Innovation News December 2014


2014 DAZZLING NOTICE AWARDS RECOGNIZE FOUR ONTARIO MUNICIPALITIES
The Dazzling Notice Awards recognize municipal Governments that actively encourage citizen participation as part of an inclusive local decision making process.  Learn more about this year’s winning initiatives, including four from Ontario municipalities.
 
BLOOMBERG PHILANTHROPIES PROGRAM EXPANDS
In mid-December Bloomberg Philanthropies announced that twelve U.S. cities and two Isreali cities have been selected to participate in the $45 million expansion of its Innovation Teams program.  This is the second round of i-team grants to improve the design and implementation of new approaches to addressing urban challenges.
   
WEBSITE FORECASTS STREET FLOODING    
New Jersey scientists are working on a forecasting system that will advise residents three days before a storm hits, on the likelihood of street flooding. The system is based on high tech sensors that monitor coastal conditions, producing data to inform predictions of storm activity and impacts.
 
CITY CLIMATE LEADERSHIP AWARD WINNERS
The C40CITIES Climate Leadership Group has announced cities that have been named  2014 Climate Leadership Award winners. Learn more about the successful projects and their impacts.  

LEARNING FROM OTTAWA’S BIKING CULTURE  
The City of Ottawa provides a leading example of how North American cities with sizable suburban areas can create the necessary infrastructure and programs to make cycling a viable transportation option outside an urban core.  The Ottawa Cycling Plan provides for integration of cycling with other transportation modes to enable suburban commuters to travel to the downtown.
        
U.S. CITIES MOVE TO ZERO WASTE
The United States is a top producer of waste and as a result many cities have set aggressive aggressive waste reduction targets. Some cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle have diversion rates in excess of 60%  and are now focused on zero waste, i.e. a diversion  rate 90%.

TOP HOUSING PROJECTS OF 2014
Through 2014, a range of multi-unit housing projects have focused on greater integration of light and greenery, as well as new approaches to affordable housing design.  Learn more about some leading housing projects for 2014.  

PARKING INNOVATIONS THAT CITIES SHOULD CONSIDER
UCLA’s Donald Shoup, author of the “High Cost of Parking,” (2005) has written an article that suggests some key parking innovations that cities should consider implementing.
 
THE INNOVATIVE METROPOLITAN PLANNING ORGANIZATION
A new guidebook, “The Innovative MPO”  has been developed by U.S. Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) staff, board members and civic leaders that offers a range ideas, tools and programs that can lead to smarter, more informed transportation investments by metro planning organizations.
    
FCM 2015 SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES AWARDS
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has recently published online case studies that profile each of the 2015 Sustainable Communities Award winners. The case studies outline challenges and project details of some key sustainability initiatives driving local community change.

CHICAGO REVIEWS RULES ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING   
The City of Chicago is considering major amendments to strengthen the city’s inclusionary zoning by-law, the Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO). The proposed amendments would require at least 25% affordable housing units to be built on new development sites, would raise the in-lieu fee significantly in high income areas and would enable transfer of new or rehab units to an alternate site in proximity to a proposed development.
     
THE COMEBACK OF U.S. DOWNTOWNS   
After an era of population decline, downtown areas in the largest U.S. metros are growing again.  The downtown is emerging as a residential alternative appealing to young people and childless couples, reflecting a specific market appeal of urban centres.   This moderate downtown growth parallels even stronger growth rates on the fringes of downtown core areas.  Learn more about these population and job growth trends

SEOUL TRANSFORMS FREEWAY TO LINEAR PARK
Building freeways through downtown urban areas has often resulted in divided  neighbourhoods, a general unattractiveness in core areas and declining property values.  While many U.S. cities have undertaken freeway replacement projects, the City of Seoul project is a leading example of successful freeway replacement.

DANISH MUNICIPALITIES COOPERATE ON BICYCLE SUPERHIGHWAY  
The City of Copenhagen and 21 suburban municipalities have partnered on the planning and development of cycling superhighways and a growing network of bicycle infrastructure to promote and enable cycling commuters to make the one-hour ride into Copenhagen.
   
USING NATURAL INFRASTRUCTURE TO IMPROVE WATER SUPPLY       
A project by the Nature Conservancy, the Urban Water Blueprint maps city watersheds and promotes a greener approach to engineering, that focuses on water quality and quantity before it reaches city boundaries.  Learn more http://nextcity.org/daily/entry/five-cities-where-natural-infrastructure-improves-the-water-supply about five cities that successfully rely on natural watershed ability to purify and conserve.   
SWEDISH MINING TOWN TO RELOCATE OVER THE NEXT CENTURY  
The Town of Kiruna, Sweden, a prosperous iron ore mining community where building foundations are at risk because of mining operations, will  move to a new site over the next 100 years.  Learn more about the strategy to relocate the town nine kilometers away from its current location.
 
NLC STATE OF THE CITIES 2014 REPORT
The National League of Cities (NLC) has published its 2014 State of the Cities  report that analyzes trends in cities and related responses from local governments, based on statements from mayors across the U.S.  

POLICE SERVICES EMBRACE SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media enable law enforcement to quickly push out crime alerts, seek help from the public in solving crimes and strengthen ties with communities. Learn more about the experience of some U.S. police services in building positive community relations.

LONDON’S THAMES GARDEN BRIDGE
Westminster and Lambeth City Councils have approved plans for a new $275 million, plant-covered footbridge spanning the Thames River. The Mayor of London will make the final decision on the project.

WASHINGTON STATE’S INFRASTRUCTURE RESOURCE INITIATIVE
The Washington State Public Works Board (PWB) FirstStop Initiative brings together a wide range of resources, including an online tool, to provide local government with financial and technical support for the development of sustainable community infrastructure.

COOPERATIVE SENIOR HOUSING
An innovative housing approach, such as a seniors’ cooperative, is an alternative to traditional housing approaches that address the needs of seniors. Senior-owned non-profit corporations can provide affordable housing in a community setting that offers social activities and facilities and potential for graduated care.

NEW TOOL AGGREGATES MAPS AND OPEN DATA
Plenario, a new tool launched in September 2014, enables users to study regions over specific time periods using all relevant data. The core concept is downloading data from multiple independent data sources that can be coordinated with time and location coordinates.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

PREDICTING CRIME
A recent Harvard University study (Sampson and O’Brien) examined a range of data to assess the validity of the “broken windows” theory, the idea that minor public disorder leads to more serious crime.  The study finds that while public disorder did predict future violence, private conflict, i.e. domestic violence, was strongly linked to public violence.   

NEW UK GARDEN CITY
Bicester, near Oxford, is to be the first new garden city in the UK in decades.  The garden city will provide 13,000 more affordable homes, at a cost of £100 million and a new transit station to connect to Oxford and London.   

IMPACTS OF WEARABLE TECHNOLOGIES
Development of wearable technologies such as Google Glass and FitBit are likely to have an impact on cities and their residents as a further means of connecting to and engaging citizens.  These devices, which integrate the individual with public and private infrastructure and services, can lead to greater efficiencies.
       
CHRISTCHURCH’S MODEL OF RESILIENCE
Christchurch, New Zealand, devasted by a series of earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, created the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT) to reconstruct the city’s water systems, underground utilities and roadways.   Learn more about this innovative initiative which has become a global model for urban disaster recovery.

A NEW GENERATION OF LAND BANKS
There has been recent increasing interest in land banks in the U.S., with eight new states enacting comprehensive legislation over the past three years.  Learn more about the objectives of these new initiatives and the policies and characteristics of successful land banks. 

PLANS FOR OFF-SHORE PARKS
Densely populated cities offer few opportunities for new park space, given high land and real estate  prices.  One approach for such cities on water bodies is building off-shore parks, but  the viability of these expensive projects has been questioned.  Learn more about the details of a range of off-shore park proposals.

CITIES CAN DRIVE GROWTH AND REDUCE CLIMATE RISK     
Recently released  studies by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate conclude that cities can drive economic growth while reducing climate risk.  The studies outline examples of cities from around the world that are pursuing compact development and connected smart infrastructure and transportation systems.   

BALTIMORE’S FOCUS ON IMMIGRANTS REVERSES DECLINE
The City of Baltimore has aggressively pursued initiatives to attract immigrants, focusing on easing their assimilation into city communities.  The result has been a growing city population, demographic shifts to Asian, African and Hispanic groups from traditional black and white populations and  increasing business investment.
   
3D PRINTING AND LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE
The use of 3D modelling and printing can enable landscape architects to bypass contractors and to participate directly in the design and manufacturing of a wide range of objects.  Learn more about the 3D technologies available to architects to improve communications with clients and stakeholders.
   
NEW TECHNOLOGIES HELP CITIES MANAGE CHALLENGES
The advent of mobile apps, sensors and a growing range of other technologies  are leading to  higher levels of analysis about how cities deliver services such as water, policing and  transportation and manage climate and energy use challenges.  Boston and Santander are specific examples of cities that are exploiting both technology and data.       

Contact

Bruce McLeod
OMKN Coordinator

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