Innovation News February, 2014

DETROIT’S  PLAN FOR REVIVAL
The City of Detroit’s new Mayor Duggan is taking over a city that is half of its 1950 population size, and is facing challenges in managing $18 billion in long term liabilities and crime and corruption issues.  Learn more about the new Mayor’s plan to restore the city. 

STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE DOWNTOWNS
Learn about 12 strategies that can transform urban downtowns.  These approaches focus on creating vibrant urban centres and include examples of where they have been implemented.

NEW COMMUNITY ANALYTICS APPROACH
The Canadian Council on Social Development (CCSD) recently announced a new Community Analytics feature to its Community Data Program (CDP).  The new feature will enable access to a broad range of professional expertise in generating and producing custom data products.
 
TORONTO PROPOSES PREFABRICATED SOLUTION TO GARDINER REPAIR

Toronto staff have recommended to City Council that the use of prefabricated decking could save years construction time and traffic congestion if prefabricated sections of the road are used in the Gardiner expressway repair.

THE U.S. OPEN DATA LANDSCAPE  
The U.S. Open City Data Census is an ongoing effort to assess how cities are doing on releasing key datasets in accessible formats.  Learn more about the city data sets that are available.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS      NYC “VISION ZERO”
Learn more about New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” plan to reduce traffic fatalities.  A range of city agencies will work together to make streets safer for city residents and visitors.  

VANCOUVER’S PLANNING SUCCESS  
The City of Vancouver boasts a much admired city skyline, that has been carefully designed to preserve spectacular views of the mountains and harbour.  The city has also worked to create residential communities where areas of green space lead to walkable local neighbourhoods, one feature of what is known as “Vancouverism.”

NEXT GENERATION OF LEED TO BE LAUNCHED IN JUNE   
The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) has announced the introduction of LEED Version 4 (v4), which is the next generation of building rating systems.  LEED v4, which will be launched in June, will emphasize building performance and material life cycle assessment.   
                       
PROTECTED INTERSECTIONS FOR CYCLISTS

A City of Portland based urban planner has unveiled a project that seeks to expand the benefits of protected bike lanes where cyclists can ride to intersections, separated from automobile traffic.   A new website helps to communicate the idea.

TOP TWITTER TRANSPORTATION SOURCES
UBM’s  “future CITIES” has prepared a list of the Top 10 Twitter Transportation accounts  that are recommended for those who are interested in transportation, mass transit and cycling matters.   
    
MILAN REHAB HOSTS VERTICAL FOREST

A rehabilitation of two concrete block buildings in a Milan neighbourhood will incorporate over 900 trees on 8900 square meters of terraces.  View a video that details the plans.

2014 FREEWAYS WITHOUT FUTURES REPORT
The 2014 Freeways Without Futures Report (Congress for the New Urbanism) lists the top opportunities in North America for replacing urban highways.  The opportunities identified reflect the age and design of the structures, redevelopment potential, cost savings, ability to improve local access and mobility and the level of community support.   

NYC TOUCHSCREEN SUBWAY MAPS
New York subway riders will have access to futuristic way finding maps in subway kiosks across the system.  The screens are huge interactive navigation centres that provide real time information on travel to destinations.

NYC POLICE INVESTIGATE USING GOOGLE GLASS
The New York City Police Department is testing Google Glass as a potential law enforcement tool.  Google Glass is a wearable computer with an optical display that can pull up departmental data on the spot using voice commands.  

EDMONTON CITIZEN DASHBOARD
The Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) has presented the City of Edmonton a silver medal in municipal leadership for the Citizen Dashboard https://dashboard.edmonton.ca/ that enables residents to see how well the city is doing in providing municipal services.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS NRDC REPORT LINKS GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE TO PROPERTY VALUE
A recent Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) report links green infrastructure practices to the creation of commercial property value.  The Green Edge report contends that rainwater harvesting, bioswales, porous pavement and other techniques can yield higher rents and reduce operating costs.  

SAN FRANCISCO’S GOOGLE BUSES
The “Google buses” or shuttles operated by private companies in the Bay area have become a symbol for service to the city’s higher income “technology class,” and have led to local protests.  The San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency (SFMTA) is drafting the Shuttle Partners Program to manage challenges presented by Google buses for public transportation.    

RECONSIDERING TRADITIONAL DOWNTOWNS      
The recent trend in faster growth of U.S. central cities relative to suburbs, reflects the growing preferences for urban lifestyles.  Learn more about some variations in this trend across metro regions.    

EXPANDING AFFORDABLE RENTAL HOUSING

A recent Urban Land Institute (ULI) report identifies obstacles to the supply of affordable rental housing and offers specific solutions to expand affordable housing supply based on a review of the operation of ten large U.S. city housing markets.

YORK REGION SENIORS STRATEGY
York Regional Council has approved the continuing development of the York Region’s Seniors Strategy to address the growing and diverse needs of its fastest growing population cohort.  A draft strategic framework will be presented to Regional Council in September, 2014.     

NEW ORLEANS URBAN WATER PLAN
The Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan a series of demonstration projects designed by water experts to mitigate water emergencies and apply cutting edge water technology.

COMBATTING HIGH RENTS    
In most world cities, housing costs exceed the means of both lower and middle class income residents.  Learn more from Japan, Monaco, Stockholm, Singapore and Houston to deal with high housing costs. 
 
CHICAGO LAUNCHES FIRST OPEN DATA REPORT

The City of Chicago has launched its inaugural Open Data Report, setting out key priorities and initiatives for 2014.

ACTIVITY CENTRES IN THE D.C. REGION
Specific places or hubs in metro areas where growth is to be concentrated and encouraged can focus scarce resources on improving transportation efficiency, livability and local environments.  D.C.’s Activity Center initiative has led to 141 priority development areas and the recent Place + Opportunity Report assesses 92 of the priority areas and their challenges.  

REVISITING GARDEN SUBURBS
A recent book, Paradise Planned:  The Garden Suburb and the Modern City (Fishman and Tilove, 2013), makes a case for why garden suburbs are relevant in the current context of urban design.    

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
THE IMPACTS OF TELECOMMUTING
While the value of telecommuting is often debated, research data has shown that the share of people working from home has increased significantly.  Telecommuting not only affects the way people work but it also affects adaptation of urban transportation systems.  

STOCKHOLM BRIDGE TRANSPORTATION
Swedish design studio, Visiondivision, has developed a proposal for a sheltered promenade, outdoor cinema and art gallery for redundant space within the structure of Stockholm’s Tranebergsbron bridge.  

U.S EPA RECOGNIZES SMART GROWTH ACHIEVEMENT
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently recognized some of the best examples of smart growth projects in the country.  Learn more about the recipients in the five awards categories.

C40 CITIES RELEASES RESEARCH ON MEGACITY CLIMATE ACTIONS
C4O Cities has released Climate Action in Megacities 2.0, a groundbreaking research report that shows how metropolitan areas around the globe are expanding and accelerating climate change actions.  

SAN DIEGO’S WALKING PROGRAMS  
The City of San Diego has a vision of a transportation network that offer robust pedestrian, cycling, car and transit choices.  Learn more about three key pedestrian programs that the city will focus on in 2014.   

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS ASSESSING HOUSING DEMAND
A recent Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) article examines a method for assessing demographic and housing projections (Professor Arthur C. Nelson (University of Utah)                             to identify housing market shifts.  Learn more about the application of this method to the Columbus, Ohio metropolitan area.

VANCOUVER LOCAL-STREET BIKEWAYS
While the City of Vancouver doesn’t have the largest urban cycling network, it is one of the first cities to put in place a low-cost, low-impact cycling network along residential streets, with light car traffic volumes.  Vancouver is seen as a model for smaller, more car-oriented cities interested in developing a cycling culture.  

NEW APP CHANGES TRAVEL IN CITIES
While most city transportation services offer their own apps, a new app called RideScout collects data on all services in a single user interface.  By entering an origin and destination,  taxi, transit, car-share, cycling, walking and driving options appear.  These can be sorted by mode, cost or travel time. 
 
LIVING STREETS
The City of North St. Paul, Minnesota, is creating a Living Streets ordinance to accommodate traffic, parking and underground utilities while preserving pedestrian and cycling access.  The initiative also includes maintaining street vegetation including rainwater gardens.    

SETTLING PLANNING DISPUTES IN THE UK
Planning disputes in the UK related to large building projects, from schools to shopping centres, are to be fast tracked through a new specialist court, as part of a package of measures being proposed to stem the rise of judicial reviews.  Only groups with a financial interest in a case would be able to bring a challenge.     
OTHER DEVEL0PMENTS PARIS APP EMPOWERS CITIZENS
A free app called DansMaRue, inspired by a similar UK app, FixMyStreet, is assisting Parisians in reporting problems on the city’s streets.  The app enables photo uploading and reports with email addresses at any hour.   

CITIES AS A LAB  
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Cities as a Lab:  Designing Innovation Economy initiative shows how design can foster urban innovation to meet city needs.  This report explores policy trends and experimentation taking place in cities around the world.

TACKLING UK HOUSING AFFORDABILITY
The UK government is about to announce a broad review of how to encourage investors, insurers and pension funds to finance the building of affordable housing projects.  Housing targets have been missed for decades, leaving affordable housing across the country and especially London, in short supply.  
   
NYC ROAD INTERVENTIONS
The administration of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, significantly impacted the build environment of the city.  Learn more about 25 of the more outstanding road and pedestrian interventions from the Bloomberg era.

BIKE FRIENDLY LESSONS FROM EUROPEAN CITIES
Successful European cycling cities have characteristics in common, including high quality bicycle infrastructure, integrated transportation systems which focus on walking and public transit supported by public policy and spending initiatives.    

Contact

Bruce McLeod
OMKN Coordinator

T 416.971.9856 ext. 350
TF 1.877.426.6527
F 416.971.6191