31/7/2014 - Global Urban Sustainable Development Goal finally adopted!
31/7/2014 - Barcelona: CO2 emissions per inhabitant reduced by 24% in 7 years
31/7/2014 - Cities Hold Onto Pre-Bust Gentrification Highs
30/7/2014 - Access City Award - Apply Now!
30/7/2014 - Local and regional leaders at the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction
30/7/2014 - Earth Hour City Challenge: will your city inspire the World?
29/7/2014 - Participate in the 2014 World Smart Cities Awards!
29/7/2014 - The Most Water-Stressed Cities in the World
29/7/2014 - Join the EcoMobility Alliance
28/7/2014 - Oristano (IT) : 1st city launching CityMobil2 automated collective transport demonstration
28/7/2014 - London pedestrian safety plan a step forward
28/7/2014 - Radical Cities – Latin America's revolutionary housing solutions
27/7/2014 - New EU Project to promote cycling and walking in European Cities
27/7/2014 - São Paulo to eliminate minimum parking requirements
27/7/2014 - Cost of High Speed Rail in China One Third Lower
26/7/2014 - A Tiny House Village In A Parking Garage
26/7/2014 - Dr. Joan Clos re-elected by General Assembly Decision
26/7/2014 - We Need to Think Bigger About Transit-Oriented Development
25/7/2014 - Boston rolls out smart, rechargeable benches
25/7/2014 - A Quiet Revolution in Trash Trucks
25/7/2014 - Take part in the survey on Urban Governance
24/7/2014 - Nominations Open: Sustainable Transport Award 2015
24/7/2014 - Learn from pioneer cities in procurement & lighting
24/7/2014 - VI World Regional Governments Summit
23/7/2014 - Cities in Competition – High-quality Cultural Offer Improves Attractiveness
23/7/2014 - Organic skyscraper made from trash grows as needed
23/7/2014 - Blue Urbanism: A Mutually Sustainable Relationship between Cities and Oceans
22/7/2014 - A billboard that cleans dirty air
22/7/2014 - NASA Images Capture How Air Has Gotten Cleaner in 6 Cities
22/7/2014 - Solving the bike problem with the new generation of bike storage
21/7/2014 - How Chinese Urbanism Is Transforming African Cities
21/7/2014 - UN-Water Best Practices Award ‘Water for Life’- Nominations open
20/7/2014 - Beijing taps IBM wizardry in battle against smog
20/7/2014 - “What are we going to do about the global agenda in this council chamber?” ask local leaders from across the world
19/7/2014 - Mayors Challenge: The Hague
19/7/2014 - The Baby-Friendly City
19/7/2014 - Helsinki's ambitious plan to make car ownership pointless in 10 years
19/7/2014 - Harmonised urbanisation classification system
18/7/2014 - CDP, C40 report makes the business case for resilient cities
18/7/2014 - America's New Industrial Boomtowns
18/7/2014 - Madrid launches e-bike sharing scheme
18/7/2014 - Technology and urban security – opportunities to participate in upcoming activities
17/7/2014 - Can the “Playable City” Make Smart City Critics Smile?
17/7/2014 - Take part in the Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction
17/7/2014 - Planning and Public Spaces: a people-centred approach for the urban agenda
17/7/2014 - Governance and citizenship
16/7/2014 - Public transport procurement guidelines released
16/7/2014 - EPA Awards 2015 competition kicks off with new category
16/7/2014 - Harness IT to improve urban governance – Kacyira
16/7/2014 - Parking pricing can promote new urbanism
15/7/2014 - Report underlines need for a systemic approach to transforming India’s cities
15/7/2014 - Urban population boom poses massive challenges for Africa and Asia
15/7/2014 - 5th IDRC Davos 2014 - Programme out now!
15/7/2014 - Jury of experts evaluates the proposals of the new METROPOLIS Initiatives
15/7/2014 - Safe and Healthy Routes for Urban Bikers
14/7/2014 - The future of the city
14/7/2014 - Towards standardised approaches for on-street parking - Lisbon 19 September - Register now!
14/7/2014 - Dubai to build the world’s largest 'temperature-controlled pedestrian city'
14/7/2014 - Congestion-beaters or roads to hell: is there still a place for urban motorways?
13/7/2014 - Germany opens Europe's first zero-emission train station
13/7/2014 - 24 On-going Networks, 190 Active Cities – What Are They Doing?
13/7/2014 - Urban Forests: The Value of Trees in the City of Toronto
13/7/2014 - Cognitive Maps & the Benefits of “Low-Tech” Planning in a High-Tech Era
12/7/2014 - Local authorities and the fight against radicalisation
12/7/2014 - New Study Adds Up the Benefits of Climate-Smart Development in Lives, Jobs, and GDP
12/7/2014 - Smart cities should learn the difference between data and wisdom
12/7/2014 - Supporting cities’ climate and energy ambitions through a strengthened progress monitoring system
11/7/2014 - Mayors on What Makes Cities More Inclusive
11/7/2014 - The infringement of rights through sexual exploitation is discussed at Metropolis Women seminar
11/7/2014 - EVIDENCE project seeks data on sustainable mobility measures
11/7/2014 - Qualitative assessment of the 21 ITS applications selected in the VRUITS project
10/7/2014 - A sustainable urban mobility plan: every city should have one
10/7/2014 - UN-Habitat hosts expert meeting on urban development financing
10/7/2014 - Walkable Communities Help Lower Diabetes Risk
10/7/2014 - In the aftermath of European elections
9/7/2014 - Planning and Public Spaces: a people-centred approach for the urban agenda
9/7/2014 - Tokyo plans for transport system collapse
9/7/2014 - Urbanization – an important aspect of the post-2015 agenda
9/7/2014 - New publication examines link between quality of life and mobility
8/7/2014 - Committee of the regions adopts its opinion on the Urban Mobility Package
8/7/2014 - The role of ICT in keeping traffic on the move
8/7/2014 - The 10 world cities with the highest murder rates – in pictures
8/7/2014 - New Center to Focus on Shared-Use Mobility
7/7/2014 - New report: The main impacts of London road transport on health
7/7/2014 - Here are the innovative ideas 21 European cities proposed in the Bloomberg Mayors Challenge
7/7/2014 - 12 ways to slow down traffic in a car-oriented city
7/7/2014 - Breaking Carbon Lock-In: Path Dependencies in Large-Scale Transportation Infrastructure Projects
6/7/2014 - Community-Led Local Development or How to Put People at the Center of Policy-Making
6/7/2014 - Urban sprawl is Perth's big problem
6/7/2014 - Finalists announced for 2014 City Climate Leadership Awards
6/7/2014 - Bilbao, Host City for the First UCLG 2015 Culture Summit
5/7/2014 - Surprise! People Aged 60-79 Are Behind More Than a Third of the Biking Boom
5/7/2014 - Central Europe’s longest pedestrian bridge opens (Szolnok, Hungary)
5/7/2014 - Cities are key to international migration policy
5/7/2014 - Dutch city sets out ambitious renewable and building renovation strategy
5/7/2014 - Who will be World Mayor 2014?
4/7/2014 - White Majority Populations on the Margins
4/7/2014 - Foot Traffic Ahead: Ranking Walkable Urbanism in America's Largest Metros
4/7/2014 - The State of African Cities 2014
4/7/2014 - The Death of Urbanization in the United States
4/7/2014 - Does Innovation Always Lead to Gentrification?
3/7/2014 - A new, resilient, local water supply
3/7/2014 - Converting parking spaces into mini-parks
3/7/2014 - Lagos leads in global urban migration, according to Facebook
2/7/2014 - Climate action transparency key to trustworthiness
2/7/2014 - Baghdad: the psychological toll of being the world’s most attacked city
2/7/2014 - UN Environment Assembly should seize opportunities of a new Urban World
1/7/2014 - Taking steps to curb pedestrian deaths
1/7/2014 - Most Chinese cities are failing national standards for good air quality
1/7/2014 - CH4LLENGE Universities for young professionals
1/7/2014 - The death of the American mall
Global Urban Sustainable Development Goal finally adopted!
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted by UN member states in 2000 have successfully focused world attention and action on ending extreme poverty in all its forms. The fifteen-year MDG period will be completed at the end of 2015.
Urbanization will be the defining trend over the next several decades. Cities are home to extreme deprivation and environmental degradation with one billion people living in slums. At the same time, roughly 75% of global economic activity is urban, and as the urban population grows, so will the urban share of global GDP and investments.
Barcelona: CO2 emissions per inhabitant reduced by 24% in 7 years
Study recently published by the Province of Barcelona indicates that energy consumption per inhabitant has reduced by 11% and CO2 emissions per inhabitant by 24% between 2005 and 2012.
Reduction in energy conumption mainly comes from the transport sector, which is the most energy-consuming sector in the Province (50% in 2005, 45% in 2012). CO2 emissions dropped by 19%, between 2005 and 2012 (and 24% per inhabitant), which is very close to the 20%-reduction objective of the Covenant of Mayors. However, the Province of Barcelona is aware that the economic crisis has played an important part in these results and remains vigilant. Proactive measures are needed to maintain these decreasing trends.
Cities Hold Onto Pre-Bust Gentrification Highs
Urban neighborhoods were hot spots for redevelopment before the economy collapsed, and some have continued to gentrify post-recession, according to a new report.
“During the housing boom, a number of large cities in the United States experienced redevelopment in their lower-income neighborhoods as higher-income residents moved in,” the authors of “Neighborhood Gentrification during the Boom and After” write in the intro. They were curious if gentrification trends continued after 2007, when lending standards tightened.
Access City Award - Apply Now!
The fifth edition of the Access City Award given to cities for greater accessibility to people with disabilities and older people, is open now for applications until 10 September 2014.
Local and regional leaders at the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction
The first preparatory committee meeting of the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction was held from 14 to 15 July 2014 at the Palais des Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland. This was the first preparatory meeting for the Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. This preparatory process welcomes the participation and contributions of all relevant stakeholders. The Major Group, composed of cities, local and regional authorities, was represented by Fatimetou Mint Abdel Malick, Mayor of Tevragh-Zeina and President of the African Elected Women Network.
Earth Hour City Challenge: will your city inspire the World?
Closing date for participation: 5 September
ICLEI invites cities and towns in Finland, France, Serbia, Spain and Sweden to participate in the internationally acclaimed Earth Hour City Challenge (EHCC) 2014-2015 edition.
Run by WWF in collaboration with ICLEI and the Swedish Postcode Lottery, the EHCC initiative was created to celebrate cities and towns that are taking innovative actions towards creating a greener, cleaner and more sustainable city to live in, while inspiring other cities to do the same.
Cities can register for EHCC directly online on the carbonn® Cities Climate Registry (cCCR) reporting platform or by filling in and sending the offline reporting sheet to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The closing date for EHCC candidates is 5 September. Cities wanting to have a quality check of their reporting data by ICLEI should deliver their reports by 23 August 2014.
Participate in the 2014 World Smart Cities Awards!
These awards recognise the most ambitious strategies, the most advanced projects and the most innovative initiatives that are working towards the concept of the Smart City.
The aim of the awards is to encourage the development of future cities, thereby enhancing residents’ quality of life, sustainability, innovation, creativity, competitiveness, and efficient management and administration. The World Smart Cities Awards are aimed not only at city authorities but also companies, entrepreneurs, research centres, public and non-governmental bodies and consortiums (mixed public and private organisations) with innovative Smart City visions and solutions.
The Most Water-Stressed Cities in the World
The Nature Conservancy has published a global database of over 500 cities around the world to determine their level of water stresss impact on our lives. After all, a large number of people in a relatively small area puts a lot of pressure on water supplies, especially during times of drought.
Join the EcoMobility Alliance
The EcoMobility Alliance is a network of cities working on improving their urban mobility. The Alliance currently consists of 12 cities. Alliance cities receive technical support from Alliance partners in implementing their urban mobility projects.
Cities that are interested in obtaining more information on the EcoMobility Alliance may write to email@example.com
Oristano (IT) : 1st city launching CityMobil2 automated collective transport demonstration
As part of the EU project CityMobil2, Oristano started on July 11th 2014, its demonstration of driverless electric automated collective transport.
CityMobil2 started in September 2012 and will run for 4 years and has 45 partners drawn from system suppliers, city authorities (and local partners), the research community and networking organisations.
London pedestrian safety plan a step forward
The capital's new Pedestrian Safety Action Plan makes some important proposals - but there's still a hint of business as usual, says Tom our London manager. Pedestrian casualties rarely receive the attention they deserve despite representing more than a third of all those killed or seriously injured on London’s streets (there were 838 in 2013 alone). If the Mayor is serious about achieving his longer-term ambition of freeing London’s roads from death and serious injury, there will need to be a step-change in how London’s streets are designed and managed in order to prioritise the safety of pedestrians.
Radical Cities – Latin America's revolutionary housing solutions
The Venice Architecture Biennale is usually a grand gathering of the biggest names in architecture, where they can display their brilliance to their peers. In the 2012 edition, however, the Golden Lion awarded to the best exhibit went to something whose fascination was not primarily to do with the input of professional architects. This was the Torre David, in Caracas, a 1990s office tower left unfinished when funds ran out. What makes it remarkable is the fact that it has now been colonised by squatters, making it into a vertical barrio, a self-regulating community of the poor, within a frame designed for corporate profit.
New EU Project to promote cycling and walking in European Cities
The SWITCH project focuses on promoting walking and cycling as important alternatives to car use especially for short urban journey. It uses behaviour change approaches to encourage people to switch to active modes as the basis for healthy, environmental friendly multimodal travel behaviour.
It intends to bridge the gap between potential and current mobility behaviour. It brings together 5 experienced cities Antwerp, Gdansk, London, Donostia- San Sebastián and Vienna, which will combine and locally adapt approaches and develop them into their SWITCH campaign.
São Paulo to eliminate minimum parking requirements
Largely lost in the midst of the World Cup, on 30 June, São Paulo released its strategic master plan that will direct sustainable growth for the next 16 years and includes the most progressive parking policy of any developing megacity.
The city is set to become the first developing megacity to eliminate parking minimums that currently require developers to build a designated amount of parking to serve housing and commercial uses. Something in which the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy(ITDP) has ironically noted developers were loosing money on, as their supply requirement often outstripped market demand.
Cost of High Speed Rail in China One Third Lower
By the end of 2013, China had built a high speed rail network of over 10,000 route-km, far exceeding that in any other country and larger than the network in the entire European Union. It has been accomplished at a cost which is at most two-thirds of that in other countries. A new World Bank paper takes a look at this expansion, its construction unit costs and some of its key cost components. It also outlines reasons that may explain the comparatively low cost of high speed railway construction in China.
According to the paper titled High-Speed Railways in China: A Look at Construction Costs, several factors influence the cost of a high speed rail project construction. The major factors include the line design speed, topography along the alignment, weather conditions, land acquisition costs, use of viaducts instead of embankments, the construction of major bridges across wide rivers, and the construction of mega stations.
A Tiny House Village In A Parking Garage
In an attempt to explore concepts for urban micro-living, students of the Savannah College of Art & Design’s Atlanta branch have built a temporary tiny house village inside the parking garage of their campus’s main building.
The students, together with professors and alumns, have designed and built three 135-square-foot ‘SCADpads’ — fully equipped micro-dwellings that fit the size of a standard parking space. The pop-up parking garage village also contains communal open areas, such as a Groovebox community garden, a living room, and work spaces.
Dr. Joan Clos re-elected by General Assembly Decision
Following the recommendation of the Secretary-General, after consultation with Member States, the General Assembly re-elected Joan Clos ( Spain) as Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) for a term beginning on 18 October 2014 and ending on 31 December 2017. Nominated by the Secretary-General, Mr. Clos was first elected to a four-year term in 2010.
We Need to Think Bigger About Transit-Oriented Development
When we think about transit-oriented development, we typically think of rail stations. We know that in certain environments with density levels of X and height limits of Y, we can predict levels of investment of Z. But how would that equation hold up if Transit Oriented Development centered on a bike-share station, for instance, rather than rail stop? To answer that question, we need a better sense of how well bike-share performs as part of the larger transit system.
Boston rolls out smart, rechargeable benches
Boston has begun unveiling rechargeable solar points on park benches for those perennially caught out without any battery charge in their phones, tablets and laptops.
Dubbed the ‘Soofa‘ it will provide seating space for two, either side of a single photovoltaic solar panel encased in a sturdy central box that is fitted with two USB ports.
“Your cell phone doesn’t just make phone calls, why should our benches just be seats?” said Marty Walsh, Mayor of Boston. “We are fortunate to have talented entrepreneurs and makers in Boston thinking creatively about sustainability and the next generation of amenities for our residents.”
The high-tech benches will be deployed in green spaces in Boston throughout July, through a partnership with the MIT Media Lab spin-off firm, Changing Environments. Soofa’s will also collect and share location-based information like air quality and noise level data, as well as providing more seating space.
A Quiet Revolution in Trash Trucks
Garbage trucks get as little as 3 miles per gallon, making them prime targets in cities’ efforts to trim costs and curb greenhouse gas pollution.
Trash trucks, when it comes to fuel, can be a big waste. The heavy-laden haulers spend most of their days lurching from driveway to driveway at walking speeds. Almost as soon as the engine growls forward from a stop, the driver brakes the truck to a halt again. The engine rarely gets up to optimal speed, and the brakes take a beating.
Garbage trucks have abysmal fuel efficiency, typically around 3 miles per gallon. That is especially bad now, because the price of diesel has stubbornly hovered around $4 a gallon for the last three years. For cities struggling with tight budgets and trying to reduce pollution, garbage trucks are getting closer scrutiny.
Take part in the survey on Urban Governance
Under the coordination of LSE Cities, and with the collaboration of UN Habitat, the UCLG Decentralisation and Local Governance Committee is launching a survey on Urban Governance. Initial results of this survey will inform the 2014 Urban Age Conference in Delhi, India which will bring together a wide range of policy makers, academics and city experts to discuss the role of urban governance in shaping the future development of cities. This effort will result in a publication of the prestigious LSE Cities and will contribute to the elaboration of the 4th UCLG Global Report on Decentralisation and Local Democracy.
Nominations Open: Sustainable Transport Award 2015
ICLEI - EcoMobility, together with an international committee of development experts and organizations working on environmentally friendly transportation, invites you to nominate your city for the 10th Annual Sustainable Transport Award.
Nominations are now open and will be accepted online at staward.org until September 12, 2014.
Learn from pioneer cities in procurement & lighting
The ENIGMA project is supporting cities in using pre-commercial procurement (PCP) to upgrade their municipal lighting systems.
To allow other cities to learn from the five ENIGMA partner cities, we are organising five study visits on themes connected to public lighting and PCP.
The visits will give municipalities interested in the procurement of innovative lighting solutions the chance to exchange with peers from each ENIGMA city on the environmental, economic, and societal considerations of their procured innovation.
VI World Regional Governments Summit
The VI World Regional Governments Summit will be held on 1-3 September in Cartagena de Indias (Colombia). This Summit will hold the Assembly for the regional members of the organization, during which it will discuss issues such as a territorial approach to public policy and placing emphasis on regional economic development, as well as key decisions for the World Organization and the regions. This important multilateral event counts on the participation of more than 300 Governors, Prefects, Intendants and Regional Presidents of the regional governments for the five continents and world leaders.
Cities in Competition – High-quality Cultural Offer Improves Attractiveness
Many cities focus on their economic development in order to become more competitive. They forget though that the soul of a city, its capacity to be festive, to make noise is a crucial parameter of attractiveness in the competition to attract industries and talents.
Organic skyscraper made from trash grows as needed
A new green skyscraper that ‘grows’ when new floors are needed and would be constructed out of its own rubbish could be built in London. Taking its inspiration from bamboo scaffolding used in Asia, the structure of the building – being called the Organic Skyscraper – can be extended upwards over time as more floor space is needed.
Each floor is made from an interlaced network of standard size tubes and building materials sourced from waste material produced by the offices – mainly old plastic bottles and recycled paper. Designer Chartier-Corbasson Architectes believe workers will produce enough paper and plastic to create enough insulated panels needed to clad new floors.
Blue Urbanism: A Mutually Sustainable Relationship between Cities and Oceans
Timothy Beatley, professor of sustainable communities at the University of Virginia, has done it again. His excellent book from a few years ago, Biophilic Cities: Integrating Nature into Urban Design and Planning, has been followed-up by an equally well-written and persuasive new one, Blue Urbanism: Exploring Connections between Cities and Oceans. In this book, Beatley expands his purview beyond the “green urbanism” of Biophilic Cities to the vast oceans that make up 70 percent of the face of the Earth and contain 97 percent of its water. While he still argues that cities must integrate green — really ecological design principles at all levels — into dense urban environments, he cautions that cities can’t ignore oceans and marine environments. He admits that he basically left out oceans in Biophic Cities. He certainly makes up for it in this book, which argues that we also have biophilic connections to the oceanscape, and that connection is essential to building a more “complementary, mutually sustainable relationship between city and ocean.”
A billboard that cleans dirty air
In Lima, a specially designed billboard is a sign of progress on air pollution. Niamh Ni Mhaoileoin reports for Ozy that Peru’s University of Technology and Engineering (UTEC) has developed an “air-purifying” billboard.
The billboard draws foul air — the filthiest in Latin America — into a water tank and emits fresh air on the other side. UTEC estimates that the “particle scrubbing” accomplished by the billboard is as effective as 1,200 trees, the article says.
NASA Images Capture How Air Has Gotten Cleaner in 6 Cities
Finally, there is some hopeful environmental news to share!
New satellite images recently released by NASA show that air pollution is on the decline in some of the largest U.S. cities. In particular, levels of nitrogen dioxide — a brownish gas linked to respiratory problems — have dropped significantly since 2005, the agency’s scientists say. The gas is produced by gasoline combustion in cars and burning natural gas in power plants. Its decrease at a time when more people are consuming energy and driving cars can be seen as a victory for the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies that enforce clean air regulations.
Solving the bike problem with the new generation of bike storage
The momentum for ‘mode-shift’ to cycling in our cities continues at a pace, giving cyclists a new problem: where do they safely park their bicycles? Every day bikes are exposed to the rigours of the weather and threat of theft, making city dwellers particularly aware of the importance of secure parking. Some (but not many) commuters are blessed with the provision of vast underground parking areas below their offices, but what do the rest do? Bicycles are filling the streets, and the huge volume of street parking spaces are making some areas look increasingly unattractive and cluttered; visit the main railway station in Copenhagen and you will see how cycling can become a victim of its own success.
How Chinese Urbanism Is Transforming African Cities
The factory of the world has a new export: urbanism. More and more Chinese-made buildings, infrastructure, and urban districts are sprouting up across Africa, and this development is changing the face of the continent’s cities.
Or so says Dutch research studio Go West Project , who have been tracking this phenomenon for their on-going project about the export of the Chinese urban model to Africa. Since 2012, the group, made up of Shanghai-based architect Daan Roggeveen and Amsterdam-based journalist Michiel Hulshof, have visited six African cities to do research. Roggeveen and Hulshof recently released their preliminary report in an issue of Urban China, a magazine focusing on Chinese urban development.
UN-Water Best Practices Award ‘Water for Life’- Nominations open
The ‘Water for Life’ Best Practices Award aims to acknowledge and promote efforts to fulfill international commitments made on water and related issues by 2015. This is being done by recognizing outstanding best practices that can ensure sustainable long-term management of water resources and help achieve the water and sanitation targets of the Millenium Development Goals, Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.
The ‘Water for Life’ best Practices Award is awarded to projects, initiatives or programmes, rather than individual organizations. Self-nominations are not accepted. Candidatures must be submitted through an independent nominating organization.
Beijing taps IBM wizardry in battle against smog
Beijing has a new weapon in its fight against hazardous air pollution: cutting-edge technology. Gwynn Guilford reports for Quartz that the city has teamed with IBM to use an assortment of high-tech wizardry, including optical sensors, artificial intelligence and weather modelling, to combat choking smog.
The alliance is part of “Green Horizon,” a ten-year partnership with China to be announced Monday that aims to improve air quality and promote renewable fuel and energy efficiency.
“What are we going to do about the global agenda in this council chamber?” ask local leaders from across the world
Representatives of sub-national authorities from across the world called for local ownership of the post-2015 development agenda at a meeting in Liverpool on the 17th of June. The meeting was part of the ongoing consultations on ‘localizing the post-2015 agenda’, which are being co-led by UNDP, UN-Habitat, and the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments for post-2015. A number of participants admitted that the Millennium Development Goals had never been mentioned in their council chambers. Despite this, it was pointed out that sub-national governments are already working on the ‘implementation’ of many of the MDGs and of the likely focus areas of the Post-2015 Agenda. Richard Kemp, Councillor of the host city of Liverpool (UK), explained that, while local leaders often see international development goals as distant products of the United Nations, in fact at least 12 of the potential new Sustainable Development Goals are related to challenges faced by Liverpool City Council.
Mayors Challenge: The Hague
Through Citizens in Action, The Hague is taking participatory budgeting to a new level.
Governments remain closed to many citizens, failing to engage them in decisions that have a direct impact on their lives. To combat this failure, The Hague will take participatory budgeting to a new level. It will provide citizens with the opportunity to allocate a portion of their taxes to local projects of their choosing. Through a new public engagement platform, which includes elements of gamification, crowdfunding, and crowdsourcing, citizens will propose and support projects with their time and taxes.
The Baby-Friendly City
Since having a baby, I have been experiencing my city through a new lens. Before parenthood, I could move through the city relatively freely on my own schedule, with my two feet to move me around.
Now I have a mini companion who needs to nurse every 2-3 hours, frequently soils his pants and mostly travels in a stroller that I haul in and out of stores, onto buses and into public washrooms. This makes getting around my neighbourhood a challenge.
Much has been written about how to create a family-friendly city (i.e have lots of parks,family programs, build larger condos etc.). But, I don’t yet have a kid, I have a baby whose needs are somewhat different than those of an older child. As a result, I am learning that cities aren’t as baby-friendly as they could be.
Helsinki's ambitious plan to make car ownership pointless in 10 years
Finland's capital hopes a 'mobility on demand' system that integrates all forms of shared and public transport in a single payment network could essentially render private cars obsolete
The Finnish capital has announced plans to transform its existing public transport network into a comprehensive, point-to-point "mobility on demand" system by 2025 – one that, in theory, would be so good nobody would have any reason to own a car.
Helsinki aims to transcend conventional public transport by allowing people to purchase mobility in real time, straight from their smartphones. The hope is to furnish riders with an array of options so cheap, flexible and well-coordinated that it becomes competitive with private car ownership not merely on cost, but on convenience and ease of use.
Harmonised urbanisation classification system
The report titled “A harmonised definition of cities and rural areas: the new degree of urbanization” discusses the new degree of urbanisation (DEGURBA) classification. This classification differentiates between three area types: densely, intermediate and thinly populated. This approach, based on the population grid as a new source of information, creates the opportunity to reorganise and harmonise a number of different, but similar, spatial concepts. The report describes the development of the methodology regarding the degree of urbanisation and it contains several recommendations.
CDP, C40 report makes the business case for resilient cities
Cities and companies are both focusing attention on identifying and increasing resilience against climate risks. But what risks have each sector identified, and over what time horizon? And what steps is each sector taking to address those risks?
These aren’t academic questions. If cities and the companies they host prioritize climate risks differently, or view them over wildly different time frames, they may be working at cross purposes. On the other hand, when cities and companies communicate and coordinate, they reduce the risks to both parties and increase resilience.
America's New Industrial Boomtowns
David Peebles works in a glass tower across from Houston’s Galleria mall, a cathedral of consumption, but his attention is focused on the city’s highly industrialized ship channel 30 miles away. “Houston is the Chicago of this era,” says Peebles, who runs the Texas office of Odebrecht, a $45 billion engineering firm based in Brazil. “In the sixties you had to go to Chicago, Cleveland and Detroit. Now Houston is the place for new industry.”
Madrid launches e-bike sharing scheme
Madrid is helping people of all ages and abilities to get involved in cycling by launching a new bike-sharing program that offers solely electric bikes to riders.
The capital city's BiciMAD scheme provides 123 self-service stands with 3 126 docks for 1 560 electric bicycles around the city centre. The bicycles will be available 24 hours a day throughout the whole year.
Technology and urban security – opportunities to participate in upcoming activities
As announced at the 2014 General Assembly in Karlsruhe, Efus invites its members to participate in a series of upcoming opportunities to work on questions related to the use of new technologies for urban security.
Project proposal “Big Data for the governance of urban security”
Building on the recommendations of the Manifesto of Aubervilliers and Saint-Denis and the exchanges of the Efus’ SURVEILLE working group on technologies, the European Forum wants to support its members to be able to make use of the opportunities that new technologies provide to improve coexistence, security and the life of citizens. For that purpose, Efus will propose a new project to the European Commission as part of the Horizon2020 programme. This project will carry out coordination and support actions to allow policy makers to make use of Big Data technology and analytics to understand (in)security and to improve overall strategic security policy making. Efus members are invited to participate and can be involved at various levels – from participating in events on the issue to becoming implementing partner or even pilot site.
Members that would like to take on a very active part in such a project should contact Efus (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further details and hand in a letter of interest before 15 August 2014.
Can the “Playable City” Make Smart City Critics Smile?
Imagine a city where, as you walk along the sidewalk, you can see the moving shadows of pedestrians who preceded you. A city where you can exchange text messages with lampposts, where poems appear in light on waterways, and pipes emit music.
Such urban whimsy would constitute a “playable city,” according to the UK-based organization Watershed. All of the above concepts were either winners or finalists in Watershed’s Playable City Award, now in its second year. (This year’s winner, the shadow project, was announced earlier this month.) The goal of the award is to encourage use of technology to foster an engaging and playful urban environment. According to Watershed’s website, “A Playable City is a city where people, hospitality and openness are key, enabling its residents and visitors to reconfigure and rewrite its services, places and stories.”
Take part in the Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction
The Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction is now open for applications until the 31st October 2014. The award aims to recognise communities, individuals, local and national governments, civil society and private sector organizations, under the theme "Shaping the Future". UCLG strongly encourage its members to send their candidatures to demonstrate the potential for action of local governments in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction.
Planning and Public Spaces: a people-centred approach for the urban agenda
UCLG held its first Policy Debate session on 17th June 2014, dedicated to a crosscutting theme of UCLG's global agenda: Planning and Public Spaces. Participants joined this meeting, which took place within the framework of the Executive Bureau in Liverpool, to analyse two dimensions of the urban agenda: Why public spaces are so critical to human and liveable cities; and How can public spaces influence urban policies?
The aim of the session was to demonstrate the role of local urban policies in the global agenda, analysing public spaces as a crosscutting issue that demonstrate a new way to understand the city as a concentration of public goods and values: a common space with equal access to leisure, communication, expression and identity for all.
Governance and citizenship
Mairi Evans addressed the role of young elected representatives in an interview led by the Council of Europe
How to promote youth participation that leads to a real impact on society? This is one of the questions posed to Mairi Evans, councillor of Angus (Scotland) and president of CEMR’s Committee of young elected representatives, during an interview with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, on 12 June.
Click here to watch the video.
Public transport procurement guidelines released
At a recent conference in Brussels the European Commission issued new guidance on the organisation and financing of public transport services in the EU.
The Commission drafted the guidelines to clarify Regulation (EC) No 1370/2007, which provides rules for public passenger transport services by rail and by road. These rules determine how public authorities across Europe may contract for the provision of public transport services by rail, metro, tram or bus, how to award these contracts and how to compensate for public service obligations.
EPA Awards 2015 competition kicks off with new category
The rules and regulations for the prestigious EPA Awards have now been published. The awards will be presented at the he 17th EPA congress in Berlin in 2015. The deadline for entries is 15th of January 2015.
Harness IT to improve urban governance – Kacyira
UN Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Aisa Kacyira, has said that we can improve governance in our cities and urban areas by harnessing the power of information technology.
Speaking at a conference on technology in Barcelona, Spain, Ms Kacyira said that with the world’s growing population, the number of youth in cities was also growing along with access to affordable information communication technology.
“We have seen the dramatic changes that can occur when these trends merge,” said Ms Kacyira, “Sweeping societal transformation that can recast the relationship between citizens and their governments.”
Parking pricing can promote new urbanism
Proponents of New Urbanism often treat parking as “the enemy,” rather than a powerful resource for achieving important planning goals. Because one of the primary focuses of New Urbanism is promoting more walkable cities, it’s not uncommon for planners to undervalue the role that parking can play. But when planners ignore parking, failing to use it as a planning tool, they sacrifice an enormously powerful resource for promoting New Urbanism.
Report underlines need for a systemic approach to transforming India’s cities
For far too long city dwellers in India have lived with overflowing garbage in their backyards, arduous commutes to their workplaces, shabby housing and minimal social or cultural outlets. It is time to examine the systemic shortfalls that lie at the root of these inefficiencies. The Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems (ASICS) is an objective evaluation of City-Systems - the complex, mostly invisible factors such as laws, policies, institutions, processes and accountability mechanisms that strongly influence Quality of Life in India’s cities. In its second year in 2014, ASICS covered 21 Indian cities and seeks to provide city administrators and policymakers with a diagnosis of systemic reforms needed. It also seeks to identify and acknowledge innovations in governance and best practices across cities which could provide valuable peer learning.
Urban population boom poses massive challenges for Africa and Asia
The UN predicts that two-thirds of the world will live in cities by 2050, with 90% of growth taking place in the global south
Two-thirds of the world's population will live in cities by 2050, posing unique infrastructural challenges for African and Asian countries, where 90% of the growth is predicted to take place.
The planet's urban population – which overtook the number of rural residents in 2010 – is likely to rise by about 2.5 billion to more than 6 billion people in less than 40 years, according to a UN report. Africa and Asia "will face numerous challenges in meeting the needs of their growing urban populations, including for housing, infrastructure, transportation, energy and employment, as well as for basic services such as education and healthcare", it adds.
5th IDRC Davos 2014 - Programme out now!
The 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC Davos 2014, held on 24 – 28 August 2014 in Davos, Switzerland is this year’s key conference for integrative disaster and risk management.
Register before the 15 July and benefit from 15% off the regular registration fee.
The IDRC Davos 2014 serves as the science and technology input platform for the post-2015 framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (HFA2) and provides recommendations towards the UN World Conference WCDRR in Sendai, Japan in March 2015.
Jury of experts evaluates the proposals of the new METROPOLIS Initiatives
With the submission of 16 proposals from Agra, Barcelona, Berlin, Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Île-de-France (Paris), Johannesburg, Mexico City, Rosario, São Paulo State, Santiago de Chile and the Kreanta Foundation, the selection process for the new METROPOLIS Initiatives is now underway. The jury of experts has started evaluating the projects, which are related to the themes of governance, socioeconomic inclusion, urban innovation and sustainability, and suggest the collaboration with other cities, private firms, civil-society organisations and academic institutions.
Safe and Healthy Routes for Urban Bikers
For urban cycling advocates, investing in bicycle infrastructure can help undo the damage of decades of bad decisions, which have left too many places with a car-centric transportation system. The thinking — which was perfectly expressed by Copenhagen bicycle ambassador Mikael Colville-Anderson during his recent TED talk — is: “Bicycling is the most potent medicine we possess … for designing livable cities.”
Advocates say designing for bikes will yield broader benefits, making our cities healthier places to live. Shifting from motor vehicle based transportation to cycling produces multiple wins for cities: reduced greenhouse emissions and traffic congestion, and gains in air quality, fitness, and the economy.
The future of the city
How can the strength of the Dutch cities be further developed, exploited, and mobilised? The Council for the Environment and Infrastructure (Rli) recently issued an advisory report on the future of the city. Compensating for lack of size and density and to achieve a boost in competitiveness, the Council argued for the greater usage of resources and connections between Dutch urban regions. The Council additionally advocated the advantage of community-based initiatives as the strength of urban regions to adapt constantly to changing circumstances.
Towards standardised approaches for on-street parking - Lisbon 19 September - Register now!
Parking is important for the redefinition of the role of cities, between the "motorway" culture and re-urbanisation. Centralised parking in cities has been proven to decrease the dependency on car trips and improve the urban public space. However, implementing integrated parking strategies is a challenging task, for both local authorities and parking operators.
Dubai to build the world’s largest 'temperature-controlled pedestrian city'
Dubai is already home to the tallest tower in the world, so it was just a matter of time until the glitzy emirate planned another record-breaking construction.
Its next project involves building the largest shopping mall on the planet, complete with climate-controlled streets, the world's largest indoor theme park and 100 hotels and apartments.
In fact, the ambitious emirate has dubbed the project a 'temperature-controlled pedestrian city'.
Occupying 48 million square feet, the Mall of the World will also contain health resorts, theatres, a Celebration Steet modelled on the Ramblas boulevard in Barcelona and 'retail streets network' that will stretch over four-and-a-half miles.
Congestion-beaters or roads to hell: is there still a place for urban motorways?
High-speed concrete highways to the hearts of our cities once symbolised freedom and modernity. But in today's world the answer may be to rip them out or bury them underground
“This car only goes up to 40 miles an hour, is that enough?” nearly became my former flatmate’s last words one sombre April morning six years ago, as we swung on to the northern leg of the M60 motorway around Greater Manchester.
Germany opens Europe's first zero-emission train station
A solar-powered and geothermal train station, thought to be Europe’s first carbon-neutral train station, was opened in June by German railway company Deutsche Bahn.
The € 4.3m project is the first to be produced from Deutsche Bahn’s 'Grüner Bahnhof' (Station Green) programme and features innovative eco-friendly design and various sustainable technologies.
24 On-going Networks, 190 Active Cities – What Are They Doing?
The URBACT III Programme is now almost here! Consultations with local stakeholders, Member States and European Commission are moving forward and the new Programme is taking shape. But this exiting perspective shouldn’t make us forget the intense activities of the 190 European cities involved in the ongoing Thematic and Pilot Networks.
Urban Forests: The Value of Trees in the City of Toronto
According to this report from TD Economics, the trees in the City of Toronto's urban forest are worth an estimated $7 billion, or about $700 per tree. The report looks at Toronto's urban forest of 10 million trees from an economic perspective, calculating the value each tree provides by saving energy, keeping rain and snow off the streets, and absorbing pollution.
Cognitive Maps & the Benefits of “Low-Tech” Planning in a High-Tech Era
For the past several years I’ve kicked off my undergraduate “Planning Techniques” course each semester with a simple exercise. I break the class down into 3 or 4 groups and provide each group with a large sheet of drawing paper and a box of Crayola pencils.
I then give a simple instruction:
“I want you to draw an aerial view of the campus.”
I keep the instruction simple for a reason: to see what, exactly, ends up on the map when students are not prompted. For instance, if I were to say: “Provide as much detail as possible”, students might conduct a mental inventory of all known features of that space and then try to represent each in the drawing. That would be a logical approach, but quite different than one that simply allows important features of that space to present themselves spontaneously to students’ minds.
Local authorities and the fight against radicalisation
The problem of radicalised young people is making headlines in Europe after the recent attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels and the latest developments in Iraq. It is more than ever a pressing issue for local authorities, who must deal with a new phenomenon on which they have not yet acquired solid knowledge. Efus has been working on this theme for several months, in particular with the Belgian Ministry of the Interior. The Belgian Forum has for its part set up a work group, which met on 3 June in Evère. In order to help cities to better understand this phenomenon and build local policies to tackle it, Efus will start in September the project LIAISE (Local Institutions Against Extremism), which is co-financed by the European Commission.
New Study Adds Up the Benefits of Climate-Smart Development in Lives, Jobs, and GDP
Modernizing landfills and cleaning up open dumps have obvious benefits for surrounding communities, but the value reaches deeper into the national budget that may be evident at first glance.
For a country like Brazil, where waste-to-energy technology is being piloted today, integrated solid waste management practices including building sanitary landfills that capture greenhouse gas emissions to generate electricity can improve human health, add jobs, increase the energy supply, reduce the impact on climate change, and boost national GDP.
Smart cities should learn the difference between data and wisdom
We live in a world where cars can fold into themselves and may soon be levitating. However, this rapid pace of innovation in the automotive sector is not yet crossing over to cities at large. Cities are traditionally slow and resistant to change. They are complex, interconnected systems, whereas technology is best at solving discrete problems.
Release of new templates - Supporting cities’ climate and energy ambitions through a strengthened progress monitoring system
The Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs) are at the core of cities’ commitment to the Covenant of Mayors. They are the documents Covenant Signatories rely on to reach their CO2-reduction objective, which amounts to an average 29% according to the first batch of plans analysed by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre!
Aware of the crucial importance of the SEAPs, as well as of cities’ constraints, the Covenant of Mayors Office and the Joint Research Centre have strived over the past months to enhance and strengthen the Covenant reporting framework and associated processes (submission, evaluation and feedback). With this in mind, they have revised the SEAP template and produced the new monitoring template which is now available through the Covenant extranet (My Covenant). These tools are aimed at supporting Covenant Signatories in monitoring the implementation of their ambitious actions - as defined in their plan.
Mayors on What Makes Cities More Inclusive
As the level of government closest to the people, city administrations can directly and immediately impact the lives of immigrants. At the 2014 Cities of Migration conference in Berlin, city leaders from Hamburg, Helsinki and Detroit made the case for why migration matters now and for tomorrow’s great cities, and how mayoral voice can be a particularly powerful tool to ease the path to inclusion for newcomers.
The infringement of rights through sexual exploitation is discussed at Metropolis Women seminar
The Metropolis Women International Network organized for the second time in Barcelona, a seminar that posits the inequality of women as the center of debate. The event revolved around the topic of “Safety and Protection of the Victims of Sexual Exploitation: New Forms of Slavery and its Local Impact”, and counted on the participation of representatives from the METROPOLIS members of Abidjan, Amman, Bamako, Brussels, and the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, who discussed how to bring safety and protection to victims of sexual exploitation in urban areas.
EVIDENCE project seeks data on sustainable mobility measures
The EVIDENCE project is asking transport policy-makers and practitioners across Europe to help find the best available data on the economic, social, and environmental costs and benefits of mobility measures and initiatives.
Qualitative assessment of the 21 ITS applications selected in the VRUITS project now available online in easy and accessible format!
The Second interest group meeting of the VRUITS project – Improving the Safety and Mobility of Vulnerable Road Users through ITS Application – took place in Helsinki as a fringe of the ITS Europe Conference on the 16th of June. Experts both from local authorities and manufacturers were called upon to select applications for the quantitative assessment phase of the project as the workshop also displayed of the results of the qualitative assessment of each of the 21 ITS applications
A sustainable urban mobility plan: every city should have one
Urban leaders throughout Europe have issued a united call for urban mobility to be tackled holistically, and for every city to create a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan in line with pan-European guidelines that it wants the European Commission to draft.
UN-Habitat hosts expert meeting on urban development financing
Fifty international experts Met in Spain for a two-day meeting on “Urban Development Financing: the Challenges of Local Governments in Developing Countries”, organized by UN-Habitat with the support of the City of Barcelona
The overall purpose of the meeting was to better understand the key elements and processes needed for local authorities to effectively use the different financing mechanisms to implement city extension plans and urban development projects.
Participants at the meeting also discussed the political economy challenges facing urban authorities in developing countries in generating adequate revenues from within for financing regular services and urban development and solutions to these challenges, as well as the challenges local authorities are facing in the use of various mechanisms for mobilizing financial resources for urban development in developing countries and solutions to these challenges.
Walkable Communities Help Lower Diabetes Risk
People who live in neighborhoods that are conducive to walking experience a substantially lower rate of obesity, overweight, and diabetes than those who live in more auto-dependent neighborhoods, according to studies presented at the American Diabetes Association annual meeting. Researchers found a lower risk of developing diabetes over a 10-year period for those who lived in neighborhoods with less sprawl, more interconnectivity among streets, and more local stores and services within walking distance.
In the aftermath of European elections
European institutions move forward on key positions and on outlining work priorities for future as Italy takes over the Presidency of the EU
After the European Council nominated Jean-Claude Junker (Luxembourg EPP) as President of the European Commission on the 27th of June, the new European Parliament voted today to elect Martin Schulz (German S&D) as the President for a two and half year mandate whilst the composition of the Parliament Committees will be known on Thursday the 3rd of July
Planning and Public Spaces: a people-centred approach for the urban agenda
UCLG held its first Policy Debate session on 17th June 2014, dedicated to a crosscutting theme of UCLG's global agenda: Planning and Public Spaces. Participants joined this meeting, which took place within the framework of the Executive Bureau in Liverpool, to analyse two dimensions of the urban agenda.
Tokyo plan for transport system collapse
When Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky needed images of a future city for his science-fiction film Solaris (1972), he came, of course, to Tokyo. He shot a scene overlooking a mass of highways choked with traffic and crowded by endless rows of towering apartments to give the impression of a suffocating metropolis. “What makes us shudder is (this shot),” wrote Japanese director Akira Kurasawa in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper in 1977. “He turned flows of headlights and tail lamps of cars, multiplied and amplified, into a vintage image of the future city.”
But four decades later, this “future” Tokyo doesn’t travel by car. The more than 35 million people in the city’s metro region enjoy the world’s most extensive urban rail network — a network, which, as of last month, has 158 lines, more than 3,000 miles of operational track and over 2,200 stations.
Urbanization – an important aspect of the post-2015 agenda
Urbanization is an unprecedented global trend. Thus, urbanization and city development are substantial subjects for the post-2015 agenda. Inspired by this development, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) dedicated this year´s first “Integration Segment” (27th – 29th May 2014) to urbanization. This annual format is established to anchor the economic, social and ecological sustainability dimensions into the UN system.
Vladimir Drobnjak, ECOSOC Vice-President, explains this session´s focus on urbanization with the increasing significance of cities in respect to poverty eradication, environmental protection and resilience against the impacts of climate change.
New publication examines link between quality of life and mobility
The European Mobility Week (EMW) 2014 Thematic Guidelines explore how land use and private vehicles impact on our daily lives.
Acting as a detailed overview of how quality of life can be improved through engaging in more sustainable mobility practices, the guidelines also share many examples of how European cities have revitalised their city centres through sharing space more equitably between cars, pedestrians, and other road users.
Committee of the regions adopts its opinion on the Urban Mobility Package
The Committee of Regions has adopted its opinion on the Urban Mobility Package during its plenary session on the 25th of June 2014. Polis contributed a written answer to the consultation prior to the adoption of the opinion. Furthermore, at the invitation of the rapporteur Sir Albert Bore, Polis Secretary General Sylvain Haon presented Polis’ views on the package at the COTER meeting beginning of May 2014.
The role of ICT in keeping traffic on the move
In March this year, the French capital Paris was forced to take drastic action in limiting car use when pollution spiked, hitting health-threatening levels. On 14 March, PM10 particles emitted by diesel exhausts, heating systems and heavy industry were to blame for a peak of 180 microgrammes per cubic metre, more than double the safe limit of 80. The authorities acted swiftly, banning traffic based on a system of alternating number plates, as well as offering free public transport and the use of the city’s Vélib and Autolib bike and car-sharing schemes.
The 10 world cities with the highest murder rates – in pictures
Data from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime shows the most up-to-date available homicide rates per 100,000 people for the most populous cities of 137 countries. The Americas overtook Africa as the region with the highest murder rate in 2012 – with eight of the world’s 10 deadliest cities found there
New Center to Focus on Shared-Use Mobility
The recently launched Shared-Use Mobility Center (SUMC) will work with industry, cities, and other governmental agencies to craft policies, programs, and standards that demonstrate the potential of shared-use mobility. SUMC will build broad awareness of the valuable contribution of shared-use mobility to new transportation solutions, and will explore, develop, and accelerate models for shared-use mobility that work for everyone. SUMC is a joint project of Center for Neighborhood Technology, the Transportation Sustainability Research Center of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Transit Center.
New report: The main impacts of London road transport on health
The Greater London Authority's (GLA) new Transport & Health research report "TRANSPORT AND HEALTH IN LONDON - The main impacts of London road transport on health" was launched on June 6th at the Hackney Cycling Conference.
Here are the innovative ideas 21 European cities proposed in the Bloomberg Mayors Challenge
Citiscope’s urban innovation feature this week is on the “ideas camp” for European cities hosted recently by Bloomberg Philanthropies in Berlin. The 21 cities are finalists in the most recent round of the Bloomberg Mayors Challenge. Here are the ideas the cities are putting forward.
12 ways to slow down traffic in a car-oriented city
For a long time now, the purpose of roads was to get people in cars to their destination as quickly and efficiently as possible. This is why we have highways, they’re all about moving cars long distances at a fast rate. But recently, cities have started reclaiming roads as places for pedestrians, cyclists as well as vehicles.
Breaking Carbon Lock-In: Path Dependencies in Large-Scale Transportation Infrastructure Projects
The central focus of this paper is to highlight the ways in which path dependencies and increasing returns (network effects) serve to reinforce carbon lock-in in large-scale road transportation infrastructure projects. Breaking carbon lock-in requires drastic changes in the way we plan future transportation infrastructure projects, and documentary evidence presented here from the metropolitan regions of Copenhagen, Denmark and Portland, USA, indicate that there may be a discontinuity in the system of automobility (Urry, 2004), thereby increasing the likelihood that such drastic measures may in fact be successfully realized.
Community-Led Local Development or How to Put People at the Center of Policy-Making
Building a common view of what Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) means and supposes, sharing experiences related to participatory processes and the use of this tool in non-urban contexts and understanding the challenges of applying it to urban areas – here are the main objectives for the working seminar URBACT recently organized on the topic of Community-Led Local Development.
Urban sprawl is Perth's big problem
Perth's urban sprawl is now recognised as one of the biggest in the world. And if the city continues to spread at the current rate, experts say the Perth metropolitan area will stretch 270km - from Myalup to Lancelin - by 2050. Property consultant and City of Perth councillor James Limnios says urban sprawl is now Perth's biggest economic and social problem.
Finalists announced for 2014 City Climate Leadership Awards
Siemens and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) have announced the 31 projects representing 26 cities that have been selected as finalists for the 2014 City Climate Leadership Awards. Of these projects, which demonstrate leadership in taking climate action, winners in each of ten categories will be announced at the second annual Awards Ceremony on 22 September 2014 in New York.
“This year, cities were able to self-apply for the first time,” said Stefan Wagner, a spokesperson for Siemens‘ Infrastructure & Cities Sector. “We have been pleased to receive a number of applications from all over the world. The 2013 Awards programme was about rewarding well known cities and projects in the sustainable cities arena. We wanted to emphasise best-practice-sharing. In 2013 Siemens and C40 researched and nominated projects. This year, in addition to cities applying themselves, third party organisations were also welcomed to nominate projects and programmes.”
Bilbao, Host City for the First UCLG 2015 Culture Summit
Bilbao has been chosen host city for the first UCLG 2015 Culture Summit during the meeting of the UCLG Executive Bureau held in Liverpool. The UCLG Committee on Culture began the draft of the new Culture Agenda 21 in 2013 in Lille, Buenos Aires and Rabat, and will continue in 2014 through meetings, seminars, articules, questionaires and visits to the pilot cities.
Surprise! People Aged 60-79 Are Behind More Than a Third of the Biking Boom
The national surge in bicycling since 1995 may have more to do with healthy hips than with hipsters.
More than a third of the net increase is coming from people between the ages of 60 and 79, an analysis of federal data shows.
As recently as the Clinton administration, biking was for the young. Riding a bicycle over the age of 55 was very rare; riding over the age of 75 was almost unheard of. Even today, the rapid drop in car use among young adults sometimes leads to assumptions that millennials are driving the nationwide boom in bike trips.
Central Europe’s longest pedestrian bridge opens (Szolnok, Hungary)
Central Europe’s longest pedestrian and cyclist bridge (444 m) has been opened in the Eastern Hungarian city of Szolnok. The bridge marks a shift in the city’s priorities: instead of building another bridge for cars the decision was made to create a crossing entirely dedicated to "soft" mobility, thereby improving the short-distance mobility situation and the social, cultural and economic attractiveness of the now-connected parts of the city
Cities are key to international migration policy
The Barcelona Declaration, signed by representatives from cities and international organisations gathered in the Catalan capital, underlines the importance of local authorities in terms of integration for migrants, and calls for further recognition of this role.
The Forum on Migration, Mobility and Development, which was held in Barcelona, ended with all the attendees accepting the ‘Barcelona Declaration’.
The document states that, "faced with the challenge of governing migration, mobility and development, cities are responsible for the processes of integration and social cohesion. These processes are started in neighbourhoods, districts and cities, in public spaces, schools and workplaces”.
The text states that cities, “fight against segregation and inequality, and it is frequently cities that have to deal with the challenges of living, housing, irregularity and uncertainty, among other things”. The document continues, stating that, “the organisations that are responsible for migrant flow make decisions without considering the local impact”.
Dutch city sets out ambitious renewable and building renovation strategy
On 20 June, the city of Enschede (Netherlands) officially became a Covenant of Mayors signatory. In order to celebrate this fact they hosted a signature ceremony in the Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the EU in Brussels. They hope to reduce by 30% their CO2 emissions and their share of sustainable energy will be at least 20% of the total by 2020. They plan to make all municipal buildings carbon neutral by 2015 and all schools to follow suit by 2020.
Their commitment to the Covenant of Mayors’ objectives will not only allow them to put in a place a Sustainable Energy Action Plan but will also help them to boost employment, one of the main challenges in the city.
Who will be World Mayor 2014?
Voting is now open for the World Mayor 2014 prize, and six EUROCITIES mayors have been shortlisted for this year’s award. There are 25 shortlisted mayors spread across six continents, who were selected on 18 June out of an initial list of 122 nominees.
Amongst the 25 are the mayors of six EUROCITIES member cities: Daniël Termont, mayor of Ghent; Alain Juppé, mayor of Bordeaux; Nils Usakovs, mayor of Riga; George Ferguson, mayor of Bristol; Joe Anderson, mayor of Liverpool; and Aziz Kocaoglu, mayor of Izmir.
You can now vote for your preferred candidate by visiting the World Mayor prize website, here. All votes must be supported by a statement describing why your chosen mayor is worthy of the prize. Voting is open until mid-October.
White Majority Populations on the Margins
Working class communities in Europe can no longer rely upon the availability of secure jobs and are often forced into lower-paid and more precarious work to get by. Debate about marginalization in Europe tends to center on its minority populations. Research by Open Society Foundations on white working class communities has found a reality at odds with what the media tends to portray.
Foot Traffic Ahead: Ranking Walkable Urbanism in America's Largest Metros
This report ranks the country's top 30 metropolitan areas based on the amount of commercial development in Walkable Urban Places, or WalkUPs. The report found that the top-ranking metros have an average of 38% higher GDP per capita as compared to the low-ranking metros. Also, offices in urban WalkUPs rent at a 74% premium per square foot over drivable suburban areas. This report was prepared by LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors, a coalition of Smart Growth America, in conjunction with The George Washington University's Center for Real Estate & Urban Analysis.
The State of African Cities 2014
Reimagining Sustainable Urban Transitions analyses African cities in the context of globally changing conditions and seeks to stimulate discussion on the need for radically different, re-imagined development visions to guide sustainable urban and other transitions in Africa over the decades to come.
ICLEI Africa and the British High Commission in South Africa invite you to the South African launch, which will feature a panel discussion around some of the perspectives highlighted by the report. The event will be held on the 9th of July 2014 (10h00 - 12h30) at The British High Commissioner‘s Residence, 14 Upper Primrose, Bishopscourt, Cape Town.
This event will attempt to highlight the debates that are surfacing in urban sustainability discussions, including the African Region’s Common Positions on the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. Further it will explore how the urban transition in Africa will be the key to implementing the new goals being set for the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
The Death of Urbanization in the United States
Many urban cores around the United States are experiencing a renaissance, after many decades of demographic decline. Cities may be growing. But urbanization is waning:
More people moved into nonmetro counties from metro areas than in the other direction over the past two decades, according to analysis of annual county population estimates. Urbanization today is fueled by differential natural increase and higher immigration rates.
Over the last 20 years, the U.S. has become increasingly rural. How can one country become more rural and more urban at the same time? It’s the birth rate, stupid.
Does Innovation Always Lead to Gentrification?
Technology start-ups, business incubators, reinvigorated neighborhoods full of renovated warehouses, platoons of dynamic young residents with disposable income and coding skills. The signifiers of urban success listed in a recent Brookings study called “The Rise of Innovation Districts: A New Geography of Innovation in America” all sound fairly positive. After all, isn’t this the central dream of our times, to take an underutilized chunk of capital and transform it into useful profitability, whether that’s a former train station or a really great URL?
A new, resilient, local water supply
At the USC Center for Sustainability’s Spring Forum on May 6, titled “Envisioning Drought Resilient Cities,” Founder and President of TreePeople Andy Lipkis shared the unprecedented success Australia experienced after its citizens installed rainwater-capture cisterns on their homes during the country’s historic 12-year drought. Lipkis discussed how, in the face of changing weather patterns due to climate change and with fewer trees to capture, clean, and store rainwater than we once had, those living in cities must mobilize to collect as much precipitation as possible—and local water agencies must work together on stormwater solutions rather than remaining in isolation.
Converting parking spaces into mini-parks
How street space is allocated can send a powerful signal about a city’s priorities and São Paulo, Brazil is making the statement that the city is for pedestrians, by introducing parklets, which are small footpath extensions or green spaces built on former on-street parking spaces.
“It [a parklet] is an extension of the sidewalk that gives pedestrians and cyclists an area to occupy and use, and that will allow for a better city,” said Mayor of São Paulo, Fernando Haddad, who inaugurated the policy with a new parklet replacing several parking spaces at a highly visible downtown intersection, in the popular Jardins neighbourhood.
Lagos leads in global urban migration, according to Facebook
Facebook data on coordinated migrations has revealed that Lagos has recorded the highest number of urban migration (movement/relocation of people from rural centres to urban cities) in the world at 18.6 per cent in a period of two years.
The social media platform which is used by over 15 per cent of the earth’s population recently compared users’ hometowns with their current residences to uncover the top 10 cities that had “coordinated migrations”- or the movement of large numbers of people from one place to another and Nigeria’s economic centre led the pack.
Climate action transparency key to trustworthiness
New carbonn Cities Climate Registry (cCCR) report reveals that global voluntary reporting of local climate action triggers trustworthiness, access to finance and citizen engagement
422 local and subnational governments from 44 countries serving 12% of the world’s urban population are on track to trustworthiness, according to the carbonn Cities Climate Registry (cCCR) 2013 Annual Report released today at the ongoing UN Bonn Climate Change conference in Bonn, Germany.
The cCCR is the world’s largest public database of local climate action. It contains 3870 mitigation and adaptation actions, 870 climate and energy commitments, and 771 inventories covering around 2.25 Gigatons Co2e of annual GHG emissions. The cCCR catalyzes the trustworthiness of local and subnational governments by improving transparency, accountability and comparability of local climate actions.
“Global transparency builds trust in local and subnational governments and facilitates their access to finance and engagement of citizens”, says Gino Van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability. ICLEI, the worldwide association of more than 1000 cities working on sustainability, operates the cCCR.
Trustworthiness is a key step in ensuring that local and subnational governments can finance local climate actions that could bring down global green house gas emissions and build resilience against climate change. An estimated US$ 200-210 billion per annum in 2030 is required to finance mitigation actions worldwide. Billions more are needed to fund adaptation actions.
Baghdad: the psychological toll of being the world’s most attacked city
For more than a thousand years the population of the Iraqi capital has been subject to rape, torture and indiscriminate slaughter.
No city on earth has been attacked as often, or as brutally, as Baghdad. Once again, the residents of the Iraqi capital are bracing for another possible invasion, with the jihadist forces of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) less than 50 miles north of Baghdad at the time of writing. For a force that is supposed to number only several thousand, Isis gains in Iraq have taken the world by surprise, turning old certainties on their head and prompting the US and Iran to think the unthinkable and cooperate on Iraq.
UN Environment Assembly should seize opportunities of a new Urban World
Welcoming the first United Nations Environment Assembly as a new player in the institutional framework for sustainable development, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability encourages government delegations and Ministers of Environment to reinvigorate bold policies and actions that will ensure responses to ecological, social and economic crisis respect planetary boundaries and engage with local and subnational governments as “governmental stakeholders” serving in urban areas that constitute more than half of world´s population.
One of the most important outcomes of the Rio+20 Summit held in 2012 was to recognize the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as the global authority on environmental issues.
This decision provided an opportunity for UNEP to leverage effectiveness of its policies and programmes to a universal level by engaging all of the 193 Member States of the United Nations in its decision making and implementation, through the newly established United Nations Environment Assembly that is set to convene biennially under the authority of Ministers of Environment in Nairobi, Kenya.
Taking steps to curb pedestrian deaths
SANTA ANA, Calif. — After the dismissal bells ring at the five schools along a stretch of Broadway Avenue, throngs of teens, tweens, young children and parents pour out onto the streets and crossings.
Near Civic Center Plaza, a sprawling downtown complex of county and city buildings, pedestrians cross Santa Ana Boulevard and crowd the many bus stops along the way.
At a corner of Pomona Street, a supermarket draws a steady flow of pedestrians.
People walk here, and most of them are Latinos, reflecting the city’s dominant population.
But it is California, after all, and people also drive. In cities such as Santa Ana, a dense city of about 330,000 people, the threat of cars hitting people is heightened in neighborhoods designed more for drivers than walkers.
Most Chinese cities are failing national standards for good air quality
A senior Chinese government official has admitted that most major Chinese cities fail national standards for good air quality.
Li Ganjie, a vice minister of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, gave a positive spin to the launch of the 2013 Report on the State of China's Environment, but did not disguise all its bad news on the severe levels of air, water and soil pollution brought by years of fast-paced economic growth.
CH4LLENGE Universities for young professionals
The CH4LLENGE project addresses the four most pressing challenges in the development and implementation of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMP) - Participation, Institutional cooperation, Measure identification and Monitoring and evaluation.
The death of the American mall
Once-proud visions of suburban utopia are left to rot as online shopping and the resurgence of city centres make malls increasingly irrelevant to young people
It is hard to believe there has ever been any life in this place. Shattered glass crunches under Seph Lawless’s feet as he strides through its dreary corridors. Overhead lights attached to ripped-out electrical wires hang suspended in the stale air and fading wallpaper peels off the walls like dead skin.
Lawless sidesteps debris as he passes from plot to plot in this retail graveyard called Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, Ohio. The shopping centre closed in 2008, and its largest retailers, which had tried to make it as standalone stores, emptied out by the end of last year. When Lawless stops to overlook a two-storey opening near the mall’s once-bustling core, only an occasional drop of water, dribbling through missing ceiling tiles, breaks the silence.