing are Creeping Up the Agenda
10/12/2014 - Dubai Municipality designates 11 winners of urban award
9/12/2014 - Towards a circular economy: A zero waste programme for Europe
9/12/2014 - European Commission video clip on urban mobiliy
9/12/2014 - Viet Nam plans launch of City Prosperity Index
8/12/2014 - Mexico City wins Audi Urban Future Award 2014
8/12/2014 - IDRC Davos 2014 Outcomes Report
7/12/2014 - Cities and regions of the world define the roadmap for 2015
7/12/2014 - Street Vendors Have A Lot to Teach Us About How Urban Space Works
6/12/2014 - EFUS and UN Habitat sign urban safety accord
6/12/2014 - Tel Aviv takes the World Smart Cities Award
5/12/2014 - A Japanese construction company is planning a spherical underwater city
5/12/2014 - Exhibition brainstorms “tactical urbanism” for global cities
5/12/2014 - Entrepreneurial region award
4/12/2014 - The United Nations reflect on the role of local government with regards to human rights
4/12/2014 - Upending Urbanism: How New Postgraduate Programs are Revolutionizing the Way We Create Cities
4/12/2014 - Energy-Plus schools show great results
3/12/2014 - RE-Energizing cities: Global 100% RE & ICLEI join forces
3/12/2014 - First UK's waste-based biomethane bus runs
3/12/2014 - Social Innovation: What´s behind the City Scene?
3/12/2014 - “3D Soundscape” Can Guide Blind People Through Cities
2/12/2014 - The Development of Small and Medium-Sized Towns
2/12/2014 - SOLUTIONS and Polis present smart urban mobility solutions at Michelin Challenge Bibendum in China
2/12/2014 - Empowering Local Authorities in India
2/12/2014 - New Challenges in Mobility and the Role of Cities: Process Management
1/12/2014 - Gated communities lock cities into cycles of inequality
1/12/2014 - SUSTRAN launched in Nairobi, Kampala and Addis Ababa
1/12/2014 - Sales skyrocket as Danish embrace electric cars
1/12/2014 - Cities and regions of the world define the roadmap for 2015
Social Innovation: What´s behind the City Scene?
Cities increasingly face multiple and wicked issues and have fewer resources to tackle them. The traditional governance model struggles to address these issues and its limits reveal the need for a new governance culture.
Paris Mayor Pledges Bold Steps to Reduce Traffic in City Center
After a decade of repurposing street space from cars to people, buses, and bikes, Paris isn’t done yet. The world’s most-visited city is now preparing to remove even more traffic from the streets in the name of walkability and clean air.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo told the Journal du Dimanche this week that she intends to create four “semi-pedestrianized” zones near the city center. These areas would permit only bikes, taxis, buses, and cars driven by residents of the district. Delivery vehicles and emergency vehicles would also be given access, according to the Australian newspaper The Age.
Hidalgo said she plans to begin the policy of restricting through-traffic during weekends, with the goal of ramping it up to a full-time policy. The proposal closely resembles a traffic reduction plan for central Madrid.
2014 Polis Conference presentations and photos online
We were pleased to welcome 280 participants to last month's 2014 Annual Polis Conference in Madrid! The delegates joined 16 parallel sessions and 2 high-level plenaries. The presentations given as well as photos and interviews are available online now.
Energy planning: How to join forces across cities and regions? Two guides published
How can small local authorities bundle efforts to produce a joint Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP)? How can a province or region mainstream a successful methodology to fast-track the EU analysis of numerous local action plans? Two guides have been published by the Covenant of Mayors Office to provide detailed answers to such questions.
2,000 cities participate in EMW 2014
The European coordination body of European Mobility Week (EMW) has published its annual report on the short term impact of the 2014 campaign.
Based on the online registration data, the EMW Participation Report provides a quantitative overview and analysis of participation per country. This year’s edition of EMW, on the theme ‘Our streets, our choice’, was very successful. More than 2,000 cities and municipalities in 44 countries officially joined the campaign. Austria, Spain, Portugal, Hungary and Italy registered the highest number of participants, while the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Slovakia and Slovenia also set records in terms of their participation rates.
Unaffordable cities: Singapore workers tread water on millionaires' island
With 17% of city state's residents worth S$1m, those who serve, drive and treat them may as well live on another planet
It is a balmy Saturday afternoon in the suburbs of Singapore. Patricia, 21, and her partner Sham, 28, share their first meal of the day: a box of chicken nuggets at McDonald's. "It's getting much harder to survive in Singapore," Patricia says between bites. "I love my job, but my pay doesn't match up to the cost of living here. But what choice do I have?"
The City of Paris and main local governments networks worldwide ask for a “Cities and Local Governments Day” during the COP21
Paris and its partners ask the COP21’s future French presidency to organize a Cities and Local Governments Day during the COP21 at Le Bourget in December 2015.
At the request of Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, Patrick Klugman, deputy mayor in charge of international relations, and the networks UCLG, C40, CEMR / PLATFORMA, IAFM and ICLEI have a held a meeting on December 18 at Paris City Hall to define the roadmap for the COP21 in December 2015.
The Lima Communiqué calls for an inclusive and ambitious post-2015 climate regime
The COP20 in Lima aimed to approve a draft text of the new international climate change agreement to be adopted at COP21 next year in Paris. Despite a serene atmosphere, it proved difficult for parties to reach an agreement, stumbling over the inclusion of Adaptation to climate change in the text, and being careful not jeopardize development processes by enabling differentiated commitments in relation to countries’ capacities. The Lima Call for Climate Action was finally adopted after extra hours of discussions that ran into the weekend.
Hundreds of cities poised to replicate Rio’s approach to measuring and reducing emissions
Rio de Janeiro is one of the world’s leading cities injecting sustainability into its planning. In 2011, Mayor Eduardo Paes enacted an ambitious climate change law, setting a goal to avoid 20% of its emissions by 2020, based on 2005 levels. There was only one problem: the city wasn’t sure just how much it was emitting, or where its emissions were coming from.
Rio officials tried taking inventory of its 2005 emissions, but there was no international standard for how to do this at the city level. The result was incomplete and inconsistent with how other cities were calculating their own emissions. So with support from the World Resources Institute (WRI), Rio turned to an early draft of the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories (GPC). By using the standard, the city figured out that transport and waste were the biggest contributors to its overall emissions – at 39% and 19% respectively, and that targeting emissions reductions in these sectors would help meet its 20% target.
Water PiPP – bringing innovation procurement in the water sector to local governments
The new Water PiPP project makes access to innovation procurement in the water sector easier for local governments. The project helps local authorities to procure new water services and technologies, step-by-step, in innovative ways. Water PiPP will:
• Create a community of experts and practitioners - bringing together key stakeholders working in the procurement of water services and technologies, to facilitate exchange of knowledge through workshops, events and an online forum.
• Act as an information hub - provide the latest and most relevant information about the procurement of innovative products and services in the water sector and beyond.
• Explore and test real-life procurement scenarios in cities across Europe to develop guidelines for public bodies to help improve access to innovative solutions in the water sector.
Find out more about the Water PiPP project and sign up for regular updates.
Parks to Farms: Urban Migration and Community Development
Free Webinar Event 29 January
Neighbourhoods like Tower Hamlets (London) and Thorncliffe Park (Toronto) have become destinations of choice and “arrival cities” for successive waves of urban migrants. Join us online to learn how community-led initiatives organized by local residents are rolling out the welcome mat, reducing barriers to participation, and empowering newcomers to help build a vibrant sense of community. This webinar is a live event in the Arrival City edition of the City Builder Book Club, and is brought to you by Cities of Migration and the Centre for City Ecology.
Electric Vehicles City Casebook available
The Energy Ministerial's Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI), the International Energy Agency's Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Implementing Agreement, and the smart city think-tank Urban Foresight have released a new edition of the EV City Casebook.
3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction
The preparations for the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction that will take place from 14th to 18th March 2015 in Sendai, Japan are in full swing. Apart from the official round tables, several multilateral events focusing on local and urban resilience are being planned for the Conference.
CITYKEYS - new smart cities project
CITYKEYS will develop a performance measurement framework for monitoring and comparing the implementation of smart city solutions.
Together with five of our member cities – Rotterdam, Tampere, Vienna, Zagreb and Zaragoza – and research institutes VTT (Finland), AIT (Austria), and TNO (Netherlands), we have been successful in our proposal for a new smart cities project, CITYKEYS.
The aim of the project is to develop a validated, holistic performance measurement framework for monitoring and comparing the implementation of smart city solutions. It will run for two years, starting on 1 January 2015.
Are "green" buildings really the best for addressing climate change?
According to designer Bryn Davidson of Lanefab Design/Build, “green” buildings can make a significant difference, but only if we start asking the right questions about them. In his recent TEDx talk in Vancouver, BC, Bryn mentions the need for questions about what really makes “net-positive” change–to determine how buildings impact global climate, and what actions can be taken to reduce that impact. In his presentation, he addresses the fact that the biggest challenge may be shifting our current ideas about what it means to build “green”. Check out his video and website for more information.
Civil society must work hand in hand with local government
CEMR secretary general, Frédéric Vallier, addressed participants of the AGE Platform Europe annual conference, on 4 December 2014. In his speech, he underlined the role of local and regional actors in meeting Europe’s demographic challenge. He also invited representatives from the civil society to work hand in hand with their local and regional governments towards equality across all ages.
For more information about the conference, please visit the AGE Platform Europe website.
Bristol secures national innovation funding to progress road transport automation
Polis member, Bristol City Council, is part of the VENTURER consortium that has won £5 million in national funding to develop a national test site for autonomous vehicles.
India’s view of “smart” cities differs from West
India Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pledge to construct 100 “smart cities” has fueled speculation about his intentions. After all, the term is synonymous with futuristic, tech-savvy innovators such as Singapore and Songdo. India’s Zee News reports, however, that Modi’s definition is far more simple. To him, a city is smart if it can provide essential utilities and avoid traffic gridlock.
Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu shed light on Modi’s vision during a recent speech at the US-India Smart Cities Conclave in New Delhi. He emphasized the importance of “uninterrupted” energy and water service, along with “proper sanitation” and “efficient management of solid waste.” Other priorities include better roads and high-speed Internet connectivity.
Is Jan Gehl winning his battle to make our cities liveable?
Jan Gehl had just graduated as an architect; it was 1960 and he had been schooled in how to “do modern cities, with high-rises and a lot of lawns and good open space – good windy spaces”. About to put those years of study into practice, he met his future wife, psychologist Ingrid Mundt, and everything changed. In the years that followed, he would develop the thinking that has made him a pioneer of so-called “liveable cities” around the world.
Bristol invites public to imagine, and then decide on, the future of their city
There is no one path to realising more sustainable mobility, as evident by the wide-variety of transport measures on offer that can lower emissions, reduce pollution and create greener urban areas. But with limited budgets and the knowledge that infrastructural change can majorly alter the character of a city, how should local leaders prioritise one measure over another? And how can citizens be involved in this decision making process, granting them a real sense of ownership over the process?
To address these concerns, Bristol has developed an online space where citizens can view and discuss sustainability measures.
More than 300 low emission buses to be introduced into London by the end of the year
Transport for London (TfL) has announced that more than 300 buses with the latest Euro VI engines will be operating on London’s roads by the end of this year.
Over two thirds of the vehicles will be hybrid diesel-electric double decker buses. Under the ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) proposal, all buses driving in central London from 2020 will need to meet the Euro VI standard for NOx (nitrogen oxide) emissions.
“Improving London’s air quality is one of the Mayor’s top priorities and by 2020 all buses in central London will be either hybrid or electric as we look to radically cut emissions,” said Matthew Pencharz, the Mayor’s Senior Advisor for Environment and Energy. “We have already significantly reduced the number of buses on some of London’s busiest streets and taken many of the most polluting ones off the road.”
Smart city project to create 1,500 jobs
To meet the challenges of a changing climate, an economy vulnerable to shocks, and a citizenry that face outdated infrastructure and a lack of job security, Europe must take comprehensive action. The GrowSmarter project, funded by the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Union, aims to tackle these issues by integrating smart city solutions as part of the urban fabric, showcasing the environmental, economic and social benefits and making it easier for other cities to do the same.
Stockholm, Cologne and Barcelona will act as pioneer or ‘lighthouse cities’ within the project, implementing 12 Smart City solutions: from advanced information and communication technology and better connected urban mobility, to incorporating renewable energy sources directly into the city’s supply network. The solutions will be rolled out in a number of city areas, including industrial areas, suburban and downtown districts, ensuring a sample base representative of many European cities.
The idea is to shorten the path towards a smarter and more sustainable Europe by showcasing real life scenarios from which other towns and cities can draw important lessons. As part of the project, five so-called ‘follower cities’ will closely monitor the ‘lighthouse cities’ to learn from their experiences and to identify measures suitable for their specific local context. These cities will provide a ready market for the demonstrated solutions, thereby meeting the project aims of creating both jobs and a better environment.
The Compact of Mayors: The biggest collaboration to accelerate climate action
On September 23, 2014, the Compact of Mayors was launched at the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in New York City by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) – endorsed by UN-Habitat, UN Secretary General´s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, UN Secretary General´s Climate Change Support Team.
The Compact of Mayors is an ambitious agreement by mayors and other city officials to publically commit to deep GHG emissions reductions -- making existing mitigation and adaptation targets and plans public and report on their progress annually -- using a newly-standardized measurement system that is compatible with international practices. Through this initiative, cities will be choosing to meet the same requirements proposed for the international climate negotiations that will lead to a global climate treaty in 2015.
Instead of Vertical Cities, should we be thinking about Linear Cities?
There is a lot of talk these days about Vertical Cities, the idea we should build supertall buildings that include all necessary functions of a city, and surround them by green space for park and agriculture. I have thought it an interesting idea, but there is another alternative that I always thought made more sense, the linear city.
Lima hosts cities climate change meeting alongside COP20
Lima convenes the biggest gathering of Mayors and climate action experts after the New York Climate Summit
The Peruvian capital Lima is hosting an important climate change meeting among world mayors and experts to concretize their engagement in the new climate regime to be adopted in Paris next year.
The meeting’s key outcome – the “Lima Communiqué” – outlines the scientific basis for climate action, and cements the commitment of local governments to step up collaborative climate action and scale down greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Communiqué will feed into the ongoing UNFCCC negotiations, where over 190 countries are negotiating the draft text of new international climate change agreement.
Barcelona to share its secrets as a “market city”
What can Barcelona teach other cities about public markets? Quite a lot.
The capital of Spain’s Catalonia region was planned so that every neighborhood has a bustling market — 43 in all, according to the Project for Public Spaces. It’s a relationship that’s mutually beneficial: The markets help revitalize sections of the city, which returns the favor by maintaining and renovating the markets.
Barcelona will have an opportunity to share its secrets when the 9th annual International Public Markets Conference is held there from March 25 to 28. Unlike other gatherings where attendees are sequestered inside convention halls, this conference encourages market tours. The event will be near La Boqueria, the city’s main emporium.
Homelessness prevention in cities
Eurocities working group homelessness met on 25-26 November in Brussels to look in depth at the rationale and methods of building prevention policies in cities.
A representative from the European Commission exchanged views with the members on the key challenges in homelessness policy and practices at city level, and what support the European Commission can offer cities in future.
Brussels unveils new city centre mobility plan
The City of Brussels has agreed on a new mobility plan that will transform the way traffic flows around its streets and create one of the biggest car-free areas in Europe.
The new pedestrian area – called the ‘Comfort Zone’ - will be double its current size, making it the second-largest in Europe behind Venice in Italy.
A new traffic-flow system will redirect cars towards existing and new parking lots. Four new car parks and the expansion of an existing parking lot are planned, as are new bicycle routes and additional bicycle parking facilities.
Do Urban Neighborhoods Need Homeowners?
At a conference I attended last week, one of the speakers, a colleague whose judgment and knowledge I respect, offered his take on the future of urban single family neighborhoods. The lower income families who have the credit and can get together the down payment to become homeowners are buying in the suburbs. People working in urban neighborhoods, he said (more or less in these words), are going to have to “get over homeownership." Putting aside his conclusion for a moment, the underlying facts tend to bear him out.
Results of project on open ITS systems presented at conference
Polis hosted the final conference of the POSSE project on 19 November, immediately followed by the final meeting of the POSSE Forum. The conference provided an opportunity for guests to learn about the main findings and outputs of this knowledge sharing project, co-funded by the Interreg IVC programme.
Urban planners target the restoration of Cairo
The Cairo-Paris dream changed the political and social face of Egypt in the 19th century. In 1863, Khedive Ismail met with Ali Mubarak Pasha, his colleague in the European mission, to turn his dream into reality: he wanted to make Cairo more beautiful than Paris. The first decision he made once in power in Egypt was to develop a plan for Cairo’s future. He wanted the city to be able to accommodate a population increase of 750,000 people in a civilized way over a 50-year period. At the time, there were only around 350,000 people in Cairo.
UN-Habitat and partner launch a publication on mobility
During the 7th Urban Mobility India Conference and Expo ( 24-28 November 2014) organised by the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, UN-Habitat and Clean Air Asia launched a publication : “ A Policy Makers Toolbox to promote Non-motorised Transport in Asian Cities”.
Speaking at the event, Andre Dzikus, Coordinator, Urban Basic Services Branch UN-Habitat said that while planned urbanisation can bring immense benefits to Asian economies. It is necessary to deal with the challenges imposed by rapid motorisation, including congestion, pollution and increasing numbers of fatalities and injuries from road traffic accidents.
Local sustainable energy action plans are key to European energy security
The 8th annual conference on EU Energy Policy and Energy Security of Central Europe (CEEC) took place on 23–25 November 2014 in Bratislava.
The objectives of the conference were to evaluate the achievements of the V4 regional energy cooperation and to assess the consequences of global energy trends on both energy security and economic competiveness in the EU and especially in Central Europe.
Launch of First Global Standard to Measure Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Cities
WRI, C40 and ICLEI Establish First Common Standard to Measure and Report City Emissions
The World Resources Institute (WRI), C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) launched the first widely endorsed standard for cities to measure and report their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at a COP20 event featuring mayors and officials from cities around the world. The Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC) uses a robust and clear framework to establish credible emissions accounting and reporting practices, thereby helping cities develop an emissions baseline, set mitigation goals, create more targeted climate action plans and track progress over time. By using the GPC, cities will also strengthen vertical integration of data reporting to other levels of government, and should gain improved access to local and international climate financing.
In Australia, urbanisation is bringing animals and diseases closer to home
Our world is becoming increasingly urbanised. In 1950, just 30 per cent of the world’s population lived in urban areas. This number is now over 50 per cent and rising. By 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population are expected to be urban dwellers. Although much of this growth will occur in developing regions, northern Australian cities are likely to see significant expansion.
The successful growth of cities will undoubtedly be critical to the economic health of Australia and the surrounding region. However, the increasing size and density of human populations are creating challenges for human health. A report published this week by Australia's national science agency CSIRO, Australia’s Biosecurity Future: Preparing for Future Biological Challenges, highlights the biosecurity risk of urbanisation as cities become hotspots for new and emerging infectious diseases.
If women built cities, what would our urban landscape look like?
The number of women in UK architecture firms is falling, and many urbanists are worried by the ‘very, very male-dominated’ worlds of planning and construction. So how would cities differ if women designed them?
“I hate to stereotype,” says architect Fiona Scott. “Male architects are often quite sensitive, artistic people and any suggestion that buildings designed by women are more curvy, tactile or colourful is wrong. But I don’t think there are many women who think, ‘Oh, my ideal project would be a massive tower.’”
Designing California Cities for a Long-Term Drought
Let’s consider the possibility that this drought we’re in could last more than than just a few dry years.
Geologic history in California is marked by epic droughts — droughts lasting decades, even centuries. There’s no way of knowing whether we’re at the start of one of those, but scientists say it’s possible.
Meanwhile, most Californians live in cities designed, to a great extent, on the promise of nearly endless water, imported from wetter parts of the state via massive engineering projects like the California State Water Project.
It’s not hard to imagine a collision looming between how we expect water to behave — piped, channelized, pumped according to our needs — and how it may increasingly behave in coming years — sporadic, unpredictable, sometimes too much, sometimes too little.
Defining Urban Resilience in Christchurch
On December 3, 2014 the 100 Resilient Cities Campaign will announce its 3rd cohort of resilient and liveable cities. The Resilient Cities campaign takes the view that resilience helps cities evaluate their capacity to respond to specific “shocks and stresses” and to develop proactive and integrated strategies to address those challenges and to respond to them more effectively. Most importantly, “resilience is about making cities better, for both the short and long-term, for everyone.”
Monograph City, Social Inclusion and Education online
City, Social Inclusion and Education is the 5th Monograph of the International Association of Educating Cities (IAEC) entitled “City, Social Inclusion and Education”.
The monograph has been published in order to reflect on the transformations that our cities are going through, as well as the role of local governments in bolstering social inclusion.
The Monograph was presented at the 13th IAEC Congress which, under the title “The Educating City is an inclusive city”, was held in Barcelona from 13-15 November. The coordinator of the Monograph is Prof Xavier Bonal from the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
Join the ECC2015: play with your citizens and promote cycling!
The City of Bologna invites European Cities and their urban cyclists to the fourth edition of the friendly urban commuters competition "European Cycling Challenge 2015 - ECC2015".
A new Utopia for Africa?
”New Cities” are an African urban phenomenon that are appearing across the continent. However their social impact is unclear. The developments fail to foster a commitment to urban equality and citizenship.
New cities are beginning to appear across the African continent. Promotional material is singular, promising glossy, aspirational spaces to live, work and play.These New Cities reflect past trends in Europe, taking the blueprint of Sir Ebenezer Howard’s Garden Cities in England. The social impact of these cities is currently unknown. However there are fears that the cities are profit-driven enterprises and that will appeal to a privileged minority. These videos attempt to market a Utopian image, yet appear to ignore the plethora of issues such as poverty and poor health that blight the continent. The governments supporting these project demonstrate an unwavering commitment to capitalism and a disregard for equitable solutions. Urban equality and citizenship should be a focal point of the New Cities.
Rooting Out Intolerance: the Kungälv Model
Imagine a project that roots out intolerance, eradicates local, organized racist groups and saves millions for the economy. Sound too good to be true? Not in Kungälv, Sweden.
The Tolerance Project, also called the Kungälv Model, was born out of a crisis of violent neo-Nazi racism in this small Swedish coastal city north of Gothenberg and the failure of immediate action to resolve the deeper, long-term problem of xenophobia and racist violence. The initiative was spearheaded and led by the local Kungälv government after the assassination of John Hron, a 14-year-old Swedish boy of Czech origin who was murdered by four young Nazis in the summer of 1995.
City Resilience and Renaturing are Creeping Up the Agenda
The ideas of renaturing cities and making them more resilient is gradually creeping up the international agenda. This week it was announced that 35 cities have joined the Rockefeller Foundation's Resilient Cities project, while a successful EU conference in Milan has just finished, which heard many examples of cities throughout Europe that are hosting regeneration projects.
The Rockefeller foundation made the announcement in Singapore, having chosen the 35 cities from applications by 331 cities across 94 countries. These cities ranged in size from 50,000 to over 10 million in population and almost 70% of them came from the developing world.
Dubai Municipality designates 11 winners of urban award
Dubai Municipality has announced the 11 winners of the Dubai International Award for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment (DIABP) at its 10th cycle. Dubai will host a special ceremony to distribute prizes at the end of this year.
This came at a press conference held by the Municipality on Wednesday, attended by Eng. Hussain Nasser Lootah, director general, Khalid Zayed, Salah Amiri, Salem Bin Mesmar, assistant director generals of Dubai Municipality.
Towards a circular economy: A zero waste programme for Europe
In July 2014, the European Commission issued a communication in support of the adoption of circular economy principles to achieve EU2020 objectives of sustainable growth. The communication advocates a move from linear production and consumption models based on waste to more cyclic models, which reduce or eliminate waste.
European Commission video clip on urban mobiliy
DG MOVE developed a 3-minutes video that explains what the European Commission does and recommends in the field of sustainable urban mobility.
The Urban Mobility Package outlines the European Commission's plan of activities regarding urban mobility. The new video illustrates key parts of the strategy, and specifically highlights the Commission's emphasis on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMP).
Viet Nam plans launch of City Prosperity Index
The Ministry of Construction and a UN agency have taken the first steps to establishing a City Prosperity Index for Viet Nam.
This was announced at a workshop held yesterday in Ha Noi, which was told that more than 50 per cent of the world’s population lives in cities.
Viet Nam, as a developing nation, needed a City Prosperity Index so policymakers could effectively plan and manage its growing cities, said Nguyen Quang, the programme manager of UN-Habitat in Viet Nam.
Mexico City wins Audi Urban Future Award 2014
Mexico City is the winner of the third Audi Urban Future Award, the world’s highest-value prize for innovative mobility solutions boasting a cash prize of € 100 000.
An interdisciplinary jury from China, Germany, the United Kingdom, Columbia and the USA assessed proposals provided by competition teams according to criteria such as innovative power, feasibility, sustainability and transferability to other cities. The Mexican team, led by renowned architect and city planner Jose Castillo, impressed the international jury with its ‘operating system for urban mobility.’
IDRC Davos 2014 Outcomes Report
We are pleased to present the outcomes of our 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC Davos 2014 which was held from 24 -28 August in Davos, Switzerland.
Cities and regions of the world define the roadmap for 2015
During the Executive Bureau and the World Council meetings in Haikou, members of UCLG debated the key issues that will define the international global agenda for local and regional leaders in the coming year. Around 400 representatives of local and regional authorities and their partners from 49 countries came together on this occasion.
UCLG Co-Presidents Chen Jianhua, Mayor of Guangzhou; Ilsur Metshin, Mayor of Kazan; Jacqueline Moustache-Belle, Mayor of Victoria; as well as Fatallah Oualalou, Mayor of Rabat and Treasurer of UCLG, and the Mayor of Haikou, Ni Qiang, stressed the importance of this meeting that marks the 10th anniversary of the World Organization. The UCLG Presidency further stressed the vital importance of political involvement from Mayors around the world in developing the strategy and defining the roadmap for 2015.
Street Vendors Have A Lot to Teach Us About How Urban Space Works
Every morning at 4 a.m. Romeo Mendoza goes to the central market, loads up his bicycle pedicab with several dozen coconuts, and pedals back to Intramuros, the four-century-old Spanish colonial city at the heart of Manila.
The thick fortress walls, cobbled streets and cloistered gardens of Intramuros are tourist attractions, but Intramuros is a living city in a historical site with bustling crowds, living room grocery stores, small table-top shops and even smaller lunchtime food stalls. In Intramuros, as with the rest of the Philippines, small shops are the linchpins of Philippine street life — they’re gathering areas for the community, where people exchange news and gossip or just pass the time, for hours on end.
EFUS and UN Habitat sign urban safety accord
Efus has signed a cooperation agreement with UN-Habitat whereby it will act as a link between local governments in Europe and Africa, promoting collaboration between its European partners and African local authorities member of the African Forum for Urban Safety (AFUS), which is due to be created shortly.
This agreement is part of UN-Habitat’s Safer Cities Programme, which was launched in 1996 at the request of African mayors confronted with urban crime and violence in their cities. To date UN-Habitat has supported initiatives in 77 cities in 24 countries worldwide.
In line with the Habitat agenda, which recommended crime prevention at the city level, the Safer Cities Programme supported the creation of an African Forum for Urban Safety (AFUS). It is envisaged as a space for knowledge exchange, learning, innovations and facilitating solutions for cities in Africa on the prevention of urban crime and enhancement of urban safety.
Tel Aviv takes the World Smart Cities Award
Tel Aviv was awarded this year’s World Smart Cities Award presented at a gala dinner during the Smart City Expo and World Congress in Barcelona.
Israel’s largest city was recognised for its initiatives in digitally connecting and engaging citizens with the municipality’s activities. A Residents Club, free Wi-Fi across the city and its own city App are several services the city offers via its Digi-Tel platform.
A Japanese construction company is planning a spherical underwater city
Underwater cities aren't actually that rare. There's Port Royal in Jamaica, submerged when it was hit by an earthquake in 1692. There's the ancient city of Dwarka, India, whose ruins were discovered in 2000. There's Atlantis, the most famous underwater city of all (location tbc).
But now the Shimizu Corporation, a Japanese construction company, is planning a city that will be underwater on purpose, rather than as the result of a natural catastrophe. And, naturally, they've designed it in the shape of a 500m sphere, connected to the ocean floor by a 15km spiral umbilical cord.
Exhibition brainstorms “tactical urbanism” for global cities
New York’s famed Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) launched a new exhibit, “Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Growing Megacities,” this weekend that highlights challenges faced by megacities. Margaret Rhodes reports for Wired that curator Pedro Gadanho invited six teams of architects, urban planners, and researchers to devise strategies to make six sprawling cities more livable.
Hong Kong, Istanbul, Lagos, Mumbai, New York City, and Rio de Janeiro were selected because they are fast-growing metropolises with rising inequality. Among the recommendations: Istanbul’s residential towers should be outfitted with miniature farms, solar panels and car-sharing services.
Entrepreneurial region award
The Committee of the Regions is looking for Europe's most entrepreneurial local government
The European entrepreneurial region award rewards EU municipalities and regions showing an outstanding and innovative entrepreneurial policy strategy, irrespective of their size, wealth and competences. The label “European entrepreneurial region” will be granted to successful candidates for a year.
If you think that your local government meets the requirements, please apply before Monday 16 March 2015.
The United Nations reflect on the role of local government with regards to human rights
The Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights of UCLG is pleased to inform you that the progress report on “The role of local government in the promotion and protection of human rights” is already available. The document has been drafted by the United Nations Human Rights Council Advisory Committee with the support, among others, of UCLG Committee on Social Inclusion.
Upending Urbanism: How New Postgraduate Programs are Revolutionizing the Way We Create Cities
Today’s realm of urban possibilities has never been so expansive. Where once city enthusiasts might have explored passions for pedestrian-friendly streets and progressive zoning regulations, we now see previously marginal urban trends rising to the forefront of planning and design agendas. Placemaking, solar-powered post-impressionist bike paths, even embracing anarchy in the world of smart cities—it’s hard to have a conversation about what’s exciting in cities today without touching on some fascinating and innovative urban projects.
Energy-Plus schools show great results
Since several years Montpellier has faced a dramatical increase in the population which has led the city to develop new housing and hosting facilities. Amongst the latter, it was necessary to build new schools... while meeting the challenge of a growing energy consumption in the area.
Considered as a pioneer in energy management for 25 years (see info box below), the city of Montpellier opted as soon as 2010 for exemplary new school facilities when making the decision to develop energy-plus buildings, 10 years ahead of the French law that will generalise energy-plus buildings in 2020.
RE-Energizing cities: Global 100% RE & ICLEI join forces
The Global 100% RE initiative and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) have signed an agreement to jointly facilitate and foster the progress towards 100% Renewable Energy among local governments around the globe. The aim is to start exploring more ambitious renewable energy (RE) targets, moving towards 100% RE where possible. The partnership is aimed at speeding up the transition to a sustainable energy future, with a focus on optimizing the use of available RE sources – using renewables to generate energy in the electricity, heating/cooling and transport sectors in cities. By building a network among local governments, the partners will provide a platform for knowledge exchange, engagement and policy dialogue. Seemingly scattered local actions are powerfully bundled and given political weight as a common movement. In this fashion, Global 100% RE and ICLEI intend to inspire change and support local governments in achieving the transition towards a fossil-free future.
First UK's waste-based biomethane bus runs
The first bus running on biomethane originating from food waste and sewage will link Bristol and Bath airport.
The "Bio-Bus', operated by Bath Bus Company, will run for close to 300 km on one take of gas,
It is aimed at providing a sustainable way of fuelling public transport, coupled with urban air quality improvments. The gas, generated at Bristol sewage treatments, and is estimated to produce fewer emissions than conventional diesel.
Social Innovation: What´s behind the City Scene?
Cities increasingly face multiple and wicked issues and have fewer resources to tackle them. The traditional governance model struggles to address these issues and its limits reveal the need for a new governance culture.
“3D Soundscape” Can Guide Blind People Through Cities
On a typical day, Jennifer Bottom makes her way around London with her guide dog in tow. Sometimes, “I just wander about, ask people and get directions,” she says. “But if you’re not comfortable with that or you don’t have a lot of free time, it can be quite frustrating and scary.”
Enter Cities Unlocked, a project intended to help people with sight loss navigate cities. The brainchild of a blind Microsoft employee, it uses GPS, a 3D audio headset, and Bluetooth beacons, among other technologies. Microsoft and two UK-based non-profits, Guide Dogs and Future Cities Catapult, have been collaborating on Cities Unlocked, and a demonstration project was recently completed.
The Development of Small and Medium-Sized Towns
Small and Medium-Sized towns are home to most European citizens (SMSTs). However, in terms of research, it is larger cities that are more frequently examined. This paper, part of ESPON TOWN Research on Small and Medium-Sized Towns, presents a review of the factors that influence the development of SMSTs. This work focuses on geographic, institutional and socio-economic factors as key elements explaining the development of SMSTs.
SOLUTIONS and Polis present smart urban mobility solutions at Michelin Challenge Bibendum in China
In the framework of the EU-funded SOLUTIONS project, Polis organized a high-level city session and a training event at the Michelin Challenge Bibendum in Chengdu on 11 November.
Set in Chengdu, the fourth largest city in China and capital of the Sichuan province, the 12th edition of the Michelin Challenge Bibendum brought together urban mobility professionals, cities, business and media representatives from all over the world to discuss innovative urban mobility solutions from 11-15 November 2014.
During the SOLUTIONS high-level city session, Polis members Budapest and Barcelona, as well as and SOLUTIONS Leading Cities Hangzhou and Curitiba presented their take on how to make urban mobility smarter in their city and what role international cooperation can play.
Empowering Local Authorities in India
The importance of empowering local authorities to enable them to implement concrete changes to urban development has been highlighted at a recent meeting of more than 1,000 representatives of national, state and local government in the Gujarat city of Gandhinagar.
Speaking at the Municipilka conference during an official visit to India, UN-Habitat Executive Director, Dr. Clos addressed key leaders of local authorities from across the country and highlighted the importance of developing capacity at the city level to enable municipalities to deliver on services and urban development. This is proving to be a challenge in India, as in many countries, where resources and implementation are largely controlled at the national level.
New Challenges in Mobility and the Role of Cities: Process Management
As a founding member of CIPC (International Centre for the Prevention of Crime), METROPOLIS was in Palermo from 17 to 19 November, where the 11th International Colloquium was held. A number of member cities, including Barcelona , Brussels, Madrid and Montreal attended this international event, which focused on crime prevention in a world on the move.
People’s increasing mobility is a phenomenon that is growing around the world. Although migration has always existed, cities, the main destination, find they need to tackle new challenges in the management and governance of urban spaces, rethinking them from a comprehensive perspective.
Gated communities lock cities into cycles of inequality
The murder trial of Oscar Pistorius has focused attention on gated communities in South Africa. The growth of gated communities in the nation is a response to rampant crime rates and a discredited police force. Pistorius lived in the 90-acre gated community, Silver Woods Country Estate in Pretoria. Silver Woods offers its wealthy residents the protection of high walls, electric fencing, security guards, laser sensors, biometric “thumbprint” locks and closed-circuit cameras. The estates offer little in the way of class and racial integration. Silver Woods and nearby estates in Pretoria are mostly populated by Afrikaners and expats. A former resident of a nearby estate said: “One of the biggest perks sold to us is the ability to live in a crime free space. Meaning you can walk, you can run, you can be out at night and not be concerned.”
SUSTRAN launched in Nairobi, Kampala and Addis Ababa
GIZ in cooperation with UN-Habitat implements the regional strategy of the “Promoting Sustainable Transport Solutions for East African Cities” (SUSTRAN) project. Initially, GIZ will focus on building capacity in sustainable transport as well as building a regional network as a platform to exchange experience and ideas on transport related projects between the three cities. The first trainings on capacity development in sustainable transport have been delivered in Nairobi (03.-05.11.), Kampala (06.-08.11.) and Addis Ababa (10.-12.11.). To complement the partner cities’ work on BRT demonstration corridors, the trainings focused on the links between transport and urban development, institutional development, transport policy, public and informal transport as well as non-motorized transport.
Sales skyrocket as Danish embrace electric cars
A combination of lower prices and improved technology has resulted in the number of electric cars in Denmark almost doubling in less than a year, according to recent figures released by Danish car importers. The figures show that around 1 000 electric vehicles were sold in the country in the first nine months of 2014 - surpassing the 2013 total of 600 purchases. The number of electric cars registered in the country now sits at 2 700, the majority of which were purchased in the last three years. Growth has been further aided by a registration tax exemption for new electric vehicles.
Cities and regions of the world define the roadmap for 2015
During the Executive Bureau and the World Council meetings in Haikou, members of UCLG debated the key issues that will define the international global agenda for local and regional leaders in the coming year. Around 400 representatives of local and regional authorities and their partners from 49 countries came together on this occasion. UCLG Co-Presidents Chen Jianhua, Mayor of Guangzhou; Ilsur Metshin, Mayor of Kazan; Jacqueline Moustache-Belle, Mayor of Victoria; as well as Fatallah Oualalou, Mayor of Rabat and Treasurer of UCLG, and the Mayor of Haikou, Ni Qiang, stressed the importance of this meeting that marks the 10th anniversary of the World Organization. The UCLG Presidency further stressed the vital importance of political involvement from Mayors around the world in developing the strategy and defining the roadmap for 2015.