31/7/2015 - Countering Progressives' Assault on Suburbia
30/7/2015 - Two new projects dealing with cooperative systems
29/7/2015 - Why ‘Think Global, Act Local’ is no longer enough
29/7/2015 - Mayors are essential to tackling climate change and human trafficking, says Pope Francis
29/7/2015 - UCLG take on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda
28/7/2015 - Local and regional governments speak up for localization of Post-2015 Agenda
28/7/2015 - Madrid’s missteps on path towards ‘walkability’
27/7/2015 - Denmark uses GPS data to monitor road network
27/7/2015 - A thriving future of places: placemaking as the new urban agenda
26/7/2015 - "Building the Liveable and Healthy City" workshop, 18 November 2015 in Brussels
25/7/2015 - The Transportation Choices That Millennials Want
25/7/2015 - The Virtuous Cycle of Keeping Your City Affordable for Artists
24/7/2015 - A European Agenda on Migration
24/7/2015 - EUROCITIES awards 2015 – the shortlist is out!
23/7/2015 - Tokyo readies for the rise of the 'guerrilla rainstorm'
23/7/2015 - Will autonomous cars change the role and value of public transportation?
22/7/2015 - Privacy concerns jeopardize ‘smart’ cities
22/7/2015 - Electric double-decker bus set for London debut
22/7/2015 - Put your city on the map and help us to build a global database for current models of urban governance
21/7/2015 - Stricter air pollution regulation in Paris entered into force this July
21/7/2015 - Urban Dialogues Open Up Electronic Platform For Debate On New Urban Agenda
20/7/2015 - Public Spaces/Private Money: The Triumphs and Pitfalls of Urban Park Conservancies
19/7/2015 - COP 21
18/7/2015 - Former Mayor of Lisbon and founding member of UCLG, Jorge Sampaio, to be awarded inaugural UN Nelson Mandela Prize
18/7/2015 - Core Values: Why American Companies are Moving Downtown
17/7/2015 - Welcome to Jun, the town that ditched bureaucracy to run on Twitter
17/7/2015 - European Mobility Week
17/7/2015 - Egypt’s New Capital Will be the Largest Planned City in History. But is it Possible?
15/7/2015 - Join UCLG in Turin for the 3rd World Forum on Local Economic Development
15/7/2015 - Green Spaces Make Kids Smarter
15/7/2015 - How Transit-Oriented Development Benefits Local Economies
14/7/2015 - Cities and regions from across the world will participate in the climate negotiations in December
14/7/2015 - Bringing the local perspective to the World Humanitarian Summit: a new global urban crisis partnership
14/7/2015 - Portuguese government subsidises public transport
14/7/2015 - Ancient Indian city of Ajmer awaits its ‘smart’ makeover
14/7/2015 - Bucharest SUMP conference sees debate on the future of European transport
13/7/2015 - For Cities, Big-Box Stores Are Becoming Even More of a Terrible Deal
13/7/2015 - Four ways to look at “trust” in our changing cities
12/7/2015 - Cities and road automation
12/7/2015 - Global Green Releases RFP to Cities for Sustainable Neighborhood Planning
11/7/2015 - London: the city that ate itself
11/7/2015 - Local-governments day announced for Paris climate summit
10/7/2015 - EPOMM E-Update June 2015 on Parking Management
10/7/2015 - Copenhagen revealed as the most bike-friendly city in the world
10/7/2015 - Suburbia Goes Global: What It Means for Urban Sustainability
9/7/2015 - Psychiatrist treats cities for ‘community trauma’
9/7/2015 - Making sense of Miami: what America's refuge city says about the US's future
9/7/2015 - Shut out and abandoned by society
8/7/2015 - How In-Town Development Produces Less Traffic Than You Might Think
8/7/2015 - Outdoor advertising impacts cities positively, according to new report
8/7/2015 - World Cities Report 2015 – nearing completion
7/7/2015 - London’s Tube will soon run all night, fixing a longstanding, ludicrous problem
7/7/2015 - France tackles air quality through urban mobility
7/7/2015 - A ghost city revived: the remarkable transformation of Hebron
6/7/2015 - Become a Transformative Action City
6/7/2015 - Bringing cities to the global table
5/7/2015 - Urban residents aren’t abandoning buses; buses are abandoning them
5/7/2015 - First modules of the "Bristol Method" available online
4/7/2015 - Germans drivers 'very satisfied' with e-cars, study finds
4/7/2015 - Three Enabling Factors for Building Urban Resilience
4/7/2015 - Green jobs for social inclusion
3/7/2015 - Lyon: last stop before the international conference on climate in Paris
3/7/2015 - Dublin to prioritize pedestrians, public transit under 8-year plan
3/7/2015 - Urban commons have radical potential – it's not just about community gardens
3/7/2015 - Greater London: National Park?
2/7/2015 - Integrated city systems for increased efficiency
2/7/2015 - Holding Your Breath in India
2/7/2015 - ISOCARP Awards 2015 - Deadline approaching
2/7/2015 - Is this the city of the future?
1/7/2015 - UN-Habitat takes part in Velo-City 2015 Conference
1/7/2015 - Why All Cities Should Have a Department of Food
1/7/2015 - Copernicus Masters Urban Challenge now open for entries
1/7/2015 - Repair Cafes
Countering Progressives' Assault on Suburbia
The next culture war will not be about issues like gay marriage or abortion, but about something more fundamental: how Americans choose to live. In the crosshairs now will not be just recalcitrant Christians or crazed billionaire racists, but the vast majority of Americans who either live in suburban-style housing or aspire to do so in the future. Roughly four in five home buyers prefer a single-family home, but much of the political class increasingly wants them to live differently.
Two new projects dealing with cooperative systems
Polis is a partner in two new European projects dealing with cooperative ITS, ie, vehicle-infrastructure and vehicle-vehicle communication.
Why ‘Think Global, Act Local’ is no longer enough
How can cities refresh the message ‘think global, act local’ and build common purpose amongst stakeholders – citizens, communities, elected representatives, businesses, civil servants – to achieve the impacts that are needed in towns and cities across Europe and across the world?
Mayors are essential to tackling climate change and human trafficking, says Pope Francis
"Human-induced climate change is a scientific reality, and its decisive mitigation is a moral imperative for humanity” Declaration of Mayors 21 July, Vatican
On July 21 2015, a large delegation of mayors, including many UCLG members and partners, attended the workshop “Modern Slavery and Climate Change: the Commitment of the Cities” hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences in the Vatican’s Casina Pio IV. The workshop builds on the Pope Francis encyclical Laudato Si.
UCLG take on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda
The third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3) was held from 13-16 July 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to agree on the financing mechanisms for the implementation of the Post-2015 Agenda.
The Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments (GTF) has been following the preparatory process for FfD3 since last year. It participated in the Public Hearing in New York last April and as an observer in the Drafting Committee. The GTF has made recommendations and proposed amendments to the draft outcome document to the co-facilitators of the negotiations on behalf of its members.
Local and regional governments speak up for localization of Post-2015 Agenda
On the 26th of June, UCLG President, Mayor Kadir Topbas, represented local and regional authorities of the Local Authorities Major Group and the Global Taskforce at the opening plenary of the third High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) at United Nations Headquarters in New-York.
In his speech, Topbas welcomed the convergence of the sustainability and Post-2015 Agendas and called for the Financing for Development, Climate Change and Habitat III agendas to be combined into a single, universal development agenda. He reiterated that local governments do not work in sectors or silos on the ground and that the world’s mayors are demanding a coherent, holistic vision that covers the economic, social, environmental and cultural pillars of sustainable development.
Madrid’s missteps on path towards ‘walkability’
It will take more than widened sidewalks and car-free streets in downtown Madrid to change ingrained attitudes about walking. David Hewitt reports for CityMetric that despite the creation of a largely car-free downtown that prioritizes pedestrians, walking is frowned upon outside a central zone.
“Many residents prefer to drive, take the bus or Metro, or go by bike, even over relatively short distances,” Hewitt writes. The typical Madrileño might be open to a ten- or 15-minute stroll, but would scoff at using feet as transport to work, school or a bar, the article says.
Denmark uses GPS data to monitor road network
Denmark has become the first country in the world to use GPS probe data across its road network to monitor traffic and congestion nationwide. With the new system, the Danish Road Directorate will be able to measure traffic flow across Denmark's roads more effectively than ever before. The agency's director of traffic management Charlotte Vithen said: 'By [...] deploying this technology across our entire road network, we will be able to detect extraordinary traffic queues quicker, issue earlier warnings of congestion and improve the way we manage road incidents to achieve a smoother flow of traffic across Denmark.'
A thriving future of places: placemaking as the new urban agenda
The current trajectory of urbanization and city-building is not going to get us where we need to go. In fact, if you google “The Future of Cities,” the images that come up reflect a dominant vision, and a caricatured extrapolation of what is currently being built in the “most developed” human settlements. This was Peter Elmlund’s motivation for developing the “Future of Places” program–a partnership with UN-Habitat and Project for Public Spaces which Elmlund runs at Sweden’s Ax:son Johnson Foundation.
"Building the Liveable and Healthy City" workshop, 18 November 2015 in Brussels
Organised by the EU project PASTA, this workshop presents good practice examples, tools, and free training on the Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) developed by the WHO, to help urban planners, transport and health practitioners better integrate cycling and walking into urban transport planning.
The Transportation Choices That Millennials Want
To attract young professionals, cities increasingly are going to have to think multi-modal.
With no long-term solution in place -- or even in sight -- for the sputtering federal Highway Trust Fund, state and local governments are significantly increasing their own transportation spending. This shift is giving more control to local governments and allowing them to explore alternate transportation modes, not only as a means of reducing traffic congestion but also as a way to attract younger professionals who don't see the automobile as the only choice for mobility.
The Virtuous Cycle of Keeping Your City Affordable for Artists
?Supporting and cultivating a vibrant creative sector is essential to success in today’s economy. As cities reassess their economic development strategies, they are realizing that attracting and developing talent is more fruitful than luring businesses with tax breaks and favorable rents. Creative professionals, in particular, help attract other talent and are highly entrepreneurial. To sustain and accelerate this virtuous cycle, governments must ensure their cities are affordable and hospitable to creative talent.
A European Agenda on Migration
The Mediterranean sea tragedy in February that claimed the lives of hundreds of migrants brought a strong message to Europe: migrant policies are inadequate. In May, The European Commission adopted a new comprehensive approach, the European Agenda on Migration. The plan provides both immediate and long-term responses to face challenges in Europe.
EUROCITIES awards 2015 – the shortlist is out!
Nine European cities have been shortlisted for their projects linked to ‘sustainable urban growth and quality of life’.
Nine of our member cities have been shortlisted for our 2015 awards. The awards recognise outstanding achievement by our members in the delivery of local activities and practices which improve the quality of life for citizens. This year, members were asked to submit projects linked to the theme of EUROCITIES 2015 Copenhagen/Malmo – ‘Living cities – sustainable urban growth and quality of life’.
Tokyo readies for the rise of the 'guerrilla rainstorm'
Japan’s capital may be known for its earthquake resilience strategies, but a recent increase in intense, sudden storms poses another threat – one that the city’s flood protection systems may not be able to manage.
Will autonomous cars change the role and value of public transportation?
Even the concept of a self-driving car is enough to get people talking in raptures about the potential for a utopian future society. It could fulfill the promise of “personal rapid transit” transportation planners hoped to provide decades ago, offering personalized point-to-point service without the hassle, congestion, or crashes involved with driving.
The autonomous vehicle, some predict, will replace many of today’s forms of transportation and radically expand mobility by allowing people, including the young, old, and disabled, to get around without having to walk, without having to know how to drive, and without having to wait for a bus or train. Operating without a driver and using electricity for power, the autonomous vehicle could be cheap to operate and environmentally friendly. It could, in fact, replace car ownership for many households.
Privacy concerns jeopardize ‘smart’ cities
From Africa to South America, ‘smart’ cities reliant on sensors that monitor everything from potholes to water leaks are touted as urbanism’s future. The information can be mined to spot trends and deficiencies — or used to guide planning. But data-science expert Mike Weston writes in the Wall Street Journal that comprehensive information gathering has a downside: privacy intrusions.
Municipalities that deploy sensors in partnership with tech companies are confronted with a host of ethical questions. They must decide which behavior is suitable to track and whether data should be sold to marketers.
Electric double-decker bus set for London debut
London will enter into service the world’s first all-electric double-decker bus later this year, according to the English capital’s mayor. Mayor Boris Johnson made the announcement as he hosted international representatives and major bus manufacturers at the first ever global Clean Bus Summit. The zero-emission bus, manufactured by BYB, will enter service on London’s route 16 from October 2015.
Put your city on the map and help us to build a global database for current models of urban governance
The Urban Governance Survey is an initiative by LSE Cities in partnership with UN-Habitat and UCLG, through its Committee on Decentralisation and Local Governance. The organizations launched a survey in an attempt to address a general lack of data on how cities are governed around the world. The results of this survey have been developed into a new global database that explores current models of urban governance, which is now available online.
Stricter air pollution regulation in Paris entered into force this July
The package of measures to fighting air pollution from car emissions voted last February now enters into force in Paris as of 1st July 2015. The plan comprises a set of measures to support a shift to alternative transport modes, and introduces a low emissions zone for trucks, vans and the most polluting buses.
Urban Dialogues Open Up Electronic Platform For Debate On New Urban Agenda
A new electronic platform allowing people from all over the world to contribute to the debates around the New Urban Agenda has been launched as part of the activities leading up to the Habitat III conference in October 2016.
Over the month of July, the Urban Dialogues will enable debate through online comment and social media channels around six key thematic areas: social cohesion and equity; urban frameworks; spatial development; urban economy; urban ecology and environment, and; urban housing and basic services.
Public Spaces/Private Money: The Triumphs and Pitfalls of Urban Park Conservancies
In this report from the Trust for Public Land, authors Peter Harnik and Abby Martin identify the hallmarks of effective and sustainable conservancies and how they rebuild, refurbish, and maintain some of our most iconic urban parks.
COP 21 - 03.07.2015
World summit on climate & territories: an unprecedented mobilisation of all non-state actors
Over 1400 participants from non-governmental associations and networks of local government, including CEMR and PLATFORMA, met at the World summit climate and territories in Lyon, on 1 and 2 July 2015. The meeting aimed to identify the commitments and recommendations of the territories ahead the summit on climate change (COP21) to be held in Paris by the end of this year.
The summit resulted in the adoption of the declaration “Placing territorial action at the heart of the response to climate challenge”, which states that local government’s fight against climate change is a key lever ahead of the international negotiations – which will result in a new legally binding, sustainable and universal climate agreement – and that only joint efforts to reach an ambitious agreement will allow real progress to preserve the balance of our planet.
Former Mayor of Lisbon and founding member of UCLG, Jorge Sampaio, to be awarded inaugural UN Nelson Mandela Prize
The President of the United Nations General Assembly, Sam Kutesa, announced this week that the first-ever recipients of the United Nations Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize will be Jorge Fernando Branco Sampaio and Dr. Helena Ndume.
On making the announcement, Kutesa explained that the prize “recognizes the achievements of those who dedicate their lives to the service of humanity by promoting UN purposes and principles while honouring Nelson Mandela’s extraordinary life and legacy of reconciliation, political transition and social transformation”.
Core Values: Why American Companies are Moving Downtown
Hundreds of companies across the United States are moving to and investing in walkable downtown locations. As job migration shifts towards cities and as commercial real estate values climb in these places, a vanguard of American companies are building and expanding in walkable downtown neighborhoods.
Why are companies choosing these places? What are the competitive advantages they see in these locations? And what features do they look for when choosing a new location?
Welcome to Jun, the town that ditched bureaucracy to run on Twitter
Residents of the Spanish town use Twitter for everything from reporting crimes to booking doctor’s appointments. Is this the future of local government?
“The only things that the United States has given to the world are skyscrapers, jazz, and cocktails,” once wrote Federico García Lorca. “And in Cuba, in our America, they make much better cocktails.”
The residents of Lorca’s hometown of Granada may now dare to add Twitter to that list. The California-based social network has become something of a specialism for the Spanish city, which now proudly promotes Jun, a local town pioneering Twitter as a way of administering its public services, and hosts an annual conference dedicated to Twitter.
European Mobility Week
Cities and towns across Europe and further afield can now register their participation in European Mobility Week 2015. This year will be celebrated under the theme of multimodality, as represented by the slogan “Choose. Change. Combine.” Last year’s EMW saw citizens from 2,013 cities in 44 countries explore the benefits of embracing sustainable mobility.
The online registration system has been completely overhauled, making it easier to confirm participation. Cities registering for the first time will be asked to “sign up”, and will be required to provide information on their city and relevant local government contact details.
Participating cities and towns will be asked which of the three options they will be carrying out to celebrate the week: holding a week of activities focused on multimodality and sustainable mobility; implementing one or more permanent transport measures, such as building bicycle lanes or widening footpaths; or through holding a “Car-Free Day”, in which a section of road is closed to private vehicles and opened instead to people on 22 September. Those who choose to carry out all three are eligible to apply for the European Mobility Week Award.
Egypt’s New Capital Will be the Largest Planned City in History. But is it Possible?
Cairo’s thousand year reign as the capital of Egypt is under threat by a new capital. Set to rise from the desert sand just east of Cairo, the new capital is estimated to cover an astonishing 270 square miles and cost $45 billion. Already being dubbed as the “new New Cairo” of Egypt, not to be confused with existing “New Cairo,” the development will be the largest planned city in history.
How long does it take to build a city? Egyptian Housing Minister, Mustafa Madbouley, is currently projecting the completion date in 2022. The masterplan, by architecture firm SOM (Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill LLP), is geared towards core concepts revolving around education, economy, opportunity, and quality of life, especially for the younger generations.
Join UCLG in Turin for the 3rd World Forum on Local Economic Development
The 3rd World Forum on Local Economic Development, which will take place in Turin, Italy, from 13 to 16 October 2015, will see local and regional governments highlight Local Economic Development (LED) as a critical tool for the implementation of the international development agenda.
The event is organized by the municipality of Turin, UCLG, and our Working Group on Local Economic Development led by the Andalusian Fund of Municipalities for International Solidarity (FAMSI), the Organization of United Regions (ORU FOGAR), the Brazilian Service of Support for Micro and Small Enterprises (SEBRAE), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Green Spaces Make Kids Smarter
A new study finds that vegetation around schools cuts down on air pollution and boosts memory and attention.
When I lived in L.A., I reported on a school near Long Beach in which nearly a fifth of the students had asthma. One culprit seemed to be the school’s unfortunate geography: About 500 trucks passed by its grounds every hour, and according to a study released at the time, at least 9 percent of childhood-asthma cases in the area were attributable to road traffic. The air near the school, which sometimes smelled rotten or rubbery, contained nearly twice the normal level of elemental carbon, a marker of diesel particles.
Asthma is just one of the health problems linked to air pollution exposure. Sniffing exhaust all day also contributes to everything from stroke to premature death.
How Transit-Oriented Development Benefits Local Economies
Transit-oriented development (TOD) is a “3C” model for development—compact, connected, and coordinated—that has a direct impact on urban mobility and the economy. TOD reduces travel times, congestion, and emissions—expanding access to different areas of the city and thus stimulating economic activity.
Cities and regions from across the world will participate in the climate negotiations in December
With less than five months to go before the Climate Change Conference to be held in Paris (COP 21), the Rhône-Alpes region gathered around 1,000 elected officials and non-state actors from around the world in Lyon (local authorities, NGOs, economic actors, social alliances, the youth sector, representatives of women's associations and the scientific sector, among others) to attend the "World Summit on Climate and Territories", with the intention of analyzing the negotiation process that should lead to an agreement in December.
The Summit aimed to make the voices of all non-state actors heard and highlight the importance of a territorial approach to climate issues. In recent years, local governments have achieved growing recognition in terms of the importance of their role in the climate negotiations, yet have not been able to achieve anything beyond observer status in the United Nations system, since official negotiator status remains exclusively for States.
Bringing the local perspective to the World Humanitarian Summit: a new global urban crisis partnership
As part of the preparations for the World Humanitarian Summit, nearly 50 representatives of local governments, professional associations, academic and research institutions and humanitarian and development actors gathered recently in Barcelona to develop a common platform for advocacy and action to respond to the growing importance of the urban aspects of humanitarian assistance.
UCLG has been approached to contribute to developing the “urban track” of the summit by including local leaders in the reflections on humanitarian strategies. The UCLG World Secretariat is following the preparations for this summit, in close collaboration with their Taskforce on Local Government Disaster Response.
Portuguese government subsidises public transport
The government of Portugal is making € 35 million available to subsidise public transport for people on lower incomes across the country.
Access to the scheme, called Social +, will be assessed on the grounds of household income and will come into force in August. It applies to all Portuguese cities and towns except those in the metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Porto, the two largest cities.
Ancient Indian city of Ajmer awaits its ‘smart’ makeover
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants the northern city to be a futuristic trailblazer, but residents are just hoping for water, sanitation and power
Bucharest SUMP conference sees debate on the future of European transport
The Romanian capital of Bucharest played host to a diverse mix of urban mobility professionals at the 2nd European Conference on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans, which took place from 16–17 June 2015 at the University Politehnica of Bucharest. The many ways in which urban mobility can be used to improve our lives, cities and economies was discussed, with the role of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) taking centre stage. This year’s edition saw more than 300 participants in attendance, up from 144 in 2014.
For Cities, Big-Box Stores Are Becoming Even More of a Terrible Deal
Big-box retailers’ new tactic to slash their taxes is the latest example of why cities are better off saying no to the boxes and cultivating Main Streets instead.
In February, the library in Marquette, Mich., announced that it was cutting its hours.
It wasn’t that its Sunday programming was any less popular, or that it had gotten the short end of the stick in next year’s budget planning. Instead, thanks to a new method that big-box stores are using to game the tax system, Marquette Township owed a $755,828.71 tax refund to the home improvement chain Lowe’s. Essential services like the library, the school district, and the fire department were on the hook to pay for it.
Four ways to look at “trust” in our changing cities
I like to play buzzword bingo at conferences — you “win” when you hear experts drop five voguish words or phrases, preferably within one stream of consciousness. At The Atlantic’s stellar CityLab summit this week in Los Angeles, winning words included most of the keywords sprinkling urban conversations today, such as apps, data, innovation, resilience, transit, biking and sharing.
But one word I heard a lot at CityLab surprised me. It came up both in conference sessions and in discussions I had with mayors and their staffs. And it surfaced in quite different contexts related to the ways urban dwellers, local leaders and businesses interact with one another.
Cities and road automation
City authority and public transport representatives with an interest in road transport automation came together, with CityMobil2 partners, in Lausanne on 23 June for the third meeting of the CityMobil2 Reference Group.
Global Green Releases RFP to Cities for Sustainable Neighborhood Planning
Does your community want greener, more equitable, and more vibrant neighborhoods? Is your community interested in increasing resilience in the face of extreme weather events? Are there significant projects on the horizon that your community wants to make sustainable? Global Green is accepting applications for no-cost technical assistance that can help communities create walkable, bikeable, resource-efficient and equitable neighborhoods. This free assistance is being provided under a grant from EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities’ Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program. Applications due July 17.
London: the city that ate itself
London is a city ruled by money. The things that make it special – the markets, pubs, high streets and communities – are becoming unrecognisable. The city is suffering a form of entropy whereby anything distinctive is converted into property value. Can the capital save itself?
Local-governments day announced for Paris climate summit
The Climate Summit for Local Leaders will take place 4 December.
With less than six months to go before a potentially historic United Nations conference on climate change takes place in Paris, major world figures are making their positions known on a variety of issues. Increasingly, one key subject is revolving around the role of cities.
Last month, Pope Francis took a prominent step to highlight the disproportionate impact of climate change on the urban poor and called on planners and city leaders to improve neighbourhoods and public spaces. This week, Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, and Anne Hidalgo, the current mayor of Paris, publicly called for increased recognition of the role of cities and local governments at the Paris climate talks, which start in November.
EPOMM E-Update June 2015 on Parking Management
EPOMM - the European Platform on Mobility Management* - has released its June 2015 e-bulletin. The theme covers how to integrate parking management and mobility management, based on the innovative approach promoted by the Push & Pull project: 'Push' parking management measures such as the introduction of paid parking can provide a consistent source of income that can be earmarked to finance 'pull' measures, such as improving and promoting sustainable alternatives.
Copenhagen revealed as the most bike-friendly city in the world
The 2015 Copenhagenize Index has announced that the Danish capital of Copenhagen is the most bike-friendly city in the world.
The index compiles 20 global cities judged to be the world's best for urban cycling. The current cycling situation is described in each city, with their performance to other regional cities compared. The index also includes recommendations for improvements.
Copenhagen outranked Amsterdam, the top-ranked city in 2011 and 2013, due to the modal share for cycling jumping from 36 to 45 per cent between 2012 and 2014 and the implementation of new cycling infrastructure.
This year saw five cities enter the top 20 for the first time: Strasbourg (France), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Vienna (Austria), and Minneapolis (USA). All but three of the top 20 are European cities.
Suburbia Goes Global: What It Means for Urban Sustainability
Red tile roofs, a backyard barbecue, a clubhouse in the style of a French chateau. Welcome to Orange County. No, not Orange County, California, the famed suburban region known for its beaches and McMansions. This is Orange County, Beijing.
The resemblance to an American suburb is uncanny. Of course, the water peddler pulling a tricycle down the street and the pollution is a reminder that alas, you are still in Beijing. But for middle class and wealthy Chinese residents, this is the closest thing to buying a house in the United States: a slice of American suburbia on the edge of Beijing.
Psychiatrist treats cities for ‘community trauma’
Does your city need a shrink?
Robert Sullivan reports for the New York Times Magazine that psychiatrists are sensitive to the effects that broken neighborhoods have on public health. They can diagnose forms of “community trauma” that city leaders and architects might overlook. To help neighborhoods heal, they prescribe fresh approaches to urban design.
This month’s reopening of a historic bridge that tethers Manhattan to the Bronx was influenced by a mental health professional, the article says. Mindy Thompson Fullilove, a research psychiatrist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, pushed to connect the bridge to a trail that links struggling communities.
Making sense of Miami: what America's refuge city says about the US's future
The dizzying blend of accents entices some visitors and alarms others. But as the US gets ever-closer to Cuba, long-time Miami resident Michael Deibert asks: what can the rest of America learn from its own multicultural metropolis?
Shut out and abandoned by society
On 24-25 June 2015, the city of Nantes hosted a study visit on homeless people with multiple and complex needs, in the framework of our working group on homelessness.
The purpose of the event was to exchange experiences on working with homeless people who do not respond to the standard interventions due to a combination of various issues, including mental health illnesses, substance abuse, disabilities, and others.
The cities of Barcelona, Brighton & Hove, Brno, Gothenburg, Lisbon, Ljubljana, Nantes, Newcastle, Oslo and Vienna explored good practices and possible approaches to supporting this target group. Abassia Hakem, district deputy mayor, opened the event by stating that solidarity is the key to social cohesion in cities. Later in the day, Marie-Annick Benâtre, deputy mayor of Nantes, welcomed participants to the city hall and said that exchanges with other cities help Nantes improve their services for the homeless.
How In-Town Development Produces Less Traffic Than You Might Think
New research shows that ITE rates overestimated vehicle trips by an average of 2.3 times in the morning peak-hour period and by 2.4 times in the evening peak-hour period. In other words, smart growth projects generated, on average, less than half the amount of traffic that standard engineering estimates had predicted. In this article, Kaid Benfield says that people’s reactions to proposed new development should be based on best-available data, not worst-case fears.
Outdoor advertising impacts cities positively, according to new report
Outdoor advertising is transforming cities by helping tackle population growth and serving as a vital public information resource, according to a new report.
Out of home, into the city: transforming cities by engaging citizens, commissioned by the Clear Channel Outdoor advertising company and seen exclusively by Cities Today, highlights new research in seven European cities–London, Paris, Dublin, Barcelona, Stockholm, Naples and Brussels–which reports the majority of people feel out of home advertising (OOH)–or advertising people see when they are away from home such as on billboards or using public transport–is making a positive contribution to their city.
World Cities Report 2015 – nearing completion
Thirty-two researchers have gathered at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to discuss initial findings for UN-Habitat’s upcoming flagship publication, the World Cities Report 2015. This report is a major contribution to the upcoming Habitat III Conference in 2016.
London’s Tube will soon run all night, fixing a longstanding, ludicrous problem
London is one of the world’s most vibrant cities, but nights out in the capital often take on a strange character. At many events, a big group of people will abruptly dash off all at once, just before midnight. The city’s size and sprawl means that getting anywhere quickly relies on the London Underground network, or Tube, which shuts shortly after midnight from most central stations.
Those that keep the party going subject themselves to the whims of the city’s overloaded and inadequate overnight transport options. These revellers are subjected to the mind-bogglingly long and surreal journeys by the infamous Night Bus. Invariably, it will involve a transfer at Trafalgar Square, thronged with tired partiers picking at takeaway food and holding forth in semi-coherent, shouted conversations. After jostling to fit in a jammed bus, nocturnal commuters are often rewarded with someone falling asleep on their shoulder, and drooling.
France tackles air quality through urban mobility
France has launched a new scheme to improve urban air quality.
With a major focus on mobility, the scheme supports French local authorities with funding and tools over five years to develop radical measures to reduce air pollution.
‘The idea is to change civic life and give municipalities, whose work I salute, the possibility to tackle this major public health problem head on.’ Minister for the Environment Ségolène Royal said.
A ghost city revived: the remarkable transformation of Hebron
Twenty years ago, the Old City of Hebron – one of the most important religious sites to Jews and Muslims alike – was crumbling, as curfews and restrictions reduced the Palestinian population to just 400. Then the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee started work.
Become a Transformative Action City
ICLEI and partners are launching the TRANSFORMATIVE ACTIONS PROGRAM (TAP)
A 10-year program to showcase the potential of local climate action and catalyze investment in urban areas.
We invite all local governments to contribute a transformative climate action today!
The TAP will:
• Collect your transformative projects and action plans – ambitious, cross-cutting and inclusive mitigation and adaptation actions led by local and subnational governments to transform their areas.
• Showcase these actions to nations as well as to financial and other partners during the COP21 in Paris and future COPs, and highlight the need for support.
• Use these projects and action plans to contribute to local and subnational government negotiation efforts towards the Paris international agreement.
All selected transformative actions will be featured in the TAP2015 Pavilion – a 200m² space for debate, presentations, exchanges and networking at the COP21 in Paris in December.
Bringing cities to the global table
An array of global negotiations on climate change and our global future is about to occur. But so far these talks are including scant voice for cities, even though these areas now represent, for the first time in history, a majority of mankind.
The near-term conference list is both daunting and critical to where the world’s debates are headed. These include the United Nations COP 21 (Conference of the Parties) meeting in Paris at the end of the year, where many hope a new climate accord will be struck. These also include the process to define the new Post-2015 Development Agenda, a key portion of which will be finalized in September, as well as the Habitat III cities conference in October 2016. In addition, of course, there are the many meetings and discussions worldwide that will take place in parallel to these summits.
Urban residents aren’t abandoning buses; buses are abandoning them
“Pity the poor city bus,” writes Jacob Anbinder in an interesting essay at The Century Foundation’s website. Anbinder brings some of his own data to a finding that’s been bouncing around the web for a while: that even as American subways and light rail systems experience a renaissance across the country, bus ridership has been falling nationally since the start of the Great Recession.
But it’s not buses that are being abandoned. It’s bus riders.
The drop in bus ridership over the last several years has been mirrored by a decline in bus service, even as transit agencies have managed to resume increasing frequency and hours on all types of rail lines – heavy, light, and commuter.
First modules of the "Bristol Method" available online
As European Green Capital in 2015, Polis member Bristol has an opportunity to share what they know with people all over the country, across Europe and around the world. To do so, Bristol has launched the knowledge-transfer programme "the Bristol Method".
Germans drivers 'very satisfied' with e-cars, study finds
Germans are very satisfied with their electric vehicles with 84 per cent saying that they would happily recommend them to others, according to a study of e-car owners.
The Institute for Transport Research at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), which surveyed over 3 000 electric car owners, found that the main reason respondents bought electric cars was to help reduce pollution and because they were interested in innovative vehicle technology.
The promise of cheaper energy costs per kilometre, free parking and charging, and tax exemptions also played a role in the decision to purchase cleaner vehicles.
Three Enabling Factors for Building Urban Resilience
Due to climate change, hundreds of millions of people in urban areas across the world will be exposed to rising sea levels, greater inland flooding, more frequent and intense storms, and regular periods of both extreme heat and cold in the coming years. Despite these risks, many cities have not yet addressed resilience—the capacity to not only bounce back after a natural disaster, but also strengthen protection to future hazards and learn from the experience.
Cities often lack the technical and financial capacity to invest in resilience building. Particularly in developing countries, cities face a range of pressing challenges—from providing basic services, to ensuring affordable housing, developing sustainable transport, and increasing economic opportunity. Because of these immediate and pressing issues, city leaders often do not prioritize projects, like early warning systems, or policies, like zoning codes, that can build the long-term capacity of their communities to properly respond to climate hazards. Especially far down on the list of priorities are the governance-related changes necessary for ensuring that efforts are actually implemented and are effective.
Green jobs for social inclusion
Eurocities new collection of good practices highlights how cities are promoting employment and social inclusion in the green sector for vulnerable groups, such as young people and the long term unemployed.
In our latest publication, ‘Green jobs for social inclusion’, we share examples of actions being taken by European cities to support the employment of vulnerable groups through and into the green economy. We showcase projects that support groups of people who face significant barriers to employment; including people with disabilities, over 50s, young people not in education or training (NEETS), and the long term unemployed.
Lyon: last stop before the international conference on climate in Paris
Heat waves, storms, floods and droughts: there is no doubt, the negative impacts of a changing climate are already visible within our territories. Given their responsibilities concerning spatial planning, transport, public procurement and sustainable development, municipalities, cities and regions are the best placed to fight climate change.
Six months before COP21 – which will result in a new legally binding, sustainable and universal climate agreement – local government and other non-governmental organisations want to make sure that their voices, theirs needs and their strengths are taken into account in the future international negotiations to be held in Paris by the end of this year. To this aim, the major international networks of non-state actors, including CEMR and PLATFORMA, are organising the World Summit Climate & Territories to be held in Lyon from 1 to 2 July. After the summit, participants will present concrete commitments and proposals to the States participating in the negotiations in Paris.
Dublin to prioritize pedestrians, public transit under 8-year plan
Dublin plans to ban motorists from its center under an ambitious, eight-year strategy to make the city more walkable. Paul Melia reports for the Irish Independent that the €150 million (US$ 171 million) makeover is spearheaded by the Dublin City Council and the National Transport Authority.
Cars and taxis would be banned, with priority granted to buses, trams, pedestrians and cyclists. Some parking lots are to be relocated away from the downtown to further discourage vehicles from entering the core. Meanwhile, footpaths are slated to be widened, and as the Irish Examiner notes here, dedicated cycling lanes added.
Urban commons have radical potential – it's not just about community gardens
A rise in commonly owned spaces and services hopes to reclaim the city for the public good, providing a participatory alternative to exclusive urban development. But how can it be upscaled from local garden projects?
Greater London: National Park?
Did you know that nearly half of London is green space? The city might be home to 8 million people, but it's also richly blessed with plants and wildlife. London has so much rus in urbe that one group has campaigned to designate the city as the Greater London National Park, which would make it the first urban realm to take on that status
Integrated city systems for increased efficiency
Tampere aims to become carbon neutral by 2050 by investing in cogeneration, high efficiency standards in building and integrated data for transport.
Tampere is expanding Finland’s biggest wood-pellet district heating plant by building an additional one to run on household fuel in 2016. Thanks to district heating, the total CO2 emissions have decreased by 15% since 1990.
Holding Your Breath in India
FOR weeks the breathing of my 8-year-old son, Bram, had become more labored, his medicinal inhaler increasingly vital. And then, one terrifying night nine months after we moved to this megacity, Bram’s inhaler stopped working and his gasping became panicked.
My wife called a friend, who recommended a private hospital miles away. I carried Bram to the car while my wife brought his older brother. India’s traffic is among the world’s most chaotic, and New Delhi’s streets are crammed with trucks at night, when road signs become largely ornamental. We undertook one of the most frightening journeys of our lives, with my wife in the back seat cradling Bram’s head.
ISOCARP Awards 2015 - Deadline approaching
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSON Awards for Excellence and Gerd Albers Award: 30 June 2015
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION Sam van Embden Award: 31 July 2015
The ISOCARP AWARDS will have a special configuration and importance in 2015, as our Society is celebrating 50 years of active presence in the realm of urban and regional planning. The topic of the congress is CITIES SAVE THE WORLD. LET’S REINVENT PLANNING. The spirit of this congress is to comprehend and contextualise the role of cities as engines of economy. In understanding this role it is important to build upon an exploratory, international, cross-cultural and innovative attitude that always has characterized ISOCARP initiatives. In this extraordinary year for ISOCARP besides the classic and established ISOCARP AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE and the GERD ALBERS AWARD there will be the ACC50 SAM VAN EMBDEN AWARD.
Is this the city of the future?
At the end of a six-mile road in a dry valley in southern New Mexico, researchers are building a first-of-its-kind testing ground for the future. Here among the cottonwoods and coyotes, they are creating a city designed to serve as a living laboratory for the latest in cutting-edge technology, such as goods-delivering drones and roads filled with driverless cars. It’ll be identical to any other city except for one thing: No one will live there.
Groundbreaking is scheduled to begin in fall 2015 outside Las Cruces for the Center for Innovation, Testing and Evaluation (CITE), a real-life SimCity that resembles a modest American town with a population of 35,000 people spread over roughly 15 square miles. The brainchild of Washington state-based tech development firm Pegasus Global Holdings, it will include tall office buildings, narrow alleys, parks, houses, churches, a simulated interstate highway, even a gas station and a big box store. There will be urban, rural, and suburban zones and, below ground, it will have the typical support infrastructure, including utilities and telecommunications.
UN-Habitat takes part in Velo-City 2015 Conference
UN-Habitat participated in the “Velo-City 2015 Conference, held in Nantes, France from 2-5 June 2015, organised by the “European Cycling Federation” (ECF). Widely recognized as a major global platform for the exchange of visions, knowledge, expertise and good practices, ECF’s “ Velo City “ conference series promotes the integration of cycling in the relevant public policy sectors including transport planning, land development, public health, education, environment, economy, energy and human rights.
Why All Cities Should Have a Department of Food
Across the country, we need to incorporate food into the way we plan and organize the places we live. For this, we need officials in local government who are dedicated full-time to addressing the problem. Last month, a federally funded project with the American Farmland Trust and other partners was launched to help eight communities connect family farmers to consumers who lack access to healthy food.
Copernicus Masters Urban Challenge now open for entries
European Space Imaging is now accepting entries for its High-Res Urban Challenge. The challenge is part of this year’s Copernicus Masters focused on European Large Urban zones. The Copernicus Masters Competition is annually awarding prizes to innovative solutions for business and society based on Earth observation data.
Repair Café is a meeting place where community members gather and help each other to repair broken equipment. They are free accessible meet-ups whereby neighbors volunteer to repair and restore all sorts of objects. This includes clothes appliances, furniture, bicycles, computers and other electronics. Visitors take their broken belongings to the voluntary experts, such as electricians, seamstresses, carpenters at the Repair Cafe. In the Repair Café tool and material is present in order to carry out all possible repairs. You can find out if your broken object is reparable or is just out of use. Repair Café helps to reduce waste. It also contributes to a change in mentality by warming up people for a sustainable society.
LAST MONTH'S NEWS