27/2/2015 - Three Cities Make Affordable Housing Plays to Hold on to Artists
27/2/2015 - Tower Renewal in the Arrival City
26/2/2015 - Bristol involved in UK-funded driverless car trial
26/2/2015 - Cooling down cities could make a big difference to global warming
26/2/2015 - Designs to improve city life: young innovators showcase their ideas
25/2/2015 - Rail project ‘key solution to tackle fast urbanisation’
25/2/2015 - Brazil’s new approach to public participation
25/2/2015 - How to make sustainable cities work for everyone
24/2/2015 - Retrofitting Dead and Dying Suburban Malls: What Works?
24/2/2015 - See What Your City Will Be Like in 15 Years
24/2/2015 - Promoting innovation and knowledge through the new UCLG Community on Urban Innovation
23/2/2015 - Is European society growing more intolerant of diversity?
23/2/2015 - Smart traffic systems to reduce congestion for 700m cars
22/2/2015 - Urban Security and Spatial Planning in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area
22/2/2015 - Sydney's pioneering system of accessible pedestrian signs (Australia)
21/2/2015 - U.S. Transportation Chief Urges Mayors to Make Pedestrians a Priority
21/2/2015 - Launch of Global Platform on the Right to the City
21/2/2015 - London mayor approves Europe's first bike superhighway
20/2/2015 - Bike paths in abandoned tube tunnels: is the London Underline serious?
20/2/2015 - Turning a failing school into a site of educational excellence
20/2/2015 - Design Citizens: professional-grassroots urban tactics
20/2/2015 - Paris mayor calls for diesel ban by 2020 (France)
19/2/2015 - New Report Ranks America’s Cities by Technology-Enabled Transportation Tools
19/2/2015 - Intercultural Cities model endorsed by 47 States
19/2/2015 - City branding in Zurich: a work in progress
19/2/2015 - Tokyo declared world’s safest city
18/2/2015 - How Stockholm changed the debate on urban transportation
18/2/2015 - Lisbon introduces car restrictions
18/2/2015 - The Neighborhood Has Gentrified, But Where’s the Grocery Store?
18/2/2015 - Gehl Architects: Creating cities for people
17/2/2015 - Taichung Mayor Suspends Plans for City Landmark as Budget Surges
17/2/2015 - Urban regeneration: What recent research says about best practices
17/2/2015 - The two Detroits: a city both collapsing and gentrifying at the same time
16/2/2015 - Automated transport and the impact on cities
16/2/2015 - Live the City, the 2015 Metropolis Annual Meeting in Buenos Aires
15/2/2015 - Istanbul is building a 47km monorail network to deal with its crippling traffic congestion
15/2/2015 - Cities at work: BEACH – careers advice for young people
14/2/2015 - Brussels reaffirms its position of Sustainable City
14/2/2015 - Dubai Becomes First City to Fuel Municipal Vehicles on 100% Local Waste Cooking Oil
14/2/2015 - Hannover develops Europe's largest zero emission settlement
13/2/2015 - Bringing Sustainability to Small-Town America
13/2/2015 - UCLG Africa Launches First Ever «African Mayor Award»
13/2/2015 - 12 Smart city innovators launch the Cognicity Challenge
12/2/2015 - The Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize 2016
12/2/2015 - Consultation with stakeholders on the WHO's Physical Activity Strategy
12/2/2015 - Inventory of Protected Bike Lanes
11/2/2015 - Aberdeen 2015: Registration for Energy Cities Conference is open!
11/2/2015 - Three promising pathways to finance sustainable cities
11/2/2015 - Crowded Indian cities to absorb another 300 million residents
10/2/2015 - Big Ideas webinar, "Migration and the Resilient City: Bristol"
10/2/2015 - Local and regional authorities at the 7th World Water Forum
10/2/2015 - European Green Leaf
10/2/2015 - Can Melbourne lower its temperature by 4 degrees?
9/2/2015 - Tension between urban and rural interests in development and beyond
9/2/2015 - Seattle Turns to Tent Cities for the Homeless
8/2/2015 - American cities receiving a flood of foreign developers
8/2/2015 - All four Urban-LEDS countries represented in Earth Hour City Challenge Finalists
7/2/2015 - Smart streetlights to cut energy bills and create Wi-Fi hotspots
7/2/2015 - 'Culture for cities & regions': call for practices
7/2/2015 - Who needs cars? Smart mobility can make cities sustainable
6/2/2015 - EU urban mobility project offers cities free mentoring
6/2/2015 - What Does Living 'Close' to Transit Really Mean?
6/2/2015 - Increased acceptance across Europe for 30 km/h speed limits
5/2/2015 - Brazilian cities win 2015 Sustainable Transport Award
5/2/2015 - Final Conferences of URBACT Networks: It’s time to celebrate, draw lessons and share results
5/2/2015 - 5 city resilience resolutions for 2015
4/2/2015 - ICLEI unveils Plenary Program for World Congress 2015
4/2/2015 - Should Urban Universities Help Their Neighbors?
4/2/2015 - Local Financing is a key factor for the Post 2015 Development Agendas
4/2/2015 - Nightlife tweets can be useful for improving urban planning
3/2/2015 - Publication to inspire sustainable cities in Latin America
3/2/2015 - Delivering on the Promise of India’s Smart Cities
3/2/2015 - 3 cities where immigrants helped save Main Street
2/2/2015 - Call for Regional and Thematic meetings for Habitat III
2/2/2015 - These "wind trees" could generate green energy in cities
2/2/2015 - Mayors Deliver their Resilience Recommendations to President Obama
1/2/2015 - Chinese cities ban bacon smoking due to smog concerns
1/2/2015 - 3 Anti-Youth Policies that are Hurting Your City
1/2/2015 - Electric vehicles have image problem, says German study
1/2/2015 - Frontages: A City's Smallest Part But Greatest Asset
Three Cities Make Affordable Housing Plays to Hold on to Artists
When the root causes of gentrification are being discussed, artists and arts groups often get caught in the cross fire. But while the arrival of sculptors, mixed-media painters and the like may foreshadow rising rents, many artists struggle to afford city life. Across the country, several cities took steps to ease that struggle.
Tower Renewal in the Arrival City
Free Webinar Event March 13, 2015
Meet the vertical city! Visit Bijlmermeer in Amsterdam, Marzahn in Berlin, Thorncliffe Park in Toronto. High density, tower neighbourhoods like these are 'arrival cities' to millions of urban migrants and home to some of the most vibrant, ambitious and often most vulnerable, low income communities. How can good planning and local leadership leverage the potential of these dynamic super-diverse inner-city neighbourhoods? What are the policy, zoning and social investments needed to transform the urban fringe into an incubator of immigrant and community success?
Bristol involved in UK-funded driverless car trial
VENTURER is the name of the consortium, which will trial autonomous vehicles in the Bristol and South Gloucestershire council areas to explore the feasibility of driverless cars in the UK.
Officially launched on 11 February, the VENTURER trial will run for 36 months. Testing of the consortium’s autonomous vehicle, the BAE Systems Wildcat, on private and public roads is due to begin in early 2016.
The project will investigate the legal and insurance aspects of driverless cars and explore how the public react to such vehicles.
Cooling down cities could make a big difference to global warming
Cities may only occupy about 2 per cent of the world’s habitable land, but they are big drivers of global climate change. That's because they're usually hotter than rural areas; a phenomenon which is known as the “urban heat island" effect.
Cities are hotter for a number of reasons. Traffic pollution creates a greenhouse effect that keeps heat in at night. The lack of trees, meanwhile, means cities lose their ability to absorb heat and convert it into nutrients. Paving and tarmac quickly release the heat they retain back into the air, and rainwater has to be drained away in sewer systems, which deprives the area of the cooling effect of rain-soaked soil.
Designs to improve city life: young innovators showcase their ideas
The Design Council’s Ones to Watch scheme aims to champion emerging design talent in the UK. We take a look at the winners hoping to make urban life better – and ask which other designs might prove revolutionary for cities.
Rail project ‘key solution to tackle fast urbanisation’
The Qatar Rail project would help stimulate opportunities for the development of rural areas outside Doha, which former US transportation secretary Rodney Slater described as a “premier megacity.”
Slater noted that Qatar’s $40bn investment on the Doha Metro, Lusail light rail project, and a high-speed long-distance line is a key solution to address Doha’s rapid urbanisation and population growth.
“Urbanisation is occurring all over the world … and so you have these megacities that are developing, and that’s where you need more investments in transit,” Slater told Gulf Times on the sidelines of the Distinguished Speaker Series hosted by the American Chamber of
Commerce in Qatar yesterday.
Brazil’s new approach to public participation
Citizen participation is a critical—and often overlooked—aspect of successful urban planning. For public policies and services to actually have a positive impact on people’s daily lives, city leaders need to have a clear picture of the particular needs of the communities they serve.
In cities around the world, planners, designers, and city leaders are increasingly recognizing that transport infrastructure and policies need to equitably support all segments of the population as well as appropriately respond to public opinion.
How to make sustainable cities work for everyone
Antwi Akom — co-founder of the Institute for Sustainability, Economic Educational and Environmental Design — took to the VERGE main stage to address that very problem. By using data supplied by residents, he said, cities can plan services and development that serve low-income communities that are too often overlooked.
Retrofitting Dead and Dying Suburban Malls: What Works?
Denver has been retrofitting its dead and dying suburban malls on a New Urbanist town center model. More than half of 12 regional malls are already retrofitted, and more are being repurposed. Because Denver is such a busy incubator of New Urbanist theory and practice, it offers numerous opportunities to examine whether New Urbanism as applied to dead suburban malls can really succeed in accomplishing diversity, equity, and community-building goals.
See What Your City Will Be Like in 15 Years
An interactive tool forecasts U.S. metro demographics circa 2030.
Minority populations will surpass the aging, white majority by 2042. New births, immigration, and internal migration will reconfigure the populations of our cities, towns and suburbs. The tectonic plates of America's demographics are shifting, and now there's an easy way to follow along.
A new interactive tool developed by the Urban Institute predicts how these changes will play out locally by 2030. Using historical trends and census data, it allows users to adjust for rates of birth, death, and migration to forecast a range of scenarios—so urban planners, local leadership, and anyone else can track the effects of demographic trends in their region.
Promoting innovation and knowledge through the new UCLG Community on Urban Innovation
The UCLG World Council in Haikou agreed with the recommendations of the Liverpool Executive Bureau to establish a Community of Practice on Urban Innovation to promote innovation and the learning agenda, building on the work of the Guangzhou Award.
This new Community aims at enhancing international exchange and cooperation in sustainable development, facilitating research on innovative urban governance to serve as a reference for decision-makers in global cities and ensuring the continued involvement of the Guangzhou International Award’s finalists in the future work of UCLG.
Is European society growing more intolerant of diversity?
As European society grows more multicultural, our classrooms are naturally becoming more diverse. How can schools contribute to making European societies more open to diversity? Debating Europe presents, in partnership with the Intercultural cities programme, the first of its series of DIVERSITY DEBATES. Is European society growing more intolerant of diversity? Are we in danger of forgetting the lessons of the 20th Century, when so many were persecuted based on national, ethnic or other divisions? How can Europe’s diversity be turned into a strength instead of a source of tension?
Smart traffic systems to reduce congestion for 700m cars
A new report claims that smart traffic management and parking projects will reduce congestion for the 700 million cars that are expected to be on the world’s roads in 2019. The report by Juniper Research also estimates that such systems would cut CO2 emissions by 164 million metric tonnes (MMT) from 2014 to 2019. ‘Smart Cities: Strategies, Energy, Emissions & Cost Savings 2014-2019’ says that sensor-networked and monitored city communications infrastructure, efficient traffic lights and real-time traffic information for drivers can significantly reduce congestion.
Urban Security and Spatial Planning in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area
Lisbon is one of the safest big European cities. Crime data covering the last decade show a decreasing trend in personal crimes and property crimes. Lisbon is also characterised by a low level of violent crimes and homicides.
The perception of security does not however, follow these trends. Feelings of fear of crime and insecurity became widespread especially after a media campaign about a “crime wave” during the summer of 2008. This created a social demand for more security measures, which were followed by a reinforcement of the national security structures in Lisbon Metropolitan Area.
Sydney's pioneering system of accessible pedestrian signs (Australia)
With its warm climate, dense and compact make-up and relatively level terrain, Sydney is a walker’s paradise. The city also has pedestrian sign system that helps residents and tourists get around, including those with visual impairments and reduced mobility.
However, Sydney wants to get more people walking. A recent study said that to encourage more pedestrian travel, the city needs to improve its ‘wayfinding’ infrastructure. Today, Sydney is piloting a new network of signs and is on course to create the world’s most extensive and accessible wayfinding system.
U.S. Transportation Chief Urges Mayors to Make Pedestrians a Priority
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, a former Charlotte mayor, asked a national gathering of mayors Thursday to commit to improving the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians in their communities. "Overall, automobile crashes have declined in the last five years, but the number of bicyclists and pedestrians killed by automobiles has actually risen," he told a packed conference room at a Washington summit of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Launch of Global Platform on the Right to the City
The creation of a Global Platform on the Right to the City took place during the International Meeting on the Right to the City, celebrated from the 12th to the 14th of November 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights is part of the eighteen organizers of the International Meeting on the Right to the City. This Meeting coordinated by Polis Institute (Brazil), National Forum on Urban Reform (Brazil) and Habitat International Coalition (HIC), gathered 158 participants come from Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe, bringing together a total of 104 institutions from local, regional, national and international levels.
London mayor approves Europe's first bike superhighway
Europe’s longest protected bike lane was approved by the mayor of London this week — and it will guarantee bike riders a safe ride through the city east to west. A north-south route is also under consideration, marking a huge step forward for London commuters.
A segregated bike lane is a protected lane that is separate from the regular road way, but runs alongside it with a protected space in between. This prevents cyclist/motorist accidents and allows cyclists to ride without fear from one location to another.
“Cycling is clearly now a major transport option in London, with over 170,000 bike journeys now made across central London every single day,” said Peter Hendy, transport commissioner for London in DeZeen. “These projects will help transform cycling in London — making it safer and an option that more and more people can enjoy.”
Bike paths in abandoned tube tunnels: is the London Underline serious?
Gensler’s proposal to turn disused underground tunnels into arteries for bikes and pedestrians looks like fun. As a sober reponse to congestion, it’s ridiculous
Could the answer to London’s congestion be a network of subterranean cycleways? A new project from design firm Gensler suggests that maybe – just maybe – it might. Dubbed the London Underline, the project would turn London’s abandoned tube tunnels into living streets beneath the city. While there’s still a speculative, utopian look to the proposals – renderings showing the tunnels packed with youthful Londoners resemble an updated version of Logan’s Run – the London Underline is being taken seriously enough in some quarters. Earlier this week, it won the Best Conceptual Project gong at the London Planning awards.
Turning a failing school into a site of educational excellence
The Rütli school had become notorious all over Germany in 2006, when the national press had reported a general climate of insecurity, as well as some incidents that had occurred within the school, with pupils allegedly threatening and attacking teachers and school staff. The school Rector had addressed an open letter to the authorities, asking for immediate help and denouncing the situation offering no future whatsoever to its pupils (and especially to that 83% of foreign origin or family). The Rector was correctly pointing out that it is impossible to try and integrate pupils of Turkish and Arabic origin in a school system that did not have any faciltators and/or mediators of the same origins, and was also pointing her finger at the difficulties the school system has to encourage the academic achievement of pupils of working class migration backgrounds.
Design Citizens: professional-grassroots urban tactics
For one dreary rainy afternoon this past July, an underpass of Ottawa’s Queensway was overtaken by acoustic guitars and hot pink shag carpets. With bicycles and runners, and the rumble of the O-Train and highway as a backdrop, passersby were invited to play a song on the guitar or lounge on the carpeted concrete slopes and enjoy the music.
A few months earlier, the organizer of Ottawa Musical Underground approached me after a presentation I gave on some tactical urbanism projects I had worked on with my team, Impromptu Playground. Musical Underground was doing musically what we were doing architecturally: appropriating public space and hoping to inspire passersby to pause and play with us. With micro-grant funding from Awesome Ottawa, we set out to collaborate on a pop-up venue.
Paris mayor calls for diesel ban by 2020 (France)
The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, wants to ban diesel cars in the French capital by 2020 and create pedestrianised areas in the city centre to tackle pollution.
In an interview with the Journal du Dimanche, Ms Hidalgo also hinted of a ‘very ambitious’ € 100m cross-city cycling network that would double the amount of bicycle lanes and integrate electric bikes into the city bike rental scheme.
The Mayor said that Parisian streets such as the Champs Elysees were ‘canyons of pollution’ and that in future they may only let in low-emission vehicles. She indicated that she would consider restricting the types of trucks and tourist buses entering the city.
New Report Ranks America’s Cities by Technology-Enabled Transportation Tools
Which Cities Have Uber, Lyft, Carshare, Bikeshare, Transit Apps, etc?
A new report from U.S. PIRG and Frontier Group will be released on Wednesday, February 4th showing how innovative advances in transportation tools and apps are changing how people are get around in American cities.
The report will reveal which cities have the most of these new tools and options such as bikeshare, transit tracking apps and carshare that benefit individuals by helping them travel without owning a personal car. At least one city from each state, and 70 in total, are included in the study.
The study cites data showing a growing availability of technology-enabled transportation services and tools that have been in existence for less than a decade – some for less than five years – but have spread rapidly to cities across the United States.
Intercultural Cities model endorsed by 47 States
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted on 21 January 2015 a Recommendation CM(2015)/1 on Intercultural integration. Based on the knowledge and experience of the Intercultural cities programme, the Recommendation endorses the intercultural approach to diversity and inclusion as it remedies the shortcomings of past policies and enables the realisation of the advantages of diversity. The Committee of Ministers acknowledges that cities are laboratories for policy innovation which can make an important contribution to social cohesion by adopting the intercultural approach.
City branding in Zurich: a work in progress
CityLogo is still the on-going URBACT network on innovative city brand management. One of the very few transnational projects trying to move forward the state of the art on how cities brand and market themselves in a more integrated manner. To some extent, CityLogo is a reaction to the most common gaps in the field. A sort of city branding ‘re-learning’, since the practice is often under the influence of an overly conventional marketing approach. To that aim a fair number of transnational activities have been undertaken since 2013, which are also in association with the Eurocities Working Group on City Branding. The last one being a study-visit to Zurich. However, why Zurich?
Tokyo declared world’s safest city
Megacities can also be safe cities. That’s a lesson from Tokyo, declared the world’s safest metropolis in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Safe Cities Index 2015.
The annual rankings examine 50 cities from 40 different angles, such as infrastructure safety and health security.
“The Japanese capital performs most strongly when it comes to the security of its technology assets,” the report says. It tops the rankings for digital security and makes the top five for personal and infrastructure safety. For the world’s most populous city, safety is paramount as it prepares to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.
How Stockholm changed the debate on urban transportation
There are already more people living in urban areas than in rural ones; the UN Population Division predicts that almost 70 per cent of the world’s population will crowd into cities by 2050. How can these urban centres remain liveable and attractive without razing buildings and parks to make way for ever wider highways?
Part of the solution is changing the perspective of the public debate. The example of Stockholm holds insights which can be applied to other cities facing similar challenges.
In 2013, the Swedish capital adopted a new urban transport strategy called the Urban Mobility Strategy, as a part of the policy initiative to tackle increasing congestion. It attempts to move away from a traffic-planning system centred on automotive transport, to one that takes into account other modes of transports, such as buses, trams, a subway system, bicycles and walking.
Lisbon introduces car restrictions
The Portuguese capital, Lisbon, has created a low-emissions zone (LEZ) in the city centre that bans older cars from entering during peak hours. Cars registered before 2000 will no longer be allowed to enter what is known as ‘Zone 1’ between 07:00 and 21:00, while cars from 1996 or earlier will also be forbidden from driving within Lisbon’s outer ‘Zone 2’. Lisbon’s Mobility and Transport Councillor, Tiago Farias, said that the objective is to ‘reduce the concentration of pollution in the central area’, while ‘promoting more active habits, like walking and using public transport’.
The Neighborhood Has Gentrified, But Where’s the Grocery Store?
In many gentrifying neighborhoods, attracting new residents and restaurants is the easy part. Finding the right mix of retail is much harder.
If you’re an urban pioneer who settled in downtown Cleveland sometime in the past decade, you’re probably happy with the neighborhood’s progress. Even as the city as a whole has continued to lose population, the central area has revived thanks to an influx of young and educated newcomers. Downtown Cleveland right now has its highest-ever population, with more than 13,000 residents and lots of new housing developments on the way. There are more than 4,000 hotel rooms, with another thousand expected by 2016. And residents today enjoy a more walkable neighborhood, as new restaurants and bars open around old cultural institutions like the theater district.
Gehl Architects: Creating cities for people
This month Eltis talks to Gehl Architects’ Henriette Vamberg about putting quality of life at the centre of urban design and transport.
What part does transport play when making cities more liv
Transport is about providing people with the options to move. For cities with high liveability that means having a transport system that gives people a high degree of freedom to move when, where and how they want – regardless of age, income, and health.
It’s about the experience of moving – whether you feel safe, whether it gives you any additional experiences (nice scenery, the chance to talk to/meet other people etc.), whether it gets you from A to B in a quick and direct manner. It is a means toward some more general aspects of quality of life: improving the environment, inviting citizens to engage in a healthier lifestyle, and so on.
Taichung Mayor Suspends Plans for City Landmark as Budget Surges
Taichung mayor Lin Chia-lung has temporarily halted development of Sou Fujimoto's tree-inspired 300-meter tower for the city, which he says is "problematic" in terms of structure and safety.
Total costs are reported to have increased from NT$8 billion ($251 million) to NT$15 billion ($472 million) for the Taiwan Tower – conceived as Taichung's answer to the Eiffel Tower. Lin has said he would rather pay the penalty for breaking the construction contract than spend that much.
Speaking at a city hall meeting on January 19, the mayor stated that the current budget for the project "is not in line with the Greater Taichung Council's resolution," according to the Taipei Times.
Urban regeneration: What recent research says about best practices
In the United States, urban centers such as Detroit, Pittsburgh and Cleveland suffered significant job losses in the 1970s and 1980s as their manufacturing bases declined. The phenomenon wasn’t restricted to the industrial north, however — mid-Atlantic cities such as Philadelphia and Baltimore also felt the effects, as did traditional towns across the United States. What they all had in common was declining population and disinvestment in their core areas, aggravated by state and federal policies that effectively encouraged suburbanization. With infrastructure crumbling, poverty growing and social tensions rising, the cycle accelerated.
The two Detroits: a city both collapsing and gentrifying at the same time
The downtown core is thriving, while just blocks away the rest of the city sinks further into ruin.
Is a tiny pocket of wealth enough to fuel an entire city’s future?
Automated transport and the impact on cities
The CityMobil2 project, which is demonstrating automated passenger transport systems in cities across Europe, is holding a workshop on the socio-economic impacts of road transport automation for cities and the wider economy.
Live the City, the 2015 Metropolis Annual Meeting in Buenos Aires
Between next May 18 and 21, Live the City will be the first Metropolis Annual Meeting where on-the-ground experiences will be the focus and starting point for discussions about the major cities we want for the future.
Lately Buenos Aires has been facing a comprehensive development process, becoming a green, inclusive and innovative city, where citizen participation is an essential factor in local management. In 2015, the Government of the City of Buenos Aires wishes to share its experience particularly with METROPOLIS members and stakeholders.
Istanbul is building a 47km monorail network to deal with its crippling traffic congestion
Istanbul has tried to combat its notorious traffic levels with nearly every type of public transport under the sun – buses, metrobuses, suburban and subway trains, trams, funiculars, cable cars, ferries, sea taxis, and the ever-popular shared taxi vans known as dolmush – but all to little avail. The city regularly tops road congestion rankings in Europe and beyond.
Now, for its latest projects, the city municipality has decided that the sky is no longer the limit.
Cities at work: BEACH – careers advice for young people
Find out how Brighton & Hove is helping young people learn employment skills through an innovative website.
Brighton & Hove, like many cities, has above average levels of youth unemployment. The city began developing its BEACH (Brighton & Hove Employability Advice & Careers Hut) scheme in 2011. BEACH is an online employability resource developed by young people, for young people.
Brussels reaffirms its position of Sustainable City
Over the past decade, Brussels has led an exemplary policy in the field of energy and environment, including the economic and social dimensions.
Understanding the mechanisms that link the energy transition to a boost in the local economy is indispensable to guide local energy transition policies more efficiently.
Dubai Becomes First City to Fuel Municipal Vehicles on 100% Local Waste Cooking Oil
Dubai is to become the first city in the world to formally adopt biodiesel made 100% locally from 100% waste cooking oil for use in its municipal vehicles.
This follows the signing of a deal between the Municipality and Neutral Fuels LLC to replace diesel in its vehicles with clean biodiesel. This biodiesel does not require any engine modifications on diesel vehicles.
Hannover develops Europe's largest zero emission settlement
Buildings are responsible for 40% of energy consumption in the EU and 36% of its CO2 emissions, but now there is a German neighborhood that is fast becoming the blueprint for energy efficient living. The zero:e park in the Covenant city of Hannover is the largest zero-emission development in all of Europe. Revolve gives you an insight into this project thanks to an interview with their Lord Mayor – Stefan Schostok.
Bringing Sustainability to Small-Town America
The good news is that there are some terrific examples of green initiatives beginning to emerge in small-town America. While these communities may frequently lack institutional capacity and fiscal resources to undertake big initiatives, they do have the benefit of agility. Even a single leader can make a difference.
UCLG Africa Launches First Ever «African Mayor Award»
The inaugural 2015 “José Eduardo dos Santos African Mayor Awards”, created by the UCLG Africa, has been launched. The awards ceremony will take place on the 5th and 6th March 2015 in Luanda, Angola.
The “African Mayor Award" aims to acknowledge and celebrate the leadership and contribution of Mayors of large, medium and small cities across Africa during a formal ceremony and a gala dinner chaired by President José Eduardo dos Santos in Luanda.
12 Smart city innovators launch the Cognicity Challenge
On Monday 26 January 2015, 12 smart city innovators, a third of the eventual 36 startups, launched the Cognicity Challenge. One winner from each of the six streams will be awarded £50,000 and offered the opportunity to pilot their technologies across the Canary Wharf estate.
"The smart cities sector has benefited from a huge amount of expertise, insight and thought-leadership in recent years, which has helped bring smart city innovations into the spotlight and onto the agenda. It is now time for the next step - for a real-world smart city project that delivers measurable action and practical solutions. The Cognicity Challenge is that next step,” said Mikele Brack, Head of Smart Cities Programmes, ENTIQ
The Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize 2016
The Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize 2016 call is now open for nominations. This prestigious international biennial Laureate honours the efforts and achievements of city leaders and urban professionals to develop sustainable urban environments.
Previous winners include last year’s Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, which was acknowledged for it’s balanced and holistic development during a rapid urbanisation over the past two decades. The winner of 2012, the City of New York was recognised for its conversion into a more liveable and environmentally friendly city during the last decade. Bilbao City Hall was the winner of 2010 being recognised for it’s holistic and integral transformation of urban development.
Consultation with stakeholders on the WHO's Physical Activity Strategy
On January 30th, Polis attended the informal consultation with stakeholders on the development of the WHO's Physical Activity Strategy (2016-2025) for the European Region. We raised in the debate the important role that cities play in delivering safer walking and cycling to encourage physical activity in daily transport
Inventory of Protected Bike Lanes
The simple bike lane, the stripe of white paint that creates a space for riding on the road, is getting a makeover in cities across the U.S. The improved space, called a protected bike lane, adds physical separation such as a curb, parked cars or plastic posts between moving cars and bikes. Between 1874 and 2011, only 78 of these facilities were built nationwide. By the end of 2014, 191 protected lanes were on the ground across the country.
Aberdeen 2015: Registration for Energy Cities Conference is open!
Many European cities are facing globalisation and the economic crisis while following the linear “take-make-consume and dispose” pattern of growth. What role can and do local authorities play in doing things differently to foster community resilience?
Decentralised and municipally-owned energy, new production and consumption patterns, urban agriculture, local currencies, new forms of cooperation…the means are manifold and exciting. In Aberdeen, European local authorities will share examples of successful energy transition projects, the new business models they are based on and their positive impact on the local economy.
The energy sector has been driving Aberdeen’s economy for a long time. This makes it an inspiring place to invite political leaders and local representatives from all over Europe to meet and exchange.
Three promising pathways to finance sustainable cities
Sustainable, accessible, thriving cities are within our reach. Investing in solutions like energy and building efficiency, integrated public transit and better land use and transit planning can improve health, quality of life and economic opportunities in cities. In fact, the Better Growth, Better Climate report finds more connected, compact urban development could reduce global infrastructure costs more than $3 trillion over the next 15 years.
However, limited capital investment remains a roadblock to implementing sustainable solutions. That’s why at COP20 in Lima, Peru, world leaders are exploring a range of ways to make climate finance transformational and accelerate progress towards a low-carbon future – and cities are part of the conversation. In Lima, next year at an international climate meeting in Paris, and beyond, leaders can look to three pathways to trigger more sustainable investment through climate finance and make capital more accessible to cities:
Crowded Indian cities to absorb another 300 million residents
India’s cities may seem crowded now, but they will be far more congested by 2040.
FirstPost, an Indian news site, reports that 300 million people from rural areas and villages are expected to migrate to Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and other metropolises over the next 25 years. Most will come in search of economic opportunity.
That’s the equivalent of 94 percent of the United States population being absorbed by urban centers. The coming wave was highlighted by Ashwani Kumar, chairman of a parliamentary committee on science, technology and the environment, during a meeting last week in Mumbai, the article says.
Big Ideas webinar, "Migration and the Resilient City: Bristol"
February 17, 2015.
Bristol boasts the strongest economy of any UK city outside London, and is one of the country’s fastest growing city. Like many dynamic, booming cities its growth includes rapid demographic change, increasing diversity and a growing gap in prosperity. How do resilient cities address the challenges of deepening social and economic inequality? Why is diversity, migration and inclusion essential to a conversation about city resilience and livability?
We look forward to seeing you online. We ask you to please share this with your colleagues and networks of interest, or post through your communications channels. Thank you!
Local and regional authorities at the 7th World Water Forum
Towards a roadmap for implementation at the 7th World Water Forum
The 7th World Water Forum from is the largest and main international meeting on water management and sanitation, held every three years and gathering central governments and ministers, local and regional authorities, policy makers and operators. Following the last Forum held in Marseille in 2015, the 7th Forum will take place in Daegu-Gyeongju, Republic of Korea, from 12 to 17 April 2015.
European Green Leaf
If you couldn't take part in the European Green Capital Awards, here's a new competition for you
The European Green Leaf is the new competition for cities committed to the environment. With this award, the European Commission wants to recognize the effort made by small cities (between 50.000 and 100.000 inhabitants) to generate green growth and to stimulate citizens' environmental awareness and involvement.
If your city is leading the way in environmentally friendly urban living, do not hesitate to apply before 31 March 2015. For further information and to participate, send an email
Can Melbourne lower its temperature by 4 degrees?
MELBOURNE, Australia — This city’s strategy to save its urban landscape — and protect itself from the perils of climate change — was borne of patience. Followed by despair. Followed by tragedy.
Patience, from waiting for more than a decade for an epic drought that began in the late 1990s to pass. Despair, from realizing that the water shortage was lasting beyond the city’s ability to cope. Then tragedy, from a brutal heat wave in 2009 that brought wildfires and so many heat-related deaths that inaction became unthinkable.
Tension between urban and rural interests in development and beyond
It is said that cities were first founded to meet people’s need for security and commerce. People built cities to be close to each other to socialise, sell the fruits of their labours, and gain access to a greater variety of products. Today the importance, size and value of cities have increased, making them the most important habitats of humankind.
Seattle Turns to Tent Cities for the Homeless
Tent cities are a complicated issue for those working to end homelessness and the general public. They provide portable shelter for those in need, but can also encroach on public spaces, offer potentially inadequate support systems and services, and are not permanent housing solutions. Now, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has appealed to his City Council to authorize and regulate three new organized homeless encampments and opened the door for the encampments to be managed by nonprofits, possibly on city property (excluding public parks).
American cities receiving a flood of foreign developers
The next wave of American architectural icons is being built by the Chinese, Kuwaitis and Singaporeans. Eliot Brown reports for the Wall Street Journal that foreign developers are flooding U.S. cities in an attempt to diversify outside their domestic markets.
“Nowhere is there more foreign-fueled development than in New York,” Brown writes. Overseas investors are funding a $5 billion apartment complex in Brooklyn, a new tower alongside the Museum of Modern Art and other projects. In Los Angeles, Korean and Chinese developers are investing heavily in construction projects that include plans for the tallest skyscraper in the West of the U.?S., the article says.
All four Urban-LEDS countries represented in Earth Hour City Challenge Finalists
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) recently selected the finalists for its Earth Hour City Challenge, the winner of which will be announced at the ICLEI World Congress 2015 in Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Cities from all four of the emerging economy countries that are part of the Urban-LEDS project were selected. From Brazil, Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro were selected; from India, Rajkot and Thane; from South Africa, Nelson Mandela Bay; and from Indonesia, Balikpapan. All six Urban-LEDS cities report their climate actions and targets to the carbonn Climate Registry – the world’s leading climate reporting platform for local governments.
The Earth Hour City Challenge is a year-long competition among cities to promote renewable energy and prepare for climate change. It builds on and extends the Earth Hour, in which cities turn off their lights for one hour each year to raise awareness of energy use and climate change. The challenge invites cities to submit inspiring and credible urban development plans that dramatically increase the city’s use of renewable energy.
Smart streetlights to cut energy bills and create Wi-Fi hotspots
There are at least 60m streetlights in Europe. This, of course, is a good thing: they make roads safer and far more pleasant to walk along, and do much to minimise the chance of something horrible happening to passers-by.
But most of those street lights – as many as three-quarters – are at least 25 years old. And until relatively recently, lighting technology wasn't very efficient. As a result, the need to light up the streets can cost local government anywhere between 20 and 50 per cent of its energy bills.
Lucky for councils, then, that the EU is on hand to ride to the rescue. Even at this very moment, the European Commission’s “European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities & Communities” (or EIP-SCC, if you prefer something snappier) is working to replace 10m streetlights across Europe with new, low-energy models.
'Culture for cities & regions': call for practices
EUROCITIES has been selected by the European Commission to lead a brand new initiative called ‘Culture for cities and regions’. We will implement this initiative in partnership with KEA-European Affairs and ERRIN (European Regions Research and Innovation Network).
What is it about?
Investment in culture is broadly recognised as a key element in urban and regional development strategies. The presence and quality of cultural activities is a major factor of attractiveness of a city and a measure of quality of living.
Who needs cars? Smart mobility can make cities sustainable
Last year marked an important tipping point: for the first time, half of the global population lives in cities. Cities currently add 1.4 million people each week and this population growth comes with new buildings, roads and transport systems.
In fact, 75 percent of the infrastructure that will be in place by 2050 does not exist today. With cities poised to invest now in infrastructure that will last for decades, huge opportunities lie ahead. But without major shifts now in how we manage established as well as rapidly growing cities, we risk losing out on the potential of urbanisation to create more inclusive and prosperous societies.
2015 offers a big chance for the international community to help put cities on a more sustainable path. We at the World Bank and the World Resources Institute (WRI) believe that we must seize this opportunity, because cities and urban mobility are key to a sustainable future.
EU urban mobility project offers cities free mentoring
The EU-funded SWITCH project, which aims to reduce urban car traffic by switching short car journeys to walking and cycling, is offering cities free mentoring from international transport and health experts. SWITCH uses behavioural-change approaches to encourage people to switch car trips to active modes of transport. Cities participating in the programme will receive free advice, expert support, access to training material and templates to design their local campaigns, and fully funded participation in exchange workshops with the five SWITCH cities.
What Does Living 'Close' to Transit Really Mean?
New studies suggest proximity to transit is quite flexible and could extend to a mile. The question of how far people will walk to reach a transit stop has a significant impact on the shape of cities. New research, set to be presented January 19 at the 94th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, suggests that some cities might be selling their TOD footprint short. A Dallas study analyzing the impact of proximity to a light rail station to office rents found that a quarter of the rent premium extended nearly a mile away from transit.
Increased acceptance across Europe for 30 km/h speed limits
Milan announced plans to introduce new 30 km/h zones by March, following extensions if Edinburgh and speed limit plans in Paris and Spain.
Brazilian cities win 2015 Sustainable Transport Award
Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo have come in joint-first place to win the 10th Sustainable Transport Award.
Belo Horizonte was recognised for its implementation of a bus rapid transit (BRT) system - the first project of its comprehensive mobility plan. The 23-km system operates over two corridors, complimenting new pedestrian-only streets and a 27-km cycling network.
Rio de Janeiro was awarded for its heavy investment in public transport and for opening a BRT, the second of four planned ahead of the 2016 Olympics. The latest corridor is 39 km long and transports 270 000 daily commuters.
Final Conferences of URBACT Networks: It’s time to celebrate, draw lessons and share results
The next three months will be very intense and exciting for the URBACT Community with the celebration of the Final Conferences of the URBACT Networks. The final transnational conferences, scheduled between February and April 2015, will represent the last official step in the framework of URBACT II for more than 150 local authorities in Europe. Networks have chosen many fun and ingenious ways to share their results.
While the URBACT Managing Authority and the Member States are defining the last details for the launch of the first Call for Proposals for the new URBACT III 2014-2020, the 15 Thematic Networks and the 9 Pilot Networks (6 Transfer Networks and 3 Delivery Networks) approved under URBACT II are now on their final stage before the official end of their activities.
5 city resilience resolutions for 2015
New Year’s Day has come and gone, and 100 Resilient Cities wanted to challenge cities everywhere to make the following resolutions to build resilience and prepare for all the challenges of a rapidly urbanizing, globalizing, changing city landscape.
ICLEI unveils Plenary Program for World Congress 2015
We are pleased to share more details of the ICLEI World Congress 2015 plenary program, offering the next strategic stepping stone for local governments towards and beyond COP 21 in Paris. Kicking off with an analysis of the key trends shaping the work of local governments, global mayors, institutional figureheads, and international urban experts will share their perspectives on the issues at stake for our urban future. Optimizing urban partnerships, accelerating local climate action, financing urban solutions, and translating global developments into local impacts will be the defining foci of the program. The overarching program goal is to urge cities to scale-up effective solutions for a sustainable urban future, and equip cities to tackle the causes and effects of climate change.
Explore the plenary themes in greater detail, and discover the variety of thematic sessions, workshops, trainings and mobile workshops in the ICLEI World Congress 2015 brochure.
For more information on the World Congress and to register, please visit the website.
Should Urban Universities Help Their Neighbors?
If there's something most people picture when they think of a "college town"- rows of bars and ethnic restaurants, posters advertising indie-movie screenings and dance performances, beautiful homes where professors can walk to campus - urban universities have more trouble achieving that vision than colleges with a whole town to themselves. Urban campuses have neighborhoods that have grown around them and changed over time as middle-class Americans moved to suburbs and city cores struggled with poverty and crime.
Local Financing is a key factor for the Post 2015 Development Agendas
By Robel M. Tamirat in Participatory Local Democracy
The Global Task Force of Local and Regional Governments is a collective voice that has recently been advocating for the indispensable role of local and regional government leaders and their global organizations toward the realization of the SDGs, the post 2015 UN Development Agenda and the shaping of the “New Urban Agenda” of United Nations which will be agreed at Habitat III in 2016.
The key factors the Task Force deems to be crucial for the realization of the SDGs are localizing the targets and indicators, and ensure that local and regional governments have the financial capacity to contribute towards the achievement. The Global Task Force recently issued their standpoint on the upcoming 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from July 13 – 16, 2015. The conference is expected to “result … an intergovernmental-ly negotiated and agreed outcome, which should constitute an important contribution to and support the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda.”
Nightlife tweets can be useful for improving urban planning
Millions of Twitter users are constantly reporting where they are and what they are doing. With this information, two Spanish computer science experts suggest using geolocalized tweets for urban planning and land use. They have already done it in Manhattan, Madrid and London and have been able to identify, for example, nightlife areas of these large cities.
Every day millions of citizens around the world generate massive amounts of geolocalized content using mobile applications and social networks. Especially on Twitter, which could become a sensor of interactions between people and their environment and provide guidelines for planning life in the city.. A forgotten issue in urbanism is land use during the night time, with problems such as noise and dirt, which could be improved with this type of tool.
Publication to inspire sustainable cities in Latin America
In December 2014, ICLEI SAMS, ICLEI MECS and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation launched the publication “Sustentabilidade Urbana: Experiências na América Latina” (Urban Sustainability: Experiences in Latin America) at the COP20 UN climate change conference. The publication features 10 concrete examples of Latin American cities in pursuit of sustainability.
This excellent resource for Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking readers presents short introductions on 10 themes that are crucial for sustainable urban development in Latin America, each illustrated by an initiative reported by an ICLEI member city in the region: San Rafael de Heredia, Costa Rica; Curitiba, Recife and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Mexico City, Leon and Toluca, Mexico; Medellín and Bogotá, Colombia; and Lima, Peru.
Delivering on the Promise of India’s Smart Cities
In their first meeting in September 2014, President Barack Obama agreed that U.S. industry will serve as lead partners with the prime minister in developing three of those cities—Ajmer (Rajasthan), Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), and Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh).
Within months of his election in May 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a bold commitment to build 100 smart cities throughout India. This centerpiece of his urban agenda aims to help rapidly developing satellite cities and major urban centers become the magnets of foreign investment and jobs and “symbols of efficiency, speed and scale.”
This U.S.-India partnership on smart cities comes at a time when there is rising public and private sector interest in deploying big data, technology, and infrastructure to meet the demands of a rapidly-urbanizing globe. In India alone, the United Nations estimates there will be 400 million additional residents in cities by 2050 as rural areas lose 50 million persons. That pace of urbanization, coupled with pressures from climate change and fiscal stress, are creating demands for new, more efficient ways of operating. Thus, cities’ ambitions to become “smarter” range from the use of information and digital infrastructure to manage the energy and water use in buildings to the creation of intelligent transport networks to minimize congestion.
3 cities where immigrants helped save Main Street
South Philadelphia’s Italian Market has long been the go-to spot for pasta and cannoli. But in the past two decades, a new set of business owners have moved into the neighborhood, bringing Mexican, Vietnamese and Korean food with them.
The transformation follows a national trend: new immigrants are increasingly becoming the face of community businesses across the country and, in some cases, a lifeline for dying neighborhoods.
Nationally, immigrants make up 13 percent of the population, but represent an outsized 28 percent of Main Street business owners, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Americas Society/Council of the Americas and the Fiscal Policy Institute.
Call for Regional and Thematic meetings for Habitat III
Call for Regional and Thematic meetings for Habitat III-1As part of the preparatory process towards Habitat III, Member States, local organizations and other institutions are encouraged to organize regional or thematic meetings to ensure an inclusive and focused discussion on sustainable urban development for a New Urban Agenda.
The Conference welcomes the participation and contributions of all Member States and relevant stakeholders, including parliamentarians, civil society organizations, regional and local government and municipality representatives, professionals and researchers, academia, foundations, women and youth groups, trade unions, and the private sector, as well as organizations of the United Nations system and intergovernmental organizations.
These "wind trees" could generate green energy in cities
Wind turbines are great. They make energy out of wind, and they don't release any nasty greenhouse gases in the process. But, as NIMBYs are keen to tell you if you so much as hint that a wind turbine could darken their skyline, they have their downsides, too. They're big, they're noisy, and their giant choppers can kill birds (so can climate change, but that's a debate for another day). That makes them a difficult sell anywhere except farmland or coastal areas.
So some designers have come up with a new version of the technology that'd bring turbines into towns and cities. The French entrepreneur Jérôme Michaud-Larivière and his company, New Wind, have created something called the “Arbre à Vent” (wind tree). It's a tree-shaped structure, covered in leaf-shaped miniturbines.
Mayors Deliver their Resilience Recommendations to President Obama
ICLEI and the Resilient Communities for America partners commend the local, state, and tribal officials who participated in the President's Task Force on a compelling vision for local-federal collaboration. Local leaders such as Mayor Frank Cownie of Des Moines and Supervisor Salud Carbajal of Santa Barbara County provided key insight as strategic members of the task force and Commissioner Kristin Jacobs of Broward County chaired the Task Force's four subgroups.
Chinese cities ban bacon smoking due to smog concerns
In the Chinese province of Sichuan, government officials have unveiled “the criminal culprit” responsible for increasingly severe air pollution in the area: bacon. Smoked pork is a key component in of Sichuan cuisine, but local residents have been banned from home-smoking pork this year as smog worsens in the region. Those who decide to stick with the traditional cooking method will face a fine equivalent to $800.
3 Anti-Youth Policies that are Hurting Your City
You can tell a lot about the attitude a city has towards its youth by the policies it maintains. Despite growing recognition that attracting young people is key to urban competitiveness, a surprising amount of municipalities still maintain laws that communicate that kids—teenagers mostly—are scary at worst, or a nuisance at best.
In municipal codes, there’s a whole range of policies that are little more than the legal version of “Get off my lawn, you kids!”—laws that make normal, even healthy behavior by young people illegal.
Below, we’ve highlighted three of the most common “anti-youth” policies that cities use to criminalize being a young person.
Electric vehicles have image problem, says German study
A study on attitudes to electric vehicles has shown that many Germans believe the cars are unattractive and unappealing to drive.
According to the 2015 Continental Mobility Study, 72 per cent of participants recognised that electric vehicles were environmentally friendly, while 67 per cent regarded them as sensible.
However, only 26 per cent believed electric vehicles were pleasurable to drive, 26 per cent thought they had attractive designs and 23 per cent described them as sporty.
Frontages: A City's Smallest Part But Greatest Asset
They're the thinnest and smallest of a city's elemental parts, but "frontages," a geeky planning word for the space between the front windows and doors of a building and a civic space or thoroughfare, do more to create or kill value in most cities than any other part of the city. Rarely more than a couple dozen feet deep, and often as thin as a few inches, the total acreage of frontages in a traditionally-planned town is less than that of thoroughfares, and is tiny compared to civic spaces and building lots, which are the other three elemental parts. Yet they make the greatest difference in the vitality and sustainability of the city.