30/10/2015 - EcoMobility Dialogues Conclude with Adoption of Declaration
30/10/2015 - Sustainable mobility boosts economy more than traditional transport projects - new report
29/10/2015 - Journal of Urban Ecology Launched
29/10/2015 - Can we build cities that anticipate the future?
28/10/2015 - 53rd International Making Cities Livable Conference on Caring for Our Common Home: Sustainable, Just Cities and Settlements
28/10/2015 - When it comes to transit use, destination density matters more than where you live
27/10/2015 - Congress of European Municipalities and Regions
27/10/2015 - Living in a steel box: are shipping containers really the future of housing?
26/10/2015 - Efus partners with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities to counter radicalisation and urban violence
26/10/2015 - Back to the urban future
25/10/2015 - "Declaration on cycling as a climate friendly transport mode"
25/10/2015 - CIVITAS Activity Fund and training opportunities boost urban transport
24/10/2015 - Why Are Little Kids in Japan So Independent?
24/10/2015 - Doing away with the zoned out nature of our cities
24/10/2015 - Calls for sustainable urbanisation as the globe celebrates World Habitat Day
23/10/2015 - What Melbourne learned cutting emissions from ‘1200 Buildings’
23/10/2015 - Importance of Public Spaces in Urban Areas
23/10/2015 - UN goals: Our cities hold the key to a sustainable future
22/10/2015 - Perth's water worries: how one of the driest cities is fighting climate change
22/10/2015 - Come Drought or High Water
22/10/2015 - Designing a Better Connection Between People and Government
21/10/2015 - New driverless passenger bus system at Brussels Airport
21/10/2015 - Smart Urban Freight Designer - Online!
21/10/2015 - A Pilot Project to monitor the impact of public policies in terms of Rights
20/10/2015 - Look to developing cities for next Silicon Valley
20/10/2015 - Cities: the best place to strive for sustainability
20/10/2015 - U.K. City Is Designing a Future of Fewer Cars — By Focusing on Its Roads
19/10/2015 - Why German mayors are leading the migrant welcome wagon
19/10/2015 - The Vacant City
19/10/2015 - Three parking solutions for three growing cities
18/10/2015 - Developing disaster proof cities
18/10/2015 - In Print: Parking Management for Smart Growth
17/10/2015 - 5 Anti-Bike Arguments That Should Be Retired
17/10/2015 - Young people of the world elect a new UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board
17/10/2015 - 50000&1 SEAPS coaching scheme aims to help cities improve their energy policy
16/10/2015 - Tree-covered university campus for Ho Chi Minh City unveiled
16/10/2015 - What is the world's most vulnerable city?
16/10/2015 - The Most Popular Type of Home in Every Major American City, Charted
16/10/2015 - UCLG official statement before United Nations Human Rights Council
15/10/2015 - The Sustainable Development Goals: What Local governments need to know
15/10/2015 - On global cities
15/10/2015 - In the Montréal area, 82 municipalities begin to think and act as one
15/10/2015 - Group intelligence in Helsinki: collaborative sustainable city planning
14/10/2015 - Why skyscrapers are killing great cities
14/10/2015 - Safe, inclusive cities begin on the doorstep
14/10/2015 - Can cities kick ads? Inside the global movement to ban urban billboards
13/10/2015 - Knight Cities Challenge Wants Great Ideas for 26 U.S. Cities
13/10/2015 - A Million Dollar Question: Youth Lead the Change
13/10/2015 - Floods “Going to Happen Again,” but Cities Can Minimize Damage
12/10/2015 - EU project produces multi-lingual parking management brochure
12/10/2015 - Africa’s megacities lack air pollution monitoring
12/10/2015 - The housing trap: how can Berlin avoid following in London's pricey footsteps?
11/10/2015 - Electric-Car Perks Put Norway in a Pinch
11/10/2015 - Socio-Economic Segregation in European Capital Cities
10/10/2015 - The Grassroots Campaign to Slow Down Traffic in the U.K.
10/10/2015 - Streets with no game
9/10/2015 - Why we need inclusive partnerships for the New Urban Agenda
9/10/2015 - Growing e-commerce means less urban traffic
9/10/2015 - Electric vehicles are redesigning cities
8/10/2015 - Recognition for innovative initiatives to promote peace at local level
8/10/2015 - In New York, global mayors gather to commit to the SDGs
8/10/2015 - 500 Covenant cities have already tracked their progress in reducing CO2 emissions!
7/10/2015 - European Commission recognises local authorities' role in fighting long term unemployment
7/10/2015 - New Species of City Discovered: The University City
7/10/2015 - Tracking Urbanization: How big data can drive policies to make cities work for the poor
6/10/2015 - The problems of success in the new urban era
6/10/2015 - Grassroots responses to the refugee and migrant crisis
6/10/2015 - All-blue skies in Paris as city centre goes car-free for first time
5/10/2015 - Step It Up!: A Partners Guide to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities
5/10/2015 - Houston to be 3rd biggest city
5/10/2015 - A Dutch City Makes Room for Its River and a New Identity
4/10/2015 - Police-population relations: challenges, local pratices and recommendations
4/10/2015 - Local and regional governments commit to support a flourishing civil society
3/10/2015 - Sustainable mobility boosts economy more than traditional transport projects - new report
3/10/2015 - Will new EU data protection rules prove their relevance to local government?
2/10/2015 - New Big Data Tool to Show How and Why We Move Around Cities
2/10/2015 - TIDE Final Conference in Barcelona: 3 years of cooperation on mainstreaming innovative measures in the field of urban mobility
2/10/2015 - Why the ‘happiest’ cities are boring
1/10/2015 - Six innovative finalists selected for prestigious procurement award
1/10/2015 - White House announces ‘smart cities’ initiative
1/10/2015 - Australia's biggest bike-lane skeptic 'wants to destroy cycling in Sydney'
EcoMobility Dialogues Conclude with Adoption of Declaration
Johannesburg Declaration on Ecomobility in Cities marks end of first week of Festival
On Friday 9 October 2015, city representatives officially adopted the Johannesburg Declaration on EcoMobility in Cities at the end of the EcoMobility Dialogues in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Declaration urges all spheres of government to prioritize sustainable urban mobility by agreeing to bold decisions for ambitious actions at the UNFCCC Climate Summit (COP21) in Paris in December 2015, and the Habitat III Conference in Quito in October 2016. Through the declaration, city leaders also committed to adopting a number of urban mobility policies in areas including public transport, quality and safety, low carbon vehicles and urban space.
Sustainable mobility boosts economy more than traditional transport projects - new report
A new report launching next month will show clear evidence that investing in cleaner and sustainable transport can do more to boost local economies than traditional programmes of transport funding, its authors say.
The report, by the EU-funded EVIDENCE project (link is external) - a European team of climate, environment and transport experts – is a summary of findings based on analyses of the impact of transport infrastructure projects and measures around the world.
Journal of Urban Ecology Launched
As of 2009 the number of people living in urban areas surpassed those living in rural areas, a trend which is only increasing. With the rapid urbanisation of our society and planet, the study of urban ecology has never been more important. It is vital that we understand the effects of urbanisation and build tools to create cities that are healthy environments for both humans and animals. Journal of Urban Ecology will publish freely accessible research examining these issues for both developed and developing countries.
Journal of Urban Ecology, a new Open Access journal from Oxford University Press, provides a much needed forum for in-depth discussion on this fast-developing field. Journal of Urban Ecology focuses on all aspects of urban environments including the biology of the organisms that inhabit urban areas, the diversity of ecosystem services, and human social issues encountered in urban landscapes.
Can we build cities that anticipate the future?
Our cities are built brick by brick, often using construction practices that have evolved little in the last century and giving little regard to proper planning and sustainable development.
Yet new innovations and technologies have produced progressive means of constructing the built environment to ensure that urban infrastructure, once in place, can make a valuable contribution to the workings of a city for centuries to come, withstanding many changes in use and function. Good urban infrastructure needs to anticipate change, be built to adapt and to be resilient.
53rd International Making Cities Livable Conference on Caring for Our Common Home: Sustainable, Just Cities and Settlements
CALL FOR PAPERS Deadline December 20, 2015
We must make our cities healthy, just and sustainable for all humans and for the earth. We must adopt wiser strategies and practices in planning, urban design, transportation planning and architecture - that lead to genuine environmental, social, and economic sustainability, a healthy environment for humans and for the earth. We must do this NOW. We can wait no longer.
At this conference, we will share knowledge of the effects of the built environment on the health of humans and the earth; foster interdisciplinary collaboration on real sustainable and equitable practices; and define a universal charter (or road map) for improving the built environment.
The UN, as well as Pope Francis¹s wise and visionary encyclical, Laudato Si, and the Islamic Climate Change Declaration urge the world to take action NOW to combat climate change and social inequity. This is IMCL¹s challenge. Join us at the Rome Conference to change the way we shape our cities.
Those wishing to present papers should submit a 250 word abstract for consideration before December 20, 2015. Early submissions receive priority.
Please submit online, following the Call for Papers Guidelines on the web at: http://www.livablecities.org/conferences/53rd-conference-rome/call-papers
When it comes to transit use, destination density matters more than where you live
At City Observatory, we’ve written quite a bit about the phenomenon of city center job growth. We did a whole CityReport about the phenomenon, showing that since the Great Recession, urban cores have been outperforming the rest of their metropolitan areas on employment, reversing earlier trends. And just this week, we covered new job numbers showing that larger metropolitan areas—those with at least a million inhabitants—are growing more quickly than smaller ones, and that those regions’ center cities are growing more quickly than their suburbs.
Congress of European Municipalities and Regions
Join us in Nicosia for Europe’s major gathering of local and regional governments
Migration, territorial reforms, climate change, local finances: these are some of the challenges we face to prepare our municipalities and our regions for the Europe of tomorrow.
Join hundreds of mayors, councillors and presidents of regions from all across the continent, along with representatives of European institutions and official organisations, in Nicosia, Cyprus next 20 to 22 April 2016 to discuss Europe and of its local governments in 2030.
Living in a steel box: are shipping containers really the future of housing?
From London to Amsterdam to Mumbai, shipping containers have been celebrated as a cheap and easy way to provide pre-fab housing. But what is it like to live in one – and can they transcend pop-up status to be a permanent solution?
Efus partners with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities to counter radicalisation and urban violence
Efus signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe “with a view to implementing the Congress Strategy to combat radicalisation and on issues related to urban violence,” on 14 September, in Strasbourg (France).
This agreement follows the intervention of Efus President, Guilherme Pinto, at the 28th session of the Congress, in March, after which the Congress had contacted Efus in order to give new impetus to the cooperation on radicalisation and urban security. The two organisations are long-standing partners, and the Congress had taken part in the Security, Democracy and Cities conference at Aubervilliers and Saint-Denis, in 2012.
Back to the urban future
By Josep Roig, UCLG Secretary General
Since the proportion of the global population that lives in cities tipped over 50% in 2008, it has become a truism in international development circles to talk of our “urban future”, to reel off statistics about rapid urbanization in the global South, and to proclaim that the battle for sustainable development will be won or lost in cities.
Cities, we insist, have the potential to generate economic growth and reduce poverty, promote more sustainable forms of consumption and production, and become sites of social, economic and cultural opportunity and integration over the coming decades.
"Declaration on cycling as a climate friendly transport mode"
The European Union Ministers of Transport and Secretaries of State in charge of Transport met in Luxembourg on 7 October 2015 for an informal meeting devoted entirely to cycling as a method of transport.
CIVITAS Activity Fund and training opportunities boost urban transport
The CIVITAS Initiative, which works to promote and support cleaner and better transport in cities, launched the fourth and final call to its Activity Fund on 1 October.
The Activity Fund co-finances projects which involve the transfer of successful measures from ‘pioneer’ cities to ‘take-up’ cities. Applications to the fourth call, which offers €80,000 in co-financing, should relate to one of the 10 CIVITAS Thematic Categories, as well as a series of proven CIVITAS Tools.
Applications may be submitted individually or jointly by organisations that have not already been involved in projects funded by the CIVITAS Initiative. Organisations applying for funding need to be established in an EU Member State or Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Israel, Kosovo, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland or Turkey. The call will be open for seven weeks, with an application deadline of 20 November.
Why Are Little Kids in Japan So Independent?
In Japan, small children take the subway and run errands alone, no parent in sight. The reason why has more to do with social trust than self-reliance.
It’s a common sight on Japanese mass transit: children troop through train cars, singly or in small groups, looking for seats.
They wear knee socks, polished patent leather shoes, and plaid jumpers, with wide-brimmed hats fastened under the chin and train passes pinned to their backpacks. The kids are as young as six or seven, on their way to and from school, and there is nary a guardian in sight.
Doing away with the zoned out nature of our cities
Having lived in six 100-year-old homes over the last 25 years, autumn always makes me carefully consider what it takes to keep these beautiful elders operational and up-to-date. As we were going through the process of winterizing this year, I am reminded of our recent attempt to modernize by making one small addition that would connect the kitchen to the garage without going through the basement or outdoors. However, a quick look at our development by-law told me that our house is currently “legal non-compliant” because it’s built too close to the house next door. In fact, most of our neighbourhood is the same. So a simple addition along the same lines as the existing footprint is a no-go, even if my neighbours give special permission. This makes our historical housing stock seriously marginalized because it’s illegal to update.
Calls for sustainable urbanisation as the globe celebrates World Habitat Day
World Habitat Day was marked on Monday with calls for sustainable urbanisation across the globe.
In a message during a World Habitat Day High Level Discussion on ‘Public Spaces for All’ In New York, United Nations Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki Moon said the recent adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) reflected an international consensus that sustainable urbanization could play a transformational role.
What Melbourne learned cutting emissions from ‘1200 Buildings’
The octagonal office tower that sits above a Maserati dealership here has seen a lot of change since it was built for an airline tycoon in the late 1970s.
For one thing, the helipad on the roof has been replaced with a black “plant room.” This space houses the mechanical guts of the building’s new heating and cooling system — a much more energy-efficient version than its predecessor.
The current owners also installed new elevators that use a regenerative braking system to generate power for the building. These upgrades were part of a retrofit completed earlier this year. The changes cut the building’s energy bills by 25 percent, producing energy savings equivalent to removing the carbon emissions of 55 homes a year.
Importance of Public Spaces in Urban Areas
The importance of public spaces in urban areas has been stressed on the occasion of World Habitat Day today.
Speaking at a programme organised by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation today, the Secretary Dr. Nandita Chatterjee said that the public spaces enhance community cohesion, social interaction and play decisive role in attracting investment and economic opportunities. The green public spaces also help in carbon emission reduction and thus help in environment protection. She said that the UN-Habitat has identified Sustainable Development Goals which stress on ensuring universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities in urban areas by 2030.
UN goals: Our cities hold the key to a sustainable future
The UN goals include targets for affordable housing and sustainable transport, protecting cultural and natural heritage, and reducing the environmental impact of cities.
Melbourne, Bangalore, Jakarta and Rio de Janeiro have something in common: they are growing fast and need to manage the social and environmental impacts of fast-growing and sprawling populations. In some ways, Melbourne has more in common with the fast growing cities of the developing world than the old cities of Europe.
Melbourne is regularly voted one of the most liveable cities in the world but it is far from being the most sustainable, with our high carbon emissions, dependency on cars and a growing divide between residents of inner and outer suburbs in job opportunities, incomes, and services.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/comment/un-goals-our-cities-hold-the-key-to-a-sustainable-future-20150925-gjuv13.html
Perth's water worries: how one of the driest cities is fighting climate change
From locating leaky pipes with acoustic listening to reusing wastewater, Western Australia’s capital is using technology to bridge the water gap
Perth, the capital of Western Australia, is not only one of the most isolated cities in the world, it is also becoming one of the driest in Australia.
Since the gold rush of the 1890s, impressive engineering schemes have transported enough water to make Perth a city of lush lawns and eye-catching flowerbeds, to the surprise of some visitors.
Come Drought or High Water
This summer, as drought plagued California and Houston flooded, the issue of water became front-page news across the United States. Whether cities face scarcity or abundance—forced to conserve water or plan for torrential rain—new tools are emerging that leverage the Internet of Things to effectively manage water. Using sensors and analytics, these resources are helping officials, citizens, and businesses accurately predict everything from crop yields to rainwater runoff in order to increase efficiency, enhance conservation, and reduce pollution throughout the water system.
Designing a Better Connection Between People and Government
What does financial empowerment look like? You could say it looks like a lot of paperwork. Or anxiously waiting for your turn to walk into the back office of a bank or other loan provider. But those are just moments. Like the rest of our financial lives, the whole process of financial empowerment remains largely a mystery, even to those who would play a role in facilitating it. If you’re new to this country, it’s just one more factor stacking the odds against you.
New driverless passenger bus system at Brussels Airport
De Lijn, the Belgian public transport operator, is working in partnership with Brussels Airport Company to introduce a fleet of automated shuttle buses that can provide safe, reliable round-the-clock transfer services for passengers and airport staff.
The buses, which are expected to enter into service in 2018, will operate between the car parks, terminals, cargo loading areas and office areas within the airport, providing a cost-effective and accessible “last-mile” journey for the airport’s 60,000 daily passengers and 20,000 staff.
Smart Urban Freight Designer - Online!
The Smart Urban Freight Designer, developed in Smartfusion by PTV, is an IT-based tool which simulates logistics scenarios in order to promote discussion between actors and present potential solutions for electro mobility.
A Pilot Project to monitor the impact of public policies in terms of Rights
On the occasion of the Meeting of the Americas on Climate Change, UCLG and the City of Bogota signed an agreement so the Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights of UCLG (CSIPDHR) conduct along with the Department of Social Integration of Bogota the Human Rights Monitoring in this city. This agreement strengthens the commitment of this member government towards a more inclusive city, and intends to illustrate in a concrete way the local application of the principles of the Global Charter-Agenda for Human Rights in the City.
Look to developing cities for next Silicon Valley
Lagos, Nigeria is one of several cities in the developing world seeing a rise in technology startup ventures. (Bill Kret/Shutterstock.com)
Berlin, London and Tel Aviv are among the tech savvy cities often touted as today’s rivals to Silicon Valley. But Paul Hermann writes for CityAM that the next generation of global technology hubs will be in the developing world.
Manila, Amman, Lahore, Jakarta and Lagos are the cities to keep an eye on, says Hermann, co-founder and managing director of Lamudi, a real estate listings service focused on developing countries. Swift urbanization that’s given rise to improved infrastructure and educational opportunities is laying the foundation for a startup culture, he writes.
Cities: the best place to strive for sustainability
Cities are a puzzle for some and inspiration for others. As engines of economic growth, they are also hubs of rapid urbanization, a rising middle class, and a growing population. These three mega-trends drive global environmental degradation yet are only part of the important challenge facing cities today.
While consuming over two-thirds of global energy supply and emitting 70% of all carbon dioxide, cities are also uniquely vulnerable to climate change. Fourteen of the world’s 19 largest cities are located in port areas. With sea level rise and increased storm activity, these areas are likely to face coastal flooding, damage to infrastructure, and compromised water and food security. Under these conditions, meeting urban population’s growing production and consumption needs for food, energy, water, and infrastructure will overload rural and urban ecosystems.
U.K. City Is Designing a Future of Fewer Cars — By Focusing on Its Roads
Densifying Milton Keynes thinks autonomous pods, not trains, are the answer.
Driverless cars are the future of urban transport, not trams or monorails. That, at least, is the official view coming from the British city of Milton Keynes. A town of just over 250,000 residents founded in 1967, Milton Keynes is currently the host city for a set of driverless car trials funded indirectly by the U.K. government — the most ambitious testing yet staged in the world.
Why German mayors are leading the migrant welcome wagon
First came the migrants: A million are expected to arrive in Germany by the end of the year and more in 2016, many of them Syrian refugees, ushered into the country by a surprise wave of “welcome culture” from citizens and a panicked debate among Berlin officials about where to put them all.
Then came the mayors: Over the past several weeks, scores of German cities, big and small, east and west, have begun jumping over one another to receive and settle as many refugees and migrants as they can get – often for purely self-interested reasons.
Some want to rebuild their labour force or tax base; others simply want to fill up abandoned housing tracts or military bases, even if they’re in the middle of nowhere. And others are simply trying to get a slice of the funding announced by Berlin to build hundreds of thousands of homes in a few months.
The Vacant City
The ke?k – Hungarian Contemporary Architecture Centre recently published Vacant City, a the result of multiple encounters between Hungarian and Dutch practitioner working with vacancy and reuse.
The economic crisis brought about a new paradigm in architecture and planning. Instead of serving large-scale investments and targeting fictional customers, the new development logic gives preference to the reuse of existing buildings and spaces by helping them to gradually adapt to new functions and accommodate new users.
Three parking solutions for three growing cities
As a new wave of people flood cities to live, work and play, many arrive on four wheels — cars, which are creating massive headaches for city planners and drivers.
Smart cities are looking into reducing parking issues that cause street congestion and wasted time for drivers searching for spaces. Off-street parking isn't a solution: it is costly to build and takes space that could be used for other, more interesting uses.
While some cities are looking into solutions such as parking prices that fluctuate based on demand to ensure a space is always available, others are revamping parking permit policies and updating zoning laws to allow for transit-oriented developments.
Developing disaster proof cities
With govt giving a clear push to city infrastructure, it would make sense to build transport, water, sanitation and power infrastructure with optimum physical resilience.
Around 10,000 lives were lost, houses and city infrastructure got destroyed across Nepal and Northern part of India in the earthquake in April this year. This came as a reminder to Indians, especially those living in high rise urban dwellings in the northern part of the country, that their habitation falls in either of the siesmic zones 3,4 or 5 with zone 5 being most prone to earthquakes. According to the Government of India, at least 38 cities lie in high-risk seismic zones and almost 60 per cent of the landmass of the subcontinent is immensely vulnerable to earthquakes or other natural disasters. The fact that a large section of the population is poor and lives in houses and cities that are hastily built and are not earthquake resistance raises the risk of human impact, in case of any disaster. Also, the lack of government’s preparedness to deal with such situations may add to the woes.
In Print: Parking Management for Smart Growth
A quick reading of Parking Management for Smart Growth leaves even the casual reader with an overwhelming sense of the compelling logic for more rational parking policies to support better development. It is surprising, therefore, that communities with significant implementation of such policies can be counted on one hand—San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, and possibly Washington, D.C.
5 Anti-Bike Arguments That Should Be Retired
For one, bike lanes are actually really good for the local economy.
It’s time to move beyond the misguided war between bikes and cars. Doing so requires all parties on urban streets to acknowledge that city mobility is a collective problem without an either-or answer. In the spirit of a healthier such discussion, we’ve culled from this excellent list of anti-bike arguments that should be put to rest, compiled by Lindsey Wallace at streets.mn, as well as a recent longer list from Adam Mann in Wired.
Young people of the world elect a new UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board
A total of 93,000 votes were cast to elect the sixteen new members of the UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board. Twelve youth, 6 men and 6 women, representing six regions of the world, will take up their posts for the next 4 years and represent the issues of youth and urbanization at the regional and global level. In addition to the 12 regional representatives, also chosen were 4 special advisors selected for housing, post-conflict, Future Saudi Cities programme and youth with disabilities.
50000&1 SEAPS coaching scheme aims to help cities improve their energy policy
Municipalities, regions, Covenant of Mayors Supporters & Coordinators, and public and private stakeholders are invited to take part in a coaching scheme run by 50000&1SEAPs project.
The coaching scheme, along with a tailor-made programme on integrating Energy Management Systems (EnMS) and Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs) according the ISO 50001 energy management standard, will help municipalities achieve high-quality energy policy and planning for the long-term. Participants will be able to use tools and methodologies made available by the project, as well as receiving two days of training.
Tree-covered university campus for Ho Chi Minh City unveiled
Vo Trong Nghia Architects has begun work on FPT University Ho Chi Minh City, a building that is set to begin a renewal of the natural landscape, earlier destroyed by mass development. In the city of Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, only 0.25% of the city is covered in greenery, contributing to environmental stress on its infrastructure – frequent energy shortages, increased pollution, and rising temperatures are becoming more common as the city grows.
What is the world's most vulnerable city?
From the Maldives to Mauritania, some cities are engaged in a constant battle for survival against nature’s relentless forces. But which of these metropolises is closest to being overwhelmed by sea, sand or other natural threat?
The Most Popular Type of Home in Every Major American City, Charted
A chart based on 2014 American Community Survey data on the characteristics of occupied housing, breaks down the differences in housing types in major American cities. These figures tell us not just about the physical character of each city, but the potential they have for new housing as many places look for space to fit a growing urban population. Higher density, in all of these cities, doesn’t have to mean Manhattan-style mega-rises.
UCLG official statement before United Nations Human Rights Council
Patrick Braouezec, President of the Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights of UCLG, represented the Organization at the 30th session of the UN-OHCHR for the presentation of the Report on "the role local government in promoting and protecting human rights". A breakthrough in the recognition of the role of local governments in ensuring universal rights!
The Sustainable Development Goals: What Local governments need to know
UCLG explains why all 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda matter to local governments in a new guide for local leaders.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a cause for celebration for local and regional governments the world over. Even before the confirmation of the final 17 SDGs, the inclusive nature of the Post-2015 process itself represented a major victory for all stakeholders.
UCLG and the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments actively participated in the consultations on the Agenda, successfully advocating for the inclusion of SDG11 on sustainable cities and human settlements, and pushing for all goals to take into account local challenges and opportunities.
On global cities
Global cities run the world. Their banks and markets finance the global economy. Their corporate headquarters and global business services GlobalCitiesThumbwebsitemake the decisions that shape that economy. Their universities train the global citizens of the future, while their researchers imagine that future. Global communications radiate from global cities. These cities have the finest orchestras and museums, the best restaurants, the latest fads. Global culture throbs to the magnetic beat of global cities.
In short, global cities are where the action is.
In the Montréal area, 82 municipalities begin to think and act as one
“Greater Montréal is definitely a great place to live.”
That’s from a website promoting Canada’s second largest metropolis to foreign investors. Greater Montréal. The local businesses and political groups behind the site are marketing not just the city of Montréal itself or any one of its affluent suburbs, but the entire urban region. In French, it’s Grand Montréal.
It hasn’t always been this way. Locals here sometimes have a hard time grasping what “Greater Montréal” is all about. The core city, with its office towers and dense walkable neighborhoods built on a European model, doesn’t have much in common with its sprawling suburbs and the car-based lifestyle they entail. In the past, local leaders have been unable to collaborate on common projects, such as finding funds to build adequate transportation to the suburban Mirabel airport, which closed and had to be demolished.
Group intelligence in Helsinki: collaborative sustainable city planning
Ambitious, you would say. It is, indeed. The Urban Academy wants to engage all parties in a co-creation and co-design process. The main partners are the University of Helsinki, Aalto University and the City of Helsinki. The network brings together researchers and students, policymakers, urban planners, officials and residents to learn from each other through case studies and problem-solving.
"How should we reorganise health care services, how can we engage and empower adolescents, and what should urban green areas look like?" Those are some of many questions used as starting points to cross-disciplinary work. “The city has a growing need for knowledge on complex questions and researchers have an interest to get their research into use”, explains professor Jari Niemelä. The idea behind is to avoid working in silos. Bringing together people from various fields and backgrounds helps ensure developing an integrated approach and getting as close as possible to the best solutions. This is what group intelligence is all about.
Why skyscrapers are killing great cities
The new Blackfriars train station in London is a marvel. The airy cavern of glass and steel straddles the Thames River, giving passengers magnificent views of the city. If they look downriver, they will see St. Paul’s Cathedral, one of London’s best-known landmarks for more than 300 years. Clarification: They will barely see St. Paul’s, for today Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece is lost in a vertical jungle of skyscrapers, as if London were competing with Dubai.
Safe, inclusive cities begin on the doorstep
As urban landscapes sprawl beyond their own limits to accommodate population growth, the world has to find ways to manage them. The SDGs have taken the issue on board, but how can cities take it in Hand?
Can cities kick ads? Inside the global movement to ban urban billboards
First it was São Paulo, then Chennai. Then Grenoble, Tehran, Paris and now even New York have spawned movements to replace or ban outdoor advertising. Are we entering the age of ad-free cities – or is this just an eye-catching distraction?
Knight Cities Challenge Wants Great Ideas for 26 U.S. Cities
The Knight Cities Challenge seeks new ideas from innovators who will take hold of the future of our cities. Applicants from across the nation are invited to share their ideas for making the 26 Knight cities more vibrant places to live and work. From a pool of $5 million, Knight Cities is looking to award grants at the city, neighborhood and block level, and all sizes in between. The application period opens October 1 and closes October 27.
A Million Dollar Question: Youth Lead the Change
In January 2014, the City of Boston launched the first youth-led participatory budgeting process in the US, inviting teens and young adults to decide how to spend $1 million of the city’s capital budget through a process called Youth Lead the Change: Participatory Budgeting Boston. First announced in 2013 by former Mayor Thomas Menino, and now championed by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Youth Lead the Change represents an important project for the City, increasing youth civic engagement and making Boston a stronger city for all.
Floods “Going to Happen Again,” but Cities Can Minimize Damage
Three rains in the past five years in Sioux Falls have met the standards for once-a-century deluges. When the water comes, it has nowhere to go. Parking lots and homes flooded, dozens of cars were stranded under water near the mall and power was knocked out for thousands. The massive rains are likely to keep happening, and the flooding can be worse if developments aren’t planned properly. Too much pavement, too little topsoil and not enough thought given to natural topography in the past have put some neighborhoods at greater risk in huge rains.
EU project produces multi-lingual parking management brochure
The PUSH&PULL mobility project has produced a parking space management brochure that is available in 19 European languages.
The purpose of the brochure, 16 Good Reasons for Parking Management, is to provide knowledge to build sound, political arguments to help to alleviate parking problems and support sustainable transport in cities around Europe.
Africa’s megacities lack air pollution monitoring
Smoke rises from an illegal oil refinery along the Diebu creek in Nigeria, May 15, 2012. Some cities in Africa suffer from severe air pollution problems but data to quantify the problem are hard to come by.
Beijing, Delhi, London and Los Angeles are among the cities that dominate headlines about worrisome air pollution levels. Mathew Evans writes in The Conversation that smog poses an equally dangerous threat to Africa’s cities — yet commands little of the world’s attention.
“The air quality in many African cities is almost completely unmonitored,” Evans laments. As a result, understanding about pollution in teeming megacities such as Lagos and Kinshasa suffers from incomplete data.
The housing trap: how can Berlin avoid following in London's pricey footsteps?
Though comparatively cheap next to London’s astronomical living costs, Berlin’s rental prices are rising rapidly. What does this mean for the native Berliners and ex-Londoners who rely on its reasonable housing market?
Electric-Car Perks Put Norway in a Pinch
When Arne Nordbø drove his electric car under the toll gantry and into the mouth of a tunnel leading to this small Norwegian island on a recent Monday, he couldn’t repress a chuckle.
“They’ve just lost another $20,” said the Finnøy resident and occasional stand-up comedian.
On the losing side of Mr. Nordbø’s commute are local municipalities, including Finnøy, which went into debt to dig the $70 million tunnel but charge no fee on electric cars because of national policies aimed at curbing carbon emissions.
The incentive helped convince many islanders to shift to electric cars. The vehicles now account for about a quarter of tunnel traffic, and allow owners to dodge one of the heaviest toll burdens in the country.
Socio-Economic Segregation in European Capital Cities
Inequality and socio-economic segregation in Europe are on the rise and could become disastrous for our cities, concluded Maarten van Ham and Sako Musterd in their book Socio-Economic Segregation in European Capital Cities: East Meets West. Covering Amsterdam, Athens, Budapest, London, Madrid, Milan, Oslo, Prague, Riga, Stockholm, Tallinn, Vienna and Vilnius, the book offers empirical evidence of the changing level and structure of socio-economic segregation in European cities, and warns us. Growing inequality and segregation could seriously harm the social stability of our future cities.
The Grassroots Campaign to Slow Down Traffic in the U.K.
The push for 20 mph speed limits has reached millions of residents.
More than 15 million people in the United Kingdom are now living in communities where the speed limit is 20 miles per hour. That’s out of a total population of just about 64 million.
We’re not just talking about quaint country villages here (although some of those have gone for 20 mph limits, too). Those numbers come from the nation’s major cities. Three million people live in 20 mph zones in London alone. Neighborhoods with 20 mph limits are home to tens of thousands more in Birmingham, Manchester, and Liverpool, just to name a few of the places where the lower limit has caught on.
Streets with no game
Boring cityscapes increase sadness, addiction and disease-related stress. Is urban design a matter of public health?
In 2007, the Whole Foods supermarket chain built one of their largest stores on New York City’s storied Lower East Side, occupying an entire block of East Houston Street from the Bowery to Chrystie Street. For the well-off, the abundant availability of high-quality organic foods was a welcome addition, but for the majority of locals, many of whom had roots going back generations to New York’s immigrant beginnings, the scale of the new store, selling wares that few of them could easily afford, was a symbolic affront to the traditions of this part of the city.
Why we need inclusive partnerships for the New Urban Agenda
How successfully we develop create, inclusive partnership frameworks in a participatory manner will determine how sustainable and realistic the new urban agenda will be.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework document “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, which will serve as the basis for the forthcoming UN General Assembly at the end of September, has finally been agreed upon. The urban community is particularly enthusiastic about the inclusion of Goal 11 on cities and human settlements, offering the first-ever international agreement on urban-specific development.
Growing e-commerce means less urban traffic
Over at the Brookings Institution, Adie Tomer has performed a significant public service by assembling several decades of US DOT data on vehicle miles traveled. A significant weakness of US DOT’s website is that it mostly presents data a single year at a time, which makes it really difficult to observe and analyze trends in the data.
Tomer’s post plots the US DOT data on urban travel by passenger cars, unit-trucks, and combination trucks. He points to the growth of e-commerce, and the recent entry of Jet.com–which aims to be a challenger to Amazon’s dominance of web-based retailing. Tomer speculates that growing e-commerce will lead to more and more delivery trucks crowding urban streets.
Electric vehicles are redesigning cities
This is with no doubt imposing urban space and image reshape and so planners, engineers and decision-makers are called to adjust to this new alternative energy source more and more imposed on mobility and transport facilities for passengers and goods. In the baseline scenario of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Energy Technology Perspectives 2012, which assumes no major energy and climate policies are introduced, it is expected that vehicle stocks and fuel consumption will rise steadily, more than doubling by 2050.
It is already demonstrated how the electric vehicles (EVs) hold the potential of transforming the way the world moves, increasing energy security. Diversifying the fuel mix and decreasing dependence on petroleum, while also reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, EVs can unlock innovation and create new advanced industries spurring jobs growth and economic prosperity. In this context a mass EV deployment will require reconfiguration of urban and metropolitan transport systems for integrating and fostering new technologies and technical tools adapted to daily use of EVs.
Recognition for innovative initiatives to promote peace at local level
On the international day of Peace, UCLG and its Committee on Development Cooperation and City Diplomacy, wish to recall that in the past decade, over 15 million people have lost their lives and over 40 million people have been forced to flee their homes as a result of ongoing threat of conflicts. Local governments have important roles to play in conflict situations: they have to ensure that service delivery continues to be in place and they can foster peace. These roles have so far been insufficiently recognized.
In New York, global mayors gather to commit to the SDGs
Local authorities underscored central links between cities and sustainable development.
“Mayor” was the most common salutation at a New School event here last night, with dozens of top city officials from around the world joining a ceremony to mark mayoral commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which will be finalized Friday at the United Nations.
500 Covenant cities have already tracked their progress in reducing CO2 emissions!
To date, 500 frontrunner cities have handled a monitoring report on their Covenant of Mayors activities.
When signing the Covenant, a city also commits to provide the Covenant of Mayors Office with a monitoring report, every two year after the day the Sustainable Energy Action Plan was approved.
Covenant cities may opt for reporting only on the implementation status of their actions or for a full reporting in which they assess their current greenhouse gas emissions. The newly-released Quick reference guide on Monitoring provides information about signatories’ commitments and options for reporting on their progress.
European Commission recognises local authorities' role in fighting long term unemployment
We welcome the proposal for a Council recommendation by the European Commission, which recognises the role local authorities play in helping the long term unemployed return to work.
Unemployment, and in particular long term unemployment amongst young people and over 50s, has become an increasingly urgent issue for city administrations. The EUROCITIES declaration on work, launched on 26 February 2015, highlighted this as a serious challenge within our cities.
New Species of City Discovered: The University City
We like to classify our cities, giving them labels that signal why they’re special. Data suggest there’s another urban typology to add to the list: The University City. These cities have populations now large enough to leverage the talent, investment, innovation, ideas, openness, culture and entrepreneurialism that naturally surround large institutions of higher education. University Cities have the vibrancy of the nation’s largest cities, but they differ in their low cost of living, their low unemployment rates and their low violent crime rates.
Tracking Urbanization: How big data can drive policies to make cities work for the poor
Every minute, dozens of people in East Asia move from the countryside to the city.
The massive population shift is creating some of the world’s biggest mega-cities including Tokyo, Shanghai, Jakarta, Seoul and Manila, as well as hundreds of medium and smaller urban areas.
This transformation touches on every aspect of life and livelihoods, from access to clean water to high-speed trains that transport millions of people in and out of cities during rush hour each weekday.
People move to urban areas in search of more jobs and a better life. However, urbanization comes with risks that can prolong impoverishment and lack of opportunity instead of improving future prospects.
The problems of success in the new urban era
Cities face challenges associated with rising values, an influx of more educated residents, and gentrification. Here's what cities can do.
In the mid-1990s, downtown Philadelphia had zero outdoor cafe tables. Today, more than 4,400 tables are available to enjoy the mid-Atlantic weather with a meal or a drink immersed in the City of Brotherly Love. Abundant cafe tables indicate how this city, and many others, are transforming.
In the latter half of the 20th Century, historic cities and towns in the US were dying. That brought disinvestment, declining values, rising poverty, and crime. The one silver lining was cheap land and low housing costs.
Grassroots responses to the refugee and migrant crisis
While many fear a mass influx of refugees and political support for an immediate and adequate solution is limited, citizens across Europe have voiced their sympathy. The discrepancy between government and the will of citizens seems to fuel grassroots initiatives, as obligations towards refugees are often compassionate rather than legal, and is felt by citizens throughout Europe who act on a shared sense of responsibility and desire to help.
All-blue skies in Paris as city centre goes car-free for first time
One-day scheme promoted by mayor Anne Hidalgo sees city centre mostly free of cars and lower speed limit in other districts
The lack of sound on the Champs Elysées was striking.
With the eight lanes of France’s most famous avenue cleared of all traffic on Paris’s first car-free day, the usual cacophony of car-revving and thundering motorbike engines had given way to the squeak of bicycle wheels, the clatter of skateboards, the laughter of children on rollerblades and even the gentle rustling of wind in the trees. It was, as one Parisian pensioner observed as she ambled up the centre of the road taking big gulps of air, “like a headache lifting”.
Step It Up!: A Partners Guide to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities
Individuals and partners working together can make walking a national priority and create a national walking movement. A role exists for all sectors of society, including transportation, land use, and community design; parks, recreation, and fitness; education; business and industry; volunteer and nonprofit; health care; media; and public health. Families and individuals also have an important role to play. This guidebook is a resource for partners for the movement toward a more walkable nation.
Houston to be 3rd biggest city
Hidden in the haze of the petrochemical plants and beyond the seemingly endless traffic jams, a Texas city has grown so large that it is poised to pass Chicago as the third biggest in the United States in the next decade.
Houston has been one of the fastest-growing U.S. cities for years, fueled by an energy industry that provided the backbone of the economy, low taxes and prospects of employment that have attracted job seekers.
But Houston also embodies the new, urban Texas, where political views have been drifting to the left, diversity is being embraced and newer residents are just as likely to drive a hybrid as a pickup truck.
A Dutch City Makes Room for Its River and a New Identity
Nijmegen is turning a flood-control project on the River Waal into an opportunity to redevelop its inner core.
In this city along the River Waal, this year marks the 20th anniversary of a scary event that quite nearly turned into a catastrophe.
Heavy rains upstream in France and Germany, where the river is known as the Rhine, sent a surge of water toward Nijmegen. The city of 170,000 people is protected by dikes. But as the waters rose and fear built that the dikes would break, many people and cattle in and around Nijmegen evacuated. Luckily, the dikes held, and after several harrowing days, the water level dropped again.
Police-population relations: challenges, local pratices and recommendations
16 & 17 November 2015, Brussels
What is the local impact of poor relations between the police and the population? What means can local authorities use to improve them? What are the existing practices? These issues will be debated at the conference by local elected representatives, national policymakers, police officers, researchers and voluntary sector representatives.
Organised by the European Forum for Urban Security (Efus) jointly with the city of Brussels and the Brussels Capital-Ixelles Police Zone, this conference is part of the European project IMPPULSE (IMproving Police-Population Understanding for Local SEcurity), which was funded by the European Commission.
Local and regional governments commit to support a flourishing civil society
The message of International Day of Democracy 2015 is “space for civil society”, as a reminder of the role of a strong civil society in working for a better future and in holding governments to account.
This 15 September, the local and regional governments of UCLG join the global celebrations of International Democracy Day. Democracy is one of the founding values of our organization and it is our firm belief that local governments, as the level of the government closest to the people, are best placed to build a firm foundation for democracy by listening and responding to the needs of our communities.
Sustainable mobility boosts economy more than traditional transport projects - new report
A new report launching next month will show clear evidence that investing in cleaner and sustainable transport can do more to boost local economies than traditional programmes of transport funding, its authors say.
The report, by the EU-funded EVIDENCE project (link is external) - a European team of climate, environment and transport experts – is a summary of findings based on analyses of the impact of transport infrastructure projects and measures around the world.
Set for release in early October, the report says that some major road and rail projects do not create jobs or reduce congestion on the scale many developers claim, and dismiss the benefit of traditional cost-benefit analyses (CBAs).
Will new EU data protection rules prove their relevance to local government?
The Parliament, the Council and the Commission are currently negotiating a new EU data protection rules. If adopted, the new regulation should be implemented in 2016 by all European local and regional governments. This is in fact a good reason to measure its real impact on the local public sector.
For CEMR and its associations the problem remains the same: there is no real distinction between the public and the private sector. Contrary to the private sector, public administrations do not use personal data for commercial purposes but rather to provide services for public general interest. Therefore we believe that a framework adapted to such reality is strongly needed. Yet the new rules do not provide it.
New Big Data Tool to Show How and Why We Move Around Cities
Take billions of purchase transactions. Add a mountain of transportation data. Then ask, what is the relationship between how people travel and what they buy? And what does this tell us about how to build cities better? MasterCard, in collaboration with Cubic Transportation Systems, announced a new data analysis platform that will aim to answer those questions.
TIDE Final Conference in Barcelona: 3 years of cooperation on mainstreaming innovative measures in the field of urban mobility
Around 120 decision makers and transport technicians from local authorities interested in integrating innovations in their urban mobility policies, and professionals concerned by innovation in urban transport attended the Final Conference of the TIDE project (Transport Innovation Deployment for Europe) that took place in Barcelona on 15- 16 September.
Why the ‘happiest’ cities are boring
Switzerland is the happiest country in the world. That’s official. The UN has published its third World Happiness Report since 2012, and Switzerland is top. You can see why. Switzerland is rich, temperate and has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. It has avoided the ravages of two European wars. You feel completely safe in the streets. And yes, the trains run on time. When I recently took a train from Italy to Switzerland, it left Milan decently late — why need driver or passengers hurry to finish lunch in Italy? But the train pulled into Zürich just as the second hand on the clock clicked to the designated arrival time.
Six innovative finalists selected for prestigious procurement award
Six finalists have been chosen for the Procurement of Innovation Award, representing the most innovative and impressive public procurement activities carried out in Europe.
The Award aims to recognise successful public procurement procedures that have been used to purchase innovative, more effective and efficient products or services.
The finalists and their suppliers will be invited to an award ceremony at the European Assistance for Innovation Procurement event in Paris (France), taking place from 27 – 28 October 2015.
White House announces ‘smart cities’ initiative
U.S. President Barack Obama has unveiled a sweeping strategy designed to help cities tackle challenges ranging from traffic congestion to crime. The “Smart Cities” initiative would invest more than US$160 million in federal research and partner with more than 25 technology collaborations, WhiteHouse.gov says.
Other goals include improving delivery of city services, boosting energy efficiency and economic growth and combatting climate change and pollution. The Obama administration aims to spur deployment of sensors that collect citywide data and technologies such as self-driving cars and intelligent transportation systems.
Australia's biggest bike-lane skeptic 'wants to destroy cycling in Sydney'
Duncan Gay has made it his mission to rid Sydney of its network of segregated bike lanes. Cyclists and the lord mayor are up in arms at what they see as a dangerous backward step in the city’s development
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