30/4/2017 - Abu Dhabi to host World Urban Forum in 2020
30/4/2017 - Urban jungles in jeopardy
30/4/2017 - China goes west: a ghost city in the sand comes to life
29/4/2017 - How Urban Transportation And Planning Unlock The Future Of Accessibility
29/4/2017 - Past Transit Habits Shape Future Ones in Dramatic Ways
29/4/2017 - The Last Mile: Connecting Workers to Places of Employment
28/4/2017 - Antwerp a City-Wide Living Lab of Smart City Technologies
28/4/2017 - Oslo Is on Track for a Car-Free Future
28/4/2017 - Why informal settlements are already smart
27/4/2017 - Tough Choices Have to Be Made for Africa to Sustainably Urbanize
27/4/2017 - Are cities on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030?
27/4/2017 - HERE360 three innovations set to make our cities smarter
26/4/2017 - 4th European Conference on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans
26/4/2017 - Transit is Made for Walking
26/4/2017 - Preparing for Aging Populations in America’s Cities
25/4/2017 - A Visual Tool for Guiding Urban Change
25/4/2017 - To Build a Great Public Space, You Need More Than Good Design
25/4/2017 - How you can help your city fight climate change
24/4/2017 - 2nd European Urban Green Infrastructure Conference
24/4/2017 - Cultural heritage and sustainable tourism: drivers of poverty reduction and shared prosperity
24/4/2017 - Tips for getting smart city tech into policymakers hands
23/4/2017 - With Mobile App Rewards for Cycling and Walking, Would You Continue to Drive?
23/4/2017 - Here’s how cities in developing countries can tap green bonds
23/4/2017 - Bringing the City to the neglected
22/4/2017 - Momentum is growing to ‘localize’ climate finance
22/4/2017 - A whiff of pure air: what measures can reduce traffic in cities?
22/4/2017 - Impact on urban sustainability of mass migration
21/4/2017 - Is Japan turning intercultural?
21/4/2017 - Smart urbanization — 5 fundamental pillars
21/4/2017 - Smart Cities’ pressing need for Cyber Security
20/4/2017 - Bio-based materials facing the challenges of the construction industry
20/4/2017 - Waste water: cities leading the way
20/4/2017 - How to build a ‘smart city’ in a fragile and conflict-affected context
19/4/2017 - Cities Alliance and ICLEI team up for TAP – Transformative Action Program
19/4/2017 - ACT 2 - INITIATIVE INTA"CITIES AND TERRITORIES IN TRANSFORMATION". The new INTA working programme for the next 18 months
19/4/2017 - UN-Habitat hosts global meeting on planning compact cities
18/4/2017 - Publication: European Practices for Social Integration through Sport
18/4/2017 - Women mayors are ready to stand up and be counted
18/4/2017 - A fresh approach to housing: Poznan’s innovative offer to keep young talent in the city
17/4/2017 - Atlantic City and Miami Beach: two takes on tackling the rising waters
17/4/2017 - Five sustainable cities making a difference for the planet
17/4/2017 - Auroville, the dream and the reality
14/4/2017 - Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy launches with 7,400+ committed cities
14/4/2017 - 50 Reasons Why Everyone Should Want More Walkable Streets
14/4/2017 - Population Declines Accelerate in Many Large Urban Areas
13/4/2017 - EU target to reduce serious injuries and road safety statistics 2016 published
13/4/2017 - How Fast Food Cornered the Urban Market
13/4/2017 - Autonomous Cars Will Turn Back the Clock on Sustainable Cities
12/4/2017 - How we can turn railroads into a climate solution
12/4/2017 - “Future” Cities? Bangkok is sinking…literally
12/4/2017 - A Catalog of Civic Data Use Cases
11/4/2017 - Women’s and the New Urban Agenda at CSW
11/4/2017 - Lessons from Mexico City’s green bond, the first municipal issuance in Latin America
11/4/2017 - Europe by Bike
10/4/2017 - The Cities Where Autonomous Vehicles Would Be Most Practical
10/4/2017 - Submit your projects for the Green Building & City Solutions Awards 2017
10/4/2017 - A Starter Kit for Data-Smart Cities
9/4/2017 - Who Rides Public Transportation
9/4/2017 - “The New Urban Agenda lacks a human rights focus”
9/4/2017 - Smart Cities: A Futuristic Vision
8/4/2017 - Why Immigrants Are Leaving Chicago
8/4/2017 - The Act of Urban Journalism
8/4/2017 - U.S. Mayors Cross Party Lines to Reject White House Rollback on Climate Action
7/4/2017 - Vertical Forest towers planned for Nanjing
7/4/2017 - In China, conserving the past helps the poor build a brighter future
7/4/2017 - Inside Makoko: danger and ingenuity in the world's biggest floating slum
6/4/2017 - Designing better cities for women (and all)
6/4/2017 - EU offers cities a say in strategy development for the Urban Water Agenda 2030
6/4/2017 - Greener and greener public transport north to Polar circle
5/4/2017 - Smart Cities and Money Conference
5/4/2017 - Smart city development now a global phenomenon
5/4/2017 - Cities are getting smarter—and much easier to hack
4/4/2017 - Transportation In Forefront for City Planning
4/4/2017 - Parking Spots Are Still Hot Property, But Ride-Sharing Is Changing That
4/4/2017 - Apply for city twinning with China
3/4/2017 - Ecocity World Summit - early bird savings
3/4/2017 - Austria new EU champion for EVs
3/4/2017 - Volvo Buses’ largest order – an environmental success for Belgian cities
2/4/2017 - Smart Lighting: The Gateway to a Smarter City
2/4/2017 - Lyft Is Testing a New Shuttle Service in Two Cities
2/4/2017 - New report on financing urban adaptation
1/4/2017 - Do-it-yourself policing: challenges and opportunities for public security
1/4/2017 - Amsterdam: The Balanced Smart City!
1/4/2017 - Urban heat poses greatest health threat
Abu Dhabi to host World Urban Forum in 2020
The capital of United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, will host the Tenth session of the World Urban Forum (WUF10) in 2020. UN-Habitat, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, as the convener of WUF, announced the decision on Thursday 23 March 2017 concluding the bidding process for WUF10.
United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UN-Habitat Executive Director, Dr. Joan Clos, has informed Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, of the decision.
Urban jungles in jeopardy
The global population is becoming increasingly urban, and at an astonishing rate. Each year, urban areas are growing by an average of more than 75 million people – more than the population of the world’s 85 smallest countries combined.
For the world’s economy, this is great news, since cities produce 80 percent of global GDP, despite currently being home to only 55 percent of the population. But it is a problem for urban infrastructure, which can’t keep up with such fast-paced growth. As a result, cities, already vulnerable, are becoming increasingly susceptible to natural disasters – from flooding and landslides that can decimate informal housing settlements, to earthquakes that can devastate power grids and water systems.
China goes west: a ghost city in the sand comes to life
Mountains have been flattened and villages bulldozed to build Lanzhou New Area in China’s wild west. Four years ago Tom Phillips met empty streets and an eerie hush, but now he finds this improbable desert mirage finally filling up
It was a scheme as bold and eccentric as any to emerge from China’s 21st-century sprint towards urbanisation: to build and populate a dazzling metropolis of one million inhabitants deep in the country’s barren western hinterlands.
In their bid to make this Fitzcarraldo-esque dream a reality there is little Chinese authorities have not tried. Hundreds of mountains and village after village have been bulldozed since construction of Gansu province’s Lanzhou New Area began in 2012.
How Urban Transportation And Planning Unlock The Future Of Accessibility
The longest traffic jam in recorded history, so far as I can discover, was a 61-mile clog in Beijing, China that took 11 days to unravel in 2010 – and this was when only one in 20 Chinese had a car! Other cities around the world have succumbed to a similar fate: Daily traffic jams in Moscow, Jakarta, and Istanbul have become axiomatic conditions of everyday transportation.
Past Transit Habits Shape Future Ones in Dramatic Ways
The transit habits we grew up with shape our transit habits as adults, according to new research. The finding is a bit intuitive, but researchers say local governments could use it to help groom the next generation of riders.
Using individual-level data spanning decades, Michael Smart, an urban planning professor at Rutgers University, and Nicholas Klein, a visiting professor at Columbia University, analyzed how exposure to transit as children and young adults can contribute to an “auto-light lifestyle” and increased transit usage later in life, even when people move to less transit-friendly places.
The Last Mile: Connecting Workers to Places of Employment
This report provides citizens, policymakers and business leaders with information about potential strategies for improving transportation connections for the regional workforce to places of employment throughout the Milwaukee metropolitan area. The authors hope policymakers and community leaders will use the report’s findings to inform discussions during policy debates, budget deliberations, and civic gatherings regarding public transportation services and strategies in the Milwaukee region and elsewhere.
Antwerp a City-Wide Living Lab of Smart City Technologies
During 2016, the first steps were made towards establishing the city of Antwerp, Belgium, as one city-wide living lab of smart city technology, and what can hopefully become a benchmark for urban environments around the world.
These developments are part of the “City of Things” project, aiming to examine how a large city like Antwerp can be transformed into a smart city within a realistic framework, and in close collaboration with residents and the city council. The first steps was to make sure that everyone, including stakeholders and policymakers, are on the same page, so that there will be no duplication of effort and that Antwerp’s solutions can act as a template for the development of other smart cities.
Oslo Is on Track for a Car-Free Future
A new film shows the Norwegian capital’s progress on banning cars downtown by 2019.
Oslo is growing faster than just about any other city in Europe—logical, given the Norwegian capital’s famously superb quality of life. But a booming population threatens that status, to an extent. More people means cramped sidewalks, heavier traffic, and worse pollution in a region where air quality can already be deadly.
Why informal settlements are already smart
On billboards and posters around the world, advertisers portray their visions of smart cities with exciting and innovative technologies enabling ever higher levels of productivity and new ways of life for urban residents. Economies driven by data and interconnectivity promise to revolutionize the means of production and to banish the chaos and filth of earlier ages.
From North America to India, officials extol the virtues of smart cities as a means of radically reshaping urban life. These ideas are echoed by urban planners in their visions for “world-class” cities to take the place of the messy, unplanned urban centers that exist today in many parts of Africa and Asia.
Tough Choices Have to Be Made for Africa to Sustainably Urbanize
The fast rate at which Africa is urbanizing - one of the fastest in the world - is giving African decision and policy makers an opportunity to rethink the urbanization path so far trod on and chose one which will contribute to Africa achieving the continental targets for inclusive growth and transformation.
The Economic Report for Africa 2017, which was launched on Saturday during the Africa Development Week in Dakar, Senegal -with the theme "Urbanization and Industrialization for Africa's Transformation", says that Africa has so far followed its own urbanizing path, which is weakly linked to structural transformation. This has resulted in the loss of many opportunities for enhanced growth and productivity, for poverty reduction and for social development.
Are cities on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030?
Most are doing well on a few targets, but worrying gaps are emerging. And some cities are in danger of backsliding.
We are now almost halfway through the first 1,000 days of implementation of the landmark Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the global framework that seeks to eradicate poverty, combat climate change, and promote peaceful and inclusive societies — all by 2030.
HERE360 three innovations set to make our cities smarter
Cities are impervious to stasis. Ancient architecture sits beside the latest in modern design, while roads, pavements, and every other aspect of a city changes beneath our feet. This ever-evolving landscape is witnessing its most fundamental change in years, with smart cities now truly upon us.
The advancements we’ve seen in smart city technologies over the past few years – from services powered by complex sensor data, to the IoT - is staggering. But what will be the next innovations to make our cities even smarter?
4th European Conference on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans
On 29-30 March 2017, nearly 400 participants from the fields of transport planning and development, research and politics gathered in Dubrovnik for the 4th European Conference on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans to discuss new planning approaches and strategies, and to share ideas, solutions and success stories. The conference took place on 29-30 March 2017 in Dubrovnik, Croatia under the theme of 'Intelligent Planning for Sustainable Mobility.'
Transit is Made for Walking
Walkability is one of the keys to high transit ridership, and yet much of the nation’s transit is located in low density, unwalkable places. As a result, the U.S. transit industry faces the need to create “first and last mile” connections to and from transit.
Why is walking access to transit important? The easier it is for people to walk to public transportation, the more likely they are to use it.
Preparing for Aging Populations in America’s Cities
The AARP and the U.S. Conference of Mayors released a report on how cities are preparing for their aging populations. The report summarizes the results of a survey of city leaders that tried to identify the resources, infrastructure, and policy changes that are needed to make cities more livable so that residents can choose to age in place.
A Visual Tool for Guiding Urban Change
Photo-powered "urban diaries" can give residents a powerful new way to contribute to the dialogue that shapes their cities.
At this moment of epic political gridlock at the national level, localism is back. Increasingly, cities are devising local solutions to the pressing challenges of the 21st century -- from transportation and housing affordability to climate change. But localism can also lead to gridlock, especially in rapidly growing cities.
I have observed this in my hometown of Seattle, where a building boom is dramatically reshaping city life and policy conflicts abound. Across both face-to-face and social-media encounters, it seems ever more difficult to achieve consensus on a form of the city amenable to older and newer residents alike. A new tool -- the "urban diary" -- can contribute to breaking the gridlock by helping to forge a pluralistic vision of the kind of city that people want to inhabit.
To Build a Great Public Space, You Need More Than Good Design
In low-income neighborhoods, even the best-designed parks and community centers go to waste if no one uses them. The nonprofit Kounkuey Design Initiative is taking that challenge head-on.
The late urbanist William H. Whyte famously observed the designs that ruin public spaces, from excluding places to sit and gather to creating dead zones. But even the best-designed public spaces can be a waste if no one uses them. This is especially true in low-income communities.
How you can help your city fight climate change
After President Donald Trump proposed sweeping changes to the way the country regulates energy production and emissions by signing an executive order last week, it may have seemed like efforts to battle climate change will take a back seat for the foreseeable future. But while sweeping changes to national policy make a big difference, these changes only underscore the value of local actions.
Everyday actions by citizens and cities can make a huge difference. As former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently wrote, increasingly, the localized actions of mayors are pushing progressive environmental policies. “In both red and blue states, cities—which account for about two-thirds of the country’s emissions—are taking the lead in the fight against climate change,” he wrote.
2nd European Urban Green Infrastructure Conference
EUGIC 2017 Budapest brings together leaders in urban green infrastructure to share nature-based solutions for resilient 21st century cities.
EUGIC 2017 Budapest will explore how urban centres across Europe and beyond are addressing climate change and biodiversity loss, managing water, air quality and energy, and designing for health and wellbeing by working with nature.
Cultural heritage and sustainable tourism: drivers of poverty reduction and shared prosperity
Today, we celebrate the International Day for Monuments and Sites. This year, the day focuses on Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Tourism, which underlines the important linkage between culture and cities: Culture, identity, and a people-centered approach are central to building the urban future we want and ensuring sustainable urban development.
In relation to the United Nations International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, and in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda this day also presents a unique opportunity to celebrate the long-standing partnership between the World Bank and UNESCO in the area of culture and sustainable development.
Tips for getting smart city tech into policymakers hands
This article presents three strategy insights from researchers and policy makers engaged in smart city development: i. Align research to policymakers’ and citizens’ concerns, ii. Build coalitions to overcome political constraints and iii. Data interpretation needs as much investment as collection.
In more detail, Devex spoke at the recent UAE Research Symposium on Smart Cities with researchers and officials about their tips and lessons learned for bringing innovation into the living, breathing cities they support. Here are their top three takeaways:
With Mobile App Rewards for Cycling and Walking, Would You Continue to Drive?
Modern technology has revolutionized the way people interact with urban mobility and their cities. People’s movements have become inextricably linked with technology, in particular their smartphones. Today’s technology can call a car service, track your movement, alert you when the next bus is arriving and count your steps. What about taking this relationship a bit further—can it change people’s behaviors?
Here’s how cities in developing countries can tap green bonds
Developing cities can finance climate-resilient infrastructure and renewable-energy projects by improving their creditworthiness or aligning investment goals with green bond performance targets, according to a recent report.
The strategy is detailed in Green Bonds for Cities: A Strategic Guide for City-level Policymakers in Developing Countries, published by the Climate Policy Initiative.
Bringing the City to the neglected
With the aid of a US$170-million loan from the World Bank, the Buenos Aires City government has begun the largest urbanisation project in the history of the country: improving the capital’s most renowned shantytown, Villa 31. The task is far from easy and the challenges are vast. And while many have praised the move, critics say the alterations will leave the area ripe for real-estate speculation and question whether the barrio’s low-income residents will really be guaranteed the necessary, vital low-cost housing they desperately need.
Momentum is growing to ‘localize’ climate finance
New innovations in green bonds, climate insurance, sustainable and resilience standards and certifications, and more.
The evidence is overwhelming. Besides being the warmest year on record, 2016 saw an overwhelming number of “pollution peak” days in cities across the globe.
Paris, for instance, is regularly exposing more than 1.5 million inhabitants to pollution levels that do not respect European regulation. In Africa, imported fuel — low-cost but toxic — is poisoning those who live in Lagos, Dakar and elsewhere.
A whiff of pure air: what measures can reduce traffic in cities?
The high pollution levels that hit Europe in January brought home the importance of promoting less polluting modes of transport and redesigning traffic flows to reduce congestion. Some cities have tackled the problem by implementing traffic-regulating schemes. Cities have a major part to play but asthe mayors of 20 European cities reminded the COP21 audience in Paris, measures also have to be taken at the European level, for example by tightening up the overly lax European standards on NOx emissions.
Impact on urban sustainability of mass migration
A new INTA programme, aiming to promote innovative urban and social approaches to help cities to cope with the mass arrival of migrants. Several urban and social questions to deepen making a framework for a forthcoming seminar later in the year.
Is Japan turning intercultural?
The Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, which is in charge of local government, produced a report on good practices of intercultural cohesion at the local level in March 2017. The report was drafted by a group of nine experts on migrant integration, chaired by Professor Yamawaki Keizo of Meiji University. Prof. Yamawaki is a leading expert on migrant integration and intercultural policy in Japan.
The report introduces 52 good practices by local governments, NGOs and businesses in the fields of education, employment, housing, disaster prevention and other areas throughout Japan. There are also practices focusing on the contribution of foreign residents to local communities. The report also offers an overview of local practices in foreign countries, and the Council of Europe’s Intercultural Cities Programme.
Smart urbanization — 5 fundamental pillars
The model of urbanization over the past two decades has been far from “smart” and sustainable. This is the major conclusion of Habitat III, the third United Nations’ Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development that took place in Quito, Ecuador, in 2016. Our cities are growing very quickly and spontaneously. Decreased planning and excessive urban expansion, alongside reduced density, is leading us to unprecedented levels of chaos, urban poverty and environmental degradation.
Smart Cities’ pressing need for Cyber Security
Cyber attacks and security breaches can be a common occurrence in the modern interconnected world. As more cities become intelligent and connected, basing more infrastructure and functions on digital networks, the cyber security risk grows, and -alarmingly- smart cities are usually unprepared to face it.
The risk is real. Jesse Berst, chairman of the Smart Cities Council, warns that it is “crazy” to for cities to assure themselves that they will never be targeted by hackers, whether to “turn off the lights for the fun of it, or something much more dangerous and insidious”. The most important problem with smart city security is that the cities themselves don’t pay enough attention to the problem.
Bio-based materials facing the challenges of the construction industry
The use of bio-based materials is often met with scepticism from architects, insurers and contractors in the construction industry, which has led to slow market uptake. This scepticism generally results from a lack of adequate training and support with regard to regulatory frameworks.
This was the backdrop of the ISOBIO workshop, held 22 March in Brussels where the project team met with representatives from Earth Building UK and Ireland, BC architects & studies, the ECO-SEE project and the German Association for Building with Earth. The aim was to identify the levers for faster adoption of bio-based material in the construction sector.
Waste water: cities leading the way
The cities of Chinon (Indre-et-Loire) and Etaules (Charente-Maritime) have committed to improve access to water and water governance, alongside Tenkodogo, a town in Burkina Faso, illustrating an excellent case of decentralised cooperation for this 2017 World Water Day dedicated to waste water.
In Tenkodogo, a secondary city in Burkina Faso, inhabitants had to walk 5 to 6 km to the closest clean water spot, and water sanitation was almost non-existent, with an equipment rate of only 4%.
How to build a ‘smart city’ in a fragile and conflict-affected context
A significant proportion of expected growth over the coming decades is expected to take place in fragile and conflict-affected urban areas. By 2050, 56 percent of the global population in fragile and conflict-affected states will be living in cities, an increase of more than 20 percent compared to 2000. More so, in the past 40 years, the urban population in lower income and fragile countries has increased by a staggering 326 percent.
Cities Alliance and ICLEI team up for TAP – Transformative Action Program
During the UNFCCC COP22 meeting in Marrakech, the issue of finance was raised repeatedly, especially finance at the local level. Identifying catalytic and innovative urban resilience to better match them with finance opportunities is the central motivation behind a new grant from Cities Alliance to ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability in support of the Transformative Action Program - TAP.
As part of the project ICLEI will work in collaboration with the World Bank to support cities in developing bankable resilience projects.
The TAP is an initiative by networks of local and subnational governments to accelerate the implementation of local action to tackle climate change. The new grant from Cities Alliance to ICLEI is devoted to the support of more robust city resilience projects and linking resilience projects to appropriate funding mechanisms.
ACT 2 - INITIATIVE INTA"CITIES AND TERRITORIES IN TRANSFORMATION". The new INTA working programme for the next 18 months
Following the “Objective 2030” program, “Cities and Territory in transformations – Act 2” is the international tool provided by INTA for cities and territories to foresee and master the technological, socio-demographic, ecological and institutional transformations they have to face. How the NUA reflects these changes in urban development? Should we go further with another agenda for action? Are other instruments for action available?
UN-Habitat hosts global meeting on planning compact cities
More than 30 international experts on urban planning, finance and legal aspects of urbanization and policy experts participated in the Global Experts Group Meeting (EGM) “Planning Compact Cities: Exploring the possibilities and limits of densification”, organized by UN-Habitat, with the support of Andalusian Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AACID) and the collaboration of Seville City Council.
The meeting aimed to define the possibilities and limits of applying densification as a tool for urban transformation and to establish good practices for avoiding some of its undesired effects.
The overarching objective of this Experts Group Meeting was to increase understanding of densification policies, strategies and tools in the context of Urban Redevelopment and Infill and of their implications for successful practices to improve sustainability of cities as one of the main focus of The New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goal number 11.
Publication: European Practices for Social Integration through Sport
Sport is a powerful tool to reinforce social cohesion as well as to prevent violence linked to exclusion and discrimination given that it disseminates values including tolerance, respect, solidarity and fair-play.
In 2016, Efus organised the European Prize for Social Integration through Sport to give visibility to tried and tested or promising initiatives so that they can further develop and inspire others -at a local, regional, national or European level.
Women mayors are ready to stand up and be counted
Gender equality in political life will only be achieved if we have the tools to monitor local progress, say Anne Hidalgo, Mónica Fein, Célestine Ketcha Courtès and Ada Colau
We are proud to have been elected as the first women mayors of Paris, Rosario, Bangangte and Barcelona. Yet, as women in local elected office, we know that we are still in a minority. A photograph of a city council meeting almost anywhere in the world will tell a similar story: a sea of suits and ties with female faces few and far between. The same is true at global level; the international summits of mayors we attend are overwhelmingly dominated by men.
A fresh approach to housing: Poznan’s innovative offer to keep young talent in the city
The City of Poznan, Poland, lead Partner of Gen-Y City, has recently initiated a housing programme ‘Apartment for Graduates’ designed to help retain young, talented and educated people in the city, a challenge common to many European cities. This article discusses the success and limitations of the programme.
The City of Poznan, (Lead Partner of Gen Y City) as a large academic hub, has considerable potential for attracting young people. The level of unemployment is very low. The combination of these two factors makes it attractive for many young people want to stay and start a family here. A major obstacle that they encounter is the lack of affordable housing. Young people starting their adult life have relatively low incomes and working under civil law contracts makes them ineligible for a loan. In reality many are not so interested in long-term financial obligations. At this stage of their lives their main aim is to gain professional and economic stability and because of that they are willing to move in order to find a job. Affordable housing solutions are needed to support these aspirations.
Atlantic City and Miami Beach: two takes on tackling the rising waters
Sea level rise is making floods more common and as the New Jersey resort braces for the next Sandy, the well-heeled Florida city is throwing money at the problem
Five sustainable cities making a difference for the planet
Find out what these five cities are doing to fight the climate crisis and improve the lives of their citizens.
For centuries, cities have been at the heart of the arts and culture, thriving businesses, and innovative ideas. Over ninety percent of urban areas are coastal, which means that most cities on the planet are extremely vulnerable to the effects of the climate crisis as sea levels rise, polar ice melts, and powerful storms sweep across these regions.
Auroville, the dream and the reality
Imagine a utopia free of crime, government, poverty, money, and hardship. This is the vision that built Auroville, a township in India dubbed ‘The City of Dawn’.
Founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa (also known as The Mother), Auroville is meant to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity. Alfassa was inspired by the vision of Sri Aurobindo, the city’s namesake, an Indian nationalist and revolutionary, and later a yoga guru. Intended for about 50 000 people, Auroville now hosts about 2 500 people permanently and is visited by 5 000 tourists annually.
Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy launches with 7,400+ committed cities
The Paris Agreement committed nations to tackling climate change, yet local governments are critical in supporting its implementation. Action is happening from the ground up. Local leaders are not wasting any time to plan and act in their cities, towns and districts - contributing to the common global goal and their respective national goals – with a wide range of local benefits resulting from their leadership.
50 Reasons Why Everyone Should Want More Walkable Streets
From making you live longer to making cities more resilient: If you want a reason to make your city more walkable, it’s in here.
As more cities try to improve walkability—from car-free “superblocks” in Barcelona to heat-protected walkways in Dubai—a new report outlines the reasons behind the shift, the actions that cities can take to move away from a car-centric world, and why walkability matters.
If someone shifts from a long commute to a walk, their happiness increases as much as if they’d fallen in love.
Population Declines Accelerate in Many Large Urban Areas
The latest Census estimates show urban counties in the Northern U.S. and Midwest, in particular, are losing residents to the suburbs and Sun Belt.
For much of the past half century, St. Louis incurred a gradual decline as residents left the city. Like other urban areas, its population eventually stabilized with the revitalization of its central corridor and more young people moving in and around downtown. But now, the latest Census estimates suggest the slight growth may have been short-lived.
EU target to reduce serious injuries and road safety statistics 2016 published
The 2016 road safety statistics released by the European Commission show a drop of 2% in the number of fatalities. The statistics for the first time include numbers about people suffering serious injuries following accidents. An EU target to reduce serious injuries by 50% by 2030 has been agreed upon at this week's Road Safety Informal Council meeting in Malta, which Polis attended.
How Fast Food Cornered the Urban Market
Small business loans backed by the federal government helped the Golden Arches and its rivals conquer the city.
The story of fast food in America has been well documented; Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation and Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me explored the public health consequences of our addiction to cheap, convenient calories. The sheer girth of America’s national obesity epidemic often creates the impression that fast food, for good or ill, is an equal-opportunity American experience.
Autonomous Cars Will Turn Back the Clock on Sustainable Cities
Autonomous mobility could become the most important business in the 21st century.
Within the next 10 years autonomous cars could reverse the trend to free cities from private vehicles, instead flooding the streets with even more cars, undermining public transit, and leaving no space for other uses.
How we can turn railroads into a climate solution
Railroads have become a nexus of controversy in recent years due to their role in transporting climate-twisting fossil fuels. But they could become a locomotive driving the growth of clean energy. That is the aim of a new proposal to electrify railroads, run them on renewable energy, and use rail corridors as electricity superhighways to carry power from remote solar and wind installations to population centers.
“Future” Cities? Bangkok is sinking…literally
The Capital of Thailand is sinking, and it has been sinking for quite a while now. Sources argue that, despite authorities and people in charge being completely aware of the problem and despite more and more serious warnings from researchers, little to no action has been taken so far. The time frame for the risk of submerging has been narrowed down to approximately 15 years. Worrisome?
A Catalog of Civic Data Use Cases
Data-Smart City Solutions recently released an online catalog of use cases about how data and analytics be used to enhance city operations and call for further cases and ideas.
In this catalog they list a number of challenges across four domains, Health & Human Services, Infrastructure, Public Safety and Regulation. For each challenge they provide use cases of civic data initiatives that have been created in order to address the specific challenge, and further link to the original solution.
Women’s and the New Urban Agenda at CSW
At the recent 61st Commission on the Status of Women, UN-Habitat hosted a series of multi-stakeholder events at the UN Headquarters to make certain that the role of women in the implantation of the New Urban Agenda is well understood and the realization of inclusive, economically viable and sustainable cities is achieved.
The newly-sworn Deputy Secretary General, Amina Mohammed, opened the first panel of gender and development leaders by emphasizing the critical role of the New Urban Agenda in achieving the vision for sustainable and inclusive societies by 2030. “Given the megatrend of rapid urbanization, achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals will depend, in large part, on whether we can make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”, Ms Mohammed said.
Susceptibility to poverty traps and natural disasters, unemployment and lack of opportunities for education impede women across the globe from becoming active members of their societies, therefore halting the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Lessons from Mexico City’s green bond, the first municipal issuance in Latin America
In December, Mexico City became the first city in Latin America to issue a “green bond”.
The USD 50 million issuance will pay for energy-efficient lighting, transit upgrades and water infrastructure. The bond was “oversubscribed” two-and-a-half times over, meaning that investors were willing to buy more of these bonds than Mexico City had to sell.
Mexico City’s success is receiving attention in cities around the world. Last week, Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera flew to London to accept an award from the Climate Bonds Initiative, a research group that tracks the green-bond market.
Europe by Bike
What can three European cities learn from each other about the role and place for cyclists in urban space?
On the 28th of February Pakhuis de Zwijger organized a programme about the role and place of cyclists in European Urban Space. Amsterdam, Copenhagen and London are cycling cities, however, all three in a different fashion. The cities have their own way of using public space, in which cyclists hold a different role and place. What can these cities learn from each other? We are setting on a tour through these three different cities and perspectives to find out.
The Cities Where Autonomous Vehicles Would Be Most Practical
A new report suggests certain travel patterns make some cities ideal for the technology and urges officials to start planning for it.
It’s widely assumed that it’s only a matter of time before fleets of autonomous vehicles begin crisscrossing America’s roadways.
Some urban areas, though, make better markets for the new technology than others. Driving conditions, traffic patterns and demographics are just a few of the factors determining how ideal a city is for autonomous vehicles.
Submit your projects for the Green Building & City Solutions Awards 2017
Construction professionals or urban planning specialists are invited to apply to the contest with buildings and solutions contributing to the fight against climate change.
A Starter Kit for Data-Smart Cities
Harvard’s Data-Smart City Solutions initiative published a guide that highlights resources to help answer questions that a new Chief Data Officer or other government data leader might have about the best way to move toward a data-driven enterprise.
Who Rides Public Transportation
Public transit riders are part of the engine that powers America’s economy, according to a new demographic study released by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Who Rides Public Transportation reveals that 87% of public transit trips directly impact the economy, either connecting people to employers needing workers and to retail and entertainment venues. The study, authored by the CJI Research Corporation, is the most extensive demographic report of public transit riders ever, with nearly 700,000 passenger surveys.
“The New Urban Agenda lacks a human rights focus”
Interview with Shivani Chaudhry from the Housing and Land Rights Network
From your point of view, is the New Urban Agenda a step forward in terms of human rights?
I think the New Urban Agenda is weak on human rights, specifically the human right to adequate housing. Although the term is mentioned, housing is viewed more as a commodity rather than a legally enforceable human right. This is demonstrated by the absence of any reference to existing human rights standards related to housing, including those on forced evictions, displacement, and security of tenure. The New Urban Agenda places priority on the market to deliver housing, and does not call for regulation of mortgage securitisation and the real estate sector, or control of corruption and land grabbing. By ignoring the inequity and cyclical crises created by the market, the Agenda also forgets the Habitat II commitment to ensure implementation within a just macroeconomic order.
Smart Cities: A Futuristic Vision
The United Nations expects almost doubling of urban population by 2050, while the global population will increase from 7 billion to almost 10 billion. Currently, half of the total population lives in cities. The world is at an unprecedented level of urbanization: the top 25 cities of the world today account for half of the world’s wealth; the top 25 cities of the world today account for half of the world’s wealth; about 10 percent of the world population lives in the top 30 metropolises, and 600 cities accommodate its quarter; the 30 largest cities alone are projected to drive 20% of global GDP growth from 2010 to 2020; cities consume 60% to 80% of the world’s energy production
Why Immigrants Are Leaving Chicago
The city has long depended on an influx of immigrants, but they’ve stopped moving there—and the ones who already live there often can’t stay.
In 2015, Chicago and surrounding areas saw its first net population loss in decades, and it was a doozy: 11,324 residents. The year after, that loss ballooned to 19,570.
At the heart of the problem is Cook County, which topped the list of population losers in 2016. Why? Well, among other reasons, fewer immigrants are moving to the city. And many of the ones who currently live there—who have kept the city up and running—can’t afford to stay on. Add to that the Trump administration’s effort to limit legal and illegal immigration, and the decline might accelerate, worsening the city’s already-dire economic woes.
The Act of Urban Journalism
How is urban journalism changing our cities? Explore the potential of storytelling to address urban transformations.
Between the 13th – 16th of March, Pakhuis de Zwijger organised a four day festival in Amsterdam. Contrary to popular belief, it was not a music entertainment, but a festival on urban journalism. The Urban Stories Festival (USF) shared relevant stories from cities all over the globe, during workshops, lectures and documentary screenings, uniting worldwide ‘professional storytellers’. What did we learn about the act of urban journalism?
U.S. Mayors Cross Party Lines to Reject White House Rollback on Climate Action
With the White House’s March 28, 2017, Executive Order Promoting Energy Independence, the Administration takes action to roll back critically important U.S. climate policies, including the Clean Power Plan and vehicle fuel efficiency standards, along with its proposed budget cuts to the EPA and critical federal programs like Energy Star.
In response, elected officials came together across political boundaries to voice their rejection of the President’s backtracking on climate action. Members of the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda (MNCAA), representing more than 41 million Americans in 75 cities ?in red and blue states have voiced their opposition in an open letter to the Administration. These mayors and others, along with state-level counterparts, have released numerous statements supporting continued climate efforts at the federal level and their support gives further credence to the increasingly important and enhanced role local authorities are playing to carry through on the U.S.’s Paris Agreement commitments.
Vertical Forest towers planned for Nanjing
Stefano Boeri Architetti has unveiled their plans for the first ever ‘Vertical Forest’ project to be realised in Asia, two mixed-use towers to be located near the Yangtze River in the Pukou District of Nanjing, China. In total, over 1100 trees will cover the building, helping to regenerate local biodiversity while cleaning the air.
Following the prototype first realised in the studio’s Milan Vertical Forest project, the Nanjing Vertical Forest will be characterised by a high density of lush vegetation supported by balconies along the building facade.
In China, conserving the past helps the poor build a brighter future
China has seen a booming tourism industry during the last few decades, thanks to a fast-developing economy and growing disposable personal income. In 2015 alone, the travel and tourism sector contributed to 7.9% of China’s GDP, and 8.4% of the country’s total employment. Not surprisingly, cultural heritage sites were among the most popular tourist destinations.
But beyond the well-known Great Wall and Forbidden City, many cultural heritage sites are located in the poorer, inland cities and provinces of the country. If managed sustainably, tourism in these areas can serve as a unique opportunity to help local communities—especially ethnic minorities, youth, and women—find jobs, grow incomes, and improve livelihoods.
Inside Makoko: danger and ingenuity in the world's biggest floating slum
Makoko is the perfect nightmare for the Lagos government – a slum in full view, spread out beneath the most travelled bridge in west Africa’s megalopolis. Yet this city on stilts, whose residents live under the constant threat of eviction, has much to teach
Designing better cities for women (and all)
As long as there have been cities, there have been women. But that’s not always obvious when looking at the pieces that make up urban life.
From street names to transit transfer policies, the lives and needs of women are often overlooked when cities are built. On the eve of International Women’s Day, here are six ways cities can be made better for all.
EU offers cities a say in strategy development for the Urban Water Agenda 2030
The European Commission, DG Environment is looking for cities willing to contribute to the strategy development for the upcoming Urban Water Agenda 2030 (UWA2030). Through this initiative cities will be offered visibility for their commitment to sustainable urban water management and their readiness to apply innovative solutions to today’s pressing challenges on water resources, systems and services.
Recognising the strengths of local action for sustainable urban water management, the Commission seeks to engage cities directly in accelerating the implementation of EU water policies and legislation, in particular the EU Water Framework Directive and the Floods Directive. Synergies with the European contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (no. 6) on Access to Water and Sanitation, and (no. 11) on Sustainable Cities and Communities are also envisaged.
Greener and greener public transport north to Polar circle
Tromsø is a small city in northern Norway, north to polar circle, with a population of approximately 73 000 people. Yet it has a very good public transportation system and it is getting better and better.
Last year, in 2016, 8.7 million bus trips were registered in the city - as if each citizen took 130 bus trips during the year. In January 2017, 822 000 bus trips were registered, which is an increase of 8.4 per cent compared to January last year.
Tromsø is perhaps the most demanding major city in Norway to run the buses in, as it faces many steep hills, narrow streets, snow and slippery roads, high humidity inside the bus and a long and relatively cold winter.
Smart Cities and Money Conference
The takeaway from the conference was very clear: Smart cities projects are not about technical gadgets but about how cities can use technologies to creating meaningful services for their residents. User-centered approaches, early involvement of communities, and clear articulation of user stories are the right start to design smart cities services. Cities can more effectively quantify and defend the benefits of their initiatives, while companies can better estimate the return on their investment. This results in more precise impact metrics for those who finance pilot projects. City Innovate’s Collider methodology embodies this approach in all of our projects.
Smart city development now a global phenomenon
Navigant Research claim that smart cities are now a 'global phenomenon' as their research finds that there are more than 250 smart city projects underway across 178 cities around the world.
The Smart City Tracker 1Q17 examines the current state of global smart city development, looking at areas such as smart energy, smart water, smart transportation, smart buildings, and smart governments sectors, segmented by region.
Of the 252 smart city projects Navigant tracked, most are smart government-led (40%), with smart energy projects also proving popular (27%). The majority of projects tracked were in Europe, with Asia Pacific in second and North America third.
Cities are getting smarter—and much easier to hack
You may not realize it, but technology surrounds you wherever you go, especially if you are in the 80 percent of Americans living in cities. We have had computer systems connected to public networks for decades now, but a new trend toward creating “smart cities” is pitting technological developments as solutions to age-old problems like traffic congestion, energy efficiency, and urban planning.
The more tech invades cities, the more vulnerable they become to cyberattacks. At a session titled “Connected Cities, Hackable Streets” at this year’s SXSW conference, Tom Cross of Drawbridge Networks and Robert Hansen of OutsideIntel, discussed the dangers of current smart city systems, and what can be done about it.
Transportation In Forefront for City Planning
A number of cities have begun to radically re-think their approaches to transportation.
Alex Pazuchanics, Pittsburgh’s transportation policy coordinator, recently announced “…we have created a new department — the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure. [The department is] really designing with a focus on people rather than vehicles.”
The agency will be led by Karina Ricks, the former associate director of the Washington, D.C., Department of Transportation. Her mandate will be to launch the department and collaborate on transportation initiatives with public works, planning and other officials.
Parking Spots Are Still Hot Property, But Ride-Sharing Is Changing That
A parking space in Park Slope, Brooklyn, recently sold for a whopping $300,000 — more than the cost of a condo in some parts of the U.S. The jaw-dropping price tag doesn't shock experts considering the location; but with increasing interest in ride- and car-sharing, the value of such parking spaces could deflate.
"For that location, $300,000 doesn't surprise me all that much," realtor Anslie Stokes told NBC News. "It sounds like since they tore down another [nearby parking] garage to build residential housing, every other space became that much more valuable because they aren't going to be putting anymore in. Prices are going up because they're losing precious space."
Apply for city twinning with China
European cities who wish to exchange with a city facing similar challenges in another region of the world are encouraged to apply for the EU's International Urban Cooperation (IUC) city-to-city cooperation programme on sustainable urban development.
Submissions for pairings with Chinese cities (Chongqing, Shantou, Zhengzhou, Changchun/Jingyue, Longyan) are now open until 10 April 2017.
Ecocity World Summit - early bird savings
Join the world’s leading urban policy makers, practitioners and researchers at the 2017 Ecocity World Summit to discuss the climate change, sustainability and resilience challenges facing cities – and the crucial role which cities can play in meeting these challenges.
Austria new EU champion for EVs
Nearly 4 000 electric cars were registered in Austria in 2015, almost three times more than Italy. This means that 1.2 percent of Austria's new cars are electric, more than France (1.1 per cent) and the Netherlands (1 per cent).
Volvo Buses’ largest order – an environmental success for Belgian cities
The new order of 90 electric Volvo Buses will help Belgian cities achieve their environmental goal. The same hybrid bus model, which runs quietly on electricity, produces zero exhaust emissions and recharges in 3-4 minutes, is part of the sustainable public transport project ElectriCity in Gothenburg.
Smart Lighting: The Gateway to a Smarter City
A smart lighting network is your gateway to a smarter city, with real-time insights to achieve greater control. Learn how to conserve energy, manage assets and reduce maintenance costs – all while enhancing safety and maximizing revenue.
Go beyond the bulb and learn how smart lighting is your first step toward smarter infrastructure solutions from Sensus.
Download Smart Lighting: The Gateway to a Smarter City to learn more about smart lighting strategies from Sensus.
Lyft Is Testing a New Shuttle Service in Two Cities
A new service being tested by Lyft in San Francisco and Chicago allows riders to go to a specific pickup location, ride along a set route, and get off at any of a number of drop-off points. Sound familiar? As TechCrunch points out, the new offering is more or less a bus route in car form.
The service, currently called simply Shuttle, involves a fixed-rate fare that does not surge with demand like normal Lyft pricing. It runs during prime weekday commuting hours: 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Lyft users who open the app near a shuttle route will be able to toggle the Shuttle feature active within the Lyft Line booking option.
New report on financing urban adaptation
Towns and cities often have a hard time meeting the costs required to adapt to climate change. On 27 February, the European Environment Agency (EEA) published a report on “Financing urban adaptation to climate change.”
This report highlights innovative local solutions that can inspire other local governments across Europe.
Do-it-yourself policing: challenges and opportunities for public security
What are the potential and challenges of social media use by citizens when it is closely related to or overlaps in part with police work? How can crime prevention benefit from do-it-yourself (DIY) policing? How can we improve collaboration with citizens within current legal frameworks? How can citizens and police closely cooperate on DIY policing? How can investigations benefit from DIY policing? These were the main questions discussed at the workshop on “Do-it-yourself policing” of the MEDI@4SEC project, held in Berlin (Germany), on 10 January.
Amsterdam: The Balanced Smart City!
The dutchman David Tuinzing works as an advisor, a teacher and a writer on collaborative urbanism, networked cities, change management, and social & economic development. His career combines academia and practice in consultancy projects, and includes too, the creation of partnerships between sectors, systems, projects and people. With more than 10 years of experience in urban planning and the smart city field, he created a Balanced Smart City model. A model which aims to combine dimensions and actors in the Smart City playing field and to create a relation between them. The model serves as a starting point for a roadmap towards a smart urbanity. Why? Because David has experienced over the years that regularly city stakeholders have only one perspective and give importance to the future of the city. The self-interest comes first, but this issue will not put the common interest forward. A common interest in the future of the city is necessary to make the step towards a smart urbanity, where social, economic and technical city systems/loops are connected. Without a common interest, there is less collaboration, less innovation and less efficiency. David is willing to share some of lessons he experienced while making smarter and more livable cities.
Urban heat poses greatest health threat
Climate change and the resilience of cities is another key planning challenge that is confronting cities, claims landscape architect Professor Elizabeth Mossop, Dean of Design Architecture and Building at Sydney’s University of Technology.
Mossop has also been involved in the post-hurricane reconstruction of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, and the ongoing revitalisation of Detroit in the United States.
“Mitigating the effects of urban heat islands through increased tree canopy and vegetation, for example, is necessary to avoid heat-related public health issues and the economic implications of increased energy use,” she says.
Further archived news available on request from: Kate More