Innovation News April 2014


THE ROLE OF CONTROL CENTRES
Many urban areas are now building centralized control centres to respond to a wide range of dangerous occurrences such as extreme weather, fires, hazardous disease outbreaks and criminal activity.  

GOOGLE MAPS ENABLES TIME TRAVEL
Google is now posting past images from its Street View service online. The company has visited many major routes multiple times since beginning the Google Maps service, so it is now possible to see how locations have changed over time.  

ACHIEVING BETTER WATERFRONT DEVELOPMENTS
Waterfront redevelopment offers tremendous opportunity to create vital, new private and public spaces; however, these redevelopment opportunities can be wasted.   Learn more  about some common mistakes in waterfront redevelopment.

SMART CITIES AROUND THE WORLD
Recently, the Brookings Institution (Metropolitan Policy Program) and Barcelona’s ESADE Business School convened a work shop of officials from cities in Europe, Canada and the United States to better understand the practice for smart cities around the world .

FIXING CITY TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS
A recent Atlantic Cities  article offers some perspectives on urban mobility and the need to improve transportation options and create disincentives to driving.

BOSTON’S URBAN AGRICULTURE SYSTEM  
The City of Boston’s Article 89 is the most comprehensive legislation of its kind, ushering in a transactional urban agricultural system to supplement the city’s community gardens and detailing the steps that farmers need to consider in building farms between or on top of buildings. 
 
EUROPEAN CITIES ADVANCE IN BLOOMBERG MAYORS CHALLENGE 
The 2013- 2014 Mayors Challenge is Bloomberg Philanthropies’ first in Europe, after the inaugural competition in the United States. The twenty one finalist cities range in size from 250,000 to more than I million residents, from eleven countries across Europe. 
 
TWO DIFFRERENT MIGRATIONS DRIVE U.S. URBAN GROWTH
United States metros are gaining population at significant rates, with growth being driven by both the location choices of Americans and those of new immigrants from outside the country. Learn more about the very different domestic and international migration flows.  
 
TRANSIT AGENCIES TURN TO ALTERNATIVE FUELS
Environmental and budget considerations are leading American municipal transportation agencies to switch from diesel powered to alternative fuel vehicles. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) estimates that more than 40 per cent of transit buses use alternative fuels.

MEASURING SUSTAINABILITY IN CITIES
The Green City Index series (Economist Intelligence Unit) uses some 30 quantitative and qualitative indicators to help cities to benchmark their performance and share best practices. Learn more about the top cities. 

NEW GALLUP SURVEY RANKS COMMUNITY SATISFACTION
A recent Gallup-Healthways survey after examining the attitudes of Americans over a two-year period, finds that 85 per cent were satisfied with the city or area where they lived.


KEY QUESTIONS FOR AN EFFECTIVE GOVERNMENT PROGRAM
Review a list of ten key questions that can be used to chart a path for a new initiative or to evaluate or get an existing program on track.   

 
GFOA RELEASES BEST PRACTICES
Learn more about a range of recent GFOA Board-approved best practices relating to budgeting and fiscal policy, auditing and financial reporting, debt management and benefits administration. 
 
EMBRACING THE STREET   
Many large U.S. cities, including large metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, have instituted Green Street or Complete Street programs to turn main thoroughfares into lively pedestrian-friendly streets, safe for people of all ages and abilities and for all modes of transportation. Learn more about the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Urban Design Street Guide provisions that support complete and green street design. 
 
MANAGING POLICE BUDGETS 
Police Chief Magazine has recently published an article that illustrates the benefits of using CompStat in managing police services budgets, in addition to its utility as a tool to combat crime.
 
CHICAGO’S NEW PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS INITIATIVE
The City of Chicago has launched it new predictive analytics SmartData Project, designed to provide data-driven predictions and insights for service delivery.  The project is funded by the city, but was initially accelerated with a $1 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge. 

COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE TEAMS
In the U.S., several professional organizations offer multi-disciplinary community assistance teams  of respected experts, to build consensus to resolve community development issues, produce sustainability strategies or new creative ideas.


PREPARING FOR THE NEXT SANDY
The Rebuild by Design competition for coastal resilience projects for the New York Metropolitan region, has resulted in ten finalist proposals produced by interdisciplinary teams of architects, engineers, sociologists, economists and environmental scientists.

INCREASING ACCESSIBILITY WITH URBAN PLANNING  
A recent Urban Times article suggests that successfully tackling the issue of improved accessibility in cities requires combining spatial planning and transportation policies.

NATIONAL PARK PROJECT TO TRANSFORM ST. LOUIS
The St. Louis Arch, one of the five urban parks in the United States, was the focus of a public-private partnership sponsored international competition to create a new vision for the site.  Learn more about the winning submission, its key design themes and challenges.    

BROOKLYN ARENA GOES GREEN
Brooklyn’s Barclays Center will feature a 130,000 square foot green roof composed of small plants and a soil-like cover.  The green roof will also reduce sound levels.     

GREENING LONDON’S MOTORWAYS
The City of London’s motorways contribute to the urban heat island effect and to the capital’s man-made pollution.  Learn more about some ideas that could transform these routes to increase biodiversity, improve water management and keep the city cool.

TESTING THE USABILITY OF UK COUNCIL WEBSITES
The UK LocalGov Digital  has launched  a council website usability dashboard that creates a platform to crowd source views on the utility of various council websites.  Website services are ranked by ordinary users.

INNOVATION DISTRICTS     
Innovation districts can be found in many cities around the world, where leading anchor institutions and start-ups are clustering to form spin-off companies, incubators and accelerators pursuing new market opportunities.  Learn more about some key roles local governments can play to support the growth of innovation districts.

BEST CANADIAN CITIES FOR PUBLIC TRANSIT
Walk Score has calculated the Transit Scores of 38 Canadian cities,  that reflect better commutes and more transportation choices. Cities on the list can be searched to find the best neighbourhoods for public transit.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

NLC LAUNCHES NEW SUSTAINABILITY WEBSITE
The National League of Cities (NLC)  recently launched a new website to provide tools and resources to local government officials and sustainability professionals, that feature city profiles, practices and case studies cities can use to build strong communities.   

URBAN RESILIENCE  
The Rockefeller Foundation, 100 Resilient Cities Project, the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, the World Bank and a range of information technology companies are promoting urban resilience around the world.  

CITY OF NAPA MODELS GOOGLE STREET VIEW
The City of Napa, California has replicated Google Street View, with its dispatch of a car with a roof-mounted camera tower to collect video data on property that the city owns.  The video reconnaissance will produce data for managing city street, water and park services.

CITIES LEADING SUSTAINABILITY
Siemens and the Economist Intelligent Unit have published the Green City Index and have selected 27 world cities that are leading innovative responses to urban challenges, including environmental issues.  Learn more about the five cities that topped the list.    

INTELLIGENT TRANSIT  TECHNOLOGY
Technology is shaping the quality of public transit commuting through increased efficiency and safety, demonstrated in the operation of the world’s largest tram network in the City of Melbourne.   

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS   

UK SMART CITY STANDARDS
The UK BIS (Department for Innovations and Skills) has developed guidance on smart city standards.  The specifications assist local councilors, communities, innovators and technology providers.

EXAMINING BUS RAPID TRANSIT       
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), in use on high ridership bus routes, is a feature of many metropolitan areas.  Learn more about features of BRT operation that improve efficiency and customer service.   

NYC CONGESTION PRICING
The “Move NY” plan proposal has resurrected the debate related to New York City congestion pricing schemes.  Learn more  about the details of this proposal and the anticipated impacts.   

URBAN EUROPE POLICY PAPER
A recent policy paper assesses current urban megatrends and their impacts on European cities and suggests specific actions areas to address urban challenges.  

WELL-BEING INDEX FOR CITIES
The City of Santa Monica is working on the development of the first well-being index for its residents.  The index is designed to assist measuring and meeting citizen satisfaction.   

MEDELLĺN’S TRANSFORMATION
Recognized as the 2012 “Innovative City of the Year,” Medellín, Columbia has become a best-practices case study for mayors and policymakers worldwide, reflecting bold advances in architecture and urban design and adoption of the integral urban project approach (PUI  in Spanish).

THE U.S. START-UP ECONOMY
The urban shift in America’s capital-based innovation economy is demonstrated in a recent Atlantic Cities article (Richard Florida).  The article compares the share of venture capital investment in central cities, walkable suburbs and other places.

GUELPH/WELLINGTON COUNTY HOMELESSNESS PLAN    
The City of Guelph and Wellington County have approved “A Place to Call Home,” ten year housing and homelessness plan.  The plan is the product of a two year collaboration of municipal staff, service providers, partners in the housing sector and local residents.  
 
TORONTO REGION ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY
The Toronto Board  of Trade recently released a paper entitled, “Toward a Toronto Region Economic Strategy,” that presents a framework for competitiveness focused on increased productivity growth,  industry cluster growth, foundation investment initiatives and strong regional leadership.     

CAR SHARING IN THE SUBURBS
Learn more about a Palo Alto area pilot project, called CarLink, that assessed the potential of a suburban car sharing service.  The pilot project found that forming partnerships between car sharing services like Zipcar, and regional transit providers holds promise.       

DENVER’S UNION STATION
Union Station in Denver’s Lower Downtown neighbourhood, is in the midst of a major transformation to accommodate train and bus travelers, a boutique hotel, shops, offices and restaurants.  The $500 million public/private project will be integrated into the city’s transit system.   

LIVE CHATS ON MUNICIPAL WEBSITES
Live chat  offers the potential to increase the level local government website customer service and efficiency, by encouraging website users to stay online despite navigation issues.    

THE ROLE OF COMMUNITY GARDENS    
Community gardens offer physical and mental health benefits by providing opportunities to produce and eat nutritious food, engage in physical activity and understand the value of local sustainable gardening.     

GUELPH PARTNERSHIP TO BUILD CIVIC SOLUTIONS
The City of Guelph is partnering with the University of Guelph to establish and lead a civic lab.  The lab is an innovative approach in collaborating on solutions to community challenges.

MEASURING SPRAWL
Measuring Sprawl 2014,  updates a 2002 report on sprawl by Smart Growth America, through an analysis of 2010 development patterns in U.S. metropolitan areas and counties, using a Sprawl Index score.    

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

THE IMPACTS OF REMOVING FREEWAYS
Most wonder where all the cars go when freeways are removed in urban areas.  Learn more about some key examples of transformative freeway removals and how drivers adjusted.   

SIMULATION MODELS AS TOOLS FOR ENGAGEMENT
Public engagement initiatives that use simulation models encourage people to both talk about their perspectives and assess the consequences of their ideas.  Simulation models can also provide feedback on how ideas and their outcomes work on the ground.  

TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENT IN PITTSBURGH   
Pittsburgh’s significant progress in support of the region’s technology companies is outlined in a new report, “Building momentum – Investing in Pittsburgh’s technology sector”  The city’s initiatives have attracted more than $338 million in venture, angel and strategic partnership capital.

BRITISH COLUMBIA MODERNIZES LOCAL ELECTIONS
Two new bills have been introduced in the British Columbia Legislature to modernize local election campaign finance rules and introduce further changes to local elections.

SUSTAINABLE NEIGHBOURHOODS AND HEALTHIER CITIES
A new book, “People Habitat: 25 Ways to Think about Greener, Healthier Cities" (Kaid Benfield) reflects experience in working with community-based organizations and municipal staff in specific U.S. cities, to increase the capacity of neighbourhoods to assess strengths and weaknesses in moving to revitalize communities.   

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

Contact

Bruce McLeod
OMKN Coordinator

T 416.971.9856 ext. 350
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