31/10/2016 - Over 100 short video interviews “On Urban Resilience”
31/10/2016 - 2016 Transit Oriented Development Conference highlights
31/10/2016 - How to Be a Better Mayor 101
30/10/2016 - Self driving cars - how will they affect cities?
30/10/2016 - India to have 7 mega cities by 2030
30/10/2016 - Why cities matter for the global food system
29/10/2016 - London mayor launches unprecedented inquiry into foreign property ownership
29/10/2016 - Hillary Clinton’s Urban Agenda
29/10/2016 - Six futuristic designs that will change public transportation
28/10/2016 - Zaragoza wins award for tram system
28/10/2016 - The New Urban Agenda: Key Commitments
28/10/2016 - Atlas of Urban Expansion: a global sample of 200 cities
27/10/2016 - Are Cities Growing or Not?
27/10/2016 - Habitat III, a Rethinking of the Urban Development Paradigm
27/10/2016 - After Habitat III: a stronger urban future must be based on the right to the city
26/10/2016 - Smart cities ‘at risk of cyber attacks’, say IT pros
26/10/2016 - Local and regional governments state their position towards the New Urban Agenda
26/10/2016 - Cities urged to boost investments in resilience
25/10/2016 - How Quito saves its historic district
25/10/2016 - Should Cities Decriminalize Biking on Sidewalks?
25/10/2016 - Cities ‘can be greener without national policies’
24/10/2016 - Exploring district heating and cooling in Denmark
24/10/2016 - 6 takeaways from the Climate Chance summit in Nantes
24/10/2016 - How can Europe's cities ensure their citizens have the right skills?
23/10/2016 - The Tower That Sucks in Smog and Spits Out Clean Air
23/10/2016 - Here’s how intelligent parking systems are solving Warsaw’s traffic problems
23/10/2016 - 5 recommendations for 100% renewable cities
23/10/2016 - Are we listening to our ancestors’ warnings?
22/10/2016 - How apps are transforming our local neighbourhoods
22/10/2016 - Why cities need to engage in integrated urban development
22/10/2016 - African cities, towns and regions gear up for climate action
22/10/2016 - Guidelines for Climate Proof Cities
21/10/2016 - Here's what cities could look like in 10 years
21/10/2016 - DG-meeting on Urban Matters agrees on four new Partnerships
21/10/2016 - How to Design a City for Women
21/10/2016 - The 'Airbnb effect': is it real?
20/10/2016 - Will Brexit halt Britain's smart city projects?
20/10/2016 - Electric vehicles, renewable energies and smart grids are at the core of the newly launched SEEV4-City project
20/10/2016 - Future-proofing Asian cities the smart way
20/10/2016 - HERE launches mobile services tests in dense urban venues
19/10/2016 - Prefabricated green residential building for Berlin’s new ‘live-work city’
19/10/2016 - Barcelona’s first Superblock
19/10/2016 - Will smart citizens own cars?
18/10/2016 - How can we engineer our cities to protect against the threats of the 21st century?
18/10/2016 - What's Driving the Rise in Traffic Deaths?
18/10/2016 - Compact cities can enhance mobility and improve health
17/10/2016 - New software displays city bike availability on Vienna buses
17/10/2016 - Cenex selected to lead SEEV4-City pilots
17/10/2016 - The 5 technologies that are going to define the next decade in cities
17/10/2016 - Experts hack speed cameras to demonstrate IoT weaknesses
16/10/2016 - International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning discussed at ISOCARP Congress
16/10/2016 - Has Vancouver found the solution to a super-heated housing market?
16/10/2016 - Yesterday’s Internet Isn’t Good Enough for Tomorrow’s Cities
16/10/2016 - Selling Smart Growth
15/10/2016 - Audio-visual platform on urban resilience
15/10/2016 - Seminar for the Urban Poverty Partnership held in Athens
15/10/2016 - Floating city planned for South Pacific
15/10/2016 - Some regions are lagging behind. What can we do about it?
14/10/2016 - CIVITAS releases inspiring stories for better urban mobility
14/10/2016 - One Surprising Secret Weapon Against Natural Disasters? Landscape Architecture
14/10/2016 - Houston’s Plan to Cut Pension Costs in Half Overnight
14/10/2016 - 101 Small Ways You Can Improve Your City
13/10/2016 - Climate commitments surge among cities in Argentina
13/10/2016 - New tool for climate action lets cities test policy scenarios
13/10/2016 - Good practices from European Green Capital & Green Leaf Cities
13/10/2016 - How to Transform Moscow Into a Just City
12/10/2016 - Opening up the smart city: The smarticipate platform
12/10/2016 - Sustainable infrastructure after the Automobile Age
12/10/2016 - Health is a prerequisite for sustainable urban development
12/10/2016 - North American Dialogue Report on 100% Renewable Energy in Cities
11/10/2016 - The Heavy Hand of Early-20th Century Zoning Codes
11/10/2016 - City Living Helps Birds Stay Parasite-Free
11/10/2016 - Creating low-carbon cities
10/10/2016 - Sick of Seeing Cigarette Butts on the Ground, Cities Get Creative
10/10/2016 - Funding, housing and multilevel governance: new priorities for refugees in towns and regions
10/10/2016 - New software displays city bike availability on Vienna buses
9/10/2016 - How cities learn from each other: the World Cities project
9/10/2016 - Imagining a truly ‘sustainable city’ — and how long it will take to get there
9/10/2016 - Millennials and Rapid Urbanization
9/10/2016 - What if…we could help cities more effectively plan a lower-carbon future?
8/10/2016 - Global Parliament of Mayors Inaugurated
8/10/2016 - How London got hooked on gentrification
8/10/2016 - Lessons From a City Built Without Light Switches and Water Taps
8/10/2016 - Why Paratransit Doesn’t Have to Be So Expensive
7/10/2016 - Successful cities need to be governed, not just administrated
7/10/2016 - Cities Chosen for $40 Million Investment in Public Spaces
7/10/2016 - Reykjavík aims to be carbon neutral by 2040
7/10/2016 - The Cincinnati experiment: can 'citizen philanthropy' improve a city?
6/10/2016 - Intermediary Cities World Declaration : sign up for a call from I-Cities leaders
6/10/2016 - Driverless Uber and nuTonomy: A Future to Cheer or Fear?
6/10/2016 - Population Aging and Urbanization in Europe
6/10/2016 - Italian cities: not only beautiful, now they want to be smart
5/10/2016 - Where the 'Fragile Cities' Are
5/10/2016 - FAB City: A New Urban Model for Self-Sufficient Cities
5/10/2016 - Smart data is changing the future of big data
5/10/2016 - Inspiring solidarity between nations, cities, citizens at the Silk Road Mayors Forum
4/10/2016 - We’re entering a ‘new era’ for cities and science
4/10/2016 - Debunking Microenergy: The Future Lies With Urbanization
4/10/2016 - Designing Resilient Amenities for Coastal Cities
4/10/2016 - Geographers Studied Shrinking U.S. Cities for Two Years
3/10/2016 - Smart city ecosystems to rise exponentially by 2025
3/10/2016 - Summit of Mayors: “Alliance of European Cities Against Violent Extremism”
3/10/2016 - Fighting energy poverty through deep renovation of buildings
3/10/2016 - Terrorism and the urban war theatre
2/10/2016 - Welcome to the new Toronto: the most fascinatingly boring city in the world
2/10/2016 - UCLG World Congress 2019
2/10/2016 - Airbnb Creates an Affordable-Housing Dilemma for Cities
2/10/2016 - 10 steps to fix a city
1/10/2016 - Consumer interest in the IoT is waning
1/10/2016 - Can Asian Cities Lead the Way to a More Sustainable Future?
1/10/2016 - Rotterdam's lesson - from harbour to hub
Over 100 short video interviews “On Urban Resilience”
New web-based tool hosts short video interviews with experts on the impacts of climate change on cities
A resilient city is not only made up of bricks and mortar, but of a flexible system of elements working together. This complexity has been creatively visualised online in an interactive map of short video clips.
2016 Transit Oriented Development Conference highlights
This high level event was of great interest to a wide variety of industries and professionals who work within the field of transit oriented development - both nationally and internationally. Real estate developers, transit agencies, municipal and regional planning departments, urban designers, architects, investors and financiers, policymakers, lawyers, building users, academics, consultants and advocates are all fundamental to the process of designing, building, and bringing life to TODs.
How to Be a Better Mayor 101
Harvard and Bloomberg Philanthropies have teamed up to offer what they say is the first major effort to formally educate mayors about how to be more effective.
How does a mayor learn to be effective? For many, it's on-the-job experience. After all, colleges don't offer courses called "How to Be a Mayor 101."
At least not until now.
Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and Bloomberg Philanthropies have teamed up for a new educational program that will provide a select group of mayors with the resources necessary for the job.
Self driving cars - how will they affect cities?
Elomn Musk says every new Tesla comes with all of the hardware needed for fully autonomous driving. He is hardly alone in trying to spare humans the tedium of car operation. Audi, GM, Google, and Uber are among the many companies working toward the day when autos do everything and you’re just along for the ride.
Musk, ever the showman, plans to see one of his cars drive across the country next year without a human doing anything more than enjoying the scenery. Others lay out more conservative timelines for rolling out their technology, but make no mistake—robocars are coming, and sooner than you think.
This technology promises to radically remake the very form and fabric of our cities, even if it remains to be seen just what those changes will look like. We asked eight urban planners and futurists to share their visions of a driverless future.
India to have 7 mega cities by 2030
Presently, India is home to five mega cities, with a population of over 10 million, but by 2030 this number would go up to seven. Delhi would continue to be the second most populous city in the world till 2030, adding 9.6 million people to its population.
These facts were revealed in the 2016 World Cities Report issued by the UN’s department of economic and social affairs.
The report does not rely on the administrative boundaries of cities but instead, used the concept of “urban agglomeration” which is the “the contiguous urban area, or built-up area.”
Why cities matter for the global food system
I was with the World Bank delegation at the Habitat III Conference in Quito last week, reflecting on the future of cities and speaking at a panel on food security. While there, I could not help but remember the story of Wara, an indigenous Aymara woman, one of eight children from a poor rural family living in the Bolivian Altiplano. Poverty forced her to migrate to the city when she was young.
Now living in La Paz, Wara has been working as a nanny in households for decades. She has three teenagers. Her oldest son is overweight and has already had several health problems. He occasionally works with his father building houses. The other kids are still in school and Wara hopes that armed with an education, they will be able to find a good job.
London mayor launches unprecedented inquiry into foreign property ownership
Sadiq Khan tells the Guardian he will carry out ‘the most thorough research on this matter ever undertaken’ amid widespread concern over rising housing costs and gentrification.
London mayor Sadiq Khan is to launch the UK’s most comprehensive inquiry into the impact of foreign investment flooding London’s housing market, amid growing fears about the scale of gentrification and rising housing costs in the capital.
Khan said there are “real concerns” about the surge in the number of homes being bought by overseas investors, adding that the inquiry would map the scale of the problem for the first time.
Hillary Clinton’s Urban Agenda
Her ambitious plan for cities would build on her husband’s legacy. How much of it could she get done?
When Hillary Clinton spoke in Harlem in February, she barely used the words “urban” or “cities,” but she laid out one of the most ambitious urban agendas of any modern presidential nominee.
Six futuristic designs that will change public transportation
As the world's urban centers grow, getting around them becomes increasingly difficult. In some cities, traffic is congested all day long and rush hour can last for several hours. Fortunately, there are a number of innovations in public transportation specifically aimed at alleviating those woes. While traditional buses simply add to street traffic and subways aren't feasible in all areas, engineers are looking to public transit options that can go over or around regular car traffic, making for some easier ways to get from Point A to Point B without spending hours sniffing exhaust. Elsewhere in the world, underwater floating tunnels will reduce the need for ferry rides, and a unique modular transport system could completely revolutionize long-distance travel for both people and cargo. Read on for all the details about the next generation of transportation, including some developments that will be up and running in less than five years.
Zaragoza wins award for tram system (Spain)
The operator of Zaragoza’s tram system, Tranvía Zaragoza, has won an international award for the contribution it has made to lowering emissions in the Spanish city.
Zaragoza’s minister for the environment and mobility, Teresa Artigas, and Ana M. Moreno from Tranvía Zaragoza, picked up the prize for Best Environmental and Sustainability Initiative at the Global Light Rail Awards 2016 in London earlier this month.
The New Urban Agenda: Key Commitments
It’s official: world leaders have adopted the New Urban Agenda, which sets a new global standard for sustainable urban development, and will help us rethink how we plan, manage and live in cities. The New Urban Agenda is roadmap for building cities that can serve as engines of prosperity and centres of cultural and social well-being while protecting the environment. The Agenda also provides guidance for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and provides the underpinning for actions to address climate change.
Atlas of Urban Expansion: a global sample of 200 cities
As of 2010, the world contained 4,231 cities with 100,000 or more people. The Atlas of Urban Expansion collects and analyzes data on the quantity and quality of urban expansion in a stratified global sample of 200 cities. The Atlas is a multi-phase research effort by the NYU Urban Expansion Program at the Marron Institute of Urban Management and the Stern School of Business of New York University, in partnership with UN-Habitat and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.
Are Cities Growing or Not?
As it turns out, there is no one answer.
If you read all the things pundits and researchers write about cities these days, you’d be pretty confused: Cities are either growing or shrinking. People either want to live in them or they don’t. Businesses are either gravitating to them or moving away. Maybe young people like cities now, but they won’t like them when they have kids. Or maybe middle-aged people don’t like cities yet, but will later on.
Habitat III, a Rethinking of the Urban Development Paradigm
The United Nations global cities summit, Habitat III, began with long security lines under a bright Andes sun, and ended in song. The musical group Nick Horner Family performed “City of Dreams” on the final day of the conference that drew some 40,000 participants. A little more than an hour before, the New Urban Agenda—a manifesto intended to guide the future growth of cities worldwide—was officially adopted.
But as attendees flock to the airport to go home, what actually was accomplished? What happens now?
After Habitat III: a stronger urban future must be based on the right to the city
Innovative and agile cities are better placed to solve major global challenges than national governments – in thrall to the momentum of the last century – but the fight must start now, argues Barcelona’s first female mayor
Smart cities ‘at risk of cyber attacks’, say IT pros
A majority of IT professionals believe smart cities are at risk of cyber attacks.
Around 98% of 200 respondents surveyed by Tripwire, which assessed cyber security challenges associated with smart city technologies, said so.
Smart cities use IT solutions to manage a wide range of services including smart grids, transportation, surveillance cameras, wastewater treatment and more.
Local and regional governments state their position towards the New Urban Agenda
On 16 October 2016, over 300 local and regional leaders came together in Quito to submit their joint statement towards the New Urban Agenda, the global framework for sustainable urbanization that nations will officially adopt this week at Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development.
This event was the third and final session of the Second World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments, the mechanism through which the local and regional government constituency has provided official input into the New Urban Agenda text. The three-part series began this past May in New York City, followed by gatherings in Bogota and Quito in October.
Cities urged to boost investments in resilience
Between now and 2030, natural disasters are expected to force 77 million urban dwellers into poverty.
That’s one troubling finding in a new report from the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery. The report urges city leaders to accelerate their investments in urban resilience to guard against a rise in natural disasters and the worsening effects of climate change.
Investing in Urban Resilience emphasizes the upsides of a proactive approach. Manmade and natural disasters could cost cities a total of US$314 million a year, up US$65 million over today’s annual price tag for disaster response
How Quito saves its historic district
This city on the slopes of the Andes boasts one of the largest and best-preserved historic districts in South America, the first ever to be declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.
That’s well known to many of the 200,000 tourists and locals who walk the Historic Center’s streets every day. What’s less known is the formula Quito has deployed to keep 130 massive colonial buildings and 5,000 historic properties looking great.
Quito’s Historic Center is lined with baroque and gothic churches, narrow cobblestone streets and colonial-era buildings that seem frozen in the 17th and 18th centuries. The effort behind the maintenance of this 360-acre (145-hectare) area is enormous, and based on a solid commitment — and financial effort — that involves the city government, national government and the Catholic Church.
Should Cities Decriminalize Biking on Sidewalks?
When it comes to discussions about implicit bias in policing, most of the national conversation has, with good cause, focused on the disproportionate killing of black people at the hands of police. What if you shift the focus to something seemingly more benign, such as bicycling citations?
The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition did just that, and found that biking while black means you’re disproportionately likely to get ticketed by police, prompting them to propose decriminalizing biking on the sidewalks in busy business districts. The proposal has received a “cool reception” from city officials, says the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Cities ‘can be greener without national policies’
City leaders have more power to determine their energy needs than they realise.
That’s according to a study by Arup which states they need to take control of their energy consumption and boost the use of smart technologies.
Growing cities, which account for more than 50% of global energy consumption, can no longer afford to rely on a centralised energy supply and will need to take greater control to meet growing demand, it adds.
The report aims to demonstrate civic leaders can succeed “without national policies” in place, with emerging technologies such as smart meters, local generation and hydrogen fuel cells helping cities ditch from fossil fuel.
Exploring district heating and cooling in Denmark
Last September, Energy Cities brought together a group of French cities and representatives from ADEME (the French national energy agency) for a study tour on district heating and cooling in Copenhagen and the Zealand region. Two days of very fruitful visits and peer-to-peer meetings, organised thanks to a partnership with the Danish Embassy in France and the Danish Board of District Heating.
6 takeaways from the Climate Chance summit in Nantes
The world’s largest climate stakeholders summit has just taken place in Nantes, France. Key non-state players from around the world, including CEMR, gathered to find concrete solutions to one of the most pressing issues of our time: climate change. Taking place just one month before the next great climate meeting, COP22; Climate Chance was both the opportunity to discuss how far we had come since COP21, and start laying out a common roadmap for COP22.
How can Europe's cities ensure their citizens have the right skills?
Creating new jobs only goes so far towards addressing unemployment: people need the skills to do these jobs. And our fast-paced labour market means the skills to keep up are changing constantly.
This is an urban challenge: cities are hubs of knowledge, innovation and industry. City authorities are in tune with the needs of local labour markets and citizens. They can identify and predict skills shortages, and ensure the right skills are being developed. This is especially true for those who find it hardest to find a job, like vulnerable groups and young people.
The Tower That Sucks in Smog and Spits Out Clean Air
A Dutch designer has debuted a pollution-eating tower in Beijing, and hopes to install 800 more in public parks across China.
Air quality is so poor in Beijing that on bad days it’s hard to see buildings across the street. Strategies to live more safely in such an environment abound, and no wonder: The journal Nature recently found that air pollution leads to the premature death of three million people every year, mainly in Asia.
Here’s how intelligent parking systems are solving Warsaw’s traffic problems
Municipal governments are increasingly seeking better security, improved air quality and reduced pollution by looking into “smart city” solutions. Intelligent parking systems are an innovation that offers benefits in all three of these areas.
Warsaw has recently begun to test a parking information system designed by global IT business solutions provider Comarch. Here, the firm tells us how it works.
5 recommendations for 100% renewable cities
What does a 100% renewable energy target mean for a city ? Is it a possible utopia or a non-negotiable goal ? In their latest report, Energy Cities and the French organisations CLER and RAC describe the process, challenges and opportunities of cities committed to get powered by 100% renewable energy.
This new report, published in French, opens with the story of five European leading cities. With very different motivations, approaches and timelines, those cities work hard to develop an energy system based on energy efficiency and the highest possible share of locally-sourced renewables.
Are we listening to our ancestors’ warnings?
In disaster risk management, we often pay close attention to the latest technological boosts to better understand risks and help communities prepare for the next disaster. While such efforts are commendable, I noticed that insightful messages from our ancestors can also help us better anticipate tomorrow’s disaster risks.
Such messages teach us how to keep hazards away from people (reducing existing risks) as well as how to keep people away from hazards (avoid creating new risks). On my latest trip to Japan, we hosted government officials from Armenia, Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan as part of an experts’ visit focusing on disaster risk management, acting on Japan’s rich culture of passing on such decisive messages to future generations.
How apps are transforming our local neighbourhoods
The on-demand services offered by apps like Uber, Laundrapp and Shoe Drop could be the nail in the coffin for some street-level businesses, and help spur gentrification. But who loses out?
Why cities need to engage in integrated urban development
For the Sustainable Development Goals to work, cities as key development actors need to apply integrated approaches. Different actors and levels of government must be provided with opportunities to collaborate in order to ensure inclusive, secure, resilient and sustainable urban development. Furthermore, coordinated territorial planning and cross-sectoral cooperation are significant for an effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
African cities, towns and regions gear up for climate action
African cities, towns and regions met in Cotonou, Benin to chart a path local and subnational government contributions to implementation of the international agenda on climate change.
From September 8th to 10th, African cities, towns and regions met in Cotonou, Benin to chart a path local and subnational government contributions to implementation of the international agenda on climate change.
The discussions took place at a preparatory forum to the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which will be hosted in Marrakesh, Morocco, from 7 to 18 November 2016.
The forum culminated in the release of the Cotonou Declaration, which pointed to cities and territories as "unavoidable stakeholders for the implementation of the international Agenda on Climate".
Guidelines for Climate Proof Cities
Cities are vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The most efficient way to make cities more climate proof is through numerous relatively small and local measures, which can often be carried out parallel to major maintenance or renovation work. These were the findings of a final report published recently by the Climate Proof Cities research programme.
Here's what cities could look like in 10 years
The data confirm it: Cities are the way of the future.
As the years go by, more and more people are choosing to leave behind their suburban and rural lives in search of greater urban opportunities.
To get a sense of what city life might look in the future, Business Insider called on futurists, urban planners, and designers to weigh in on trends related to transportation, housing, automation, the Internet, the environment, and jobs.
DG-meeting on Urban Matters agrees on four new Partnerships
On 4 October 2016, during a formal conference in Bratislava, the meeting of Directors-General responsible for Urban Matters decided to give the green light for the setup of four new Partnerships for the Urban Agenda for the EU (UAEU). As is the case when discussing matters relating to the UAEU, the meeting included Member States, the European Commission, the Committee of the Regions, EUROCITIES and CEMR as members. Partner States and several other parties and stakeholders, such as the European Economic and Social Committee, URBACT, EUKN and the European Investment Bank, were present as observers. Also attending were representatives from the already existing Partnerships (on Air Quality, Urban Poverty, Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees, and Affordable Housing). These Partnerships, which started out as pilots under the Dutch presidency of the EU, are now fully operational and provided valuable experience and guidance for their new colleagues.
How to Design a City for Women
In 1999, officials in Vienna, Austria, asked residents of the city's ninth district how often and why they used public transportation. "Most of the men filled out the questionnaire in less than five minutes," says Ursula Bauer, one of the city administrators tasked with carrying out the survey. "But the women couldn't stop writing."
The majority of men reported using either a car or public transit twice a day -- to go to work in the morning and come home at night. Women, on the other hand, used the city’s network of sidewalks, bus routes, subway lines and streetcars more frequently and for a myriad reasons.
The 'Airbnb effect': is it real?
In the Dutch capital, Airbnb has been accused of driving up property prices and disrupting communities – while others say the website’s gentrifying tendencies are much exaggerated. So who’s right?
Will Brexit halt Britain's smart city projects?
Some of the UK’s top smart cities projects have been funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme – so what will happen to UK smart city solutions when we leave the EU?
The Horizon 2020 program has provided funding to over 3,070 projects in the UK; this figure includes smart city projects such as London’s Sharing Cities and Communities Programme, Manchester’s Triangulum project and Birmingham’s Opticities partnership.
Electric vehicles, renewable energies and smart grids are at the core of the newly launched SEEV4-City project
SEEV4-City is an acronym that stands for Smart, clean Energy and Electric Vehicles 4 the City. This 3-year project is funded by a grant from the European Interreg North Sea Region.
Future-proofing Asian cities the smart way
Rapid urbanisation is the defining challenge for Asia Pacific in coming decades. Eco-Business looks at some smart solutions adopted by cities to keep up with growing energy and waste needs and strengthen their economies in the process.
HERE launches mobile services tests in dense urban venues
In order for HERE to continue to introduce advanced location-based services, in-depth testing and piloting environments are an absolute must. Now, HERE has partnered with researchers in Tampere, Finland to launch the CityTrack project, to plan and develop location-based services in this densely populated area.
The project, which is coordinated by researchers at the University of Tampere, will introduce new services at and around the Tampere railway station in order to help people find suitable connecting train routes, as well as local amenities such as restaurants and shops.
Prefabricated green residential building for Berlin’s new ‘live-work city’
On a site in Berlin currently home to old, ugly oilfield tanks, a revitalized district called WerkBundStadt is in the works. ingenhoven architects, along with 32 other firms, are designing residential and mixed-use buildings to transform the stagnant space into one of life and activity. igenhoven’s design reinterprets the brickwork commonly seen in older city areas by adding copious amounts of plants throughout the building’s facade.
Barcelona’s first Superblock
Two weeks ago, after nearly three decades of waiting, Barcelona urban designer Salvador Rueda finally saw the first “Superilla” (Superblock) installed in his city. The superblock faced some fierce opposition from unhappy residents and local businesses complaining about loss of curbside parking, and changes of bus stops and street direction. It was also criticized from within the city council as some council members from the opposition parties asked for it to be dismantled.
Will smart citizens own cars?
Sidewalk Labs has predicted that personal car ownership will become a thing of the past, but what does this mean for smart cities?
Klaus Bondam, Copenhagen’s former mayor for roads and infrastructure, recently stated that in 10-15 years, car ownership will be rare. Instead, he believes that, “it’s going to be a combination of shared cars, of city cars, of public transport”. People are already beginning to see changes as a result of smart vehicles; crash-avoidance features and sensor-triggered braking systems are likely to significantly reduce car insurance premiums, for example.
How can we engineer our cities to protect against the threats of the 21st century?
Roger Nickells, CEO of BuroHappold Engineering, discusses the threats facing 21st-century cities and how we can protect against them.
Which threats put cities at risk?
The importance of the city environment can’t be understated. Around 50-60 per cent of GDP is earned in urban centres. So it’s important that they’re not just able to deal with short-term risk, but also with the long-term risks involved in creating a sustainable economy for the people living in those cities.
What's Driving the Rise in Traffic Deaths?
It’s too early to attribute this astonishing uptick simply to more drivers on the road.
Road fatalities are rising sharply in the U.S. Some 17,775 people died in traffic incidents during the first six months of 2016, up 10.4 percent from 16,100 over the same timespan last year, according to the latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
This “alarming uptick” comes on the heels of last year’s 7.2 percent spike in traffic deaths, which was the largest since 1966. That was primarily driven by increases in pedestrian, motorcyclist, and cyclist fatalities, the NHTSA found, which were attributed to the economy’s spring-back and lower gas prices. In 2015, vehicle-miles traveled increased about 3.5 percent over 2014—the greatest growth in a quarter-century. A similarly sharp rise in VMT occurred over the first half of 2016, with Americans driving 50.5 billion more miles compared to the same period in 2015, according to the NHTSA.
Compact cities can enhance mobility and improve health
A new study suggests that compact cities that focus on cycling and walking could boost the health of citizens.
‘Land use, transport, and population health: estimating the health benefits of compact cities’, a paper by an international team of researchers, was published last week in UK medical journal The Lancet.
The team used characteristics from six cities – Boston, Copenhagen, Delhi, London, Melbourne and São Paulo - to model the city-specific effect of land use and urban design interventions on the choices of transport and population health.
New software displays city bike availability on Vienna buses
Vienna has introduced software on trams and buses that shows passengers the number of bicycles available at upcoming stops with bike-sharing terminals.
The technology – a joint project between public transport operator Wiener Linien, Citybike Wien and INFOSCREEN, the manufacturers of the screens - was trialled in August and fully introduced across the city earlier this month.
Cenex selected to lead SEEV4-City pilots
Cenex, the UK’s first Centre of Excellence for low carbon technologies, have been was selected as a partner in the SEEV4-City project part funded by the Interreg North Sea Region Programme. The SEEV4-City project aims to support the transition to a low carbon economy in European Cities, by combining electric transport, renewable energy and smart energy management. It is an innovative programme to explore the use of electric vehicles (EVs) to support energy infrastructure through vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging, and by using EV batteries as short term storage for renewable energy.
The 5 technologies that are going to define the next decade in cities
Cities have always been hubs of technological experimentation, shaped by the people who inhabit them and the tools they use. We can still see the marks, both charming and garish, from technologies of years past — from old aqueducts to telephone booths to the damage done by cars.
The next wave of real-time technologies that will define the next decade are software (rather than hardware) upgrades to the city that will nonetheless transform the way we work, play and live in our physical environments — our “brick and mortar” cities. And these technologies, each transformative in their own right, when used in combination to develop new products and experiences, will have a multiplying effect on the rate of change we see in urban environments.
Experts hack speed cameras to demonstrate IoT weaknesses
Despite warnings from security experts, many IoT devices have weak or non-existent security features.
While robust security may not seem necessary for your smart fridge, as a hacker might only discover that you need to replace your milk, there are many IoT devices that do need strong defences from external attacks. The vulnerability of speeding cameras has recently come to light, for example, as Kaspersky Lab researchers have found many city speed cameras are easily hackable.
Vladimir Dashchenko and Denis Makrushin, researchers at Kaspersky, were concerned that in the rush to deploy IoT devices to improve city infrastructure, security was being forgotten about. They decided to test the security of speed cameras, and were shocked to find that in many cases there was no security at all. They stated, “imagine our surprise when we realised there was no password and the entire video stream was available to all Internet users”.
International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning discussed at ISOCARP Congress
Planners from around the world engaged in discussing the application of the International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning Guidelines; a new tool being developed to provide a global reference framework for improving global policies, plans, designs and implementation processes.
The discourse took place in the sidelines of the 52nd annual congress of the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP) which was held in Durban, South Africa, earlier this month under the theme, “Cities we have vs. Cities we need.”
Has Vancouver found the solution to a super-heated housing market?
In a radical move, the Canadian city now charges an extra 15% to any overseas investor buying property there. The short-term impact on Vancouver house prices has been startling – but will it last?
Yesterday’s Internet Isn’t Good Enough for Tomorrow’s Cities
Making connectivity more resilient is about more than floods.
Katherine Ortiz sat at her kitchen window in Red Hook, Brooklyn, watching the rain and wind build the evening of October 29, 2012. Then, around 8 p.m., almost exactly as Hurricane Sandy made landfall, block by block, the lights turned off. Across coastal New York and New Jersey, power went out for millions, including residents of the Red Hook Houses, one of New York City Housing Authority’s largest public housing developments. Elevators stopped working, as did phones, once batteries ran down. To leave or get to her apartment in the following days, Ortiz walked 14 flights, until NYCHA restored power two weeks later. But where she worked, at local community organization Red Hook Initiative, power was still on — and the wireless internet network still worked, because RHI had built it themselves.
Selling Smart Growth
selling-smart-growth-vtpi?The Victoria Transport Policy Institute in Canada released a report in May titled “Selling Smart Growth” that examines the trade-offs that households make between housing and transportation costs, and describes how to communicate these trade-offs to stakeholders.
Audio-visual platform on urban resilience
The platform “On Urban Resilience” deals with urban adaptation and developing a resilient city. The Climate Media Factory has asked 33 experts to share their insights and lessons learnt. The result is a unique resource for municipalities: By connecting more than 100 short film sequences from interviews with scientists, city and adaptation experts from the public and the private sector and best practice examples from well-chosen adaptation practitioners, the interactive guidance tool “On Urban Resilience” presents a broad range of policy relevant scientific information, perspectives, knowledge bits, and experiences.
Seminar for the Urban Poverty Partnership held in Athens
On 27 September 2016, the Urban Agenda Partnership on Urban Poverty assembled in Athens for a seminar, organised by the European Urban Knowledge Network (EUKN) and the Partnership. The twelve thematic partnerships defined in the Pact of Amsterdam are considered key delivery mechanisms within the Urban Agenda for the EU. Each partnership will focus on measures to make better use of existing EU regulations and funding in relation to urban areas. Furthermore, it will showcase and share best practice knowledge.
Floating city planned for South Pacific
A small “floating city” that can accommodate 90 residents is coming to French Polynesia.
Melia Robinson reports for Business Insider that the community would consist of three floating platforms, each half the size of an American football field.
The project is a partnership between the Pacific island chain, which is a territory of France, and the Seasteading Institute. That’s a think-tank cofounded by two Silicon Valley luminaries, technology venture capitalist Peter Thiel and Google software engineer Patri Friedman, dedicated to exploring the feasibility of floating communities.
Some regions are lagging behind. What can we do about it?
Many developing economies have experienced fast growth in recent years. With such growth comes an increasing spatial concentration of economic activity—as documented in the World Development Report—leading to rapid urbanization in those economies.
While some cities have grown, others still lag behind. Such inequalities in development are usually characterized by weak economic performance, low human development indicators, and high concentration of poverty. For example, Mexico achieved incredible growth as a nation, yet per capita income in the northern states is two or three times higher than in the southern states. Disparities in other social and infrastructure metrics are even more dramatic.
CIVITAS releases inspiring stories for better urban mobility
The CIVITAS Initiative has released a new publication with case studies and expert analysis on measures and projects it has implemented within the last three years.
‘CIVITAS Voices: Inspiring stories and expert ideas for better urban mobility’ includes case studies on seven projects that received co-funding via the CIVITAS Activity Fund, two measures from the city-led demonstration projects DYN@MO and 2MOVE2, and one study into the long-term impact of a measure implemented within a previous phase of CIVITAS.
One Surprising Secret Weapon Against Natural Disasters? Landscape Architecture
In an era when cities are ravaged by drought, flooding, wildfires, and more, infrastructure projects tend to get most of the attention when it comes to resiliency. But good landscape design can be powerful, too. This week, the American Society of Landscape Architects, or ASLA, published an an online guide designed to help its members plan for, and even prevent, the worst.
Houston’s Plan to Cut Pension Costs in Half Overnight
Earlier this month, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner released his outline for fixing the city's underfunded pension system, an issue that earned the city a credit rating downgrade in March.
Observers say the plan is the best effort yet at solving a problem that has eluded past city officials. If approved, the proposal would immediately cut Houston's unfunded liability by $3.5 billion -- or nearly in half -- while putting Houston on a path to pay off the rest of its pension debt over the next generation.
101 Small Ways You Can Improve Your City
Sometimes the smallest things we can do for our neighborhoods can have the biggest impact. At Curbed, we know the power of a vegetable garden planted in a vacant lot or a library installed on a sidewalk. For Micro Week, we want to share 101 urban interventions and ideas that show how even the tiniest changes can make our cities better places.
Climate commitments surge among cities in Argentina
A total of 27 cities in Argentina committed to the Compact of Mayors in September, joining Buenos Aires, the capital, and a number of other Argentinian cities already committed to the Compact, a coalition of 550 cities around the world committed to mitigating and building their resilience to the effects of climate change.
New tool for climate action lets cities test policy scenarios
City planners determined to tackle climate change have a new interactive planning tool on their side. Stephen Hammer blogs for the World Bank that the tool can “help cities identify and prioritize climate actions” that reduce fossil-fuel emissions.
It’s called CURB, or Climate Action for Urban Sustainability. It was launched this month during Climate Week, the article says. The Big Data tool is designed to help cities answer what-if questions, writes Hammer, manager of climate policy for the World Bank. It allows city leaders to test the impact of different policy scenarios, and access proxy information that can fill in the inevitable gaps in data.
Good practices from European Green Capital & Green Leaf Cities
Energy coaching in companies, fast rechargeable electric city buses or efficient stormwater management: two new reports from the European Green Capital and Green Leaf Cities competitions outline inspirational practices in sustainable urban planning from 17 cities across Europe.
How to Transform Moscow Into a Just City
Moscow’s planners and urban activists are currently embroiled in a debate over the city’s transformation. Some see the upgrading of public spaces, the extension of pedestrian zones and cycling lanes that Moscow’s Mayor Sergey Sobyanin promotes under the agenda “Moscow, a city comfortable for life,” as necessary steps for a sustainable future. Others, most notably those who oppose that agenda, lament that these changes represent nothing but new avenues for corruption. Still others argue that the attempt to transform Moscow into a modern European city represents a strategy of authoritarian modernization, aimed at strengthening the power of the mayor.
Opening up the smart city: The smarticipate platform
Through smarticipate citizens will be given access to data about their city, enabling them to better support the decision-making process. Local governments will have the means to tap into the ingenuity of their residents, gaining valuable ideas. This two-way feedback makes cities more democratic and dynamic. Residents will also play an active role in verifying and contributing to data.
Sustainable infrastructure after the Automobile Age
The breakthrough American infrastructure of the early 19th century was the Erie Canal, which connected the Midwest farm belt with the Port of New York and the eastern seaboard. In the second half of the 19th century, the railroad offered the next infrastructure revolution by connecting the two oceans and the continent in between. In the middle of the last century, the transformational infrastructure was the Interstate Highway System, consummating America’s 20th-century love affair with the automobile.
Each new wave of infrastructure underpinned a half-century of economic growth. Yet each wave of infrastructure also reached its inherent limits, in part by causing adverse side effects and in part by being overtaken by a new technological revolution. And so it will be with our generation. The Automobile Age has run its course; our job is to renew our infrastructure in line with new needs, especially climate safety, and new opportunities, especially ubiquitous online information and smart machines.
Health is a prerequisite for sustainable urban development
After a slow start, traction on health issues in the Habitat III process has grown. But before the New Urban Agenda is finalized this month, we suggest one addition.
It will come as no great surprise that city living presents enormous challenges for encouraging healthy behaviours.
Foods that are high in sugar, fat and salt and low in nutrients are available on seemingly every street corner. Achieving the necessary physical activity to support good health has become increasingly difficult. Parks and green spaces once available for free leisure activity by all ages are too often reduced to development opportunities for the next square of concrete jungle. Many cities continue to be designed so that using a private motor vehicle is the automatic choice to get from place to place.
North American Dialogue Report on 100% Renewable Energy in Cities
A growing number of cities and communities around the globe have embraced the idea of a new and different kind of future, and the movement is taking hold in North America. In this future, clean and equitable renewable energy feeds a prosperous local economy and builds community ties.
In partnership with the Sierra Club, ICLEI USA, and the San Francisco Department of the Environment, Renewable Cities convened a three-day dialogue from July 10-12, 2016 in San Francisco that brought together a group of cities from around North America to discuss the transition 100% renewable energy. Participants included senior municipal staff and elected officials, members of the private sector, researchers, city networks, and other leaders in the urban sustainability field.
The Heavy Hand of Early-20th Century Zoning Codes
You think cities have problems today? Look back to late 19th century America, when rapid industrialization and mass immigration brought explosive population growth and squalid living conditions for the poor. Families lived cheek-to-jowl in tenement districts near polluting factories, and they walked on streets filled with fetid, uncollected human and animal waste. Noxious fumes frequently seeped over to higher-end homes and businesses, too. Without proper sewers or drinking water systems, infectious disease proliferated.
City Living Helps Birds Stay Parasite-Free
Urban living can be a mixed bag for birds. On the one hand, they have to adjust their songs to be heard over traffic and other sources of noise, and are in danger of colliding with skyscraper windows. But cities also provide reliable food sources and lots of nooks and crannies for nesting. New research suggests there’s another benefit: The flying city-dwellers don’t have to raise someone else’s chicks.
Creating low-carbon cities
As people around the world live increasingly urban lives, cities will be at the forefront of any long-term climate solution
The international community understands that to devise a collective and effective response to climate change, we should look at cities. Urbanisation is a powerful accelerator of growth and prosperity.
But cities also consume 78 per cent of the world’s energy and emit a substantial portion of the planet’s greenhouse gases (GHGs) that are brought about by human activity. With this in mind, cities are increasingly devising strategies and taking action to curb their emissions.
Sick of Seeing Cigarette Butts on the Ground, Cities Get Creative
It’s the most littered item in the U.S. -- but it might not be if more places adopted this approach.
Which is the best Chicago baseball team: Cubs or Sox? Which do you prefer: Chicago dog or deep dish pizza? Toilet paper roll direction: under or over? These are just a few of the questions smokers along Chicago’s beaches are being asked this summer. In an attempt to keep its sidewalks and beaches clean, the city has partnered with the Alliance for the Great Lakes to pilot voting-style cigarette butt bins. The receptacles feature two deposit slots, each with a question. Smokers vote by putting their cigarette butts into one of the two compartments. The receptacles each hold approximately 400 to 600 cigarette butts, which are eventually recycled. Despite a 2007 smoking ban at Chicago beaches, cigarette butt litter remains a problem. In fact, even though smoking is on the decline nationwide, cigarette butts are still the most littered item in the U.S. The playful anti-littering campaign isn’t the first: The idea actually originated in London, and Boston adopted it this spring.
Funding, housing and multilevel governance: new priorities for refugees in towns and regions
Access to funding for towns and regions, access to housing for refugees and migrants, and true multilevel governance. Those are the three priorities that CEMR’s Task Force on Migrants and Refugees identified during their meeting last week. These priorities will be presented to the Commission: they need to be reflected in EU’s agenda.
New software displays city bike availability on Vienna buses
Vienna has introduced software on trams and buses that shows passengers the number of bicycles available at upcoming stops with bike-sharing terminals.
The technology – a joint project between public transport operator Wiener Linien, Citybike Wien and INFOSCREEN, the manufacturers of the screens - was trialled in August and fully introduced across the city earlier this month.
The software has access to the Citybike Wien server, which allows the screens to show passenger real-time information on the number of bicycles currently available at each stop.
How cities learn from each other: the World Cities project
When a delegation of the city of Växjö, Sweden, visited Shimokawa, they were positively impressed by the advanced citizen engagement and immediately sat down with their Japanese counterparts to learn more.
In a nutshell, this is the lesson of the World Cities Third Country Cooperation project and the reason why city-to-city cooperation is a powerful tool for local leaders and civil servants to exchange and confront good practices, discuss common challenges and build lasting connections and friendships across distant places.
Imagining a truly ‘sustainable city’ — and how long it will take to get there
What does a truly “sustainable” city look like?
Gary Gardner has some ideas about that. Gardner is director of publications at the Worldwatch Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based research shop. He also co-authored the organization’s 2016 State of the World Report, an annual publication that this year took cities as its central focus.
In the book’s opening chapter, Gardner paints a futuristic picture of what an ideal sustainable city might look like 20 years from now. In this city, fossil fuel use has been nearly eradicated due to annual price increases and a local push to get 100 percent of energy from renewable sources. One can go a month without having to travel more than 3 miles (5 kilometers) because all of life’s needs are close by. And the city has sold all of its garbage trucks because there’s no more waste to collect.
Millennials and Rapid Urbanization
The arena in which millennials are effecting perhaps the most palpable, immediate change is the real estate market.
It’s secret that “millennials,” defined in 2015 as adults aged between 18 and 34, are in the process of reshaping the social, political, and urban landscape of the United States. Recent studies by the Pew Research Center indicate that millennials now comprise a majority of the U.S. labor force at 53.5 percent and—with a population of 75.4 million—represent the largest American generation.
Millennials are frequently depicted as entitled. In fact, CNBC has called them “lazy, narcissistic, and addicted to social media” while Forbes wrote, “They don’t need trophies but they want reinforcement.” Time magazine even ran an article titled, “Millennials, the Me Me Me Generation.”
What if…we could help cities more effectively plan a lower-carbon future?
If climate change were a jigsaw puzzle, cities would be a key piece right at the center of it. This was reinforced by more than 100 countries worldwide, which highlighted cities as a critical element of their greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction strategies in their national climate plans (aka INDCs) submitted to the UNFCCC in 2015.
Since the ensuing signing of the Paris Agreement, these countries have shifted gear to focus on turning their climate plans into actions. What if, as many of us may wonder, we could find a cost-effective and efficient way to help put cities—in developing and developed countries alike—onto a low-carbon path of growth?
Global Parliament of Mayors Inaugurated
The 11th and 12th of September 2016, mayors from over 60 cities from all over the world gathered in The Hague for the inauguration of the Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM). The inauguration marks a major step forward for the involvement of cities on a high urban level.
Driving on the idea that cities play a key role in global urban governance as direct representatives of citizens, the GPM was found based on an idea of Benjamin Barber. Barber indicated in his book ‘If Mayors ruled the world’ that because national and international government bodies are often hindered by complex rules and discussions, cities are now the go-to influencers on many urban topics. Key topics for the GPM include urban poverty, the inclusion of migrants & refugees and climate change. The GPM is set out to represent cities on many occasions, starting with the upcoming Habitat III Conference in Quito, in October this year.
How London got hooked on gentrification
Gentrification is a familiar story in the capital – but now even the 1% are being squeezed out. What do the stories of Peckham, Holland Park and Chelsea tell us about the new reality?
Earlier this month the Financial Times ran an article, as every newspaper has done many times before, headlined “Has London’s property price bubble burst?” The report was well researched and judicious, as you would expect. The conclusion, roughly, was “Probably not, but you never know”, which is all one can ever say safely. The only problem was the word “bubble”.
Lessons From a City Built Without Light Switches and Water Taps
For 2,000 residents living just outside Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, experiencing the city of the future is a kind of waking dream. Masdar City is designed to take advantage of renewable energy, with a goal of being the most sustainable city in the world.
It doesn’t even have light switches or water taps.
The 87,000 solar panels that power the city and the mostly recycled water running through its pipes respond to human movement. If you’re not around to use them, the lights aren’t on and the water isn’t flowing—an innovation that cuts electricity and water consumption by 51 and 55 percent, respectively.
Why Paratransit Doesn’t Have to Be So Expensive
Efficiently transporting people with limited mobility is a challenge. Some promising new approaches are being tried.
In an era of scarcity for transit systems, there is growing pressure on paratransit, the expensive programs for transporting those with limited mobility, to operate more efficiently. A new study from New York City's Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) and reforms underway in other cities suggest that the goals of operating more efficiently and better serving those who need additional assistance getting around need not be at odds.
Successful cities need to be governed, not just administrated
Urbanization is not new. What’s new is the speed and scale of its advance today — especially with regard to cities’ fast-expanding role at the global level.Today, national governments are debating a new global vision of sustainable urbanization. That strategy, known as the New Urban Agenda, is to be adopted in October at the Habitat III conference — the one time every 20 years that countries come together to discuss the world’s cities. The difference the New Urban Agenda could make, particularly in becoming a truly new worldwide agenda, is to help us better grasp the role of cities for sustainable development.
Cities can no longer be understood as purely local actors. Today, they are increasingly recognized as fundamental for safeguarding a broad range of global public goods, among them the climate, economic prosperity, social integration, democratization and political stability.
Cities Chosen for $40 Million Investment in Public Spaces
Can investment in parks, libraries and recreation centers help reverse the worrisome trend of economic and social segregation in cities?
Four national foundations are betting big on that theory.
Starting today The JPB Foundation, Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation are coming together to invest a total of $20 million in public spaces in four cities. That money will be combined with $20 million in matched funding from local sources, resulting in a $40 million dollar investment in the Reimagining the Civic Commons initiative.
Reykjavík aims to be carbon neutral by 2040
Reykjavík City, capital of Iceland and Member of ICLEI, has put forward a climate policy paper with an action plan aiming for a carbon neutral city by 2040.
In Reykjavík, all electricity is produced with hydroelectric power and houses are geothermally heated. The release of greenhouse gases in Reykjavík is minor compared with international figures.
Transport is the main source of greenhouse gas emissions and is the largest challenge for the city. In the city‘s Municipal Plan 2010-2030, the goal is to change travel modes so that public transport usage rises from 4% to 12% and the ratio of pedestrians and cyclists rises from 19% to over 30% in 2030.
The Cincinnati experiment: can 'citizen philanthropy' improve a city?
‘Philanthropy lab’ People’s Liberty is funding individuals with smart ideas to benefit Cincinnati, in the hope of finding a new generation of local civic leaders
When Brandon Black and his wife were trying to fix up the old two-unit house they’d recently bought in Cincinnati, they discovered they needed some help from people who actually knew what they were doing. His old wrestling coach and her father – two baby boomers with construction experience – proved to be invaluable home improvement mentors, who happily guided them through the process.
Intermediary Cities World Declaration : sign up for a call from I-Cities leaders
In 2030, I-Cities will gather more than half of the world population. They are key today for the implementation of the SDGs, new urban agenda and world agendas. I-Cities are key for the sustainability of our common planet.
Join the World Community of Intermediary Cities - Sign up !
Driverless Uber and nuTonomy: A Future to Cheer or Fear?
The future is here, or it is very close: Uber announced “driverless” car services in downtown Pittsburgh; nuTonomy, a MIT spin-off technology company, just started commercial trials of autonomous taxis in Singapore. These developments come way before car manufacturers and technology experts have set their ambition (see table below). This seems to be very exciting news, but will the development of autonomous vehicles be similar to other advances in the car industry, like hydrogen fuel cell vehicles or electric vehicles? These technologies are still growing but at a much slower pace than initially expected.
Population Aging and Urbanization in Europe
Cities are seeing a rise in ageing populations. In the European Union (EU), 75 percent of residents live in urban areas. As urban populations continue to rise, more and more people will grow into old age. For instance, the over age 65 group makes up 20-27 percent of the population in cities inside Portugal, Italy, and Spain. Since population aging will influence health, social exchanges, and well-being of older adults, hundreds of cities are designing urban environments to foster active and healthy aging.
Italian cities: not only beautiful, now they want to be smart
From North to South, different cities of the same country look for a sustainable and replicable model for energy efficiency. Udine and Salerno are among the forerunners of Italy’s smart revolution
Italy is famous all over the world for its historical cities, but their beauty is not enough anymore. They want to be smart. Two of the experimental forerunners developing energy efficiency measures are Udine and Salerno.
They may be located at opposite ends of the country and have contrasting social and environmental characteristics, but these cities do have something in common: a “smart factor”.
Where the 'Fragile Cities' Are
What makes a city fragile?
There are eleven factors that “undermine metropolitan capacity and legitimacy,” according to a global ranking devised by the creators of this new world map of 2,100 cities that have more 250,000 or more residents. Some have their hands full with local issues like crime, unemployment, and pollution; others are grappling with the consequences of war, unable to provide even the most basic services required for the safety and well-being of their residents. Still others face threats from climate change and weather-related disasters.
FAB City: A New Urban Model for Self-Sufficient Cities
FAB City is a project launched in 2011 by the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalunia, the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms and the Fab Foundation. It is a global project aiming at the development of a new urban model for locally productive and globally connected self sufficient cities.
It is a decentralised and open format project that transform and shape cities depending on how they source and use materials. This means that more production occurs inside the city, along with recycling materials and meeting local needs through local inventiveness.
Smart data is changing the future of big data
Effectively smart data is a method of filtering out valuable data from the other big data noise. This data can then be used by an enterprise to find business-critical solutions to host of problems. The benefits big data has brought are immense, but it is utilising this data where the real transformation takes place.
Inspiring solidarity between nations, cities, citizens at the Silk Road Mayors Forum
The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has thanked the city of Qazvin for inspiring solidarity and exchange between nations, cities and citizens. The city recently hosted the Silk Mayors Forum at the World Citizens Organization. In his congratulatory address, Mr Ban emphasized that the initiative fosters the United Nations aim of world peace and sets an example for the positive development of humanity.
We’re entering a ‘new era’ for cities and science
In this interview, Debra Roberts, co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Working Group II on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, talks about a new paradigm for cities and science that is emerging in the aftermath of the historic Paris Agreement on climate change. Roberts has a unique background that combines scientific research and working as a city practitioner in Durban, South Africa.
Debunking Microenergy: The Future Lies With Urbanization
For over two centuries, rising energy consumption powered by coal, oil, natural gas, hydroelectric power, and nuclear energy—combined with modern agriculture, cities, and governance—has fueled a virtuous cycle of socioeconomic development. It has enabled people in many parts of the world to live longer, healthier, and more prosperous lives. Along with these material gains have come liberalizing social values, the ability to pursue more meaningful work, and environmental progress.
Yet roughly two billion people have still not made the transition to modern fuels and energy systems. These populations remain trapped in what we call “the wood economy.” Living in the wood economy means relying on wood, dung, and other basic bioenergy. In this economy, life choices are extremely limited, labor is menial and backbreaking, and poverty is endemic. There is little ability to produce wealth beyond what is necessary to grow enough food to meet minimal nutritional needs.
Designing Resilient Amenities for Coastal Cities
Market demand is the best driver for innovation, and Patrick Otellini—chief resilience officer for the city and county of San Francisco—is among those making a case that the intrinsic economic value of resilient design will help drive its acceptance.
“I think inclusion of resilient design strategies will become standard at some point because people want it,” Otellini says.
“When green building design first came on the development scene, I was at the U.S. Green Building Council, and we saw that developers resisted the LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] rating system as just adding charges,” he notes. “But tenants began asking for and demanding LEED buildings, and today it’s practically a minimum standard.”
Geographers Studied Shrinking U.S. Cities for Two Years
Buffalo, New York. Youngstown, Ohio. And of course, Detroit. Three textbook cases of the shrinking city. Their populations emigrated in droves, generally due to the collapse or outsourcing of a key local industry over recent decades. City planners are still figuring out how to reverse the outflow or at least dull its economic impact on those who’ve stayed behind.
For her new book Shrinking Cities: Understanding Urban Design in the United States, Sharmistha Bagchi-Sen, a geography professor at University at Buffalo, and three other geographers spent two years researching the phenomenon. They combed through census data on population demographics across the country from 1970 to 2010, and hundreds of academic and research sources on American cities in decline.
Smart city ecosystems to rise exponentially by 2025
A research report by ON World has calculated that the scale of smart cities will multiply in the next ten years, with the Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) ecosystem due to expand from 4 million connections in 2015 to 152 million by 2025.
The report highlights how IoT development will grow through cloud infrastructure and LPWAN networks, enabling more sensor technology and data gathering to support sensors and smart devices. The result will be a transformation of city services, from better transportation systems, location monitoring and pollution-monitored environments.
Summit of Mayors: “Alliance of European Cities Against Violent Extremism”
European local elected officials and representatives of local and regional authorities will discuss the current state of play in the area of the prevention of radicalisation and the available capacity-building resources for local bodies, during a conference organised by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Efus and the municipality of Rotterdam, on 9 November in the Dutch city.
Fighting energy poverty through deep renovation of buildings
The deep renovation of the neighbourhood of Rainha Dona Leonor resulted in a significant reduction of energy consumption, an increased production of renewable energy, reduction of CO2 emissions and an increased quality of life for local residents.
Rainha Dona Leonor is a neighbourhood of 150 multi-family dwellings built in 1953. The buildings, made up of concrete structure, brick walls and light weight slabs, had never been upgraded, which led to a profound state of degradation of the neighbourhood. The city council had to decide whether to undertake deep renovation works or to demolish the buildings.
Terrorism and the urban war theatre
The traits that make cities vibrant places to live and work in are also at the heart of what makes them vulnerable
In movies with an apocalyptic tendency, it is not a simple coincidence that compels an oncoming asteroid, extraterrestrials, King Kong, and assorted zombies to attack New York City. In fact, it is common practice for superheroes to battle their arch-nemeses in Times Square. The depictions of urban dystopia in science fiction might be an acknowledgment of a city’s weaknesses taken to imaginative extremes, but where things are happening is a good way to read why they are happening in the first place.
Welcome to the new Toronto: the most fascinatingly boring city in the world
From the endless scandals of Rob Ford to the endless hits of Drake, Stephen Marche reveals the secret of his hometown’s transformation into the 21st century’s great post-industrial city
The definitive moment of the “new Toronto” took place, somewhat inevitably, in New York. On the TV variety show Saturday Night Live in May, Toronto’s hip-hop icon Drake played a gameshow contestant named Jared – a cheerful goof with dreadlocks and a red check shirt with a slight Caribbean lilt.
The skit, called Black Jeopardy, was a take on the long-running game show Jeopardy, using a series of African American cliches: uncles who wear long suits to church, the cost of hair weaves, the popularity of Tyler Perry movies, and so on.
UCLG World Congress 2019
The 2019 gathering will be the first UCLG Congress coinciding with the implementation phase of important global policies such as the New Urban Agenda, the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement. It will be the opportunity to present progress in the implementation of the SDGs and their impact at local level, at the same time allowing us to evaluate the evolution of the role of local and regional governments in the international agenda.
A call for candidatures to host the next Congress was launched in the first quarter of 2016 and several expressions of interest were sent to the World Secretariat.
Airbnb Creates an Affordable-Housing Dilemma for Cities
Cities are experimenting with ways to meet the goals of affordable housing while still reaping the benefits of the sharing economy.
Home-sharing services like Airbnb are creating an awkward dilemma for cities and counties, especially in areas where housing costs are high. Municipalities are struggling to balance the economic boost from the growth of home-sharing services with the pressing need for affordable housing.
Before we go any further, let’s put the considerable growth of such services into perspective. One study found that 400,000 Airbnb guests who visited New York City in 2012 and 2013 spent $632 million, supporting 4,580 jobs. As compared to tourists staying in hotels, Airbnb guests tended to stay two days longer and spent nearly $200 more at local businesses during their visit.
10 steps to fix a city
We often talk about cities needing to change their current development pattern, but we usually offer gentle suggestions intended to prod towns in the right direction a little at a time. What if we attacked this problem head-on instead?
For municipalities that want to become Strong Towns, here’s a list of what I see as the highest impact actions (not in any particular order) that would help restore a productive development pattern. This is a generic list, not tailored to any specific community, but the actions on this list would apply to the majority of North American towns.
Consumer interest in the IoT is waning
IoT developers are constantly promising more from the IoT, but a recent survey has shown that consumer demand for IoT devices is stalling.
Those working in the IoT industry believe that the barrier is a lack of standards, which means that users cannot control their devices from a single point of control. Others believe that consumers are still in the dark about what the ‘Internet of Things’ really means. But Mike Farley, CEO of smart location company Tile, believes that people aren’t adopting IoT because they don’t think it will make a real difference in their lives.
Can Asian Cities Lead the Way to a More Sustainable Future?
Asia’s urban population is growing at an unprecedented rate. It took 130 years for London to grow from 1 million to 8 million, but Bangkok did it in 45 years, Dhaka in 37 years, and Seoul in only 25 years. Asia’s rapid urbanization—driven by entrepreneurial and commercial dynamism—has been pivotal for its stellar growth, but often to the detriment of urban environments. Increasingly, the environmental downside of urbanization, rather than its economic upside, is in the public eye. The issues of how cities can continue to be drivers of growth—in an environmentally sustainable way—is rising on the development agenda.
Rotterdam's lesson - from harbour to hub
Cities have a major part to play in ensuring all their residents have the skills they need to be active and integrated members of society. This is a challenge mayors should embrace, writes Ahmed Aboutaleb.
Rotterdam’s port is one our most recognisable features, and for many years has been one of the main drivers of our economy and a major local employer. Since the 1980s however, employment at the port has been in steady decline. At the same time, our economy is diversifying, branching out into areas like health, distribution, consumer services, knowledge and education. These sectors require new skills, and as the city authority we see it as our role to ensure our citizens are equipped with the skills they need to keep pace with the changing labour market.
Further archived news available on request from: Kate More