Innovation News May 2014



2014 CAMA AWARDS ANNOUNCED
Eight Canadian municipalities have won 2014 national awards of excellence   from the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators (CAMA), in the areas of innovation, education and professional development.  

MANAGING RUSH HOURS
The problem of peak travel time congestion, where demand for transportation choices exceeds supply, is being analyzed by a new start-up Urban Engines. Their proposed solution is an approach called “crowd-sensing” which combines real time transit data with information on individual trip plans.      

INCENTIVE HOUSING ZONES
The State of Connecticut Housing Program for Economic Growth, HOMEConnecticut, provides incentives for municipalities to create Incentive Housing Zones to enable more as-of-right higher density, affordable housing and streamlined permitting in designated areas.

LEADING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT WEBSITES
Learn more about ten economic development websites that demonstrate leadership in design and marketing of community assets.

THE CITY OF 2050
The BBC has developed an interactive graphic that predicts developments that will impact the nature of cities and urban life in 2050.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

LOS ANGELES LOW INCOME HOUSING DESIGN 
Low income or public housing is often characterized by concrete, institutional looking towers, with poorly maintained lots.  However, recent  project developments in Los Angeles demonstrate how different and attractive social housing design can be.
   
ATHENS CREATES A CITY OF GREEN ROOFS
Greece is ranked second among European countries for installed solar capacity, the City of Athens being a prime example of rooftops boasting photovoltaic panels that take advantage of the city’s three thousand hours of sunshine per year.  Now the city’s rooftops are starting to feature green terraces and gardens  that can improve the city’s microclimate and pollution levels.    
 
INVENTIONS THAT ARE MAKING CITIES INCREASINGLY LIVABLE 
Evolving technology is becoming increasingly important in improving urban quality of life, even as populations grow.   Learn more about some key technology developments that are making cities more livable, resilient and sustainable.
 
THE VALUE OF INFRASTRUCTURE JOBS
The  Brookings Institution has released a study concluding that the huge infrastructure business in the U.S. not only directly offers well-paying jobs (estimated at 14.2 million) in metropolitan areas but also leads to a growing field of infrastructure-related employment in the renewable energy, technology and transportation sectors.      
 
ONTARIO’S TECHNOLOGY SECTOR TO MODEL SILICON VALLEY
Officials in Kitchener and Waterloo are hoping to model the success of Silicon Valley by forging links to technology organizations in Toronto to create competitive “superclusters” of innovative technology.  

WORLD’S SMARTEST CITIES  
The IESE Business School in Spain has released its annual Cities in Motion Index (ICIM), which ranks those cities with the highest levels of innovation, sustainability and quality of life.  The rankings result from an assessment of more than 50 indicators in 135 world cities.   

THE COST OF CANADIAN MUNICIPAL INFRASTRUCTURE
The University of Calgary School of Public Policy recently released a report that contends that user fees are the best way to pay for the significant costs of local infrastructure that will confront Canadian municipalities over the next ten to fifteen year period.     

GLOBAL FORUM ON URBAN RESILIENCE/ADAPTATION
The 5th Global Forum on Urban Resilience and Adaptation (May 29-31, Bonn, Germany) will feature sessions on climate change impacts in Asian Cities, adaptation design tools, resilient infrastructure and municipal climate partnerships.   

CYCLING IN THE NETHERLANDS
Two critical factors, a social movement demanding safer conditions for cyclists and the Middle East oil crisis of 1973, have led to major Dutch Government investment in improving cycling infrastructure and a move away from car focused transportation policies.   

BIG DATA AND PUBLIC SERVICES
Public sector data can enable governments to carry out existing functions more cheaply, improve the delivery of current services and undertake new initiatives.  Learn more about some perspectives on big data, what can be gained from its use and related risks.       

2014 GLOBAL CITIES SUMMIT
The 2014 Global Cities Summit (hosted by the Global City Indicators Facility) held in Toronto in mid-May, brought together senior government officials, business leaders and urban professionals from over 255 members cities in 81 countries around the world.  Summit discussions focused on global standards for world cities, smart and sustainable cities, urban infrastructure solutions, city data and governance in world cities.  The Summit also launched the World Council on City Data (WCCD) to pilot international standards for city performance indicators.    

EDMONTON PROGRAM FOR GREEN NEIGHBOURHOODS   
The City of Edmonton has launched a new pilot program to encourage citizens to green their neighbourhoods.  The Neighbourhood Action Program includes interactive learning sessions and a program of small grants to pilot community initiatives.  

CHICAGO’S URBAN PARK RENAISSANCE
In recent years, the City of Chicago has developed a range of parks and open spaces that support the city’s “green” initiatives, including the Millennium Park, the largest green roof in the world.  These efforts will continue through 2014 with several new green developments.
 

UNIVERSITY-CITY RELATIONSHIPS
Universities generally have  positive economic and social impacts on their host cities, through local employment, their purchases of local goods and services and their educational, social and cultural interactions with their communities.  Learn more about how these relationships can support local sustainability.    

THE NEXT DECADE’S URBAN MEGA TRENDS
A recent Forbes  article outlines the top ten mega trends that will shape the lives of urban residents and some of the major implications for cities. 
 
OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

THE SMARTEST CITY
The City of Santander, in northern Spain (population 180,000), was chosen four years ago to be Europe’s laboratory for a sensor–based smart city.  Under the “SmartSantander” project, downtown sensors can measure trash in containers, the number of people on sidewalks and sensors in city vehicles measure air pollution and traffic conditions.     

MAIN STREET SUSTAINABILITY
North American main streets meet many of the criteria of smart urbanism (e.g. compact, walkable, centrally located) and often contain historical buildings, which rank highly as green buildings.  Learn more about the main street Energy Innovation Center restoration in Rutland, Vermont that reflects today’s sustainability attributes.

OLDER ADULT COMMUNITY PREFERENCES
A recent American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) “Livable Communities” report explores livability and assesses the degree to which a community meets individual needs based on age, income, physical ability, ethnicity and other factors, focusing on the individual community preferences of older adults.  

BEST WORLD CITY APPS
Smart phone apps are a part of the daily lives of a growing number people.  Learn more about the relative popularity of some apps and their use in New York, London, Paris and Seoul. 
 
VANCOUVER LAUNCHES POP-UP CITY HALL
The City of Vancouver has launched the Pop-Up City Hall program, a mobile City Hall that provides easy access to key municipal services in various Vancouver neighbourhoods.  The initiative is modelled after Boston’s City Hall to Go initiative.      

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS “INVESTOR READY CITIES”
A new report from Siemens, “Investor Ready Cities,”examines options for public-private sector partnerships on financing urban projects.  The report reflects perspectives of private investors, contractors and lawyers and offers advice to urban leaders in financing a range of infrastructure needs.   

TRANSPORTATION FOR ALL GENERATIONS
With 8 million older (65 plus) non-drivers in the U.S. and baby boomers choosing to drive less and to move to downtown locations, creating communities where people can remain connected and engaged is a top priority for city planning officials.  Learn more about transportation options that meet these needs as well as those of younger residents in urban communities.   
 
STRATEGIC PARKING PRICING
Implementing strategic parking pricing is a key approach to influencing where and how long drivers park, that can have significant impacts on the health of local businesses.  Learn more about the experience of a number of cities that are linking parking prices to urban planning goals.

THE DIVERGENT DEVELOPMENT APPROACHES OF CALGARY AND EDMONTON      
The University of Calgary School of Public Policy has recently released a report that analyzes the urban development challenges and patterns of the Cities of Calgary and Edmonton and their shifts away from suburban expansion.  The analysis also offers some comparisons to Toronto and Vancouver.    
 
INNOVATION DISTRICTS
A range of U.S. cities are establishing innovation districts which cluster and connect leading edge institutions and innovative firms order to promote entrepreneurship and spin-off companies.  A key example of this kind of initiative is Boston’s District Hall, the primary component of the city’s emerging 1000-acre innovation district http://www.innovationdistrict.org/.                      .    

POWERFUL WORLD CITY BRANDS
The first Guardian Cities global brand survey, conducted by Saffron (urban branding consultant) assessed 57 major world cities in terms of two branding aspects: assets (including economic prosperity, attractions, infrastructure and safety); and “buzz” or social media and media mentions.

SAN FRANCISCO’S CHIEF RESILIENCE OFFICER
San Francisco is the first city of others around the world (Rockefeller Foundation 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge), to appoint a Chief Resilience Officer.  Patrick Otellini brings to his responsibilities an extensive background in public policy and municipal administration.   

WHAT MILLENNIALS WANT FROM CITIES
Millennials, those born between 1982 and 2001, represent about 80 million Americans, described variously as driven, technology-savy, narcissistic and practical, have very specific urban perspectives and needs.  Learn more about some recent survey results on these views.   

WATERPROOFING NYC
With increasing sea levels along the New York City Waterfront, storm surges are predicted to happen more frequently increasing the chance of property damage.  Learn more about some waterfront redesigns under consideration to protect neighbourhoods from flooding.       

LONDON TECHNOLOGY BATTLES GRAFFITI    
The City of London, Ontario city officials and police are using GPS technology to track graffiti vandalism by “geo-tagging” markings left on public and private buildings to assist in police investigations.   

KINGSTON’S GREEN BUILDING SYMPOSIUM
Sustainable Kingston’s first Green Building Symposium takes place on May 7, to showcase the city’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) buildings.  Symposium participants will have the opportunity to learn about innovative sustainability design and how LEED buildings operate.

BOOMERS AND MILLENNIALS AGREE ON CITY PRIORITIES
A new American Planning Association (APA) study concludes that the baby boomer and millennial generations agree on the need for more urban transportation options and walkable communities.  Learn more about the results of the recent APA survey.    

CHICAGO NATIONAL LEADER IN OPEN DATA
The City of Chicago has focused its efforts in using technology to increase government efficiency and transparency.  Learn more about some key initiatives over the past year that have sustained the city’s national leadership in predictive analytics, open data and civic engagement.

NEW EDITION OF THE ATLAS OF URBAN EXPANSION
The Atlas of Urban Expansion, a useful online resource for data and images that track global urbanization, will be updated and expanded in a new 2015 edition to capture the scope of metropolitan growth around the world.     

MADRID METERS TO PUNISH FUEL INEFFICIENCY
In July, the City of Madrid will introduce smart parking meters that determine parking rates based on the emission level of cars, with the cheapest rates given to the most fuel efficient cars.   

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS VANCOUVER REVIEWS DEVELOPER FEES
The City of Vancouver is reviewing its system of “voluntary” contributions from developers to assist in paying for non-traditional services such as day care centres, heritage conservation, parks and social housing.

U.S. CITIES GROW FASTER THAN SUBURBS       
A recent USA Today article confirms that population growth in the U.S. continues to shift to the country’s 381 metropolitan areas.  From 2010 to 2013, core urban areas grew at a rate of 2.7 per cent compared to a growth rate in suburban areas of 1.9 per cent.  

U.S. CITIES CUT AIR POLLUTION
A recent survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors finds that at least four out of ten American cities have cut greenhouse gas emissions.  The report highlights some of the strategies employed by mayors to reduce emissions.   

NEW MAPPING TOOL LINKS TRANSPORTATION AND JOBS  
A new mapping tool from the New York metropolitan area Regional Planning Association enables users to obtain data on available jobs by industry, education level, transit mode and commute time. 
 
SUNLIGHT IN CITIES
Natural sunlight in cities affects urban design, property values and solar panel use.  Learn more about urban regulatory initiatives to preserve access to sunlight.    

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS  

Contact

Bruce McLeod
OMKN Coordinator

T 416.971.9856 ext. 350
TF 1.877.426.6527
F 416.971.6191