31/10/2017 - Smart cities are boring. Give us responsive cities.
31/10/2017 - UN-Habitat and partners launch the Urban Pathway project
31/10/2017 - Our cities need fewer cars, not cleaner cars
30/10/2017 - Consolidation Makes Sense, Yet Few Cities Have the Urge to Merge
30/10/2017 - Big data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens
30/10/2017 - Ambitious cities make their promises at the Seoul Mayors Forum on Climate Change
29/10/2017 - The future of urban mobility is multimodal and integrated
29/10/2017 - Urban Innovative Actions: Topics for 3rd call for proposals are now available!
29/10/2017 - Local leaders meet in Africa to fight climate change
28/10/2017 - Hoping to build a more secure city? Follow these 5 steps
28/10/2017 - What urban planners want from the international community
28/10/2017 - International Cycling conference & PASTA project Final event: Presentations now available
27/10/2017 - The Crisis in Affordable Housing Is a Problem for Cities Everywhere
27/10/2017 - Why cities fighting climate change should take a look at food policy
27/10/2017 - Cities Take Both Sides in the 'War on Sitting'
26/10/2017 - 10 Principles for Successful City-University Partnerships
26/10/2017 - City administration and citizens working together to improve life in sensible urban areas
26/10/2017 - The tipping point is coming: petrol engines are on the way out
25/10/2017 - China goes west: a ghost city in the sand comes to life
25/10/2017 - Registration for World Urban Forum now open
25/10/2017 - Imagining a world without cars
24/10/2017 - Kaohsiung Strategies are a roadmap for city leaders to shape the future of urban transport
24/10/2017 - Apply now for 6th SUMP Award
24/10/2017 - Stuttgart : towards a carbon neutral city thanks to a local energy ownership
23/10/2017 - The ‘New Urbanism’ Movement Might Be Dead
23/10/2017 - How Inclusive is My City?
23/10/2017 - Cities and digitalisation: “Adapt or die”
22/10/2017 - Seattle’s Playful Traffic Circles Tame Neighborhood Streets
22/10/2017 - The Coming Rise of Urban Infrastructure: Turning Infrastructure Green
22/10/2017 - Smart Cities are ideal for resisting Natural Disasters
21/10/2017 - Street wars 2035: can cyclists and driverless cars ever co-exist?
21/10/2017 - The Safe Way to Build a Smart City
21/10/2017 - New Toolkit Connects City Planning and Environmental Justice
20/10/2017 - Why Leading Smart Cities Are Often Bike-Friendly Cities
20/10/2017 - 6 Major Effects of Urbanization That Will Make you Think!
20/10/2017 - Can nature make your city climate-resilient?
19/10/2017 - The Cities Of The 21st Century Will Be Defined By Water
19/10/2017 - The City as an Instrument of Public Health
19/10/2017 - Using traffic cameras to cut Rotterdam's congestion
18/10/2017 - Japanese cities and regions rally behind 100 percent renewable energy
18/10/2017 - TM Forum Publishes ‘City as a Platform’ Manifesto
18/10/2017 - MaaS White Paper shows the way forward to implementation
17/10/2017 - Amazon's search for a second HQ can change cities for the better
17/10/2017 - Urban Designers Look to Nature as Solution for Flood-Prone Cities
17/10/2017 - America’s New Front Porches: Public Spaces
16/10/2017 - How cities are using innovative climate action to ‘future-proof’ themselves
16/10/2017 - Electric freight in cities: ELIPTIC and FREVUE joined forces in Barcelona
16/10/2017 - How Cities Can Protect Poor People and Minorities From Climate Change
15/10/2017 - Can the world’s megacities survive the digital age?
15/10/2017 - How Commuting Choices Influence Quality of Life in India’s Cities
15/10/2017 - EPA-Polis-CROW parking workshop: presentations now available!
14/10/2017 - Smart Cities are the wave of the future
14/10/2017 - What the New Urban Anchors Owe Their Cities
14/10/2017 - Horizon 2020 ClairCity project tackles air pollution in European cities
13/10/2017 - The power of data in driving sustainable development… Is solid waste the low hanging fruit?
13/10/2017 - Climate Chance World Summit leads to call for urgent, coordinated action
13/10/2017 - MaaS Readiness Level Indicators for local authorities launched
12/10/2017 - Energy Cities Conference 2018 - Save the date
12/10/2017 - Where Smart Cities and Utilities Overlap
12/10/2017 - Turning cities’ focus back to land-based finance
11/10/2017 - Dockless Bike Shares Are Here. Are Cities Ready for Them?
11/10/2017 - New conference gathering research results from H2020 road transport projects
11/10/2017 - UK cities refusing to reveal extent of pseudo-public space
10/10/2017 - The Urbanization of Malnutrition
10/10/2017 - London Illustrates the Benefits – and Risks – of Compact Growth
10/10/2017 - Elon Musk wants to build a “self-sustaining city” on Mars. Experts aren't convinced
9/10/2017 - A New Look Inside the Cities of North Korea
9/10/2017 - Budget-strapped cities are creating financing—out of thin air
9/10/2017 - On the road to becoming a Smart Citizen
8/10/2017 - Protecting Our Cities from Cyber Attacks
8/10/2017 - The Annual Value of Urban Trees Expressed in US$
8/10/2017 - Be the host of the 2019 UCLG culture summit
7/10/2017 - Negotiable parking rights to be tested in a virtual experiment
7/10/2017 - Building virtual cities to solve urbanisation issues
7/10/2017 - Some US cities now have worse inequality than Mexico, a study has shown
6/10/2017 - For Cities, Climate Change Is as Much Global as Local
6/10/2017 - We need to bring ‘agility’ to city planning and development
6/10/2017 - How cycling is being made safer in China
5/10/2017 - Registration for attendance and side events at WUF 9 now open
5/10/2017 - What would an entirely flood-proof city look like?
5/10/2017 - How to use public procurement in MaaS
4/10/2017 - Smart Cities shaping the development of Autonomous Cars
4/10/2017 - Why migrant workers are the key to Asia’s green cities of the future
4/10/2017 - How to make cities work for the world’s poorest
3/10/2017 - “Weapons” Cities Use to Keep You off (or on) the Beach
3/10/2017 - People power: how cash-strapped councils are turning to crowdfunding
3/10/2017 - How Mexico City Became A Leader in Parking Reform
2/10/2017 - Redefining Global Cities
2/10/2017 - How green roofs can protect city streets from flooding
2/10/2017 - Why cities need to rethink their marketing to tourists
1/10/2017 - Antwerp's participatory budget
1/10/2017 - Utrecht opens the world's biggest bike parking garage
1/10/2017 - Chinese city starts work on world’s biggest urban cycle network
Smart cities are boring. Give us responsive cities.
As an urban technologist, I’m often asked to give an example of a compelling smart city application that real people are using. But to be honest, there really isn’t too much to point to - yet. Cities may be getting smarter, but they haven’t noticeably changed from a user perspective.
UN-Habitat and partners launch the Urban Pathway project
UN-Habitat, together with its partners, the Wuppertal Institute of Climate, Energy and Environment and UN Environment launched the “ Urban Pathways-Supporting Low Carbon Plans for basic services at a two-days’ workshop in Germany.
The Urban Pathways project will make a direct contribution to the implementation of the New Urban Agenda framework that lays out how cities should be planned and managed to best promote sustainable urbanization and the Paris Agreement. It will also help in delivering on the Sustainable Development Goal 11, by making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. This will include access to sustainable transport (11.2), improving air quality and waste management (11.6).
Our cities need fewer cars, not cleaner cars
Electric cars won’t eradicate gridlocks and air pollution, but carbon footprints could be cut by favouring pedestrians, cyclists and mass transit
Consolidation Makes Sense, Yet Few Cities Have the Urge to Merge
Chances are you’ve never heard of Champ, Mo. It’s a suburb of St. Louis, wedged along the intersection of interstates 70 and 270. The village has a total of 13 people. It’s the smallest municipality in St. Louis County.
But it’s far from the only one that’s undersized. Nearly half the 89 municipalities in the county -- 43, to be precise -- have populations under 6,000. The city of St. Louis, meanwhile, has been an entity separate from the county since the “great divorce” of 1876. Civic leaders have been bemoaning the resulting fragmentation and petty rivalry ever since. Local governments, for instance, bid against their neighbors with sweetened tax deals to lure employers. And many of the smallest ones rely on court fees and fines to balance their budgets -- an issue that became contentious in Ferguson, one among the county’s plethora of small suburbs, after the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown. Ferguson was drawing much of its revenue from court fees levied disproportionately against the town’s African-American resident majority.
Big data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens
The Chinese government plans to launch its Social Credit System in 2020. The aim? To judge the trustworthiness – or otherwise – of its 1.3 billion residents. On June 14, 2014, the State Council of China published an ominous-sounding document called “Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System”. In the way of Chinese policy documents, it was a lengthy and rather dry affair, but it contained a radical idea. What if there was a national trust score that rated the kind of citizen you were?
Ambitious cities make their promises at the Seoul Mayors Forum on Climate Change
On 20 October, 2017 in Seoul, city leaders came together to build partnerships and share best practices in the fight against climate change. The launch of the Ambitious City Promises initiative shows the tangible action that cities are taking within global networks and coalitions.
The Ambitious City Promises project supports city governments in developing and implementing low emissions development strategies. The project emphasizes community engagement across all stages of this process and will help cities establish lasting mechanisms to share knowledge and use participatory, bottom-up models for climate action.
The future of urban mobility is multimodal and integrated
When vehicles are used, they should be right-sized, shared, and zero emission. These principles, produced by a working group of international NGOs, are designed to guide urban decision-makers and stakeholders toward the best outcomes for all in the transition to new mobility options.
The pace of technology-driven innovation from the private sector in shared transportation services, vehicles, and networks is rapid, accelerating, and filled with opportunity. The impending advent of self-driving vehicles (or autonomous vehicles) will have a profound impact on livelihoods, land use (including road space, parking facilities, sprawled development), and congestion. At the same time, city streets are a finite and scarce resource.
Urban Innovative Actions: Topics for 3rd call for proposals are now available!
The EU Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) initiative has just published the topics for its upcoming third call for proposals.
In the third call for proposals, which will be launched in December 2017, interested candidates will be able to develop and submit projects under the four following topics:
Adaptation to climate change
Jobs and skills in the local economy.
Local leaders meet in Africa to fight climate change
This summit was the opportunity for African locally elected representatives to exchange the actions and experiments conducted in their cities to curb the effects of climate change, especially around the main plenary, which had the title of "African cities face the climate challenge". About 30 African cities have thus developed initiatives for the climate in the framework of the Global Covenant of Mayors.
Hoping to build a more secure city? Follow these 5 steps
The term "data breach" has made a whirlwind of headlines this month — ironically National Cybersecurity Awareness Month — as companies like Equifax and Yahoo have fallen victim to compromised systems that have leaked a wealth of client data. It's not a new problem, yet the influx of security breaches has caused companies to shift from prevention strategies to identification strategies — and such actions are not limited to the corporate world.
What urban planners want from the international community
While the United Nations debates how it can restructure around future urbanization, planners and urbanists continue to go to work on the front lines of that process today. They are developing building codes, coming up with land-use plans and debating zoning changes — the bureaucratic but essential tasks that shape how cities develop and grow.
Their needs are at the forefront of Peter Calthorpe’s mind. The San Francisco-based urbanist is principal of Calthorpe Associates, an urban planning and design firm, and a founding member of the Congress for the New Urbanism.
International Cycling conference & PASTA project Final event: Presentations now available
A unique mixture of 292 participants from all continents, 90 inspiring speakers, almost 50 poster presentations contributed to make the 2017 International Cycling Conference & PASTA project final conference a great 3-day event from 19-21 September in Mannhiem, Germany.
The Crisis in Affordable Housing Is a Problem for Cities Everywhere
There has perhaps been more attention paid to affordable housing this year than any in recent memory, but it took a tragedy to make it so. The horror of Grenfell Tower touched off a national conversation in the United Kingdom about inequality and the ways urgent community feedback gets lost in government bureaucracy. But more broadly, it is symptomatic of the insufficient attention given to affordable housing everywhere as the world becomes more and more urban.
A third of all urban dwellers worldwide – 1.2 billion people – lack access to safe and secure housing. The gap is worst in lower- and middle-income countries, where some cities are growing so quickly that governments cannot build out services and infrastructure fast enough to accommodate new arrivals. The result is millions living in inadequate conditions and fraying trust in governments.
Why cities fighting climate change should take a look at food policy
As cities devise and deploy new strategies to fight climate change—renewable power, electric vehicles, resilient design—a new approach gaining credence in environmental circles may seem a bit low-tech and low reward: changing food policy. How can city governments not only change eating habits, but do so in a way that makes a dent in emissions, compared to energy usage or efficiency?
Cities Take Both Sides in the 'War on Sitting'
Cities are removing benches in an effort to counter vagrancy and crime—at the same time that they’re adding them to make the public realm more age-friendly.
Last month, after six months of construction, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority reopened the first of three rehabbed Brooklyn stations. It had new USB charging stations, large-screen digital maps, countdown clocks, and even a new mosaic.
But what really caught straphangers’ attention was the leaning bar. A slanted wooden slab set against the wall at about the height of a person’s rear end, the bar was meant to give passengers a way to take some weight off their feet as they waited for the next train. What it was not, however, was a bench.
10 Principles for Successful City-University Partnerships
MetroLab Network in USA, includes 41 cities, 4 counties, and 55 universities, organized in more than 35 regional city-university partnerships. Partners focus on research, development, and deployment (RD&D) projects that offer technological and analytically-based solutions to challenges facing urban areas including: inequality in income, health, mobility, security and opportunity; aging infrastructure; and environmental sustainability and resiliency.
City administration and citizens working together to improve life in sensible urban areas
Several years ago, the City of Lisbon launched the BIP/ZIP strategy, aiming to promote social and territorial cohesion, active citizenship, self-organisation and community participation.
The starting point for developing this strategy was the acknowledgement that Lisbon, as most cities and towns in the world, was suffering from fractures due to social, urban or environmental issues. The municipality started with identifying the city’s neigbourhoods that were lacking the "minimum level of cohesion" and were suffering from a lack of communication between citizens and the local authorities.
The tipping point is coming: petrol engines are on the way out
In a sentence I never thought I would write, Sadiq Khan just reminded me of Will Smith.
The mayor of London’s announcement of the new T-Charge for older, dirtier car engines entering central London made me think of one scene from the otherwise largely average 2004 sci-fi film I, Robot.
In it, our protagonist, a misanthropic Chicago police officer played by Smith, turns up on a vintage motorbike. His co-star, Bridget Moynahan, reacts with horror at the sight – It is the year 2035 and all vehicles are now solely electric.
Just being in the presence of a petrol-powered means of transport dating from the early 21st-century fills Moynahan’s character with fear: she has become so used to electric propulsion that the idea of sitting astride a tank filled with a highly flammable liquid seems ridiculously dangerous.
China goes west: a ghost city in the sand comes to life
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.
Registration for World Urban Forum now open
Registration for the world’s premier conference on cities and urbanization, the World Urban Forum, has now opened.
UN-Habitat, which coordinates the biennial event, is inviting stakeholders and partners from across the spectrum to register for attendance for the ninth such conference which will take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in February 2018.
The World Urban Forum is unique in being a truly open UN conference where no prior accreditation is required.
Imagining a world without cars
The results of a four-year interdisciplinary research project show that despite their love of driving, the Swiss are open to the idea of replacing private motor vehicles with other options like public transport, telecommuting – or even moving sidewalks.
Kaohsiung Strategies are a roadmap for city leaders to shape the future of urban transport
The just-released Kaohsiung Strategies for the Future of Urban Mobility are a guide for city leaders to shape the future of urban transport. They are a clear show of support for stronger ecomobile solutions in cities, such as walking, cycling, public transport and shared mobility, positing that the interconnectivity of these various modes is the backbone of sustainable urban mobility.
Apply now for 6th SUMP Award - Shared mobility in sustainable urban mobility planning
Cities and regions are invited to apply for the sixth SUMP Award - Shared mobility in sustainable urban mobility planning.
The Award recognises local authorities that have developed a Mobility Plan that satisfies the diverse transport needs of people and businesses, whilst improving the quality of life for all.
Stuttgart : towards a carbon neutral city thanks to a local energy ownership
In 2011, Stuttgart City Council set up the municipal utility Die Stadtwerke Stuttgart (SWS) as a subsidiary of Stuttgarter Versorgungs- und Verkehrsgesellschaft, in charge of public transport. The remunicipalisation process ended with the take-over of the distribution networks (gas and electricity) in 2014, just 12 years after the privatisation of the former Stadtwerke TWS in 2002.
The energy remunicipalisation initiative was immediately backed up with an ambitious energy transition and citizen engagement agenda and a highly symbolic partnership: the setting up of a green electricity and gas supplier jointly with Elektrizitätswerke Schönau (EWS).
The ‘New Urbanism’ Movement Might Be Dead
City revival has ceased to be a radical idea, and that’s a good thing.
Thirty years ago this month, when I first started writing for this magazine, the idea of a column on the growing trend toward urbanism would have been laughable. Sure, some downtowns and old industrial districts were showing signs of life, and the first loft conversions were taking place. But generally speaking, downtowns were 9-to-5 office districts, and “urban” was often a code word for “ghetto.”
How Inclusive is My City?
A New Diagnostic Tool for Inclusive City-Building
Open? Diverse? Inclusive? Take the pulse of your city with MyCOM, the My City of Migration Diagnostic. The MyCOM Diagnostic is a new, easy to use tool designed to help you assess the quality of inclusion in your city: at work, at school, on election day, in health and as a new arrival. Build a custom profile of your city's strengths and weaknesses across 10 dimensions of inclusion. Find out how your city measures up.
Cities and digitalisation: “Adapt or die”
How can cities benefit from digitalisation? With dramatic headlines about jobs being destroyed by digitalisation, and many policy makers resisting change, Alison Partridge argues that the 4th industrial revolution, and industry 4.0, are best seen as an opportunity, not a threat, for Europe's towns and cities.
Seattle’s Playful Traffic Circles Tame Neighborhood Streets
Last week, Dongho Chang, Seattle’s chief transportation engineer, posted a series of photos on Twitter of the city’s traffic circles. These neighborhood traffic-calming treatments are so charming, we had to post them here.
Seattle started installing traffic circles in the early 1970s, and now there are more than 1,200 throughout the city, says Chang. Seattle DOT’s traffic circle program typically adds them to intersections in residential areas with no traffic lights or stop signs, though some have replaced stop signs on low-traffic streets at crossings with larger streets.
The Coming Rise of Urban Infrastructure: Turning Infrastructure Green
There are a handful of truly critical global sustainability challenges that will determine whether or not the world will be prosperous and healthy by the middle of this century—or by the time my kids are my age. Can we generate energy without overheating the planet? Can we feed ourselves without despoiling landscapes and waterways? And can we build cities such that nature and people thrive?
Smart Cities are ideal for resisting Natural Disasters
Among their many benefits, Smart Cities can be especially helpful for dealing with major emergencies, such as natural disasters, due to the advantages offered by the interconnectedness of utilities and services via the Internet of Things.
Major natural disasters, like Hurricane Sandy, the second-costliest hurricane in US history, which hit the coast of the Northeastern US in 2012, can paralyze infrastructure and create a number of problems. In the wake of Sandy, people in New Jersey were left without power for up to two weeks, while at some point during the second day after the storm hit, cell tower signal went down because the backup generators supporting the towers went out of fuel.
Street wars 2035: can cyclists and driverless cars ever co-exist?
Driverless cars appear unstoppable – except of course you can simply walk in front of one and force it to brake. Could this conundrum eventually mean a return to a dystopian world of segregated urban highways?
The Safe Way to Build a Smart City
Any city with data initiatives faces the same questions: How much information should the government release, and in what form? Seattle’s proactive but cautious approach could provide the answer.
You don’t have to dig deep to find out what can go wrong with open data initiatives. Just look back to 2014, when the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission released hundreds of millions of records on taxi trips in the city, with data anonymized to protect identifiable details—at least in theory.
New Toolkit Connects City Planning and Environmental Justice
National City, California, which sits just 11 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego County, is characterized more by industrial brownfield sites and sky-high asthma rates than the region’s iconic palm trees and sandy beaches. With demographics that skew low-income and high-minority, two freeways that slice through the metro within several thousand feet of each other, more fast food restaurants than grocery stores, and a port of entry cutting residents off from their waterfront, it’s a textbook example of how land use policies can cement historic health inequities and stymie civil rights.
Why Leading Smart Cities Are Often Bike-Friendly Cities
The International Cycling Safety Conference in Davis, Calif., will explore how data from vehicles, smart and connected devices or sensors and other objects in the urban landscape can work to serve the needs and safety of cyclists.
6 Major Effects of Urbanization That Will Make you Think!
According to The Department of Economic and Social Affairs, half of the global population already lives in cities, and by 2050 two-thirds of the world’s people are expected to live in urban areas. But in cities two of the most pressing problems facing the world today also come together: poverty and environmental degradation.
The majority of people move to cities and towns because they view rural areas as places with hardship and backward/primitive lifestyle. Therefore, as populations move to more developed areas (towns and cities) the immediate outcome is urbanization. This normally contributes to the development of land for use in commercial properties; social and economic support institutions, transportation, and residential buildings. Eventually, these activities raise several urbanization issues.
Can nature make your city climate-resilient?
Among the headlines of summer 2017: disastrous floods in the South of England, Istanbul and Berlin, extreme water scarcity in Rome, wild fires damaging homes on the Croatian coast, the Côte d'Azur and elsewhere… The magnitude and frequency of these and other events indicate that climate change is already a reality, and the impacts will be even bigger in the future. Yes, we need to reduce greenhouse gases to limit climate change, but equally urgent: we need to adapt to the remaining impacts. All cities, depending on their geographical position, are likely to experience prolonged and more intensive heatwaves or droughts, more frequent wild fires, coastal flooding, or an increase in the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall with the associated threat of urban flooding, river flooding or landslides. How can cities cope with these huge predicted impacts of climate change in the future, even when they are faced with tight budgets? Can nature be a solution?
The Cities Of The 21st Century Will Be Defined By Water
Rives Taylor, a principal at the architecture firm Gensler and a 40-plus-year resident of Houston, is lucky.
His home in Houston Heights, an older neighborhood northwest of downtown, was spared from Hurricane Harvey’s flooding. Part of that is due to the natural topography of the area–its elevation is few feet higher than downtown–and that his pier-and-beam house is three feet off the ground. But what’s also remarkable about his neighborhood is that it isn’t connected to the city’s vast network of underground storm sewers. Rainwater flows directly into nearby ditches where it eventually seeps back into the earth.
The City as an Instrument of Public Health
Cities are the future; the near future. According to WHO projections, by 2050 over two-thirds of the world’s population will live in a city.
What does this mean for public health? It could be nothing short of catastrophic, placing an increasing burden on health systems worldwide as unhealthy lifestyles associated with urban areas become commonplace. Food is fast and unhealthy, pollution is rampant, transport is often motorized, making physical exercise unnecessary, and excessive alcohol and tobacco consumption are a part of a common lifestyle: a deadly combination for the development of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Using traffic cameras to cut Rotterdam's congestion
Traffic cameras are an established feature of road infrastructure, and have been broadcasting live to the monitoring centres of transport authorities for a while. Normally that video is reserved for the eyes of operators.
In Rotterdam, however, a new website has been launched that allows members of the public to see the live footage from 24 cameras located in 19 different locations around the city. The new cameras are complementary to the existing traffic information network.
Japanese cities and regions rally behind 100 percent renewable energy
On 8 September 2017, Japanese local and regional governments released the Nagano Declaration at the Local Renewables Conference 2017 in Nagano, Japan to show their support for a future in which cities and regions are fully powered by renewable energy.
TM Forum Publishes ‘City as a Platform’ Manifesto
Like public administrations across Europe, cities are having difficulties getting to grips with the opportunities and challenges generated by digital transformation. The implementation of initiatives that harness the potential of the digitalisation for the benefit of citizens and businesses, such as smart cities, is challenging. A smart city is a place where the traditional networks and services are made more efficient with the use of digital technologies.
MaaS White Paper shows the way forward to implementation
The MaaS Alliance, a public-private partnership creating the foundations for a common approach to MaaS, hosted by ERTICO – ITS Europe, has published a White Paper entitled “Guidelines & Recommendations to create the foundations for a thriving MaaS ecosystem”. The White Paper is the result of the work done in the MaaS Alliance working groups, which focus on addressing the good practices, as well as identifying the gaps, barriers and opportunities related to emerging MaaS schemes. The White Paper summarises the first results of this work and gives recommendations for the next steps to be taken to foster the development of a MaaS ecosystem in Europe.
Amazon's search for a second HQ can change cities for the better
In 1898, British stenographer Ebenezer Howard devised a plan for the ideal city. His short opus, "Garden Cities of To-Morrow," became arguably the world's most influential book on city planning. Howard's ideal of balanced growth, proximate open space, clean, efficient transportation and energy, public health and vibrant metropolitan culture caught the rapidly urbanizing world's imagination.
Although Howard's vision inspired international community design, spawned national New Towns legislation in several countries and more recently influenced China's burgeoning new urban explosion, the United States, barring a few efforts, paid the Garden City idea little heed. Committed to highways, malls, subdivisions and office parks, the U.S. found no need for Howard's "quaint" idea of compact green cities. However, Amazon's recent announced search for an ideal city in which to locate its second headquarters could change that.
Urban Designers Look to Nature as Solution for Flood-Prone Cities
From Houston and Miami, to cities in South Asia, 2017 has been a year of intense weather and devastating floods. A combination of climate change and urban development has created a perfect storm for catastrophe.
"We are living in a warmer world. We are living in a world where potentially, hurricanes could be more damaging,” said Bill Patzert, climatologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “Sea levels are rising. They have risen almost nine inches (22 centimeters) in the last century," he said. Rising sea levels, however, make up only a small fraction of the problem, he said.
America’s New Front Porches: Public Spaces
In Meridian, Miss., the town where I grew up, people used to escape the summer heat by sitting on their front porches with a pitcher of lemonade. On those hot afternoons, they chatted with neighbors and strangers who passed by, sometimes inviting them up for a cool drink. They got to know each other that way.
Then air-conditioners showed up and moved everyone indoors.
Across America, we have turned inward to engage more with our televisions, computers, video games and cellphones instead of with each other. This has led to less understanding of people who are "other," less acceptance, less compassion, greater discord -- and sometimes, as recent events illustrate, even violence.
How cities are using innovative climate action to ‘future-proof’ themselves
As Houston, Miami, Mumbai and other communities clean up following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and unusually relentless monsoons, a new report offers strategies for bolstering urban defences against climate change.
“Cities100: A guide to cities preparing for the next Harvey and Irma” profiles the authors’ choices for the “100 best urban solutions to climate change around the world.”
The publication and accompanying online database were released this week as new storms continued to devastate islands in the Caribbean. Meanwhile, power outages plague more than a million residents of Florida and Georgia a week after a ferocious hurricane devastated the U.?S. southeast.
Blunt predictions of worsening weather patterns are a motivation for cities to take preparatory steps now.
Electric freight in cities: ELIPTIC and FREVUE joined forces in Barcelona
On Wednesday 13th September, the FREVUE and ELIPTIC projects organised a joint workshop in Barcelona on the theme of "the use of electric PT infrastructure for charging freight vehicles". The workshop was followed by site visits in the city.
How Cities Can Protect Poor People and Minorities From Climate Change
They're the most vulnerable to disasters, but they don't have to be.
When environmental disasters strike, low-income people and minorities are hit hardest. Not just because they have fewer resources to help them recover, but also because they usually bear the brunt of a disaster in the first place.
Communities of color are frequently exposed to greater air pollution, water contamination and heat stress than white communities. They also tend to live in areas most vulnerable to flooding and other types of disaster.
Can the world’s megacities survive the digital age?
Today, megacities have become synonymous with economic growth. In both developing and developed countries, cities with populations of 10 million or more account for one-third to one-half of their gross domestic product.
Many analysts and policymakers think this trend is here to stay. The rise of big data analytics and mobile technology should spur development, they assert, transforming metropolises like Shanghai, Nairobi and Mexico City into so-called “smart cities” that can leverage their huge populations to power their economies and change the power balance in the world.
How Commuting Choices Influence Quality of Life in India’s Cities
Cities across India are undertaking a variety of land-use, transportation and housing projects, but most plans do not consider the connection between the built environment and the health of residents. This is a mistake, according to new research by the University of Massachusetts and the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi recently published in Environmental Research.
More than 99 percent of India’s residents live in areas that do not pass the World Health Organization’s air quality guidelines. Taken together, India and China accounted for half of all deaths attributed to ambient air pollution worldwide in 2015.
EPA-Polis-CROW parking workshop: presentations now available!
Rotterdam was the central place for the European Parking Congress in the week of 18 September. CROW and Polis organized an additional session for parking stakeholders on 'Parking and behavior' on September 19th, before the start of the congress – and this in close cooperation with the EPA. An international audience listened to practical examples from Leuven, Lille, Southend-on-Sea, Zwolle and The Hague.
Smart Cities are the wave of the future
Imagine approaching an intersection on foot, and without doing anything, the traffic light senses your smartphone beacon and your pedestrian profile. The light changes as you reach the curb, allowing just the 12 seconds it takes you to cross before turning to red. Other than being convenient, this keeps vehicular traffic flowing while also allowing people of various ages and abilities, or with disabilities, to have the amount of time to cross the street customized to their needs.
What the New Urban Anchors Owe Their Cities
As some of the main drivers and primary beneficiaries of the recent urban revival, anchor institutions are often the largest employers in their communities. While typical examples of “anchor institutions” include large universities, hospitals, and medical centers—so-called “meds and eds”—that quite literally anchor urban centers, other powerful anchors, including successful high-tech companies and real estate developers, have the capacity and resources to wield enormous influence on today’s cities.
However, the last decade has given rise to a troubling pattern of “winner-take-all urbanism” in which a select group of large, dense cities and an even smaller number of neighborhoods reap the spoils of innovation and economic growth. Anchors benefit enormously from this recent urban revival. And as a result, they must commit themselves to generating more inclusive prosperity.
Horizon 2020 ClairCity project tackles air pollution in European cities
The Horizon 2020 ClairCity project is seeking to improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions in European cities.
ClairCity is a four-year EU project (2016 - 2020) which works with local authorities and their citizens in six European countries to co-design climate and energy policies that tackle air pollution and bring down CO2 emissions. Covenant of Mayors signatories Bristol (UK), Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and Ljubljana (Slovenia) are involved in the project, as well as the Polish municipality of Sosnowiec and the regions Aveiro (Portugal) and Liguria (Italy).
The power of data in driving sustainable development… Is solid waste the low hanging fruit?
The data revolution is upon us and the benefits, including improving the efficiency of corporations, spurring entrepreneurship, improving public services, improving coordination, and building profitable partnerships, are becoming more evident.
For public services, the potential gains are impressive. Globally in the electricity sector, an estimated $340 – 580 billion of economic value can be captured by providing more and better data to consumers to improve energy efficiency, and to operators for streamlining project management and the operation of their facilities. Even larger gains ($720 – 920 billion) could be captured in the transport sector.
Climate Chance World Summit leads to call for urgent, coordinated action
The 2017 Climate Chance Conference on 11-13 September concluded with the adoption of the Agadir Declaration of Climate Actors, an urgent call to step up on coordinated climate action.
The Climate Chance World Summit 2017 in Agadir, Morocco, the largest gathering of climate actors before COP23, the 23rd United Nations Climate Change Conference, hosted more than 5,000 participants representing over 80 nations. The resulting Agadir Declaration of Climate Actors is supported by many leading networks of climate actors including ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, UCLG, R20 and C40.
MaaS Readiness Level Indicators for local authorities launched
This new tool - Moblity as a Service (MaaS) Readiness Level Indicators for local authorities – offers a new approach to understand how local authorities can speed up the process of MaaS in their local context.
It can be used as a discussion tool and a check list to develop measures in the local authorities.
Energy Cities Conference 2018 - Save the date
This time it’s the City and the Urban Community of Rennes, in the north-western tip of France, which will host the 2018 Annual Conference of Energy Cities. Save the date now: 18 to 20 April 2018
Each year, this gathering of urban professionals and national and European decision-makers is a great opportunity for fruitful exchanges, to find partners or new ideas for you projects in a dynamic and positive atmosphere!
During 2,5 days, we will take time to discuss the link between energy transition, local development, governance and democracy.
Where Smart Cities and Utilities Overlap
The concept of Smart Cities offers the promise of urban hubs leveraging connected technologies to become increasingly prosperous, safe, healthy, resilient, and clean. What may not be obvious in achieving these objectives is that many already-existing utility assets can serve as the foundation for a Smart City transition. The following is a broad discussion on the areas of overlap between utilities and smart cities, highlighting working knowledge from experience at PG&E.
Turning cities’ focus back to land-based finance
Last month, the South African Independent Electoral Commission announced in frustration that it needs USD 22.9 million to collect addresses ahead of a court-mandated deadline, a problem compounded by the fact that most townships don’t have well-marked street names.
Elsewhere, this problem is even worse. For instance, successive generations of leaders have tried — and failed — to name the streets in Mauritania’s capital, Nouakchott. Once a small village, Nouakchott’s population has boomed to nearly a million over the past half-century. But even today, many of the capital’s streets still lack formal names.
Dockless Bike Shares Are Here. Are Cities Ready for Them?
A new wave of companies could disrupt the way city bike-share programs are run.
A new kind of bike share has popped up in many U.S. cities in recent months, and it’s most noticeable for what it’s missing: a designated place to park the bikes.
The new “dockless” bike shares have arrived in places like Seattle, Dallas and Washington, D.C., since the summer. They’re run by private companies like LimeBike, MoBike and Spin. Riders locate and unlock the bikes using their mobile phones and they can leave them, well, almost anywhere. The bikes have kickstands and lock themselves, so most don’t even have to be next to a pole, rack or fence to attach them to.
New conference gathering research results from H2020 road transport projects
On 29 and 30 November, the 1st EGVIA-ERTRAC conference is taking place in Brussels, entitled "Results from Road Transport Research in H2020 projects". With the support of the European Commission, the conference shall be a display of research results from road transport projects funded under Horizon2020.
UK cities refusing to reveal extent of pseudo-public space
City administrations in Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow and seven others decline to outline the spread of privately owned public areas, or their secret prohibitions – which may include protesting or taking photos
The Urbanization of Malnutrition
Rapid urbanization is increasingly shifting the impacts of malnutrition from rural to urban areas. One in three stunted under-five children out of 155 million across the world now lives in cities and towns.
Degrading land productivity, deepening impacts of changes in climate, conflict, and food insecurity, poverty and lack of livelihood opportunities are driving mostly the rural poor into towns and cities, with projections that just 13 years from now, 5 billion people will be living in the world’s urban areas. While the urban population is forecast to double within these 30 years (starting in 2000), the area taken over will triple, increasing by 1.2 million square kilometers, says the Global Land Report 2017.
London Illustrates the Benefits – and Risks – of Compact Growth
Islington is the most densely populated area in the United Kingdom, yet wandering around the quiet streets of the north London borough, it is difficult to appreciate just how many people live there. Handsome terraces, elegant squares and a plethora of parks disguise the fact that there are nearly 14,000 people packed into each square kilometer.
Elon Musk wants to build a “self-sustaining city” on Mars. Experts aren't convinced
Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and Tesla, has released new details of his vision to colonise parts of the solar system, including Mars, Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus. His gung ho plans – designed to make humans a multi-planetary species in case civilisation collapses – include launching flights to Mars as early as 2023.
The details, just published in the journal New Space, are certainly ambitious. But are they realistic? As someone who works on solar system exploration, and the European Space Agency’s new Mars rover in particular, I find them incredible in several ways.
A New Look Inside the Cities of North Korea
Amidst heightened political tensions, city life in the hermit kingdom goes on.
As President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un trade personal barbs and threats of annihilation (and Trump prepares to visit the Korean peninsula in November), South Koreans are famously greeting the potential of war with a shrug. The same seems to be the case across the 38th parallel in North Korea.
Budget-strapped cities are creating financing—out of thin air
The world is urbanizing fast—200,000 people are moving to cities every day in search of homes, jobs, as well as education and healthcare services for their families. Supporting this influx with proper infrastructure and services for water, sanitation, transport, and green spaces will require an estimated $1 trillion each year.
Given the difficulties of further increasing the tax burden or the level of public debt, it’s time for cities to think more creatively about alternative sources of funding.
Not willing to wait for their national governments to bless them with scarce infrastructure funds, innovative mayors have figured out how to squeeze a new source of urgently needed capital out of thin air, literally
On the road to becoming a Smart Citizen
This report, created by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) names the current challenges of digital inclusion, describes the skills required by a Smart Citizen and attempts to locate those skills geographically. Last but not least, it describes tools aimed at developing competences in a targeted way.
Digital competences are necessary to allow all people to have a share in the increasing networking and digitisation of the city, also known as the Smart City.
Protecting Our Cities from Cyber Attacks
As a city’s digital infrastructure improves, the distribution of digital skills and the culture of the digital economy will also improve — making it more likely that as each gets better, the city’s goals can be achieved more effectively. Cities can attract and retain higher quality workers if and when cities draw more businesses, new investments, and improved social and cultural amenities. Through joint planning between varied stakeholders (including the city government, businesses, and artists), all involved can thrive off each other and do so at a lower cost, thanks to shared resources in the cloud, accessible via mobile networks, etc.
In addition to making cities more efficient and productive, the emergence of new digital connections has the potential to also make them more human. Those who are innovating to create the smart city are sometimes overwhelmed by the pace and scale of technology change, and are forced to adapt quickly. This is likely to be the norm for years to come, due to IoT‘s on-going impacts. This is especially the case now that cities are pivoting from “doing digital” to actually “being digital”.
The Annual Value of Urban Trees Expressed in US$
What is the value of urban trees in megacities, measured in money? Is it even possible to express the value of urban trees in monetary terms? Researchers from ESF Department of Environmental Resources Engineering in the US have taken the trouble to evaluate the benefits of city trees. Their recently published study points out the findings – the value of urban trees – and puts hard facts on the table. Ten megacities from five continents were examined.
Be the host of the 2019 UCLG culture summit
Does your local government want to place culture at the heart of its action in 2019? Would you be interested in giving international visibility to your city? You could become the host city for United Cities and Local Governments’ (UCLG) Culture Summit in 2019. Apply by 31 October 2017.
Negotiable parking rights to be tested in a virtual experiment
A trial beginning this month in Amsterdam will test negotiable parking rights: the price of a parking space will come to depend on the 'market'.
Conducted by the Vrije University of Amsterdam (VU), 500 motorists from Rotterdam are set to take part. A so-called "lab-in-the-field" experiment, the trading behaviour of participants will be tested in a virtual environment.
Each participant receives a stipulated parking budget and a number of parking permits which they then use to decide how the parking spaces are allocated.
Building virtual cities to solve urbanisation issues
Over the next 30 years, the world’s population is expecting an unprecedented increase, particularly in urban areas. To put this into perspective, by 2050, it is expected that 9.6 billion people will be living on the planet with an estimated 66% living in urban areas.
Undoubtedly these projections present significant urban planning challenges and it is a useful reminder that we need to start looking at the barriers to successful urbanisation today.
As pressure mounts on the world’s capital cities to make better use of space to support the increasing numbers of residents, the planners of these urban environments need to predict patterns, forecasting well into the future. Add globalisation, IoT, climate change and citizens’ high technology expectations to the list of challenges and you begin to understand how cities are growing beyond the capabilities of city planners and administrators.
Some US cities now have worse inequality than Mexico, a study has shown
The cities of the Americas are unequal places. US census data and recent American Community Surveys show that in most modern American metropolises, resources are unevenly distributed across the city – think New York City’s lower Manhattan versus the South Bronx – with residents enjoying unequal access to jobs, transportation and public space.
In 2014, New York City’s GINI inequality index was 0.48, meaning that income distribution was less even in New York City than in the US as a whole (0.39). It was also higher than the most unequal OECD countries, Chile (0.46) and Mexico (0.45).
For Cities, Climate Change Is as Much Global as Local
The devastation that Hurricane Harvey caused the city of Houston was still in the news when Hurricane Irma struck several Caribbean islands before grazing Tampa, Florida, and Hurricane Maria rocked Puerto Rico. Out of the glare of the international media, extreme rainfall in eastern India caused even greater damage, killing more than 1,000 people. And these were only the latest of many flooding disasters in recent years, such as those in Wuhan, China, in 2016, and in Chennai, India, and Columbia, South Carolina, in 2015.
We need to bring ‘agility’ to city planning and development
To realize increased efficiency, city leaders, planners and developers should look to the technology sector, where the principles of “agile” software development have transformed project delivery.
How cycling is being made safer in China
Green and healthy traveling with bicycles is experiencing a renaissance in China. With more than 16 million shared bikes in more than 150 cities, provided by companies such as Mobike and ofo, fundamental infrastructure changes have to be made to create a safe, convenient and enjoyable cycling experience.
Right now, traffic safety, bike lane design and network coverage are all problem areas. Often, other vehicles block the bike lane and force cyclists to use the traffic lane or even sidewalks. To change that, Chinese officials now have and want to formulate proper regulations and enforcement.
Registration for attendance and side events at WUF 9 now open
Registration for the world’s premier conference on cities and urbanization, the World Urban Forum, has now opened.
UN-Habitat, which coordinates the biennial event, is inviting stakeholders and partners from across the spectrum to register for attendance for the ninth such conference which will take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in February 2018.
What would an entirely flood-proof city look like?
The wetter the better. From sponge cities in China to ‘berms with benefits’ in New Jersey and floating container classrooms in the slums of Dhaka, we look at a range of projects that treat storm water as a resource rather than a hazard
How to use public procurement in MaaS
Jointly hosted by the ITS Observatory and SPICE projects, this webinar provided a brief overview of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) for parties interested in starting or joining a MaaS scheme, and included a demonstration of how to use the ITS Observatory interactive information marketplace.
Funded by the European Commission through the Horizon 2020 program, the two-year SPICE project (Smart Procurement for Better Transport) aims to help public authorities use smart procurement in order to facilitate a quick adoption of innovative and sustainable transport solutions. SPICE’s objective of letting public authorities share their experience with the procurement of new transport solutions – including MaaS – intersects naturally with the goals of the ITS Observatory, as participants heard during the course of the Webinar.
Smart Cities shaping the development of Autonomous Cars
The ongoing development of autonomous cars is intertwined with the development of smart cities. In fact, advances in smart cities are the most important factor that shapes the way in which autonomous cars are designed, manufactured and used.
Since the current generation of autonomous cars rely on their surroundings to make crucial decisions as they move along the road, relying on local landmarks and features to determine the most efficient route to their destination and to avoid collisions with others along the way, the way in which smart cities revolutionize living and travel spaces has the potential to fundamentally reshape how these cars operate.
Why migrant workers are the key to Asia’s green cities of the future
Building Asia’s green cities of the future is about more than energy efficiency - it can drive a virtuous cycle of economic growth and restructuring, as low-skilled jobs on large construction sites provide income opportunities for millions of migrants.
On-the-job training can equip these labourers to build efficiently — and to build buildings and urban systems that operate more efficiently. Over time, formerly itinerant workers will be able to settle as residents of the cities they helped to build, and to move from having a toehold on the economic ladder into the consuming, urban middle classes.
How to make cities work for the world’s poorest
UN projections suggest that the world’s urban population will reach 6.3 billion by 2050, up 2.7 billion from the roughly 3.6 billion people living in cities as of 2010.
The vast majority of these new urban residents – over 90 per cent – will be added to the cities of low- and middle- income countries – such as Ethiopia, Tanzania, China, and India.
All of this urbanisation should be good for global poverty reduction. Historically, countries grow more prosperous as they urbanise.
“Weapons” Cities Use to Keep You off (or on) the Beach
Learning why free, public beaches are so elusive from a new encyclopedia of the policies, practices and physical artifacts that drive both exclusion and inclusion.
Our new book, “The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusion,” examines some of the policies, practices and physical artifacts that have been used in the United States by planners, policymakers, developers, real estate brokers, community activists, and others to draw, erase or redraw the lines that divide. The book inventories these weapons of exclusion and inclusion, describes how they have been used, and speculates about how they might be deployed (or retired) for the sake of more open cities in which more people have more access to more places.
People power: how cash-strapped councils are turning to crowdfunding
As local government budgets are stripped back across the UK, city councils are turning to crowdfunding as a way for communities to support major projects
How Mexico City Became A Leader in Parking Reform
On July 11, Miguel Ángel Mancera, Mayor of Mexico City announced the “limitation of parking spaces in the city construction code”. This new norm changes minimum parking requirements to maximum depending on the land use of the construction. This puts Mexico City, the largest city in North America, far ahead of American cities in this commitment improving land use, prioritizing people over cars.
Redefining Global Cities
A new report by the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program provides detailed data on the 123 largest global cities based on their metro economies and uses these data to create a new typology of the seven types of global cities. Through this typology, this report aims to provide a valuable lens through which to understand the evolving global economy.
How green roofs can protect city streets from flooding
Spring and summer 2017 have been among the wettest on record in eastern North America. And the world is watching Houston this week, where the remains of Hurricane Harvey have caused devastating flooding.
Rainfall amounts in the spring broke records in places like Toronto, where 44.6 millimetres of rain fell in 24 hours. The downpours earlier this spring caused the stormwater infrastructure in Canada’s biggest city to overflow, leading to flooding of busy downtown streets.
Why cities need to rethink their marketing to tourists
August is a month when Venice is so stuffed with tourists that the city’s head of tourism has said “it’s like war.” In Dubrovnik’s walled historic centre, the city is using cameras to monitor and limit the crush of visitors. And Barcelona is pushing back on tourism by banning new hotels, hostels and tourist apartments in the city centre.
These headlines have put tourism in the news in a negative light. But “over-tourism” is only one of many trends playing out in cities today when it comes to handling visitors. Social media, the sharing economy, and changing tastes are all impacting city tourism in profound ways.
Antwerp's participatory budget
Antwerp has developed a unique approach to participatory budgeting that gives citizens autonomy to spend public funds of €1.1m a year.
By focusing on face-to-face debate, consensus decision-making and hard-to-reach residents, the city has been able to activate individuals and connect communities to help realise bright ideas for enhancing all aspects of city life.
Utrecht opens the world's biggest bike parking garage
As a university town and major traffic hub in the Netherlands, bike usage in Utrecht is incredibly high. Yet keeping the two-wheeled vehicles at its main station has become a problem.
An ocean full of bikes enveloping the square in front of the station has become a common sight. Finding bikes again after depositing has become a problem, whilst they are also regularly targeted by thieves. That is all set to change, however; the city has just opened the world's largest parking garage for bikes.
Chinese city starts work on world’s biggest urban cycle network
Chengdu aims to provide 17,000km of protected bicycle lanes as part of plans to tackle pollution and traffic congestion
Chengdu has started the construction of the world’s longest urban cycle lane network with a total length reaching 17,000km.
Work began on Saturday and the city government plans to finish the project in less than a decade, the Chengdu Evening News reported on Monday.
Further archived news available on request from: Kate More