30/9/2013 - Home prices hike up to 15% in significant Chinese cities
30/9/2013 - Bath reduces bus ticket price to boost public transport use
29/9/2013 - European Mobility Week puts focus on link between clean air and transport
29/9/2013 - Electric buses take centre stage across Europe
29/9/2013 - UN-Habitat promotes contest on Urban Revitalization of Mass Housing
28/9/2013 - UCLG-CUSP highlights the importance of “Empowering I-cities”
28/9/2013 - The URBACT Local Support Group Toolkit – Guidance for participative policy-making
28/9/2013 - SOLUTIONS project calls for applications from cities
27/9/2013 - Infographics to better understand local and regional governments’ concerns
27/9/2013 - UN-Habitat Launches Global Report On Urban Mobility
27/9/2013 - Musical swings in the streets of Montreal
26/9/2013 - Speed pays for safety in Seattle
26/9/2013 - Policies for Shareable Cities: A Sharing Economy Policy Primer for Urban Leaders
26/9/2013 - Understanding resilient urban futures: A systemic modelling approach
25/9/2013 - Sustainable energy map going from city-scale to street level
25/9/2013 - On the buses in London
24/9/2013 - Slums explode in size Continent is not dealing with growth
24/9/2013 - "No Regrets": Berlin invites for Metropolis Initiative dialogue about climate change adaptation
24/9/2013 - Asia's Urbanization Imperative
23/9/2013 - Boston to build the right kind of houses
23/9/2013 - Dresden to be the city accessible to all
23/9/2013 - Iran conference calls for innovative approaches to sustainable urbanisation
22/9/2013 - Urban Entrepreneur Initiative begins in Gary
22/9/2013 - Suburbs survive urban boom in Canada
22/9/2013 - Serbian municipalities and cities on the way to EU integration
21/9/2013 - Urban ideas in action: Signs of hope
21/9/2013 - Public consultation on Sustainable Buildings - DG ENVI
21/9/2013 - Parking: third EPA-Polis workshop opens discussion about on-street parking provision - presentations now online
21/9/2013 - 9 years making history: 2004-2013
21/9/2013 - Local and Regional Governments from all corners of the globe celebrate International Day of Democracy with view to Rabat
20/9/2013 - “Ordinary cities” needed to tackle climate change in cities, says UN-Habitat
20/9/2013 - First residents for Amsterdam's Scum Village
20/9/2013 - European Commission seeks for cities with innovation ecosystems
19/9/2013 - Scottish government vows to eliminate car emissions by 2050
19/9/2013 - URBACT Pilot Projects for the Transfer of Good Practice
19/9/2013 - Mexico's path to urban reform
18/9/2013 - Future Cities Forum wants more than carbon neutrality from cities
18/9/2013 - What makes a great city?
18/9/2013 - Philadelphia Conference Highlights Problem of Vacant Urban Properties
17/9/2013 - Best of the best - cities leading the way
17/9/2013 - Get funds to tackle disasters
17/9/2013 - Suwon residents moves full speed with an ecomobile lifestyle
16/9/2013 - Apply now: EU Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) Award for cities
16/9/2013 - The Vauban eco-project in Fribourg, presentation of an exemplary urban project
16/9/2013 - UN-Habitat calls for more participation in slum upgrading plans
15/9/2013 - Second round of URBACT National Training Seminars on Participative Action Planning
15/9/2013 - VRUITS interest group workshop on ITS for the safety of vulnerable road users in Brussels on 18 September
15/9/2013 - China must spend at least 41.6 trillion Yuan ($6.8 trillion) to realize benefits of urbanization
14/9/2013 - Vote Now for your Favourite Drawing – URBACT Children Contest
14/9/2013 - Urban Forests Save Lives
14/9/2013 - New research: the diverse role of cities in delivering active inclusion
13/9/2013 - WELCOME TO WUF 7
13/9/2013 - Suburbs losing out to city centres
13/9/2013 - Bike Lanes Correlated with Increased Property Values
12/9/2013 - Climate-friendly urban regeneration: Lessons from Japan
12/9/2013 - Benchmarking the Walkability of Global Cities
12/9/2013 - Sports City to come up near Bengaluru
11/9/2013 - U.S. Bike-Share Fleet Doubled in 2013
11/9/2013 - South Carolina City Takes Steps to Evict Homeless From Downtown
11/9/2013 - Tall Buildings in Numbers: Vanity Height – The Use-less Space in Today’s Tallest Buildings
10/9/2013 - Africa’s rapid urbanization leads to social tensions
10/9/2013 - Illegal To Toss A Cigarette Butt In Chicago
10/9/2013 - Better Street Connectivity, Lower Traffic Speeds Associated with More Park Usage
9/9/2013 - Cologne’s anti food waste campaign
9/9/2013 - Projexity helps Communities Crowdsource for Better Urban Development
9/9/2013 - Coastal cities to pay high price for climate change
8/9/2013 - Measures for successful Transit Oriented Development in India
8/9/2013 - After being awarded the “Cycling Visionaries” award at Velo-City Vienna, “Bikes For Life” is back on September 22nd, joining bike promoters throughout the world, on the global Car-Free Day.
8/9/2013 - The World Summit approaches, Registration open up to the 20th September!
7/9/2013 - Spanish municipality lifts citizens out of fuel poverty
7/9/2013 - Economic diversity to halt urban decline
7/9/2013 - New cycling and walking routes lead to a reduction of over one million car trips
6/9/2013 - The University of Melbourne to promote research on ‘Impact of Urban Development on Human Health’
6/9/2013 - Malawian president voices concern over urban poverty
6/9/2013 - A transport-pioneer in South-East Europe
5/9/2013 - Energy saving tram is tested in Vienna (Austria)
5/9/2013 - Resisting the city
5/9/2013 - Urban beekeeping not all it's cracked up to be?
4/9/2013 - Cities in action: cycle super highways
4/9/2013 - Coastal cities to pay high price for climate change
4/9/2013 - Upcoming Istanbul Cities of the Future conference: 15-18 September 2013
3/9/2013 - New methodology for quality monitoring of public transport
3/9/2013 - All systems go for Cape Town World Design Capital 2014
3/9/2013 - New Urban Development Plan of Tirana sets direction for road network development (Albania)
2/9/2013 - URI- Africa partners with UN-Habitat to promote World Urban Campaign
2/9/2013 - Lagos caters for super-rich
2/9/2013 - High speed rail is coming to California!
2/9/2013 - Urban Forum of CIS countries in Khabarovsk
1/9/2013 - Micro living in the big city is not for everyone
1/9/2013 - Programme published of 2013 Annual Polis Conference
1/9/2013 - City, metropolis, region in the same trajectory 1913-2013
1/9/2013 - ICLEI Member Copenhagen to launch shared bike with built-in GPS
Home prices hike up to 15% in significant Chinese cities
China witnessed dramatic rise in the property prices last month raising the questions of whether government need to intervene in this matter to avoid the housing bubbles. Housing prices rose in 66 of 70 Chinese cities in August as compared to the previous month, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Compared to last year, prices were higher in all but one of the 70 cities tracked by the government.
Prices in Shanghai and Beijing registered some of the largest increases, rising 15% over the previous year. In the southern manufacturing hub of Shenzhen, prices jumped 18%. On average, new home prices across the cities increased 7.5% over the previous year -- the quickest pace since December 2010. With limited investment options in China, real estate has traditionally been a popular choice for consumers looking to expand their portfolios. That, in turn, has pushed China's urban housing prices up for much of the last decade, sparking a cycle of government reaction to curb the market.
Bath reduces bus ticket price to boost public transport use
Bath and North East Somerset Council (UK) has cut the price of an adult BathRider ticket in order to encourage more people to make use of the city of Bath's bus services.
The BathRider ticket offers near unlimited travel by bus across the Bath area until three am the day after purchase. They are available to buy on buses from the ten main companies as well as from the tourist information office, Bath Bus Station and Bath Spa Railway Station.
European Mobility Week puts focus on link between clean air and transport
European Mobility Week (EMW) 2013 came to a close on 22 September following a successful campaign which saw citizens from over 1800 cities take to the streets to explore the relationship between clean air and transport choices. Through a range of activities and events, participants looked at creating healthier, more pleasant urban environments through sustainable mobility.
In Limerick (Ireland) activities included a bicycle repair workshop for children, and a class for school pupils on how to safely take the bus. Hunedoara (Romania) held public Zumba classes, while in Ronneby (Sweden) gift bags were given out to cyclists as part of the EMW celebrations. Budapest (Hungary) invited young citizens to take part in an art competition on the theme of clean air among its EMW events. Urban traffic is a growing source of air pollution – specifically when it comes to particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide. Local authorities therefore have the responsibility to develop urban transport strategies that meet mobility demand, protect the environment, improve air quality and make the city a better place to live.
Confirming his support for the campaign, Janez Potocnik, European Commissioner for the Environment, said: “This year, we put an emphasis on the impact that transport and our daily choices have on the quality of the air we breathe and our health. By raising awareness and offering alternative transport options, cities can become more attractive places for people to live, they can make a major contribution to protect our health and promote a more sustainable future for all of us.”
For more information, click here: http://www.mobilityweek.eu/
Electric buses take centre stage across Europe
In order to give electric buses their due recognition, the EU-backed project “TROLLEY” has initiated numerous activities to promote the attractive features of electric buses.
For the fourth consecutive year, European Trolley Bus Day will be celebrated as part of the wider European Mobility Week. In 27 different cities around Europe, the municipal operators of trolleybuses will host entertaining events in order to engage the public and showcase trolleybuses as important contributors to clean, green and affordable urban transportation.
UN-Habitat promotes contest on Urban Revitalization of Mass Housing
UN-Habitat has launched an international contest for teams of university students and/or recent graduates. Called "Urban Revitalization of Mass Housing”, the competition aims to render monolithic mass housing into more socially, economically and environmentally sustainable areas by integrating mixed uses, improving densities and mobility, and reducing their Eco-footprint. Registrations are open until November 15, and projects must be submitted by January 31, 2014.
Seven regional prizes will be awarded to selected projects at the 7th World Urban Forum, which takes place in Medellin, Colombia, in April 2014. The competition is public and open to students and recent graduates from around the world, who can join individually or in teams of up to six people. All entries must be prepared by bona fide undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled in an academic program in any Higher Institution programme. Recent graduates are also eligible to join, if they graduated after December 31st, 2010. Teams are encouraged to include a diversity of disciplines, with participants with varied backgrounds in architecture, urban design, planning, engineering, landscape architecture, agriculture, sociology, economics, or other specializations.
Schools of architecture and urban planning, as well as other academic and research institutions, are encouraged to include this competition as part of their curriculum and course work. Ministries of Housing, local authorities, housing corporations and associations of mass housing residents, as well as owners and managers of mass housing estates, are invited to collaborate with competitors, since they will eventually receive innovative ideas to retrofit unsuitable housing environments. Last but not least, the private sector is also invited to sponsor prizes which contribute to the implementation of the projects of local winners in their respective cities.
Initiated by the Global Housing Strategy’s campaign on “Placing Housing at the Centre”, the contest strives to strengthen ties between academia, professionals, local authorities, the private sector and mass housing residents. The campaign seeks to address the challenges currently facing mass/social/public housing around the globe whilst introducing Academic Social Responsibility (ASR) and encouraging Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
For more information and to express your interest, please visit http://www.urbangateway.org/content/international-competition-urban-revitalization-mass-housing
UCLG-CUSP highlights the importance of “Empowering I-cities”
The UCLG Committee on Urban Strategic Planning, joined by UN Habitat, ILO, the university and city of Lleida, published a new publication aiming to visualize the role of intermediary cities and their leaders in global development and globalization. “Empowering I-cities” underlines that the urbanization process is not only happening in big cities, but also - and even more rapidly - in intermediary ones. In fact, according to the United Nations, cities with fewer than a million inhabitants constitute more than 60% of the world’s urban today population and they are growing faster than larger urban centres. As stated in by the Executive Director, Joan Clos, and, UCLG Secretary General, Josep Roig, These cities play an active mediating role between their surrounding territories, often agricultural, and major urban hubs and markets. By offering basic services to the urban and rural population in their surroundings and providing links to broader flows of networks, they can stimulate sustainable urban growth and provide opportunities for their regions. They are therefore increasingly considered key elements for more balanced urbanization processes.
The URBACT Local Support Group Toolkit – Guidance for participative policy-making
The URBACT Local Support Groups (ULSG) are one of the key innovations in the URBACT II programme that allow participative policy-making at the local level. Each URBACT partner is required to set up a Local Support Group gathering the local stakeholders most concerned by the issue addressed by the project. The URBACT Secretariat has just produced an updated version of the URBACT Local Support Group Toolkit. This key publication is designed for stakeholders involved in URBACT projects who will play an active role in delivering on this challenging task of participative policy-making and delivery but can also be useful for all local stakeholders.
SOLUTIONS project calls for applications from cities
The European SOLUTIONS project on innovative and green urban transport solutions is calling for cities from Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Mediterranean to become involved in the project’s innovation activities as leading, take-up or training cities.
Leading cities work through SOLUTIONS to share their expertise in the development and implementation of sustainable urban mobility solutions. Take-up cities will show a real sense of commitment to assess opportunities for the transfer of innovative solutions to their context, and multilateral exchanges and technical visits will be organised. Training cities will be able to participate in several knowledge-sharing and capacity-building workshops, focusing on successful examples of innovative sustainable mobility solutions from Europe, China, Singapore and Latin America.
SOLUTIONS brings together some of the leading experts and city networks from these regions, aiming to foster knowledge exchange and boost the uptake of innovative sustainable urban mobility solutions. The deadline for applications is 30 September 2013.
For more information, click here: http://www.iclei-europe.org/topics/mobility/solutions
Infographics to better understand local and regional governments’ concerns
As the celebration of the World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders and 4th UCLG Congress approaches and as the majority of local and regional elected representatives worldwide prepare to travel to Rabat, UCLG has created infographics on the main issues placed at the core of local and regional governments’ agenda.
With the purpose of representing the main trends for the future of the Towns, Cities and Regions in relation to the contents and issues developed in the Manifesto for the City of 2030, UCLG has created infographics on the following topics: strategic urban planning, challenges of new urbanization, proximity government, resilience of cities and regions, and human rights.
UCLG encourages a careful reading of each of the following infographics that provides a quick but global glance of these issues that are both complex and inter-connected.
UN-Habitat Launches Global Report On Urban Mobility
UN-Habitat has launched its biannual flagship report, the Global Report on Human Settlements 2013 - Planning and Design for Sustainable Urban Mobility at a press conference in New York in the run up to the United Nations General Assembly.
In the report UN-Habitat says the greatest challenge to urban mobility comes from the fixation with building or expanding transport infrastructure, over increasingly long distances, rather than ensuring people greater access to destinations and facilities that satisfy their needs. The report suggests that urban planners and decision-makers must realize the human right of people to equitable access and make the fulfillment of that right the focus of their efforts to improve urban mobility.
Speaking at the launch, Dr. Clos said, “Urbanization is growing very fast particularly in developing countries, where populations and number of motorized vehicles are rising at rates where urban infrastructure investments are unable to keep pace. This report will serve as a starting point to guide local authorities and other stakeholders to address the challenges faced by urban transportation systems all over the world.”
Musical swings in the streets of Montreal
A set of 21 swings in the city centre of Montreal, Canada, aims to foster public interaction and collaboration.
The design collective Daily Tous Les Jours has installed the swings to stimulate a sense of ownership of public space, bring people of all ages and backgrounds together and create a high-quality public space in the city centre, where people like to spend time and interact.
The swings act as a giant collective instrument. Sounds from a xylophone, a piano and other instruments were programmed into the colour-coded swings. While each swing will play sounds individually, melodies emerge through cooperation and coordination between the swings.
For more information and a video of the installation, visit www.dailytouslesjours.com
Speed pays for safety in Seattle
Seattle’s expected $14.8 million windfall from speed-enforcement cameras would be spent to build safer passages for children walking to more than 20 schools, under a proposal announced Wednesday.
Projects include sidewalks, amber warning lights and curb bulbs to narrow the distance across a roadway, or even speed humps to slow vehicles near Roxhill Elementary, in the far southwest part of the city.
The Road Safety Initiative would increase four existing speed-enforcement cameras to a possible 15 cameras, where motorists who exceed 20 mph before and after school would be fined $189. About 30 percent of income goes to operate and install the cameras, and city staff to design and oversee walking-safety programs.
Policies for Shareable Cities: A Sharing Economy Policy Primer for Urban Leaders
The Sustainable Economies Law Center and Shareable have jointly released the first ever policy brief of its kind, called Policies for Shareable Cities: A Sharing Economy Policy Primer for Urban Leaders. It details 32 specific policy steps that local leaders can take to benefit from the growing sharing economy and support innovations such as carsharing, ridesharing, cohousing, cooperatives, and urban agriculture
Understanding resilient urban futures: A systemic modelling approach
From our research team, Pengjun Zhao, Ralph Chapman, Ed Randal and Philippa Howden-Chapman, this paper introduces an urban model that can be used to evaluate city resilience.
The model considers the city (Wellington) as a complex system and explores the dynamic relations between human activities, environmental effects and potential natural disasters faced under different policy scenarios. This gives insights that may be useful for policy to enhance the city’s resilience, for example by modelling the potential for reduction in transportation energy use, or by examining changes in the vulnerability of the city’s housing stock and transport system to sea level rise
Sustainable energy map going from city-scale to street level
Imagine a map, used at European level, which allows you to zoom in to your neighbourhood and check out the renewable energy installations and energy efficiency projects nearby, all just a few clicks away.This is now exists in the form of the “Repowermap”, supported by the Intelligent Energy Europe programme since 2012 and used in various Covenant signatory cities...
On the buses in London
In April 2013, a record-breaking week on London's bus network saw passenger numbers reach their highest level since before 1960. Approximately 49.5 million weekly journeys are now being made on London's bus network – around half the number of all bus journeys in England. The annual figure of around 2.3 billion passengers is 60 per cent above the levels that were seen as recently as 2000 and comes against the backdrop of London's continued population rise.
So what next for London's bus service as demand for it increases and the number of Londoners soars? It isn't very obvious. While rail transport has the glamour of Crossrail and the Mayor strives to persuade us that his "cycling revolution" claims will, belatedly, be justified, there's no conspicuous plan for enabling the form of public transport that carries by far the greatest numbers of passengers in the capital to carry even more.
Slums explode in size Continent is not dealing with growth
CHRISTINA Mgocwa had high hopes of a better future when she moved from her rural village in South Africa's Mpumalanga province to Johannesburg a decade ago.
But her dreams were shattered.
Instead of benefiting from the economic opportunities a major city can offer, Mgocwa, 31, and her four children ended up in a rickety shack in Orange Farm, one of Johannesburg's many slums.
They have no running water, a pit latrine for a toilet and are cut off from most public services.
``Coming to Johannesburg was not what I expected,'' said Ms Mgocwa, who collects waste items for a recycling centre.
``We have been struggling. I feel disappointed and angry.''
"No Regrets": Berlin invites for Metropolis Initiative dialogue about climate change adaptation
The Metropolis Initiative ‘Integrated Urban Governance – Successful Policy Transfer’, which is led by the city of Berlin, will carry out two dialogue events to exchange different perspectives and interests in finding ways for cities to adapt to climate change. Named "No Regrets – Pre-Acting and Adapting to Climate Change in Cities", the first event will take place on October 14th and 15th in Berlin.
Asia's Urbanization Imperative
The largest wave of migration the world has ever seen is now under way in the Asia-Pacific, as citizens leave rural areas for the cities. To realize an Asian Century, this urbanization must be "smart" in every way, especially in terms of city livability, environmental sustainability and in fostering an ecosystem which is conducive to innovation.
The urban population of the Asia-Pacific region has risen from 33 to 43 percent of the total over the past two decades. East Asia is the regional leader with more than 50 percent of its population living in cities. Asia is home to more than half of the world's megacities - metropolitan areas with over 10 million inhabitants. And by 2050, some two-thirds of Asia-Pacific's population might be urban, heading towards the 85-90 percent urbanization rates of the advanced OECD countries
Boston to build the right kind of houses
Months after first announcing a goal of creating 30,000 new housing units by the end of the decade, Mayor Thomas Menino detailed his Housing Boston 2020 initiative on Monday.
The $16.5 billion blueprint, crafted with the input of outside advisers, seeks to meet the needs of “our changing city,” Menino said.
“In order to fulfill its promise, Boston needs to continue its relentless focus on creating housing, because this is an issue that affects every Boston resident,” he said in a press release accompanying the plan. “We do not simply need to put roofs over peoples’ heads; we need to think carefully about the right kind of housing for our changing city.”
Dresden to be the city accessible to all
This year, the longstanding POLIS-member Dresden has applied for the ”Access City Award“ of the European Commission. Dresden has about 13 000 cultural monuments which provoke a careful balance between monument conservation and the needs of disabled persons. The city’s continuous efforts of being a barrier-free city are highly effective.
Iran conference calls for innovative approaches to sustainable urbanisation
Mayors, urban policy makers, Islamic scholars, civil society and experts from over 30 countries have called upon the international community to intensify efforts to deal with urban challenges in the Muslim World by harmonising universal and Islamic approaches.
Urban Entrepreneur Initiative begins in Gary
An innovative program "The Urban Entrepreneur Initiative" is geared to offer opportunities for economic development and help build Gary “one small business at a time.” It was conceived by Peter Justen, CEO of Washington, D.C.-based Five Plus, and Gary native Deardra Campbell, Managing Principal of The Green-Campbell Group in Atlanta.
Their shared philosophy of “rebuilding America one small business at a time” culminates in donating their services to Gary entrepreneurs. The Green-Campbell Group is an economic development consultant with expertise in micro-enterprise development and personal financial literacy, targeted to socially or economically disadvantaged communities.
Suburbs survive urban boom in Canada
In most Canadian cities, the vast majority of growth from 2006 to 2011 was in auto-dependent suburbs. Even in Metro Vancouver, where there was significant population growth in the high-density condos of downtown, more than three times the growth was in auto-dependent suburbs
Amy Starkey was a tiny bit nervous when she left the bustling community of Vancouver’s Commercial Drive for Pitt Meadows eight years ago.
She had never lived that far from the city before and Pitt Meadows was the epitome of suburbia. Plus, she needed a car to get around because there were no shops and services within walking distance.
Serbian municipalities and cities on the way to EU integration
Serbian local authorities get prepared for EU accession thanks to cooperation between two CEMR associations of local and regional government: SALAR in Sweden and SKGO in Serbia.
This cooperation agreement was established in the framework of a programme entitled "Support to local governments in Serbia in the EU integration process". The idea behind it is that by the end of the program’s implementation, local authorities in Serbia will be prepared enough to meet the requirements facing on the road to the European Union. Once the country becomes an EU member, it is acknowledge that 60% of items on municipal councils agenda will be affected by the EU. As the saying goes, better safe than sorry.
Urban ideas in action: Signs of hope
You only have to look at the fate of Detroit - which recently filed for bankruptcy protection after years of decline and inner-city decay - to appreciate how important innovative thinking about urban problems is for the Americas.
This magazine is dedicated to new ideas about improving the environment of American cities - be they bombed-out post-industrial areas of the US or sprawling Latin American centres ringed by slums, groaning under the pressure of migration from rural areas.
This magazine is also a vehicle to highlight the FT/Citi Ingenuity Awards: Urban Ideas in Action, which focus on fresh thinking and action in addressing the explosive growth of cities around the world.
Public consultation on Sustainable Buildings - DG ENVI
The European Commission wants to gather views and additional information on the possible introduction of EU wide measures to achieve better environmental performance of buildings. Resource use and related environmental impacts all along the life-cycle of buildings are in the scope. The consultation puts forward questions related to the problem definition as well as to possible policy options. It looks at both demand and supply side measures. The consultation offers an opportunity to all interested parties to express their views and to provide additional information to the European Commission.
Parking: third EPA-Polis workshop opens discussion about on-street parking provision - presentations now online
On 10 September, the day before the EPA Congress, 65 parking and urban transport professionals gathered to discuss how we can make on-street parking a success. The workshop brought food for thought on issues such as planning, tarriff schemes, enforcement, technology and service provision. Results of the workshop will be presented at the Polis annual conference (4-5 December in Brussels) in the form of a position paper.
9 years making history: 2004-2013
The nine year anniversary of United Cities and Local Governments coincides with the Centenary of the International Municipal Movement. Not only is UCLG the inheritor of this movement that started 100 years ago, it is also the broadest organization representing the interests of local and regional governments on the international scene. To celebrate this, we have decided to compile all important events that have taken place since the creation of UCLG in 2004, retracing our achievements in a timeline.
In 2004, the Founding Congress in Paris gathered the largest congregation to date of mayors, councillors and elected representatives of cities and local and regional governments who gathered together to create the global organization United Cities and Local Governments with the aim of representing and defending the interests of local governments on the global sphere.
Since its creation, UCLG has made a number of achievements towards this goal that have allowed our organization to become stronger and develop links with our partners and local, regional and international networks to reinforce our voice at international level and before the United Nations. Owing to the work of UCLG, towns, cities and regions continue to unite forces to reassert their positions and proposals while, at the same time, gaining recognition in international negotiations and playing a decisive role in the definition of the United Nations development agenda.
Local and Regional Governments from all corners of the globe celebrate International Day of Democracy with view to Rabat
United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) will celebrate, along with the international community, the International day of Democracy taking place just two weeks before the World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders. As representative body of self-governing and democratic local and regional governments, UCLG seeks to increase the role of these institutions situated closest to citizens in the construction of Democracy. In the framework of today’s celebration to “Reinforce the voices of Democracy”, UCLG is inviting the international community and its members and partners to “Imagine Society, Build Democracy" during the Second World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders and 4th UCLG Congress that will address this topic in Rabat, Morocco, from the 1st to the 4th of October. After one hundred years of the International Municipal Movement, this Summit will be a turning point in re-affirming the agenda of cities in the 21st century, building and reinforcing Democracy with the involvement of local and regional authorities in the work that has been initiated on the future of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) post 2015 and on the definition of the new global urban agenda in the framework of Habitat III, in 2016.
“Ordinary cities” needed to tackle climate change in cities, says UN-Habitat
A focus on “ordinary cities”, including every day practices and local knowledge, is needed to address climate change issues and explore the responses that are emerging.
This is one of the key messages of a special issue of the international publication Local Environment which explores urban vulnerability, adaptation and resilience in response to climate change.
The special edition is a collaboration between The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Urban Transitions project at Durham University, University College London), UN-Habitat, and a number of municipalities involved in the Cities and Climate Change Initiative.
First residents for Amsterdam's Scum Village
Last week, Amsterdam City Council sent the first family to live in a "scum village" on a wasteland to the east of the city.
Eight members of the Dimitrov family will spend six months living in two converted shipping containers in an area with few services, and under constant police supervision. This is happening due to a controversial policy to crack down on people in government-owned housing that make life hellish for neighbours.
Family members will be given a compulsory six-month course to learn how to behave. They will also have access to doctors, social workers, and parole officers. If their behaviour improves then they will be allowed back home, but if their behaviour doesn't improve or if they refuse to go on the course then they will be evicted.
European Commission seeks for cities with innovation ecosystems
The European Commission has today started the search for the first European Capital of Innovation, or iCapital. The prize will reward the city which is building the best “innovation ecosystem”, connecting citizens, public organisations, academia, and business. Cities foster innovation in their own provision of services, but the key is to create the right environment for others to innovate and to allow the public and private spheres to connect. An independent panel of experts will select the winner in spring 2014, with the city chosen receiving €500000 towards scaling up its efforts. The deadline for applications is 3 December 2013.
Scottish government vows to eliminate car emissions by 2050
The Scottish government has echoed the targets of the 2011 EU White Paper for Transport by establishing their own roadmap to free towns and cities from car emissions by 2050.
URBACT Pilot Projects for the Transfer of Good Practice
The URBACT programme is willing to further explore tools and methods for the transfer of good practice in the field of integrated sustainable urban development. In this perspective, URBACT will shortly open a call for proposals to create up to 4 small scale pilot networks.
Mexico's path to urban reform
78% of Mexico’s population is urban, and 88% of the country’s gross production can be attributed to 93 cities. However, until recently, Mexico lacked a national urban policy, and the consequences have been disastrous. Finally, changes have begun to take place. Urban policy has started to receive some of the national attention it deserves, but there is still a long way to go.
In the past three decades, Mexican cities have followed a “3D” growth pattern – new developments have been Distant, Disperse and Disconnected, resulting in the fragmented and unplanned expansion of urban sprawl. According to estimates by the Ministry of Social Development (SEDESOL), the urban population has doubled in the last 30 years while urban land area has expanded six fold. This kind of sprawling urban development turns out to be highly unproductive, deepens inequality, raises pollution levels, and increases greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, it increases urban vulnerability to the impacts of climate change as cities spread into areas particularly susceptible to extreme weather events.
Future Cities Forum wants more than carbon neutrality from cities
Becoming carbon neutral won't fix our planet. It will just mean we're killing it more slowly. That was the message from the opening talk at the Future of Cities Forum.
Last night Michael Braungart, professor at Erasmus University of Rotterdam and founder of the Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency, gave the opening talk at the annual Future of Cities Forum conference in Hamburg, Germany. The event is bringing together 150 mayors, city planners, scientists, and businesspeople to discuss the problems facing cities.
What makes a great city?
It is a pressing question because by 2030, 5 billion people—60 percent of the world’s population—will live in cities, compared with 3.6 billion today, turbocharging the world’s economic growth. Leaders in developing nations must cope with urbanization on an unprecedented scale, while those in developed ones wrestle with aging infrastructures and stretched budgets. All are fighting to secure or maintain the competitiveness of their cities and the livelihoods of the people who live in them. And all are aware of the environmental legacy they will leave if they fail to find more sustainable, resource-efficient ways of managing these cities.
Philadelphia Conference Highlights Problem of Vacant Urban Properties
Destroyed and vacant properties have created huge problems in Philadelphia. Planners and activists from around the country are gathering this week at the Pennsylvania Convention Center for a national “Reclaiming Vacant Property” conference.
When two Philadelphia firefighters died last year in a blaze at the Buck Hosiery building, the city’s attention was focused on the dangers of vacant, unsecured buildings held by absentee, tax-delinquent landlords.
A year and a half later, the lot sits empty, and the owner is the same. “That is, unfortunately, a pretty common (occurrence),” says Michael Brady of the Center for Community Progress, the conference sponsor. Brady says that’s exactly the sort of problem the conference wants to address: “bringing people to share the common challenges and then thinking about what’s working in one community, maybe it could work in another.”
One idea that Philadelphia government and community leaders are embracing is a so-called “land bank.” Legislation in City Council would create one, allowing quicker transfer of properties like the Buck factory.
Best of the best - cities leading the way
With a few exceptions, national governments aren't going to make a big dent in climate change and associated environmental problems. They're too big, slow, and in many cases, don't even want to acknowledge a problem that's so politically inconvenient. Over the past half decade or so, it has become increasingly apparent that cities are leading the way--and ultimately, have the greatest chance at boosting our chances for survival in the face of declining resources and rising seas.
This week, Siemens and C40 (the Cities Climate Leadership Group), announced the 10 winners of the inaugural City Climate Leadership Awards, given to municipalities around the world that have demonstrated "excellence in urban sustainability and leadership in the fight against climate change."
Get funds to tackle disasters
With its program “100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge”, the Rockefeller Foundation proposes you to develop urban resilience plans to face disasters and get funds for their implementation.
Unplanned urban spreading may multiply deprived areas, overload transportation and infrastructure systems and make thousands of people vulnerable to dangers such as floods, fires, terrorist attacks and financial crises. According to United Nations, today 50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas; by 2050 the number should reach 75%. Imagine what would be the impact of natural or manmade disasters on such context!
Suwon residents moves full speed with an ecomobile lifestyle
Halfway into the month-long EcoMobility World Festival, Suwon’s Haenggung-dong neighborhood is still 95% car-free. Latest statistics confirm that more than 310,000 visitors have set foot in the ecomobile neighborhood to try out unique eco-friendly vehicles, to take part in diverse workshops, tours, talks and cultural performances and to get a peek into the ecomobile city of the future
Apply now: EU Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) Award for cities
This week, the European Commission opened the 2nd edition of the EU's Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) Award. Cities and regions can submit their applications for the Award of EUR 10 000 online.
The Vauban eco-project in Fribourg, presentation of an exemplary urban project
The Vauban Sustainable Urban District process took place in the German city of Freiburg between 1993 and 2006. It is based on the city government's aim of restoring an old military barracks based on ecological and social cohesion criteria, and creating a participatory process that would generate the NGO Forum Vauban and would have inter- and intra-administrative coordination structures to enable proposals emerging from the process to be implemented and permit a high degree of coordination between the public participation process and the local government.
UN-Habitat calls for more participation in slum upgrading plans
UN-Habitat has held the first consultative workshop on new opportunities for slum upgrading with better governance through a Participatory and Inclusive Land Readjustment (PILaR) tool.
PILaR, one of UN-Habitat's new initiatives, aims to promote the supply of serviced urban land through a negotiated process. It is also a tool that can help bring about sustainable densities through planned densification and the redevelopment of dilapidated neighborhoods in addition to the upgrading of slums.
"We need to find new solutions to our urban problems. Urban land is too precious a component for policy makers and for communities because its value changes. Public sector working with the communities located on, and linked to, the land must be able to predictably influence the increase in the value of the land and benefit from it. They must be in the driving seat in regards to negotiations between the public and the private sector around the burdens and benefits of urban development," said Clarissa Augustinus, Head of Land and the Global Land Tool Network at UN-Habitat.
Second round of URBACT National Training Seminars on Participative Action Planning
In 2013, URBACT has launched a National Training Scheme in national languages to help members of URBACT Local Support Groups with the practical skills needed for participative planning at local level. Available to the 15 projects created under the third URBACT Call for proposals, the training seminars are an opportunity to learn more about the URBACT Programme's methodology and how it can be applied to solving problems of urban development. Following the success of the spring round of seminars, the second seminars will take place in November. Learn more about this new URBACT capacity building initiative.
VRUITS interest group workshop on ITS for the safety of vulnerable road users in Brussels on 18 September
The 1st VRUITS interest group workshop on ITS for the safety of vulnerable road users will take place in Brussels on the 18th of September. The European project VRUITS aims at providing recommendations regarding Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) applications for the improvement of the safety and mobility for Vulnerable Road Users (such as pedestrians, cyclists, PTWs, special user groups, elder drivers).
China must spend at least 41.6 trillion Yuan ($6.8 trillion) to realize benefits of urbanization
China must spend at least 41.6 trillion Yuan ($6.8 trillion) over two decades to integrate rural workers living in cities and towns so that the country realizes benefits of urbanization, a United Nations report.
Spending may exceed 75 trillion Yuan in a scenario with a higher rate of investment to improve living conditions and housing quality, According to the report released yesterday in Beijing. The study’s baseline assumptions are for the urban population to rise to 976 million in 2030 from 666 million in 2010 and integrate about 210 million migrant workers.
Vote Now for your Favourite Drawing – URBACT Children Contest
Draw your ideal city! This is the theme of the URBACT Children Drawing Contest taking place within the framework of next European Cooperation Day. More than 300 Children age 6 to 12 from URBACT partner cities all over Europe participated in this contest and expressed their vision of an ideal city. Discover wonderful drawings and vote for your favourite!
Urban Forests Save Lives
A new study by the US Forest Service and the Davey Institute concludes that urban trees save lives by removing fine particle pollution from the air, consequently improving both air quality and human health. Fine particulate air pollution has been linked to health issues including lung inflammation, accelerated atherosclerosis, and heart problems.
New research: the diverse role of cities in delivering active inclusion
Cities for Active Inclusion's latest research explains how cities design and implement active inclusion programmes
Local authorities play a diverse role in supporting and helping people affected by multiple disadvantages and the current economic crisis, shows new research from the Cities for Active Inclusion project
WELCOME TO WUF 7
The Seventh session of the World Urban Forum (WUF7) will take place from 5 to 11 April 2014 in Medellin, Colombia under the theme Urban Equity in Development - Cities for Life.
UN-Habitat joins the Government of the Republic of Colombia and the City of Medellin in warmly welcoming you to attend and participate in the Forum.
The world's premier conference on cities
The World Urban Forum is the most open and inclusive gathering of its kind on the international stage. It expects to bring together for the seventh time national leaders, slum dwellers, cabinet ministers, United Nations representatives, women groups, mayors, youth, academics, diplomats, community and business leaders, parliamentarians, local government groups, urban activists, and more; in short, all who share the vision for better and smarter cities of the future in order to discuss the theme of urban equity and how to shape cities for life.
The WUF7 website www.unhabitat.org/wuf has the latest news around the Forum, informs about the WUF7 venue, and provides the platform for registration, application of events and booking of exhibition space. The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) are constantly updated and inform on everything you need to know about the Forum including visa, travel, accommodation and much more.
Online registration opened on 17 July on the WUF7 website at: www.unhabitat.org/wuf and will close on 16 March 2014. Within the first four weeks, more than 600 people have already registered. Join us and participate at WUF7!
Suburbs losing out to city centres
CROYDON, on London’s southern fringe, has never been chic. It is known for the “Croydon facelift”, a painfully awkward hairstyle, as well as for being the setting of “Peep Show”, a TV sitcom featuring painfully awkward characters. The town has nonetheless seen better days. Between 2001 and 2011 it lost 20,000 jobs, or around 15% of the total. Its house prices remain 9% lower than they were five years ago. Though its leafy southern parts are full of affluent commuters, the northern half of the town increasingly resembles a poor part of inner London: discount stores and payday lenders predominate. Riots there in 2011 were as bad as anywhere in the city.
Across London’s suburban fringe and in some of the commuter towns ringing the capital, job growth has stagnated in the past decade as it has roared ahead in inner London (see chart). In places like Croydon and Romford, an east London suburb, office blocks are being demolished or converted to housing. In inner-city Canary Wharf, meanwhile, the number of jobs has quadrupled since 2001. London’s economic growth is concentrated in the middle: it tends to spill only as far as central spots like Shoreditch and King’s Cross. The trend may eventually turn the capital’s social structure inside out.
Bike Lanes Correlated with Increased Property Values
Several cities in North America are seeing a correlation between higher real estate prices and proximity to bike lanes, according to a recent article in Atlanta Curbed. Vancouver, Canada reported that 65 percent of real estate agents used new bikeways as a selling feature for area homes. Pittsburgh found that bike lanes not only influenced residential real estate activity, but ignited commercial and business activity as well. And North Carolina real estate agents found that homes adjacent to an area bikeway saw property values at least $5,000 higher than homes in nearby areas not adjacent to bikeways.
Climate-friendly urban regeneration: Lessons from Japan
Cities have a central role to play in tackling climate change as well as in adapting to its effects as they contribute much to it and are under severe threat from its impacts. Because urban spatial policies have long-term effects, they are key for tackling climate change and it is through such policies that city governments can guide climate-friendly planning.
Spatial policies cover a range of issues from a regional scale to individual buildings, including promotion of compact cities, provision of green spaces and water bodies (retention and detention ponds, water canals, etc.), retrofitting existing buildings, infrastructure renewal, and increasing non-motorized and public transport coverage. They may further be useful in achieving climate change mitigation and adaptation goals simultaneously. For instance, green spaces mitigate emissions through carbon sequestration and help combat impacts like heat stress, air pollution and flooding.
Benchmarking the Walkability of Global Cities
We live in a world that is urbanising at an astonishing rate: 100 years ago only 20% of people lived in a city, by 2010 more than half the worlds population was living in an urban area and by 2050 we expect that figure to rise to 70%. As these mega-cities become increasingly dense and over-populated, the transport systems that support them are struggling to cope with the sheer numbers of people trying to move around. Many cities around the world are starting to wake up to the fact that they will have to become walkable and bikeable, just in order to function in the future.
As each country takes a slightly different approach to creating walking-friendly cities, one global organisation is working to connect and empower urban governments, citizens and communities to achieve a walkable future. Walk21 is a non-profit with the vision to “create a world where people choose and are able to walk as a way to travel, to be healthy and to relax”. Since its foundation in 2000 Walk21 has organised an annual international conference in over 10 different countries, this event has become the leading global conference on walking, walkability and urban livability. Walk21 has also championed the International Charter for Walking, which has been signed by over 4,000 people and organisations including several mayor’s and city governments.
Sports City to come up near Bengaluru
The Karnataka Olympic Association (KOA) is in talks with the state government for the setting up of an international standard Sports City nearly 80 kilometres away from Bengaluru.
Three land sites have been identified on Chikaballapur and Mysore roads and also near Kolar for setting up the proposed city. The project is to be built on a plot of 40 to 50 acres of land on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
“We do not want the government to spend any money on the project, except providing us with land, ” KOA President K Govindraj said.He also said the sports city will also house world-class sports academies where young sportspersons will get world-class training.
U.S. Bike-Share Fleet Doubled in 2013
According to a recent article in dcstreetsblog, the cumulative size of the bike-share fleets in U.S. cities has swelled to at least 18,000 bikes, more than twice what it was at the beginning of 2013. There are now 34 modern bike-share systems across the country, in cities as varied as Chicago, Miami Beach, and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Other bike-share systems launched in 2013 include Aspen, Columbus, Fort Worth, and Salt Lake City.
South Carolina City Takes Steps to Evict Homeless From Downtown
In South Carolina’s capital, officials declare that their tree-lined Main Street, clogged with shops, banks, restaurants and hotels, is evidence that a long-sought economic revival has arrived.
But mere blocks north, a dozen or so of the county’s approximately 1,500 homeless people sit on a short wall near an empty parking lot, waiting for private shelters to open. They sporadically shout curses at passers-by while they smoke cigarettes and endure the summer humidity.
With business owners sounding increasingly worried about the threat they believe the homeless pose to Columbia’s economic surge, the City Council approved a plan this month that will essentially evict them from downtown streets.
Tall Buildings in Numbers: Vanity Height – The Use-less Space in Today’s Tallest Buildings
CTBUH has investigated the increasing trend towards extreme spires and other extensions of supertall (300-meter-plus) buildings that do not enclose usable space, and created a new term to describe this – Vanity Height, the distance between a skyscraper’s highest occupiable floor and its architectural top, as determined by CTBUH Height Criteria.
Africa’s rapid urbanization leads to social tensions
Rapid and unplanned Urbanization in Africa is the root cause of increasing crime rate in the region.
CHRISTINA Mgocwa had a belief that she will have a better future when she moved from Mpumalanga to Johannesburg a decade ago but her dreams were quickly shattered. Instead of benefiting from the economic opportunities a major city can offer, Ms Mgocwa, 31, and her four children ended up in a rickety shack in Orange Farm, one of Johannesburg’s many slums. They have no running water, a pit latrine and are cut off from most public services.
"Coming to Johannesburg was not what I expected," says Ms Mgocwa, who collects waste items for a recycling centre. "We have been struggling. I feel disappointed and angry." She is one of millions of Africans who have fallen victim to the continent’s largely unmanaged rapid urbanization and its governments, which turn a blind eye to the social tension it creates.
Illegal To Toss A Cigarette Butt In Chicago
There are fewer and fewer places these days where it’s okay to smoke, thanks to a growing number of public health laws.
However, policymakers have paid far less attention to another societal consequence of lighting up: the scourge of litter from cigarette butts.
Better Street Connectivity, Lower Traffic Speeds Associated with More Park Usage
A new study in the American Journal of Health Promotion finds that greater intersection density and lower traffic speeds are associated with greater usage of local parks and more activity in those parks. The researchers concluded that the street network surrounding a park may be as important to its appeal as the design and features of the park itself.
Cologne’s anti food waste campaign
With European consumers throwing away over 80kg of perfectly safe food per person each year, Cologne decided to take action. Its Schad dröm (it’s a pity) campaign is the focus of a cities in action case study and aims to educate young people about food waste.
At just over 40%, the majority of food waste comes from private households. Compare that with just 17% in restaurants and canteens and only 5% from retailers, it’s clear that much needs to be done at home.
Projexity helps Communities Crowdsource for Better Urban Development
Initiated by a group of Canadian architects, landscape architects and urban designers, Projexity is an online crowd sourcing platform that empowers citizens for the betterment of our cities out of the often challenging urban improvement process.
Launched in April 2013, Projexity can be compared to a Kickstarter with a focus on urban development. The site, however, offers much more than your average crowdfunding platform. Marketing itself as a “one-stop shop,” Projexity wants to help communities take a project from start to finish by offering an easy-to-follow sequence of steps.
Here’s how it works: You post your great idea on Projexity’s website. The team at Projexity then designates you as the project leader and helps to fortify that awesome idea with guidance and resources before turning it over to the community for crowdfunding and crowdsourcing. The three major steps that follow are fundraising for the project, crowd sourcing the design ideas and finally, getting locals to vote on which design they want implemented.
Coastal cities to pay high price for climate change
Flood exposure is increasing in coastal cities due to growing populations and assets, the changing climate and subsidence. A recent study warns US and other developing countries to keep their eyes open and take concrete steps to prevent the huge damage floods can cause to the coastal regions. According to the study,"Global damage from flooding could cost coastal cities as much as US$1 trillion per year and developing countries will be hardest hit."
According to the paper published today in Nature Climate Change, a "risk sensitive planning" strategy is needed to protect coastal cities, which are increasingly at risk because of climate change, subsidence and a growing population. The researchers looked at the 136 largest coastal cities in the world and found that cities in developing countries are particularly vulnerable to flood losses as they often lack resources for long term planning.
Measures for successful Transit Oriented Development in India
The concept of transit-oriented development (TOD) as a planning tool is new to Indian cities, where quality mass rapid transit systems are relatively recent.
The primary goal of transit-oriented development is to shift the auto-centric realm of urban living to a transit-centric realm of urban living. The main indicator of a city’s auto or transit orientation is the mode share – the proportion of daily trips made by private motorized vehicles in comparison to public and non-motorized transport. TOD interventions aim to significantly shift the mode share away from private motorized vehicles.
Transit-oriented development has emerged in India in response to the poor air quality and congestion of the last decade. Delhi, in particular, is looking to TOD as a solution to its mobility and air quality issues. The city recently prepared a TOD policy document regarding the development of Delhi metro stations. TOD is being championed by Delhi’s Development Authority (UTTIPEC) as a solution to congestion, environmental degradation, and inequitable housing.
Invitation to Global Car-Free Day - Tactical Urbanism
After being awarded the “Cycling Visionaries” award at Velo-City Vienna, “Bikes For Life” is back on September 22nd, joining bike promoters throughout the world, on the global Car-Free Day.
It is an open invitation to any citizen group/institution promoting the use of bicycles as daily transport. “Bikes For Life” (www.bikes4life.org) is based on an artistic expression that aims at symbolically pressuring local governments to draft and implement sustainable mobility policies.
Last year, “La Ciudad Verde, a Colombian activist think tank, invited different groups of cyclists across nine cities and three Latin-American countries, including Mexico and Brazil, to paint bike paths simultaneously”. Formal bike paths are now a reality in some of these locations, and sustainable mobility is moving quickly to the top of the political agenda, in some of these cities, like never before.
We invite all countries to join the world´s largest coordinated tactical urbanism event. Registration is simple, with all the information available in four languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese and French) in the website: www.bicisporlavida.org or in English www.bikes4life.org as of 20 August, 90 groups from 22 countries in 4 continents have already confirmed their participation.
The World Summit approaches, Registration open up to the 20th September!
The World Summit is approaching. In around one month the World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) will take place in the Moroccan capital Rabat from 1 to 4 October 2013. Rabat will be the setting for the biggest meeting of local and regional elected representatives the world over, with over 3000 participants from 100 countries. If you haven't done it yet.Now is the time to register! The online registration closes on the 20th September. After this date, all registrations will have to be made upon direct presentation at the Summit. > For more information on registration, accommodation and other logistical questions click here. In today's difficult climate, marked by economic crises and a reduction in the resources of local governments, we are forced to imagine new development alternatives for our territories, characterised by solidarity and sustainability. With this aim in mind, the four main topics of the Congress programme will be under debate during thematic roundtables that will take place on 3rd October and will also be addressed prior to the event openly through social networks. The questions that will be addressed during the roundtables that are equally open to the public include: fostering wellbeing, strengthening solidarity among territories, supporting new local governance and promoting diversity. > Consult the Pre-Programme on the UCLG Congress website here The Summit in Rabat will be a unique opportunity to commemorate the centenary of the international municipal. The latest news on the commemoration of the centenary can be found on the centenary section of the Congress website dedicated to this topic and on Twitter via the hashtag #UCLG100. Click here to access our centenary webpage We are counting on your participation to reinforce our presence at international level and to defend "the future that local and regional governments want". Follow UCLG activities and the latest news on the Congress through Twitter at @uclg_org and #Rabat2013, and also through Facebook and Linkedin.
Spanish municipality lifts citizens out of fuel poverty
The municipal council of Vacarisses (Spain), which joined the Covenant of Mayors in 2011, has launched an “Energy Advice Plan” to help families living in fuel poverty to reduce their energy consumption and pay their invoices.
To this end, the council sends an energy manager to the affected households and an energy assessment is conducted, looking into the types of devices, lighting and heating systems used, energy consumption data and usual practices towards energy use.
Since most dwellings in Vacarisses use heating oil and it accounts for 70% of the houses’ overall energy consumption, a special effort is made to improve good practices in heating.
Ultimately, a straightforward report is produced, outlining a set of low-cost actions to be implemented in order to reduce the energy invoice of the family. Other visits are made afterwards to track the efficiency of the measures. In the meantime, the council provides financial support to the households for the payment of their invoices.
Economic diversity to halt urban decline
DETROIT’S newest industry is “ruin porn”—photos that document the city’s rotting physical infrastructure. The Motor City is an extreme example of a decline that has beset industrial cities across America’s Midwest and northern Europe. Their rise and fall (and, in some cases, renaissance) illuminate the deeper forces that hold cities together and pull them apart.
It is not obvious, to economists anyway, that cities should exist at all. Crowds of people mean congestion and costly land and labour. But there are also well-known advantages to bunching up. When transport costs are sufficiently high a firm can spend more money shipping goods to clusters of consumers than it saves on cheap land and labour. Workers with specialised skills flock to such clusters to be near to the sorts of firms that hire them. Such workers make a city still more attractive to growing companies. The deep pool of jobs and workers improves matches between employer and employee, boosting productivity and pay.
New cycling and walking routes lead to a reduction of over one million car trips (UK)
84 routes were developed to encourage motorists to switch to cycling and walking for short journeys (those less than five miles) as part of a five-year project to extend the National Cycle Network into communities around the UK. In the communities where these routes have been built, the number of people cycling and walking increased by up to 73%.
The University of Melbourne to promote research on ‘Impact of Urban Development on Human Health’
The University of Melbourne will promote an innovative National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Centre of Research Excellence in Healthy, Liveable and Equitable Communities. Professor Billie Giles-Corti, Director of the McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing will laedthe national research team.
The Centre will bring together a team of international researchers to identify the most cost-effective improvements to the built environment to create healthy, liveable and more equitable communities. It will study the impact of human-made environments on chronic disease, physical activity, obesity, and mental health and how the built environment can better support health and wellbeing in the context of rapid population growth.
Malawian president voices concern over urban poverty
President Joyce Banda has recognized the importance of poverty alleviation in urban areas through consultation with residents. After visiting a resident of Makhetha, a poor area of Blantyre, President Banda acknowledged the need to reduce urban poverty and focus on poverty alleviation efforts in rural areas.
She said in an interview, "I have confirmed that poverty is not only in villages but also in many urban areas like plot settlements." Banda was in Makhetha to visit Violet Nyaude, the mother of a learner at the Joyce Banda Foundation School. President Dr. Banda said, "I decided to build a house for the family after noting that the child was not doing well in school because of her home environment,". Banda anticipates changing the lives of the poor through the provision of housing.
Member of Parliament for Blantyre City East, John Bande said housing is a major problem in his constituency since it falls under squatter areas.
He said, "The President is trying to improve these areas and also through the provision of other amenities. The area will soon have a health centre as one of the amenities the communities need in addition to the houses." He added that he is pleased that the president will finally build a house for Nyaude family.
A transport-pioneer in South-East Europe
The Covenant of Mayors recently visited Burgas, the fourth largest city in Bulgaria with a population of 230,000. In 2009, Burgas launched an ambitious plan to create an integrated transport system which is attractive for the local population and the many tourists that visit the region. The first outcomes of the project are now visible.
Last February the city's bus fleet was entirely replaced by 67 new clean vehicles. This summer Burgas launched the first rent-a-bike system of Bulgaria, making some 100 bikes available for residents and tourists alike.
All the city’s efforts are now concentrated in the construction of the new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line which should be operational in 2015, creating a North-South bus corridor throughout Burgas.
To get the full picture, watch the filmed case study here.
Energy saving tram is tested in Vienna (Austria)
Vienna public transport operator Wiener Linien is testing an energy saving tram in daily operation. The so called “EcoTram” is part of a bigger project to make public transport vehicles more energy efficient. Until the end of March 2014, the EcoTram prototype will run on line 62 in daily operation.
Resisting the city
In the face of rapid urban expansion and environmental degradation, the people of Usme, a periurban town of Bogotá, have mobilised to protect the local environment and strengthen community autonomy over the neighbourhood.
The rapid growth and densification of Bogotá over the 20th century has produced unequal urban development stamped by social divisions -- the coexistence of informal and formal modes of survival, illegal and legal access to housing, and the blending of rural and urban lifestyles.
Urban beekeeping not all it's cracked up to be?
Two British scientists are dumping cold water on campaigns to promote urban beekeeping. They say that trying to "help the bees" by setting out more hives is naive and misguided if the bees can't find enough flowers nearby to feed on. You'll just end up with sick and starving bees.
Francis Ratnieks and Karin Alton, from the Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects at the University of Sussex, say that this is already a real problem in London, where the number of hives has doubled over the past five years. There now are about 25 honeybee hives for each square mile of the city. Businesses have installed hives on rooftops as a way to demonstrate their environmental concern, or even to "boost office morale." (Loyal NPR listeners, in fact, may have heard that we, too, have two hives on the "green roof" of our new headquarters in Washington.)
Cities in action: cycle super highways
A network of cycle super highways is encouraging more Copenhageners to get on their bikes
Copenhagen is already a cycling city, but while 59% of residents choose to cycle distances of under 5km, only 20% jump on their bike for longer journeys. The city hopes to change that by building a network of ‘cycle super highways’ that make cycling a convenient, quick and pleasant experience.
While the economic, environmental and health benefits are clear for the city – for every 10km someone chooses bike over car, CO2 emissions are reduced by 1.6kg and €7.40 is saved in health costs – convincing residents means making cycling a more appealing option than driving. The extensive network of 28 super highways will eventually cover 494km, and the project is continually expanding as new municipalities sign up
Coastal cities to pay high price for climate change
Flood exposure is increasing in coastal cities due to growing populations and assets, the changing climate and subsidence. A recent study warns US and other developing countries to keep their eyes open and take concrete steps to prevent the huge damage floods can cause to the coastal regions. According to the study,"Global damage from flooding could cost coastal cities as much as US$1 trillion per year and developing countries will be hardest hit."
According to the paper published in Nature Climate Change, a "risk sensitive planning" strategy is needed to protect coastal cities, which are increasingly at risk because of climate change, subsidence and a growing population. The researchers looked at the 136 largest coastal cities in the world and found that cities in developing countries are particularly vulnerable to flood losses as they often lack resources for long term planning.
Upcoming Istanbul Cities of the Future conference: 15-18 September 2013
PREPARED will have a session to initiate the Black Sea forum at the IWA Cities of the Future Conference in Istanbul September 15-18, 2013. The Black Sea Forum workshop will be an opportunity for organizations (including utilities, researchers, regulators, government, private sector, etc) to share urban water and climate change adaptation strategies in water and wastewater utilities as well as technical expertise among those involved in addressing PREPAREDness to secure the provision of water supply and sanitation. The workshop is being planned with the PREPARED partner in Turkey, Tubitak Marmara. Participants will include those from the Black Sea Region as well as international experts. Experiences and outputs from the PREPARED will be highlighted and used along with other inputs to formulate an approach to address urban water and climate change problems and solutions common to the Black Sea region. The workshop will be starting point for further collaboration around approaches to adaptation in water and sanitation in the region, as well as an opportunity to disseminate PREPARED outputs in the Black Sea region.
Please follow the link to read the brochure:
New methodology for quality monitoring of public transport
The IEE co-funded ENERQI project has come to an end and delivered an online tool for quality monitoring. An article in the magazine 'Eurotransport' describes for whom this new methodology is suitable.
All systems go for Cape Town World Design Capital 2014
With just over four months to go until Cape Town assumes the coveted title of World Design Capital 2014, the City is finalising its official programme of events.
The opportunity to be the World Design Capital for 2014 brings with it the responsibility of applying innovative design solutions to our challenges.
“Design is not just about pretty things. Rather, it can fundamentally change the way people live in this city and address the challenges we have in a sustainable and innovative way,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Marketing, Councillor Grant Pascoe.
The City has launched a series of community co-design workshops to get locals involved in re-imagining their communities through innovative design methods.
New Urban Development Plan of Tirana sets direction for road network development (Albania)
The mobility situation of the Albanian capital, Tirana has changed vastly in the past 20 years. The population has grown rapidly, and the main form of mobility has changed from walking to driving. The new Urban Development Plan aims to follow this trend - with a prime focus on roads and private vehicles
URI- Africa partners with UN-Habitat to promote World Urban Campaign
The United Religions Initiative (URI) - Africa last week signed an agreement with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) to become an Associate Partner of the World Urban Campaign.
The agreement was signed by UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos and Ambassador Mussie Hailu, Regional Director of the United Religions Initiative-Africa and Representative of URI at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
Dr. Clos praised the initiative and commitment of URI–Africa in joining the World Urban Campaign to advance a positive vision of urban development, to place cities at the center of strategies for change, and to disseminate the key messages of the Campaign..
He also appreciated the work of URI in Africa and the rest of the world in building bridges of partnership for common goods and promoting interfaith and inter-cultural harmony and a culture of peace and for promoting the teaching of the Golden Rule which is a universal value.
Lagos caters for super-rich
Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, sits in a state so filled with lagoons that more than a fifth of it is covered in water. The prime land in the city is on Victoria Island, at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. In the early aughts, Bola Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos State, said that he had grown worried about the sea eroding the island’s coastline; the area is, on average, two metres above sea level, and businesses along the coastal highway have been flooded in the past. He enlisted the Lebanese-Nigerian property developer Gilbert Chagoury, of Nigeria’s Chagoury Group, to reach into the ocean and put up a sea wall along the island’s original coastline.
The newly reclaimed space between the former shore and the new wall—a total of ten square kilometres—will be filled with shiny towers of luxury apartments and retail outlets, skyscrapers with Lagos’s most profitable businesses, parks, and a man-made marina. All told, it will be a multi-billion-dollar project. (Chagoury is one of Nigeria’s richest men and once advised the country’s late dictator Sani Abacha.) Soon, two hundred and fifty thousand wealthy Nigerians and foreigners will be living in Lagos’s own version of the futuristic cartoon “The Jetsons.”
High speed rail is coming to California!
Don't miss the high speed rail event of the year!
Business and political leaders will come together with the world's top experts to bring high speed rail to America. Construction is about to get underway on the first phase of the state-wide, 800-mile state-of-the-art transportation system set to revolutionize mobility in California and the US.
Urban Forum of CIS countries in Khabarovsk
A foundation conference of urban forum of CIS countries was held on July 3 in Khabarovsk. It was organized by the UN - HABITAT (United Nations Program on sustainable development of communities), the secretariat of the Intergovernmental Council for Cooperation in a sphere of construction of CIS countries, International Assembly of capital cities and metropolises. During the event participants chose Sergey Kruglik as the President of Urban Forum of CIS countries, approved the members of the organizing committee, which included Secretary General of UCLG-Eurasia R.K.Sagitov.
They also approved a plan of the Forum for the period from July 2013 to March 2016. According to Sergei Kruglik, the preparation for the World Conference Habitat III dated in 2016 even today is in high gear. These meetings are held once in twenty years in order to discuss the results and plans for the future. The forthcoming conference will be widely discussed by mayors from around the world at the World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders, which will be held on October 1-4 this year in Rabat.
Micro living in the big city is not for everyone
They are tiny apartments about the size of a standard car parking space. Studio flats for sale in central Melbourne and Footscray are as small as 15 square metres.
'Micro-apartments' are a trend in the world's Western cities but not everyone is in favour of them.
Often the bedrooms have no direct sunlight... People who buy such small spaces don't live in them.
Most are less than 18.5 square metres, including separate bathrooms. They typically come furnished, sometimes with built-in beds and other amenities. Few come with parking.
A host of them for sale in Melbourne cost $115,000 to $165,000. All have a single small window and a kitchenette the size of a broom cupboard. The smallest was 11.2 square metres plus a closet bathroom, built several years ago at 268 Flinders Street, in the city.
Programme published of 2013 Annual Polis Conference
The draft programme of this year's Polis Conference features sessions on how to link health and transportation, opening up transport data, smart parking strategies, safety for vulnerable road users and many more. Registration is now open until all seats are taken.
City, metropolis, region in the same trajectory 1913-2013
By Josep Roig. Secretary General of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)
1913: In the summer of 1913, in Death Valley, temperatures of over 52°C were recorded over 10 consecutive days and on the 10th of July it reached 57°C, the highest temperature ever recorded. On the 27 of July 1913 in Ghent (Belgium) the Union Internationale des Villes (UIV) was created.
2013: In the summer of 2013, for the first time in one hundred years, the 1913 record in Death Valley was equalled, with ten days recorded as reaching temperatures of 52°C. On the 1 of October 2013 in Rabat, the UCLG Congress will commemorate the centenary of the international municipal movement.
Between the two hottest summers of the last one hundred years, the life of the international municipal movement has unfolded.
100 years later, we are now going to embark on, we are going to begin an intense period of debate and reflection, of thought and action, to define the sustainable development agenda for the future of 9,000 million people, 70 % of whom live urban areas and 30% in rural areas.
My participation in this movement has been somewhat shorter. I was born in 1950, the same year that Emile Vinck, first Secretary General of UIV (Union Internationale des Villes) died, and it is an honour for me, one hundred years on from the creation of the movement, to hold the position of Secretary General of UCLG, inheritor of UIV.
We are looking for the pioneers of the new millennium to define the life project for the entire planet, for 6,000 million people living in urban areas and for 3,000 million in rural areas.
Let us bring together the thousands of local governments from all over the planet to define an agenda centred on citizens and let the citizens themselves decide upon a global agenda that gives each and every citizen an opportunity, whether they be urban or rural, to live a dignified life and build their own life projects in harmony with nature and the limitations of our planet. Let us increase wellbeing for more people while also reducing consumption of resources.
Vinck and the other pioneers of the municipal movement witnessed the turbulent year that began in 1914. They were wholly in favour of peace. And this is, sadly, a task that we have never been able to remove from our activity. In any war or catastrophe, in any country, the most affected are always the citizens and the towns and cities. However cities learn to become anti-fragile. They work their way out of the chaos and the barbarity to become stronger than before, rebuilding their towns and cities for a new period of peace and progress.
We do not know what awaits us in 2014, however this summer, in 2013, the temperature has risen in many regions of the planet. We hope that it will get better, without first having to get worse.
ICLEI Member Copenhagen to launch shared bike with built-in GPS
Bike-sharing is not a new concept, especially in European countries Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, but Copenhagen is the first to offer shared bike with built-in GPS systems that provide real-time information and navigation for users.
With a GPS-enabled Android tablet, cyclers cannot only check for the directions to their destinations between their front bars, but also the schedule of all local train times, as well as the real-time information on the availability of bikes and docks in the area.
1,260 bikes at 65 stations will be available 24 hours per day starting from this fall. To pay for and unlock the bike, customers will use the tablet to enter their credit card information. Tourists and casual customers will pay 20 DKK (about $3.5 USD) per hour, while frequent customers can opt for a monthly membership for 50DKK (about $8.85USD).