SEPTEMBER 2016 NEWS
30/9/2016 - CIVITAS guidance on procuring sustainable urban mobility released
30/9/2016 - Making Protection Temporary? Bad Idea for Cities
30/9/2016 - Innovative urban apps feature crowdsourcing, virtual reality
29/9/2016 - Instead of Trump's Wall, Why Not a Binational Border City?
29/9/2016 - Are happier citizens making Singapore a smart city leader?
29/9/2016 - Can UK smart city projects harness $7B in private funding?
28/9/2016 - Better Housing for Refugees Means Better Housing For All
28/9/2016 - Fear and identity politics in urban spaces
28/9/2016 - Urban Adaptation Support Tool provides new insights into the links between adaptation and mitigation
28/9/2016 - Call for Lecturers Attending Habitat III
27/9/2016 - Mexico City works towards embedding Interculturality in its new Constitution
27/9/2016 - SINGA: Connecting Community, New and Old
27/9/2016 - Agreed final draft of the New Urban Agenda is now available
26/9/2016 - Strategies for increasing urban density — and livability
26/9/2016 - Futuristic cities that will take Africa's tourism industry by storm
26/9/2016 - Lessons From Cities Trying to Be Better Buyers
26/9/2016 - C-ITS and cities workshop
25/9/2016 - Learning from leading smart cities
25/9/2016 - National surveys on urban development and URBACT: Have a say!
25/9/2016 - Habitat III Village Projects
25/9/2016 - Transportation network companies present challenges and opportunities in Asia’s booming cities
24/9/2016 - China's tallest skyscraper claims to be world's greenest
24/9/2016 - Which European Cities Have the Most Affordable Housing?
24/9/2016 - Technology is only an enabler in smart city push
24/9/2016 - Big-Box Stores Battle Local Governments Over Property Taxes
23/9/2016 - Final lap before Quito – speaking up for local governments’ role in the new Urban Agenda
23/9/2016 - Taxi Drivers, Your Job has an Expiry Date
23/9/2016 - US city leaders launch smart city consultancy
23/9/2016 - Women in the City #1 : The Sex Ratio
22/9/2016 - Driverless cars could lead to transport revolution, new approach to urban planning
22/9/2016 - DublinDashboard – Knowing and Governing Cities Through Real-Time Dashboards
22/9/2016 - Home to colossal urban population, India is ignoring Habitat III
22/9/2016 - World’s first vehicle-to-grid hub opens in Copenhagen
21/9/2016 - Rio Olympics’ Legacy: Urban Mobility
21/9/2016 - Crowdfunding to facilitate neighbourhood ideas
21/9/2016 - Urban trees boost health and land values
21/9/2016 - This City Runs on Donations
20/9/2016 - ICLEI launches Community for Towns, Cities and Provinces of Small Island States
20/9/2016 - The gap between effective and nominal access to infrastructure services
20/9/2016 - A city is for all its citizens
20/9/2016 - Paris divided: two-mile highway by Seine goes car-free for six months
19/9/2016 - Children particularly vulnerable to poor air quality
19/9/2016 - Creating Sustainable Cities by 'Reimagining the Civic Commons'
19/9/2016 - Mobility data helps to reveal urban pollution exposure
19/9/2016 - Megacities to receive technical support for low-carbon, resilient transportation projects
18/9/2016 - Nairobi meeting stresses synergy between airports and city stakeholders
18/9/2016 - Proposal for a European year of Cultural Heritage (2018): What’s in it for cities?
18/9/2016 - Cities Alive: Towards a walking world
18/9/2016 - Call for FLOW Market Followers: apply by 31 October 2016!
17/9/2016 - Intelligent Urbanization: Report from the Urban Age-Conference 2016
17/9/2016 - How Cardiff turned a polluted bay into one of Europe’s best waterfronts
17/9/2016 - Over 250 cities have joined the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy
17/9/2016 - A tale of more cities: Are we reducing our impact on the Earth by sharing it?
16/9/2016 - Turning Run-Down City Land into Examples of Equitable Green Infrastructure
16/9/2016 - Making your development cooperation project a success: PLATFORMA's guide
16/9/2016 - Old Urbanization Patterns Won't Help a New China
16/9/2016 - Join the UCLG-Philips Webinar: Sustainable City Lighting
15/9/2016 - Indian government allots 333% more funds for urban infrastructure
15/9/2016 - Historic consensus reached on ‘right to the city’ in New Urban Agenda
15/9/2016 - Urban Violence: A Challenge of Epidemic Proportions
15/9/2016 - Sydney's largest urban renewal project aims to recycle more water than it uses
14/9/2016 - EUKN to host side event at Habitat III Conference in Quito
14/9/2016 - Smart Cities vs Locked-In Cities
14/9/2016 - Greater Manchester releases its strategy to improve urban freight distribution
14/9/2016 - Autonomous shuttle starts trial in Lyon
13/9/2016 - Countdown to listen to cities at Habitat III
13/9/2016 - Brexit: How Will It Affect The Urban Entrepreneurial Community?
13/9/2016 - Why the high cost of big-city living is bad for everyone
13/9/2016 - Debates and discoveries at Climate Chance in Nantes
12/9/2016 - Dance like a Swedish street sign: how to rejuvenate a town centre
12/9/2016 - New call for city twinning on climate change adaptation
12/9/2016 - Transport and mobility in the New Urban Agenda
11/9/2016 - Milan Food Pact looking for best urban food practices
11/9/2016 - Hungary to spend millions developing cycling routes
11/9/2016 - Rethinking The Commute With Intermodality In Leipzig
11/9/2016 - Finalists of UCLG City of Bogotá Peace Prize announced
10/9/2016 - Seminar discusses role of 'flexible' public transport
10/9/2016 - Electromobility – Overview, Examples, Approaches.
10/9/2016 - San Francisco Wants You to Design Its Future Transit System
10/9/2016 - 5 Common Headaches on Government Websites
9/9/2016 - Cities Get Support for Dismantling Systemic Racism
9/9/2016 - Policy paper on automated vehicles
9/9/2016 - The Benefits of Helping Struggling Cities
9/9/2016 - Youth, sports and urban space discussed at Olympics
8/9/2016 - How Street Safety Advocates Can Support Racial Justice
8/9/2016 - Brazil’s favelas pay price of hosting Olympics
8/9/2016 - Plans for Sihanoukville to Become ‘Smart City’ of the Future
8/9/2016 - Urban design: Cool districts need authentic, fine-grained foundation
7/9/2016 - Nominate your candidate for the World Mayor Prize
7/9/2016 - Study shows one-way carsharing cuts traffic
7/9/2016 - Why Bicycling Infrastructure Fails Bicyclists
7/9/2016 - Have UN Member States listened to cities in the latest draft of the New Urban Agenda for Habitat III?
6/9/2016 - Historic Reform to Transform the Urban Model in Mexico
6/9/2016 - UN-Cities? Rumoured proposal gains steam
6/9/2016 - Has China Reached Peak Urbanization?
6/9/2016 - Urban health management in megacities
5/9/2016 - Wake up, San Francisco: Other cities have problems, too
5/9/2016 - Smart bricks would enable walls to generate electricity
5/9/2016 - Millennials Bring New Life to Some Rust Belt Cities
5/9/2016 - The impact of the refugee crisis on social services in Europe
4/9/2016 - How to combine adaptation and mitigation actions
4/9/2016 - New tree ordinance could give Sacramento’s urban forest closer scrutiny
4/9/2016 - Asian urban experts root for citywide public space strategies
4/9/2016 - Retrofitting: A housing policy that saves lives
3/9/2016 - Can design halt the flood of gentrification?
3/9/2016 - Unlocking the collaborative capacity of the city
3/9/2016 - Fordlandia – the failure of Henry Ford's utopian city in the Amazon
3/9/2016 - Building permanent paths out of poverty
2/9/2016 - Buenos Aires uses crowdsourcing to drive innovation
2/9/2016 - Urban Planners’ New Enemy
2/9/2016 - The limits of data-driven approaches to planning
2/9/2016 - How can towns and cities find innovative ways to finance energy efficiency in public buildings?
1/9/2016 - Reclaiming the streets ... for cars? Why Bucharest is reining in outdoor events
1/9/2016 - Does Place Matter Anymore? Cities and the 2016 Election
1/9/2016 - Harnessing the Power of Indigenous Cultures for Better Cities
1/9/2016 - Safer buildings are the key to a disaster resilient future
CIVITAS guidance on procuring sustainable urban mobility released
CIVITAS has released new guidance on public procurement that provides local and regional policymakers and transport practitioners with policy reflections and practical insight from European procurement experts.
Making Protection Temporary? Bad Idea for Cities
Thomas Jezequel, EUROCITIES, argues that making protection temporary will be “detrimental to integration and social cohesion in cities”:
To quote the article kicking off this debate, “More and more, the refugee and migratory mobility towards the EU is viewed openly by the EU organs through the lenses of border security.”
Cities do not have this luxury. While member states are often reluctant to act, many major cities are the one taking their responsibilities when refugees inevitably end up crossing borders and settling in Europe. It means that the reception and integration infrastructure in cities must be properly funded by the national and European levels. Any attempt at making protection temporary will be counterproductive and detrimental to integration and social cohesion in cities.
Innovative urban apps feature crowdsourcing, virtual reality
A new wave of cutting-edge apps and platforms rely on cowdsourcing and virtual reality to help cities tackle everything from problem solving to cartography.
Molly Anders reports for Devex on four urban innovations featured at the Lab Laboo Smart Cities Exhibition at the recent Convergences World Forum in Paris.
Smart Favela is an award-winning computer program that uses virtual reality to enable developers to visualize new projects and monitor progress. After taking last year’s Convergence Prize, the software is being utilized by Bordeaux and Paris to assist with city planning, the article says.
Instead of Trump's Wall, Why Not a Binational Border City?
A Mexican architect has a utopian vision for a walkable city straddling the U.S.-Mexico border.
Donald Trump keeps talking about the big, beautiful wall he’s going to erect on the U.S.-Mexican border. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton wants to build bridges—metaphorical ones, that is.
Mexican architect Fernando Romero has taken a more literal approach to Clinton’s proposition. He’s long been a proponent of “building bridges,” and believes that boundaries are obsolete. “With technology, those borders are just becoming symbolic limits,” he recently told Dezeen Magazine. "The reality is that there exists a very strong mutual dependency of economies and trades." That’s why he has now designed a master plan for a walkable, super-connected metropolis straddling the U.S.-Mexico border.
Are happier citizens making Singapore a smart city leader?
While many governments are recent converts to the smart city ideology, Singapore has been a movement leader for decades. And the Asian city-state is about to ramp up its efforts with its soon-to-be-unveiled Smart Nations strategy.
The GovTech site features a lengthy discussion with Singapore’s CIO Chan Cheow Hoe which serves as a master-class in smart city planning.
Over the years Chan says one of Singapore’s biggest revelations is that effective smart city programs must be first and foremost customer-centric.
“The whole idea is to first establish a relationship…and a point of trust between government and the people,” he says.
Can UK smart city projects harness $7B in private funding?
New research identifies nearly $7 billion in funding for U.K. smart city projects if players can tap into flows of private capital.
An article by UK Authority discusses the recent smart city research paper by Siemens Financial Services. The paper modeled private sector financing opportunities to make up the shortfall in public funds for British smart city projects.
After looking at private funding sources in 13 countries, the study concluded that the U.K. could rustle up $6.98 billion for such projects.
Better Housing for Refugees Means Better Housing For All
Waves of migration are no longer isolated events. They’re the norm. It makes sense for cities to be ready. The upside? Being ready means better services, infrastructure, access and inclusion for all in the city. In Münster, Germany, this is being put to the test.
Building resilient cities to weather catastrophic shocks and stresses is not new. Including human migration, fueled by massive human movements into Europe, is a newer phenomenon. Urban planning can’t solve the refugee crisis. But it can better take into account increasing mobility and the opportunities diversity brings.
Fear and identity politics in urban spaces
Cities across the world have to come to terms with something not usually discussed in urban studies: fear. The extent of fear can vary from anticipating death in Aleppo to women in Delhi hesitating to step out alone after dark; it can range from fear of a terrorist attack to fear of violence during a bandh. But there is little doubt cities have increasingly to come to terms with fearful citizens. And a surprising response has been to fall back on identity politics.
Urban Adaptation Support Tool provides new insights into the links between adaptation and mitigation
The Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy promotes integrated mitigation and adaptation action. For many cities, adaptation is a rather unknown topic. Therefore, the Covenant provides practical guidance and knowledge to support adaptation planning and implementation to signatory cities as well as to any other interested cities, towns or stakeholders in Europe and beyond through its Urban Adaptation Support Tool.
Call for Lecturers Attending Habitat III
UN-Habitat is looking for new potential lecturers for the 4th season of the Global Urban Lectures. Experts interested in participating in the lectures who are already travelling to Quito for Habitat III will have the opportunity to record their lecture during the course of the conference.
Mexico City works towards embedding Interculturality in its new Constitution
Mexico City has just started a new path concerning its administrative status. Last 29th January the federal Constitution was reformed to devolve power from the federal government. The very first step was the setting-up of a Constitutional Assembly of Mexico City with the mandate of preparing a new constitution that will recognize Mexico City as a federal entity, giving it the same status as the other 31 States that compose the nation called United Mexican States. The new constitution should be approved by 31st January 2017.
Interculturality and human mobility are mentioned in several of the constitutional dispositions that appear in the first draft version of the text, confirming the commitment of Mexico City to realise the diversity advantage and fully implement the Council of Europe Programme on “Intercultural Cities (ICC).”
SINGA: Connecting Community, New and Old
Connecting refugees to their new city and community. Can such a simple idea spawn an organization that inspires a community and creates a global movement for change? Enter SINGA.
In 2012, the Paris-based founders of SINGA were not content to simply create better integration outcomes for refugees. They wanted to create social inclusion, value the contributions, talents and presence of refugees, and change the discourse around refugees.
Agreed final draft of the New Urban Agenda is now available
The Habitat III Conference draws closer once again with the 'Agreed Final Draft' of the Habitat III New Urban Agenda. The Final Draft is the follow-up of the Zero Draft that was adopted at the Surabaya Prepcom in August. The New Urban Agenda has finally been agreed on at the Habitat III Informal Intergovernmental Meeting which took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 7 to 10 September 2016.
Strategies for increasing urban density — and livability
Urban sprawl is not just an eyesore. The increased pollution, wear and tear on roads and public transit infrastructure comes with costs in terms of money and livability.
Alexander Starritt writes for Apolitical that cities around the globe are taking some bold and innovative steps to contain mushrooming growth. The article, available on Fast Company, is the second in a 10-part series on How to Build the Perfect City.
Kigali, Rwanda and Toronto, Canada have enacted laws requiring their cities to expand upward, not outward, the article says. Medellin, Colombia is building a barrier around the city to halt sprawl. A 46-mile circular garden will serve as a buffer, and provide some much-needed recreational space.
Futuristic cities that will take Africa's tourism industry by storm
Inspired by the need to provide sustainable living for her people, including access to sustainable energy, transport and housing; Africa is seen to take up the tech challenge by investing billions of dollars in the development of tech futuristic cities. The continent is surely making a global mark with its avant-garde innovations, from cutting edge cities to mobile money payment technologies; a move that has attracted the attention of global innovators such as Facebook's Founder Mark Zuckerberg.
While almost every sector of the African economy is set to benefit from the innovations, the tourism industry will no doubt have a big share from the developments. Sprouting tech cities will become major tourist attractions; if not for the magnificent beauty, for proof to many that Africa is not about desolation but rather of absolute determination to overcome all odds and stand tall in the face of the world.
Lessons From Cities Trying to Be Better Buyers
Chicago and many other municipalities are focusing on reforming the rigid and inconsistent rules of procurement.
Trice Construction was frustrated. For years, the Chicago contractor for sidewalks, curbs, gutters, foundations and pavement had been dealing with the procurement process in the city and its six independent agencies: the housing authority, the park district, public schools, the transit authority, city colleges and the public building commission.
C-ITS and cities workshop
The third ‘C-ITS and cities’ workshop, organised jointly by the CIMEC and CODECS project, will take place in Barcelona during the afternoon of Monday, 14 November 2016.
The purpose of this event is threefold:
to respond to city questions about what is C-ITS and what it can (and cannot) do,
to provide information about the deployment status and plans of the main stakeholders (vehicle manufacturers, system suppliers, motorway operators and cities!)
and finally to gather feedback on the urban use cases for C-ITS, which have been developed in both the CIMEC and CODECS projects.
Learning from leading smart cities
When it comes to smart city rankings, European cities often dominate the tables, and we should use these cities as best-practice models for future city development.
Juniper Research has stated that sixty percent of the world’s leading smart cities are based in Europe, and there are a number of successful initiatives within these cities that other cities should strive to emulate. Amsterdam is home to a number of smart trials, and a study by MIT Sloan Management Review identified several takeaways from smart city development in Amsterdam.
National surveys on urban development and URBACT: Have a say!
URBACT has recently contracted 19 National URBACT Points covering 21 European countries to communicate and organise activities for cities in national languages.
To better understand the way urban practitioners perceive and work on urban issues and to identify how URBACT can help them in this work, National URBACT Points have launched surveys in their languages destined to local authorities, urban experts and policy-makers on urban development.
Habitat III Village Projects
Urban solutions, projects, and interventions as a live model and legacy of the New Urban Agenda in Quito
Habitat III selected more than 40 proposals for the Habitat III Village ‘a unique space open to all where urban innovations and solutions will be showcased to reflect on urban planning, management and sustainable development’.
Transportation network companies present challenges and opportunities in Asia’s booming cities
Since the advent of the automobile roughly a century ago, there has been relatively little innovation in the way people move around cities and suburbs. That relative stasis changed just a few short years ago. Transportation network companies (TNCs), an industry that began as a set of startups in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, have created a viable travel alternative in many places worldwide. As long as smartphones, GPS navigation, and roads exist, TNCs can offer shared rides in any urban context.
This is certainly the case in South and Southeast Asia, where cities from Beijing to New Delhi prove that emerging economies are an especially fertile ground to adopt new urban mobility models. Surging populations and growing economic clout have made Asian cities big business for TNCs. The recent $8-billion merger between Uber China and Didi Chuxing is just the latest seismic shift in a fast-growing, unstable marketplace.
China's tallest skyscraper claims to be world's greenest
The Shanghai Tower is another in a long list of ambitious skyscrapers competing fiercely for sustainability credentials as well as height. But how ‘green’ are these buildings – and is environmentalism really the motivation?
Which European Cities Have the Most Affordable Housing?
Residents may think they know, but a massive new report suggests a far more complex reality.
If you want to live in a European city where residents think affordable housing is easy to come by, avoid London and head for Ljubljana. That's one of the possible conclusions to draw from a massive new report on European cities published by the E.U.
Technology is only an enabler in smart city push
Digital is spurring a new kind of urban growth in the Middle East, with Dubai aiming to be the world’s smartest city. Essentially, the smart city is viewed as the interconnection of services available in a city such as transport, energy and other utilities, including maintaining of security and managing crisis in the event of a disaster.
Laying down the foundations of a smart city is no longer solely for architects and engineers. Computer programmers, software architects and a host of other tech experts are very much part of the process. Telecom is no longer about ‘dumb’ pipes that involve the laying of cables. It is now about ensuring that connectivity can effectively deliver the needs of urban residents.
Big-Box Stores Battle Local Governments Over Property Taxes
The retailers are deploying a ‘dark store’ strategy that’s hurting cities and counties around the country.
On Michigan’s sparsely populated Upper Peninsula, big-box stores are a modern necessity. Where towns are spaced far apart and winters are long, one-stop shopping to load up on supplies adds a crucial convenience to what can be -- at least for many -- a rugged existence.
Final lap before Quito – speaking up for local governments’ role in the new Urban Agenda
“Although in Flanders two thirds of public investments are done by local governments, VVSG has not yet received any invitation from the Belgian government to take part in the country’s delegation to Habitat III [final conference].” Declared Betty de Wachter from CEMR’s Flemish association, the Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (VVSG), regarding the seat at the global table.
Betty de Wachter was speaking on behalf of PLATFORMA at the UN City Hall Talk on the Habitat III process, organised by the UN Training Centre for Smart Sustainability (CIFAL) on August 30 in Antwerp (Belgium).
Taxi Drivers, Your Job has an Expiry Date
Autonomous vehicles are already in production and big city taxi drivers could be out of a job in 10 years, including those for Uber and Lyft.
It may take 5, 10, or in some cases 20 years, but the taxi driver’s job is destined to disappear. By 2025 most major cities in Europe, Asia and North America will be served by autonomous vehicles that will take the traditional role of taxis.
Autonomous ride-sharing and ride-hailing services are the future for Uber and Lyft, too. Both companies are actively investing millions of dollars, through partnerships with technology companies, car manufacturers, and academic institutions, to develop and launch driverless taxi services in five years. Trials and pilot programs –with human drivers as a backup– are already underway. The arrival of driverless vehicles is the end game for the ride-sharing companies, as they will no longer need to deal with the burden of having to pay drivers, nor face strikes and protests over fares and terms of employment.
US city leaders launch smart city consultancy
Former leaders of a number of major US cities are joining together to create a smart city ‘supergroup’.
The group, whose members have consulted for cities such as L.A., Seattle and Denver, will be known as the CityFi consultancy. They will be working with city governments to advise them on the deployment of connected sensor technologies, and with private sector organisations that are interested in collaborating with municipalities on smart initiatives. The group believe that, “businesses need open-minded governments and those same governments need private sector innovation for mutual success”.
Women in the City #1 : The Sex Ratio
When looking at the sex ratio of European countries, there are two general facts that have to be taken into account: First, more boys than girls are being born; around 105 boys to 100 girls and secondly, women usually reach an older age than men. Historically speaking, the European population has therefore had a slightly female dominated population. However, this is not the case everywhere in Europe anymore. The surplus of women in Eastern Europe will be discussed first, then I will talk about the sudden shift of males in Northern Europe and lastly, the tendency of higher female populations in cities will be explained.
Driverless cars could lead to transport revolution, new approach to urban planning
Leading planning experts say self-driving, or driverless cars, could eventually bring about the end of individual car ownership, and a new approach on urban planning.
Professor Robyn Dowling, a planning expert with University of Sydney, believes the rise of shared transport services like Uber and GoGet point to a future where private companies will offer affordable, driverless services to the public.
"I see driverless cars probably replicating the experience of car sharing as individuals — so you could call up a car from your smart phone, to pick you up for a short journey," she told the Australia Wide program.
DublinDashboard – Knowing and Governing Cities Through Real-Time Dashboards
The Dublin Dashboard provides citizens, public sector workers and companies with real-time information, time-series indicator data, and interactive maps about all aspects of the city. It enables users to gain detailed, up to date intelligence about the city that aids everyday decision-making and fosters evidence-informed analysis.
Home to colossal urban population, India is ignoring Habitat III
The Modi government has unveiled an unprecedented focus on cities, but it has barely engaged in discussions over the New Urban Agenda.
Mohandas K. Gandhi, revered by Indians as the father of the nation, famously said, “The soul of India lives in its villages.” Yet for decades, the “city” was almost invisible in the country’s policy discourse.
Today, the situation has changed dramatically. India can no longer ignore the city — even if it wanted to do so.
World’s first vehicle-to-grid hub opens in Copenhagen
A Danish utility company has installed the world’s first fully commercial hub where electric vehicles can send electricity back to the grid.
Frederiksberg Forsyning (FF) - which supplies the municipality of Frederiksberg with gas, water and district heating – is hosting 10 vehicle-to-grid (V2G) units at its headquarters in Copenhagen.
Rio Olympics’ Legacy: Urban Mobility
The Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the first South American city to host the modern games, famously faced challenges in the run-up to the event – from construction delays to a polluted venue to worries about the Zika virus and urban crime – many of which have been overcome. But there’s a question that always comes up for Olympic cities after the torch is extinguished: was it worth for its residents? In Rio’s case, as for previous Olympic host cities, the long-term benefit may be in doubt, but is definitely yes when it comes to public transport.
In advance of the games, the length of mass transit systems in Rio, mostly Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) were more than double what had been promised for the Olympics, from 76 to 156 kilometers (47 to 97 miles). The downtown Light Rail System (LRT) was not part of the Olympic transit promise, while metro extension increased from 4 to 16 km (2.5 to 10 miles).
Crowdfunding to facilitate neighbourhood ideas
How the Greater London Authority uses crowdfunding to build projects — and community.
In a time of fiscal austerity, crowdfunding is a way to keep momentum behind community projects as it allows the actual implementation of neighborhood ideas. The Greater London authority has set up a crowdfunding pilot programme to look at how the Mayor can pledge funding to citizen-led projects and contribute toward community-driven ideas for improving urban spaces.
Urban trees boost health and land values
Where would you rather be? In a city full of parks and tree-lined streets? Or in a city of concrete and glass?
You probably don’t need a study to know. But many recent studies are proving what we already know, that green urban landscapes give a psychological boost, making us feel happier and more relaxed. Scientists also documented that urban street trees provide measurable physical benefits.
This City Runs on Donations
Small family foundations are increasingly funding parks, neighborhood revitalization, education and more. What’s next for urban-focused philanthropy?
The July 11 press conference at Berston Field House looked more like a party. A staple on Flint, Michigan’s north side, the community center has basketball courts inside and out, as well as exercise rooms. Opened in 1923, Berston’s facilities have produced a Heisman Trophy winner and an Olympic gold medalist. It’s a safe haven for many kids on the north side — a part of the city where high crime, blight and homelessness are common.
ICLEI launches Community for Towns, Cities and Provinces of Small Island States
The towns and cities of small island and archipelago-based nations are some of the most vulnerable, diverse, and rapidly growing urban centers anywhere in the
world, acting as crucial gateways to sustainable development for the citizens of Small Island Developing States. Yet they are often overlooked by international urban resilience policies and programs due to the small populations involved.
The gap between effective and nominal access to infrastructure services
Amina and her family had recently moved to their new house on the outskirts of Dakar, Senegal. It was built by the government to relocate families from low-lying and flood-prone neighborhoods in the city. The house was small for her extended family of ten, but it was water that she worried about. I was puzzled. Usually people complain that water connection costs are too high, but she received that connection for free—the meter and tap were right there in her front yard. Why did she worry?
“We locked the tap. The water bills are too high. We can’t use this water…,” she said.
It was 2008 and Amina was not alone. Research in poorer neighborhoods of Dakar found scores of households who had benefitted from the subsidized water connections policy in Dakar but did not rely on this supply. It was too expensive. Rather, they often relied on community water taps and “wells”—even though they knew that this water was not usually safe for drinking. When used for bathing, it sometimes caused skin eruptions.
A city is for all its citizens
“Universal” is a tricky word. It has an enormous appeal, an unquestioned romance of taking everyone along. Universal human rights, universal access to basic services, housing for all. It is the barometer of inclusion done right. The dark side of the romance is that it’s one of the hardest things to achieve. Often the “universal” is a vanishing horizon and, like all horizons, the mirage is what makes you lose sight of the very real trade-offs and constraints in your way.
This week the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) announced a new horizon towards the idea of universal access to a basic urban service and human need: water. The “Jal Adhikar Connection” (a Right to Water Connection) promises to let households within slums in Delhi apply for legal, metered water connections “irrespective of the status of their residence.” This move — following the Government of Delhi’s already given pledge to extend water and sanitation services to unauthorised colonies — implies that legal, public and metered water could (like electricity) actually cover the city as it exists rather than as it is imagined in plans and laws.
Paris divided: two-mile highway by Seine goes car-free for six months
A busy expressway on the right bank is being pedestrianised for a six-month trial – and socialist city hall hopes to keep it car-free for good. The issue has bitterly divided Parisians, with some saying the closure will bring traffic to a standstill
Children particularly vulnerable to poor air quality
All being well, children are physically more active than adults and children are growing. So you’d think that good air quality is even more important for children than it is for adults. But what do we see? The majority of our children grow up in increasingly polluted cities and poorly ventilated homes and schools!
A group of medical and geographical/economic scientists at Umeå University in Sweden compared the medicinal treatment of psychiatric disorders among practically the entire urban population under 18 with the degree to which the group would have been exposed to polluted air, based on their location, over a period of 3.5 years.
Creating Sustainable Cities by 'Reimagining the Civic Commons'
Akron, Memphis, Chicago, and Detroit will split $40 million in funding for small, local projects “at the bottom of every mayor’s budget list.”
Four foundations will join forces to fund civic projects in four cities for a full $40 million. But instead of big anchor projects, this initiative is focusing on the little guys—on a bet that the investment will pay off in equitable revitalization, to be enjoyed by many, not just neighborhood elites.
Mobility data helps to reveal urban pollution exposure
Using mobile phone data to track people’s movement can help to provide a more detailed picture of urban exposure to pollution, new research has concluded.
Typically cities calculate levels of exposure to particulate matter based on air quality readings from fixed locations.
But a study led by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and focusing on New York City found that exposure levels differed significantly when the daily movement of 8.5 million people was accounted for.
Megacities to receive technical support for low-carbon, resilient transportation projects
Research by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) and other organisations identified access to finance as one of the most significant barriers that mayors and city leaders face in delivering on their climate change plans for their cities. This challenge is particularly acute in cities from developing countries and emerging economies where there is a shortage of expertise in securing investment for infrastructure projects.
To help address this challenge, the C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF) was launched at the Climate Summit for Local Leaders at Paris City Hall during the COP21 negotiations in December 2015. The CFF is currently funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and supported by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). Delivery of technical assistance is coordinated jointly by C40 and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
Nairobi meeting stresses synergy between airports and city stakeholders
Over 40 experts representing aviation and city constituencies agreed to explore ways of strengthening collaboration and cooperation between airports and urban areas. The Expert Group Meeting (EGM) was recently co-convened by UN-Habitat and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Proposal for a European year of Cultural Heritage (2018): What’s in it for cities?
The European Commission has proposed that 2018 should be the European year of Cultural Heritage.
The proposal was announced on 30 August. The overall objective of the European Year shall be to encourage and support – notably through the exchange of experiences and good practices – the efforts of the EU, member states, regional and local authorities to protect, safeguard, reuse, enhance, valorise and promote cultural heritage in the EU.
Cities Alive: Towards a walking world
Mobility is intrinsic to the quality of life experienced in cities. But for the past century, the car has dominated how we plan and grow our urban areas. We must now seize the opportunity to place people back at the heart of our cities and drive a human focused approach to the design of the built environment. With a growing desire to create more liveable streets, a light needs to be shone upon the benefits of walking as a catalyst for developing sustainable, healthy, prosperous and attractive cities. From 70 years of practice, Arup recognises that a walkable city is a better city and that the more we walk, the better the city in every respect.
Call for FLOW Market Followers: apply by 31 October 2016!
20-30 FLOW Market Followers will be selected to take part in a series of FREE online exchange and e-learning activities. Market Followers will be companies (e.g. apps developers, consultants) that offer innovative walking and cycling-related products and services targeted at cities that could play a role in congestion reduction.
Intelligent Urbanization: Report from the Urban Age-Conference 2016
By 2050, over 70% of the world’s population will live in cities. What will these cities look like? Which developments and who exactly will characterize these cities? How will the central challenges of the urban age – social inequality, climate change, urban growth and governance – be felt by urban citizens?
In the context of the Urban Age Conference, presented by LSE Cities, UN Habitat III and the Alfred Herrhausen Society as part of the 15th Biennale of Architecture in Venice, over 40 experts from 25 countries from the fields of politics, architecture and city planning discussed this and more on July 14 & 15, 2016. The role of architecture in the urbanization process as well as the role of the city itself as an important social transformation tool were discussed in an inspiring round of discussions and interesting talks on urban planning approaches to expansion and densification.
How Cardiff turned a polluted bay into one of Europe’s best waterfronts
Cardiff, Wales — This city’s bayfront is often packed with people: families boarding tour boats, office workers enjoying a waterside lunch, theatergoers out strolling before a performance, and fans of the TV show Doctor Who emerging from tours of the BBC studios where the series is made.
It wasn’t always this way.
Over 250 cities have joined the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy
Nearly one year after its inception, the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is a success story. The "world's biggest urban climate and energy initiative" has already attracted over 250 cities in this short period of time.
The Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is an avant-garde bottom-up initiative, that brings together local and regional authorities voluntarily committed to implementing the EU climate and energy objectives on their territory. Signatories share a vision of decarbonised and resilient cities, where citizens have access to secure, sustainable and affordable energy.
A tale of more cities: Are we reducing our impact on the Earth by sharing it?
Humanity used up a year's worth of the Earth's resources in just seven months this year, calculate scientists at the Global Footprint Network. And, with the human population projected to hit 9.7 billion by 2050, that impact may only get worse.
But there's hope, according to another group of scientists. Even as global populations continue to rise, the growth of our collective "human footprint" on our planet may be slowing down.
While the human population grew by 23 percent between 1993 and 2009, the overall amount of land impacted by human activity grew by just 9 percent during the same period, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. This suggests that humans are becoming more efficient in our use of the Earth, and this may largely be due to urbanization.
Turning Run-Down City Land into Examples of Equitable Green Infrastructure
Establishing parks in underserved neighborhoods benefits the surrounding communities and can make a city a little more sustainable. Four cities just landed $1.75 million to un-pave the way.
A while back we highlighted a program run by the American Planning Association and National Recreation and Park Association, to advance green infrastructure in low-income communities and communities of color. The Great Urban Parks Campaign recently awarded a combined $1.75 million in funds to four cities—Atlanta, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Denver—to either turn unused plots of land into parks, or to overhaul existing parks and add sustainability features.
Making your development cooperation project a success: PLATFORMA's guide
PLATFORMA has published a handbook on how to make city-to-city and region-to-region decentralised cooperation projects a success! It is intended to help many local and regional governments all around the world.
Access to European funding for development cooperation programmes remains difficult. Many programmes are actually available to towns and regions, but they don’t necessarily know they exist, or often wrongly assume they’re limited to civil society organisations.
Old Urbanization Patterns Won't Help a New China
China’s unprecedented growth since reforms began in the late 1970s has been accompanied by an equally transformative process of urbanisation. China’s urbanisation rate increased from 17.9 to 54.8 percent between 1978 and 2014, which represents the largest peacetime population movement in human history. The transfer of labour from the agricultural sector and rural areas to non-agricultural sectors and urban areas in China underwrote the world’s fastest sustained period of economic growth in the past three decades.
Migration-driven urbanisation in China has helped the country meet strong demand for labour. The pace of labour migration from rural to urban areas is inevitably related to economic opportunity. China’s economic slowdown is evidenced by the fact that the number of urban workers with local hukou (household registration) peaked in 2010 and has been declining since.
Join the UCLG-Philips Webinar: Sustainable City Lighting
Attend this webinar and learn how local governments can save cost and reduce emissions
With the Paris Agreement at COP21 world leaders agreed to collectively address climate change, aiming to move our planet towards a more sustainable future.
Already about 54% of global population lives in cities, and the ‘powering’ all required activities and services in cities corresponds to close to 75% of global carbon emissions. In fact public lighting alone accounts on average for half of a cities’ energy bill. Making the switch to connected LED-lighting can cut those costs by sometimes up to 80%. And perhaps even more importantly such a transition contributes to improving urban safety and quality of life.
Indian government allots 333% more funds for urban infrastructure
Union Minister for Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu said that the government has committed assistance of Rs 1.13 lakh crore for improving urban infrastructure, which is an increase of 333% from Rs 33,902 crore that UPA had approved during its tenure of 10 years under JNNURM.
The minister claimed that the government, during 2004-14, had approved the construction of 13.7 lakh houses for the urban poor whereas the present government has approved the construction of 9 lakh houses during the last one year. Naidu also said the central government has “mainstreamed” the urban agenda by ending the longstanding neglect to improve living conditions in cities and towns.
Historic consensus reached on ‘right to the city’ in New Urban Agenda
Advocates say they’re ready to accept the compromise, which would see the term included for the first time in an internationally negotiated document.
A major hurdle has been cleared in the final negotiations on the New Urban Agenda, the U.?N.’s new 20-year urbanization strategy, with governments tentatively reaching a deal on a controversial concept known as the “right to the city”.
Urban Violence: A Challenge of Epidemic Proportions
In the early 1990s, fear of crime and violence was a defining feature of life in Medellin, Colombia’s second-largest city. In 1991, the homicide rate peaked at a staggering 381 per 100,000 inhabitants, making Medellin the most violent place on earth.
Fast-forward 25 years: homicides have plummeted to about 20 per 100,000 inhabitants, and Medellin now ranks as one of the most livable and innovative cities in Latin America. Several other cities in the region have achieved similar progress, such as Cali in Colombia, or Diadema in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo.
This was no coincidence. Each of these three cities managed to reduce crime and violence significantly by implementing programs that were tailored to their specific situation and sought to eradicate the root causes of violence.
Sydney's largest urban renewal project aims to recycle more water than it uses
The developers have built an onsite treatment plant in an effort to conserve, recycle and export water, but no one has signed up yet
Sun, sea and sand might be among Australia’s finest selling points but this combination comes at a cost, given the country is also the driest inhabited continent in the world.
With a drop in average annual rainfall in recent years, ominous climate change projections and an ever-increasing population, the federal government has begun releasing billions of dollars in funding to help realise the water infrastructure required to support the growth of regional economies.
EUKN to host side event at Habitat III Conference in Quito
The European Urban Knowledge Network (EUKN) is proud to announce that it will host a side event at the UN Habitat III Conference in Quito coming October. The EUKN side event is among a select number of proposals chosen for the conference. The side event is titled “Building Bridges between the EU and the Global Urban Agenda: an Interregional Debate on New Urban Governance”, and will zoom in on the relation between the New Urban Agenda and the Urban Agenda for the EU.
Smart Cities vs Locked-In Cities
One of the key issues facing modern cities today is to avoid municipalities being locked in to technology from a single provider, and to ensure they are free to transition to the most convenient products and services for citizens offered by competitors
As more and more cities launch projects to become smart, a substantial need is emerging: the ability to share the various models across the world so that they can be replicated anywhere.
Greater Manchester releases its strategy to improve urban freight distribution
The Greater Manchester (GM) Freight and Logistics Strategy was released on 29 July 2016. The strategy is aligned with, and will support the delivery of the Northern Freight Strategy and the GM Low Emissions Strategy.
The vision for freight in GM is that a significant proportion of medium and long distance flows will be transported to and from the city region by rail or water, for storage in warehouses within GM; and that urban deliveries and collections will be by low emission vehicles. The high level objective is to support and encourage economic growth whilst reducing the negative impact of such on the environment and population.
Autonomous shuttle starts trial in Lyon
On street trialling of a new electric, driverless and fully autonomous public transport service known as ‘NAVLY’ has been launched in the French city of Lyon this week.
The trial by intelligent mobility specialist Navya and public transport operator Keolis involves two autonomous shuttles which will travel a 1350m circuit in the Confluence district, adjacent to the Saône river.
The collaborators claim that the project marks the first implementation of this form of transport around the world. It is hoped that NAVLY – which is intended to be an innovative ‘last mile’ transportation solution – will become an enduring, long lasting service for the city.
Countdown to listen to cities at Habitat III
The informal negotiations in New York from 7-9 September marked the beginning of the countdown to the adoption of the New Urban Agenda at Habitat III. Hundreds of urban experts, members of civil society, and citizens have joined the #Listen2Cities campaign launched by global networks of local and regional governments in May.
The #Listen2Cities campaign calls on national governments and the international community to listen to cities and territories in the Habitat III negotiations. While UN member states will adopt the New Urban Agenda, it will be local and regional governments who will implement it, and who have years of experience in solving real problems in cities.
Brexit: How Will It Affect The Urban Entrepreneurial Community?
Are you an urban entrepreneur / SME? Or are you working with this thriving community? Are you concerned about the impacts of Brexit? Do you want to make your voice heard?
The recent EU Referendum has resulted in an intensified feeling of uncertainty amongst the business community both in the UK and further afield. Entrepreneurs who have set their base here in the UK, or hope to do so, are no exception.
Why the high cost of big-city living is bad for everyone
In 1948, a federal housing bureaucrat named Paul Oppermann, trying to come to terms with the perils of the nuclear age, proposed a solution to the problem of protecting America’s cities from the bomb: empty them out preëmptively by encouraging the population to move to suburbs and small towns of fifty thousand or fewer. “No power in the world could afford to drop an atomic bomb on a city of 50,000 or less” is how the San Francisco Chronicle summarized the talk that Oppermann gave to a local planning organization. Plus, Oppermann explained, you get slum clearance into the bargain. The next year, Oppermann assumed office as San Francisco’s planning director.
Debates and discoveries at Climate Chance in Nantes
10 days left until the first edition of the Climate Chance Summit. Energy Cities will be there and very much hopes to meet you in Nantes from 26 to 28 September. The event gathers all non-state actors involved in the fight against climate change.
You will be able to exchange and learn about innovative and concrete action on energy, habitat, land planning, agriculture, transport, etc.
Dance like a Swedish street sign: how to rejuvenate a town centre
Who said street signs were boring? In Haparanda, a town in northern Sweden, the council has launched a series of new fun street signs – where stickmen are pictured jumping, dancing, and even playing the guitar on pedestrian crossing signs.
New call for city twinning on climate change adaptation
Mayors Adapt has just launched a new series of city twinning activities after the success of the 2015 programme, and is calling for cities to participate. The events serve to accelerate the implementation of adaptation strategies at city level and local capacity building.
Transport and mobility in the New Urban Agenda
Every 20 years, the Habitat conference on urbanization series is celebrated to promote a new model of urban development that is able to integrate all facets of sustainable development to promote equity, welfare and shared prosperity. This year, the congress is set in a time in history where the majority of the worlds population is living in cities. The congress will set what is the New Urban Agenda which is an action oriented document that will guide urbanization and its actors for the next 20 years. This year in particular, local authorities are playing a big role in the future of urbanization and will be part of the process of setting what will be the New Urban Agenda.
Milan Food Pact looking for best urban food practices
The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP) is considered by the city of Milan as one of the most important legacies of Expo2015, which focused on "nourishing the planet".
The Pact has so far been signed by 123 cities, representing over 460 million people all over the globe. ICLEI is one of the endorsing partners and many ICLEI Members are signatories of the Pact.
Hungary to spend millions developing cycling routes
Hungary‘s Ministry of National Development has announced that it will spend 30 billion Hungarian forint (€96 million) on cycling infrastructure.
The funds will develop the country’s main cycling routes, including sections of the EuroVelo 6 – Atlantic-Black Sea (link is external) and the EuroVelo 11 – East Europe Route (link is external).
Making the announcement earlier this month, Máriusz Révész, Hungary’s new commissioner for cycling and recreation, said that a newly created department would lead on the development of the cycling infrastructure.
Rethinking The Commute With Intermodality In Leipzig
Airbnb, Kickstarter, Craigslist, Uber, TaskRabbit. These names, and the ever-growing market value they each represent, are indicative of the shift to a new economy – the shared economy. From goods to accommodation, fundraising to services, “sharing” models have disrupted traditional economic cycles across sectors; mobility is no different (Roland Berger, 2014). Shared mobility – such as bike, car and ridesharing as well as ride sourcing – offers the opportunity to fill in gaps that a city’s public transport cannot reach.
Finalists of UCLG City of Bogotá Peace Prize announced
The five finalists for the UCLG City of Bogotá Peace Prize have been selected by the high-level jury of the prize. The Peace Prize is a triennial award for local governments that have implemented innovative initiatives in conflict prevention, conflict resolution or peace building, and which have proven to have had a significant positive impact.
Seminar discusses role of 'flexible' public transport
Public transport comes in different forms and sizes, including demand-responsive (or 'flexible') services that have been part of the public transport systems for quite some time now.
In most western societies, Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT) is mainly used in areas of low demand or for special needs while elsewhere it may be the backbone of public transport.
Today DRT is increasingly challenged by new forms of competition. This situation raises questions about the very essence of how things should be done. The following key topics were identified at an international conference in Stuttgart (Germany) on 1 May 2016.
Electromobility – Overview, Examples, Approaches.
The Sustainable Urban Transport Project (SUTP) as part of GIZ has recently released a publication on Electromobility. The challenges in urban transport in regards to the environment and air quality have never been greater as they are nowadays.As technology advances, along with the clear need of removing fossil fueled vehicles, electromobility has come to the picture along with its related controversial debates.
The publication outlines the challenges in urban mobility and possible solutions through electromobility, its promotion, local contexts in conditions and user requirements. Finally, the publication shows examples from different countries showcasing the incorporation of electromobility into their transport systems.
San Francisco Wants You to Design Its Future Transit System
The city is asking for ideas on where to build future subway lines.
A subway station near the buffalo paddock in Golden Gate Park, a tunnel to Alcatraz Island—feasible or not, you can have San Francisco review your ideas for transit expansion, thanks to a tool that lets you design and submit your “dream” subway system.
The “Subway Vision” map plots existing major lines in the Bay Area, and asks you to plop in more stations and lines where you think they’re needed. It’s a joint production from San Francisco’s planning and transportation departments (as well as other stakeholders), who want to incorporate some form of crowd-sourcing in the next several decades of public-transit development.
5 Common Headaches on Government Websites
Going online for public information isn't as easy as it should be.
Just 20 years ago, we wrote an article that called the fact that “at least ten states have begun to post legislative or consumer information on the Internet” a “dramatic development.” Today, even the tiniest communities -- like Union, Ct., which boasts a population of less than 1,000 -- are expected to have their own websites.
But even with all these open electronic doors, users who walk through can be easily disappointed and misinformed.
Cities Get Support for Dismantling Systemic Racism
On April 19, 2015, Freddie Gray died as a result of injuries received while in custody of the Baltimore Police Department. Reactions were all over the map, from outrage, to sadness, to disillusionment. People of all different racial and ethnic backgrounds, as well as different levels of privilege, felt something. Two weeks later, in one very privileged room, a collection of high-level financial executives and foundation leaders from around the country felt compelled to do something, but they didn’t know what.
Policy paper on automated vehicles
North American policy paper on automated vehicles calls for using automated vehicles to build the cities we want, instead of adapting cities to automated vehicles.
The policy paper, issued by the association of North American City Transportation Officials/NACTO, calls for using automated vehicles to build the cities we want, instead of adapting cities to automated vehicles.
The Benefits of Helping Struggling Cities
For financially distressed municipalities, it’s good to be in a state that intervenes, according to a new study.
Earlier this month, New Jersey stopped Atlantic City from defaulting on its debt with a $74 million bridge loan. While there was plenty of bluster and several hollow threats from legislators that they would not step in to help the financially beleaguered gambling town, it didn’t surprise anyone when they finally did.
That’s because New Jersey has a reputation in the credit market for going to any lengths to prevent one of its municipalities from entering Chapter 9 bankruptcy. In fact, no New Jersey municipality has defaulted on debt since the Great Depression. This extra layer of protection is not only comforting to local officials in struggling cities like Camden or Trenton, it’s viewed as a big plus by those who invest in New Jersey municipal debt.
Youth, sports and urban space discussed at Olympics
UN-Habitat in collaboration with Nexus Brasil hosted a high-level event last Friday to discuss the power of sport to drive social change, especially in regards to youth and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mr. Stephan Fox, the former Muay Thai world champion and the current president of AIMS (Alliance of Independent Recognized Members of Sport, representing 23 international federations), vice-president of SportAccord and General Secretary of IFMA (International Federation of Muay Thai Amateur) opened the event with his powerful story of how he works with Muay Thai, Thailand’s national treasure, on a number of socially responsible initiatives. Using the core values of Muay Thai, they work with underprivileged kids to develop their self-confidence, respect and honour and help them grow into their full potential.
How Street Safety Advocates Can Support Racial Justice
When a police officer in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, shot and killed Philando Castile earlier this month, the encounter began with a traffic stop. The stop fit a pattern: Castile had been pulled over many times before — 46 times in 13 years — but few of those citations were for dangerous driving. More prevalent were stops for minor issues like vehicle defects or misplaced license plates — the type of justifications that police are more likely to use when stopping black and Latino drivers throughout the country.
Brazil’s favelas pay price of hosting Olympics
The 2016 Rio Olympics are expected to cost roughly 11 billion euros, with some economists predicting this could escalate to as much as 18 billion euros. While organisers tout the event as a goldmine, researchers warn of the negative social impact of the Games on Brazil's local communities, as has been the case for previous Olympics host cities.
When the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games kicked off at Maracanã stadium on 5 August, one segment stood out more than others.
It was the 'Favela voices', a portrayal of Brazil's favelas (slums), showcasing happy, singing kids, that offered a very different portrait of the suffering these communities have long been subjected to.
Plans for Sihanoukville to Become ‘Smart City’ of the Future
South Korea is set to help Cambodia develop its metropolitan areas into so-called smart cities.
Chea Sophara, minister of land management, urban planning and construction, said on Monday that he was due to sign an agreement with his South Korean counterpart this week during a diplomatic visit to the country.
Under the agreement, South Korea will provide Cambodia with technical support to develop its cities more sustainable, he said.
“The idea of Smart Cities is to organize [the city into zones], such as an agricultural zone, farms, hospitals, schools … to make the city livable. That’s how we organize it to make it look more scientific, not just develop it without guaranteeing sustainability in that development,” he said.
Urban design: Cool districts need authentic, fine-grained foundation
We have in Indianapolis some fabulously cool urban districts. Earlier this year, John Birdsall of Bon Appetit quipped that he found in Indy “something way cooler” than Brooklyn. Cushman & Wakefield’s recently released “Cool Streets” annual report on the hottest urban retail markets in North America gives us another reason to take notice of the vibe surging through the city. The trends described in the report indicate a phenomenon that, while not unique to our city, might bring out the best Indy has to offer.
Nominate your candidate for the World Mayor Prize
This year, the theme for the World Mayor Prize is migrants and refugees. The winner will be a mayor “whose city has done the most to welcome immigrants and has used their skills to enrich and diversify society culturally, economically and socially.”
Study shows one-way carsharing cuts traffic
Flexible one-way carsharing models can complement existing mass transport options, reduce the number of vehicles on the road and improve mobility in densely populated urban areas, a new US study says.
The University of California Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC) studied the effect of one-way carsharing service car2go on a number of North American cities.
Why Bicycling Infrastructure Fails Bicyclists
Because cities aren’t building complete networks—and police aren’t keeping them safe.
New York City is unquestionably a bike town. According to the city’s Community Health Survey, nearly 1.6 million New York adults—and likely another few hundred thousand kids—ride bikes in the city at least a few times a year. Nearly 800,000 New Yorkers—approximately the populations of New Orleans and Atlanta together—ride bikes several times a month. About 400,000 bike trips are made every day. And 86,000 New Yorkers commute to work or school using bikes. Last Wednesday, more than 56,000 trips were taken on the city’s bike-share system, which covers just 20 square miles; for Citi Bike, that was a daily record.
Have UN Member States listened to cities in the latest draft of the New Urban Agenda for Habitat III?
The latest draft of the New Urban Agenda reveals that the voices of cities and territories are having an impact, but Habitat III must go further if it is not to be a missed opportunity to harness urbanization for sustainable development.
Historic Reform to Transform the Urban Model in Mexico
Mexico is an eminently urban country. 78 percent of the Mexican population lives in an urban locality of more than 2,500 inhabitants, and 63 percent live in urban centers with more than 15,000 inhabitants. Urban development should be a priority for Mexico’s public and political agenda, and the country needs to resolve these problems holistically. It needs to invest in the development and implementation of a compact, connected, coordinated and competitive urban vision. The great challenge to establish planning instruments that allow cities to have the financial resources, institutions, policies, programs and incentives necessary and appropriate to achieve an urban transformation at the local scale.
UN-Cities? Rumoured proposal gains steam
The perennial tug-of-war between rich and developing countries at the United Nations has found another flashpoint: the debate over the future of UN-Habitat.
The Nairobi-based agency deals with housing as well as towns and cities big and small — collectively, “human settlements” — with the bulk of its work concentrated in Africa and Asia. However, under the leadership of its current executive director, Joan Clos, UN-Habitat has pivoted to take a larger focus on the issue of “sustainable urbanization”, with a focus on the growth of cities on a majority-urban planet.
Has China Reached Peak Urbanization?
The skylines of some of China's biggest cities sprout from land that was farmed less than a generation ago. For the government, they're a soaring testament to the country's transformation into an urbanized superpower. And despite China's economic slump, there are plenty of bureaucrats who'd like to see the process continue. According to a report last week, local governments are planning to develop more than 3,500 new urban areas in the next few years, with capacity to house 3.4 billion people -- or roughly half of humanity.
Urban health management in megacities
With a population surpassing 10 million people, megacities, the majority of which are concentrated in the developing world, can pose a great urban management problem. Currently, Africa has three megacities (Lagos, Cairo, and Kinshasa) with three additional ones projected to emerge by 2030 (Dar-es-Salaam, Johannesburg, and Luanda). The emergence of these megacities is accompanied with a need for more institutional, managerial, and perhaps most importantly, health-related infrastructure.
Wake up, San Francisco: Other cities have problems, too
San Francisco, it’s time for a reality check: You aren’t the only prosperous American city feeling the angst of too much, too fast, too out-of-control.
I make this observation having just returned from Denver, where homeless camps are a major issue and the mayor’s State of the City speech last week emphasized the perils of gentrification. At the same time, hip districts sprout residential compounds that are designed to make a splash rather than be a good neighbor.
If all this sounds familiar, you’re right. Here’s something else that struck me: San Francisco is in better shape than our self-absorbed bickering would suggest.
Smart bricks would enable walls to generate electricity
To develop buildings that act like “large-scale living organisms” scientists at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) are developing smart bricks which would make use of microbes to recycle wastewater, generate electricity and produce oxygen.
Microbial fuel cells (MFCs)that would be embedded in the bricks to give them their ‘smart’ capabilities have proven handy in the past, with researchers demonstrating how they can be used to generate electricity from human urine, dead flies or just plain old mud.
Millennials Bring New Life to Some Rust Belt Cities
Educated millennials are transforming some neighborhoods in several Rust Belt cities like this one, where old flour and textile mills are being converted to apartments and faded industrial districts have become thriving enclaves with colorful street life.
Staci Knobel, 28, recently moved to the once blue-collar Baltimore neighborhood of Hampden with college friends after finding herself “bored, depressed” in upstate New York. Here, she said, she has found excitement in the city’s electronic music scene and computer gaming conventions.
The impact of the refugee crisis on social services in Europe
A new publication by the ESN (The European Social Network) has delved deeper into the impact that the refugee crisis has had on local public services and their communities across Europe. The results of the ESN questionnaire among its own members, reflected that the refugee crisis impacted some states more than others. While social services in most parts of Europe have not been affected, several countries have struggled to provide for the unexpected rise in the number of people requiring public services.
How to combine adaptation and mitigation actions: Making the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy a reality
As both mitigation and adaptation ultimately aim to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change, they are essential parts of a comprehensive and efficient approach to tackling climate change. Mitigation and adaptation actions are often perceived and undertaken separately but in many cases, they can be addressed at the same time and benefit each other in the process. Combined mitigation and adaptation action has the potential to multiply the benefits and therefore make more efficient use of the money that cities spend on climate action.
New tree ordinance could give Sacramento’s urban forest closer scrutiny
In the City of Trees, a new ordinance might put more bite in protecting our bark.
The Sacramento City Council may vote Thursday on hotly contested new rules for safeguarding, maintaining and removing trees on both private and public land. The vote follows two years of contentious negotiations that failed to bring consensus.
Backers of the new ordinance say it will add protections for about 25,000 trees now excluded from city purview and create a long-term plan for preserving the leafy canopy of 100,000 trees viewed as a defining characteristic of the city.
Asian urban experts root for citywide public space strategies
UN-Habitat conducted its’ first international workshop on public spaces titled “Creating safe, inclusive and accessible public spaces for all” in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia early thismonth.
Jointly organized by Citynet and Kuala Lumpur Regional Training Center (KLRTC), the workshop attracted a wide range or participants including policy makers, technical experts and city managers from 8 different countries in Asia – Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Philippines, and Sri Lanka.
Retrofitting: A housing policy that saves lives
When a hurricane, earthquake or other natural disaster strikes a poor country, families too often suffer a double tragedy: the loss of loved ones and their most valuable (and sometimes only) asset, their home. In the aftermath of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti in 2010, which killed more than 260,000 people, 70% of asset losses were related to housing. Ecuador faces billions of dollars in reconstruction costs from last April’s 7.8 earthquake, which killed 900 and injured almost 28,000. If Peru were hit by an 8.0-degree earthquake, an estimated 80% of potential economic losses would involve housing.
And while nature’s fury does not distinguish between urban and rural areas, a large majority of disaster losses are concentrated in cities, where they disproportionately affect the poor. This creates a great challenge for low and middle-income countries. In Latin America and the Caribbean, 200 million people—1/3 of the population—live in informal settlements, where most dwellings don’t comply with construction codes and home insurance is non-existent. Perhaps unsurprisingly, LAC’s informal districts also account for the majority of disaster-related deaths in the region.
Can design halt the flood of gentrification?
Can an architect design a kinder, gentler gentrification? That question hums like a drone through a vast empty lot in Bushwick where the Rheingold Brewery once stood. Eran Chen, the Israeli-born founder of the architecture firm ODA, has sugarplum visions for this desolate stretch: nearly 1,000 apartments and a million square feet that would slip affably into a neighborhood that, despite its real-estate hotness and brand-name cool, remains tenaciously poor. Longtime residents and their new neighbors would mingle in the woodworking shop and photo lab and hang their creations side by side in the community art gallery. A microbrewery would open up onsite, making reference to the past while providing local jobs and drinks.
Unlocking the collaborative capacity of the city
Eindhoven (Lead Partner of the CHANGE! network), often referred to as the ‘city of innovation’, with a population of 225.000 inhabitants (2015) is the fifth-largest city in the Netherlands. It is also well-known for its Brainport framework, putting the knowledge-driven city next to Rotterdam (the main port) and Amsterdam (the main airport). The philosophy behind Brainport is the Triple Helix (nowadays often called as Quadruple Helix, including end-users) as a cooperation between local government, business and knowledge institutions to stimulate and boost technology and innovation, which enables the region to accelerate economic, social and individual growth.
Fordlandia – the failure of Henry Ford's utopian city in the Amazon
In the 1920s the US industrialist wanted to found a city based on the values that made his company a success – while, of course, producing cheap rubber. The jungle city that bore his name ended up one of his biggest failures
Building permanent paths out of poverty
David Lambert, a structural engineer in Arup’s Los Angeles office, has spent several years volunteering with the Mbesese Initiative for Sustainable Development (MISD), a nonprofit focused on reducing poverty in rural East Africa. He recently returned from Tanzania after securing the national government’s approval to build a new vocational school outside the town of Same.
We spoke to Lambert about the project.
Buenos Aires uses crowdsourcing to drive innovation
In 2013, the Government of the City of Buenos Aires led by Mayor Mauricio Macri launched a new initiative aimed at creating a city that its 3.5 million people could be proud of–a modern, innovative metropolitan district characterised by inclusive public services and a common purpose.
Like other municipal governments in search of sustainable development in Latin America, the initiative entitled ‘Collaborative Roundtables for Innovation and Creativity’, emerged in response to the challenges posed by accelerated population growth, reliance on central funding, and a refreshing willingness to recognise its own shortcomings.
Urban Planners’ New Enemy
Cities are increasingly viewing parking in a negative light and rethinking its place in metropolitan America.
On a slow afternoon back in 2005, I found myself thumbing through one of the oddest books I had ever come across. It was a 733-page treatise on parking by Donald Shoup, an economist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who had devoted much of his career to collecting every available nugget of information on the subject. What made the book so unusual wasn’t just the level of detail. It was Shoup’s palpable enthusiasm for the material and his ability to make it interesting. He quoted Albert Einstein and Robert Frost, Lewis Carroll and Graham Greene. He filled up the pages with quirky little details about the way ordinary people go about their lives.
The limits of data-driven approaches to planning
City Observatory believes in using data to understand problems and fashion solutions. But sometimes the quantitative data that’s available is too limited to enable us to see what’s really going on. And incomplete data can lead us to the wrong conclusions.
How can towns and cities find innovative ways to finance energy efficiency in public buildings?
With public buildings being responsible for 40% of European primary energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions, investing in energy efficiency in public buildings is an urgent matter. And yet, at the same time, towns and cities in France and beyond face strong budget constraints and lack the necessary national financial support to implement energy efficiency projects.
What can local governments do when they need to invest in energy efficiency but lack the resources? Innovate.
Reclaiming the streets ... for cars? Why Bucharest is reining in outdoor events
While cities around the world embrace pedestrianisation, Bucharest’s new mayor is blaming traffic on street events such as Via Sport, which closes a central boulevard to cars on weekends. Is the Romanian capital taking a step backwards?
Does Place Matter Anymore? Cities and the 2016 Election
I’m not the only one, I suspect, who’s been struck by how little, if at all, cities have figured into the presidential election up to now. To get a sense of whether this impression is accurate, I spent some time looking at the two party platforms, and the two candidate’s websites. It’s true. They don’t figure.
Harnessing the Power of Indigenous Cultures for Better Cities
As we celebrate International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples in our final stretch towards Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador, and the New Urban Agenda to be adopted this October, we must take time to reflect and take action to address the many challenges and opportunities that urbanization represents for indigenous communities.
Over the past years, the number of indigenous persons living in urban areas has been on the rise. The reasons for this vary: while many migrate to cities in search of education and employment opportunities, some are forced to relocate as their rights on their ancestral lands are trampled, while others are displaced by the impacts of climate change. In addition to this accelerating rural-urban migration, indigenous settlements are often engulfed in urban development as city limits expand past them.
Safer buildings are the key to a disaster resilient future
A few months ago, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Ecuador claimed hundreds of lives, left almost 28,000 people injured, and caused $1 to 3 billion worth of damage. Most human and economic losses were directly linked to the collapse of buildings: the tremor caused the destruction of an estimated 10,000 structures, many of which were located in unsafe areas or did not meet minimum safety standards.
The tragedy in Ecuador serves as a stark reminder that, in many cases, it is not earthquakes or other disasters that kill people, but failing building structures. Therefore, improving building safety will be key in protecting communities against rising disaster and climate risk.
Further archived news available on request from: Kate More