Innovation News November 2014


GOVERNMENT 2020
A recent GOVERNING article reports on an examination of the economic, technological, demographic and societal drivers that are likely to impact the future of government.  Learn more about seven key trends with the potential to reshape government and the public sector.
 
TECHNOLOGY FOR SAFER CITIES
Technology being used U.S. and other world cities is providing opportunity to police services to increase effectiveness in controlling serious crime.  New technology called ShotSpotter can inform police, in real time, when a gun has been fired.  When gunfire is detected, a report of the location is received within 45 seconds.  

DEVELOPERS PROPOSE UNDERGROUND NYC PARK
Inspired by New York City’s High Line success, some developers in the city are now focused on creating the world’s first underground park.  The Lowline, a plant filled venue for art exhibits and musical performances, would occupy an abandoned trolley terminal below a Lower East Side street.  

NLC OPEN DATA HANDBOOK
The National League of Cities report, “City Open Data Policies:  Learning by Doing,” outlines how cities can take advantage of opportunities presented by open data initiatives and practices that can result in greater efficiency and economic development.

GLASGOW – AN ECONOMIC POWERHOUSE
Delegates at a recent State of the City Conference were issued a document that outlines ten reasons why the city of Glasgow is home to a vibrant economy and continuously evolving technology innovation.

MINNEAPOLIS PLANS FOR MOST RESILIENT NEIGHBOURHOOD
An initiative in the middle of the City of Minneapolis called Prospect North, is being planned to lead to a resilient “city within a city.”  The plan is for a mixed income research district adjacent to the University of Minnesota, which along with the City, the Public Housing Authority and other agencies, will demonstrate new practice and technology related to converting waste to energy, local food, district heating and cooling and resilient infrastructure.    

TURNING INFORMATION TO ACTION IN SMART CITIES
A conversation hosted by Meeting of the Minds about the momentum of smart cities, provides insight about innovative city tools, technologies and some current examples of smart city demonstration projects.  

AUCKLAND FOCUSES ON GETTING WALKING RIGHT
As the City of Auckland, New Zealand learns from other cities such as Vancouver, to broaden and incorporate new cycling initiatives,  it is also clear that the city can offer lessons to others on its significant efforts to support pedestrian safety and access.

16 ONLINE TOOLS FOR MORE PRODUCTIVE PLANNERS
Learn more about some tools and applications that can help planners in managing multiple projects, plans and engagement processes, collaborating with colleagues and reporting to municipal councils.

SAN DIEGO’S EXPERIMENTAL LAND USES
San Diego’s Quartyard project  is an example of changing attitudes in the city’s conservative planning culture.  The Quartyard, scheduled to open in January 2015,  is a temporary urban playground featuring a cafĂ© , beer garden, dog park and famer’s market, that is a placeholder for future development.
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MOST INTERNET-CONNECTED U.S. CITIES
The U.S. Census Bureau has for the first time collected data (annual Community Survey) that measure internet adoption levels in U.S. cities.  Data show the extent of household internet access, correlation of internet adoption rates to demographic characteristics and the survey report assesses barriers to internet adoption.     

THE POSSIBILTIES OF CROWDSOURCING
There is an emerging trend to support the use of social media and crowdsourcing tools to enhance local government monitoring capacities in order to improve targeting of public health inspections and emergency management responses.  Learn more about some specific examples.

2014 DIGITAL CITIES BOOST INNOVATION AND TRANSPARENCY
Just 57 cities in the U.S. were named as winners in the 2014 Digital Cities Survey (Center for Digital Government/Government Technology), which acknowledges cities that demonstrate leadership and value in technology application.  Specific initiatives recognized relate to citizen engagement, city branding, cybersecurity, interdepartmental collaboration, new data portals, performance tracking dashboards and a wide range of other initiatives.     

TOWARDS A NEW FISCAL/GOVERNANCE ARRANGEMENT FOR QUEBEC MUNICIPALITIES    
The Quebec Government has recently signed an interim agreement with the two main Provincial municipal associations and the Cities of Montreal and Quebec, that sets out a framework leading to a new fiscal agreement between the Province and its municipal sector and decentralization of powers to municipalities.
 
CHARTING CITY FUTURES  
With a return to greater local government financial stability, there is a greater focus on the future of municipal jurisdictions.  A recent Municipal Research and Services Center article examines the value of strategic planning and is its relationship with traditional policy making.    

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS LONDON (UK) BOROUGH FOCUSES ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING
The inner London Borough of Islington is dealing with the impacts of gentrification and related housing cost increases by finding middle ground between regulation and encouragement of the private sector.  Learn more about some key affordable housing initiatives.    

PROCUREMENT INNOVATION
The Cities of Barcelona and Philadelphia are leading in the implementation of innovative procurement practices (Barcelona Open Challenge and Philadelphia FastFWD programs) that specify the problems to be solved and measures of success and then allow the market to produce the best solutions.    

CITY PENSIONS
Ballooning pension costs in U.S. cities are diverting already scarce municipal resources from core service delivery and pension liabilities in major cities including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are just 50 percent funded.  Learn more about what can be done to manage these costs.    

2015 FCM SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES AWARDS
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has announced the winners of its 2015 Sustainable Communities Awards recognizing excellence in six categories of municipal sustainable development. 
 
OPPI ANNOUNCES EXCELLENCE IN PLANNING AWARDS
The Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI) has announced the 2014 Excellence in Planning Award winners which recognize outstanding planning projects.  Learn more about this year’s award winners.

MEASURING GREEN GAS EMISSIONS
Cities around the world use a wide range of measures in reporting on greenhouse gas emissions, making comparisons difficult.  To try to resolve this problem, a new global standard, the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GPC), has been developed by the World Resources Institute, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI). 
      
SUSTAINABLE URBAN MOBILITY
Rapid urban growth presents a number of challenges for urban leaders related to balanced transportation choices and sustainable development; however, a number of cities are taking significant actions to improve their quality of life.  Learn more about some key trends that will impact urban mobility.      

NYC FOCUSES ON AFFORDABLE RENTAL HOUSING
A key City of New York priority is its ambitious plan to increase the supply of affordable rental housing to assist middle income households.  In a recent publication in The Guardian, Alicia Glen, New York’s deputy mayor for housing and economic development, outlines the city’s challenges and objectives.    

STARTUP CITIES  
City  leaders are beginning to realize the importance of the role entrepreneurs in driving local economic growth, job creation and innovation and the necessity of removing local regulatory and tax burdens that discourage innovation.  Initiatives  from seven U.S. cities http://www.entrepreneur.com/video/239516 demonstrate how to take advantage of unique assets to promote startup activity.   
 
GUELPH’S OPEN GOVERNMENT ACTION PLAN
The City of Guelph Open Government Action Plan http://guelph.ca/2013/07/guelph-to-create-canadas-first-municipal-open-government-action-plan/, created as part of the city’s Open Government Framework, was recently unanimously approved by City Council.  Learn more about what it means for the city. 
 
OTHER DEVELOPMENTS THE ADVENT OF MICRO-HOUSING
As affordable rental housing becomes scarcer, tiny rental units are becoming more attractive because they cost less to build and leave a smaller environmental footprint.  Learn more  about issues related to micro-housing and related development provisions that may need to be evaluated.    

SEATTLE’S APPROACH TO PAYING FOR PARKS
Seattle voters recently approved the creation of a new metropolitan parks district, with City Council serving as the district’s governing body.  Taxes that are collected, bypass the city’s general fund and go directly to parks, protecting parks services from political debates on service delivery allocations.     

SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION PRACTICES
The UK construction industry has undertaken a number of measures to adapt to climate change and reduce carbon emissions.  Learn more about the recent leadership role of the construction sector in supporting and implementing sustainable practices.    

ASSESSING PLANNED MANUFACTURING DISTRICTS
A Planned Manufacturing District (PMD) is a pre-zoned area of land that prohibits other land uses that would be detrimental to fostering manufacturing and blue collar employment.  A recent Market Urbanism article assesses the continuing value of these districts in Chicago, in light of current economic realities and development trends.    

ICMA SURVEY ON MUNICIPAL BUSINESS INCENTIVES
An International City/County Management Association (ICMA) survey of 1200 municipalities and agencies provides a detailed  assessment of how local governments use business incentives and employ accountability measures.  The initiative was designed to measure the effectiveness of tax breaks and other incentives in developing local economies.      

UK TO FAST TRACK DEVOLUTION FOR CITIES

A report from the UK City Growth Commission, recommends devolution from the central government to city regions boost economic growth and inter-city transportation linkages.  The report argues that “devo met” could happen on the same timetable as devolution of powers to Scotland.

NJ TRANSIT TO STORM PROOF TRAINS
NJ Transit has announced plans to build a microgrid to power some of its most heavily traveled rail lines in times of super storm or other disasters.   Microgrid building complexes operate independently when power from local utilities goes down.     

MODELING EQUITABLE DEVELOPMENT
The Union Square Neigbourhood in the City of Somerville, Massachusetts, just north of Cambridge, is the focus of a seven block office, retail, housing and open space redevelopment initiative being spurred by transit expansion.  Learn more about the coalition of unions, small businesses, churches and non-profits working with developers to retain affordable housing, create job opportunities and a successful project design.  
     
2013 OMBI PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT REPORT    
The Ontario Municipal Benchmarking Initiative (OMBI) 2013 Performance Measurement Report  has recently been released, comparing municipal performance data in specific municipal service and operational areas selected by the OMBI Board.   

CALGARY RELEASES ACTION PLAN FOR 2015-2018
The City of Calgary has recently released its Action Plan for 2015-2018 for public review.  The Action Plan is the proposed four-year strategic plan and budget for the city, which will be considered by City Council at the end of November.     

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
Calgary Police First to Use Facial Recognition Software 

TACKLING UK HOUSING NEEDS
In the UK where affordable housing is a national issue, some 200,000 homes will be required annually to meet demand.  A recent report, “Delivering change:  Building homes where we need them,” examines case studies from the UK and abroad which prescribe specific actions for effective urban responses to securing more affordable housing.   

NYC PLAN TO UPGRADE NEGLECTED PARKS
New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, recently announced a $130 million program to improve the city’s small neglected parks.  Learn more about the challenges to be faced and the process in redesigning more than 55 parks and playgrounds to meet the diverse needs of city residents.     

WALKABLE REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS  
A new report by the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis (George Washington University) ranks the top U.S. metropolitan areas on the amount of commercial development in Walkable Urban Places (WalkUPS).  The report finds that metros with higher education and per capita GDP levels rank highest and examines development patterns in these areas to predict future walkability.   
 
STOCKHOLM LEADS AMONG SMART CITIES     
The City of Stockholm will lead the GrowSmarter project , which consists of eight European cities and a number of environmental technology companies.  The project will examine smart technological solutions that create more jobs and increase urban sustainability and energy efficiency.    

CANADA’S MOST ENTREPRENEURIAL CITIES
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has released its “Canadian Entrepreneurial Cities, 2014” report.  The report examines municipalities with populations over 20,000 people and ranks their economic competitiveness/opportunity based on 14 indicators.         

Contact

Bruce McLeod
OMKN Coordinator

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