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31/1/2015 - First “super trucks” on Belgian roads

31/1/2015 - From “Magic Town” to Smart City

30/1/2015 - Addressing both Urbanisation and Population Ageing in Smart Cities

30/1/2015 - Bologna crowned most ‘ecomobile’ city in Italy

29/1/2015 - EUROCITIES mayors: Our society is built on respect and tolerance

29/1/2015 - The $90 trillion plan to redesign every city on Earth

28/1/2015 - What the collapse of ancient capitals can teach us about the cities of today

28/1/2015 - URMA - Urban-rural partnerships in metropolitan areas

28/1/2015 - Resilient Cities Asia-Pacific Congress 2015 to take place in February

27/1/2015 - Engaging local governments at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

27/1/2015 - Bologna invites European Cities to 2015 European Cycling Challenge (ECC2015)

27/1/2015 - EC adopts new traffic information rules

26/1/2015 - 100 promising practices on safer cities

26/1/2015 - Transit Projects to Watch in 2015

25/1/2015 - London Mayor Approves Vast Wood Wharf Scheme

25/1/2015 - Kabul – the fifth fastest growing city in the world – is bursting at the seams

24/1/2015 - The world’s most eco-friendly cities

24/1/2015 - Low-energy urbanisation 'can help climate goals' By Mark Kinver

24/1/2015 - When cities change their names to stupid things for stupid reasons

23/1/2015 - 10 Projects Incorporating Urban Agriculture

23/1/2015 - D.C. plans experiment for downtown parking

23/1/2015 - Massive ancient underground city discovered in Turkey's Nevsehir

22/1/2015 - Delhi faces trash crisis as landfills overflow

22/1/2015 - WALK21 Vienna 2015 | Stepping ahead

22/1/2015 - Registration open for Velo-city 2015 in Nantes

21/1/2015 - Chile Kick-Starts Debate on Gender in Cities with ‘Women Think the City’

21/1/2015 - A Garden Airport in Singapore

21/1/2015 - Vietnam rolls out City Development Strategies

20/1/2015 - 'Green Leaf': Smaller cities now have their European Green Capital award too

20/1/2015 - RegioStars 2015 Awards launched

20/1/2015 - Cities to watch in 2015

19/1/2015 - Toronto’s chief planner talks about creating a “walkable” city

19/1/2015 - Bus Rapid Transit Nearly Quadruples Over Ten Years

18/1/2015 - Delivering improved interoperability of urban ITS

18/1/2015 - UCLG Culture Summit in Bilbao: Online registrations are now open

17/1/2015 - Doug Saunders’ Arrival City

17/1/2015 - Want Healthy, Thriving Cities? Tackle Traffic Safety First

17/1/2015 - Netherlands has cleanest new cars in EU – new report

16/1/2015 - America's Best Performing Cities in 2014

16/1/2015 - As evidence mounts, drumbeat for walkable streets grows

16/1/2015 - SWITCH Call for follower cities. 3 weeks left to apply!

15/1/2015 - Sometimes the Heart of the City is the Loneliest Place

15/1/2015 - MoMA shows sci-fi designs for a better future for megacities – in pictures

15/1/2015 - Cyd Cymru - in search of a better energy deal

14/1/2015 - Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development 2014

14/1/2015 - Launch of the European Regional Network on Urban Security

14/1/2015 - Data Driven Cities

13/1/2015 - 4 000 Trentino citizens sign sustainable mobility petition

13/1/2015 - Peer-to-peer learning for sustainable cities

13/1/2015 - "Urban acupuncture” philosophy is spreading

12/1/2015 - How to finance sustainable energy in cities?

12/1/2015 - Moscow embraces 'hipster Stalinism'

12/1/2015 - Three-quarters of Helsinki journeys are sustainable – new study

11/1/2015 - Busy Sidewalks (not only for Pedestrians?)

11/1/2015 - EC adopts rules to enhance real-time traffic information

10/1/2015 - Cities preparing for CEF transport calls

10/1/2015 - UNESCO awards ‘City of Design’ status to 5 cities

9/1/2015 - 3 ways for cities to go 'carbon negative' by 2030

9/1/2015 - E-bikes on roll in South Africa’s major cities

8/1/2015 - The smartest cities rely on citizen cunning and unglamorous technology

8/1/2015 - It's time to transform our cities and territories looking beyond Post 2015!

7/1/2015 - Methodology for SUMP in polycentric regions published

7/1/2015 - A Vision Of The Vertical Cities Of The Future

6/1/2015 - Local finances

6/1/2015 - Speakers at Norway conference pitch for greater youth inclusion in governance

5/1/2015 - Plan to Limit Cars in Paris Collides With French Politics

5/1/2015 - European Transport Conference - Call for Papers

4/1/2015 - World’s first solar bike path opens in Krommenie

4/1/2015 - Citi Bike Has Left “New Yorkers in the Lurch”

3/1/2015 - 10 Points of a Bicycling Architecture

3/1/2015 - The truth about smart cities: ‘In the end, they will destroy democracy'

2/1/2015 - Smart Local Governance: The challenge of good governance in local administrations

2/1/2015 - African cities are forced to get most of their food from imports


First “super trucks” on Belgian roads

Flanders trials first "super trucks" permits to examine its impact on road safety and on the environment. Access to urban areas, however, is limited.
The trucks will drive between Ninatrans base in Leuven and the port of Antwerp on a daily basis. However, the super trucks are not allowed to drive through built-up areas or to use routes heavy in pedestrian and cycle traffic. They are also required to avoid certain crossroads and roundabouts.


From “Magic Town” to Smart City

When we think of smart cities, what image comes to mind? New York? Tokyo? Barcelona? Perhaps that of a global city with massive transportation infrastructure, intelligent waste management systems, and real-time traffic monitoring to ensure safety and comfort for its citizens, businesses and visitors.
However, the time has come for Tequila—a town located in the state of Jalisco, about 600 kilometers northwest of Mexico City—to become the first “smart tourist city” in Latin America. With a population of 50,000, Tequila hosted 200,000 visitors in 2014. Following the worldwide trend of urban growth, for 2020 the city is expected to double its population and host 1.4 million tourists per year.


Addressing both Urbanisation and Population Ageing in Smart Cities

The number of people in the EU aged 65 or over is set to nearly double, from 85 million in 2008 to 151 million in 2060. At the same time, 80% of older people in developed countries already live in urban areas.
Both demographic shift and urbanisation are major changes our societies are facing. These changes imply major socio-economical, technological and environmental challenges to be addressed to ensure and further improve the quality of life of all generations while reducing inequalities and combating social exclusion.


Bologna crowned most ‘ecomobile’ city in Italy 

Bologna has been ranked first in a national report that studied the progress of major Italian cities in promoting clean, efficient and sustainable forms of transport.
In the report by Euromobility(link is external), an Italian sustainable mobility association, 50 cities were measured on their progress on car-sharing, the introduction of clean and energy-efficient vehicles, the supply and use of public transport, cycle lanes, footpaths and restricted traffic areas.
Bologna was recognised for its high number of cycling lanes, low number of traffic accidents, meeting the high demand on its public transport system and its approaches to congestion.


EUROCITIES mayors: Our society is built on respect and tolerance 

We, the mayors of Europe’s largest cities, representing 130 million people, believe in human solidarity, tolerance and understanding, and speak out against hate and racism. 
Following January’s attacks in France, we express outrage at all acts of violence.
Europe’s cities are made up of a variety of different cultures, religions and beliefs. We want our citizens to celebrate this diversity and stand up for freedom of expression.


The $90 trillion plan to redesign every city on Earth

Introducing the most audacious urban redevelopment proposal since the dawn of cities. Jim Edwards reports for Business Insider that a serious plan discussed at last week’s World Economic Forum in Davos would make every city on Earth more dense — at a cost of $90 trillion.
The goal is to promote development that encourages public transit and walking while phasing out designs that facilitate automobiles. The visionary idea was crafted by former U.?S. Vice President Al Gore and former Mexico President Felipe Calderón, who oversees The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, the article says. They argue that cities must be reimagined to reduce dependency on cars if the world is to confront climate change.
The $90 trillion pricetag reflects planned expenditures over the next several years to build and redesign cities across the globe. Gore and Calderón want to ensure that this vast sum is used “wisely” to eliminate the need for cars and fossil fuels, Edwards writes.


What the collapse of ancient capitals can teach us about the cities of today

Warnings from history: Angkor was a thriving metropolis of 750,000 before a series of mega-monsoons made it unliveable. Can modern flood-threatened cities learn from its downfall?
After existing for more than a thousand years, the Mayan city of Tikal collapsed in the ninth century. At about the same time, halfway around the world, the city of Angkor was being founded. It would be the grand capital of the Khmer kingdom for six centuries before itself being abandoned.


URMA - Urban-rural partnerships in metropolitan areas 

The INTERREG IVC project URMA was launched in 2012 to promote urban-rural partnerships. Used as a tool, URMA aims to strengthen the potential for the generation and transfer of innovative solutions in European metropolitan areas and their wider hinterlands. The project results were presented in a conference during the open days held in October 2014 in Brussels.


Resilient Cities Asia-Pacific Congress 2015 to take place in February

The success of the series "Resilient Cities – The Annual Global Forum on Urban Resilience and Adaptation", which has attracted hundreds of participants to Bonn, Germany, every year since 2010, is a clear indication of how pressing the issue of adaptation and urban resilience is perceived to be among local governments worldwide. In response to heightened demand, the congress series is expanding to include Resilient Cities Asia-Pacific, which will bring the event and the focus to Asia-Pacific, catering to the situation, challenges and opportunities of local governments specifically in this region. 
The inaugural Resilient Cities Asia-Pacific congress will take place on 11–13 February in Bangkok, Thailand.


Engaging local governments at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

The Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDRR) will take place from 13 to 18 March in Sendai, Japan, where an agreement on the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction will be adopted. This framework will guide and support our collective efforts to build nations and communities that are resilient to disasters. All stakeholders committed to disaster risk reduction and resilience will gather in Sendai. The outcomes of the WCDRR are expected to focus on accelerated implementation at local level.
Preparatory meetings for local authorities including ICLEI, UCLG, UNISDR and partners of the Making Cities Resilient Campaign will take place on 13 March. A ministerial round table on urban challenges will take place on 16 March.


Bologna invites European Cities to 2015 European Cycling Challenge (ECC2015)

Many of the city that joined the past edition have already confirmed their participation. A dedicated app with new features for planners is now under development for the 2015 European Cycling Challenge.


EC adopts new traffic information rules 

The European Commission (EC) has implemented new rules aimed at helping provide road users in the European Union (EU) with more standardised, accurate and up-to-date traffic information related to their journeys.
As part of the new rules, travellers will have Real-Time Traffic Information (RTTI) conveyed to them regarding expected delays, estimated travel times, accidents, road works and road closures, weather warnings and other relevant information.


100 promising practices on safer cities

As part of the World Urban Forum which took place in Medellin, Colombia, mid 2014, UN-Habitat commissioned the European Forum for Urban Security (Efus) and the International Crime Prevention Centre (ICPC) to collect 100 promising practices on safer cities.
Since 1987, Efus has been one of the largest practice exchange centres in the field of urban security, with over 300 practice sheets collected. Under the impulse and guidance of UN-Habitat, Efus and ICPC have worked together to publish a sample of these practices, which have been instrumental for safety and security stakeholders in many cities around the world. These practices have been implemented by Efus members in local and regional authorities throughout Europe over the course of the past twenty years or so. Through this publication, they will now reach a public of local authorities and security practitioners from around the world.



Transit Projects to Watch in 2015

The future of transportation funding may be in question in the halls of federal, state, and local governments, but investment in improved transit continues at a remarkable pace in 2015. Explore The Transport Politic’s interactive database of projects across the continent.
The failure of the U.S. federal government to increase the gas tax since 1993 — in spite of inflation, an increasing population, and degraded infrastructure — has dominated the discussion on transportation policy since the late 2000s.* All that discussion, though, has failed to result in the development of long-term national revenue sources that accommodate the needs of municipalities interested in expanding their local transportation systems, and funding has stagnated. As a reaction to that state of relative austerity, policymakers from Arizona to Maine have argued for “fix-it-first” policies that emphasize enhancements of the existing system over any new construction.


London Mayor Approves Vast Wood Wharf Scheme

Plans to build a vast high-rise waterside community on the eastern edge of Canary Wharf with up to 3,610 homes have been approved by the Mayor of London.
The 4.9 million-square-foot (455,000-square-meter) Wood Wharf scheme will see Canary Wharf extended to the east with the addition of 30 new buildings.
Completion of the first phase of the plans will coincide with the arrival of Crossrail, the trans-London high-speed rail link, in 2018.
The green light comes as Canary Wharf owner Songbird Estates is fighting takeover bids from Qatar Investment Authority and Brookfield Property Partners.


Kabul – the fifth fastest growing city in the world – is bursting at the seams 

What was a ghost town ravaged by civil war has become a shabby, bustling metropolis – but rapid urbanisation has taken a heavy toll on the Afghan capital
Seen from above, Kabul looks like a city bursting at the seams. Cars clog the streets, negotiating for space with street vendors and donkey carts. At the fringes, crude houses pepper the hillsides and the valley along the river, spreading far beyond what a short time ago were the edges of the Afghan capital.
Over the past decade, Kabul has become one of the world’s fastest-growing cities. The toppling of the Taliban in 2001 and the hope of increased security and economic possibilities enticed many Afghans to move here: people displaced by fighting in the countryside, refugees returning from Pakistan and Iran, and hordes of labourers simply looking for a better life.


The world’s most eco-friendly cities

From offering plentiful bike paths and thriving farmers’ markets to ensuring cleaner air, a city’s environmental efforts don’t just help the planet – they benefit residents too.
According to the Siemens Green City Index, an ongoing project researched by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the world’s greenest cities score high marks in CO2 emissions, transportation options, water and waste management, and overall environmental governance.


Low-energy urbanisation 'can help climate goals' By Mark Kinver

A study of 274 cities has helped shed light on energy consumption in urban areas and what can be done to make future urbanisation more efficient.
Globally, cities are best placed to mitigate emissions as urban areas are much more energy intensive than rural areas, say researchers.
Most people now live in urban areas, a trend that is accelerating as the global population continues to grow.


When cities change their names to stupid things for stupid reasons 

The strangest thing about Oregon, Ohio changing its name temporarily to Oregon, Ohio Buckeyes on the Bay, City of Duck Hunters? The fact that stuff like this is not uncommon
Would you like your birth certificate to state you were born in Google, Kansas? What about Dish, Texas? Joe, Montana? Or, perhaps: Oregon, Ohio Buckeyes on the Bay, City of Duck Hunters? That last one’s in Ohio, in case it wasn’t already obvious. And like the other two cities (and many more), Oregon, Ohio is undergoing a temporary name change – just until 12 January – when the Oregon Ducks (who are not from Ohio) will play the Ohio Buckeyes in the College Football Playoff National Championship.


10 Projects Incorporating Urban Agriculture

Urban agriculture is a sustainable strategy. Eating locally grown food helps reduce the distance from farm to table, lowering carbon emissions related to transporting food and enhancing food security. The rise of the locavore movement dovetails with an increased awareness of the health benefits of choosing fresh vegetables and fruits over highly processed foods. In response, municipalities, nonprofit organizations, developers, and entrepreneurs are bringing agrarian practices into the city, shrinking food deserts, helping educate people about gardening practices, and reconnecting city dwellers to the source of their food.


D.C. plans experiment for downtown parking

One of the most congested travel zones in downtown Washington will become a lab for experiments in street parking regulation. As with so many other transportation programs across the D.C. region, the goal is to make better use of street space rather than expand it.


Massive ancient underground city discovered in Turkey's Nevsehir

With 2014 soon coming to an end, potentially the year’s biggest archeological discovery of an underground city has come from Turkey’s Central Anatolian province of Nevsehir, which is known world-wide for its Fairy Chimneys rock formation. 
The city was discovered by means of Turkey’s Housing Development Administration’s (TOKI) urban transformation project. Some 1,500 buildings were destructed located in and around the Nevsehir fortress, and the underground city was discovered when the earthmoving to construct new buildings had started.
TOKI Head Mehmet Ergün Turan said the area where the discovery was made was announced as an archeological area to be preserved.


Delhi faces trash crisis as landfills overflow

Delhi is on the verge of a full-blown garbage crisis. Darpan Singh reports for the Hindustan Times that three of four landfills are unmanageable mountains of trash overdue to be closed. Toxic sludge seeps from dumps into soil and drainage and releases methane gas into the air. Roughly 85 percent of India’s capital lacks curbside pickup.
Making matters worse, no new sites are available to handle Delhi’s 10,000 tons of trash per day, the article says. The city would need to double the number of garbage trucks from 2,300 to 4,700 by 2024 to handle the load.


WALK21 Vienna 2015 | Stepping ahead

In 2015, Vienna will be the host city for the Walk21 conference. The event will take place from 20 to 23 October 2015 in Vienna’s City Hall and draw about 700 experts from across the globe.


Registration open for Velo-city 2015 in Nantes

Nantes is preparing to host the Velo-city Conference from 2 to 5 June 2015. Registration is open, the early bird rate applies until 31 March.
Nantes has been named the world’s 5th most bicycle-friendly city by Copenhagenize, and Nantes’ global approach to mobility won over the ECF jury to host the 2015 conference.

Programme and details can be found here:


Chile Kick-Starts Debate on Gender in Cities with ‘Women Think the City’

Overcoming gender inequality is a fundamental goal towards more equitable and sustainable cities, and how to do so is an important issue that needs to be discussed in the lead-up to Habitat III.
In an effort to share the Latin American experience and promote a high quality reflection on the gender dimension in cities, the Chilean Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning, the Chilean NGO SUR, the network Red Mujeres y Habitat en América Latina convened a workshop called Women Think the City 26 November 2014 in Santiago.
The Cities Alliance also supported the event – gender equity is one of three main pillars of our Medium-Term Strategy 2014-2016 – and was represented by our Regional Adviser for Latin America and the Caribbean, Anaclaudia Rossbach.


A Garden Airport in Singapore

Singapore has long aspired to be a “city in a garden.” Since the early 1960s, the 300-square-mile city-state has been serious about preserving nature and also greening underused spaces. In 1970, President Lee Kuan Yew dictated that there were to be “no brownfields;” all empty space would be planted. Today there are 5.4 million people packed into the island, but nearly 10 percent of the country is covered in parks, many of them newly created. More than 300 neighborhood and regional parks along with four nature preserves are in the process of being connected through hundreds of kilometers of greenways. Now, Singapore’s Changi airport, the sixth busiest in the world, is getting the same treatment as the rest of the country — its being greened, in an exciting way that re-conceives the experience of the airport.


Vietnam rolls out City Development Strategies

Tam Ky and Quy Nhon will be the first cities included in the Viet Nam City Development Strategies Project (CDS), officials announced on Tuesday. The CDS project aims to create city-development strategies that involve all stakeholders, using the cities themselves as the driving force behind development. “Cities contributed up to 75 per cent of the country’s GDP and created millions of jobs, serving as economic hubs to boost development,” said Do Viet Chien, director of the Ministry of Construction’s Urban Development Agency.


'Green Leaf': Smaller cities now have their European Green Capital award too

Launched by the European Commission, the European Green Leaf is a new initiative aimed at cities with a population between 50,000 and 100,000 inhabitants.
Based on the same idea as the European Green Capital Award, the European Green Leaf intends to recognise "commitment to better environmental outcomes, with a particular accent on efforts that generate green growth and new jobs."


RegioStars 2015 Awards launched 

The European Commission’s RegioStars Awards 2015, which identify good practices in regional development and highlight original and innovative projects that can inspire other regions, have been launched. Continuing in the framework of previous years, the 2015 edition will highlight the most original European projects co-funded by the European Union’s (EU) cohesion policy , the EU’s principle investment tool for delivering the Europe 2020 targets.


Cities to watch in 2015

We expect 2015 to bring a lot of great things for cities and the people that live in them.
But there are some metropolitan areas that stand out among the rest. Here are the areas we’re looking forward to watching in 2015.


Toronto’s chief planner talks about creating a “walkable” city

As a child, Jennifer Keesmaat walked to and from school every day. “We all walked, rain or shine. It wasn’t a point of discussion. It was just something that we did,” says Keesmaat, now the City of Toronto’s Chief Planner and Executive Director.
“It took 15 minutes to get to school, but an hour to get home. And that hour was a pretty good thing.”
She and her friends talked. They learned about their neighbourhood. And they played in a little creek along the way.


Bus Rapid Transit Nearly Quadruples Over Ten Years

Bus rapid transit has grown by 383 percent in the last ten years, according to new data released by ITDP. As cities around the world discover the benefits and cost effectiveness of BRT, they have built hundreds of systems across dozens of countries that qualify as true BRT. A new interactive map shows a comprehensive list of BRT systems globally, based on in depth data of systems scored in 2013 and 2014.


Delivering improved interoperability of urban ITS 

The 3 years of discussion and knowledge sharing about Open Specifications and Standards (OSS) for urban ITS have been very beneficial to all partners of the POSSE project, even to the two partners with extensive experience of working with OSS (OCA in the German-speaking countries and UTMC in the UK). The main findings and recommendations from this INTERREG IVC co-funded project are encapsulated in several reports, notably, the POSSE Good Practice Guide to developing and implementing OSS and the POSSE Exploitation Plan, both of which were published towards the end of 2014.
s urban graffiti a force for good or evil? 
Ban it, legalise it, put it behind glass ... no matter what city councils do, graffiti remains the scapegoat for all manner of urban ills, from burglary on one extreme to gentrification on the other. But it may have another effect on cities entirely


UCLG Culture Summit in Bilbao: Online registrations are now open

During the last World Council meeting in Haikou, UCLG members highlighted that culture is key for social and economic development, as well as for human-scale cities. The first UCLG Culture Summit will be hosted by the City of Bilbao (Basque Country, Spain) from the 18-20 March 2015 with the title “Culture and sustainable cities”.
The first UCLG 2015 Culture Summit is a new event to promote knowledge-sharing and networking of cities and local governments, recognizing the important place of culture in sustainable cities. It envisages gathering all key stakeholders in the promotion of cultural policies, with special emphasis on cities, local governments, and urban actors.


Doug Saunders’ Arrival City

A third of humanity is on the move, mostly to cities. History’s largest migration is global and creating new urban spaces that are this century’s focal points of change, conflict and opportunity. 
Arrival City: the Final Migration and Our Next World (2011) by Canadian writer and journalist Doug Saunders examines the unprecedented urban migration of the 21st Century on a journey through 20 cities across the globe. It is a progressive and optimistic narrative of our urban future.
“We will end the century as a wholly urban species,” notes Saunders in Arrival City, a shift that will affect everything from governance systems to financial markets to climate conditions and fuel resources.


Want Healthy, Thriving Cities? Tackle Traffic Safety First

Every year, more than 1.2 million people die in traffic crashes worldwide, equivalent to nearly eight Boeing 747 plane crashes every day. As developing economies grow and private car ownership becomes more mainstream, the number of associated crashes and fatalities will continue to rise.
The challenge of traffic safety often flies under the radar in cities, where the social and economic challenges of accommodating growing populations take precedent. Without meaningful change, however, the World Health Organization (WHO) projects that traffic crashes could become the fifth leading cause of premature death worldwide by 2030. This takes a particular toll on cities, which are already home nearly half of global traffic fatalities. City leaders must prioritize traffic safety measures to ensure that their citizens have safe, healthy and economically prosperous cities to call home.


Netherlands has cleanest new cars in EU – new report 

The Netherlands has claimed the top spot in a new report that ranks Member States on their ‘green’ car taxation policies and average CO2 emissions from new cars bought in 2013. 
Greece and Portugal occupy second and third place, respectively, in the report by the European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E), an NGO that promotes sustainable transport in Europe.


America's Best Performing Cities in 2014

The U.S. economy continues to recover from its Great Recession: The Economist reported this month that 2014’s third quarter saw 5 percent GDP growth, the fastest pace since 2003. But the recovery has been uneven, with the affluent benefitting disproportionately while working people and the middle class have fallen further behind.
The recovery has also been uneven across cities and metro areas, the real underlying engines of American economic growth. The latest evidence of this phenomenon can be found in the 2014 edition of the Milken Institute’s Best Performing Cities, released today. An outcomes-based ranking, the study rates some 200 large and 179 small metros on several key measures: job growth, wage and salary growth and the size and concentration of high tech industry. The study shows how the recovery has been concentrated in—and, indeed, has revolved around—what I have dubbed the twin pillars of America’s knowledge/energy economy, with the best performers being energy centers and tech hubs.


As evidence mounts, drumbeat for walkable streets grows

The evidence keeps piling up to support reform in street design and traffic engineering.
Recent research adds to volumes of studies that say walkable streets will make us safer, healthier, and improve the economy and communities.
As BCT reported last month, research by Chester Harvey at the University of Vermont examined the spatial characteristics of more than 7,400 miles of streetscapes in Boston, Baltimore, and New York City. Computer modeling determined the width of the streetscape, the street width to building height ratio, and tree canopy. Enclosed streets designed like “outdoor rooms” are more visually appealing and safer. “Crashes on smaller, more enclosed streetscapes were less likely to result in injury and death compared with larger, more open streetscapes,” Harvey reports in a paper to be presented to the Transportation Research Board in January of 2015.


SWITCH Call for follower cities. 3 weeks left to apply!

Become one of the twenty SWITCH follower cities and benefit from expert practical insights to help you designing your own local campaign to encourage people cycling and walking more, and reduce car journeys. Applicantions accepted until 30th January 2015.


Sometimes the Heart of the City is the Loneliest Place 

What can cities do to fight the loneliness and social isolation of its citizens, young and old? 

Some answers from around the world: Seoul and its food-sharing initiative, US and the Sunday Assembly or URBACT and Healthy Aging network. By Thematic Expert, Eddy Adams.


MoMA shows sci-fi designs for a better future for megacities – in pictures

A new exhibition in New York tackles the culture of increasingly inequitable urban development and explores future possibilities for six rapidly growing metropolises: Hong Kong, Istanbul, Lagos, Mumbai, New York and Rio de Janeiro.

Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities is showing at the Museum of Modern Art until 10 May 2015


Cyd Cymru - in search of a better energy deal

Eurocities latest 'cities in action' case study looks at Cardiff's Cyd Cymru energy switching scheme. 

‘Collective switching’ is about grouping consumers together to directly approach suppliers for a better deal. Cyd Cymru is helping Cardiff’s residents to form collectives and approach energy suppliers in search of a more cost effective energy package. 

With the price of energy in the UK rising faster than household incomes, fuel poverty is becoming more common, and many households are struggling to meet the basic energy demands of cooking and heating.


Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development 2014

Sustainability, transformation and leadership were the topics at a seminar and prize ceremony for the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development, held in Gothenburg on Friday the 21st of November.  

The Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development is an international prize that recognises and supports work towards sustainable development from across the world. The first prize was given in 2000 and previously it has been awarded to Kofi Annan, Al Gore and Margot Wallström amongst others. This year’s theme was Transformative Leadership for Global Business and the prize was awarded by sustainability expert Alan AtKisson to Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer of Unilever.


Launch of the European Regional Network on Urban Security

More than 700 participants from 21 countries took part at the CPEXPO 2014 from the  9th to the 11th of December in Genova (Italy) and at the Security Research Conference, an annual event organized by the European Commission and this year together with the Italian Presidency of the European Union. 

In that context Regione Liguria launched, in collaboration with Regione PACA, Castilla y Leon, Bretagne, Magellan Cluster from Portugal and Paragon Malta, a network on urban security, resilience and critical infrastructures.

This initiative has received the endorsement of the Italian Presidency of the European Union and of the European Commission through the Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities and DG Home Affairs.


Data Driven Cities  

Big data and open data are buzz concepts in urban governance. But what do they mean? Where is the current good practice? And how can cities get smarter in using both their own data and data sourced elsewhere? This issue is a regular feature for debate on new forms of public sector governance. By Sally Kneeshaw, URBACT Thematic Expert


4 000 Trentino citizens sign sustainable mobility petition

Almost 4 000 citizens of Trentino have signed a petition to implement a new bill on sustainable mobility in the province. The proposed bill has been handed over to president of Trentino, Bruno Dorigatti, and awaits appraisal by the provincial council. Dorigatti praised the bill as an act of democracy and citizen participation in the province, noting that the petition had well above the minimum 2 500 signatures required to present the bill to the council.


Peer-to-peer learning for sustainable cities

Find out more about peer-to-peer learning methods for energy efficiency practices and the implementation of sustainable urban solutions in a new report. 

The ‘Sustainable Energy Action Planning: learning from each other’ report gives examples of energy efficiency practices and the implementation of sustainable urban solutions, developed through different peer-to peer working methods.


"Urban acupuncture” philosophy is spreading

For decades, mayors and city planners were encouraged to think big. The result: soaring skyscrapers and massive revitalization projects that often lack human scale or fail at placemaking. 

Alan Ehrenhalt writes in Governing that the burgeoning “urban acupuncture” movement advocates the opposite approach: Think small. As in pocket parks, tree plantings, neighborhood playgrounds and pedestrian zones. The upside is that these sorts of pinpricks are fast and inexpensive — which makes them easily achievable. And they can be accomplished alongside large-scale development.


How to finance sustainable energy in cities? 

Cities often find it challenging to find their way through the complex maze of EU funding streams, programmes and mechanisms. To co-finance the development or implementation of their Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs), Covenant of Mayors signatories can however consider a wide range of solutions, whether tapping into EU budget or via other means, including alternative financing schemes such as crowd-funding, revolving funds and green bonds.


Moscow embraces 'hipster Stalinism'

Following the wildly popular transformation of Gorky Park from rusting funfair to Wi-Fi heaven, Muscovites finally felt as if their city was becoming liveable. But with more gentrifying projects on the cards, is it just a way to silence dissent?

Damien Hirst and David LaChapelle artworks adorn the raw concrete walls. Flair bartenders serve up gem-coloured cocktails. A rotation of Michelin-starred chefs flown in from around the world curate new menus each week.

This is Door 19, a pop-up restaurant in a penthouse apartment in Moscow that this year played host to the city’s oligarchs and hipsters alike. In case you’re interested, and have a spare $18m to blow, the penthouse is for sale, along with several other apartments in the ArtHouse building, for between $15,000 and $20,000 per square metre. Door 19 is both an extravagant plug for the flats but also for a much loftier vision: ArtKvartal, a 510-hectare creative neighbourhood that wouldn’t be out of place in London, Berlin or New York.


Three-quarters of Helsinki journeys are sustainable – new study 

A new survey of Helsinki residents shows that the vast majority travel on foot or by public transport and that car use in the city is decreasing.

The mobility study by the City Planning Department found that on a weekday 34 per cent of citizens walk and 32 per cent use public transport in the Finnish capital.  Car-use accounts for 22 per cent of travel, down from 27 per cent in 2010.


Busy Sidewalks (not only for Pedestrians?)  

From strolling and hangout to transportation and street vending, sidewalks have had many roles in since the late 19th century. While they have been considered “the main public places of the city” and “its most vital organs”1, the division between sidewalks’ social and physical dimensions is not always obvious.


EC adopts rules to enhance real-time traffic information

On 18 December 2014, the EC adopted the specifications for real-time traffic information under a delegated act of the EU's ITS Directive (otherwise known as 'Action B')

The specifications require the publication of certain types of road and traffic data in a standardised way, such as accidents, road works and road closures, warnings about weather conditions, among others.

The specifications are mandatory for the Trans-European road network and other motorways. For other types of roads, eg, urban areas, Member States are invited to designate priority zones.

For further information about the specifications, including the specifications themselves in all EU official languages, visit the EC website.


Cities preparing for CEF transport calls

EUROCITIES members from eight different TEN-T corridors participated in a brokerage event on the Connecting Europe Facility’s 2014 transport call for proposals. 

At the event on 10 December, Gudrun Schulze from the European Commission’s DG MOVE explained the Commission’s expectations of cities and consortia applying for the current call, which is open until the 26 February 2015. She stressed the importance of the call for Core Network Nodes to build a real network policy, instead of simply putting together projects that lack a real connection between European cities.


UNESCO awards ‘City of Design’ status to 5 cities

Dundee, Bilbao, Curitiba, Helsinki and Turin have recently received the award for UNESCO City of Design status for their contribution to the international design industry.

The award was given by international heritage body UNESCO, in recognition of the efforts and endeavours of the five cities to the worldwide design industry.


3 ways for cities to go 'carbon negative' by 2030

As it stands, the world’s cities account for roughly 70 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions.

With urban populations expected to keep growing, cities’ exposure to climate change only looks likely to get worse — unless these population and business hubs can break away from a status quo defined by high greenhouse gas emissions.

Fortunately, the emerging field of carbon dioxide removal offers hope.

Carbon removal technologies, also known as "carbon negative" technologies, afford cities the opportunity to turn the current GHG emission paradigm on its head by enabling cities to subtract more GHGs from the atmosphere than they emit.

Just imagine: the more that a carbon negative city emits, the greater positive environmental impact the city would have — assuming that its individual carbon removal systems can scale.

In the process of becoming carbon “negative,” cities will gain opportunities to build sustainable foundations that enable continuous advances in health, prosperity and well-being for their citizens.


E-bikes on roll in South Africa’s major cities

The zero-emission e-bike is making inroads in South Africa’s cities.

Helen Grange reports for IOL, a site published by a South African newspaper group, that plug-in bikes are increasingly being spotted in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. The e-bike is gaining momentum as those cities add more bike lanes to encourage cycling as a commuting alternative to vehicles.

Cycology, a prominent e-bike retailer in Johannesburg, started selling two high-end versions last year, the article says. The retailer teamed with the Green Building Council SA and Solid Green Consulting on DeCongest, a campaign to encourage corporate participation. Companies are being urged to house recharging stations and lease bikes to employees. 


The smartest cities rely on citizen cunning and unglamorous technology

Ignore the futuristic visions of governments and developers, it’s humble urban communities who lead the way in showing how networked technologies can strengthen a city’s social fabric

We are lucky enough to live at a time in which a furious wave of innovation is breaking across the cities of the global south, spurred on both by the blistering pace of urbanisation, and by the rising popular demand for access to high-quality infrastructure that follows in its wake. 

From Porto Alegre’s participatory budgeting and the literally destratifying cable cars of Caracas, to Nairobi’s “digital matatus” and the repurposed bus-ferries of Manila, the communities of the south are responsible for an ever-lengthening parade of social and technical innovations that rival anything the developed world has to offer for ingenuity and practical utility.


It's time to transform our cities and territories looking beyond Post 2015! 

2015 will be an unprecedented year for local and regional governments in the international agenda, with an unparalleled concentration of international policy-making processes covering a wide range of topics. Several significant international events will coincide with important processes that will take place within the Organization.


Methodology for SUMP in polycentric regions published

The Intelligent Energy Europe funded project Poly-SUMP – Planning sustainable mobility together has published the Poly-SUMP Methodology, a guidance document aimed at supporting policy makers, transport practitioners and other stakeholders in poly-centric regions (areas in which commuting and other travel takes place between numerous centres and across municipal, regional and/or national boundaries) in developing a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan. These guidelines, designed by experts and practitioners, are now available for free from the Poly-SUMP website. 
The publication provides a systematic, three-stage approach to creating a poly-centric SUMP. The first step involves understanding the region’s mobility behaviour through the application of a regional profile tool. Secondly, a common vision and action plan is developed through a participatory process involving all key stakeholders, known as the ‘Future Search Workshop’ technique. Finally, follow-up activities are carried out to refine the identified actions and commence a formal coordination process that will lead to a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan covering the region. Through the guidelines, local authorities are provided the assistance needed to plan mobility measures in an integrated way.

Supplement to the guidelines, a series of tools to aid poly-centric regions in developing SUMPs are freely available at:


A Vision Of The Vertical Cities Of The Future

Cities will need to be denser and taller in the future. It's the only way to accommodate a global population of 9 billion-plus people and increasing demand for urban living (70% of us could live in cities by 2050, according to some projections). The alternative is surely worse: More sprawl taking up what little green space is left.
The concept of a "vertical city," as sketched out in a new book by architects Kenneth King and Kellogg Wong, is something more than a hyper-dense Gotham, though. Yes, there are a lot of towering buildings but also parks, schools, hospitals and restaurants at upper levels, as well. Essentially, it's a vision of a complete ecosystem in the sky—a place you never have to leave if you don't want to.


Local finances

"EU accounting rules must not jeopardise public investment"
EU accounting rules must not jeopardise public investment. This is in substance what 150 local and regional elected representatives claimed in a declaration on the impact of European regulations on local and regional finances.
The declaration was adopted by Council of European Municipalities and Regions and its member associations gathered in Rome, on 17 December 2014, at the occasion of the CEMR's Policy Committee meeting.
Its adoption was preceded by an engaged speech of Jacques Gobert, president of our Walloon association (UVCW). In his address, he notably outlined his concerns about the inadequacy of the new accounting rules (ESA 2010 – entered into force in September 2014).


Speakers at Norway conference pitch for greater youth inclusion in governance

“Youth less governance is useless governance.” This was the rallying cry that delegates at the Asker Conference on Youth and Governance held in Norway last month came up with. It was the brainchild of Stian Seland, President, Norwegian Children and Youth Council (LNU), galvansing those present to clamour for more engagement of young people in day to day governance in their respective countries. The goal of the conference was to explore best practices in engaging youth in governance.


Plan to Limit Cars in Paris Collides With French Politics

When the mayor here detailed plans to ban diesel and other vehicles from the center of Paris by 2020, she framed the measures as a public health imperative in a country that has grown increasingly worried about the quality of its air.
But if passed by the City Council after debate in February, the proposals could also bring about what few other big cities have been able to accomplish: keeping a large portion of vehicles out of parts of the city center.
The measures would be among the most far-reaching in Europe for reeling in the harmful particulates from diesel fuel and high-emission vehicles that burden its cities — and would go far toward curtailing the use of cars in Paris’s glittering center, where heavy traffic is often the price paid to view the elegant Palais Garnier opera house, cruise the Champs-Élysées or merely get to work.


European Transport Conference - Call for Papers

Abstract Submission Deadline: 6 February 2015 
Organised by the Association for European Transport, the European Transport Conference connects the worlds of research, consultancy, policy and practice. The Association has now identified some major themes of interest to all working in transport planning. These topics will make up the headline themes of the 2015 European Transport Conference:
• Urban Mobility
• The promotion and integration of non-motorised modes
• Social Equity in transport
• Resilience to the effects of changes in the climate
• Assessment of techniques for the appraisal of major projects
• Models to support Transport Planning and Policy
• Investment in Transport Infrastructure
• Automated Driving and Smart Mobility
You are invited to submit an abstract based on one of the above themes or on one of those suggested by the Programme Committees. About one third of the total conference programme will be devoted to the major themes listed above.
Abstracts can be submitted to the ETC website from 29 December 2014. 
If you have submitted abstracts to ETC since ETC 2014, it is possible to sign in with your existing user credentials, which will remain the same. However, if this is your first time submitting through this website then you should register a new user account. The deadline for abstract submission is 6 February 2015.


World’s first solar bike path opens in Krommenie

A newly installed bicycle path in Krommenie, 25 km from Amsterdam, has been constructed with solar cells, enabling it to generate enough energy to power three homes.
The path, which is covered by a one-inch layer of glass strong enough to withstand the weight of a truck, is currently 70 m long, and will be extended to 100 m in the near future. Further research is planned on ways to improve the generation capacity for upcoming projects.

Power generated by the path will be used for practical applications in street lighting, traffic systems, and to power electric vehicles and homes. The path is additionally fitted with sensors that gather information on traffic density.


Citi Bike Has Left “New Yorkers in the Lurch”

New York City’s bike-share program, Citi Bike, has had highs and lows since launching in 2013. While a recent deal with real estate giant REQX is meant to expand the program and bring in more cash, a new report from City Comptroller Scott Stringer details the lows of one of the biggest brands in U.S. bike-share.
Nothing from Stringer’s audit will likely come as a surprise to New Yorkers who use (and gripe about) Citi Bike. After a close look at the system, which has 330 stations and about 6,000 bicycles, Stringer’s office reports a lag in maintenance that’s been blamed on NYC Department of Transportation’s laying off 16 inspectors last winter.


10 Points of a Bicycling Architecture

A revolution is occurring in street design. New York, arguably the world’s bellwether city, has let everyday citizens cycle for transport. They have done that by designating one lane on most Avenues to bicyclists only, with barriers to protect them from traffic.
Now hundreds of cities are rejigging to be bicycle-friendly, while in New York there is a sense that more change is afoot. Many New Yorkers would prefer if their city were more like Copenhagen where 40% of all trips are by bike. But then Copenhagen wants more as well. Where does this stop?


The truth about smart cities: ‘In the end, they will destroy democracy'

The smart city is, to many urban thinkers, just a buzzphrase that has outlived its usefulness: ‘the wrong idea pitched in the wrong way to the wrong people’. So why did that happen – and what’s coming in its place?


Smart Local Governance: The challenge of good governance in local administrations

On 6-7 November 2014 in the City of Bilbao, the UCLG Committee on Digital and Knowledge-based Cities chaired by the City of Bilbao organized in collaboration with UN-HABITAT, the Committee on Decentralization and Local Self-Government, the LSE Cities Programme and EUDEL (Basque Association of Municipalities) the working meeting focused on “Smart Local Governance”. 79 representatives from cities, association of municipalities, international organizations and academic world took part in the meeting.
The meeting represented a unique opportunity for the exchange of knowledge and debate on some of the main challenges that local governments face to achieve good governance, such as: strategic local public management; transparency and citizen participation; city intelligence: big data + open data; and the modernization of public administration and online public services.


African cities are forced to get most of their food from imports

African cities spend disproportionately on food imports to compensate for waning domestic production, Mungai says. Part of the reason is harvests are being stutnted by climate change, soil erosion and development. Another factor is trucking cartels that charge exorbitant fees to haul goods from rural areas to cities.


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