Innovation News June 2014


THE SIDEWALK OF THE FUTURE
Some cities are starting to rethink the building and walkability of sidewalks. Construction materials are being broadened and new energy and safety considerations are being incorporated into sidewalk design. 
 
LEGACY ARCHITECTURE
Historic places and buildings often create a neighbourhood distinctiveness and sense of place.  Learn more about how legacy architecture can shape an urban experience and contribute to city vitality and sustainability. 
   
LEARNING FROM SWEDISH TRAFFIC SAFETY MEASURES
Sweden’s Vision Zero campaign, adopted by its Parliament in 1997, lowered road speeds, improved road design and expanded automated enforcement.  These measures have  application to initiatives in other jurisdictions, including New York City’s Vision Zero transportation priority.

CITIES PREPARE FOR RISING SEA LEVELS     
Cities, often of necessity, are taking the lead in managing climate impacts, including the challenge of rising sea levels.  Learn more about adding green space for storm preparation, the focus on city ports and mapping and securing flood risk areas.    

ST. CATHARINES NEW PARKING DISPUTE PROCESS      
In order to make disputing parking tickets more customer focused, the City of St. Catharines has appointed a Screening Officer to review parking tickets, within a specific time frame.  Screening requests are filed in person or by phone or email, at no cost.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
New OnDuty police smartphone app 

DETROIT’S ADAPTATION TO NEW REALITIES    
In the absence of U.S. Federal Government policy and programs to support metropolitan growth, cites and metros have been left to manage challenges on their own.  The City of Detroit is an example of how urban areas can adapt to this reality, through the specific steps it has taken to move back to urban success.  

INNOVATIVE SUSTAINABILITY SOLUTIONS  
The 2014 Sustainia 100 Report acts as a guide to innovative sustainability solutions from around the world.  A component of the report focuses on sustainability initiatives that are in use in specific world cities.  
CITY FIRE DEPARTMENTS SHIFT FOCUS TO MEDICAL CARE
Faced with a growing number of emergency medical calls, a growing number of fire departments in U.S. cities are shifting to an expanding medical role.  
 
UK CITY’S LIVING DATA PROJECT             
Peterborough (East Anglia, UK) officials aim to make public data so open that anyone can use it, in a bid to reshape the city.  The Living Data Project enables residents to map selected combinations of public data to assess service delivery issues and impacts and to improve participation in public consultations.    

URBAN RIVER REVIVAL PROJECTS
Learn more about thirteen projects that are revitalizing urban rivers to recover assets that have been lost over time to urban development.   

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS   EDMONTON WASTE-TO-BIOFUELS FACILITY OPENS
The World’s first waste-to-biofuels facility located at the Edmonton Waste Management Centre has recently opened. The city will supply sorted municipal waste, that cannot be composted or recycled, for conversion to biofuels and chemicals. The objective is to increase waste diversion from 60 to 90 percent by 2016.

BEST IN CLASS CLIMATE REPORTING
The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group has created a global platform for cities to publicly disclose key climate data. Learn more about those cities delivering best in class climate action reporting.

NYC’S BIG U PROPOSAL
The Big U is a proposed protective system around Manhattan to protect 10 continuous miles of low-lying urban area against floods and stormwater. The proposal is comprised of three contiguous regions or compartments, each designed to stand on its own.

A DEBATE ABOUT TALL BUILDINGS
The debate among architects and urban professionals about the appropriateness of tall buildings often focuses on the issues of height, density, housing affordability, design considerations, location and relationships to existing communities. In a recent Planetizen article Brent Toderian discusses his perspectives and considerations regarding tall buildings.

PARTICIPATORY PLANNING IN TODAY’S CITIES
Cities are searching for ways to engage younger generations in urban planning processes. Learn more about how social media platforms and smartphone apps are shaping engagement approaches by cities.

RESILIENCE IN CITY PLANNING
Resilience as a planning and operational priority for cities is part of the agenda for many governments and urban professionals.  Learn more about what resilience means, its linkage to sustainability and its implications for urban research.  

INTERACTIVE HIGHWAYS
A proposal from Russian design firm, Art.Lebedev Studio, sets out a highway with smart surfaces that act as an interactive display to update drivers on traffic ahead, alerting them to sudden road developments using instantly changing road signs.

URBAN TECHNOLOGICAL GROWTH
A new Brookings Institution report (Katz and Wagner) contends that innovation in the 21st century is moving into large cities from suburban and rural locations.  Learn more about the key factors that support urban innovation.

PERFORMANCE OF ECO-CITIES
Low Carbon Model Towns (LCMT) are being developed in the Asia-Pacific Region based on studies conducted by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.  The Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for these centres reflect the best prevailing international practices applied to the various local conditions.  

HUD LAUNCHES URBAN PROFESSIONALS NETWORK
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has established the NationalResourceNetwork.org, an interactive online library and toolkit to enable urban professionals to share resources and knowledge.  

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS MAKING THE RIGHT PUBLIC FINANCE CHOICES  
Imprudent financial schemes can weaken a government’s fiscal future.  Learn more about some bad and good financial planning/budgeting choices.   

MAINTENANCE FREE FIRE HYDRANTS
The Sigelock Spartan fire hydrant, recognized as the first major redesign of hydrants in a century, is a safer and more durable alternative to traditional hydrants.  

TEARING DOWN URBAN HIGHWAYS
A recent Atlantic Cities article examines the significant pressures to tear down or substantially modify urban core highways, to make cities more livable and accessible.   
   
THE HUDSON YARDS
A new “quantified community,” Hudson Yards, is being built from scratch on Manhattan’s West Side.  New York University’s Centre for Urban Science and Progress is collaborating with project developers to create a data rich research environment that will track peoples’ interactions, air quality and provide information on the site’s sustainability systems.  
 
USING “VALUE CAPTURE” TO FINANCE INFRASTRUCTURE  
Sᾶo Paulo, Brazil is a model for cities around the world on how to use the “value capture” to finance infrastructure in new developments.  The approach involves unlocking land value by “upzoning” an area, issuing bonds entitling developers to build larger buildings and using revenue from bond sales for investment in necessary services.

TORONTO NAMED INTELLIGENT COMMUNITY OF THE YEAR
The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) has selected Toronto as the Intelligent Community of the Year at its annual summit in New York City.  Toronto was selected because of its focused academic, creative and  private sectors and its use of technology to become more competitive and attract investment.  

NLC REPORT HIGHLIGHTS SMALL BUSINESS PRACTICES
I new report on small business development practices was recently released by the National League of Cities (NLC).  The report advocates making small business development a priority and contains a toolkit with strategies to strengthen local business communities. 
 
THE REGIONS DRIVING THE U.S. ECONOMY
There are twelve mega-regions in North America, largely in the U.S. but spilling over into Canada and Mexico, that are propelling economic growth. Learn more about these regions and how they compare  with other mega-regions around the world.

CITY PLANNING AND CLIMATE CHANGE
North American communities are growing economically and in size and how land development is managed  will have impacts on the levels of carbon emissions  and their consequences.   Given that a significant amount of the built environment to accommodate future growth isn’t in place, there are opportunities to apply some simple approaches to minimize environmental impacts
    
PlaNYC  
PlaNYC is the sustainability and resiliency blueprint for the City of New York.  Learn more about  the progress the city has made in managing a growing population,  aging infrastructure,  an evolving economy and climate challenges.

FCM RECIPIENTS OF 2014 AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) announced the 2014 Awards of Excellence  during its recent Annual Conference in Niagara Region.  The awards recognize outstanding contributions by individuals, municipal associations and local governments.   

LONDON ONTARIO BLUEPRINT FOR CORRIDORS
The City of London’s draft strategy, the London Plan, would establish an interconnected network of travel zones to enable integration of transportation choices with buildings.  The new approach would improve the balance of transportation modes and character on city streets and would ensure that building design reflects the use of specific neighbourhoods.    

NYC TO REDUCE RECKLESS DRIVING
The City of New York Council has passed a number of bills and resolutions that seek to improve street safety.  The 11 bills establish strict new liability standards, misdemeanors, fines and jail sentences to reduce deaths and injuries.  

PARKSCORE U.S. CITY RANKINGS
ParkScore has analyzed and ranked 60 of the largest U.S. cities to determine how well each city is meeting the need for parks.     
   
SAN FRANCISCO’S VISION ZERO PROJECT
The City of San Francisco is implementing a plan, “The Vision Zero Project,” to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2024. The plan provides for an increase in numbers of traffic enforcers, improvement of traffic infrastructure at high risk locations and broad public education.  

Contact

Bruce McLeod
OMKN Coordinator

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