30/12/2015 - Urban Innovative Actions call launches today
30/12/2015 - The Urban Planner’s Guide to a Post-COP21 World
30/12/2015 - Valencia creates citizen-led urban mobility board
29/12/2015 - Join the European Cycling Challenge 2016!
29/12/2015 - Sea level rise is real – which is why we need to retreat from unrealistic advice
29/12/2015 - Children are being priced out by ‘pay to play’ in public spaces
28/12/2015 - Town and regions must be part of the solution
28/12/2015 - San Francisco Vision Zero Projects Completed Ahead of Schedule
27/12/2015 - What the New Federal Highway Act Means for U.S. Cities
27/12/2015 - CELSIUS: Smart District Heating and Cooling Solutions for EU Cities
26/12/2015 - Vancouver Is Leading the Way on Accessory Dwelling Units
26/12/2015 - Ten urban planning principles every humanitarian should know
25/12/2015 - Let the Youth Inform Urban Development
25/12/2015 - How to improve police-population relations? Final conference of the IMPPULSE project
24/12/2015 - Microsoft to assist in building 50 smart villages in Maharashtra
24/12/2015 - Call for candidates now open: 2016 edition of the Award UCLG – MEXICO City – Culture 21
23/12/2015 - Millennials' Transportation and Housing Choices Will Shape the Nation
23/12/2015 - The Baana — Helsinki’s ‘highway’ for cyclists and pedestrians
23/12/2015 - China removes 1 mn ‘high polluting’ cars off roads
22/12/2015 - Gent: the traffic management centre in the could!
22/12/2015 - The World’s Community Inventory Tool at No Cost to Cities!
22/12/2015 - #Votepourcap
21/12/2015 - Launch of the Cities Alliance Joint Work Program on Resilient Cities
21/12/2015 - Death and shopping: the story of Oxford Street, London's 'urban nightmare'
20/12/2015 - As traffic deaths rise, blame engineering dogma
20/12/2015 - The presentations from the "Building the Liveable and Healthy City" workshop now available!
19/12/2015 - Online SUMP self-assessment tool launched
19/12/2015 - Join the TRACE Take-Up Group - tracking walking and cycling
18/12/2015 - Megacities will save mankind, not doom it
18/12/2015 - Digital Dialogue | Smart Cities – People, Place and Technologies
18/12/2015 - Designing women’s safety into cities from the start
17/12/2015 - The Bristol Method – a resource for sustainable cities
17/12/2015 - Buying the ugliest building of Antwerp
17/12/2015 - Urbanization reviews: connecting the dots between urban geography and economic development
16/12/2015 - Italian city subsidises cycling commuters
16/12/2015 - ECOMM 2016: Call for Abstracts open
16/12/2015 - 10 Ways to Build a City for Children
15/12/2015 - European cities against radicalisation leading to violent extremism
15/12/2015 - Norway to build immigrant cities
15/12/2015 - Let'S Move!: sustainable mobility project for schools kicks off
14/12/2015 - Three East European cities make energy-efficiency strides
14/12/2015 - Buffalo, N.Y., Provides Model for How to ‘Green’ Streets
13/12/2015 - How Should Park Needs be Measured?
13/12/2015 - Dhaka: the city where climate refugees are already a reality
12/12/2015 - What Urbanists Can Learn From Foodies
12/12/2015 - 3 Ways Cities Can Promote Innovation Up and Down the Food Chain
11/12/2015 - Open call for participants: IDEAS CITY Detroit
11/12/2015 - Contactless payment for London taxis
11/12/2015 - Victory for local energy
10/12/2015 - A Walk in the Park — for Everyone
10/12/2015 - The world wants more 'porous' cities – so why don't we build them?
10/12/2015 - Polis Global Platform has been launched
9/12/2015 - Pollution causes 430,000 premature deaths in Europe – new report
9/12/2015 - Somerville, a Urban Lab for Mobility
9/12/2015 - Ending the urban AIDS epidemic
8/12/2015 - CREATE project on traffic congestion gears up
8/12/2015 - Beyond the established gateway cities
8/12/2015 - Rotterdam’s ambitious Goal towards zero Emissions from City Logistics in 2020
7/12/2015 - A guidebook for metropolitan transportation planning
7/12/2015 - In a city of immigrants, Rotterdam’s Muslim mayor leads by example
6/12/2015 - Climate change and cities: a prime source of problems, yet key to a solution
6/12/2015 - What are the main challenges facing sustainable airport areas
5/12/2015 - Microsoft looks to stop bike crashes before they happen
5/12/2015 - This Helsinki Suburb Is Offering Millennials Cheap Rent to Live in a Senior Center
4/12/2015 - Can Urbanization Make the World Safer for Girls?
4/12/2015 - Cities and Regions Say “We Are Ready” at Pavilion Opening
4/12/2015 - These Parks Are Reclaiming Ugly Urban Underpasses as Public Space
3/12/2015 - From words to action: Paris teams up with Johannesburg to draft climate strategy
3/12/2015 - Barcelona wins 'Thinking Cities' Award
3/12/2015 - Budapest’s BMT: a framework for sustainable urban mobility planning
2/12/2015 - COCON 63 : Massive renovation operation
2/12/2015 - 10th IOPD Award for “Best Practice in Citizen Participation” Launched
2/12/2015 - How data helps India's cities adapt to rapid urbanization
2/12/2015 - Urban Planning Faces Possible Diversity Setback
1/12/2015 - Join the session "Boosting Electromobility in European cities" - EECV Congress, 3 December
1/12/2015 - European city centres are saying no to cars!
1/12/2015 - Future-Proofing the Library: The Idea Store
1/12/2015 - Cities finally a protagonist in the global dialogue on migration issues
Urban Innovative Actions call launches today
The European Commission has launched the new Urban Innovative Actions call, worth a total of €80 million.
The Commission is organising four information events across the EU (in Brussels, Riga, Rome and Krakow) in January/February 2016 to ensure that cities and relevant stakeholders are fully aware of the call.
The first of these events will be held in Brussels on 13 January 2016.
The Urban Planner’s Guide to a Post-COP21 World
Why buses, mayors, city budgets and density matter now more than ever.
At the United Nations COP21 climate talks in Paris last week, Al Gore was in high rhetorical form in celebrating the talks’ apparently newfound sense of purpose.
“Some people have said to me ‘There has been a series of global conferences — what’s different about this one?’” Gore said. “Well there was an American poet that came from a business community called Wallace Stevens. He once wrote that ‘after the final no comes a yes.’ When people realize that the fundamental choice is between what’s right and what’s wrong, finally there comes a yes.”
Valencia creates citizen-led urban mobility board
The city council of Valencia has established a board made up of 40 civic organisations, businesses and public administrations that it hopes will help improve urban mobility in the Spanish city.
Launched by Valencia Mayor Joan Ribó late last month, the board was created as a body of citizen participation and discussion, with the aim to be informational and consultative, and to collect citizens' proposals on mobility.
Less than a quarter of Valencians use public transport, and almost four out of five people travel in private cars.
Join the European Cycling Challenge 2016!
After a succesful 2015 edition, the City of Bologna relauched the "European Cycling Challenge 2016 - ECC2016" and is now inviting European Cities and their urban cyclists to the fifth edition of this friendly urban commuters competition which will take place throughout the month of May 2016.
Sea level rise is real – which is why we need to retreat from unrealistic advice
Coastal communities around the world are being increasingly exposed to the hazards of rising sea levels, with global sea levels found to be rising faster over the past two decades than for the bulk of the 20th century.
But managing the impacts of rising seas for some communities is being made more difficult by the actions of governments, homeowners – and even some well-intentioned climate adaptation practitioners.
Coastal adaptation policies usually carry political risk. One of the main risks is when communities end up divided between those wanting a response to the growing risks of coastal flooding, and those more concerned about how their own property values or insurance premiums might be hit in the short-term by such action. For some, the biggest threat is seen to be from sea level rise adaptation policies rather than sea level rise itself.
Children are being priced out by ‘pay to play’ in public spaces
Councils raise cash by privatising green spaces but for many the playgrounds are too expensive
Until three years ago, south London parents could take their children to Battersea adventure playground to climb, dance and generally let off steam – without paying a penny. Not any more. Last week the treetop adventure company Go Ape opened for business on the site, offering climbing sessions for between £18 and £33 per child.
The old adventure playground, which was full of constantly changing equipment painted by the children, has been bulldozed and replaced by an ordinary swings-and-slides park aimed at under-11s. Those using the play park will find themselves looking up at their peers whose parents have paid for them to swing in the treetops.
Townand regions must be part of the solution
CEMR policy adviser for climate explains why towns and regions must be part of the solution to tackle climate change.
How towns and regions are already taking steps to fight global warming? Why they should be recognised as partners within the international negotiations (COP21)?
Our policy adviser for climate, Eva Baños, gives you the answers to these questions in a video interview made during the climate summit for local leaders in Paris.
San Francisco Vision Zero Projects Completed Ahead of Schedule
San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee announced the completion of the 24th Vision Zero project. As part of the City’s commitment to “Vision Zero,” a policy to eliminate all serious traffic injuries and fatalities in San Francisco by 2024, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) developed a list of 24 expedited Vision Zero projects in 2014 to improve safety on San Francisco’s streets and sidewalks.
What the New Federal Highway Act Means for U.S. Cities
There’s a little good, a little bad, and a whole lot of the same.
It’s official—America’s new five-year, $305-billion transportation bill, dubbed the FAST act, became law on Friday with President Obama’s signature. The passage of long-term legislation amid the general gridlock of the current Congress is certainly a form of progress in its own right. But far less clear, as experts and advocates wade through the 1,300-page tome, is whether or not U.S. cities made out well in the deal.
The good news is there are some bright points for local governments. The brightest involves new flexibility on city street design. In the past, metro area planners had to follow the design standards used by state planners, particularly for projects that involved federal funding. If a city wanted to narrow the lanes of a particular road from 12 to 10 feet, for instance, it often could only do so with the state’s blessing.
CELSIUS: Smart District Heating and Cooling Solutions for EU Cities
CELSIUS is a Smart Cities project that illustrates how cities can save energy and helps them create a more self-sustaining energy economy by deploying district heating and cooling (DHC) systems. The overall aim of CELSIUS is to impact energy efficiency across Europe and contribute to reaching the EU's 2020 climate and energy goals.
The 20 CELSIUS partners pool know-how from municipalities, industries and academia in the Covenant signatory cities of Gothenburg, Cologne, London, Rotterdam and Genoa, and Islington Borough.
Vancouver Is Leading the Way on Accessory Dwelling Units
To relieve a housing shortage, the city has added nearly 2,000 small backyard homes on its alleys, or laneways.
Brent Wager lined up with a few dozen other people in a Vancouver alleyway on a smudgy October afternoon, waiting to get into the small, peaked-roof house with a tiny balcony facing the lane. Queued up with him were young couples, some with toddlers, older couples without, and a mix of all kinds of people in between.
The crowd had gathered to inspect what has become a Vancouver phenomenon: little houses built in the backyards of single-family homes. They’re the product of an innovative policy passed by a city council desperately searching for ways to create rental housing in a place where the base price for a single-family home now tops a million dollars.
Ten urban planning principles every humanitarian should know
As cities are increasingly where humanitarian action responds to crises, can urban planning principles help humanitarians intervene more effectively?
As the world urbanizes, so too must the humanitarian sector. Be it because of economic migration, increases in global population, or for other reasons, people are moving to and living in urban areas. Often, the most vulnerable people are moving to the most at-risk areas of cities—a problem exacerbated by climate change and the increasing risk of natural disasters. Similarly, the majority of forced migrants (refugees and internally displaced) today are in urban non-camp settings.
Let the Youth Inform Urban Development
Our transformation into an urban civilisation is now more than halfway done, and irreversible. Globally, more than 3.5 billion people live in a city or a town. With an urban population of 26 per cent, Kenya is one of the least urbanised countries in the world.
However, we all feel the pulsating surge of urbanisation. Our cities and towns are bursting at the seams. Mobility is strangulated by traffic gridlock. The squalor and indignity of slums rob a majority of our children of the joy of urban living. Life on the streets for pedestrians and all those who would seek leisure and in the outdoors is made improbable by a lack of decent walkways, and poisoned air. Moreover, our cities don’t work for children, senior citizens and the disabled. Walkways are riddled with open storm pits, and its tough to get into a matatu if you are little, elderly or disabled.
How to improve police-population relations? Final conference of the IMPPULSE project
The conference on “Police-population relations: Challenges, local practices and recommendations”, organised by Efus in collaboration with the city of Brussels and the Brussels Capital-Ixelles police zone, gathered some 110 participants from Belgium, Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom, on 16 November at the Brussels City Hall (Belgium). A minute of silence was observed at the beginning of the conference to pay tribute to the victims of the Paris attacks, three days before.
Attendants exchanged and debated around the work and pilot-projects carried out by European cities as part of the European IMPPULSE project (IMproving Police/Population Understanding for Local SEcurity). Insights from this project will soon be available on the Efus-Network platform.
Microsoft to assist in building 50 smart villages in Maharashtra
Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis said that he was looking to build 50 smart villages by the end of 2016, starting with Arinsal.
“We are not only looking at building smart cities, but smart villages. Our first such project is the Arinsal village where Microsoft will help us. We are looking to build 50 smart villages by the end of 2016,” Fadnavis told Microsoft India chairman Bhaskar Pramanik during a technology conference in Mumbai.
Call for candidates now open: 2016 edition of the Award UCLG – MEXICO City – Culture 21
UCLG and its Committee on Culture are fully engaged in the pursuit of sustainable cultural development at local, national and global levels. In this objective and with the collaboration of the City of Mexico, the Committee on Culture officially launched the call for the 2nd edition of the “International Award UCLG – MEXICO City – Culture 21”corresponding to 2015-2016, during the UCLG Executive Bureau and the 13th meeting of the UCLG Committee on Culture, both held in Paris on Saturday 5 December 2015.
Millennials' Transportation and Housing Choices Will Shape the Nation
Businesses across America are watching the millennial market closely. They should: The 87 million millennials eclipse even the 76 million baby boomers in their numbers. Because they came of age during the Great Recession and many are saddled with enormous college debt, they have not yet made their full market force known.
But millennials have already exerted their influence in many ways. Their transportation preferences could point to a long-term shift in the way Americans commute to work, do errands and socialize. And their mode of travel is already influencing their choice of where to live.
The stereotype is that millennials are living in their parents’ basement because they’re still paying off college loans and can’t get a professional job. They travel by bus and bicycle and on foot because they can’t afford a car and don’t like to drive anyway.
The Baana — Helsinki’s ‘highway’ for cyclists and pedestrians
As other cities dream of bicycle highways, Helsinki has proven that the concept is easily achievable. Julia Belluz reports for Vox that Finland’s capital is home to a central artery reserved only for cyclists and pedestrians.
Constructed in 2012, the Baana, or fast lane, was formerly a railroad track. Today it is one of Europe’s premier modes of “active transport,” providing convenience and safety to users. Basketball and tennis courts along the path offer additional exercise opportunities.
China removes 1 mn ‘high polluting’ cars off roads
Just two days after the Chinese capital Beijing took the unprecedented step of raising the air pollution alert code from orange to the highest on the scale, red, officials announced Wednesday that they had banned one million vehicles deemed dangerous to the environment.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection said that it had removed these vehicles – registered before 2005 and which emitted excessive pollutants – from the roads in the first 10 months of 2015.
The ministry said this was part of their annual campaign to minimize vehicle exhaust and reduce the amount of smog which has degraded air quality in China’s major cities.
Gent: the traffic management centre in the could!
You don't need a control tower to create an urban traffic management centre. That is the starting point of Gent's approach to establishing the regional traffic management centre. The purpose of the centre is to inform residents and visitors of the city as good as possible about mobility.
The World’s Community Inventory Tool at No Cost to Cities!
ICLEI USA’s ClearPath is an all-in-one suite of online tools to complete GHG inventories, forecasts, and climate action plans at the community-wide or government operations scale. ClearPath Basic, which includes the Community Inventory Module, is now freely available to all local governments worldwide in support of the Compact of Mayors.
Watch the our ClearPath Video to learn more about how ClearPath will help your community! Learn more at http://clearpath.global.
CAP ou pas cap ? is amongst the finalists of “La France s’engage”, a program launched by president François Hollande to encourage future solutions for current urban problems. Out of 800 initiatives, 30 were chosen by l’Elysée to participate in a public election. Based on the outcome of a public vote, 15 projects will have the opportunity to receive support: subsidies, media communication, and participation in a professional network. Your vote would be much appreciated!
Launch of the Cities Alliance Joint Work Program on Resilient Cities
William Cobbett, Director of Cities Alliance launched the initiative during the United Nations Climate Change Conference – COP21, explaining that the New Cities Alliance Joint Work Program on Resilient Cities brings together expertise and resources across more than 14 organisations to help cities build their resilience to the impacts of climate change and other socio-economic stresses. Cities Alliance will promote the resilience program as one of its top priorities, “Resilience is something that needs to be addressed by governments in a day-to day behavior”, Mr. Cobbett said.
Death and shopping: the story of Oxford Street, London's 'urban nightmare'
What was once a route to the gallows is now thronged with millions of shoppers and horrendous levels of pollution. But how did Oxford Street become such a commercial monster – and will pedestrianisation really prove its salvation?
As traffic deaths rise, blame engineering dogma
US traffic deaths are rising again—fatalities jumped 8.1 percent in the first half of 2015, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports.
The NHTSA cites “drunken, drugged, distracted and drowsy driving; speeding; and failure to use safety features such as seat belts and child seats," but omits any mention of another D—design of streets and communities.
The nation is on track for 35,000 deaths this year, in addition to about 2.3 million injuries, about a half million of which are serious. Nothing cuts down people in their prime like motor vehicle crashes—the leading cause of death between ages 5 and 34, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
The presentations from the "Building the Liveable and Healthy City" workshop now available!
Organised by the EU project PASTA, this workshop presents good practice examples, tools, and free training on the Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) developed by the WHO, to help urban planners, transport and health practitioners better integrate cycling and walking into urban transport planning, and make the case for new investment in active mobility.
Online SUMP self-assessment tool launched
A free online checklist that helps urban mobility planners monitor the progress of their Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) has be launched.
The SUMP Self-Assessment Tool, created by the EU-funded CH4LLENGE project (link is external), is based on a set of 100 clear and transparent yes-no questions that follow the steps of the SUMP preparation cycle.
Join the TRACE Take-Up Group - tracking walking and cycling
The TRACE project consortium (www.h2020-trace.eu) is pleased to invite stakeholders to join the TRACE Take-Up Group, a selection of experts called to actively contribute to the project activities and their take-up.
Megacities will save mankind, not doom it
Today's cities might seem gridlocked by traffic and chocking in air pollution, but urban planning might actually be our only hope
The future of the city is the future of our society. By 2050, 70 per cent of the world’s population is likely to be urban, with many living in megacities of more than 10 million people. In some countries, the pace of change is extraordinary.
What took Europe 200 years is now taking 20 in China and India. In 1950, the fishing village of Shenzhen in south-east China had 3,148 inhabitants. By 2025, the UN predicts, it will exceed 15 million. Urbanisation has accelerated by a factor of 10, and this has been accompanied by a shift of balance from the so-called “developed” to “developing” countries.
Digital Dialogue | Smart Cities – People, Place and Technologies
Monica Bradley is joined by Professors Marcus Foth, Founder and Director of the Urban Infomatics Research Lab at QUT and Marek Kowalkiewicz the PwC Chair in Digital Economy to discuss smart cities.
They explore the social, spacial and technical aspects of urban interactions as they relate to Australia’s cities and the digital economy. Marcus researches the future of cities; where citizens take an active role in how we shape our living environments. Marcus articulates where the current conversation of smart cities is limited, and what is made possible when you consider the city as a platform on top of which citizens, governments, and corporations co-create a sustainable environment.
Designing women’s safety into cities from the start
Cities often respond to concerns about women’s safety by making changes, such as adding emergency call boxes, after sexual harassment and violence are reported. Instead, they should be anticipating safety needs and designing public spaces to be safer for women from the start.
That’s the argument Nidhi Gulati makes on the Project for Public Spaces website. Gulati draws on a wide body of research and discussion on the topic to conclude that “placemaking” is central to safeguarding women in cities. In some cases, subtle design tweaks can go a long way toward protecting women. Improving lighting, programming family- and child-friendly activities and gathering community input are among her recommendations. A city must feel safe to be safe, the article says.
The Bristol Method – a resource for sustainable cities
Bristol officially launched its toolkit at COP 21 to share the experience and knowledge the city has acquired as European Green Capital 2015.
Bristol presented the toolkit on the first day of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in Paris on 30 November. As the current European Green Capital and first UK city to hold the title, Bristol commits to act as a role model to other cities around the world in the field of environmental sustainability.
Bristol is doing so through its online toolkit, The Bristol Method, which documents everything the city has learned from its year as Green Capital. George Ferguson, mayor of Bristol, said: “As part of our year as European Green Capital we pledged to make it easy for other cities to emulate our successes and learn from our challenges. I am delighted that the Bristol 2015 team and partners have created this invaluable online resource full of straightforward advice, based on our direct experience, which we will share with others at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.”
Buying the ugliest building of Antwerp
The former police tower of Antwerp, known amongst locals as ‘Den Oudaan’, was put on sale for a minimum of 10 million Euros earlier this year in June. A group of young Antwerpers immediataly recognized the tower’s potential and started a campaign to save the iconic building and give it a social purpose. ‘We kopen Den Oudaan‘ was born.
Urbanization reviews: connecting the dots between urban geography and economic development
Over the last 5 years, the World Bank has conducted a number of in-depth, systematic analyses to zero in on the specifics of urbanization in its client countries. These so-called “Urbanization Reviews” pay special attention to the linkages between urban geography and economy: Where do people live within cities? Where are the jobs? How do residents move around cities? How do they move between cities? How does this affect cities’ economy as well as their country’s overall development?
Italian city subsidises cycling commuters
The Italian city of Massarosa is experimenting with a pilot programme to pay locals to commute to work by bicycle rather than by car.
Using funds from the payment of traffic tickets, the city will pay 50 Massarosa residents up to €600 per year if they choose to travel to work by bicycle.
With the aid of a smartphone application, the distance that those involved have cycled will be calculated, with every kilometre travelled worth €0.25. The trial is not limited to residents working in Massarosa itself, but also to those working in neighbouring towns.
ECOMM 2016: Call for Abstracts open
ECOMM 2016 is titled "Smart Solutions for People and Cities" and takes place in Athens, Greece on the 1st - 3rd of June 2016. Abstract submission deadline is 16 December 2015.
10 Ways to Build a City for Children
Last week as I wrapped up the Kids in the City series, I talked about how city life is beneficial for families. Cities can provide children with a more active lifestyle, access to great amenities, reduced energy and goods consumption, exposure to diversity and better family connections. But, how do we create a city that meets the needs of children and families?
European cities against radicalisation leading to violent extremism
About a hundred mayors, local elected officials and local representatives of 22 European countries adopted a common declaration at the end of the international conference for the prevention of radicalisation leading to violent extremism, organised by Efus and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, on 18 November 2015, in Aarhus. They call for the mobilisation of local authorities in close cooperation with national governments, as part of an alliance of European cities to counter the rise of radicalisation and the subsequent acts of extreme violence.
Norway to build immigrant cities
Norway is planning to build new cities and houses for immigrants.
Norway plans to build completely new houses and cities.
According to the Council for Mental Health, there are clear correlations between anxiety, depression and unemployment. Being in work is important for the individual's identity and position in society, and for many, self-esteem and coping related to work. Norway wants to use 1.5 billion kroner on the new immigrants. The money are used to build brand new cities, hospitals, restaurants, malls, bowling halls, snooker halls, cinemas, and create new jobs for the immigrants.
Read more at http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=c98_1448485903#lpRCg2Ej3qFgwcC6.99
Let'S Move!: sustainable mobility project for schools kicks off
One 3 November 2015 the first meeting of the Let’S Move! project took place at the headquarters of Energy Agency of Ribera in Sueca (Spain), attended by representatives of Prioriterre, the city of Wroclaw (Poland), the city of Koprivnica (Croatia), and the Energy Agency of Ribera.
The main objective of the Let Schools Move in a Healthy, Safe and Sustainable Way (Let’S move!) project is to promote safe, healthy and sustainable mobility at schools.
Three East European cities make energy-efficiency strides
While Western Europe is a hotbed of urban innovation, East European cities often seem to be lagging. UNEP in Europe reports that three East European and South Caucasus cities are taking demonstrative steps to save energy — and prove that they too are innovators.
All three are implementing energy projects through an EU-sponsored initiative. And each has signed the Covenant of Mayors, a European pact in which cities make voluntary commitments to increase renewable energy sources, the article says.
Vinnytsia, Ukraine replaced 363 wooden window frames in a school with plastic versions sealed from the elements. The upgrade was part of a broader effort to achieve 20 percent yearly reductions in energy consumption.
Buffalo, N.Y., Provides Model for How to ‘Green’ Streets
The measures are meant to create a more energy efficient, aesthetically pleasing and pedestrian friendly road in upstate New York.
You know when you see it: Ohio Street feels different.
Gone is the gritty, post-industrial thoroughfare that once provided a speedy back-door route into downtown Buffalo for thousands of Southtowns commuters.
In its place: a leaner, tree-lined residential street.
But $12 million in improvements brought more than just a spiffed-up street that looks nicer than most others.
Ohio Street has been transformed into a “green street.”
How Should Park Needs be Measured?
How should we determine the park needs of communities? How do we figure out whether a city is park-rich or park-poor? Traditionally, park need is measured by the amount of parkland in a city per 1,000 residents and then compared to some standard or goal. For example, if you take a look at the Parks and Recreation Elements of General Plans for most cities in California, you will find a standard or goal for parkland expressed in terms of X acres per 1,000 residents.
Dhaka: the city where climate refugees are already a reality
Every day, another 2,000 people move to the Bangladeshi capital. It’s nothing new – for generations Dhaka has been a magnet for those escaping rural poverty – but now climate change is accelerating the race to the city,
What Urbanists Can Learn From Foodies
The sustainable food movement just may have created the playbook that urban advocates need.
“Architects and urbanists frequently look with envy to the foodies for their huge cultural accomplishment. They have not only created a new American cuisine of amazing quality, but they have had an impact on the supermarket, where decent produce and tasty, nutritious products are much less of a rarity than they used to be.” — Dan Solomon, in Global City Blues
3 Ways Cities Can Promote Innovation Up and Down the Food Chain
Across the country, government leaders are pushing to prioritize the needs of their constituents over the limitations of their bureaucracies. Code for America fellows and other civic hackers, for example, are working to make government "simpler, more beautiful and easier to use." With the support of Living Cities and the Citi Foundation, the city of Philadelphia is experimenting with ways to make public benefits easier to access. Approaches like user research, human-centered design and product management can help government do this better.
But what about government workers? A robust practice of innovation requires a robust culture of innovation, and that requires energetic participation from the rank-and-file. One of the core goals of the Office of New Urban Mechanics in Boston, which I co-chair, and of the work I lead for the City Accelerator, is to create this kind of culture. Doing so requires us to empower and embolden our people.
Open call for participants: IDEAS CITY Detroit
The New Museum announces an open call for participants in IDEAS CITY Detroit, the next edition of the institution’s high-profile platform that explores the future of cities with arts and culture as driving forces. The residency, led by Joseph Grima, Director of IDEAS CITY, will take place April 25–30, 2016 and is open to emerging practicioners working at the intersection of urbanism, community activism, art, design, and technology.
Contactless payment for London taxis
Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed in a press release together with London Mayor Boris Johnson that they will take forward proposals requiring all London taxis to accept card payments, including contactless payments from October 2016.
The plans have been drawn up after a consultation earlier this year found that an overwhelming 86% of respondents backed proposals for card acceptance, with 68% agreeing that passengers should also be able to pay by contactless payments.
To ensure customers and taxi drivers don’t overpay, Transport for London has negotiated with the credit card industry to bring down the cost for drivers of accepting card payments. This will reduce transaction fees paid by taxi drivers from up to 10% to 3% or less of the transaction.
Victory for local energy
Three years ago, the municipality of Växjö was sued by the national competition authority for requiring city owners to connect to its local district heating system. This Monday 16 November, the Stockholm District Court ruled in favor of Växjö, marking a victory for local sustainable energy projects, often unable to compete with free market imperatives.
Växjö’s impressive district heating network uses heat from a combined heat and power plant, powered by waste wood biomass. Rather than importing energy, the city has long preferred to tap into its local resources, with half of its territory being covered by forest. This smart move is one of the many actions that earned it its international reputation of greenest city in the world, with an impressive objective to become fossil fuel free by 2030.
A Walk in the Park — for Everyone
For most of America’s urban poor, life is hardly a walk in the park. But the Trust for Public Land is out to change that. Every urban citizen, rich or poor, should be able to access a park, playground or natural area in a 10-minute walk, TPL maintains. It may seem just a dream in many cities, but their Parks for People program is making that dream come true.
The world wants more 'porous' cities – so why don't we build them?
People of all classes, races and religions come and go in intense and complex Nehru Place. But while Delhi’s electronics market is every urbanist’s dream, it is not the sort of space most cities are building.
Recently I tried to buy an iPhone in Nehru Place, an open-air electronics market in Delhi where goods that “happen to fall off a truck” are sold for 30%, 40% or 70% discounts – whatever cash you have handy. My iPhone turned out to a damaged dud, but I didn’t really care; the experience of going to Nehru Place was eye-opening. It’s a completely porous spot in the city, people of all castes, classes, races and religions coming and going, doing deals or gossiping about the small tech start-ups in the low offices which line the square; you can also worship at a small shrine if you’re so minded, or find a sari, or just lounge about drinking tea.
Polis Global Platform has been launched
Polis is expanding its outreach beyond Europe and a formal structure has been set up within the network to enhance global cooperation – the Polis Global Platform. A number of activities have already taken place while several others are planned ahead.
Pollution causes 430,000 premature deaths in Europe – new report
A new report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) estimates that air pollution continues to be responsible for more than 430,000 premature deaths in Europe.
The EEA report 'Air quality in Europe — 2015 report' (link is external) examines the European population’s exposure to air pollutants and provides a snapshot of air quality based on data from official monitoring stations across Europe (link is external).
It shows that most city dwellers continue to be exposed to air pollutants at levels deemed unsafe by the World Health Organization.
Somerville, a Urban Lab for Mobility
Over the past few weeks we have been exposed to endless news about the Volkswagen group’s emissions scandal. As dark as that tale has been, Audi, the luxury brand of the VW group, has been working on a project to help cities. It’s called Urban Future Initiative and tries to find solutions to cities’ unique mobility problems.
In a special presentation during the Smart City Expo in Barcelona this week, Audi’s CEO, Rupert Stadler, gave a global overview of the Initiative, and the three main projects that it is currently funding.
The first is in Somerville, Massachusetts, where Audi is working in partnership with the city and the Federal Realty Investment Trust, a developer, to build the infrastructure to test two new technologies.
Ending the urban AIDS epidemic
Cities have a primary role to play to Fast-Track the end of the AIDS epidemic by 2030 says report by UN-Habitat and UNAIDS. Ending the AIDS epidemic: the advantage of cities was presented at theAfricities Summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Summit, held every three years, marks a critical time as cities enter the new era of the Sustainable Development Goals. On the eve of World AIDS Day, it was announced that more than 150 cities have signed the Paris Declaration to commit to Fast-Track the end of the AIDS epidemic by 2030. The report outlines that cities and urban areas are particularly affected by HIV, with the 200 cities most affected by the epidemic estimated to account for more than a quarter of all people living with HIV around the world.
CREATE project on traffic congestion gears up
CREATE focuses on the issue of traffic congestion and, more specifically, how to define this and achieve a lower car use while building more liveable cities.
CREATE was recently invited to join the CIVITAS intiative and was represented at the CIVITAS conference on 7-9 October, together with other Horizon 2020-funded projects on urban mobility. The so-called 'CIVITAS knowledge generating projects', such as CREATE, are now part of the CIVITAS family. They will contribute to the initiative with their results and will work in close cooperation with other CIVITAS projects and CIVITAS cities.
The focus of CREATE is closely linked to the theme of the 2015 CIVITAS conference, 'sharing the city', which focused on sustainable urban mobility as an important driver for building accessible and liveable cities for all.
Beyond the established gateway cities
New research from JLL (NYSE:JLL) in conjunction with The Business of Cities reveals that the old world order and the traditional hierarchy of cities is breaking down. Globalisation, urbanisation and technological advancement, alongside a deeper understanding of what makes cities competitive and attractive, has forced a major shift in the world’s urban commercial geography. The report, ‘Globalisation and Competition: The New World of Cities’ explains how this is resulting in an evolution of new types, styles and clusters of cities, which will significantly change the future geography of real estate investment.
Rotterdam’s ambitious Goal towards zero Emissions from City Logistics in 2020
In Rotterdam, the port and logistics play important roles for the economy. In this context, the approach to erase emissions created by city logistics is even more remarkable. With an exceptional concept of of establishing electrical charging infrastrcture, Rotterdam applies a new kind of business model.
A guidebook for metropolitan transportation planning
America today is a metropolitan nation: More than 85 percent of us live in metro areas large and small. That makes planning for how people and goods move within and through these metropolitan areas more critical than ever. You may never even consider the fact, but chances are, your commute this morning was shaped by the work of a metropolitan planning organization – and not only your commute, but also your entire metro region, to some degree. The organizations who are tasked with providing that guidance are known as metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs).
In a city of immigrants, Rotterdam’s Muslim mayor leads by example
Born in Morocco, Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb stresses the opportunities for immigrants in his city while denouncing religious extremism. (EPA/BART MAAT/LANDOV)
After the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb was as angry as any European leader when he called for the “complete destruction” of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
But Aboutaleb’s reaction carried special meaning: Born in Morocco, he is the first Muslim and first immigrant to lead a major Dutch city. Aboutaleb has never shied from using this status to amplify his hard-line message against extremism. After the Charlie Hebdo attack in January, he told Dutch Muslims: “If you do not like it here because some humorists you don’t like are making a newspaper, may I then say you can f*** off.”
Climate change and cities: a prime source of problems, yet key to a solution
Cities are home to half the world’s population and produce around 75% of the world’s GDP and greenhouse gas emissions. By 2050, between 65% and 75% of the world population is projected to be living in cities, with more than 40 million people moving to cities each year. That’s around 3.5 billion people now, rising to 6.5 billion by 2050; a huge and singular event in human history.
This places cities at the centre of economic activity affecting how economies grow, how resources are allocated, how innovation takes place, whether innovation is used well or badly and, if badly, how much damage it inflicts on others now and in the future. They can also be very exposed and vulnerable to climate risks such as water shortages, floods and heat stress. The mass congregating of people and rising demand for resources, under poor organisation and governance, make cities prime sources of pollution, congestion and waste.
What are the main challenges facing sustainable airport areas
On 26 and 27 October, the Parisian airports of Charles-de-Gaulle and Orly hosted the first workshop of the “How to create a sustainable airport area” initiative, dealing with the main challenges these facilities are facing. Eight airports participated in the workshop: CDG-Paris, Orly-Paris, Barcelona, Atlanta, Shanghai, Incheon, Beijing and Guarulhos. In total, more than thirty people participated in the workshop, representing not only airports but also academia, research and consulting.
The workshop featured morning sessions with presentations from the participating airport areas and technical visits to Orly and Charles-de-Gaulle in the afternoons. The work sessions concluded on Tuesday 27 with an open debate based on a mind-map created from the ideas compiled over the two days of work.
Microsoft looks to stop bike crashes before they happen
Microsoft engineers and City of Bellevue planners have a sci-fi inspired strategy for curbing bike and pedestrian injuries on city streets: By using video analytics, they want to predict and prevent crashes before they happen.
“This is like ‘Minority Report,’ ” said Bellevue senior transportation planner Franz Loewenherz, referring to the 2002 film in which Tom Cruise preemptively stops crime. “We’re trying to get out in front of the collisions. We can take a corrective measure before someone gets hurt.”
The project employs the city’s existing traffic cameras used by police to investigate crimes and transportation officials to optimize the timing of traffic lights in this city just east of Seattle.
This Helsinki Suburb Is Offering Millennials Cheap Rent to Live in a Senior Center
The youth get a housing deal, the elderly get companionship—it’s win-win.
In Helsinki, a city where rents are notoriously high, anyone’s eyes might pop at the chance of grabbing even a small studio apartment for €250 ($265) a month. So it’s no wonder that this offer of studios for people under 25 in the suburb of Laajasalo, all with private facilities and balconies, received an enthusiastic response when it appeared on Facebook recently.
But while they cost less than half the typical price for a Helsinki studio, the apartments come with a catch—albeit hardly an onerous one for the right applicant. They’re located in a home for seniors, one where the young studio-dwellers would be expected to spend three-to-five hours a week with the older residents.
Can Urbanization Make the World Safer for Girls?
The effort to stop female genital cutting, or female genital mutilation (FGM), may be the longest-running public health struggle in the world. For over eight decades, international groups have pressed a string of nations in equatorial Africa to stop the coming-of-age ceremony that includes cutting away some or all of a girl’s external genitals and sometimes sewing them shut. But change has been slow, and nobody seems sure quite why. Is urbanization a driving force in changing standards?
Opponents of female genital cutting are often passionate about ending a practice they call gender-based violence. “FGM is part of a vicious set of circumstances designed to keep women as underdogs,” writes United Nations Population Fund representative Siddharth Chatterjee. He equates the practice with “child marriage, sexual assault and rape, lack of access to health care, lack of access to education, high maternal mortality and lack of economic opportunities.”
Cities and Regions Say “We Are Ready” at Pavilion Opening
On 1 December 2015, the Cities & Regions Pavilion officially opened with a session entitled “We Are Ready”.
The session opened with a formal welcome from Pavilion hosts, Paris and European Green Capital 2015 Bristol. Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson commented on COP21 that “whatever the outcome, there is no option but for us to act”, while Deputy Mayor of Paris Patrick Klugman pointed out that we had reached a historical moment at COP21, where cities and regions are part of international negotiations. It was critical, he added, “to highlight tremendous potential of local and regional governments to act quickly.”
These Parks Are Reclaiming Ugly Urban Underpasses as Public Space
Manhattan’s rails-to-trails High Line sparked a global trend of turning old transit infrastructure into parks. But a new breed of public spaces aren’t waiting for the transportation around them to stop running—they’re transforming the ground below the still-active elevated tracks.
From words to action: Paris teams up with Johannesburg to draft climate strategy
South Africa’s economic capital wants to develop an ambitious climate strategy, following in the footsteps of Paris, the first French city to adopt a similar strategy in 2007. EurActiv France reports.
The city of Johannesburg has been working on its climate change strategy for several months. For Tau Parks, the city's mayor, who dreams of a greener future for the South African economic hub, the aim was to announce the strategy ahead of the COP21, which opened in Paris on Monday (30 November).
Barcelona wins 'Thinking Cities' Award
The 'Thinking Cities' Award has been presented on 19 November at the 2015 Polis Conference to the city of Barcelona. Adria Gomila received the prize for the city's innovative way linking social data with urban mobility transport.
Budapest’s BMT: a framework for sustainable urban mobility planning (Hungary)
In 2013 Budapest decided to reconsider its entire strategic planning process and develop a new transport development strategy guided by the European Commission’s Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) principles.
The new strategy, the Balázs Mór Plan, was developed and drafted by Budapest’s transport operator and - as set out in the SUMP concept - together with the public and other stakeholders. The new plan creates a solid framework within which upcoming projects will be prepared and implemented. The final document of strategic objectives and measures is expected to be adopted before end of 2015.
COCON 63 : Massive renovation operation
The French Department of Puy-de-Dôme, in co-operation with the local energy & climate agency (Aduhme) launched an innovative collective operation aimed at massively isolating attic space in public buildings: the COCON ("cocoon") 63 operation.
The Puy-de-Dôme local authority has used an innovative territorial engineering approach to the service of public local bodies in order to support them in reducing their energy use and expenses.
10th IOPD Award for “Best Practice in Citizen Participation” Launched
Deadline for submissions: 15 January 2016
The International Observatory on Participatory Democracy (IOPD) invites local and regional governments to apply for the Best Practice in Citizen Participation Award. The distinction is awarded annually to recognize participatory experiences from around the world that can to be replicated elsewhere. The award seeks to highlight innovative experiences in the field of participatory democracy coordinated by local governments.
How data helps India's cities adapt to rapid urbanization
Dramatic demographic shifts are changing the face of India, home to the world’s earliest urban civilization. By 2050, 40 percent of the country’s 1.5 billion inhabitants will live in cities.
In 100 Resilient Cities locations from Bangalore, India, to Accra, Ghana, population growth poses a host of resilience challenges, from managing water resources — too much, too little and how clean? — to providing adequate health and waste management services to rich and poor alike.
To address these challenges, cities must understand the new scope of the services they need to deliver to optimize precious human, natural and financial resources in the face of rapid urbanization. A significant component of 100RC’s commitment to helping cities leverage resources better is identifying Platform Partners that can guide and partner with cities to help them achieve this understanding.
Urban Planning Faces Possible Diversity Setback
The Planning Accreditation Board, the body that accredits colleges to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees in planning, released proposed changes to its standards in late September. Next week, a month-long discussion period will open on the new amendments. The changes, if accepted, would tone down current diversity language considerably.
Present standards mandate that programs have a student body that reflects regional demographics “in the aggregate,” as well as established recruitment and retention tactics. They also require universities to document their diversity strategies in progress. The new amendments would drop these points and instead ask that schools “pro-actively seek to expand opportunity for under-represented minorities … .”
Join the session "Boosting Electromobility in European cities" - EECV Congress, 3 December
POLIS organises a session on electromobility in cooperation with the Dutch G4 Life+ project "boosting electromobility" (www.boostingelectromobility.eu ) at the European Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Congress in Brussels on December 3rd.
European city centres are saying no to cars!
Once again, the Nordic countries appear to be ahead of the game when it comes to sustainable mobility. The new coalition in charge of the Norwegian capital, Oslo, has just announced that it is to ban all cars from its city centre by 2019.
This measure should cut the city’s greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. To reinforce this project, the city of Oslo has set out a massive investment plan aimed at developing public transport and creating almost 40 miles of new cycle lanes.
Denmark is not getting left behind either, since Copenhagen has launched an ambitious cycling development plan. By the end of 2015, the Danish capital hopes that at least 50% of its inhabitants’ commuter journeys will be made by bike.
Future-Proofing the Library: The Idea Store
An aging library system’s dramatic re-invention delivers better service for its community today—and into the future
By the late 1990s, the Tower Hamlets borough in London’s East End had the worst-ranked library service in the city. When asked, the community acknowledged the importance of its libraries, but usage rates just didn’t add up. Buildings were inconveniently located, required a lot of upkeep, and weren’t physically accessible. A system that had been designed 100 years ago was struggling to meet the needs of its current community.
Cities finally a protagonist in the global dialogue on migration issues
On 26 and 27 of October, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) organized a conference on Migrants and Cities in Geneva, in which mayors, ministers and senior officials came together for the first time in a global policy forum to discuss the complex dynamics of human mobility in cities.
UCLG was represented by Hubert Julien Laferrière, Mayor of the 9th District of Lyon, along with a representative of the World Secretariat. Lyon is one of the cities participating in the project “Mediterranean City-to-City Migration Profiles and Dialogue”, which is being implemented by the UCLG World Secretariat with ICMPD and UN-Habitat.
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