Innovation News August 2014



TORONTO LAUNCHES NEW ONLINE ENGAGEMENT PLATFORM
The City of Toronto has launched IdeaSpace, a new online platform to increase engagement with Toronto residents.  The year long pilot project enables residents to share ideas and solutions to city challenges.
 
PERSONAL RAPID TRANSIT SYSTEMS     
Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) Systems combine public transport with personalized routing of vehicles containing  four to six passengers along guide-ways.  Learn more about some recent PRT developments and their potential.    

BUILDING MATERIALS THAT MITIGATE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS  
Building-integrated vegetation (BIV), such as green roofs and green walls, have demonstrated capacity to assist in managing air pollution, heat-island effects and the loss of biodiversity.  Local governments are leading in these initiatives using measures such as building codes and financial incentives.   

CREATIVE ARCHITECTURAL PROJECTS  
On occasion, architectural projects go beyond the creation of just functional design of buildings and spaces, to innovative multi-purpose projects that can make significant contributions improving urban life.  Learn more about some leading examples of such projects.  

GUIDANCE FOR POLICE TRAINING IN DEALING WITH MENTAL ILLNESS  
The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) has released a new report with recommendations for police education and training regarding interactions with people with mental illness.  The recommendations serve as a framework that can be used by police services to assess and improve their own training practices.   

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
New Vancouver Wayfinding System 

MULTI-MODAL BRIDGE BANS CARS
The City of Portland, Oregon is building its first new bridge in a generation at the Tilikum Crossing.  The bridge is the first multi-modal structure in the U.S. that will focus exclusively on transit, pedestrian and cyclist traffic.

GOOGLE SEEKS ADVANTAGES OF URBAN INNOVATION
Through the last decade, Google has moved into selected urban locations to gain better access to technology eco-systems, advanced research institutions, talented workforces and regional specializations.  

REPURPOSING BIKE INFRASTRUCTURE
While European cities’ cycling infrastructure priorities largely include building new projects from scratch, the trend in North American cities is to reuse older rail and road transportation infrastructure to create cycling routes. Learn more about some examples from U.S. cities.  

LOS ANGELES PARKS PLAN REQUIRES COORDINATION OF 88 CITIES
The Emerald Necklace Expanded Vision Plan http://nextcity.org/daily/entry/los-angeles-emerald-necklace-plan-la-basin is designed to connect the San Gabriel Mountain Range with the Pacific Ocean through a network of public park space, bike and walking trails and restored waterways.  The plan requires the coordination of the activities of 88 cities and a wide range of public agencies in the Los Angeles Basin.  

HOW TRANSIT/WALKABILITY LEAD TO URBAN AFFORDABILTY
New data from the New York City based Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) demonstrate the importance of walkability and transit in affordability for a range of household types living in cities.  Lower transportation costs were found to help balance the relatively higher price of housing in major U.S. cities.     

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
New Arena Ice Technology  

TRENDS FOR SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE
The range of residential and commercial buildings featuring green innovations continues to grow.  Learn more about some of the leading trends in sustainable urban architecture in 2014.    

HOW CITIES INSPIRE STAFF INNOVATION
Focusing on internal collaboration has been identified as a key element in the operation of innovative, high performing local governments.  Examples of some municipal cross-functional teams provide lessons for other local governments interested in an organizational culture that promotes innovation.    

PERFORMANCE- BASED ZONING  
Conventional zoning is increasingly seen as a barrier to emerging urbanism trends related to transit oriented development, mixed use projects and new affordable housing solutions and is gradually being replaced by new approaches including form-based codes and performance zoning.    

HOLDING BETTER MEETINGS
A new book by Dick and Emily Axelrod, organizational development specialists, will be of interest to managers who are concerned that meeting formats and organization need improvement, in order to have participants show up and participate. 
 
ALBERTA MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT ACT CONSULTATIONS
Alberta’s Municipal Government Act (MGA), introduced in the mid-1990s, is being reviewed after some 20 years.  Learn more about the Spring, 2014 MGA Review stakeholder consultations  in communities across the province.

RURAL STRATEGIES FOR SMART GROWTH
A recent International City/County Management Association (ICMA) report outlines strategies that can help guide rural growth while protecting natural and working lands and the character of rural communities.  

URBAN FOOD POLICIES
Cities can play an important role in removing barriers and enabling the growth of community-based food production.  Learn more about nine food policies and municipal practices for strong local food systems.  

NEW URBAN PIONEERS
Innovative urban pioneers in different locations around the world are leading strategic initiatives to improve local service delivery, urban resilience and quality of life.    

SUSTAINABLE URBAN TRANSPORTATION
Development and implementation of sustainable urban transportation solutions enable healthier, safer and more prosperous cities.  The Climate action in Megacities 2.0 report highlights over 1500 specific sustainable mobility actions that C40 cities have taken.

THE COMPETITIVENESS OF CITIES
The World Economic Forum, The Competitiveness of Cities Report, identifies key global “megatrends” relevant to cities and case studies related to growth and productivity to increase competitiveness.

CLIMATE CHANGE LEADERSHIP IN CANADIAN CITIES
The National Measures Report released in mid-July by the Partners for Climate Protection outlines leading practices in Canadian cities to secure greater energy efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas pollution.

DESIGNING FOR AGING POPULATIONS
Architecture for seniors is changing as medical care progresses and the baby boom generation carry their focus on wellness into their senior years.  New design features include innovative urban models, more linkages to the larger community and a wider variety of amenities.  Learn more  about ten seniors projects that reflect new design considerations.

MANAGING OLDER URBAN HOUSING STOCK   
While homes in older residential areas add character to urban communities, aging housing stock can also create challenges for local government in preventing these homes from falling into disrepair.  Learn more  about aging U.S. housing stock and how some key issues are being managed.   

HELSINKI AIMS TO REDUCE RELIANCE ON CARS
Helsinki is considering a holistic transportation plan that would allow residents to map out a multi-modal transportation route via smart phones and pay by the route, by kilometer or by a set monthly fee. It is anticipated that this vision of “mobility on demand” would respond to the growing trend of reduced automobile use.    

URBAN IMMIGRANT INTEGRATION IDEAS
The June 2014, Cities of Migration Conference in Berlin, highlighted the approaches of cities that are proactively responding to demographic change through more inclusive public policy and promoting new opportunities for business development.

VANCOUVER MOVES TO SOLVE ABORIGINAL ISSUES
In late June, 2014 Vancouver City Council unanimously passed a motion to recognize that the city sits on unceded First Nations territory, as part of a reconciliation process that will lead to building new relationships to tackle urban aboriginal issues.        

BOSTON’S BACK STREETS MODEL
The City of Boston Back Streets Program was created in 2001 to protect and serve Back Streets businesses (manufacturing, wholesale, construction, logistics, business and commercial services) and the industrial sector.  The program, administered by the Back Streets Office (BSO), focuses on creating industrial zones and investing in infrastructure improvements.  The Boston model has been adopted in other cities.
   
CREATIVE TRANSIT AGENCIES
U.S. transit agencies are looking to finance expansion by getting into the real estate development business.  Transit agencies in cities such as Atlanta, Washington and San Francisco, are launching transit-oriented development initiatives by selling or leasing land near stations to build mixed use developments.

NEW PREDICTIVE TRAFFIC LIGHT MODEL
A new traffic light system based on the Osorio model, uses interacting microscopic simulators and survey data related  to driver commuting behaviour to anticipate traffic flows through intersections.  The new model would replace fixed time control lights to decrease commute times.    

MIXED USE INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT
The resurgence of small, local producers who use low cost technology and changing markets to sell locally produced consumer goods, is creating new potential to link urban residents with economic opportunity.  Learn more about how to accommodate mixed use industrial development.       

THE CHICAGO MODEL
The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) exhibition, Chicago: City of Big Data, featured its centrepiece, the Chicago Model, a replica of the city’s downtown, that is updated annually to reflect the city’s data innovations.  Visitors to the exhibition can review the “Chicago Dashboard” that provides real time updates on a wide range of data points or view an interactive display that shows how neighbourhoods developed.    

MANAGING FLOOD RISK
The U.S. Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) has issued a set of guidelines for local authorities, policy makers and developers managing flood risks in urban areas.  Learn more about resilient flood routes, temporary storage areas and “designing for exceedance.”   

IMPACTS OF DRIVERLESS CARS
Many consequences of driverless cars, such as mobility improvements for the elderly and impacts on car sharing services and the auto industry are receiving greater attention.  A recent Meeting of the Minds article speculates on impacts on urban form.   

U.S. CLIMATE CHANGE LEADERS
The 2014 Clean Tech Leadership Index of U.S. states indicates that clean technology is being driven by state and metro governments.  Eight of the top ten metro areas are in the top four states, led by California.

THE ADVANTAGES OF WALKABLE METROS  
A new report by the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis (George Washington University) ranks the top 30 metropolitan areas in the U.S. on walkable urbanism and finds that higher education levels and one third higher GDP per capita correlate with the provision of walkable places.   

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
Nanaimo Underground Safety Best Practices

Contact

Bruce McLeod
OMKN Coordinator

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