Energy Cities calls for more innovative financing
Energy Cities, the European association of local authorities assisting over 1,000 cities and towns in their energy transition, calls for better project financing for municipalities to ensure cities' energy mix becomes more sustainable.
Start of the “Safer tourist cities” project (2013-2015)
Europe is the world’s number one tourism destination. A majority of tourists choose European cities for their cultural, sports, entertainment, business or leisure holidays. European cities obviously are of varying size, and they also have diverse offers.
The "All of us are pedestrians” campaign in Aveiro, Portugal
The objective of this campaign was to raise awareness amongst motorists of illegal pavement parking and enabling residents and city users to reprimand badly behaved motorists.
Within this Steer project several walking enhancing activities have been carried out such as Walkability Audits, awareness raising activities including seminars, posters, leaflets, raffles of shopping carts, exhibitions and the design of a walking map.
Sustainable urban mobility plans for polycentric regions
Poly-SUMP launches a participatory process to discuss a vision and actions plans for the future of regional mobility
For the first time, polycentric regions are in the spotlight of the European Union transport agenda.
In the first of a series of workshops, which took place in Ancona, Italy, on 7-9 March 2013, the Poly-SUMP project was launched in great style. Funded by Intelligent Energy- Europe, it aims to develop a sustainable mobility planning methodology in polycentric regions – areas where services and goods, and therefore transport needs, are scattered in different towns.
Representatives from eight countries in Europe identified a common profile for polycentric regions: high use of private cars, high costs for public transport services inside the region, the need for innovation in mobility services, and scarce coordination of mobility services at the different levels.
With the goal to develop action plans to build a shared vision on scenarios for 2043, participants discussed the past, present and future of mobility and came up with a list of 13 major actions, including: implementing better real time services at the scale of the region; improving cross border services in trans-national regions; establishing a strategy for smart polycentric regions to keep their competitive advantage despite rising energy costs and falling public budgets; lowering the costs of green infrastructures to encourage a transport shift towards more sustainable transport modes; and improving governance by managing the mobility strategy at regional level, with high involvement of stakeholders and population.
The workshop also offered the possibility to develop concrete recommendations and suggestions with the goal of producing a European Action Plan to steer the European mobility agenda in polycentric areas in the framework of the EU transport and energy roadmaps to 2020 and beyond (2030 and 2050). Unanimously, it was agreed that polycentric mobility should receive greater attention and higher priority in the European agenda, through awareness raising activities and education.
In the coming months and years, Poly-SUMP will continue its work by organising local future workshops in six regions, with a vision to deliver guidelines for the development of mobility plans for all regions in Europe, “with and for the citizens”, as Mr Sergio Strali, Transport Director of Marche Region, Italy, coordinator of the project, stressed in his opening speech.
ICLEI offers free support with purchasing clean public vehicles
A new European project led by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability assists public authorities and fleet operators in purchasing vehicles with higher standards of energy and environmental performance. Public authorities and fleet operators in Europe are now obliged by law to take environmental factors into account when purchasing road vehicles, as outlined in the Directive on the Promotion of Clean and Energy Efficient Road Transport Vehicles (2009/33/EC) of the European Commission. The Directive aims to accelerate broad market introduction of clean and energy-efficient road transport.
The Clean Fleets project provides free and direct support with the implementation of the Clean Vehicles Directive including assistance with specific procurement actions. In the course of the three-year project, a series of trainings, workshops, study visits and networking events will build capacity, promote exchange of experiences and best practice.
Project Coordinator Simon Clement of ICLEI says, “Road transport accounts for about a fifth of total CO2 emissions in Europe. Public procurement offers a huge potential to drive the market for vehicles with better energy and environmental performance. The new regulations require public purchasers to rethink their procurement processes. This presents a real opportunity to reduce energy consumption, noise, CO2 and other pollutant emissions considerably.”
More information: www.clean-fleets.eu
EU Cities Adapt project results
The outcomes and lessons learned in the course of the EU Cities Adapt project will be shared on 3rd June 2013 at the final project conference during the Open European Day in the margins of the Resilient Cities conference 2013 in Bonn, Germany. The European Day is jointly hosted by ICLEI and EEA in collaboration with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Climate Action (DG CLIMA).
Do not miss this unique opportunity to share your experience on urban adaptation, learn from others and discuss solutions at this interactive one-day event. Participation is free of charge, so secure your place today by registering online: http://resilient-cities.iclei.org/bonn2013/side-events/open-european-day/registration-form/
Project results Sustainable Urban Fringes (SURF)
The Sustainable Urban Fringes (SURF) project has published its findings after 3 years of research. The conducted research is informed by practical projects demonstrating how the urban fringe (outskirts urban land) can make a real contribution to sustainable development in our city regions. The project is part of the Interreg IVB North Sea Region Programme and partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund. In total, 13 project partners from 5 countries worked together, exchanging knowledge on the effective management and development of the urban fringe.
Launch of the Platform for the electrification of surface transport
Eleven organisations from across industries and transport modes joined forces today to drive forward the electrification of surface transport.
World mayors commit to make cities crime and violence free
Mayors from across the globe met at the United Nations, New York, where the main outcome was their stated determination to make cities free from violence and crime.
Bioenergy cogeneration: Tapping the potential
The combination of combined heat and power technology (CHP) and renewable energy sources is a key approach that holds significant potential to reach the EU energy and climate objectives. To make the most of this opportunity, which is not yet widely spread among local and regional authorities, several Covenant of Mayors signatories – including Frankfurt, Berlin, Hannover and Riga - are taking part in the CHP Goes Green project .
Cities in action: Grasping Berlin – shaping Berlin
Eurocities latest ‘cities in action’ case studies focuses on Berlin, which is committed to becoming a barrier-free city. It is especially reaching out to its visually-impaired citizens and visitors.
The city has published two planning manuals – for public buildings and public spaces – which provide guidelines for professionals in implementing the principle of ‘design for all’. Developed in partnership with groups of affected citizens, the manuals are now mandatory for the design and construction of public buildings in Berlin. Their success has been recognised internationally, and they have been translated into English and Russian, to be used by Moscow in the barrier-free transformation of the city.
UN-Habitat Executive Director reaffirms his commitment to women’s safety
On the occasion of the International Women’s Day celebrated, UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos reaffirmed his commitment to making cities safe for the women.
Lille launches new parking strategy
As part of the Lille PDU (sustainable urban mobility plan), the city-region has developed a parking strategy at regional level. The city-region has signed a charter together with the subsistent municipalities in order to commit to this common vision.
PLATFORMA releases new publication on development effectiveness at the local and regional level
What kind opportunities exist to improve synergies between development-related actions led by local and regional governments and EU strategies promoting decentralisation and local governance?
Covenant Coordinators show how they help cities deliver
Regions, provinces, national energy agencies and other Covenant of Mayors Coordinators having joined the initiative for over a year have reported on the activities performed to assist municipalities in meeting the EU energy and climate objectives. The results of this reporting exercise have been published here on the Covenant library.
Covenant Coordinators provide strategic guidance to Covenant signatory cities, especially when these lack the financial and technical support to effectively develop and implement their Sustainable Energy Action Plans. Covenant Coordinators fully match their names, as they indeed play a genuine coordination role at large territorial scales, informing cities about the initiative and then assisting them throughout all phases of the Covenant process.
Thanks to those Coordinators, direct interaction is thus ensured with thousands of signatory cities. Signatories’ access to funding sources is also facilitated by these structures, which often act as structural funds managing authorities and can thus decide to allocate EU funding to Covenant-related activities.
OP-ACT Charta for Equivalent Living Conditions in Small and Medium Sized European cities
What have in common the Mayors of Leoben (Austria), Altena (Germany), Medias (Romania) or Rezekne (Latvia) ? They all have signed the OP-ACT Charta in Leoben during the Final Conference of the OP-ACT URBACT project, a call for equivalent living conditions in small and medium sized European cities in view of demographic change. OP-ACT partner cities have formulated in this Charta their most important demands directed towards political levels. Topics range from adapted financing strategies, trough modified regional planning concepts, up to tailored immigration policies.
ECOMM 2013: making sustainable transport part of everyday life
The European Conference on Mobility Management takes place in Gavle, Sweden on 29-31 May 2013
On 29-31 May 2013, the winner of the 2009 European Mobility Week award, Gavle in Sweden, will host the 2013 European Conference on Mobility Management on ‘Smart choices require easy access – making sustainable transport a part of every day life’.
For Gavle, this is an important issue as many residents live outside the city in rural areas or commute long distances. It is therefore important that the city provides transport solutions - such as city buses and bike parking on trains - to make travelling into the city convenient and to encourage citizens to make more sustainable choices.
This is a challenge which is shared across many European cities.
The conference will be a chance for cities to share ideas and learn about urban planning and mobility, encouraging cycling and how to save money thanks to mobility management.
More information and registration for the conference can be found on the ECOMM website: www.ecomm2013.eu
South African municipalities commit towards taking action for a sustainable urban energy future
ICLEI Africa launches flagship urban low-emission development project together with national partners during the ‘Local Renewables Initiative’ closing event in South Africa.
Over 45 representatives from seven South African municipalities gathered today in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, to officially launch the start of the South African component of ICLEI’s flagship global project “Promoting Urban Low Emission Development Strategies in emerging economy countries”, or “Urban-LEDS”.
The project, with ICLEI Africa as South African implementing partner and UN-Habitat as contracting partner, recognises that cities that pioneer a low emission development model today will be the ones that attract future investment, educe energy costs and become efficient, inclusive, clean places to live and work tomorrow. It aims
to enable the seven municipalities to meet development objectives in a clean, green way, through the integration of low-emission priorities into existing development plans.
Delhi and beyond: towards safer cities for women and girls
"As UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet said in a recent speech, global awareness and momentum on ending violence against women and girls has never been stronger. “With leading women’s organizations, including Women in Cities International, the Huairou Commission, Jagori and Women and Habitat Network in Latin America, we strategically placed gender equality and women’s empowerment and safety of women in public spaces within activities of the UN-Habitat’s Global Network on Safer Cities." [...]
On February 19, grassroots women, feminist organizations and local authorities in more than 50 cities across the globe took steps towards building safer cities for women and girls
What measures of attractiveness and competitiveness for municipalities in coming decade?
Mayors from all over Europe gathered in Cannes, France, on 13 March 2013 at the occasion of the MIPIM Mayors Think Tank session to discuss what measures of attractiveness and competitiveness can be developed by and for local authorities in the coming decade
Report on pedestrian safety, urban space and health
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has recently published a report aiming at presenting decision-makers with hard evidence on the important place of walking in transport policies and provides guidelines for developing a safe environment conducive to walking.
Intelligent transport systems: check out the new guidelines!
The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) is pleased to present a set of guidelines on ways to implement three key aspects of intelligent transport systems in urban areas: travel information, travel management and smart ticketing
These guidelines, which include a set of good practices shared by European cities, were developed by an expert group set up by the European Commission. CEMR was represented within this group by Marcel Meeuwissen from the City of Enschede in the Netherlands.
Getting ready for the UN Habitat Governing Council: the role of cities in creating improved economic opportunities
The United Nations Agency in charge of the Habitat Agenda (UN-Habitat) is holding its 24th Governing Council on 15-19 April in Nairobi, Kenya.
This year’s Council will take as its special theme: ‘Sustainable urban development: the role of cities in creating improved economic opportunities for all, with special references to youth and gender”.
UN-Habitat is the only UN Agency to date where local authorities participate as full partners in the deliberations of its governing council. As it is traditionally the case, UCLG will facilitate local government representation in the Governing Council.
ESPON’s Research Project RISE
Over recent decades it has become increasingly clear that successful regional development requires the merging of skills and resources. This new approach necessitates the creation of new more inclusive forms of governance, with a movement towards flexible cooperative networks, clusters and partnerships. In short, nowadays policy makers must operate in a system of multi-level governance.
Zoning for Residential and Mixed Land-Use May Lead to Decrease in Crime Rates
A recently study published in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review suggests that increasing residential zoning on blocks that are otherwise zoned commercial might be a viable means of reducing crime in urban areas. The study found that city blocks zoned exclusively for residential uses, as well as those zoned for residential and commercial mixed uses have less crime than blocks that are zoned solely for commercial use. The research shows that single-use commercially zoned blocks have expected crime rates that are about 45 percent higher than blocks with residential uses mixed in.
Local Renewables 2013 Conference.
The Local Renewables 2013 Conference "Shaping your solar city - practical solutions from planning to implementation" will take place from 24-25 October 2013 in Freiburg, Germany.
The Conference addresses ICLEI members and other European cities, local and regional decision makers, representatives of the European institutions and organisations, technical experts, business and people interested in practical guidance on how to shape a solar city and optimise local renewable energy potentials.
International Awards for Liveable Communities (The LivCom Awards).
The International Awards for Liveable Communities, (The LivCom Awards), was launched in 1997 and is now firmly established as the World’s premier event concentrating on a major issue of our time – the local environment. The LivCom Awards is, however, far more than an Awards Programme; it is also a unique learning experience.
The LivCom Awards is unique in that it brings together representatives of many communities, which enables representatives of a community to attend the Best Practice presentations of other communities, both large and small, and from different cultures.
This experience often leads to discussions between delegates, culminating in agreements to work together in addressing mutual challenges.
LivCom is totally non political.
The first stage of the LivCom experience is the submission of a Report, structured in line with the LivCom Judging Criteria, which is a form of free self audit, and can be used as the basis of a wider Strategic Plan.
Many parts of the world are experiencing difficult financial times and fresh ideas and policies are needed to meet rising expectations regarding quality of life issues and improve cost effective spending.
It is no longer acceptable to be aware of Best Practice in a community’s Region, country or even international region, as there is an expectation that anyone responsible for local environmental issues be informed about current global Best Practice. Participation in the LivCom Awards is the only global event where a community has the opportunity to learn of global Best Practice in addressing challenges that their own community is facing.
Participation in the Awards is an investment in the community that can produce returns year after year, far in excess of the cost or time invested in participation in the Awards.
The LivCom Awards is a UK Registered Charity and shares a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Each year the LivCom Criteria are reviewed to ensure their relevance in a changing world, and UNEP is invited to suggest developing issues that should be referred to in LivCom Judging Criteria
If you require further information please go to www.livcomawards.com for details in 26 languages and to register.
TOGETHER Project - Video on Co-responsibility not to be missed
How to better understand the co-responsibility process and actions? URBACT TOGETHER project has completed its programme of exchange and learning activities. The project partners have been working relentlessly for three years looking for new ways to engage with ordinary people and citizens in applying the principle of co-responsability. TOGETHER has produced a video promoting the results of its project. Watch this lively video to learn more about co-responsibility and the impact of an URBACT project on the ground.
London unveils £913m cycling plan to reduce traffic and pollution
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, announced a £913m project to create a 15-mile “Crossrail for the bike” on 7 March 2013 as part of his plan to transform London into “the most attractive city to cycle in for everybody”.
Modeled against the Dutch segregated cycling route, the Crossrail will run from the Western suburbs to the East through the heart of London. It is one of the most ambitious of its kind in Europe, and is expected to be completed by 2015.
The announcement came on the same day when the supreme court declared its reservation of right to judge on UK’s failure to reduce air pollution within the time limits set by the EU.
Medellin Chosen as 'Innovative City of the Year'
From an initial list of 200 candidates, Medellín, Colombia has been selected as the winner of The Wall Street Journal and Citi's “City of the Year” competition.
Selected by public vote (more than 980,000 online votes were cast during the program), Medellin beat out finalists Tel Aviv and New York City to claim the title “Innovative City of the Year.” Cities were selected for the competition based on eight criteria: environment and land use, culture and livability, economic/investment climate, progress and potential, places of power, education and human capital, technology, and research and mobility and infrastructure.
Local governments invited to international conference on trafficking in human beings
The governments of the Netherlands, Poland and Cyprus organise with the support of the European Commission a two-day working conference aimed at developing and strengthening cross-border, multidisciplinary operational cooperation against trafficking in human beings, which will take place 16-18 April
Aberdeen and Zagreb win European urban mobility awards
The European Commission has announced the winners of the 2012 European Mobility Week Award and of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans Award. Aberdeen took the top honour in the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans Award ahead of two other finalists: Ljutomer (Slovenia) and Polis member Toulouse (France).
How Can Cities support Young People Though Social Innovation?
Cities are full of opportunities for young people. However, transition to adult life is not always a smooth process and the current youth unemployment crisis threatens to increase the number of disengaged young people in our cities. Eddy Adams, URBACT Thematic Pole Manager on Active Inclusion and Robert Arnkil, Lead Expert of the URBACT My Generation at work project, tackle this issue in their recent article "How Can Cities support Young People Though Social Innovation ?” published in the latest issue of the URBACT Tribune.
Only 4 more week until the 7th European Conference on Sustainable Cities and Towns
The City of Geneva and Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) invite you to attend the 7th European Conference on Sustainable Cities and Towns, to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 17 to 19 April 2013, and in collaboration with the Council of European Municipalities and Regions
The State of China Cities 2012/2013
The State of China’s Cities 2012/2013 is a collection of contributions from UNHabitat, China Science Centre of International Eurasian Academy of Sciences, China Association of Mayors and Chinese Society of Urban Planning. This publication captures new initiatives taken by the central and local governments of China to make the life of rural migrants equitable to those of urban residents in terms of security of employment, education, pension, medical care and housing; build 36 million flats for low income families in cities between 2011 to 2015; consolidate institutions for disaster reduction and prevention; expand poverty reduction programmes in rural China; and build and demonstrate low-carbon and ecological cities and communities.
Plans for UK's largest floating village
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said the capital would have a major role to play in Britain’s economic recovery as he revealed plans to build the UK’s largest floating village at the city’s Royal Docks.
South-south city cooperation: attracting more partners
Over the past few years, the dissemination of knowledge in a strategic manner among cities has fueled development partners such as Cities Alliance, UN Habitat, GIZ and universities and institutions, to become partners in a number of the activities conducted in the framework of the UCLG programme on South-South Cooperation.
Building on the motivation and commitment of Mozambican and Brazilian cities in this process, UCLG, in collaboration with development networks and agencies - namely Intermediary Cities Network (CIMES) and Architects without Borders – Catalunya (ASF-C) - will encourage more exchange between the cities of these countries, particularly between the National Government Associations: National Government Association of Mozambique (ANAMM) and National Front of Mayors (FNP) in Brazil. This will further motivate exchange and support the strengthening of both institutions as active drivers of decentralized cooperation.
Kenya Launches 'Popup City'
In January, Kenya launched its Konza Technology City, a $14.4 billion "popup city" located 40 miles from Nairobi. Nicknamed the "African Silicon Savannah," Konza was master planned by SHoP Architects and is part of Kenya's Vision 2030 plan.
This city, which will include some tall buildings, will "spur massive trade and investment as well as create thousands of employment opportunities for young Kenyans," the nation's president Mwai Kibaki announced at the groundbreaking ceremony.
"By 2015, more than 20,000 IT jobs are expected to spring up from the project, and that number inflates to 200,000 by the projected completion date, 2030, numbers that don't include the bodies needed to operate the planned college campus, hotels, hospitals and research facilities,"
Bottom-up livability scoops awards
Rain water collection in Yemen, shaded bus shelters in Uganda and a pop-up modular park in Argentina are the legacy of Philips's Livable Cities Awards.
In 2011, Dutch electronics company Philips announced the three winners of its Livable Cities Awards.
Recently, Philips released an update on the implementation progress of the three winning projects, which were selected out of a pool of 450 proposals and span three continents.
Sabrina Faber's Rainwater Aggregation Scheme installed 25 rainwater collection systems on rooftops in Sana'a, Yemen's capital, which suffers from water shortages and drought, with plans to expand to other cities.
James Kityo's Shade Stands installed 45 bus shelters featuring health-related displays in Kampala, Uganda, with plans to provide shading infrastructure to other parts of the world.
Manuel Rapoport's Plaza Movil debuted at Technopolis, a technology fair in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The modular plaza creates an impromptu pedestrian open space outfitted with places to sit and play in public areas.
The awards were motivated by findings of the Philips Index on health and well-being, which conducted initial studies on what matters most to people when it comes to their overall well-being in the United States, Brazil and China. Health and emotional happiness topped the list.
The awards sought to encourage individuals, businesses and communities to implement achievable projects that improve their living environments.
Taxi flat rate for 48 Euro per month in Frankfurt (Germany)
A new mobility concept is expected to start in the Rhine-Main Area later this year. People will be able to buy a TAXMOBIL card for a monthly flat rate of 48 Euro and then can use taxi services for free whenever they want.
Why do some European cities have a much higher share of cycling compared to other cities with the same characteristics? How did champion cities in cycling become the leading cycling cities they are today? These are questions that the CHAMP project would like to answer in order to see how these leading cycling cities’ successes and failures can help other cities to become future cycling champions.
CHAMP, a European project funded under the Intelligent Energy for Europe Programme, brings together champion cities in the field of cycling. By looking at their counterparts in Europe, the CHAMP cities want to find ways to upgrade and optimise their cycle policy and collect new ideas for making cycling even safer and more attractive.
Cities cannot reach new goals and further improve their performance if they do not have a clear overview of their starting point and their strengths and weaknesses in the field of cycling. CHAMP has therefore developed and tested a performance assessment tool, which builds on two elements: a self-analysis and a peer review. After filling in a questionnaire on the current state of their cycling policy, each CHAMP city hosted a peer review team that tested the city’s cycling facilities and learned more about the underlying dynamics between different stakeholders. Both activities provided the necessary insight into the cities’ cycling policies as the basis for a performance analysis. The performance analysis revealed strengths and weaknesses in their cycling policies, as a baseline for setting new goals and to put cities on track towards further improvements in their cycling policy.
Although all CHAMP cities have already taken considerable steps to promote cycling, the gap analysis revealed that the development of cycling infrastructure alone is not enough to encourage people to cycle. Complementary actions need to be implemented, such as well-targeted promotion campaigns, innovative parking solutions and evaluation processes. It also became clear that after reaching a certain level of cycling, the co-existence between cycling and pedestrians cannot be overlooked. The measures that will soon be implemented in the CHAMP project aim to address these specific gaps.
The performance analysis also led to the development of a tool that allows other cycling cities to reflect on their current bicycle strategy, as a first step in determining the measures they should focus on when further improving their cycling strategy. This tool bundles all elements that are important in a comprehensive cycling policy and thereby allows identification of strengths and weaknesses. It is available at www.champ-cycling.eu/en/About-Champ/Objectives-tools/.
Registrations to Energy Cities’ Annual Rendezvous 2013 in Växjö are now open.
This 2-days high level event in Växjö, a pioneer in sustainable energy, will bring you closer to new ways of thinking and doing. Nearly two decades ago, elected people from all political ides unanimously decided to make Växjö "100% Fossil Fuel Free"!
From 24 to 26 April 2013:
LEARN: for discussion on energy objectives and actions in cities, in view of managing our energy transition;
NETWORK: to meet familiar faces and discover high-level speakers for a 2-day journey into local realities and visions;
VISIT: have a glance of Sweden’s largest newly constructed wooden houses or of Växjö’s first small-scale urban windmill.
Meet Your Neighbours
What happens when you take a group of girls from three different schools – one Muslim, one Roman Catholic and one secular – on a two-day trip to get to know one another? They learn about each other, discuss their different beliefs and cultural traditions, and most of all discover the many things they have in common.
Meet Your Neighbours is one of several projects undertaken by Blackburn with Darwen Council to overcome its reputation as one of England’s most segregated cities.
40,000 tonnes of C02 avoided by European ENGAGEd cities!
40,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions avoided - that is the impressive result which was achieved until the end of 2012 by all people participating in 12 European cities at the ENGAGE campaign . On average, a citizen reduced his/her annual CO2 emissions by 12%!
ENGAGE proves that participative communications campaigns lead to concrete energy results.
Early Bird registration is now open for the 2013 IFHP Centenary Congress in London!
The International Federation for Housing and Planning (IFHP) and The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) invites you to The IFHP Centenary Congress: ‘A tomorrow for cities’ held between the 8th and 11th June 2013 in London.
The Centenary Congress is the key event of the centenary year for IFHP. The event is jointly organized by the IFHP and TCPA (Town & Country Planning Association) and tackles issues facing the future of cities. The congress takes a retrospective and prospective view of the cities, reflecting on the lessons of the past and asking what tomorrow holds for human settlements, how the future of cities can be shaped, and what practical solutions are required to establish the sustainable societies of tomorrow.
The congress is based on three themes; cities in transition, resilient cities and inclusive cities each dealing with challenges oriented from the multiple demands of growing urban populations, economic-, social-, demographic, environmental and political issues, and aiming to present an inspiring, positive vision and exploration of solutions to address these challenges.
Register now to get your Early Bird discount
Toronto Explores Municipal Voting for Non-Citizens
Last month, Toronto City Council re-opened a discussion on the issue of municipal voting by non-citizens, joining cities like Dublin and Oslo where all residents have the right to cast their ballot at the local level and are actively encouraged to vote. Indeed, Dublin's city framework for integration makes voting rights the key to immigrant empowerment.
Good Ideas from Successful Cities
A selection of 39 city-led policies and practices that are accelerating the settlement and integration of newcomers and helping build resilient, welcoming communities.
Dublin: an open ideas competition to imagine energy
Imagine Energy is an open ideas competition to design a smart energy feature for Dublin’s city centre. In running the competition, the Dublin energy agency Codema and Dublin City Council (GB) were looking for a one-of-a-kind design to inform and educate citizens about renewable energy in a creative and innovative way.
Imagine Energy is part of the INTERREG IVB-funded Ace project. The competition was launched on 6th November 2012 by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Naoise Ó Muirí and 27 entries were received. This stage of the competition was a blank canvas so applicants were encouraged to be as imaginative as possible in creating their designs. The winning design must highlight the link between renewable energy supply and demand but creative mediums such as art, science, light or even sound could be used to communicate this.
The Reference Framework for Sustainable Cities welcomes its first member city!
Launched a few weeks ago, the Reference Framework for European Sustainable Cities (RFSC), an online tool to support municipalities in their work on integrated and sustainable urban development, has welcomed its first official city, Dzierzoniow, in Poland, among its ranks.
The cities of Paris (France), Krnov (Czech Republic), Derry (Northern Ireland), Birmingham (United Kingdom) and Umea (Sweden) have also applied and are awaiting approval.
Thus far, the website has attracted many visitors, with 130 accounts having been set up by those interested in using and learning more about the tool. Member states are currently translating the RFSC tool into their own language in order to broaden membership and use of the tool. The translated tool should be made available by the end of March 2013.
For updated information on the RFSC toolkit, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) encourages municipalities to sign up to the monthly newsletter and apply to become an RFSC city by following the steps outlined on the website's dedicated page.
The role of cities in the prevention of reoffending
Following the “Consensus conference on the prevention of reoffending” organised by the French Ministry of Justice in Paris on 14 and 15 February 2013, Efus wishes to publicise the work carried by European cities in this area. The method of “consensus conferences” is quite common in the medical field but is innovative in the field of Justice. European cities have been engaged for the past 25 years in building holistic and inclusive security policies that tackle all aspects of prevention. Thus, the rehabilitation of offenders and prevention of reoffending should be integrated in local security policy.
London plans Ultra Low Emission Zone
The Mayor of London has announced to create the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London. This should lead to strong benefits in air quality and mass take-up of zero and low emission vehicles. Transport for London (TfL) has been asked to prepare plans to introducing the scheme.
Car-free Suwon hosts the first EcoMobility World Festival
Pledging to reduce 40% of the city’s CO2 emissions from 2005 levels by 2030, the city of Suwon – Korea’s first planned city which houses the UNESCO site of Hwaseong Fortress and the global headquarter of tech giant Samsung Electronics, is hosting the first EcoMobility World Festival in September 2013.
With support from UN-HABITAT, the EcoMobility World Festival co-organized by ICLEI and the City government of Suwon will see the Haenggung-dong neighborhood transformed into a car-free zone. For the entire month, citizens and festival participants will experience an ecomobile lifestyle by favoring walking, cycling and passenging – transport means that are low-emission, safe and resource-efficient.
Instead of getting stuck at Hwaseomun Street – a street that is usually congested with illegally parked cars and bottle neck traffics, citizens will be able to walk and enjoy the fresh air that come along with the expanded footpaths and newly planted trees. Plans are already underway to improve the infrastructure of the neighborhood, such as burying electric cablings underground and upgrading the sewerage system.
“Our city is attempting to improve the street facilities in a neighborhood that has always been lagging behind due to the development restrictions relating to the preservation of Hwaseong Fortress. Our aim is to create streets where modernity and tradition can coexist, “said Yeom, Tae-Young, Mayor of Suwon.
The first city to report its Local Agenda 21 projects to the UN, Suwon has hosted various national and international conferences on sustainability, including the Asia-Pacific Agrobiodiversity symposium in 2010 and the Suwon Conference on Low Carbon, Green Cities in North-East Asia in 2011.
Lille launches new parking strategy
As part of the Lille PDU (sustainable urban mobility plan), the city-region has developed a parking strategy at regional level. The city-region has signed a charter together with the subsistent municipalities in order to commit to this common vision.
50 good practices in urban development
How are cities responding to urban challenges within the 2007-2013 cohesion policy period?
Twenty-eight EUROCITIES member and partner cities have showcased good practice examples which are featured in a new European Commission report, published by DG REGIO in January 2013.
The cities feature in a collection of 50 good practice examples from cities across Europe which demonstrate how they are responding locally to common urban challenges with the aid of EU structural funds.
The 50 case studies demonstrate the broad range of activities that can be carried out with the support of the EU’s structural funds, and are focused around eight key themes: smart growth; sustainable growth; inclusive growth; integrated area-based approaches; housing for marginalised groups; financial engineering; public participation and empowerment; and cooperation, networking and learning.
The case studies were prepared in 2012 and cover projects that have recently been completed or, in a few cases, are still underway.
The January 2013 report compares the 50 city examples according to the eight categories, drawing conclusions from the projects and offering recommendations for cities in each of these areas.
The following EUROCITIES members and partners feature in the report: Berlin, Brussels, Vienna, Nicosia, Ghent, Brno, Leipzig, Tallinn, Malaga, Terrassa, Tampere, Toulouse, Florence, Vilnius, Riga, Budapest, Eindhoven, Rotterdam, Stockholm, Poznan, Wroclaw, Lisbon, Porto, Ljubljana, Bratislava, Derry, Sheffield, and London.
Young people and excessive consumption of alcohol in public spaces
The city of Nantes (France), Vice President of Efus, will host the final conference of the European “Safer Drinking Scenes” project, on 13 and 14 June 2013.
Led by the French Forum and the European Forum for Urban Security, this project addresses binge drinking among young people in public spaces with an approach based on balancing public health and security.
This European conference will build on the work carried since 2011 with partner cities and the Committee of Experts as part of the SDS project, which was co-funded by the European Commission.
The outcomes of the project will be published in June.
More information on the conference will soon be available on the project website.
South-south city cooperation: attracting more partners
Over the past few years, the dissemination of knowledge in a strategic manner among cities has fueled development partners such as Cities Alliance, ILO, UN Habitat, GIZ and universities and institutions, to become partners in a number of the activities conducted in the framework of the UCLG programme on South-South Cooperation.
Building on the motivation and commitment of Mozambican and Brazilian cities in this process, UCLG, in collaboration with development networks and agencies - namely Intermediary Cities Network (CIMES) and Architects without Borders – Catalunya (ASF-C) - will encourage more exchange between the cities of these countries, particularly between the National Government Associations: National Government Association of Mozambique (ANAMM) and National Front of Mayors (FNP) in Brazil. This will further motivate exchange and support the strengthening of both institutions as active drivers of decentralized cooperation
Against Divided Cities in Europe
How to help cities rethink existing local policies concerning spatial and social segregation in European urban areas? Read the scoping article "Against Divided Cities in Europe” published in the URBACT Tribune 2012. Written by the URBACT Experts, Laura Colini, Darinka Czischke and Ivan Tosics, this article intends to provide an overview of the concept of urban segregation and related public policies that have been studied by experts and academics and experimented by URBACT city partners working on integrated sustainable development.
Roughly 10% of signatory cities temporarily withdrawn until submission of action plans
With the landmark threshold of 2,500 submitted Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs) soon to be exceeded, the Covenant of Mayors’ impact cannot be understated. However, about 10% of Covenant signatory cities have faced difficulties in completing their SEAP in within the given timeframe, despite deadline extensions granted by the Covenant of Mayors Office
New York City Mayor proposed plastic foam ban
In his final State of the City address, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a citywide ban on polystyrene foam food packaging – a substance commonly used by street vendors and takeout restaurants as food containers.
Comparing the environmentally destructive and health-hazardous material as “lead paint”, Mayor Bloomberg said in the excerpts from his speech released on 13 February 2013 that the city cannot only live without plastic foam, but also “live longer without it”.
According to the Mayor’s office, plastic foam makes up an estimated 20,000 tons of the city’s annual waste – each ton of plastic foam tacks on an additional $20 recycling costs as the non-biodegradable material has to be removed when the city processes its waste.
UN-Habitat join hands with sister agencies to discuss cities
UN-Habitat joined hands with sister agencies to discuss cities at the ongoing 8th session of the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty (WACAP) recently in Dublin.
UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director Dr. Aisa Kacyra Kirabo represented the agency at the premier event that also brought together UN Women, UNICEF and UNDP. Dr. Kirabo said that urbanization presented immense opportunities and challenges while also highlighting the issue of the youth which she said are likely to constitute as many as 60 percent of all urban dwellers by 2030.
"When I look to the future then I see such potential. Urbanization is a source of development if it is planned, well governed, and supported with adequate finance, policies, and legislation. And youth are the greatest asset that any country has. Together our future as human beings can be dramatically different and improved if we harness this combined potential," she said.
The concept of WACAP was first discussed at the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) in Istanbul in 1996, when cities began networking with renewed enthusiasm. That same year, the United Nations International Year for the Eradication of Poverty, UNDP initiated plans for WACAP and launched it on October 17, 1997. Since the first forum in Lyon, France, in 1998, WACAP has expanded its network to more than 900 cities across five continents, raising awareness on poverty issues, promoting city-to-city cooperation and exchanging best practices.
Make your voices heard on your city's risk reduction framework
ICLEI and UNISDR are inviting you to contribute to the global disaster risk reduction framework and help shape the future of risk reduction in your city and country. Share your thoughts and ideas through this survey until 5 March
High Level Working Group debates prosperity in cities
UN-Habitat and the International Council for Caring Communities (ICCC) last Friday organized an international working session in addressing one of themes of the 21st Century: Prosperity in Cities.
The meeting that brought together government representatives, the private sector, entrepreneurs, educators, and health and culture experts was held within the framework of the global consultations on the Post 2015 Development Agenda and the road to Habitat III Conference in 2016.
The Permanent Representative of Ecuador, Mr. Xavier Lasso Mendoza, opened the meeting by highlighting the present urban challenges and opportunities. “On one hand, cities can be the locus for pockets of poverty, exclusion and marginalization, environmental degradation and decay. On the other hand, cities generate wealth, enhance social development, provide employment, and can be incubators of innovation and creativity”, he stated.
Presenting the “State of the World Cities Report 2012-2013” Ms. Yamina Djacta, Director of the UN-Habitat’s New York Office stressed the need of improving cities’ ability to respond to modern challenges, optimize resources and harness their potential.