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31/1/2014 - What Makes Lagos a Model City

31/1/2014 - The benefits and constraints of urbanization for gender equality

31/1/2014 - Suburban sprawl cancels carbon-footprint savings of dense urban cores

30/1/2014 - Programme for European urban agenda seminar

30/1/2014 - Successful on-street parking: Polis-EPA third parking paper published

30/1/2014 - One Investment that Can Make Unhealthy Cities Livable and Fight Climate Change: Sustainable Transportation

29/1/2014 - India: millions may de-urbanize

29/1/2014 - Experiences of Female Local Governance Leadership

29/1/2014 - The End Of The Line

28/1/2014 - Planning, Connecting, Financing Cities-Now

28/1/2014 - Conservatives 'suppressing garden cities report'

28/1/2014 - EUROCITIES 2014 Munich

27/1/2014 - L.A. Mayor Garcetti to push for greater earthquake safety

27/1/2014 - On the Road to the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015

27/1/2014 - Smart garbage bins to track errant families in Abu Dhabi

26/1/2014 - Biggest emitter China best on climate, Figueres says

26/1/2014 - Holistic assessment of traffic management measures and ITS

26/1/2014 - Energy Efficiency: The Fuel for Low-Carbon Urban Development

25/1/2014 - Call for Paper for the 42nd European Transport Conference - deadline 5 February

25/1/2014 - Will Nairobi Maintain its Status as the 'Green City in the Sun?'

25/1/2014 - Doha gears up to be a SMART CITY with Arab Future Cities Summit 2014

24/1/2014 - Call for applications: Choice of an expert as part of the European project « Security & Tourism»

24/1/2014 - Auto ban: How Hamburg is taking cars off the road

24/1/2014 - Johannesburg will host the 7th Edition of the Africities Summit

23/1/2014 - Violence and Crime Prevention in South Africa

23/1/2014 - New transit plans for 2014

23/1/2014 - EPOMM Awards 2014 for Best Practice Transfer in Mobility Management Now Open

22/1/2014 - PREZI - 10 principles for sustainable urban transport

22/1/2014 - Transmission lines offer a unique opportunity to provide public spaces

22/1/2014 - Urban Planning and Public Health in a Rapidly Urbanising World

21/1/2014 - Independent mobility in Ljubljana

21/1/2014 - The Failure and the Promise of Public Participation

21/1/2014 - SAVE THE DATE: GCIF Global Cities Summit - May 15-16, 2014 - Toronto, Canada

20/1/2014 - Follow all Greek Presidency developments relevant to cities on EUKN's website

20/1/2014 - A stand-alone SDG makes Sense!

20/1/2014 - Los Angeles Envisions a Sustainable Future

19/1/2014 - How London Was Redesigned To Survive Wartime Blackouts

19/1/2014 - New Year, New Page: What priorities for 2014?

19/1/2014 - Cities and Ageing Policy Snapshot

18/1/2014 - 6th European Summit of Regions and Cities

18/1/2014 - Urban IT Projects to Watch in 2014

18/1/2014 - New Challenges, New Strategies

17/1/2014 - Federal Funding Compendium for Urban Heat Adaptation

17/1/2014 - Rosario (Argentina) promotes social inclusion through urban agriculture

17/1/2014 - Gearing up for smart cities in Asia

16/1/2014 - 54 million self-driving cars

16/1/2014 - Lack of planning contributing to urban poverty

16/1/2014 - A European urban agenda

15/1/2014 - Corporate Headquarters Moving to Urban Cores

15/1/2014 - GCIF-UNICEF "UKID" Index of Urban Child Development

14/1/2014 - Getting Cities Right

14/1/2014 - Riga and Umeå are this year's EU capitals of culture

13/1/2014 - Participate in the 2014 Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation

13/1/2014 - Subdivisions Draw Residents With Farms

13/1/2014 - Metropolis promotes investments in Effective Governance and Capacity Building for Intelligent Cities

12/1/2014 - The Humble Public Bench Becomes Comfortable, Inclusive, and Healthy

12/1/2014 - Mexico City creates urban lab to test fresh city ideas

12/1/2014 - New air pollution limits go in right direction for cities

11/1/2014 - 5 Reasons Copenhagen Is EU Green Capital

11/1/2014 - 2013 European Crime Prevention Award goes to Sweden

11/1/2014 - The urban legacies of communism

10/1/2014 - Striving Towards the Eco-City: Experience from Huainan, China

10/1/2014 - Goodbye Silicon Valley, Hello Silicon Cities

10/1/2014 - Hague Housing Conference 2014

9/1/2014 - Local parks help cool down urban climate, German researchers find

9/1/2014 - Kandi Crush: An Electric-Car Vending Machine

9/1/2014 - The European debate “From cities to Europe” ends with a call for more support from the European Union

8/1/2014 - Top 10 City Scandals of 2013

8/1/2014 - Vietnam cities fail to follow urban development plans

8/1/2014 - Is Data the key to Creating People-Centric Cities?

7/1/2014 - Sign up now and show us how your city cares about its citizens! 5th Metropolis Award

7/1/2014 - Taming Asia’s Megacities

7/1/2014 - Cities of Tomorrow Conference: An opportunity to influence future EU policy

7/1/2014 - European Prize for Urban Public Space 2014

6/1/2014 - The bicycle highway: Plans unveiled for £220m 'Skycycle' that lets riders commute far above the railways of London

6/1/2014 - The Wheel That Will Change Bikes Forever

5/1/2014 - Horizon 2020 launches mobility funding for 2014

5/1/2014 - Dubai International Award for Best Practices: Launching the 10th Cycle (2014)

5/1/2014 - Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Match: Binoq Atana

5/1/2014 - URBACT announces new pilot networks

4/1/2014 - Sanitation project wins FT/Citi award

4/1/2014 - European capitals of culture: success strategies and long-term effects

4/1/2014 - College Towns Lead in Walkable Communities

4/1/2014 - UN-Habitat launches Arab Network for Green Buildings

3/1/2014 - World Urban Forum to tackle urbanization as part of sustainable development

3/1/2014 - Baltimore Will End Speed Camera Contract

3/1/2014 - Elected Representatives: A Vote of Confidence in URBACT Training

2/1/2014 - Madrid plans a city centre for pedestrians

2/1/2014 - Co-creating the city of the future - IMAGINE Seminar in Odense

2/1/2014 - Moscow Urban Forum generates ideas for urban development

1/1/2014 - India’s New “Green Cities” Are Devoid of All Street Life

1/1/2014 - STARS getting children on their bikes

1/1/2014 - Singapore to boost mobile signals in public buildings


What Makes Lagos a Model City

Nigeria is arguably the worst run of the world’s seven most populated countries. Despite earning hundreds of billions of dollars in oil revenue over the past decade, it is expected by 2015, by some calculations, to have the second-most destitute people in the world after India. But its largest city, Lagos, which until recently was known as one of the world’s most difficult cities to govern, seems to have turned a corner.
Even though it remains a slum-ridden and largely impoverished metropolis, with an exploding population estimated at 21 million (of Nigeria’s 170 million people), it has seen steady improvement in its governance for over a decade. The government has enhanced public transportation, cleaned up streets, upgraded the business environment and bettered the lives of its inhabitants.


The benefits and constraints of urbanization for gender equality

"Urbanization is often associated with greater independence for women. This is the result of better opportunities than in rural areas to engage in paid employment outside the family. It is also the result of better access to services, lower fertility rates and some relaxation of the rigid social values and norms that define women as subordinate to their husbands and fathers, and to men generally. Yet, most urban women also experience profound disadvantages in their daily lives compared to men. [...] they face persistent inequalities in terms of access to decent work, physical and financial assets, mobility, personal safety and security, and representation in formal structures of urban governance." 


Suburban sprawl cancels carbon-footprint savings of dense urban cores

According to a new study by UC Berkeley researchers, population-dense cities contribute less greenhouse-gas emissions per person than other areas of the country, but these cities’ extensive suburbs essentially wipe out the climate benefits.
Dominated by emissions from cars, trucks and other forms of transportation, suburbs account for about 50 percent of all household emissions – largely carbon dioxide – in the United States.
The study, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T), uses local census, weather and other data – 37 variables in total – to approximate greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the energy, transportation, food, goods and services consumed by U.S. households, so-called household carbon footprints.


Programme for European urban agenda seminar

A seminar on the need for and priorities of a greater urban dimension to EU policy
The draft programme for the seminar jointly organised by EUROCITIES and the CEMR is now available. Commissioner Johannes Hahn will be speaking at the first session entitled ‘Do we need an urban agenda at EU level?’ and the EUROCITIES and CEMR presidents, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz and Annemarie Jorritsma-Lebbink, will be giving replies on behalf of each of our networks.


Successful on-street parking: Polis-EPA third parking paper published

The third Polis-EPA parking paper was launched at the Polis conference 2013. The paper focuses on on-street parking policies and measures. The main conclusions are Europe's cities are in full transition when it comes to on-street parking. Some issues such as data and information management are currently unresolved.


One Investment that Can Make Unhealthy Cities Livable and Fight Climate Change: Sustainable Transportation

The more the world urbanizes – and we’re forecast to be 70 percent urban-dwellers by 2050 – the more critical clean, efficient, safe transportation becomes. Access to better jobs, schools, and clinics gives the poor a ladder out of poverty and towards greater prosperity.
But transport as we know it today, with roads clogged with cars and trucks and fumes, is also a threat. We have inefficient supply chains, inefficient fuels, and a growing car culture, with all the congestion, lost productivity, and deadly crashes that brings. Urban air pollution exacerbated by vehicle traffic is blamed for an estimated 3 million deaths a year, according to the Global Burden of Disease report, and the black carbon it contains is contributing to climate change. The transport sector contributes 20 percent of all energy-related CO2 emissions, with emissions growing at about 1.7 percent a year since 2000, contributing to the growing threats posed by climate change.


India: millions may de-urbanize

Some 90 million Indians have migrated from from farms to cities in the last 10 years, part of a global tide of urbanization that has helped lift many developing nations out of poverty. But a dire slump in the Indian economy is threatening to reverse the tide, and send poor, unemployed migrants back to the countryside in search of work.
India’s Crisil Research projects that 12 million people will return to low-productivity farm jobs by 2019 because of a lack of economic opportunities in the manufacturing sector, unless the government carries out long-debated labor market reforms and improves crucial infrastructure. The country has moved about a quarter billion people to cities in the last forty years, but much of its projected economic growth is reliant on the trend accelerating over the coming decades.


Experiences of Female Local Governance Leadership

A call for applications on Gender Mainstreaming and Female Leadership from The Hague Academy for Local Governance has been launched. The Academy calls for applications from local government practitioners for its Talent for Governance programme organised from 3 to 22 March 2014. They hope to be able to select a minimum of two candidates for the programme.
The programme generally comprises a two week international training course at The Hague Academy for Local Governance based in The Hague, a week-long internship at a Dutch Municipality and Talent for Governance networking activities.


The End Of The Line

End stops of public transport lines are strange places. Every urbanite knows their names, but scarcely anyone has ever been there. Fascinated by this phenomenon, German film maker and video journalist Janosch Delcker makes short documentaries in which he explores the end stations of subway lines in big cities.
Delcker’s short, atmospheric documentaries draw upon French anthropologist Marc Augé’s concept of the ‘non-place’ — “a space which can not be defined as relational, or historical, or concerned with identity”. In 2011 he made ‘The End of the Line’, a short film about the last stops of U-Bahn lines in Berlin. This year he came up with a 4-minute follow-up in New York that portrays the forgotten side of the Big Apple, far away from the bright video screens and tourist masses on Times Square, and no more than “non-places that remain hidden to the flows of tourists who visit the city”.


Planning, Connecting, Financing Cities-Now

Read the World Bank's new Flagship Report on Urbanization to find out what city leaders need to know to build sustainable cities
The growth of cities is driven largely by the economic prosperity that they help create. But today cities are growing at unprecedented and challenging speeds. The World Bank's Urbanization Reviews offer a framework for city leaders to make tough decisions on development in their cities by providing diagnostic tools to identify policy distortions and analyze investment priorities. What must be done to improve living conditions, especially in slums and hazard-prone areas? To create jobs? To expand the coverage and quality of basic services? The Urbanization Reviews help answer these critical questions.


Conservatives 'suppressing garden cities report'

The Conservatives have been accused of suppressing a report which recommends building two new garden cities to combat the housing shortage.
Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron said his coalition partners feared alienating voters in southern England ahead of the general election.
Mr Farron said he believed the report identified two potential sites - in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.
The Conservatives denied any delay and said plans would be outlined for 2015.


EUROCITIES 2014 Munich

How can we make our cities energy intelligent? At EUROCITIES 2014 Munich we will explore ways to manage the demand for energy in growing cities without compromising economic and social concerns. Our citizens will be an important part of this journey, with greater sustainable energy supply, cleaner air, stable energy prices and improved transport promising a better quality of life. We believe that by sharing ideas now on mobility management, local renewable energy production and new technologies, our cities can make a crucial contribution to reducing CO2 emissions in future.


L.A. Mayor Garcetti to push for greater earthquake safety

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Tuesday announced an ambitious plan to tackle earthquake safety, including a new effort to strengthen vulnerable buildings.
Marking the 20th anniversary of the destructive Northridge earthquake, Garcetti said Los Angeles would for the first time partner with the U.S. Geological Survey to better protect private buildings as well as telecommunications and water supplies during a major temblor.
The move comes as the City Council is considering several seismic safety initiatives, including creating inventories of potentially dangerous concrete and wooden apartment buildings. The identification of these buildings is considered a crucial first step in any effort to strengthen them.,0,4233161.story


On the Road to the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015

The United Nations General Assembly has set the stage for a new global agreement on reducing the impact of disasters by confirming that the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction will take place in Sendai City, Japan from 14 to 18 March 2015.
The objectives of the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction include:
a) To complete assessment and review of the implementation of the Hyogo Framework of Action.
b) To consider the experience gained through the regional and national strategies/institutions and plans for disaster risk reduction and their recommendations as well as relevant regional agreements under the implementation of the Hyogo Framework of Action.
c) To adopt a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.
d) To identify modalities of cooperation based on commitments to implement a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.
e) To determine modalities for periodic review of the implementation of a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction


Smart garbage bins to track errant families in Abu Dhabi

‘Smart bins’ can now track how much rubbish people are throwing away — meaning households who are producing excessive waste can be identified.
A campaign to segregate waste by the Centre of Waste Management-Abu Dhabi (CWM) is being expanded into new areas. The centre is installing 30,000 smart bins in neighbourhoods, which are monitored by advanced radio-frequency identification (RFID) remote sensor systems. Volunteers helping out in the campaign told surprised householders the bins can track how much waste they are throwing away.
Each waste bin has an electronic chip with its geographic and technical details, which can be read by a device in waste collection trucks (through RFID technology)


Biggest emitter China best on climate, Figueres says

China, the top emitter of greenhouse gases, is also the country that’s “doing it right” when it comes to addressing global warming, the United Nations’ chief climate official said.
The nation has some of the toughest energy-efficiency standards for buildings and transportation and its support for photovoltaic technology helped reduce solar-panel costs by 80 percent since 2008, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said yesterday in an interview at Bloomberg News headquarters in New York.
The country is facing growing public pressure from citizens to reduce air pollution, due in large part to burning coal. Its efforts to promote energy efficiency and renewable power stem from the realization that doing so will pay off in the long term, Figueres said.
“They actually want to breathe air that they don’t have to look at,” she said. “They’re not doing this because they want to save the planet. They’re doing it because it’s in their national interest.”


Holistic assessment of traffic management measures and ITS

With the aim of achieving greater awareness of the impacts of traffic management measures, a set of key performance indicators has been developed to promote a common approach to impact assessment in both the planning and post-deployment phases. These are being used in Brussels and Stuttgart among other cities.


Energy Efficiency: The Fuel for Low-Carbon Urban Development

A recent building boom in Nairobi reveals the challenges facing many fast-growing cities in developing countries. New buildings put up quickly were often highly energy-intensive. Municipal services struggled to keep up with energy demand. Between November 2012 and March 2013, at the request of the Kenyan government, the World Bank put together an energy profile of the metropolitan area. It showed that the city could make big savings by improving energy efficiency in buildings and the public water system.
The story is familiar: economic expansion, population pressures and tight budgets mean that services and infrastructure are often built out rapidly and haphazardly, locking cities into a resource-intensive cycle. Fortunately, a large part of the solution is also familiar, and well understood: energy efficiency.


Call for Papers for the 42nd European Transport Conference - deadline 5 February

The 42nd European Transport Conference will take place in Frankfurt from 29 September to 1 October. The European Transport Conference (ETC) connects the worlds of research, consultancy, policy and practice. The deadline for abstract submission is 5 February 2014.


Will Nairobi Maintain its Status as the 'Green City in the Sun?'

There is something distinctly noticeable when you look at a map of Nairobi. The southern line of the metropolitan area is bordered by a national park, while the southern line of the Central Business District is bordered by an urban park, golf course, and an array of sports grounds.
Nairobi, Kenya is known as the “green city in the sun.” The city is built on an interesting mix of rainforest and savannah grasslands sloping southwards with several rivers running through. The built environment may now have covered up most of the original vegetation of the city, but the valleys and hills can still be seen.


Doha gears up to be a SMART CITY with Arab Future Cities Summit 2014

Doha will once again play host to the Middle East’s premier smart cities event,Arab Future Cities Summit on 7th and 8th April, 2014 at Sheraton Doha Resort and Convention Hotel. Under the patronage of H.E. Sheikh Abdul Rahman Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Minister for Municipality and Urban Planning, State of Qatar, this event will attract over 300 high profile senior executives to discuss the progress and future requirements for constructing smart cities across the MENA region. With a focus on knowledge sharing and networking, the 3rd annual Arab Future Cities Summit 2014 will showcase best practice strategies and opportunities in the pipeline for city development through presentations from local thought-leaders and international smart city experts, and the innovative solutions that will integrate citizens, systems and services.
With a worldwide hype around smart cities, improving the lives of people in cities and driving the economy has become a prime concern for most of the Middle East countries. Not far behind, World Economic Forum has ranked Qatar as the most competitive economy in the Middle East region and placed it at 13th position last year globally based on a high-quality institutional framework, stable macroeconomic conditions and an efficient goods market. Sustainable development is one of the key pillars of the vision that aims at safeguarding natural resources through various initiatives by the public and private sector, and driving this mission, Qatar has promised to deliver a carbon-neutral FIFA World Cup in 2022.


Call for applications: Choice of an expert as part of the European project « Security & Tourism»

The European project “Security & Tourism”, led by Efus, aims to enable cities to improve their tourism policy by making it safer. As part of this project Efus is looking for an expert to support the project on several activities of the project, more specifically local audits undertaken in each of the 8 partner cities.
You can download the call for applications
The deadline for sumission of applications is set for the 30th of January 2014.


Auto ban: How Hamburg is taking cars off the road

For a country which prides itself on having given the world the Mercedes and the Autobahn, it represents a major ideological U-turn: Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city, is planning to ban all cars from its centre over the next 20 years and put thousands of commuters on bikes.
Under an audacious urban development scheme named “Green Network”, all vehicles will be verboten in Hamburg’s city centre by 2034. Instead people will move about the port city, either via public transport or on foot or bicycle along a series of idyllic green thoroughfares which are now being painstakingly created.


Johannesburg will host the 7th Edition of the Africities Summit

The Africities Political Commission met on 18 December 2013 in Brazzaville at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Congo. The aim of this meeting was to choose the Host City of the Africities Summit to be held from 01 to 05 December 2015. The Africities Political Commission is composed of the President of United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) who is presently from the West African sub-region, and the four Vice -Presidents of each of the other 4 sub-regions of Africa, as well as the UCLG-A Secretary General who is an ex officio member of the Commission.


Violence and Crime Prevention in South Africa 

South Africa is becoming an increasingly urban society. With urbanization come potential opportunities, such as improved access to health care, jobs and basic services. However, urbanization is often also associated with new challenges, such as increased levels of violence and crime. In South African cities that are particularly affected by violence urban space is viewed and experienced by many as out of control and dangerous. Against this backdrop the German and South African governments have agreed on a joint initiative: the Inclusive Violence and Crime Prevention for Safe Public Spaces Programme (VCP).


New transit plans for 2014

Transit agencies are investing billions upon billions of dollars into new transit expansions. We’ll get hundreds of miles of improved transit service as a result, but cost effectiveness could be improved for rail projects.
Virtually every metropolitan region in the United States and Canada is investing millions of dollars in new transit expansion projects. The map and database available here provide an overview of all of the major rail and bus capital expansion projects either being completed in 2014 or to be under construction at some stage in 2014. They also include some major renovation projects of lines or stations.


EPOMM Awards 2014 for Best Practice Transfer in Mobility Management Now Open 

One of the central aims of EPOMM (European Platform on Mobility Management) is to support exchange and learning on mobility management between European countries. For this reason, EPOMM has introduced the 'Best International Policy Transfer Award'. It rewards the best policy transfer between different entities from different countries.


PREZI - 10 principles for sustainable urban transport

How does sustainable urban transport work? Based on the approach “avoid-shift-improve”, the GIZ urban mobility team has designed a vibrant info graphic on 10 principles for sustainable urban transport. Have a look at the PREZI and follow 10 principles of sustainable urban transport!
In order to avoid or reduce the need to travel or to move goods, we have to start with a dense and human scale city planning, to develop transit-oriented cities and to optimize transport networks and its use.


Transmission lines offer a unique opportunity to provide public spaces

As more and more people flock to urban areas, open spaces are fast becoming inadequate. This greater urban population has led to a number of other issues: sprawl, traffic congestion, pollution, isolated neighborhoods, and overstrained public infrastructure. Public spaces, parks and trails do not always make a top priority during municipal budgeting, but they are one thing people will almost always agree there could be more of.
Urban real estate is an extremely valuable commodity, and if the land was not claimed for public recreational use years ago, it is likely to never happen. Residents place a very high value on having open spaces and recreational areas in cities, but typically are not willing to have a city spend exorbitant amounts in order to provide them.


Urban Planning and Public Health in a Rapidly Urbanising World

The celebration of the centenary of the RTPI this year, and the centenary of the International Federation for Housing and Planning in 2013 are reminders of the origins of modern urban planning, and in particular of the historic links between planning and public health. A century on, the time is ripe to look at the links between health and place globally. The illnesses and premature mortality which the founding fathers of town planning sought to eradicate by better housing, more open space and access to community facilities still stalk the billion people who live in slums today.
The case for preventative health care is a familiar one. It makes sense to keep people healthy. We also pretty much know how to do this. Diet and exercise figure prominently. What is less frequently discussed is the relation between health and place. Perhaps this is not surprising. A publication last year by the World Economic Forum  remarked “Much of the current debate on the future of health is characterized by short-term and siloed thinking and entrenched positions. A short-term view encourages solutions that deliver immediate results and discourages conversations about more fundamental changes that might only bear fruit in the long term. A lack of cross-stakeholder dialogue constrains the finding of solutions outside the traditional approaches to healthcare.”


Independent mobility in Ljubljana

In recent years Ljubljana has taken a number of steps to make moving around the city easier and more sustainable, with a particular focus on disabled and elderly citizens.
Many of these measures were implemented as part of the city’s involvement in CIVITAS ELAN project. With the majority of the city’s commuters choosing to drive to work, Ljubljana’s first challenge was to make public transport more appealing. Together with LPP, the public transport company, it took steps to make buses faster and introduced an integrated electronic payment system for public transport. To encourage walking and cycling, the city extended pedestrian zones and created park and ride facilities to avoid congestion in the city centre.


The Failure and the Promise of Public Participation

In a recent study entitled Making Public Participation Legal, Matt Leighninger cites a Knight Foundation report that found that attending a public meeting was more likely to reduce a person's sense of efficacy and attachment to the community than to increase it. That sad fact is no surprise to the government officials who have to run -- and endure -- public meetings.
Every public official who has served for any length of time has horror stories about these forums. The usual suspects show up -- the self-appointed activists (who sometimes seem to be just a little nuts) and the lobbyists. Regular folks have made the calculation that only in extreme circumstance, when they are really scared or angry, is attending a public hearing worth their time. And who can blame them when it seems clear that the game is rigged, the decisions already have been made, and they'll probably have to sit through hours of blather before they get their three minutes at the microphone?


SAVE THE DATE: GCIF Global Cities Summit - May 15-16, 2014 - Toronto, Canada

The Global Cities Summit 2014 will take place May 15th and 16th, 2014 in Toronto, Canada. Leaders from 250+ cities worldwide, business leaders, senior government officials, scholars, and planning & design professionals will participate in this global event.


Follow all Greek Presidency developments relevant to cities on EUKN's website

On January 1st 2014, Greece assumed the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. It will hold the Presidency until July 1st, when Italy will take over. Greece holds the Presidency at a time that Europe is going through a crucial transitional phase, characterised by strong economic, political and social change. The presidency will therefore particularly focus on policy areas that enhance and deepen the Union, including economic recovery, employment, cohesion and (internal) migration.
EUKN will keep track of all events, developments and documents of the Greek Presidency relating to urban policy. All updates relevant to cities will be published in this special dossier.


A stand-alone SDG makes Sense!

A stand-alone sustainable development goal would comply with paragraph 247 of the Rio Declaration, which underlines that goals should, “address and be focused on priority areas for the achievement of sustainable development”, and be, “global in nature, and universally applicable to all countries” according to Ronan Dantec, representive for UCLG and the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments at the 7th Session of the Open Working Group. Such a Goal should not be limited to cities but would need to include cohesion and focus on reducing inequality and increasing participation.


Los Angeles Envisions a Sustainable Future

The city of Los Angeles is moving toward a greener future that is friendlier to pedestrians, Metro users, and bicyclists, according to a recent article in the Huffington Post. The HuffPost article features 20 architectural renderings of sustainable development projects that may be built in Los Angeles over the next 30 years. Highlighted projects include parks arching over the tops of freeways, a high-speed bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and a $1 billion transformation of a Watts housing project into an urban village of shops, apartments, parks, and gardens.


How London Was Redesigned To Survive Wartime Blackouts

One of the more interesting aspects of urban life during the bombing raids of World War II was the clever and strategic re-designing of the London streetscape so that residents could live in a state of blackout.
By turning off the lights at night, residents could hide the city from aerial view and thus leave Nazi bombers flying around in the darkness, unsure of where to drop their bombs. It was a different form of camouflage, one that hid the city against the surrounding landscape by plunging its streets and buildings into darkness.
An obvious problem immediately presents itself here, however, which is that with only very minimal outdoor lighting to guide them, how were cars, pedestrians, trains, and even dogs supposed to navigate the city safely? A meticulous and detailed re-painting of everyday objects and landmarks was thus launched, with everything from curbs to clothing getting rhythmic white bands and stripes added to them for easier detection.


New Year, New Page: What priorities for 2014?

With 2014, the Covenant of Mayors is entering a new phase.  From this year forward priorities will be to provide increased support and capacity building to local authorities in delivering their Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs) and implementing their commitments, with a greater focus on financing.
The consortium behind the Covenant of Mayors Office (CoMO) remains led by Energy Cities and composed of Climate Alliance, CEMR, EUROCITIES and FEDARENE, five pan-European networks which have shown their commitment to the initiative and political support beyond their role in the CoMO.


Cities and Ageing Policy Snapshot

GCIF and Philips released the "Cities and Ageing" in the GCIF policy snapshot series. By 2050, for the first time in human history, there will be more older people in the world than children under 14 years of age. By that same year, 70 percent of the world population will be urbanized. In this report, GCIF, in partnership with Philips, examine the implications of these two converging global demographic trends and the policy and planning challenges associated with “age friendly cities


6th European Summit of Regions and Cities

The Committee of the Regions (CoR), together with the Region of Attica, will organise the 6th European Summit of Regions and Cities in Athens on 7 and 8 March 2014 at a key political moment for the future of Europe.
The Summit will be held at the eve of the Spring European Council and a few months ahead of the elections to the European Parliament. It will also mark the 20th anniversary of the CoR.
The objective of the Summit is to take stock of the efforts made at European, national, regional and local level to deliver job-rich recovery. It will also bring a high-level debate with European political leaders about the 2014 European elections.


Urban IT Projects to Watch in 2014

The start of a new year - what better time to reflect on how cities are adopting cutting-edge technology?
Cities around the world are making great use of IT to improve citizens' quality of life, whether that means a faster commute to work, easier access to services, or enhanced community participation. The world's cities are teeming with successful IT projects, and we think some of the top projects deserve celebration.
We know that IT isn't an answer by itself. Tech for tech's sake has a way of turning to waste -- in the urban environment and elsewhere. But cities that don't take risks on emerging technology stand to get left behind, and that's wasteful, too.


New Challenges, New Strategies 

Thoughts on the new strategies to undertake to meet new challenges in health and social context and new roles for local administration and a key issue in Europe 2020 by Àngels Chacón, 4D Cities Project Lead and Deputy Mayor for Economic Promotion of the Municipality of Igualada.


Federal Funding Compendium for Urban Heat Adaptation

This compendium from the Georgetown Climate Center provides information on 44 programs that state and local governments can apply for that can reduce the effects of urban heat islands. The compendium includes information on eligibility standards, what urban heat island projects can be supported by each program, application deadlines, the amount of money available in each program, and the average size of each grant.


Rosario (Argentina) promotes social inclusion through urban agriculture

The Programa de Agricultura Urbana (PAU) implements the re-use of vacant urban land for agro-ecological farming on the part of marginalized sectors of local society, granting food security and alternative sources of income to the poor, while also providing public services such as the revitalization of degraded urban plots and the increase of green areas. It began in 2002 and is ongoing.
Programme's objective
The PAU aims to create productive community-based enterprises to ensure the food security of poor citizens and generate genuine income; to promote participatory strategies and solidarity-based forms of production, processing, commercialization, and consumption


Gearing up for smart cities in Asia

According to Alan Boyd, reputed to be one of the world’s leading IT pioneers, the number of internet-enabled devices will grow from 2 billion to 50 billion by 2020 and this will give rise to smart cities that will completely transform every aspect of our daily lives, not to mention the way we do business.
Against this backdrop, a global race has begun to create smart cities and with China set to overtake the US as the world’s largest economy along with its clear intent to build more cities, Asia is likely to set the tone and pace of global smart city competition.


54 million self-driving cars

Self-driving cars aren’t expected to begin hitting the road until 2020, but a new study predicts that once they’re here, they will quickly become a common sight.
By 2035, nearly 54 million autonomous vehicles will be in consumers’ driveways worldwide and annual sales of the vehicles will reach almost 12 million, according to the study by IHS Automotive. After 2050, the study predicts that nearly all of the vehicles in use -- both personal and commercial -- will be self-driving.
One of the biggest impacts from such widespread use of self-driving cars (SDCs) will be safety, according to the study’s co-author, Egil Juliussen.
“Accident rates will plunge to near zero for SDCs,” said Juliussen, a principal analyst for infotainment and autonomous driver-assisted systems at IHS Automotive.,0,1394637.story#ixzz2qDHfcAdu


Lack of planning contributing to urban poverty

Pakistan is rapidly urbanising, cities have grown and are further rising. However, benefits generated by urban economies are not equally shared and poor people who migrate from rural to urban areas with the dream to become prosperous have to face many challenges. Urbanisation in Pakistan is only shifting poverty from rural to urban centres.
These ideas were shared by the participants during one day consultation on ‘Understanding Urban Poverty — A way forward’, organised by Oxfam here on Wednesday.


A European urban agenda

A seminar on the need for and priorities of a greater urban dimension to EU policy
EUROCITIES and CEMR are jointly hosting a seminar in Brussels on 17 February 2014 that will give local governments a chance to join the debate about creating a European urban agenda. The event will focus on the merits of developing such an agenda, what its objectives would be, and the impact it would have on local authorities. It is part of the European Commission’s conference ‘Cities of Tomorrow – Investing in Europe’ taking place over 17-18 February.


Corporate Headquarters Moving to Urban Cores

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal noted that large corporations are shifting their corporate headquarters and satellite offices away from suburbs and into urban centers. Coca-Cola, Yahoo, Motorola, and many other companies have announced headquarters or satellite office relocation to cities including Chicago, San Francisco, and Boston. Competition for recent college graduates who desire to live in urban, walkable centers is a major factor driving the corporate relocations.


GCIF-UNICEF "UKID" Index of Urban Child Development

GCIF and UNICEF launched the "UKID" Index of Urban Child Development at the United Cities & Local Governments (UCLG) World Congress in Rabat, Morocco, October 1-4, 2013. As the first globally comparable, city-level index measuring the child-friendliness of cities, the index will be a crucial first step towards improving conditions for children in urban environments worldwide.


Getting Cities Right

The developing world is experiencing rapid urbanization, with the number of city dwellers set to reach four billion in 2030 – double its 2000 level. But unplanned and uncoordinated urban development is risky, threatening to replace migrants’ hopes for a better life with unsanitary living conditions, joblessness, and high exposure to natural disasters.
In many respects, urbanization is rational. After all, cities are the hubs of prosperity, where more than 80% of global economic activity is concentrated. And their density facilitates the delivery of public services, including education, health care, and basic services. Indeed, it costs $0.70-0.80 per cubic meter to provide piped water in urban areas, compared to $2 in sparsely populated areas.


Riga and Umeå are this year's EU capitals of culture

Riga, the capital of Latvia and Umeå in Northern Sweden have taken their place as the ‘European Capitals of Culture' for 2014. The two cities took the mantle on 1 Januari from Marseille in France and Košice in Slovenia, which held the title in 2013. Both cities will receive a €1.5 million grant from the EU culture programme.
The cultural programmes for Riga will begin in an opening ceremony on 17 January, while activities in Umeå will begin on 31 January. The opening ceremonies will be attended by Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for education, culture, multilingualism and youth, and Andris Piebalgs, European commissioner for development.
Cities are awarded the capital of culture designation by an independent panel on the basis of cultural programmes they have submitted for consideration. The programmes must have a strong European dimension and contribute to the long-term development of the city. According to the Commission, the number of tourists has increased by 12% on average in the cultural capitals compared with the year before the city held the title.
Next year the capital will be held by Plzen. Czech Republic and Mons, Belgium.


Participate in the 2014 Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation

The Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation is co-sponsored by the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), the World Association of the Major Metropolises (Metropolis) and the City of Guangzhou.
The aim of the Guangzhou Award is to recognize innovation in improving social, economic and environmental sustainability in cities and regions and, in so doing, to advance the prosperity and quality of life of their citizens. Presented biennially, the award encourages innovation in public policy, projects, business models and practices.
The Guangzhou Award will be discerned to five (5) cities for each award cycle. Each of the winning cities will receive a USD 20,000 cash prize, a trophy and a commemorative certificate.
Submission Process
Submissions must be made in accordance with the registration and application forms, which could be downloaded from the official website of the Guangzhou Award at


Subdivisions Draw Residents With Farms

When you picture a housing development in the suburbs, you might imagine golf courses, swimming pools, rows of identical houses.
But now, there's a new model springing up across the country that taps into the local food movement: Farms — complete with livestock, vegetables and fruit trees — are serving as the latest suburban amenity.
It's called development-supported agriculture, a more intimate version of community-supported agriculture — a farm-share program commonly known as CSA. In planning a new neighborhood, a developer includes some form of food production — a farm, community garden, orchard, livestock operation, edible park — that is meant to draw in new buyers, increase values and stitch neighbors together.


Metropolis promotes investments in Effective Governance and Capacity Building for Intelligent Cities

During World Intelligent Cities Summit, WICS 2013 in Istanbul, Metropolis presented research case studies and international experiences from Metropolis member cities and partners citing the important and immediate need of investments in effective governance and (administrative) capacity building of cities.
Download the report and presentation here.


The Humble Public Bench Becomes Comfortable, Inclusive, and Healthy

“People now want to be comfortable when they sit on a bench,” said Erik Prince, ASLA, Stoss Landscape Urbanism, in a session on urban furniture at the 2013 ASLA Annual Meeting in Boston. “It’s no longer about making benches uncomfortable for vagrants and the homeless.” In a tour of the humble public bench’s past — and its potential future — Prince, along with Jane Hutton, assistant professor of landscape architecture, Harvard University, and architect Robyne Kassen, Urban Movement Design, explained how a shift in public furniture design may reflect broader societal changes and could be leading us towards healthier, more inclusive public spaces.


Mexico City creates urban lab to test fresh city ideas

Add Mexico City to the list of metropolises investing in the science of urban innovation. Under the direction of Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera, who took office in 2012, the city has launched Laboratorio para la Ciudad (Laboratory for the City), Forbes reports.
Goals include improving civic interaction with the municipal government and inventing new ways to design public spaces. In an interview with the magazine, Lab Director Gabriella Gomez-Mont explains that she consulted with Boston’s New Urban Mechanics office, created by Mayor Thomas Menino, for ideas on how to launch the lab.
The sprawling city of 22 million presents ample challenges for the lab to tackle, including a stench problem related to badly managed wastewater and garbage treatment, as Fox News recently reported.


New air pollution limits go in right direction for cities

Cities call for the Parliament and the Council to back the Commission’s targets for 2020 and beyond
The European Commission has proposed a review of the legislation on air quality. This would have a big impact on Europe’s cities as it would improve the air citizens breathe. Our network is calling on the European Parliament and member states to back the Commission’s air quality targets for 2020, 2025 and 2030.
Europe’s city authorities are striving to improve air quality and meet the EU’s current hourly and daily limit values of pollutants. They are providing better and cleaner public transport, more room for cycling and walking, or putting in place low emission zones and congestion charges. They are also making overall traffic management more efficient and supporting the renewal of heating installations.


5 Reasons Copenhagen Is EU Green Capital

Next month, Copenhagen begins its year as European Green Capital. The European Commission officially crowned the city on 18 December. It has gained the recognition for its green efforts, including reducing carbon emissions, cleaning its harbour area to make it safe for people to swim, and becoming friendlier for pedestrians and cyclists.
The city takes the European Green Capital title from Nantes, France. The previous winners are Stockholm, Hamburg, and Vitoria-Gasteiz in northern Spain. In June, the British city of Bristol was named European Green Capital 2015, beating cities such as Brussels and Glasgow.


2013 European Crime Prevention Award goes to Sweden

Sweden won the European Crime Prevention Award (ECPA) of the European Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN) for its project of ‘Relationship violence centre‘, which aims for better involvement of victims in the law enforcement process of the police and the prosecutor.
The Relationship Violence Centre (RVC) provides support to victims of domestic violence at the critical time subsequent to the registering of the police report so that they have the will and the strength required to participate in the police investigation.  It facilitates better collaboration between the police, prosecutors and social services in cases of domestic violence. It also ensures that more reported cases of domestic violence result in prosecutions.


The urban legacies of communism

IT IS a love-them-or-loath-them question that runs the length and breadth of Poland, cropping up in towns both large and small. Just what is to be done with the many examples of Communist-era architecture that pepper the country?
The most visible legacy of Communist rule, the grand and often eye-catching buildings have become a source of heated debate in Poland with critics condemning them as an ugly and unwanted reminder of a past best forgotten. Defenders stress their architectural merits and argue that the buildings are now part of the national heritage.
The debate has encompassed the monumental Palace of Culture, which still dominates the Warsaw skyline despite the addition of other high-rise buildings over the past 20 years, the capital’s huge central station and dozens of other buildings, both large and small, across the country.


Striving Towards the Eco-City: Experience from Huainan, China

China’s rapid urbanization in the last 30 years has brought about many problems. The country is now facing a huge challenge to balance economic development with environmental conservation and social stability. Sustainable development is in the spotlight: how can we build a better city that can provide a better life for its citizens?
The eco-city seems to be one of the solutions. Since the concept of “Eco-Civilization”[1] was advocated by China’s central government in 2007, local governments have responded actively to the appeal. By 2011, 90% of Chinese cities at the prefecture-level and above had proposed ambitious goals to build eco-cities (XIE and ZHOU, 2010). However, in China and throughout the world, the eco-city is still in its preliminary stage without a mature theoretical basis and systematic exemplary practices. Local governments in China are encouraged to learn by exploring sustainable development models through eco-city construction.


Goodbye Silicon Valley, Hello Silicon Cities

As the United States slowly emerges from the Great Recession, led by our cities and metropolitan areas, a remarkable shift is occurring in the spatial geography of innovation.
For the past fifty years, the landscape of innovation has been epitomized by regions like Silicon Valley — suburban corridors of spatially isolated corporate campuses, accessible only by car, with little emphasis on the quality of life or on integrating work, housing and recreation.
That model now appears outdated.
Innovative companies and talented workers are revaluing the physical assets and attributes of cities. A new spatial geography of innovation is emerging and, in 2014, it will reach a critical mass worthy of recognition and replication.
This new model — the Innovation District — clusters leading-edge anchor institutions and cutting-edge innovative firms, connecting them with supporting and spin-off companies, business incubators, mixed-use housing, office, retail and 21st century urban amenities.


Hague Housing Conference 2014

The second Hague Housing conference will stimulate an in-depth discussion about the continuing retreat of the state from housing assistance, its impact on housing policies and on the performance of the housing sector as a whole. The conference will provide a dynamic and professional environment for participants to explore the impacts of liberalization policies on social housing provision and overall housing affordability and accessibility in different countries. The conference will further explore various mechanisms and experiments in the actual context to provide affordable housing opportunities at scale.


Local parks help cool down urban climate, German researchers find

Parks are perfect for recreation and, as a set of Hamburg researchers have found out, they are also important at controlling local climate conditions too. They say parks could be a useful tool in fighting climate change. [...]
Still, every day in Germany, an area the size of about 50 soccer fields is paved over or falls victim to urban development. The building boom has an impact in particular on the climate in cities. The more densely developed a city is, the more pronounced the so-called heat island effect. In a German city center, the temperature can easily be three degrees higher than in the surrounding areas.
A study on the influence of soil and vegetation on the urban climate shows how important it is that cities have open, unsealed land


Kandi Crush: An Electric-Car Vending Machine

China is growing so fast it’s sometimes difficult to get different sources to even agree which the biggest cities are and how many people live in them. But that said, among them is a name unfamiliar to most Americans, the city of Hangzhou, located in eastern China, and home to 8.7 million as of 2010. That would make it the biggest city in the U.S. even though it’s barely a third the size of Shanghai, the world’s largest. But Hangzhou isn’t just big, it’s also home to an ambitious experiment that combines electric vehicles, giant vending machines and a Zipcar ZIP NaN%-like business model. Oh, and if it works, private car ownership as we know it is probably going to disappear in the world’s biggest cities.


The European debate “From cities to Europe” ends with a call for more support from the European Union

The European debate “From cities to Europe”, organised by the European Forum for Urban Security on 10 December at the Committee of the Regions head office in Brussels, ended with a call for more support from the European Union to local authorities and for greater consideration to be taken of the role that they play.
About a hundred representatives from regional authorities and European institutions attended this conference-debate on crime prevention and citizen participation. This debate was based on the results and outcomes of the “Sharing the Manifesto” initiative which Efus launched in 2013 as part of the European Year of Citizens in order to promote the discussion of security policies between local authorities, civil society and other stakeholders in urban life using as a basis the Manifesto of Aubervilliers and  Saint-Denis.


Top 10 City Scandals of 2013

When it comes to scandal, no city on Earth is untouched. If things look good now, just take a peek back in time.
That's how we at Future Cities approached our end-of-year review of the top city scandals of 2013. Yes, these cities need to take stock of the local disasters that put them in world headlines this year. But we outside observers need to take a lesson from each, as well.
Are we nonjudgmental? Of course not. Every city official, government agency, or taxpayer we've highlighted here deserves a booby prize. But we think what transpired in the cities we've called out can, sadly, happen elsewhere, given similar circumstances and pressures.


Vietnam cities fail to follow urban development plans

While Viet Nam is reported to be in a process of rapid urbanisation, many experts have expressed concern that urban development in Viet Nam is not following earlier plans.
Experts further said that not following plans is making cities appear sloppy and ugly.
Reports from the Ministry of Construction, delivered at a conference in Ha Noi last weekend, indicate that there were 765 urban areas in the country as of 2012, with an urbanisation rate of 32.45 per cent.
Also, it estimated that by 2015, there will be 870 urban areas, accommodating a population of 35 million, with a nationwide urbanisation rate of 38 per cent.
A further forecast estimates that by 2025, the number of urban areas would reach 1,000 with 52 million people, equivalent to 50 per cent of the national population.
However, the ministry's report also showed that urban planning had not been correctly implemented.


Is Data the key to Creating People-Centric Cities?

This year's IBM 5 in 5 (5 predictions for the next 5 years) heralds a new era where systems will learn, reason and engage with us in a more natural and personalized way.
This is great news for cities, and indeed one of our 5 predictions is that within the next 5 years, cities will enter a new era with increased understanding and improved relationships between governments and citizens. Sounds great - but how will they do this?
We believe that data will be front and center. Cities will do a better job of collecting and analyzing data and use mobile and social technologies to improve communication with citizens.


Sign up now and show us how your city cares about its citizens! 5th Metropolis Award

During the 11th METROPOLIS World Congress, to take place in Hyderabad from 7 to 10 October 2014, the 5th edition of the Metropolis Award Seeking Better Quality of Life for the World’s Metropolises will be held.
Any METROPOLIS member city, up to date with their corresponding annual membership fee, which has implemented a project or experience worthy of global recognition for its contribution to improving quality of life in its city, may submit an application. The project or experience must be related to improving citizens’ quality of life, especially that of women, young people and people with disabilities.


Taming Asia’s Megacities

Asia is home to the eight of the world’s ten largest megacities—Tokyo, Jakarta, Seoul, Guangzhou, Delhi, Shanghai, Karachi, and Manila—all with over 20 million inhabitants. As Asia’s megacities continue to grow, concern mounts over the ability of states to control them. That control would be tested by natural disasters, civil unrest, infrastructure shortfalls, or epidemics. Indeed, the preparedness of most of Asia’s sprawling megacities is untested.
Megacities are perhaps one of mankind’s most dangerous social experiments. Controlling cities of over 10 million people requires large law enforcement capacity, but also sufficient infrastructure and emergency planning. The fast growth of Asia’s megacities has been nothing short of astounding—take Karachi’s 80 percent population growth between 2000 and 2010 for example. Yet such rapid growth brings myriad problems.


Cities of Tomorrow Conference: An opportunity to influence future EU policy

On 17-18 February 2014, cities will be given the opportunity to directly influence future EU policy developments by participating in the “Cities of Tomorrow: Investing in Europe” conference.
Organised by the European Commission, DG for Regional and Urban Policy, this forum and its various side events will seek to collect the views of key stakeholders across Europe on the future EU Urban Agenda, what it should consist of and how it will be implemented.
Another important topic of the event will be the role of Europe in global urban development, something of great relevance for Covenant of Mayors signatory cities which have already taken part in recent experience-sharing activities in Beijing and Mumbai. In addition, the role of businesses in the development of cities will also be discussed.


European Prize for Urban Public Space 2014

Applications for the European Prize for Urban Public Space 2014 are open until 23 January 2014
Cities can apply for the European Prize for Urban Public Space 2014 until 23 January 2014. The prize recognises the creation, recuperation or regeneration of urban public spaces, with a particular focus on citizen engagement and participation.
This will be the eighth edition of the biennial prize, which began in 2000. Previous winners have included EUROCITIES members Leipzig, for its new city park built on the site of a former railway station (2002); and Ljubljana for the renovation of its riverbanks for public use (2012).


The bicycle highway: Plans unveiled for £220m 'Skycycle' that lets riders commute far above the railways of London

Plans for a network of cycle pathways high above the streets of London have been unveiled by one of the world's most prominent architects.
SkyCycle is a 135-mile network of roads that would be constructed above existing suburban rail lines to create new cycle routes throughout the capital and has been developed by cycling enthusiast Sir Norman Foster, who designed St Mary Axe, known as 'The Gherkin', and the new Wembley Stadium.
The three-storey high routes would be accessed via ramps at more than 200 points.
The first phase is a four mile stretch from east London to Liverpool Street Station would cost an estimated £220m.


The Wheel That Will Change Bikes Forever

Biking is a technology older than cars, but it’s increasingly clear that bicycling is the transportation of the future.  The most advanced cities on our planet already use biking to get around, which keeps citizens physically fit and reduces traffic and pollution.
However, biking is not always easy.  During long distances, you can get tired – especially up hills, in extreme weather, or if you’re carrying a backpack or other burden.  But a new invention, led by researches from MIT, is about to change all that.
Say hello to the Copenhagen Wheel, a device that slips onto your existing bike wheel.  It stores the energy that you already use, and saves it for when you need it most.  Hills become flat, and you no longer have to expel loads of energy to get around.  Curious?  Watch the video for more information.  It’s a device so simple, you’ll be amazed at what it accomplishes.  It just might change the cycling world (and our planet) forever.


Horizon 2020 launches mobility funding for 2014

The European Commission has launched the first calls for projects under Horizon 2020, the European Union’s €80 billion research and innovation programme spanning the next seven years. Funding over the first two years is worth more than €15 billion.
Horizon 2020 is intended to help boost Europe's knowledge-driven economy, and address issues that will make a difference in people's lives, including sustainable transport. Three calls have been launched under the theme of ‘smart, green and integrated transport’ worth €540 million.
The call on 'Mobility for Growth' includes urban mobility as a key component. The second call under the theme of 'Green Vehicles' aims to advance electric vehicle technologies. The third call 'Small Business and Fast Track Innovation for Transport' will help small businesses upgrade their innovation research on transport and set them on the fast track to innovation.


Dubai International Award for Best Practices: Launching the 10th Cycle (2014)

Do you have a programme or project which has resulted in the improvement of the living environment of urban dwellers? 
UN-Habitat and Dubai Municipality offer you an opportunity for global recognition through the Dubai International Award for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment. Every two years, 12 submissions are awarded as winners and 100+ recognized as best practices for their innovative ways of dealing with the common social, economic, and environmental problems.


Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Match: Binoq Atana

In the past decades, the make-up of Amsterdam’s population has changed, but not its civic leadership. Just over 50% of Amsterdam residents have a migrant background; yet the civic boards and advisory committees that makes decisions about so many city institutions and services do not reflect these changes.  While this begs the question of whether this lack of representation can serve community interests,  it also represents a lost opportunity to benefit from the diversity of perspective, culture and experience within the city’s population.
For residents and citizens with a migrant background, the boardrooms and decision tables of civic institutions are often neither accessible nor familiar spaces.  Members of new or minority communities may not have forged the  connections  to social and professional networks that are often  associated with these institutions. Figuring out out how to open doors can be an enormous obstacle to entry let alone to sustained civic engagement.


URBACT announces new pilot networks 

How can European cities maximise the benefits of their involvement in URBACT projects? Two new initiatives are about to address that very question in separate pilot networks; one being designed to support cities as they implement their Local Action Plan, while the other focuses on sharing good practices. URBACT III is the context for both these pilots, as the programme looks to exploit the wealth of experience gathered to date.


Sanitation project wins FT/Citi award

A small toilet enterprise operating in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, was named today as the global winner of the FT/Citi Ingenuity Awards which recognise innovative urban ideas.
The Nairobi based non-profit organisation, Sanergy, was selected by a distinguished panel of judges for developing a sustainable and hygienic sanitation system which recycles human waste to generate electricity and provide fertiliser. Sanergy provides prefabricated toilets in informal settlements and local residents purchase and operate the facilities as franchise partners, charging a levy for people to use the clean and hygienic toilets.
Waste is safely collected into sealed 30-litre airtight containers and transported every day to a central processing facility. Sanergy converts the waste into reusable by-products, including organic fertiliser which is sold to farms and electricity which is sold to the grid. The system creates employment as well as providing sustainable sanitation services.


European capitals of culture: success strategies and long-term effects

A new study carried out for the European Parliament assesses the long-term effects of hosting the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) Programme
Since 1985 the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) title has been awarded to nearly 60 cities in 30 countries. Over time, the programme has become an important tool for city positioning and a catalyst for economic and cultural regeneration. There are often immediate cultural, social and economic returns and, although harder to evidence, the ECoC's potential for securing long-term benefits, such as changing the image of a city or developing tourism, has grown.


College Towns Lead in Walkable Communities

College towns tend to have greater numbers of commuters who walk to work than other cities, according to a recent article in Governing magazine. Using data from the US Census Bureau's annual American Communities Survey, Governing also found that workers under the age of 25 account for the vast majority of people who walk to their jobs.


UN-Habitat launches Arab Network for Green Buildings

UN-Habitat’s Regional Office for Arab States’ Director Dr. Mostafa Madbouly has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Saudi Green Building Forum and the Egyptian Council for Green Buildings, launching the first Arab Network for Green Buildings.
The agreement aims at enriching professional architecture and the science of green buildings, through creating a forum for knowledge and experience exchange to contribute to sustainable urban development. It also aims to conserve architectural heritage and natural resources while limiting the detrimental effects of urbanization on the environment. This will further add to the experience of professionals in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other Arab countries, in both the public and private sectors.


World Urban Forum to tackle urbanization as part of sustainable development

On 5 April 2014, the 7th World Urban Forum (WUF7) will descend on Medellin, Colombia on the theme ‘Urban equity in development’ — Cities for life.’
The focus of the weeklong conference , in the Latin American hub,  will be on practical and sustainable ways of creating more inclusive and compact cities that address complex issues like inequality, population and infrastructure.
The estimated 10,000 delegates are expected to come from the private sector, academia, non-profit organizations and business. The results of the conference will eventually be handed off to government officials who can better decide on their implementation.


Baltimore Will End Speed Camera Contract

Baltimore plans to pay its speed camera vendor $600,000 to end a troubled relationship that has left the city's once-lucrative automated enforcement program offline since April, city officials said Monday.
Termination of the contract with Brekford Corp. puts the future of the city's speed and red-light camera system in question. One city councilwoman says it's time to stop using technology to nab speeders and red-light runners.
Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke said the city should stop using speed cameras and instead station more traffic officers at dangerous intersections and "speedways," whether by paying police overtime or by hiring more traffic enforcement officers.


Elected Representatives: A Vote of Confidence in URBACT Training 

City authorities across Europe are aware of the growing need to consume less energy and to reduce CO2 emissions. But how can they start the energy transition towards a cleaner, more sustainable environment? That was the challenge set by the third and final URBACT pilot training seminar for elected representatives, held on December 2 - 4 in Brussels.


Madrid plans a city centre for pedestrians

Seeking to move away from its image as a traffic-choked city, the Spanish capital aims to revolutionise its road usage.
Madrid (Spain), well known for its heavy traffic, is taking a radical step to overhaul its crowded city streets and reclaim them for pedestrians, public transportation, and cyclists. A General Urban Plan has been developed which promises to turn the city centre into a leafy pedestrianised zone, where traffic jams will be a thing of the past.


Co-creating the city of the future - IMAGINE Seminar in Odense

Odense, the 3rd biggest city in Denmark, hosted the 9th IMAGINE Seminar on 3 and 4 December 2013. "Local energy transition within multilevel context - co-creating the city of the future" was the theme of these two days of thinking.
Much diversified, this seminar was the occasion for the participants to go for a bguided bike ride in the city, discover a neighbourhood being renovated, learn more about the benefits of public-private partnerships and on the municipal sustainable development policy.
Because, let’s say it, Odense is greatly inspiring for its European counterparts. Energy savings, sustainable transport, social dynamism and integration are part of the city’s top priorities. Many local players, both from public and private sectors, presented their projects in favour of sustainable energy.


Moscow Urban Forum generates ideas for urban development

The third Moscow Urban Forum, held between Dec. 5 and 7, was an effort to generate ideas on what should be done by the local administration of the Russian capital. The Jakarta Post’s Primastuti Handayani was one of journalists invited to attend the event. Below is her report.
Little Eric Polsky grabbed half a dozen tiny red-and-blue flags. With a grin, he ran toward the nearest wall, took a second to stare at the framed posters before pinning his flags to different posters.
“This drawing is good,” he said, pointing to one of the posters that he had just voted for. The poster was a sketch of a public bus stop that would be equipped with a solar panel on the roof, Wi-Fi connection and power sockets as additional functions to its main purpose as a shelter for bus passengers.


India’s New “Green Cities” Are Devoid of All Street Life

“I feel proud of my house,” says Debabrata Dutta of his little red-and-yellow bungalow in Rajarhat township, a new satellite city being built on the northeastern edge of Kolkata. As a technical manager who is working on an initiative on ecological sustainability, it’s a home that appears perfectly suited to him. The bungalow part of a complex of 25 two-story houses built for India’s increasingly comfort-oriented middle-class, and is being billed as the country’s first fully integrated solar housing project. “The building cost was little high,” admits Dutta, “but we have energy security and we save on power consumption in the long run.”
While energy-hungry India aims to have nuclear power fulfilling five to seven percent of its total demand by 2030, it’s also making a push for greater use of renewables. The apartment complex in Rajarhat is a symbol of that effort. Christened Rabi Rashmi Abasan (Solar Housing Complex), it is one of a growing number of developments in Rajarhat that aim to be 100 percent green. Ultimately, the plan is to make all of Rajarhat township just like Rabi Rashmi Abasan – an entire city run solely on renewable power. The paths to this goal are ambitious: floating the city’s canals with solar panels, for instance, and generating energy from solid waste.


STARS getting children on their bikes

Since spring 2013, the STARS project has been working on setting up schemes to engage schools and students in promotion of more sustainable travel to school.
The European project STARS (Sustainable Travel Accreditation and Recognition for Schools) gathers nine implementation partners around one common goal: to increase the number of pupils cycling to and from school, who would previously have been escorted by car.
STARS is setting up an accreditation scheme for primary schools and a peer-to-peer scheme for secondary schools where the students themselves are directly involved in encouraging fellow students to choose more sustainable travel modes. They also participate in a pan-european cycling challenge.

You will find more information about STARS on where you can also sign up for the STARS Newsletter.


Singapore to boost mobile signals in public buildings

As if Singapore was not already one of the most technologically advanced cities in the world, SingTel, the Singaporean telecommunications carrier, has announced that it will be boosting mobile signals in major buildings to upgrade infrastructure for citizens.
The idea, says Tay Yeow Lian, SingTel’s vice-president of mobile core engineering, is to put an end to 3G connection problems.
Officials were concerned that following an upgrade in the first quarter of 2013, the basements and some levels in several buildings in the Changi Business Park were not properly connected.