30/11/2014 - URBACT Capitalisation Work(streams) 2014-2015
30/11/2014 - In dialogue about urban transformation
29/11/2014 - A new pan American network of metropolises formed
29/11/2014 - The world’s first solar bike path opens in The Netherlands
28/11/2014 - 'Re-education' campaigns teach China's new ghost city-dwellers how to behave
28/11/2014 - Toshiba's City Farm Produces 3 Million Bags of Lettuce a Year Without Sunlight or Soil
27/11/2014 - When is a free park not a free park?
27/11/2014 - Mapping Smart Cities in the EU
27/11/2014 - Food-related Initiatives for Sustainable Local Development: Lessons from URBACT
26/11/2014 - The sci-fi future of lamp-posts
26/11/2014 - In France's cities, public space risks becoming a women-free zone
26/11/2014 - Bulgarian city introduces free parking for electric cars
26/11/2014 - South African Urban-LEDS municipalities forge ahead to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
25/11/2014 - Johannesburg will host the 2015 Eco-Mobility World Festival
25/11/2014 - Crowdfunding a bike lane
25/11/2014 - Cities in Transition
24/11/2014 - Umeå's green parking purchase model
24/11/2014 - China orders cities to stop consuming farmland
24/11/2014 - The city is an ecosystem, pipes and all
23/11/2014 - Greater & Greener 2015: Innovative Parks, Vibrant Cities
23/11/2014 - Hypotopia: How a €19bn model city has changed Austria’s attitude to protest
22/11/2014 - Forget cars; focus on self-driving buses
22/11/2014 - German cities and public participation in urban development
21/11/2014 - Polis and H3B released 'Thinking Cities' #2
21/11/2014 - The cities of the future will talk to us via our smartphones
21/11/2014 - 4th International Conference of Local and Regional Authorities for Water
21/11/2014 - Global cities step up for the World Cities Day Challenge
20/11/2014 - Highlights of the UCLG World Council meetings in Haikou
20/11/2014 - Simon Anholt on becoming a ‘good’ city
20/11/2014 - Dealing with urban noise
20/11/2014 - The Cognicity Challenge
20/11/2014 - UN-HABITAT ready to support India's urban agenda
19/11/2014 - How Self-Driving Cars Will Change Our Lives
19/11/2014 - Energy security campaign in Central Eastern European cities
19/11/2014 - For the sake of our cities, it's time to make town planning cool again
19/11/2014 - Could Free Public Transit Get Americans to Voting Booths?
18/11/2014 - Europe’s cities key to 2020 objectives
18/11/2014 - New challenges for local and regional leaders as 2015 approaches
18/11/2014 - Expert Group propose International Guidelines to shape the Sustainable Development of Cities
18/11/2014 - London plans to reclaim its urban river as a public space
17/11/2014 - Affordable Cities are the new sweet spots
17/11/2014 - 2030 Climate and Energy package - handle with care!
17/11/2014 - Indian Cities work for Low Emissions Development
16/11/2014 - Cyclists map Antwerp’s air pollution
16/11/2014 - For Family-Friendly Cities, Build Play Beyond the Playground
15/11/2014 - The opportunities and risks inherent to the use of modern technology for urban security
15/11/2014 - Online training: Assessing the economic impact of active travel
14/11/2014 - WaPo Transpo Forum: America’s Mayors Aren’t Waiting for Washington
14/11/2014 - Achieving Active Mobility in Cities
13/11/2014 - Affordable housing should be “at the centre of cities”: Joan Clos
13/11/2014 - ENTER.HUB: Policy Makers Sign Protocol of Intents for the Development of Mobility Hubs
13/11/2014 - Outcomes of the 11th METROPOLIS World Congress
12/11/2014 - Murder capitals of the world
12/11/2014 - Czech railway line transformed into cycle path
12/11/2014 - Aging America: the US cities going gray the fastest
12/11/2014 - Standards for cities
11/11/2014 - South Africa’s cities create an innovative climate change network
11/11/2014 - Why China's Gigantic Cities Are Just Too Small
10/11/2014 - Helsinki aims to develop mobility on demand by 2025
10/11/2014 - Officials see 3.3 million zero emission vehicles on road by 2025
9/11/2014 - 8 European pilot cities present their experience on how to develop Local Energy Roadmaps
9/11/2014 - Eight ideas for the future of cities
9/11/2014 - EU support for cities & social innovation
8/11/2014 - 12 cities are competing to be named Europe’s “greenest”
8/11/2014 - Call for Papers - CORP 2015
8/11/2014 - Large Cities Are Less Green: True or False?
8/11/2014 - Does Urbanization Always Drive Economic Growth? Not Exactly…
8/11/2014 - City Brands: Dealing with a lack of control
7/11/2014 - Thanks to supporters worldwide for taking action in Urban October!
7/11/2014 - Culturizing Sustainable Cities: Call for examples – potential case studies
7/11/2014 - Resilient Cities forum to expand to Asia-Pacific region
7/11/2014 - Medellín - A Better City through Mobility
7/11/2014 - German cities and public participation in urban development
6/11/2014 - Kuala Lumpur to host World Urban Forum in 2018
6/11/2014 - Save the date - INTA World Congress 2015
6/11/2014 - Latvian city offers free public transport to pensioners
6/11/2014 - Major city networks partner for a water-secure world
5/11/2014 - Local Renewables Conference 2014 calls for a transition to energy productive cities and regions
5/11/2014 - Hidden City: Beijing’s Subterranean Housing Market
5/11/2014 - ICLEI Launches New Blog, CityTalk
5/11/2014 - TIDE handbooks on innovative transport measures
4/11/2014 - Chinese mayors advised to replicate Europe’s dense cities
4/11/2014 - Get the leading reference book on green walls in tall buildings
4/11/2014 - Johannesburg takes up the challenge of a car-free city
4/11/2014 - What Keeps U.S. Mayors Awake at Night?
3/11/2014 - Renewing Old Markets - Tool for Sustainable City Development
3/11/2014 - How to Restore Walking and Cut Traffic Accidents
3/11/2014 - “Our voice is becoming increasingly important”
3/11/2014 - Efus’ recommendations on home security and urban policy submitted to the EU
2/11/2014 - Unique in Europe: 4th International E-Bus Conference Hamburg
2/11/2014 - Video: Could cities save the world's bees?
2/11/2014 - Is Urban Revitalization Without Gentrification Possible?
2/11/2014 - Africities 7 Summit to address sustainable urban development in Africa
1/11/2014 - 100 cities around Europe commit to taking action on climate change adaptation through ‘Mayors Adapt’
1/11/2014 - Join the ITS event of 2015 - 1 YEAR from now
1/11/2014 - Parisians have their say on city’s first €20m ‘participatory budget’
1/11/2014 - Inside the Guangzhou Award for urban innovation
URBACT Capitalisation Work(streams) 2014-2015
25 November 2014
Within the framework of its capitalisation activities for 2014-2015, URBACT has set up four working groups (workstreams) to give answers on what can cities do about specific urban challenges.
After consultation with its ongoing city networks, URBACT has identified the following four topics corresponding to their urban challenges:
• New Urban Economies,
• Job Generation,
• Social Innovation in Cities,
• Sustainable Regeneration in Urban Areas.
In dialogue about urban transformation
A new series of six good practice case studies shows how cities are adapting to the challenges of growth and socio-demographic change.
Developed by Eurocities working groups integrated urban development and housing, the 'In dialogue about urban transformation' series demostrates how cities are achieving sustainable development by focusing on densification, energy efficiency and socially-balanced solutions.
A new pan American network of metropolises formed
A new network was created this week bringing together metropolitan authorities of South America, Central America and North America.
Known as the Network of Metropolitan Areas of the Americas (RAMA in Spanish, French and Portuguese) it is the brainchild of a joint initiative born in Cali, Colombia in 2013, particularly the fruitful cooperation between the Metropolitan Area of the Aburrá Valley (Medellin, Colombia) and the Metropolitan Community of Montreal, Canada.
The world’s first solar bike path opens in The Netherlands
A newly installed bicycle path in Krommenie, 25 km from Amsterdam, has been constructed with solar cells, enabling it to generate enough energy to power three homes.
The path, which is covered by a one-inch layer of glass strong enough to withstand the weight of a truck, is currently 70 m long, and will be extended to 100 m in the near future. Further research is planned on ways to improve the generation capacity for upcoming projects.
'Re-education' campaigns teach China's new ghost city-dwellers how to behave
Yuan Xiaomei, a community supervisor in Kangbashi, China, tears open a cardboard box and hands out brochures and promotional fans to crowd of locals. The fans are emblazoned: “To build a civilised city, we need you. Thank you for your participation.” The residents fan themselves and flip through the brochures. One woman explains to her friend who can’t read: “It’s telling you how you should act in the city. Don’t spit, don’t throw rubbish on the streets, don’t play loud music, don’t drive on the pavement.”
It’s a lot to take in for people who, weeks earlier, were living in remote villages spread across the sparsely populated Ordos region of Inner Mongolia, China.
Toshiba's City Farm Produces 3 Million Bags of Lettuce a Year Without Sunlight or Soil
Does Toshiba hold the key to the future of factory farming? The massive tech giant recently unveiled their incredible “clean” factory farm, which is capable of growing up to three million heads of lettuce every year without using sunlight or soil. The factory farm, which is operating in a 21,000 square-foot electronic factory in Yokosuka, Japan, is to be used in the company’s new healthcare business and has the perfect germ-free environment for producing bagged lettuce, according to Toshiba and Science and Health.
When is a free park not a free park?
The saga of Minneapolis’s Downtown East Commons, an ambitious planned park in a part of the city lacking in green space, is enough to make one’s head spin.
Next to a planned football stadium that will replace Minneapolis’s aging Metrodome, the Downtown East Commons is envisioned as a two-block, 4.2-acre “front yard” for the new stadium and a planned mixed-use complex all built by developer Ryan Companies.
Initially the space was proposed as a smaller plaza, a staging area for game-day events. The city asked the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority to turn the plaza into a park that the MSFA and the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings could use on game days.
Mapping Smart Cities in the EU
This report, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, provides background information and advice on Smart Cites in the EU. This report identifies a working definition of a Smart City and maps cities across the Member States accordingly. Furthermore, this report assesses the performance of Smart City initiatives in relation to Europe 2020 targets. Starting from a theoretical identification of the Smart City concept, this report provides an extensive overview of the current state of Smart Cities initiatives within the European Union, highlighting their performances and best cases.
Food-related Initiatives for Sustainable Local Development: Lessons from URBACT
This was the topic of one of the workshops organised by URBACT, during the Open Days in Brussels on the 9th of October. Its aim, understand how city initiatives related to food can lead to local economic, social, environmental development and citizen engagement. Let’s see which were the main points!
The sci-fi future of lamp-posts
Street lighting has always been a form of social control. As ‘smart’ lamp-posts start to adapt to our needs, are we entering a brave new world of big city lights?
In France's cities, public space risks becoming a women-free zone
Aubervilliers, an outer suburb in the north-east of Paris, is the sort of place that lacks the photogenic appeal that one usually associates with the capital. It’s part of a newer city, of the sort that doesn’t make it into the tourist brochures. Almost 40 per cent of its population was born outside France; 1,000 of its housing units were built on a former “quasi-slum” in the 1970s.
In other words, Aubervilliers is a place that one lives in rather than visits (at least, unless you’re an over-zealous Arsenal fans: it’s also the hometown of midfielder Abou Diaby). Though it doesn't quite have central Paris’s bijou-bijou cafés, its main streets have a selection of identikit café-bars of the sort one finds throughout France, where gentlemen start sipping cognac from roughly 11am onwards.
Bulgarian city introduces free parking for electric cars
The city of Dobrich in Bulgaria is planning to allow drivers of electric cars to park for free in special 'blue' zones in a move to reduce traffic emissions and encourage sustainable transport.
Dobrich, one of a few Bulgarian cities that have developed charging infrastucture for electric vehicles, is following guidance set out in Bulgaria's National Action Plan (link is external) for the promotion and uptake of green vehicles for 2012-2014.
South African Urban-LEDS municipalities forge ahead to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
South African municipalities encouraged to report their climate change response actions through the carbonn Climate Registry
South African municipalities are increasingly implementing projects to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as part of their participation in the international flagship project Promoting Low Emission Urban Development Strategies in Emerging Economy Countries (Urban-LEDS).
Funded by the European Union to the value of €6.7 million (ZAR 95 million) and proudly implemented by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) in partnership with UN-Habitat, the Urban-LEDS project runs from 2012 – 2015 and engages local authorities in Brazil, India, Indonesia and South Africa. Participating municipalities develop strategies and action plans to re-programme urban development for a low-carbon future, by following ICLEI’s GreenClimateCities programme.
Johannesburg will host the 2015 Eco-Mobility World Festival
South Africa's largest city, Johannesburg, has agreed to host the second Eco-Mobility World Festival next autumn and create a temporary car-free district to demonstrate the benefits of sustainable urban mobility.
During the month-long festival in October 2015, organised in partnership with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Johannesburg will encourage residents in Sandton, one of the city’s busiest districts, to choose public transport, walking and cycling over private car use.
Crowdfunding a bike lane
Need money for a better bike lane? Try asking the Internet.
A year after a neighborhood enhancement group in Memphis turned heads around the country by raising $70,000 for a new protected bike lane using the crowdfunding site Ioby.org, business leaders in Colorado's capital are following suit.
The Downtown Denver Partnership launched its campaign Oct. 28 with a breakfast event and a detailed plan to raise $36,000 online from corporate and individual donors to help pay for planning and design of a protected bike lane on Arapahoe Street.
Cities in Transition
In January 2015 we will launch the brand new platform www.citiesintransitions.eu. Here City Makers can get inspired by myriad bottom-up initiatives from all over Europe, all dealing with the city in transition in one way or another. What can you expect?
• An interactive map with initiatives from all over EU
• Interviews with inspiring City Makers
• Reports on interesting initiatives
• Each city will have its own page with local content
Umeå's green parking purchase model
The densification and expansion of central urban areas requires smart mobility solutions to manage traffic situations while creating attractive urban environments. To this end, Umeå is working with real estate owners on how they can take responsibility for commuter transport in addition to just offering car parking facilities.
A unique collaboration between the municipality, the municipal parking company and property owner Balticgruppen tests a new approach to stimulate sustainable travel patterns. It aims at reducing employee car travel by further developing the existing ‘Parking Purchase’ system and supplementing it with an add-on ‘green’ element.
China orders cities to stop consuming farmland
China’s cities have mushroomed in recent years by devouring vast tracts of agricultural land for development. Mandy Zuo reports for the South China Morning Post that Chinese officials want cities to lose their appetites for farms.
Cropland that totals half the size of Germany was lost to urbanization from 1996 to 2009, according to a national land survey, the article says.
The ministries of agriculture and land and resources jointly announced plans last week to create arable belts around cities that are off-limits to developers. The goal is to ensure food security. As cities increasingly extend into surrounding fields, farmers are forced to shift production to less desirable locations, such as swampland or mountainous regions, the article explains.
The city is an ecosystem, pipes and all
Is a tree trying to survive in the city better off than a tree growing in the forest? The obvious answer would seem to be “no”: City trees face pollution, poor soil, and a root system disrupted by asphalt and pipes.
But when ecologists at Boston University took core samples from trees around Eastern Massachusetts, they found a surprise: Boston street trees grow twice as fast as trees outside the city. Over time, the more development increased around them, the faster they grew.
Why? If you’re a tree, city life also offers a number of advantages. You benefit from the extra nitrogen and carbon dioxide in polluted city air; heat trapped by asphalt and concrete warms you in the cold months. There’s less competition for light and space.
Greater & Greener 2015: Innovative Parks, Vibrant Cities
A diverse assembly of more than 1,000 international park leaders, city planning and design professionals, and urban park advocates will convene in San Francisco, April 11-14, 2015, for Greater & Greener 2015: Innovative Parks, Vibrant Cities. This four-day indoor and outdoor conference will focus on the roles of urban parks in creating healthy, resilient cities. Greater & Greener 2015 is presented by City Parks Alliance in partnership with San Francisco Recreation and Park Department.
“With more people choosing to live in cities, urban parks have the power to impact a range of social and cultural issues – from health, education, livability and social cohesion, to economic development and urban resilience,” said City Parks Alliance Executive Director Catherine Nagel. “As a region renowned for its visionaries and innovators – willing to experiment and try new approaches – the San Francisco and greater Bay Area parks communities are applying creative solutions to many common issues facing urban parks in the U.S., and globally, and is a natural place to host our signature event.”
Held every two years in a different major city, Greater & Greener aims to raise awareness for the positive impact that parks and green spaces can have on urban communities and explore how they can be designed, developed, programmed, funded, and sustained to meet future demands. “From the world-renowned Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, and Muir Woods, to programs in the Mission District and East Bay regional parks, the San Francisco Bay Area is an example of how creativity and innovation can be applied to park systems for the great benefit of urban communities,” Nagel said.
Hypotopia: How a €19bn model city has changed Austria’s attitude to protest
Riots and demonstrations have gripped the continent’s capitals for the past five years of the eurozone crisis – but in Vienna, a group of innovative students are trying a different form of urban protest.
Corrupt politicians, jailed banking bosses and alleged connections to shady mafia groups in the Balkans – the story of failed Bavarian bank Hypo Alpe Adria has been an ongoing catastrophe for Austria. But the largely passive public reaction to the €19bn bailout of this “bad bank” inspired a group of architecture, civil engineering and urban planning students to pose the question: what could you build with €19bn?
Forget cars; focus on self-driving buses
The self-driving car has traveled a long and lonely road to get here. Introduced to the American public by General Motors at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, the Depression-era dream of automated highways has perpetually lagged behind the present in drivers’ rear-view mirrors. But thanks largely to Google, the future once again appears to be gaining on us. A panel of Silicon Valley technology leaders recently polled by The Atlantic expects the first fully autonomous models to roll into our driveways in 2022.
But don’t count on it. The autonomous car will not be nearly as autonomous as its champions would have you believe.
German cities and public participation in urban development
German cities present many examples of good practice in public participation. However, these good examples are not representative of a broader culture of local public participation. This working paper, published by the German Association of Cities (Deutscher Staedtetag), provides a reflection on the topic and draws on the next steps needed to strengthen and make this democratic tool more effective.
Polis and H3B released 'Thinking Cities' #2
'Thinking Cities' is a magazine published in cooperation between Polis and H3B media. The second issue has just been released. It is a digital edition available to read online while the upcoming issue 3 will be released as print issue at the 2014 Polis Conference.
The cities of the future will talk to us via our smartphones
Earlier this year, the Future Cities Catapult teamed up with Microsoft and Guide Dogs to conduct "Cities Unlocked": a project, to improve cities for the visually impaired. But, says Claire Mookerjee, it could hold provide benefits for all of us.
Imagine if the city you worked in worked hard for you, too. If signs showed what you needed to know, when you needed to know it; stations didn’t need barriers, because trains and busses already knew you had a ticket; store fronts told you that they stocked an item, just because it was on your shopping list.
4th International Conference of Local and Regional Authorities for Water
Daegu, 13-14 April 2015
The Republic of Korea will host the 7th World Water Forum from 12 to 17 April 2015. On this occasion, the Mayor of Daegu and the President of the Province of Gyeongbuk invite you to take part in the 4th International Conference of Local and Regional Authorities for Water, to be held from 13 to 14 April.
The International Conference of Local and Regional Authorities for Water is a unique space for dialogue, exchange of good practices, and to seek solutions to strengthen partnerships and cooperation.
United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) will be well-represented by its members at the World Water Forum in Korea, who will participate effectively as they have in the past. The participation and registration processes will be open soon.
For more information about the attached invitation to the 4th International Conference of Local and Regional Authorities for Water, please contact:
LocalRegional@worldwaterforum7.org or Mohamed Boussraoui at the UCLG World Secretariat: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Global cities step up for the World Cities Day Challenge
Ideas on improving city life have poured in from around the globe for the World Cities Day Challenge hosted by the Guardian Online.
Organised in conjunction with the first World Cities Day, celebrated on 31 October, the Guardian Cities site hosted a live event throughout the day where more than 30 cities pitched their ideas for making their cities more liveable for their populations.
Having pre-submitted their ideas in brief, each city had three minutes to present a video and a further nine minutes to answer questions from the judges and people watching online. Applications were made by city officials, the programme coordinators and proud citizens.
Highlights of the UCLG World Council meetings in Haikou
The City of Haikou China is preparing to host the UCLG World Council in Haikou between the 23 and 26 of November, in the organization’s 10th anniversary year. At the World Council local and regional leaders will discuss the central issues defining the global development agenda in the coming years in a series of conferences, roundtables, and policy debates.
Simon Anholt on becoming a ‘good’ city
What makes a city ‘good’, and how can a city become ‘good’? Delivering the keynote speech at EUROCITIES 2014 Munich, Professor Simon Anholt spoke for the first time about the ‘good’ city.
He said that, rather than being seen as rich, powerful or beautiful, cities now need to be seen as 'good'. Cities that are 'good' are cities that look outward, not inward, and that make a contribution to humanity.
Dealing with urban noise
If you grew up in Calgary in the 1980s, you probably heard the city’s unofficial theme song. “Hello Calgary,” a vague but peppy ode to the Canadian prairie city, struck certain denizens as a hometown anthem.
But with slightly altered lyrics, the tune was simultaneously serving as a promotional tool in the U.S., in Atlanta, Knoxville, Rochester, Milwaukee, Tulsa, Nashville, and Phoenix. To this day, it resonates in those cities with residents of a certain age who don’t realize that its civic authenticity is on par with that of the local Hard Rock Café.
The story is a lesson in the power and peril of branding, and in particular, of sonic branding — associating sounds and music with products, companies, organizations and ideas. Global brands have sonic strategies, says Joel Beckerman, the founder of Man Made Music and composer of jingles for AT&T, CBS and others. So why not cities?
The Cognicity Challenge
The Cognicity Challenge is the starting point for the Cognicity initiative by Canary Wharf Group (CWG), a development that understands and responds to the needs and lives of its residents and workers.
The Challenge is divided into six streams, which will open to applications in pairs in October, November and December 2014, when startups from around the world can apply in a secure, online process.
The startups in each stream will develop their technologies and solutions through an intensive 12-week programme, with expert guidance from leading technology companies and CWG operational leads. One startup from each accelerator will win a £50,000 cash prize and the opportunity to pilot their solutions in the ongoing development of Canary Wharf, creating a showcase connected city.
Two Cognicity Challenge streams are now open: Integrated Transportation and Sustainable Buildings.
UN-HABITAT ready to support India's urban agenda
UN-Habitat’s Executive Director, Dr. Joan Clos has said that the agency is committed to help Prime Minister Modi to implement ambitious plans that he has recently announced for the sustainable development of India’s cities.
He made the remarks during a recent official visit to Delhi where he met with relevant government officials and project implementers and welcomed the country’s commitment to addressing the challenges of urbanisation head on while seizing the opportunities it presents.
“India continues to urbanise. Three of the world’s 21 mega-cities – cities with a population of more than ten million people – are in India, namely, Mumbai, Delhi and Calcutta,” said Dr. Clos. “This is why UN-Habitat welcomes the plans of the Government of India to create 100 Smart Cities and stands ready to support where requested to do so.”
How Self-Driving Cars Will Change Our Lives
There’s no doubt about it – driverless cars are on the way. Everyone from Google to Tesla, Lexus, and Porsche are developing autonomous vehicles – but have you ever considered how self-driving cars will change your life? L&L Automotive just launched a new infographic that shows some of the technology’s numerous benefits – from fewer accidents and safer streets to greater multitasking opportunities. Check out the full infographic after the break!
Energy security campaign in Central Eastern European cities
Emphasised by conflict in Ukraine, energy security has been dominating the EU agenda for quite some time now, with the European Commission adopting last May a strategic paper charting the way forward to secure the continent’s security of supplies. One key element of this strategy is the ‘accelerated implementation’ of local action plans adopted in the framework of the Covenant of Mayors. To contribute to the progression of this objective, the European Commission has launched a campaign to raise awareness of energy security priorities in the Covenant signatory cities, particularly in the most vulnerable member states from Central and Eastern Europe.
For the sake of our cities, it's time to make town planning cool again
British cities are in crisis, but it is of an unusual and distinctly 21st-century form. Thirty years ago, the populations of London, Manchester and Glasgow were all in decline as city leaders struggled with deindustrialisation and inner city no-go areas. Economists wondered what the purpose of a city actually was.
Today, the UK seems to be facing almost the opposite problem. Global powerhouses in finance and business services, the world’s major cities are suffering not from a deficit but an abundance of private capital, speculative development and foreign investment in property.
Could Free Public Transit Get Americans to Voting Booths?
Americans are going to the polls at depressingly low rates.
Only 57 percent of registered voters participated in the 2012 presidential election. That figure is expected to be even lower for Tuesday’s midterm election. And as states increasingly enact laws that require voters to present a photo ID at the voting booth, some argue voter turnout is being further suppressed. But officials in Minnesota are hoping turnout rates bounce back this year because of a new public transit policy.
Europe’s cities key to 2020 objectives
City leaders meeting in Munich have called for strategic and effective partnerships with the European Commission and Parliament.
Meeting for a private political session on 7 November during EUROCITIES 2014 Munich, city leaders stated that unless Europe works in close partnership with its cities and recognises their full potential, it risks missing its 2020 goals.
Mayors and politicians from major European cities said that greater involvement of cities in the formulation of the policies that impact on their citizens would mean they are better suited to the needs on the ground. The discussions took place as the new Commission is beginning work in Brussels to get the EU back on track to deliver on Europe 2020.
New challenges for local and regional leaders as 2015 approaches
Haikou invites UCLG members to prepare their Global Agenda in the year of the organization’s tenth anniversary
The members of the UCLG World Council will meet between the 23 and 26 of November in Haikou (China), by invitation of the Mayor of the city of Ni Qiang. This year, these meetings are organized in conjunction with the Guangzhou Award for Urban Innovation ceremony.
More than 300 mayors and elected representatives, local and regional leaders, and experts from more than 40 countries, are expected to attend.
Expert Group propose International Guidelines to shape the Sustainable Development of Cities
Over 35 experts met from 11 to 12 November 2014 in Fukuoka, Japan to finalise the drafting of international guidelines on urban and territorial planning . In accordance with the Resolution 24/3 of UN-Habitat Governing Council, the experts will submit the 20 page draft Guidelines for consideration and further transmission to the 25th Governing Council of UN-Habitat in April 2015.
In her opening remarks, Ms Christine Platt, Chairperson of the Ad Hoc Expert Group Meeting recalled the statement of Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General in April 2012 in New York: “Our struggle for global sustainability will be won or lost in cities” She further stressed that the proposed Guidelines would set a key pathway for how this battle can be fought in order to achieve sustainable urbanization.
London plans to reclaim its urban river as a public space
London’s pitch for World Cities Day, which eventually placed third in the contest, was to ‘re-introduce swimming in the River Thames.’ Chris Romer-Lee of Studio Octopi, the architecture practice behind the Thames Baths proposal, argued for the value of the water as a public space, saying: “Urban rivers are the lifeblood of the city: the largest public space, yet so often forgotten and underutilised. What if you could reclaim your river through swimming? Imagine swimming, surrounded by reeds that frame tantalising views of your city. The baths are not just for swimmers, but provide refuge and habitat for a wide range of flora and fauna”.
Affordable Cities are the new sweet spots
I’ve lived in San Francisco long enough (I’m getting old) that I’ve seen several waves of bright young people arrive, burn out, then move away. For some they were looking for adventure, found it, and then carried on with normal life elsewhere. But for most it was simply a matter of the numbers not adding up. Working a dead end low wage job while sharing a two bedroom apartment with seven room mates is only romantic for so long. I’m fairly inquisitive so I’ve kept up with many of these folks to see how they manage after they leave. I travel a lot and pop in to visit on occasion. The big surprise is that they aren’t moving to the suburbs the way previous generations did when they were done with their youthful excursions in the city.
2030 Climate and Energy package - handle with care!
Last week, the European Council adopted the long awaited energy and climate package setting new targets for 2030. After a long period of wheeling and dealing, the Heads of States and government finally adopted a watered-down energy and climate framework, especially as regards energy efficiency and renewables.
Calling for a 40% greenhouse gas emissions reduction, a 27% increase in the share of renewables and a non-binding energy efficiency target of 27%, the new package falls far short off what the European Parliament (40%, 30%,30%), the Committee of the Regions (50%, 40%, 40%) and specialised stakeholders had called for in the past weeks and months.
Indian Cities work for Low Emissions Development
With both population and economy rapidly growing, India will play a crucial role in any low-carbon scenario. Two model cities, Rajkot and Thane, and six satellite cities were selected to participate in the Urban LEDS program, funded by the European Commission and implemented by UN-Habitat and ICLEI, with the objective of enhancing the transition to low emission urban development in four emerging economy countries. Urban-LEDS stands for Urban Low Emissions Development Strategy. Each strategy defines a pathway for a city to move to a low emission, green and inclusive urban economy. Working Methodology for the cities in the Urban LEDS project is the GreenClimateCities (GCC) Program provided by ICLEI, a comprehensive climate change mitigation program for local governments providing methodology, expert assistance and a network of cities committed to Low Emissions Development.
Cyclists map Antwerp’s air pollution
Cyclists with pollution monitors and GPS trackers attached to their bicycles have produced detailed maps of Antwerp’s air quality, as part of a recent study.
Researchers equipped cyclists with specially modified bicycles and sent them on two fixed routes in the city centre to measure their exposure to high levels of ultrafine particles. These particles and black carbon have been linked to health issues such as respiratory and heart problems.
For Family-Friendly Cities, Build Play Beyond the Playground
Darell Hammond builds playgrounds. From spiral slides to mini rock walls and giant games of tic-tac-toe, his non-profit KaBOOM! is known for its thousands of community-centric parks. But as childhood screen time and obesity rates rise, he’s been forced to ask an odd question about his kid-friendly structures. In Hammond’s words: “What if kids aren’t playing on them?” What if building big, beautiful playgrounds isn’t enough?
The opportunities and risks inherent to the use of modern technology for urban security
What are the opportunities and risks inherent to the use of surveillance technology for urban security? What are the implicit ethical concerns of this usage and how can these concerns be practically resolved? What are the standard procedures in place in Paris? What kind of solutions have been proposed by the SURVEILLE research project? These questions were central to the third meeting of the SURVEILLE working group on security technology — an assembly of delegates from 15 regions and cities from across 10 countries, held in Paris on 9 and 10 October.
Online training: Assessing the economic impact of active travel
The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced new dates for live online training of HEAT, the health economic assessment tool to appraise the economic savings and impact of transport infrastructure and policies in relation to the health effects of walking and cycling.
WaPo Transpo Forum: America’s Mayors Aren’t Waiting for Washington
Atlanta’s BeltLine of bike and pedestrian trails is raising property values in every place it touches. Denver’s new rail line will create a much-needed link between Union Station downtown and the airport, 23 miles away. Miami is building 500 miles of bike paths and trails. Los Angeles is breaking new ground with everything from rail expansion to traffic light synchronization. And Salt Lake City’s mayor bikes to work and, by increasing investment in bike infrastructure, is encouraging a lot of others to join him.
At this week’s Washington Post forum on transportation, five mayors from this diverse set of cities spoke of the challenges and opportunities they face as they try to improve transportation options without much help or guidance from the federal government.
Achieving Active Mobility in Cities
Can we re-think urban transport so that walking and cycling become real mobility options that make our cities healthier, safer and more sociable? A new report - Creating Healthy Places through Active Mobility - prepared by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and CLC, presents these strategies.
The report points out that an emphasis on walking and cycling helps improve the liveability of urban areas by orienting design and development towards people, rather than automobiles. It addresses key challenges such as institutional frameworks, infrastructure designs, culture, behaviour and perceptions. It also provides suggestions to make Singapore more liveable, with lessons drawn from cities such as Amsterdam, Taipei, Copenhagen, Seoul and New York City.
This study is the result of extensive research that began in November 2013, which engaged participants from the private sector, government and civic groups through two workshops to discuss ideas on active mobility in Singapore.
The report was launched at ULI's 2014 Fall Meeting in New York City on 22 October.
Affordable housing should be “at the centre of cities”: Joan Clos
UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat has said that affordable housing should be put back at the centre of cities, both in terms of planning and policy, and geographical location.
He made the comments at the launch of the report, “A blueprint for addressing the global affordable housing challenge” by the McKinsey Global Institute, the research arm of international private consulting firm, McKinsey.
“Housing affordability is becoming one of the most important problems worldwide, both in the developed and the developing world,” said Dr Clos. “We will need to sharpen our tools to address this.”
ENTER.HUB: Policy Makers Sign Protocol of Intents for the Development of Mobility Hubs
Getting closer to the end of their activities, URBACT networks are starting to see the results of their hard work. This is the case of ENTER.HUB that secured during the summer of this year the signature by the elected representatives of all the cities involved in the network of a Protocol of Intents. But what is the protocol about and which is its purpose?
Outcomes of the 11th METROPOLIS World Congress
About three weeks ago, in Hyderabad, “Cities for All”, the 11th METROPOLIS World Congress, brought together over 1800 urban decision makers, governement policy makers, city managers, town planners, urban practicioners, international NGOs, academics, public and prívate service companies city planners, to discuss the role of the major metropolises as actors and essential partners of the development in the 21st Century.
Over 250 speakers from all over the globe made up 60 sessions of a truly comprehensive and inspiring program. In addition, 93 international cities and 74 Indian cities were represented. The enthusiasm in Hyderabad was palpable, and was evidenced by the 700 press clippings.
Murder capitals of the world
It was relatively quiet in San Pedro Sula last month. A gunfight between police and a drug gang left a 15-year-old boy dead; the body of a man riddled with bullets was found in a banana plantation; two lawyers were gunned down; a salesman was murdered inside his 4x4; and a father and son were murdered at home after pleading not to be killed.
One politician survived an assassination attempt and around a dozen people were found dead in the street. The number of killings is said to have fallen in the last few months, but the Honduran city is officially the most violent in the world outside the Middle East and warzones, with more than 1,200 killings in a year, according to statistics for 2011 and 2012. Its murder rate of 169 per 100,000 people far surpasses anything in North America or much larger cities such as Johannesburg, Lagos or São Paulo. London, by contrast, has just 1.3 murders per 100,000 people.
Czech railway line transformed into cycle path
A new cycle path that follows the route of an old railway line has been opened between the cities of Hostašovice and Nový Jicín in the east of the Czech Republic.
The 10-km route links villages along its length, with most stops including a sheltered rest area and information panels detailing local tourist attractions. In winter, when cycling conditions are poor, the path is expected to be used by cross-country skiers instead. The total cost of constructing the path was 25 million Czech koruna (€ 900 000).
Aging America: the US cities going gray the fastest
For years we have been warned about the looming, profound impacts that the aging of the U.S. population will have on the country. Well, the gray wave has arrived. Since 2000, the senior population has increased 29% compared to overall population growth of 12%. The percentage of Americans in the senior set has risen from 12.4% to 14.1%, and their share of the population is projected to climb to 19.3% by 2030. There are two principal causes for this: the baby boom generation is reaching 65 years old, while the U.S. fertility rate has fallen markedly in recent decades, despite immigration, and now hovers around the replacement rate.
Standards for cities
We've all heard of the International Organization for Standardization, or ISO, a body that promotes the adoption of standards in management, commerce and industry. Can similar standards be applied to cities? What are the key criteria for assessing a city's service delivery and quality of life?
In the latest CLC Lecture, the Centre featured Terry Hill, ISO President and former Chairman of Arup Group, and Rob Steele, ISO Secretary-General, who were in Singapore to introduce the latest ISO standard on cities.
South Africa’s cities create an innovative climate change network
Seventeen municipal governments in South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal province are tackling climate change by working together to identify solutions. Kate Berrisford writes on the Green Africa Directory that the cities will swap ideas through a climate change knowledge network.
The network would include city governments, institutions and experts on climate issues, urban planning and resilience. It would collect research, share lessons learned and publish its own research, according to the directory.
Why China's Gigantic Cities Are Just Too Small
China needs a new prescription for growth: Cram even more people into the pollution-ridden megacities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
While this may sound like a recipe for disaster, failing to expand and improve these urban areas could be even worse. That’s because the biggest cities drive innovation and specialization, with easier-to-reach consumers and more cost-efficient public transport systems, according to Yukon Huang, a former World Bank chief in China.
Helsinki aims to develop mobility on demand by 2025
Times are changing. Research work, commissioned by the urban development department of the City of Helsinki, shows that the new generation Y (aged between 18 and 29) no longer considers cars as a distinctive social marker or object of emancipation.
Citizens are therefore increasingly and massively ready to give up private cars provided that public transport services give them access to easy, efficient and cheap mobility.
Based on these considerations and supported by an ambitious sustainable mobility policy at national level, the Region and City of Helsinki have set themselves the objective of creating an on-demand mobility system in their territory by 2025.
The system is planned to operate through mobile applications which will be used to book and pay for any multi-modal trip (bus, train, taxi, bicycle and car-sharing) in one click within Helsinki and its Region.
Officials see 3.3 million zero emission vehicles on road by 2025
Officials from eight states say the United States is on track to have 3.3 millions zero emission vehicles on the road by 2025. That will include 1.5 million in California alone.
“We are glad Americans are embracing the electric car,” said Commissioner David Cash with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
8 European pilot cities present their experience on how to develop Local Energy Roadmaps
Although a world’s task, climate mitigation has its highest potential in local solutions and implementations. The “Low-Energy City Policy Handbook” – released today - offers a unique toolbox to help municipalities find their own starting point and suitable path to a common goal.
After three years of cooperative work, the “IMAGINE… low energy cities” project today publishes its findings in a “Low-Energy City Policy Handbook” aimed for municipalities and local stakeholders.
Developing visions and Local Energy Roadmaps…
The eight IMAGINE pilot cities have developed their own visions for 2050, serving as a basis for preparing ambitious local energy roadmaps.
Through innovative participatory processes
In this handbook they share the tools and methods they used to involve their citizens, private players and municipal staff in defining what the city would look like by 2050 and how to achieve those visions.
Academic assessment of the cities’ energy transition processes
The IMAGINE handbook also provides findings from a research perspective about the process of an energy transition. A critical review of communication, visualisation and monitoring tools shall help other municipalities shape their own energy transition. The target is to advocate the communication in the process of designing “Local Energy Roadmaps”, low-emission strategies targeted to the year 2050. As a guidance the IMAGINE project developed and tested an Assessment Grid which eases continuous evaluation of the transition process.
Find the handbook and further information on the IMAGINE project at:
Eight ideas for the future of cities
TEDCity2.org features great talks on topics like housing education and food, and how these relate to life in the bustling metropolis. It has been described as an online haven for everyone who wants to create the city of the future.
EU support for cities & social innovation
With greater attention being paid to the key role that social innovation plays in tackling urban challenges, the SEiSMiC project has published a guide on what the EU is doing to help.
A one of its main outputs, the SEiSMiC (Societal Engagement in Science, Mutual Learning in Cities) project has published a 'scoping paper'. This paper outlines EU policies and key stakeholders related to urban development and social innovation.
12 cities are competing to be named Europe’s “greenest”
Which city will be named Europe’s green capital for 2017? The winner will join Copenhagen (2014); Bristol, England (2015) and Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital (2016), as recipients of the prestigious award.
The competition, now in its eighth year, recognizes cities for a variety of eco-friendly accomplishments, the European Commission explains. Examples include climate-change mitigation and improvements to waste management, air quality and biodiversity.
In June 2015, cities chosen for the short list will present their urban strategies to an international jury. The winner will be announced at an award ceremony in Bristol that month. Alongside recognizable names such as Istanbul; Lisbon; Cork, Ireland and Porto, Portugal are several contenders with limited name recognition outside their home countries.
Call for Papers - CORP 2015,
20th International Conference on Urban Planning and Regional Development in the Information Society
PLAN TOGETHER - RIGHT NOW - OVERALL
From Vision to Reality for Vibrant Cities and Regions
5-7 May 2015, Ghent, Belgium (VIRGINIE LOVELINGGEBOUW - VAC GENT).
Call for Papers (registration of presentations) is OPEN until 23 December 2014 via www.corp.at - flyer with detailed information:
Large Cities Are Less Green: True or False?
What, practically speaking, is a city? The answer to that question is crucial for the growing number of researchers who want to examine cities through a scientific lens — yet even leaders in that field can’t agree on a definition.
Does Urbanization Always Drive Economic Growth? Not Exactly…
We often think of cities as major drivers of economic development and growth. Big cities expand our access to infrastructure like public transit and public education. They allow for more efficient distribution of social services such as government assistance and health care. Cities create large markets for business, and can attract international investment and tourism from around the world. They are hubs of non-agricultural, high-paying professional jobs like banking, law, and engineering. Diversity and face-to-face interactions can lead to new ideas and cross-cultural collaborations. Conventional wisdom holds that cities are good for the economy.
City Brands: Dealing with a lack of control
Cities have become important actors on the global scene. Metropolitan governments are among the best ‘glocal’ players, sharpening their global influence strategy and improving the management of their brand. International city branding has its undeniable challenges, however. One of them is the fact that cities must utilize their symbolic, or brand, capital—the resources and influence afforded to them through a perceived value—in an increasingly decentralized, fluid, and mediatized, or media-shaped and -defined, environment. This implies weak control over ones’ brand.
Thanks to supporters worldwide for taking action in Urban October!
On 31st October, which saw the celebration of the first #WorldCitiesDay and the end of Urban October, UCLG called upon its members and partners to mobilize and raise awareness about the transformative potential of urbanization. With the first steps of the Habitat III Conference preparations already taken and the negotiation of the Sustainable Development Goals well underway, local and regional governments underline that rural-urban linkages, the engagement of cities and partnerships with citizens will be key for the success of a universal agenda.
Culturizing Sustainable Cities: Call for examples – potential case studies
How can artistic/cultural practices be embedded within the planning and development of more sustainable cities? The research project Culturizing Sustainable Cities is searching for examples, from anywhere in the world, of two types of initiatives: (1) Development / implementation of policy and other actions of local authorities to integrate culture into local sustainable city planning and public policies, and to support art-environment activities; and (2) Local artistic/heritage/cultural activities involving local residents that help connect people to the environment and develop more sustainable living practices. In Phase 1, we will develop an online collection of profiles and case studies (globally distributed) selected from these examples. In Phase 2, two locations where clusters of cultural-environmental activities or major policy/planning innovations are identified will be examined in-depth. For more information on the Culturizing Sustainable Cities project and to submit case suggestions, please visit
Resilient Cities forum to expand to Asia-Pacific region
The success of the series Resilient Cities Forum on Urban Resilience and Adaptation, which attracts hundreds of participants every year since 2010, is a clear indication of how pressing the issue of adaptation and urban resilience is perceived to be among local governments worldwide. In response to heightened demand, the congress series is expanding to include the Asia-Pacific region, catering to the situation, challenges and opportunities of local governments specifically in this region.
Medellín - A Better City through Mobility
From its dark past of drugs and violence, Medellín today is Colombia's best example of remarkable recovery. The city's transformation in recent years has attracted global attention. The Urban Land Institute, City Group and Wall Street Journal declared Medellín "Innovative City of the Year" in 2013,
and it received a LEE KUAN YEW WORLD CITY PRIZE Special Mention in 2014.
German cities and public participation in urban development
German cities present many examples of good practice in public participation. However, these good examples are not representative of a broader culture of local public participation. This working paper, published by the German Association of Cities (Deutscher Staedtetag), provides a reflection on the topic and draws on the next steps needed to strengthen and make this democratic tool more effective.
Kuala Lumpur to host World Urban Forum in 2018
The capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, will host the Ninth session of the World Urban Forum (WUF9) in 2018. UN-Habitat, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, as the convener of WUF, announced the decision on Monday 3 November as the culmination of a six months bidding process.
United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UN-Habitat Executive Director, Dr. Joan Clos, has informed Minister of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government of Malaysia, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, of the decision during the Fifth Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD) that is currently being held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, from 3 to 5 November 2014.
Save the date - INTA World Congress 2015
Two days of intense debates, technical visits, plenty of policy exchanges and interactions and Business-to-Business opportunities, participation of key players from industry, local authorities, government agencies, academics, …Cities and companies from Estonia, Scandinavia, Colombia, Japan, Ecuador, Taiwan, France, Singapor, Spain, Benin will compare their vision and model of the city of tomorrow.
Latvian city offers free public transport to pensioners
The Latvian city of Daugavpils has introduced free public transport for residents over the age of 70, the municipality announced on its website last month. The service can be accessed with a special identity card, which residents can apply for by producing a passport, previously issued discount cards for public transport and a photograph.
Major city networks partner for a water-secure world
According to the United Nations World Health Organization, over half of the world’s population now lives in cities and this figure will continue to grow, especially in less developed regions. Therefore, delivering safe water and sanitation in cities will be key to securing sustainability for human, economic and environmental prosperity in the future.
On Tuesday, 28 October, six organizations joined forces to tackle this issue. Through the signature of a Partnership Agreement, UN-Habitat’s Global Water Operators’ Partnership Alliance, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, United Cities and Local Governments, the Daegu Gyeongbuk Development Institute, the National Committee for the 7th World Water Forum and the World Water Council committed to work together to address the important role that local and regional authorities and operators play in managing and providing water and sanitation for their populations while safeguarding water resources and to support cities in rising to this challenge.
Local Renewables Conference 2014 calls for a transition to energy productive cities and regions
The Local Renewables Conference 2014, which focused on the role of cities and regions in transitioning to sustainable energy, concluded on Friday 24 October 2014. For the first time, the conference was organised with two host cities. In addition to long standing partner the City of Freiburg (Germany), the City of Lörrach (Germany) joined with ICLEI to organise and co-host this year’s edition, the 6th in the conference series.
The ongoing economic crisis, growing energy instability, and resource scarcity call for a shift to a sustainable economy. The Local Renewables Conference put particular emphasis on the key role of the local level, as well as the importance of renewable energy and the improvement of energy efficiency in this shift. More than 30 experts from around the globe shared their insight, experiences and thoughts on how regional development can drive the renewable energy transition.
Hidden City: Beijing’s Subterranean Housing Market
Our analysis suggests that the highest priority for the lower-income, often migrant population in Beijing is proximity to jobs and transportation. The central location of these units makes the trade-off of living underground worthwhile. Moreover, the comparison with public housing rents in table 1 indicates that while costs per square meter might be higher, the total rent for underground units is much lower (Hu and Hu 2012). The underground market is thus meeting the demand of people with incomes below the levels targeted by affordable housing programs.
ICLEI Launches New Blog, CityTalk
ICLEI recently redesigned and relaunched its blog, CityTalk. Initially created to provide additional coverage of the recent UN Climate Summit, the blog will now be used as an informal space for news, reflections, commentary and debate around ICLEI and its work.
CityTalk will feature contributions from ICLEI staff, ICLEI members, and external figures connected to ICLEI's work. The blog will focus on cities and their role in the transition to global sustainability. However, it will also offer content on related issues like climate change mitigation, development, and risk.
TIDE handbooks on innovative transport measures
The TIDE (Transport Innovation Deployment for Europe) project recently published two important handbooks on innovative transport measures.
The TIDE Impact Assessment Handbook is a practitioners' guide to cost-benefit and impact analysis of innovative urban transport measures. The handbook can be applied to a wide range of measures, and can therefore be used by cities across Europe. The assessment method developed by TIDE is the result of an extensive review of current transport project appraisal methods referred to in scientific literature and in practitioners' guides and handbooks. The development of this method focused on cost-benefit analysis (CBA) and multi-criteria analysis (MCA), and involved TIDE's leading and champion cities reporting on their current practices and experiences of using CBA for local transport policies and measures.
Chinese mayors advised to replicate Europe’s dense cities
Are Europe’s densely packed cities the best model for China’s urbanization? Roger Harrabin reports for the BBC that British urban planning experts are traveling to China to advise municipal leaders on the benefits of compact cities that prioritize walking and public transit over automobiles.
The team from the UK’s Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), based in London, will share ideas with the National Academy for Mayors of China and government officials, the article says. The British experts want China to reject the auto-dependent sprawl pervasive in Los Angeles and other American cities. They’ll cite scientific data indicating that urban sprawl fuels air pollution and climate change.
Get the leading reference book on green walls in tall buildings
The fourth Technical Guide from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) is now available in our online Web shop. Green Walls in High-Rise Buildings is a wide-ranging global survey of techniques for, and examples of, incorporating vertical greenery into tall buildings. This full-color guide includes 18 detailed case studies and expert recommendations for designers of our vertical, green future. The publication is also available in Chinese.
Johannesburg takes up the challenge of a car-free city
A unique event will take place in Johannesburg from 1-31 October 2015, during South Africa’s Transport Month. The City will organize the world’s second-ever ‘EcoMobility World Festival 2015’ – a month-long car-free city district event. The project will visualize an ecomobile future for residents and visitors in Johannesburg.
“We want to close off certain streets in Sandton, our second largest Central Business District (CBD), to car traffic, and instead use these lanes for public transport, walking, cycling and other forms of EcoMobility during the entire Transport Month in October next year (2015)”, announced the Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Cllr Parks Tau.
What Keeps U.S. Mayors Awake at Night?
While we often get snapshots into how certain U.S. mayors feel about specific issues (like transportation or stadium subsidies or “poor doors”), we rarely get an integrated overview of the way our cities’ executive branches, on the whole, prioritize policies based on their political environs.
To get that big-picture angle, former Boston mayor Tom Menino spearheaded a just-released study with the Initiative on Cities at Boston University. The report offers insight into how more than 70 mayors feel about their challenges, policy agendas and relationships. The survey was timed to the U.S. Conference of Mayors held in Dallas in June, and the mayors’ answers were then sliced by party, economy and population — to reveal how these factors play a role into shaping public policy.
Renewing Old Markets - Tool for Sustainable City Development
Markets are as old as cities. And in each city and country they are as diverse as it can be. But in all cases, they create meeting spaces, business and jobs and they have a wide-ranging potential when it comes to implementing sustainability policies and new trends. Here are some tips from URBACT Markets network.
How to Restore Walking and Cut Traffic Accidents
The bias in our national philosophy towards high speed mobility has long been a topic that PPS has advocated against. In addition to stifling Placemaking, forcing people into cars has contributed to a host of growing national problems. Most compelling of those problems is the incredible pedestrian carnage. Yet until recently public outcry was minimal and government investment in transportation paid only lip service to annual fatalities that amount to the equivalent of one major airplane crash each month. Fortunately, the pendulum has swung back towards our cities, states, and federal government taking action.
“Our voice is becoming increasingly important”
Caserta, Italy 15 October 2014: Urban Thinkers Campus participants work on a new urban paradigm towards Habitat III. They highlighted the importance of civil society and the private sector.
With high level speakers and attendees discussing a new urban paradigm towards the Habitat III conference, the Urban Thinkers Campus started today in Caserta, Italy. The Campus is a three day conference attended by researchers, professionals, decision-makers, academia, grassroots, women’s groups, youth and children, parliamentarians, local government, civil society, and other key groups. The Campus aims to promote sharing, learning and brainstorming on challenges and possible solutions caused by rapid urbanization.
Efus’ recommendations on home security and urban policy submitted to the EU
The European Forum replied to two public consultations by the European Commission on the renewal of the internal security strategy and on the urban policy of the European Union.
As it prepares the 2015-2020 programmes, the EU wishes to collect opinions of stakeholders, in particular from civil society, who are working in the areas covered by these public consultations. As an organisation that strives to make local authorities heard at the European level on all themes related to urban security, Efus presented views and recommendations based on the opinions expressed by the network in the Manifesto of Aubervilliers and Saint-Denis, published in 2012, and the Open letter from Efus members to the representatives of the European institutions, adopted during the general assembly of Karlsruhe, in May 2014.
Unique in Europe: 4th International E-Bus Conference Hamburg
From 17 – 18 November 2014 the latest technical developments and practical uses for electric bus traction will be presented and discussed at the 4th International E-Bus Conference.
All media representatives are cordially invited to attend this high-level gathering free of charge
Presscontact and registration: Alexandra Scharzenberger / Phone.: 0043 664 4141 866 / email@example.com
Video: Could cities save the world's bees?
Away from intensive agriculture and sheltered from the effects of climate change, our cities may be the refuges that bees and other pollinating insects need to survive. This film, from the Wellcome Trust and filmmaker Barry J Gibb, explores the possibilities .
Flitting from plant to plant, from flower to flower, bees and other insect pollinators play an essential role in crop pollination and the human food supply. But they’re struggling: intensive agriculture and climate change have taken a heavy toll on their populations.
Might our cities be the perfect haven for these pollinators? Amid the brick and concrete, steel and glass, there are parks, gardens and curious bits of greenery – and here you can find honey bees, bumblebees, solitary bees, flies and butterflies.
Is Urban Revitalization Without Gentrification Possible?
Cities are the place to be these days, which means big changes for the historic communities that have populated urban cores. While much of the urban renewal experiments of the 1940s through the 1960s have been deemed disasters, word is still out on the new wave of “urban revitalization” that began in the 1990s and continues through to today in most of America’s cities. The supporters of revitalization say rising tides lift all boats. As wealth has come back to cities, everyone benefits. But critics of revitalization simply call it gentrification, and, as one speaker at the EcoDistricts Summit in Washington, D.C. said, “gentrification is a crime.” Furthermore, new discussions of turning existing urban neighborhoods into “ecodistricts” may just be gentrification in a green dress. How can cities encourage growth but also provide a sense of continuity? How can over-taxed city planning departments accommodate the forces of change while also respecting local communities and cultures?
Africities 7 Summit to address sustainable urban development in Africa
The premier event for dialogue sharing on sustainable urban and economic development of African cities will take place in Johannesburg in 2015—bringing together 5,000 participants from across the globe. From Lagos to Dar es Salaam, the crane-filled skylines of cities across Africa have changed dramatically over the last 10 years, as towering buildings sprout up and reach ever further into the skies. Unprecedented economic growth across Africa has led to unprecedented construction in cities across the continent and spurred mass migration as those in rural areas descend on urban centres in their millions in search of work and opportunity. And with the continent’s population expected to grow exponentially over the next few decades, ever more pressure will be piled on cities, and on the governments, urban planners and civil engineers that are entrusted to build them.
100 cities around Europe commit to taking action on climate change adaptation through ‘Mayors Adapt’
Cities play a key role in addressing climate change, both in the field of climate change mitigation and adaptation. As major centres of population and critical infrastructure they are both particularly vulnerable to the effects climate change – and uniquely placed to address them.
The Mayors Adapt Signature Ceremony gathered last week in Brussels more than 150 local and regional authorities’ representatives interested in Mayors Adapt, the recently-launched European initiative on adaptation to climate change.
Join the ITS event of 2015 - 1 YEAR from now
In Bordeaux in 2015, the world’s transport leaders and policymakers will gather to discuss the latest solutions for safety, reliability, sustainability and connectivity of transport systems worldwide. Through the main theme “Towards Intelligent Mobility – Better Use of Space”, the Bordeaux Congress will focus not only on how achieving intelligent mobility will change our lives but also on the benefits space can bring to ITS applications. The new satellite constellations for geo-localisation, earth observation and communication will bring new opportunities to the ITS world.
We are planning many sessions with top speakers, unique live demonstrations, great networking opportunities with thousands of global companies’ representatives, and much more. To raise your excitement about the ITS Congress, watch the video and see what Bordeaux will offer you in October 2015.
Parisians have their say on city’s first €20m ‘participatory budget’
The votes have been counted and nine projects will be implemented from January. Richelle Harrison Plesse asks Parisians what they think of the scheme
After barely six months in power, the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has put in place the city’s very first ‘participatory budget’ project, setting aside €426m (£335m) – 5% of the city hall investment budget – from now until 2020. It’s the largest sum of public money ever to have been allocated to such a scheme. Proclaiming she was “handing the keys of the budget to the citizens,” the Socialist mayor put the question to her fellow Parisians: what would they do to improve their city?
Inside the Guangzhou Award for urban innovation
By Neil Pierce, the founder and editor-in-chief of Citiscope.
GUANGZHOU, China — Can an award system for distinctive city innovations go beyond capturing headlines for winners? Can it develop into an ongoing system of learning for cities around the world, inspiring new ways for them to deal with tough social, economic and environmental challenges?
That’s the clear goal of the Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation, inaugurated by the city’s mayor in 2012 and cosponsored by the two leading worldwide city membership organizations — United Cities and Local Governments and Metropolis. As Josep Roig, Secretary General of UCLG affirms: “The Guangzhou Award is not only the way to showcase excellence in cities around the world, but should also foster exchanges and learning.”