Innovation News November 29, 2013

CHICAGO AND MEXICO CITY TRADE DEAL
In mid-November, the City of Chicago and Mexico City concluded the first of a kind city-to-city trade agreement.  The partnership is not the more typical Sister Cities exchange pact, but is focused on innovation, employment, advanced industrial development and increased competitiveness.   

PARKING REFORM
A recent publication identifies eight key factors that can lead to reform of parking policies that foster improved streetscapes, safer travel, less pollution and savings for urban communities.

THE “BUTTERFLY EFFECT” IN URBAN SERVICES
There is increasing awareness that cities need to think more strategically and systematically about how service delivery is linked to meet broader goals of growth and well-being.  A recent UK report on the smart cities industry emphasizes that collaboration within and between the public and private sectors and sharing data analyses is essential to high quality urban systems.    
 
UK EXAMINES THE FUTURE OF POLICING   
An Independent Commission on the Future of Policing in the UK has completed the most thorough examination of police services in England and Wales since the Royal Commission of 1962.  The study assesses social and economic changes, migration and demographic trends and technology impacts and the challenges of new forms of criminal activity, fraud, terrorism and trafficking in people and goods.   
 
URBAN PROJECTS THAT EMBRACE NATURE
Long term resilience in urban areas relies on growth, development and investment that reflect integration with the natural environment.  Learn more about some case studies of cities that focus on their natural heritage.

OTTAWA APPROVES MASTER PLANS TO GUIDE DEVELOPMENT
City of Ottawa Council has approved five key master plans to guide future land development and overall infrastructure investment.  The new Official Plan, Infrastructure Master Plan, Transportation Master Plan, Pedestrian Plan and Cycling Plan set a vision for growth to the year 2031.

SHANGHAI TOWER TO BE WORLD’S GREENEST HIGH-RISE
The Shanghai Tower, considered to be the tallest building in China and the second tallest in the world, is designed to comply with the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED ‘Gold” standard.  The structure features 121 storeys of office, retail and hotel space and is split into nine “neighbourhoods.”   

ACTIVE DESIGN GUIDELINES
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York Active Design Guidelines are prompting designers to consider their role in protecting the health of the public.  A recent exhibit organized by AIA New York presented projects that encourage physical activity and well-being.

UK LAUNCHES SMART CITY INDUSTRY STRATEGY
In early October, the UK Government launched a new smart city industry strategy to position the UK as a leader in the development of smart city solutions and to compete for a share of the global smart city market.  Efforts will focus on urban transportation, energy management, water and waste services and assisted living.   
 
UK PIONEERS SUSTAINALBE FOOD CITIES
The UK has launched a network of “sustainable food cities“ to promote collaboration among public agencies, NGOs, business and communities to secure healthy and sustainable local food.  The Sustainable Food City Network is expected to include 100 cities at the end of the three year program.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

2013 DIGITAL CITIES WINNERS
Government Technology has announced the winners of the 2013 Digital Cities awards, which are coordinated by the Center for Digital Government (CDG).  This is the thirteenth year that local governments in the U.S. have been recognized for innovative communication technology practices.

“THE EXCHANGE” – A GLOBAL CITIES INITIATIVE
The Exchange is a four year learning network that will develop and implement regional strategies to boost global trade and investment, develop new partnerships between U.S. and international metropolitan areas and create an advocacy network for state and national policy exchanges.

ASSESSING GENTRIFICATION
A new study by economist Daniel Hartley (Cleveland Federal Reserve) examines U.S. Census data across 55 of the country’s largest cities over the past decade to assess gentrification patterns, specific city profiles and impacts.   

ROTTERDAM’S INNOVATIVE FLOOD PROOF DESIGN
The City of Rotterdam is designing and building new infrastructure, including water plazas, green walls and floating neighbourhoods to meet the challenges of much heavier and more unpredictable rainfalls http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/rotterdam-flood-proof-climate-change.  The delta city, surrounded on four sides by water, is also building extensive water storage facilities. 
   
CHICAGO’S TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS
In a recent interview,  Gabe Klein, outgoing Head of the Chicago Transportation Department, reflects on some of Chicago’s high profile transportation projects and offers discusses his views on the future of urban transportation and infrastructure.   

GFOA BEST PRACTICES
The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) of the U.S. and Canada has released some new best practices related to managing employee health care benefit costs, auditing and financial reporting processes, grants administration, capital improvement strategies and other matters.

CITY OF LIVERPOOL SEEKS CITIZEN BUDGET ADVICE       
Anticipating a budget shortfall of £156 million over the coming three years, the City of Liverpool in the UK has developed an online budget simulator, which asks citizens to assess spending and find savings.    

ASSESSING U.S. MIGRATION PATTERNS
A new graphic developed by Chris Walker, a data analytics professional, draws on U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey information, to show the movements of over 7 million Americans who relocated across state lines in 2012.  The visualization is interactive and informs the user of both interstate migration inflows and outflows.    

GLOBAL MASS TRANSIT
Learn more about current global trends related to mass transit in both developing countries and the expansion of bus rapid transit and metro systems in developed countries and the factors driving this growth.

THE THRIVING SUBURBAN OFFICE MARKET
While population increases in urban centres is an important trend which has received a lot of attention, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that central growth has not come at the expense of suburban decline.  Between 2000 and 2010, significant growth in many U.S. metropolitan areas occurred in the outer areas and suburban office markets accounted for a large portion of office space demand.     

EDMONTON LAUNCHES INFILL PROGRAM
The City of Edmonton, “Evolving Infill” project seeks to advance residential infill in the city’s established neighbourhoods.  The project will build an understanding of stakeholder values and priorities as a basis for approaches to incorporate new housing into older communities.  

THE TEN SMARTEST NORTH AMERICAN CITIES
Fast.co has released a list of those North American cities that are doing the most to become sustainable, connected innovative cities of the future.  The ranking is designed to expand discussion by benchmarking what cities are actually doing to become smarter.

BOSTON’S “EMERALD NECKLACE”  
The City of Boston “Emerald Necklace” is an 1100 acre chain of parks dating from the late 1800s, that connects the Boston Common to five other parks and an arboretum designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.  The system of green space reflects specific engineering approaches and a green space vision that contributes to both effective transportation and public health.   

CYCLING SAFETY IN LONDON
City of London Mayor Boris Johnson, recently launched the Cycle Superhighway 2 extension and unveiled plans for similar changes on the London road network to upgrade and add new cycle superhighways.  The improvements reflect the recent surge in cyclist deaths at key London junctions and popular support for improved measures to secure cycling safety.   

CHICAGO’S PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING  
After five years of participatory budgeting initiatives across city wards, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel intends to institute the budgeting approach citywide.  Voters can select priority community projects and also choose what percentage of available funding should be allocated to these neighbourhood priorities.  

HOW DETROIT WENT BROKE
A recent Detroit Free Press article provides an in-depth analysis of the history of the City of Detroit management of its finances, which led its financial ruin.  Learn more about the challenges of the city’s health care and pension costs, mismanaged federal aid programs and excessive borrowing that devastated city finances.   

TEN LEADING SUSTAINABILITY CITIES
The world’s urban areas continue to lead in sustainability initiatives and are producing the most innovative ideas to tackle environmental problems.  Siemens and the C40 (Cities Climate Leadership Group) have recently announced the winners of the City Climate Leadership Awards given to leading local governments around the world.  

PROMOTING CYCLING
A new report, “Selling Biking:  A New Study on the ‘Swing Voters’ of the Street,” outlines perceptions on the safety of cycling and the value of good bike infrastructure.

CITY OF HAMILTON RECOGNIZED FOR PLANNING EXCELLENCE
The City of Hamilton has received  four major awards from the Ontario Professional Planners Institute http://ontarioplanners.ca/Knowledge-Centre/Excellence-in-Planning-Awards (OPPI)  that recognize the city’s neighbourhood action strategies, pedestrian mobility initiatives and public education efforts. 
 
CAMBRIDGE COMMUNITY OPERATIONS HUB
Work is underway in the City of Cambridge to create a new 3,000 square foot building to house community services operations.  The project will incorporate the same Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) used in building the City Hall.

BIG CITIES IN VOLATILE TIMES
A recent Pew Charitable Trusts report  assesses how large U.S. cities managed the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.  The analysis compares post recession revenue with that of earlier periods, the remaining fiscal challenges for cities and future prospects.

TELEWORKING AND THE CITY
A Sustainable Cities Collective article relates documented benefits of teleworking for employers, employees and cities.  Learn more about these impacts.   

MAPPING BICYCLE INFRASTRUCTURE IN SAN FRANCISCO
A long time San Francisco cyclist has developed has developed a simplified online map  of the city’s bicycle infrastructure, with routes connecting popular destinations.  The map also makes design references to subway maps.         

A TALE OF TWO CITIES TACKLING SUSTAINABILITY
Songdo, South Korea is a developing city that will rely on the extensive use of technology to make urban life sustainable.  Hamburg, Germany , European Green Capital for 2011, is a model of how densely populated urban spaces can become green and sustainable. Learn more about these initiatives.  

CANADIAN COMMUNITY DATA PROGRAM
The Canadian Council on Social Development (CCSD) has developed the Community Data Program  (CDP) to enable municipal governments and  local health, social and police service organizations to support public policy and program development.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

IMPACTS OF DRIVERLESS CARS
While there has been speculation on the consequences of driverless cars on mobility and the future of the auto industry, not a lot of attention has focused on the impacts on urban form.  Learn more about some predictions about driverless cars and urban growth.    

NORTH AMERICAN METROS AND TRADE
The Brookings Institution has made an assessment of the impacts of the North American Free Trade Agreement on metro-based manufacturing centres and their supply chains across the U.S., Canada and Mexico.  Various metropolitan areas are profiled.    

PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS IN SEATTLE
The City of Seattle is taking a broad view on how to implement public/private partnerships, while maintaining public space for public use.  The city is becoming “rigidly flexible” in assessing partnership opportunities.   

RESILIENCY AND URBAN DESIGN
A new book, “The Nature of Urban Design,” by New York City’s Chief Urban Designer Alexandros Washburn, seeks to navigate the politics, finance and approaches to urban design that enable cities to become both safer and more livable.  The book is based on the specific challenges that confront New York City.

LAW ENFORCEMENT PARTNERSHIPS
Decreasing resources, the reality of the inter-jurisdictional nature of law enforcement and managing public safety during weather calamities, is leading to a new culture of partnership  in law enforcement agencies.   

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

RESOURCES FOR MUNICIPAL LEADERS 
The Association of Washington Cities and the Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington (MRSC) have collected a number of publications, reports and e-newsletters that provide guidelines and advice for elected and appointed local government leaders.
 
MAXIMIZING EFFECTIVENESS OF URBAN INVESTMENT 
Urban revenue is essential to successful city operation.  A recent URBANTIMES article provides advice on how to allocate available revenue to maximize investment. 
 
CITY OF OAKLAND OPEN GOVERNMENT TOOL
The City of Oakland has created a new app called RecordTrac that enables citizen online requests for information from the city government to be tracked.  Citizens can follow the status of their requests and all requests and the information provided is available for everyone to view.
 
COMMUNITY ENERGY PLANNING
QUEST, a national non-profit organization focusing on promoting smart energy communities, will be releasing a guide for municipalities to enable a leadership role in community energy management.  The report supports an Ontario Government program that funds municipalities to development community energy plans.    
 
OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
SMART CITY BEST PRACTICES
Cities of all sizes around the world are turning to new data analysis approaches to anticipate service delivery problems and to make better decisions about meeting taxpayer demands.  IBM has launched the Smarter Cities Master Class, a video series that captures initiatives cities are undertaking to meet these challenges.  
    
THE VALUE OF COMPLETE STREETS
The concept of complete streets, based on the principle that streets should safely accommodate not only automobiles but also pedestrians, cyclists and transit users, has led to new types of crosswalks, bicycle infrastructure and slower vehicular traffic.   A new book, Completing Our Streets, outlines some of the most effective implementation strategies for improving streets.    

2013 ONE PRIZE FINALISTS
ONE Prize explores the social, economic and ecological possibilities of urban transformation.  Finalists have recently been announced for the 2013 competition, which focused on severe climate dynamics and innovative design proposals that alleviate related impacts.  

URBAN DESIGN CENTRES
The U.S. Association of Community Design reports that design centres, small agencies that focus on downtown aesthetics and walkability of public and private spaces, exist in over 35 metropolitan areas.  These centres reflect public interest in urban space design and new principles that promote better pedestrian experiences.    

NLC LAUNCHES NEW SERVICE DELIVERY EVALUATION PROJECT
The National League of Cities (NLC), with the support of the Pew Charitable Trusts, is launching a new Service Delivery Evaluation Project  to assist municipal leaders in the provision of core services, including water/sewer, roads, police, EMS and parks and recreation, that lead to reduced costs.  
 
OTHER DEVELOPMENTS TRAFFIC CALMING TECHNIQUES
Traffic calming plans for neighbourhoods enable comprehensive measures to both increase public safety and meet specific expectations of residents to ensure their effectiveness.  Broadly based approaches also prevent diverting traffic concerns to other neighbourhoods.   

LEADING SUSTAINBILITY PRACTICES
The Institute for Local Government (ILG) has released the 2013 edition of the Sustainability Best Practices Framework.  The recommended approaches reflect  initiatives developed by cities and counties in California.

MIXING AGE GROUPS IN AFFORDABLE HOUSING
As the baby boom generation ages, many seniors find that they are not able to afford market rents for independent housing or institutional care.  A Portland, Oregon non-profit has developed one urban solution to the problem of age segregation.

DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACE
A recent report prepared by University City District tracks how people actually use the public space created at the The Porch outside of Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station.  Learn more about how people decide to use or move through the space.   

SAN JOSE TACKLES PENSION ISSUES
San Jose, California trying to develop approaches to control the costs of employee pensions and retiree health care, which are diverting resources from the city’s core services.   Learn more about how the city is navigating  pension reform.    

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS     THE HIDDEN COSTS OF SPRAWL
A new report from Sustainable Prosperity (University of Ottawa) outlines the hidden costs of sprawl.  The report, “Suburban Sprawl:  Exposing Hidden costs, Identifying Innovations,” recommends policies that prevent municipalities from paying for a range of services that need to be maintained long after development charges have been spent.   

SMART CITIES/SMART HUBS
Smarter cities will drive growth by leveraging data to anticipate problems and resolve them proactively, to inform decision making and to coordinate available resources more effectively.  Some cities, such as Rio de Janeiro, are using “smart hubs” to monitor city operations, increase agency collaboration and citizen reporting in real time.     

CHINA, SINGAPORE BUILD FIRST ECO-CITY  
China and Singapore are collaborating to create the world’s first eco-city  as a model for sustainable development.  By 2017, all city infrastructure facilities and environmental programs will be in place to house a population of 350,000 people.  The city will have only green buildings and will be served by smart power grids.  
NEW YORK’S PREFAB APARTMENT BUILDING
A Brooklyn Navy Yard factory is producing more environmentally efficient and affordable apartment units that will be assembled to form the largest modular high rise building in the world.  The 32 storey “B2”project  is being constructed using a system called  “group technology workcells,” where cross-trained tradesmen work on different parts of a floor at the same time.   

MAPPING CITY “TIME BOUNDARIES”
A new project called Geographies of Time is attempting to animate two-dimensional maps to change how we typically think of boundaries in cities.  The initiative is part of an EU project called UrbanSensing that develops platforms to identify patterns in the use of urban spaces.  

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

Contact

Bruce McLeod
OMKN Coordinator

T 416.971.9856 ext. 350
TF 1.877.426.6527
F 416.971.6191