30/9/2015 - Rio's Olympic Inequality Problem, in Pictures
30/9/2015 - Why is a Paris suburb scrapping an urban farm to build a car park?
29/9/2015 - Uber Tests Bus-Style Discounted “Smart Routes”
29/9/2015 - Making urbanization work for Africa
28/9/2015 - Railway Hubs: Changing track in stakeholder engagement
28/9/2015 - EU project produces multi-lingual parking management brochure
28/9/2015 - Local and regional governments mobilize towards COP 21
27/9/2015 - $100M flood protection project to shield lower Manhattan from major storms
27/9/2015 - Cities announce new partnerships and commitments at US-China Climate Leaders Summit
27/9/2015 - A Case Study in Reviving a Dying Downtown
26/9/2015 - Cities must tackle 'sharing economy'
26/9/2015 - Amazing Public Space Transformations
26/9/2015 - Ideas to solve London’s housing crisis – in pictures
25/9/2015 - Google's self-driving cars will be great for cyclists and pedestrians
25/9/2015 - Local governments join the global celebration of the Post-2015 Agenda this September
25/9/2015 - A towering challenge: Habitat III must promote municipal fiscal health
24/9/2015 - Preparatory steps: towards a Joint Call on Smart Cities with China
24/9/2015 - Better Plans for Better Places
24/9/2015 - Submit an “e-poster” on your city’s transformative climate action for Climate COP21 in Paris!
23/9/2015 - How Cities Can Save the World $17 Trillion
23/9/2015 - Green Capital & Green Leaf: Two environmental competitions open to European cities!
23/9/2015 - Local and regional governments to play an important role in inclusive development cooperation
22/9/2015 - Lagos plans to build a new city called Eko Atlantic
22/9/2015 - Mexico meeting births Urban Poverty Stakeholders lobby
22/9/2015 - Best public transportation systems around the world
21/9/2015 - ObsAIRveYourBusiness: Be the next city to test the new air quality mobile app!
21/9/2015 - Urban Greening: A Solution to Blight and Toxic Stress?
21/9/2015 - The FLOW project: measuring the congestion impact of walking and cycling
20/9/2015 - Taking in refugees is a humanitarian emergency: local governments are mobilizing to respond
20/9/2015 - The state of housing in the EU 2015
20/9/2015 - Ten efforts underway to colonize the sea
19/9/2015 - Welcome to the naked city: sun, swingers and very little shoplifting
19/9/2015 - What is Net Zero Water?
19/9/2015 - UNECE launches a flagship publication on the current trends and challenges in the housing sector in 56 countries in the global north
18/9/2015 - Getting men to behave on Mexico City buses
18/9/2015 - The World Could Save Trillions with Buses and Bikes
18/9/2015 - Where Not to Be Old and Jobless
17/9/2015 - Hanoi seminar explores community arts and the living space
17/9/2015 - Paris Will Stop All Traffic, Literally, For One Day in September
17/9/2015 - Blitzed, rebuilt and built again: what became of London's bomb sites?
16/9/2015 - Refugee crisis
16/9/2015 - Cities must be part of defining the New Urban Agenda
16/9/2015 - NODES Final conference
15/9/2015 - Security & Tourism conference : developing global policies at the local level
15/9/2015 - What does it mean to be a 100% RE city?
15/9/2015 - A manifesto for conscious cities: should streets be sensitive to our mental needs?
15/9/2015 - Flooding: intense rain affects Europe's cities
14/9/2015 - Tisséo-SMTC wins National Energy Globe France
14/9/2015 - The Dow of Cities
14/9/2015 - Which Cities Hate Tourists the Most?
13/9/2015 - How Americans Get to Work in Cities With the Lowest Car Commute Rates
13/9/2015 - Changing Housing Systems and their Potential Impacts on Homelessness
12/9/2015 - How to Build Better Suburbs
12/9/2015 - Kolkata traffic worsens despite effort to calm drivers with music
12/9/2015 - City & University: a Symphony for Progress?
11/9/2015 - Parklets Are Great, But Big Parks Pack a Big Punch
11/9/2015 - Millennials Favor Walkable Communities, Says New NAR Poll
11/9/2015 - World Cities Project continues with EU-Japan exchange
10/9/2015 - Dutch municipality encourages seniors to use public transport
10/9/2015 - Right urban design can cut traffic accidents – report
10/9/2015 - UNI portal to provide new outlook for partnerships with academia
9/9/2015 - Interventions for Urban Youth
9/9/2015 - How Christchurch used the earthquake to return the city to its cycling roots
9/9/2015 - White House urges cities to join Compact of Mayors
8/9/2015 - Dubai’s ‘smart palms’ charge phones and offer free Wi-Fi
8/9/2015 - Welcome to our city
8/9/2015 - England to trial ‘electric highway’ technology (UK)
7/9/2015 - The Global EcoDistricts Protocol
7/9/2015 - Why Cyclists Form Stronger Commuting Habits Than Drivers
7/9/2015 - Urban Planning: Creating Sustainable and Safe Cities
6/9/2015 - Mexico—A Rising Leader in Green Building and Sustainability
6/9/2015 - Can Treating PTSD Solve Urban America’s Employment Crisis?
5/9/2015 - Interculturalism in Cities
5/9/2015 - Survey launched on city-wide GHG emissions inventory specialists
4/9/2015 - Why Red Light Cameras Have Big Safety Benefits But Little Support
4/9/2015 - Fighting the fatbergs: how cities are waging war on clogged sewers
4/9/2015 - How plants can ease hot temperatures in cities
4/9/2015 - Call for Papers: IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition 2016
3/9/2015 - World's healthiest workplace in unveiled in Melbourne
3/9/2015 - How Urban Designers Can Get Smaller Cities Walking
3/9/2015 - PLATFORMA - European platform of local and regional authorities for development
3/9/2015 - The Town That Decided to Send All Its Kids to College
2/9/2015 - Roads that can charge your electric car as you drive it?
2/9/2015 - Invitation to participate at the EUGIC Awards
2/9/2015 - Seattle releases citywide green infrastructure strategy to combat stormwater pollution
2/9/2015 - UN-Habitat releases International Guidelines on Urban Territorial Planning
1/9/2015 - Boston appoints city’s first ‘chief of streets’
1/9/2015 - From Technology to Mobility Solutions for Cities: Cooperative ITS
1/9/2015 - Value of smart public transport € 1.5 billion by 2019
1/9/2015 - Americans’ Views of Transportation and Livable Communities
1/9/2015 - TTIP - "Public services will not be affected by the agreement"
Rio's Olympic Inequality Problem, in Pictures
Those in greatest need of basic amenities are nowhere near the biggest infrastructure investments happening in preparation for the 2016 Games.
Thomas Bach, current president of the International Olympic Committee, addressed a small gathering on August 5 in Barra da Tijuca’s Cidade das Artes to mark the yearlong countdown to the opening of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Why is a Paris suburb scrapping an urban farm to build a car park?
With the UN climate conference putting Paris in the eco-spotlight this year, the impending closure of R-Urban, a project at the forefront of urban sustainability, seems curious – not least in its timing
Uber Tests Bus-Style Discounted “Smart Routes”
Uber lets us trade money for time. But the cheaper the rides, the more people who will use Uber. That’s why it’s testing a way to let you pay less money for a little less convenience and a little less time saved. I recently spotted a new option in UberPool in San Francisco, and Uber now confirms it’s testing what it calls “Smart Routes.”
Rather than hailing an Uber directly to your door, UberPool’s map shows a green line overlaid on a major artery street nearby. If you’re willing to set your pickup location anywhere along these Smart Routes, Uber will compensate you with a discount of $1 or more off the normal UberPool price. In some cases that means walking a few blocks to your pickup spot. A little less convenient, a little cheaper.
Making urbanization work for Africa
With close to half a billion people living in cities in 2015 and 1 billion expected in 2040, Africa will have doubled its urban population in the next 25 years. At this early stage in its urbanization process, Africa has the chance to avoid the mistakes of so many other regions and get it right. See in this video some solid data on the particular characteristics of urbanization in Africa --where manufacturing is declining in rapidly growing cities, and population is sprawling-- and a proposed approach to urban jobs, housing and transport that will make cities work not just in terms of infrastructure, but most importantly to improve the lives of their residents.
Railway Hubs: Changing track in stakeholder engagement
Railway station locations are increasingly being re-invented as vibrant, multi-functional, multi-modal urban attraction poles. This inspired the URBACT ENTER.HUB network to explore opportunities which the “Railway Hub” concept can bring to cities. This innovative transformation can also help in understanding new governance and participation models.
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.
Local and regional governments mobilize towards COP 21
From 31 August to 4 September climate negotiators met for an extra inter sessional week in Bonn to progress on the text to be agreed upon during the COP 21 in Paris (30 November-11 December 2015).
The negotiators worked on the basis of the “Tool” released by the Co-chairs over the summer, an 80-page document divided into three parts
$100M flood protection project to shield lower Manhattan from major storms
The city will spend $100 million to build a new flood protection system to shield lower Manhattan from major storms, Mayor de Blasio will announce Thursday.
The project — stretching from the top of Battery Park City around the tip of Manhattan and up to the Lower East Side — will use measures like levees, flood walls, and more park land to soak up storm water and protect the area from the “absolute devastation” it experienced during Sandy, said Dan Zarrilli, director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency.
Cities announce new partnerships and commitments at US-China Climate Leaders Summit
At the US China Climate Leaders Summit, local governments have announced new commitments and partnerships to mitigate climate change, increase climate resilience and strengthen bilateral cooperation.
ICLEI Member Cities such as Boston, Los Angeles and several Chinese cities have committed to greater greenhouse gas emissions reductions and concrete climate action plans. These actions are intended to support US and China's post-2020 national climate targets that seek to limit global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius.
A Case Study in Reviving a Dying Downtown
Marcus Westbury’s new book, Creating Cities, describes the small-scale fixes that helped Newcastle, Australia.
In a way, there’s nothing special about Newcastle, Australia. Like a lot of other places around the world, this small city on the nation’s southeastern shore grew and flourished because of heavy industry—steel, in this case—and declined when that industry collapsed toward the end of the 20th century. Despite a still-thriving coal trade and an active port, Newcastle’s downtown emptied out, and its once-bustling central business district became blighted.
Cities must tackle 'sharing economy'
The revolution, it appears, will be app-based.
Across Canada, the “sharing economy” has taken hold, upending established business models and driving regulators to distraction.
No one is riding the wave so brazenly as Uber, the app-based ride-sharing service.
Its entrance into markets around the country – mostly recently eyeing Calgary for expansion – has undermined the monopolies on which licensed taxi operations are based.
Amazing Public Space Transformations
A Brazilian urban planning collective called Urb-i scoured Google Street View images to find the most stunning public space transformations from around the world.
Ideas to solve London’s housing crisis – in pictures
From floating neighbourhoods to modular rooftop homes, 100 proposals shortlisted by New London Architecture (NLA) offer ideas for providing desperately needed housing in the UK capital. Here’s a selection of highlights
Google's self-driving cars will be great for cyclists and pedestrians
Last week, Matt McFarland of the Washington Post relayed an amusing anecdote about a cyclist on a fixie and one of Google's self-driving cars.
As the Austin, Texas, cyclist wrote on a biking forum, he recently came to a four-way stop sign a moment after the Google autonomous car. To let the car go first, he did a track stand: a maneuver riders of fixed-gear bikes often do to stand in place without dismounting, which requires turning the front wheel back and forth. This can cause the bike to slightly rock forward and back.
Local governments join the global celebration of the Post-2015 Agenda this September
The United Nations summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda will be held in New York from 25 to 27 September 2015.
UCLG is currently preparing the in-person and online activities of our members at and around the Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda. The Summit will see UN Member States officially commit to achievement of the sustainable development goals that will replace the millennium development goals from January of 2015.
A towering challenge: Habitat III must promote municipal fiscal health
Around the world, local governments are going broke — and nearing a crisis point.
At next year’s Habitat III conference on cities, the world’s leaders will come together in Quito to set a new urbanization strategy for the coming two decades. In the run-up to that event, there is perhaps no greater challenge: If we seek a New Urban Agenda and envision a more balanced and equitable future for the world’s cities, we must be more innovative in financing that bright new future.
Preparatory steps: towards a Joint Call on Smart Cities with China
Common challenges as opportunities for joint initiatives
Urbanisation in China grows rapidly. Challenges need to be tackled like the development of sustainable urban energy supply, the development of green buildings and the establishment of an efficient transport system. As the development of smart cities is a global challenge, a partnership between China and EU Member States can mobilise research communities on both sides to draw on appropriate advanced concepts and technologies for China’s urbanisation.
European Research Funding Agencies working together in the context of the Joint Programming Initiative Urban Europe, the Smart Cities Member States Initiative and the ERA-NET Cofund Smart Cities and Communities initiative launched an additional activity working towards a jointly funded call with China on smart cities. In order to work out a preliminary assessment of the situation and evaluate options for a joint call, a report was developed.
Better Plans for Better Places
The Institute for Sustainable Communities recently published “Better Plans for Better Places.” This report describes the ways that the Sustainable Communities Initiative, an interagency collaboration among the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Department of Transportation, helped communities develop collaborative planning processes that promote vibrant neighborhoods nationwide.
Submit an “e-poster” on your city’s transformative climate action for Climate COP21 in Paris!
Give your city a visible presence at the climate talks of the UNFCCC’s COP21 in Paris this December! ICLEI is offering Member cities the opportunity to showcase their innovative climate initiatives, progress, programs and projects by submitting an “e-poster” (PowerPoint slide) that will be projected on monitors in the Cities and Regions Pavilion in Paris throughout the two weeks of the COP.
The PPT slides will all follow a standard template and design, which allows your City to prominently feature your logo as well an image related to the initiative (see example to the right). Each submitted PPT will consist of one slide, focusing on one initiative by your city.
How Cities Can Save the World $17 Trillion
Going green could save the world a lot of money — about $17 trillion by 2050, according to a new New Climate Economy report.. The climate-focused project is an initiative from the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, and the findings show that investing in public and low-emission transportation, building efficiency and waste management in cities could generate these big savings.
“U.S. $17 trillion in savings is actually a very conservative estimate, because it only looks at direct energy savings generated from investment, which are a small proportion of the wider social, economic and environmental benefits of these investments,” Nick Godfrey, head of policy and urban development at the New Climate Economy, said in a statement.
Green Capital & Green Leaf: Two environmental competitions open to European cities!
The call for applications for the 2018 European Green Capital and 2016 European Green Leaf Competition Cycles is now open until 19 October.
The European Green Leaf is a competition open to cities with population of between 20,000 and 100,000. It recognises success in achieving green growth, and is awarded to cities that bring green living concepts to life. European Green Leaf cities act as ambassadors to encourage others to follow their example.
Local and regional governments to play an important role in inclusive development cooperation
The Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) Steering Committee met on 3 and 4 September in Mexico, hosted by the Mexican Minister of External Relations. UCLG Champion on Development Cooperation, Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor of Kitchener and Vice-Treasurer of UCLG, supported by the CIB Working Group Secretariat, attended the meeting on behalf of the local and regional governments constituency, which was also represented in this forum by the UCLG World Secretariat and FOGAR.
The Steering Committee convened to discuss the ways in which the GPEDC can ensure the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be achieved through effective development cooperation. The monitoring exercise on effective development cooperation to take place in 58 countries and the preparations for the upcoming High-level Meeting in Kenya (November 2016) were also on the agenda.
Lagos plans to build a new city called Eko Atlantic
The government of Nigeria’s former capital, Lagos has announced that it intends to build a new city, which will become the new financial centre of Nigeria, and perhaps West Africa. Eko Atlantic, pitched as Africa’s answer to Dubai, is a multibillion dollar residential and business development that would be sited as an addition to Victoria Island, along the renowned Bar Beach shoreline in Lagos. The plan calls for many high-rise buildings which would take root on 10 sq km of land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean. It would house 250,000 people, and employ a further 150,000 people commuting on a daily basis. The new district would be promoted as a 24-hour, green-conscious, world-class city, which can attract and retain top multinational corporations.
Mexico meeting births Urban Poverty Stakeholders lobby
At the end of an international seminar recently held in Monterrey, Mexico, the participants came up with the lobby, the “Latin American Community of Urban Poverty Stakeholders”. The Community is an open and voluntary network promoting the exchange of experiences on urban poverty and social inclusion. It is a joint initiative between the Ministry of Social Development of Mexico, the Global Fund for Cities Development, the World Bank and UN-Habitat.
Best public transportation systems around the world
Taking public transportation in an unfamiliar city can be daunting.
But if the city you’re in has an effective system, there’s no need to waste money on cab fare when you could be saving money — and maybe even getting somewhere faster — with public transport.
We’ve rounded up some of the best public transport systems around the world, from Paris, France, to Seoul, South Korea.
Next time you’re in one of these cities, hop on for a ride.
ObsAIRveYourBusiness: Be the next city to test the new air quality mobile app!
As part of a EU funded project, this new service has been already defined and implemented in two model cities: Augsburg and Paris. Through its Roadshows, the obsAIRveYourBusiness consortium offers the opportunity to present this innovative tool in three selected EU cities.
Urban Greening: A Solution to Blight and Toxic Stress?
Urban blight continues to plague many Northeastern and Midwestern cities in the United States. Cities that were once thriving manufacturing hubs have suffered from decades of economic disinvestment, population loss, and as a result, blight. Philadelphia, for example, was home to over 2 million people at its peak in 1950. Between the 1960s and 1980s, the city lost over half of its manufacturing jobs; this job loss, along with the national trend of suburbanization, reduced Philadelphia’s population by 25% to roughly 1.5 million by 2000. It is no surprise then that Philadelphia has over 40,000 vacant lots in the city, many more thousands of abandoned homes, and other signs of urban blight.
The FLOW project: measuring the congestion impact of walking and cycling
The European FLOW project sees a need for a paradigm shift wherein non-motorised transport (often seen from a transport policy perspective simply as a nice “extra”) is placed on an equal footing with motorised modes.
Taking in refugees is a humanitarian emergency: local governments are mobilizing to respond
The world is facing a serious humanitarian crisis, caused by the influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees from crisis areas in the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe. This crisis directly concerns the European Union, all governments and citizens, as well as local governments.
United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and its sections, in particular those of Europe, Africa and the Middle East, welcome the commitment of mayors and their associations who are volunteering to organize the reception of refugees within their municipalities.
The state of housing in the EU 2015
“Housing is the foundation for people’s lives and their priority among their needs.” – With this statement, the policy report on the state of housing in the European Union 2015 stresses the importance prioritising the topic of (affordable) housing. The paper presents developments in the EU housing sector since the beginning of the economic crisis with an overview of national practices, policy gaps and new initiatives. Examples of innovative approaches are meant to inspire policy makers.
Ten efforts underway to colonize the sea
Far-fetched attempts over the decades to colonize the ocean were abysmal failures. Visionaries lacked the technology, designs and support to create cities either on or under the sea. But Nicola Davison reports for the Financial Times that the dream of creating aquatic cities is finally poised to become reality.
Across the globe, there are at least ten serious efforts to achieve “ocean urbanization,” the article says. The need to develop cities tethered to water is more urgent today that ever. Rising tides, lack of space on land and a desire to tap the ocean’s vast resources are key motivators, Davison notes.
Welcome to the naked city: sun, swingers and very little shoplifting
Modernism and naturism meld at the world’s biggest nude town, Cap d’Agde in France, which swells to 40,000 people in summer. Could there ever be a naked metropolis? Phil Hoad exposes himself to nude urbanism
What is Net Zero Water?
Net Zero Water (NZW) is a concept that aims to change the way water resources are managed; it focuses on making water resource planning decisions based on local conditions rather than demand. The NZW concept helps individuals and organizations become water neutral.
NZW focuses on understanding your water footprint and taking action to reduce consumption and improve water quality whether you are a building owner, company, school campus, or community.
UNECE launches a flagship publication on the current trends and challenges in the housing sector in 56 countries in the global north
Decent affordable housing is the bedrock upon which to build healthy lives, strong and resilient cities, and thriving national economies. The housing sector in the global north is still trying to bounce back from the financial crisis of 2008. A study on social housing published by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe highlights that at least 100 million low- and middle-income people in the UNECE region are housing cost overburdened; they spend more than 40% of their disposable income on accommodation. High housing costs for low-income households leave limited resources for other basic needs, such as food, health, clothing and transportation. Even in countries with substantial funds for social housing, waiting lists are breaking historical records. Lack of access to decent affordable accommodation damages neighbourhoods, the economy and the future. Sustainable development goals are also likely to be thwarted.
Getting men to behave on Mexico City buses
Carolina Gomez had an experience on a bus earlier this year that women in this metro area of 21 million find all too common.
Gomez, a university student, was headed on a long cross-town trip to a busy subway hub. When she boarded the crowded bus, she ended up lodged in a mob of people standing in the aisle. As the vehicle moved, Gomez felt a man press up against her, aroused. She froze. “It was awful and I felt overwhelmed about saying anything,” she recalls. Gomez says several passengers noticed the incident as it happened, but did not intervene.
The World Could Save Trillions with Buses and Bikes
The argument that embracing a low-carbon future is a road map to economic ruin is bunk, say a band of economists who argue that investing in more efficient transportation, buildings and waste management could save cities worldwide at least $17 trillion. One way to unlock that savings is to promote bikes and buses.
Where Not to Be Old and Jobless
Hidden by the steady, optimistic jobs reports in recent months is the fact that unemployment rates for Americans 55 and older have been increasing.
Ten days ago, another monthly jobs report came in, indicating slow but steady progress: In August, the overall rate of unemployment fell to pre-crisis levels, 5.1 percent—the lowest since April 2008. Adding to the media’s positive reception of this buoyant news, job growth was widespread across many sectors of the economy.
Hanoi seminar explores community arts and the living space
Community arts, including public community art, help beautify the living space of the community with the participation of the community’s members in a variety of forms to renovate their living environment.
The topic was up for discussion at a seminar for development of a project named ‘Art for Better Space’, jointly held by the Korean Foundation, UN-Habitat and Vietnam Urban Forum (VUF) in Hanoi on September 4.
Paris Will Stop All Traffic, Literally, For One Day in September
Imagine any big city anywhere in the world without traffic just for a day. Now, if that city were Paris, imagine further the photographic possibilities, not to mention the visual, auditory and olfactory potential.
Imagine no more because on September 27th, that’s just what Paris is going to do: “Une Journée Sans Voiture” – A Day Without Car, for the first time in the city’s history.
Blitzed, rebuilt and built again: what became of London's bomb sites?
Seventy-five years after the start of the blitz, second world war bomb sites continue to shape modern London, with second and even third waves of redevelopment throwing up buildings expected to last as little as three decades
Europe’s towns call for EU budget fund to be triggered
The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) calls on EU Member States to urgently trigger the European “Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund”. The EU budget’s fund amounts to €3.14bn and could provide concrete and badly needed financial support to those towns and cities that have to care for tens of thousands of refugees without any financial support.
Cities must be part of defining the New Urban Agenda
In May, nearly 140 metropolises around the world urged the United Nations to formally include cities in the Habitat III negotiations.
By Michael Müller, Michael Müller is the governing mayor of Berlin and co-president of Metropolis.
The United Nations has a contradictory relationship with cities. This became clear to me last year, when I was asked to represent Metropolis, the global association of major urban areas, at the preliminary meetings for Habitat III, next year’s major summit on urbanization.
NODES Final conference
Join NODES Final Conference: Creating the next generation of urban transport interchanges – 22/09/2015, Brussels
How can I better disclose information to my passengers when they arrive at my interchange? Which business model should I use to diversify the funding of my interchange? How can I improve the energy efficiency?
These are just some of the questions that interchange managers face. During 3 years, some 17 organisations worked together within the FP7 funded NODES project to help cities and PT operators in better understanding the performance of their interchange and to point them towards tools which could support them in improving its performance.
Security & Tourism conference : developing global policies at the local level
Some 120 representatives of 50 local authorities from 16 countries as well as academics, representatives of the tourism private sector and six associations attended the “Security & Tourism : local policies and practices” conference organised by Efus in Paris, on 25 June.
The conference was the closing event of the Security & Tourism project led by Efus during 30 months, between 2013 and 2015, which gathered seven European cities – Alba (IT), Barcelona (ES), Brasov (RO), Munich (DE), Rome (IT), Saint-Denis (FR), the asbl BRAVVO-of Brussels (BE) – and the Portuguese association for victim support APAV. The objective of the project was to support cities in improving the quality and sustainability of their tourism policy by including all the related the security aspects.
“Europe is the leading tourism destination in the world with some 600 million international tourists in 2014,” said the President of Efus, Guilherme Pinto, in his opening address. Accounting for 5 % of the EU’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 12 % of jobs, it is a key sector for local development and also “an opportunity for cultural exchange and for enhancing the value of the local heritage,” he added.
What does it mean to be a 100% RE city?
Next stop for Renewable Cities is Kassel, Germany for an international dialogue on 100% renewable energy. Germany is home to world leading municipalities that have adopted, reached, and even surpassed 100% renewable energy targets.
The event, which takes place from November 10-11, 2015, will focus on designing a set of indicators that standardize what it means for cities to be powered by 100% renewable energy. It's an opportunity to provide feedback on the current iteration of the indicators and experiment with applying them.
A manifesto for conscious cities: should streets be sensitive to our mental needs?
Rapid developments in behavioural science and data technology offer the prospect of urban streetscapes helping to alleviate ailments such as stress, anxiety and boredom – and even reducing the likelihood of crowd trouble
Flooding: intense rain affects Europe's cities
Increased flooding is likely to be one of the most serious effects of climate change in Europe. Cities will be particularly vulnerable to increased surface flooding – already over the last ten years, flash storms have affected many cities.
Rising temperatures in Europe will also intensify the hydrological cycle, leading to more frequent and intense rain events. The stormwater systems in many cities across the continent will have to be upgraded – either through grey infrastructure or by integrating green infrastructure.
Tisséo-SMTC wins National Energy Globe France
The national Energy Globe Award France 2015 was awarded to Tisséo-SMTC for its mobility management in Toulouse. The award recognizes outstanding performance in terms of energy efficiency, renewable energy and resource conservation worldwide.
The Dow of Cities
OK, we admit it. We’re data geeks. To us, sometimes — well, often — a single number or data set is compelling proof of an important proposition: bare-naked, and with no verbal embellishment or deeply personal anecdote or cutesy infographic.
Here’s the simple number: since 2000, home prices in city centers have outperformed those in suburbs by 50 percent.
Which Cities Hate Tourists the Most?
New York is notoriously hostile to tourists, but it’s got nothing on Arlington, Texas. That’s according to a new study conducted by private air charter company Stratos Jets, which analyzed thousands of tourist-related tweets from across the country.
The company used an algorithm to assess the positive or negative sentiment in geotagged tweets featuring the word “tourist,” then used those scores to rank the hospitality of different cities and regions. Below are a few of the sampled tweets:
How Americans Get to Work in Cities With the Lowest Car Commute Rates
?Richard Florida’s sobering take from the new Census report on American commuting habits is that the vast majority of the country still drives to work. The reminder is a crucial one for transit advocates, local officials and city residents engaged in the pursuit of balance. But it’s also worth taking a closer look at how Americans get to work in the cities where they rely on driving the least.
Changing Housing Systems and their Potential Impacts on Homelessness
Homelessness is strongly intertwined with housing market problems, such as affordability and evictions. In the wake of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), European governments reacted differently, applying various solutions to the predicament of the welfare state, affecting changes in the housing system. This paper summarises the main trends in European housing systems and their potential effect on homelessness.
How to Build Better Suburbs
I grew up on a tree-starved street in the suburbs of Toronto.
It was a newer residential development with cookie-cutter houses, in-ground pools, and pristine lawns. Preserving wilderness or promoting "community" were afterthoughts. Houses were crammed together, separated by thin alleys, and the indoor mall was the local hangout. Here, urban sprawl dominated, anointing the car as king and public transit a mere minion. Later on, a nearby marsh land was bulldozed to accommodate a new subdivision, demolishing my playground for spotting frogs, fish and critters.
After graduation, I fled the 'burbs and never looked back.
Kolkata traffic worsens despite effort to calm drivers with music
Drive through a major intersection in Kolkata’s chaotic streets and you’ll sometimes hear music blaring through loudspeakers.
The concept was introduced four years ago by the West Bengal state government as a way to beautify the city and soothe driver’s nerves. The music, which features the songs of native poet, writer and Nobel Prize laureate Rabindranath Tagore, is loud enough to penetrate closed windows in air-conditioned cars.
City & University: a Symphony for Progress?
How can cities and their universities benefit more from each other? What kind of governance is needed to establish fruitful strategic (rather than ad hoc) collaborations? These were the central questions in the EUniverCities project.
The issue has a long history. Many universities started as institutions very much embedded in their local economy and society, set up by urban elites to educate technicians, civil servants and professionals that would serve the local society and economy. Since then, as an overall trend, the local orientation of universities has steadily decreased: many became more oriented to the national or international level (that’s where the funding comes from), and focused on scientific publications and rankings rather than local engagement. But in recent years, we observe a growing interest to re-establish the link between city and university.
Parklets Are Great, But Big Parks Pack a Big Punch
Is there a right way to green a city? Yes, University of Exeter researchers say, planning high-density neighborhoods with grand parks, as opposed to low-density neighborhoods with ample lawns and smaller public spaces, is significantly better for a city’s ecosystem and residents.
In times of rapid urbanization, the Exeter-based authors of a new study in September’s Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment argue that setting aside larger parkland, or “land sparing,” is key for environmental stability globally. (The latest U.N. forecast estimates that two-thirds of world’s population will live in cities by 2050; more than half of the current population already does.)
Millennials Favor Walkable Communities, Says New NAR Poll
Millennials prefer walking over driving by a substantially wider margin than any other generation, according to a new poll conducted by the National Association of Realtors and the Transportation Research and Education Center at Portland State University.
World Cities Project continues with EU-Japan exchange
Four pairs of European and Japanese cities to share knowledge and best-practice
Following the successful first meeting of the EU-Canada section of the World Cities Project, ICLEI is coordinating the first meeting between European and Japanese cities. The “EU-Japan Municipal Dialogue on Urban Policy” will take place on 30 August-4 September 2015 in Japan.
World Cities is a project of the European Union managed by the Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO) of the European Commission. The project originates in a Preparatory Action of the European Parliament to promote the exchange of experience and best practice between the European Union and third countries on the theme of territorial development with particular reference to urban development, urban-rural partnership and urban cross-border cooperation.
Dutch municipality encourages seniors to use public transport
The municipality of Noordoostpolder is to host an information session in September to encourage older people to use public transport.
The meeting is one of a number planned around municipalities in the Flevoland province in the central Netherlands.
In addition to the information session, attendees can sign up for a group tour led by an ‘ambassador’ - a fellow senior who volunteers to help others navigate public transport and explain how it works. Personal appointments with ambassadors are also available.
Right urban design can cut traffic accidents – report
Building and retrofitting urban environments and reducing vehicle speeds are the key to creating safer streets and cutting traffic fatalities, a new report says.
Cities Safer by Design, by the World Resources Institute (WRI) Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, offers practical guidance for urban planners and policymakers, and includes more than 30 specific urban design recommendations.
The report focuses on improving infrastructure for pedestrians, cycling and mass transport, and outlines two ways to improve traffic safety in cities.
UNI portal to provide new outlook for partnerships with academia
A new portal launched by UN-Habitat promotes universities becoming closer partners of cities, actively engaged in problem solving, thus closing the gap between academia and practice and encouraging collaborative learning.
The portal, part of the Habitat University Network Initiative (UNI), invites universities, staff and students to join over 180 existing partner universities from around the world in their collaborations towards sustainable cities.
Interventions for Urban Youth
Can Summer Jobs and Mentorship Really Affect Violent Crime Rates?
Disadvantaged minority youth in the U.S. drop out of school, go to prison, and get killed at startlingly high rates. Only about half of youth in the 50 largest urban districts graduate high school in four years. Almost 70 percent of African-American male dropouts spend time in prison by their mid 30s. And homicide kills more young African-American males than the nine other leading causes of death combined.
When policymakers discuss what to do about these pressing problems, they often talk about the “root causes” of crime and dropout: intractable poverty, failing schools, and changing family structure, among others. All these factors likely contribute to the challenges that urban youth face. But focusing on such broad causes can make finding solutions seem overwhelming. If the only way to make any dent in dropout and crime is to eliminate poverty, then the potential for progress seems limited.
How Christchurch used the earthquake to return the city to its cycling roots
After the 2011 disaster, residents were asked what they wanted from the city once known as ‘Cyclopolis’. They demanded a greener, more people-focused Christchurch – and investment in new cycleways means it is starting to happen
There has been a slight change in Glen Koorey’s daily 20-minute bicycle ride to work over the last four years. In the weeks following Christchurch’s devastating earthquake in 2011, in which 185 people were killed and large portions of the CBD were levelled, there was no way to drive through the city. Buildings lay crumbled. Roads were cracked and split. Basic infrastructure was torn apart.
White House urges cities to join Compact of Mayors
President Barack Obama announced new actions on renewable energy and energy efficiency, and urged city mayors to publicly commit to measurable, reportable and verifiable climate action by joining the Compact of Mayors. 19 US cities were already part of the Compact, and 15 new cities signed up yesterday.
Dubai’s ‘smart palms’ charge phones and offer free Wi-Fi
In Dubai, palm trees offer much more than shade from the desert heat. They charge smartphones and tablets, provide Wi-Fi connections and disseminate weather and transit information via touchscreens.
Saket S. reports for the Thomson Reuters Foundation that two solar-powered “smart palms” have been installed near a hotel and park, with 103 more on the way over the next 12 months. The palms, which look more like a machine than a real tree, provide their services free of charge.
The high-tech trees made of plastic and concrete were created by Dubai-based D Ideas with initial financial support from the municipality, the article says. Future versions to be funded through advertising would add ATM machines and utility payment services. The palms can operate all day without drawing energy from the city’s power grid. The trees are part of Dubai’s wider effort to transition to renewable energy and promote businesses that cater to sustainability, the foundation notes.
Welcome to our city
It's through little gestures, some of them symbolic and some more practical, that things are gradually changed and transformed. Even the smallest things can have a big effect. It reminds me of what is known as the butterfly effect. When a tropical butterfly beats its wings, this has repercussions on the climate in other parts of the world. Through this concept, we can explain that nature is one single item, and everything is connected to everything else. And I want to use this concept to talk about an activity that we have set in motion, convinced that it will have consequences here and all over the world.
England to trial ‘electric highway’ technology (UK)
England’s road network manager, Highways England, has announced that it will test technology that could power electric and hybrid vehicles as they travel on major roads in the country.
If successful and fully rolled-out, the technology would allow drivers of ultra-low emission vehicles to travel long distances without needing to stop and charge the car’s battery
The trials are the first of their kind and will test how the technology would work safely and effectively on the country’s motorways and major roads.
The Global EcoDistricts Protocol
The EcoDistricts Protocol is set to become a recognized global standard for district and neighborhood-scale sustainable development.
The Protocol is a platform for building district governance and leadership, a framework for unleashing innovation, a system for encouraging and rewarding leadership, and a blueprint for creating just, sustainable and resilient cities and neighborhoods for all. Focusing on process and upstream performance, the EcoDistricts Protocol addresses many common challenges that have emerged in our efforts to regenerate our communities successfully. This includes the lack of rigorous project governance, interdisciplinary goal-setting, fragmented project assessment processes, and a continued reliance on traditional funding models.
Why Cyclists Form Stronger Commuting Habits Than Drivers
One likely reason: They enjoy their trip more in the first place.
Among the many reasons that an overwhelming majority of people commute by car is that driving to work literally becomes a habit. Once the routine is established, you wake up and follow a chain of automatic cues that end on the road. In a practical sense, whatever choice you once had about your travel mode no longer exists.
Urban Planning: Creating Sustainable and Safe Cities
A group of people composed of slum dwellers from several African cities has been contributing to improving urban planning in Monrovia.
Liberia’s capital was originally built with half a million people in mind. But the steadily growing population over the last five decades and conflicts during the 1990s swelled Monrovia’s population to 1.6 million; overwhelming its capacity to provide water, sanitation and housing. In fact since 2005 Liberia has one of the highest population growth rates in the world at around 3% per year.
One obstacle to tackling the city’s problems is a lack of information on the size and scale of informal settlements and their inhabitants. Slum dwellers who have worked on similar projects know how to gather such data. So they are coming from Uganda, Kenya and Ghana to help produce a map of Monrovia’s slums.
Mexico—A Rising Leader in Green Building and Sustainability
Mexico City: It’s a place famous for its pre-Colombian civilizations, its cuisine and culture, and as the megacity once ranked as the #1 most polluted city in the world.
Today the city is a rising leader in sustainability and urban innovation, with aggressive work to decrease pollution, promote public health and wellness, and the highest concentration of LEED buildings in Mexico. Of course, the cities of Zapopan, Monterrey, Guadalajara and Queretaro are not far behind in the race to be the leader in green building, make Mexico the largest market for green building in the Spanish-speaking world.
Can Treating PTSD Solve Urban America’s Employment Crisis?
Solving joblessness may take confronting the psychological tolls of poverty.
Raquwon Erving remembers when he felt safe walking around the Chicago neighborhood where his family lived. It was more than a decade ago, before he was old enough to read the headlines. When I ask the 19-year-old what changed, he gives a three-word answer: “the murder rate.”
Interculturalism in Cities
Cities are increasingly recognized as new players in diversity studies, and many of them are showing evidence of an intercultural shift. As an emerging concept and policy, interculturalism is becoming the most pragmatic answer to concrete concerns in cities. Within this framework, this book covers two major concerns: how to conceptualize and how to implement intercultural policies.
Survey launched on city-wide GHG emissions inventory specialists
Are you a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory Specialist addressing cities? Then you are warmly invited to participate in the online survey launched by the World Bank to help define the profession (deadline: 26 August 2015).
The World Bank is leading a process, in cooperation with WRI, C40 and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, for the professionalization of the City-wide GHG Emissions Inventory Specialist career. The aim is to ensure quality and consistency across the GHG emission inventories developed at the community scale – inventories that conform to the Global Protocol for Community-scale GHG Emissions Inventories (GPC).
Why Red Light Cameras Have Big Safety Benefits But Little Support
Corruption and rear-end crashes complicate what should be a clear public health case.
The last we heard from Houston about its red light cameras, in 2011, the city had not only shut them off but outlawed them—a culmination of months of rage against the machines. Over at Streetsblog, Angie Schmitt reveals the safety legacy of that decision, and it isn’t pretty. Police numbers show an astonishing 116 percent increase in total crashes and an 84 percent rise in major crashes at former camera locations from 2010-2014, compared with the four prior years when the cameras were up and running.
Fighting the fatbergs: how cities are waging war on clogged sewers
Fatbergs are the scourge of cities all over the world, and can grow to the length of a Boeing 747. Ian Wylie braves a London sewer to witness this filthy threat for himself – and uncovers some new ideas for defeating them
How plants can ease hot temperatures in cities
The presence of vegetation is an essential factor in limiting urban heating, according to a new study that analyzes urbanization impacts across the United States.
If you live in a city that gets hot, try surrounding yourself with lots of plants and trees.
It turns out that when it comes to cities the presence of asphalt, concrete, buildings, and other so-called solid surfaces are disrupting the natural cooling effect provided by vegetation, according to a new study.
Call for Papers: IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition 2016
Shaping the future of water requires inspiring solutions to the world’s urban and basin water challenges. At the IWA World Water Congress and Exhibition, water professionals like you are inspiring change and setting the water agenda.
Submit your paper abstracts and have the opportunity to expose your research to the leading gathering of water professionals. Join us in Brisbane and help us bridge the gap between science, practice and industry to share knowledge and develop new partnerships for change.
Mark your agenda for the Abstract Deadline 15th October 2015!
World's healthiest workplace in unveiled in Melbourne
Melbourne based health insurance firm Medibank has created world's healthiest workplace. And, a very green workplace too! There are 2300 plants inside the building and 520 in modular planter boxes on its facade, as well as two 25-metre high street-facing green walls which cover around a tenth of the building's surface area with native plants.
How Urban Designers Can Get Smaller Cities Walking
A new study identifies two important street features that draw pedestrians—outside of New York City.
Earlier this week, my colleague Eric Jaffe wrote about the three design traits shared by New York City’s most walkable streets, according to a recent study.
After counting pedestrians on hundreds of blocks (sampled for different densities, districts, and Walk Scores), a group of researchers found that active uses (i.e., well-trafficked buildings or busy parks, schools, and cafes), street furniture or items (from benches to fire hydrants to ATM machines), and first-floor windows (measured by window-to-facade ratio) all had statistically positive relationships to the number of pedestrians.
PLATFORMA - European platform of local and regional authorities for development
EU partnership with 100,000 European towns and regions kicks off!
The EU Commission strategic partnership agreement with Europe’s towns and regions on development cooperation officially started on 1 August. The head of PLATFORMA (network of Europe’s towns and regions for cooperation) Frédéric Vallier signed the three-year agreement providing financial support to enhance town to town and region to region development cooperation.
“Development cooperation is a highly effective way to help tackle truly global issues including climate change, migration, gender equality, economic growth and others across the world," says Frédéric Vallier. "When implemented between towns or regions it gets even more efficient as the “micro-” approach is more concrete, more cost-effective and more relevant. Thanks to the EU Commission’s support PLATFORMA will be able to boost the concept of decentralised cooperation”.
The Town That Decided to Send All Its Kids to College
Residents of Baldwin, Michigan, pooled together their money to provide scholarships for everyone, and it changed the town profoundly.
College was never much of an option for most students in this tiny town of 1,200 located in the woods of the Manistee National Forest. Only 12 of the 32 kids who graduated high school in 2005 enrolled in college. Only two of those have gotten their bachelor’s degree.
That was just a decade ago. Now, nearly everybody who graduated from the high school here in June is off to a four-year college, a community college, or a technical school. Kindergarten students talk about going to college. High schoolers take trips to campuses around the state and, at a raucous assembly each spring, reveal to the school which colleges they’re going to attend.
Roads that can charge your electric car as you drive it?
Electric cars promise a greener future. But current battery technology limits how far you can go on a single charge. One possible workaround: “electric motorways”—roads that will charge your electric vehicle as you drive on it.
The UK government has already spent £200,000 ($300,000) investigating the feasibility of the idea, and is now setting up an 18-month off-road trial. If successful, it hopes to spend some of the £500 million budgeted for promoting the use of low-emission vehicles in the UK on creating these electric motorways.
Invitation to participate at the EUGIC Awards
The EUGIC 2015 Team is delighted to announce the launch of the EUGIC 2015 AWARDS – a free competition celebrating nature-based solutions for cities. Entries to the EUGIC 2015 Awards will be assessed for their contribution to urban resilience, by integrating nature into the built environment.
We are delighted that Laura Gatti has joined the EUGIC 2015 Awards Jury and look forward to receiving entries that demonstrate nature-based solutions for cities. Jury Chair ecologist and green infrastructure innovator Gary Grant is also part of it.
For more information on EUGIC 2015 Awards categories and how to enter, see on our website.
Seattle releases citywide green infrastructure strategy to combat stormwater pollution
In light of polluted stormwater runoff threatening water quality in Puget Sound, Seattle Mayor Edward B. Murray today released a draft citywide Green Stormwater Infrastructure Strategy, outlining plans to accelerate green infrastructure approaches for preventing this type of water pollution.
Rainfall rushing off hard surfaces such as roads and parking lots can overwhelm piped drainage systems and cause backups and combined sewer overflows. The runoff also carries pollution directly into creeks, lakes and other waterways.
UN-Habitat releases International Guidelines on Urban Territorial Planning
UN-Habitat has released guidelines to provide national governments, local authorities, civil society organizations and planning professionals with a global reference framework that promotes more compact, socially inclusive, better integrated and connected cities and territories that foster sustainable urban development and are resilient to climate change.
The International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning serve both as a source of inspiration and a compass when reviewing, developing and implementing urban and territorial planning frameworks. The Guidelines will be soon available in 7 other languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, Persian, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.
Boston appoints city’s first ‘chief of streets’
From the historic cobblestones of Beacon Hill to the working class streets of South Boston, help is on the way. Boston Mayor Martin Walsh announced the appointment of city’s first “Chief of Streets.” Chris Osgood, a member of the mayor’s cabinet, has been named to the role, the announcement says. He also is co-chair of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics.
Osgood is tasked with finding innovative ways to modernize Boston’s streets and public transit. That means exploring new technologies and designs, as well as data analytics, the mayor’s office notes. And it requires balancing the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, drivers and mass transit riders.
From Technology to Mobility Solutions for Cities: Cooperative ITS
Viajeo PLUS and the Compass 4D project are jointly organising a webinar on Cooperative ITS (C-ITS), which will be held on 30 September 2015 from 11h00 to 12h00 (CEST).
Cooperative ITS (C-ITS), in which vehicles communicate with each other and/or with roadside infrastructure is not a new concept. C-ITS has improved existing services and will enable the next generation of systems, which will work together to bring further safety, efficiency and sustainability to road transport.
Value of smart public transport € 1.5 billion by 2019
A new report has projected that the value of smart public transportation in Europe will be € 1.5 billion by 2019.
Smart public transport covers a range of areas and includes global positioning systems (GPS) to accurately track public transport vehicles, collecting and monitoring real-time traffic data, and contactless or mobile ticketing.
Americans’ Views of Transportation and Livable Communities
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) and Portland State University conducted a nationwide survey in the 50 largest metropolitan areas, asking Americans about where they live, where they want to live, and their travel habits. This webinar presents key findings from the survey, including people’s preferences to live in mixed-use, walkable communities and what may help them walk, bicycle, and take transit more. The large sample (3,000) allows us to look at demographic differences, including between the generations.
TTIP - "Public services will not be affected by the agreement"
"There will not be any binding provision in this agreement that would force local governments to privatise their public services against their will. I can guarantee that." asserted EU Commissioner in charge of Trade, Cecilia Malmström, talking about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) to the French online magazine La Gazette des Communes.
As she was requested to react to CEMR’s demand to exclude public services from the scope of TTIP, Commissioner Malmström claimed that the future agreement would not affect the way public services are organised, funded and delivered in Europe.
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