Innovation News October 2014


TRANSFORMATIVE FREEWAY REMOVALS
Intuitively, one would think that when metropolitan area freeways are removed, surface streets will become clogged.  However, recent freeway removal experience  has shown the opposite and that cities became healthier, greener and safer.  

ULI ANNOUNCES 2014 AFFORDABLE HOUSING AWARDS
The Urban Land  Institute (ULI) has announced this year’s Jack Kemp Excellence in Affordable and Workforce Housing Award and the Robert C. Larson Housing Policy Leadership Award winners.  The awards programs honour well designed affordable housing projects and policies.   

NYC PARTNERS WITH DANISH COMPANIES ON CLIMATE CHANGE
A new public-private partnership between New York City and the Danish Cleantech Hub will facilitate the transfer of innovative, sustainable technology solutions to increase the city’s resiliency to climate change impacts.         

EXTRACTING ENERGY FROM GARBAGE
Municipal waste, a relatively low-carbon energy source, is being seen increasingly as an opportunity to facilitate waste management and increase resiliency.  In the U.S. alone, there are 636 municipal projects  that convert landfill gas from garbage to energy.   

HOMELESSNESS IN CANADA
A new report, “The State of Homelessness in Canada 2014,” outlines the factors that have led to the homelessness crisis, and focuses on the importance of shifting efforts from emergency management to prevention and support measures to help people maintain their current housing and of increasing the availability of low cost rental housing.   

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

COMPLETE STREETS AND RECREATION
Increasingly, municipalities are specifying new types of streets, such as greens streets or complete streets, to accommodate multiple travel modes and infrastructure demands.  Learn more about some examples of multi-use corridor plans and other urban street sharing initiatives that incorporate recreational space.  
     
2014 ULI OPEN SPACE AWARDS
The Urban Land Institute (ULI) has announced its Open Space Awards that celebrate exceptional new U.S. parks and public spaces. The winning green spaces provide sunlit space for public interaction as well as a boost to economic revitalization in surrounding communities.

UK GROWTH COMMISSION
The Royal Society of the Arts’ City Growth Commission has released a report that explains the need for central UK government devolution and proposes a path to get it done.  The focus of the report is increasing local authority to drive growth and prosperity in metropolitan areas.

TACKLING AFFORDABLE HOUSING CHALLENGES
A new McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) report addresses global affordable housing challenges based on an analysis of data relating to 2400 metropolitan areas and case studies from around the world.  The study quantifies the affordable housing gap and some key approaches to addressing affordable housing needs. 

BOSTON  FOCUSES ON RISING SEA LEVELS
With climate scientists predicting sea level rises on the US east coast and increases in rain and snow levels, Boston city planners and architects are assessing options to manage flooding.  One  transformational idea is to turn Boston into the Venice of the U.S. north-east by creating a network of canals.      

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS  

GETTING TO ZERO WASTE
Zero waste refers to sending zero waste to landfills; however, many urban areas consider zero waste to be a 90% diversion rate from landfills to recycling and composting facilities.  Learn more the efforts of some leading U.S. cities to meet zero waste targets.  

LARGE METROS LEAD U.S. RECOVERY
A study by the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis comparing job growth in large, medium and small sized metropolitan areas, found that larger, denser metro areas have done significantly better in recovering from the 2008 financial crisis.  The higher rates of recovery are attributable to the clustering of talent, industry and investment in large urban areas.   

GREEN PARKING DESIGN
A City of Philadelphia automated garage, “The Lift at Juniper Street http://liftparking.com/default.aspx,” is an example of a sustainable parking facility in urban areas, that stores twice as many cars as a traditional garage of the same size.  This facility, which has an elevator to lift cars into positon with their engines off, does not need lighting or ventilation. The garage reflects the Green Parking Council, Green Garage Certification Standard, modelled after the LEED program for green buildings.  

QUANTIFYING LIVABLE CITIES
A recent CityLab article reviews the work of New York University (NYU) academic Constantine Kontokosta who is involved in New York City’s Hudson Yards development  and NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) and his perspectives on big data and its impact on urban health and resilience.

MINNEAPOLIS LEADS IN NEIGHOURHOOD RESILIENCY
A new City of Minneapolis initiative called Prospect North, will be a dense, mixed income research district near the University of Minnesota, supported by a partnership that includes the city, an adjacent county, the University, the Public Housing Authority and Mississippi Watershed Management Authority.  When completed the neigbourhood design would be the most resilient in the country.

ASSESSING LONDON’S TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM
London’s transportation system is a mix of public and private multimodal transit services.  The Greater London area is served by eleven London Underground lines, over 700 bus routes, national rail, tram and ferry services and a large road network that enables a growing number of bicycle and pedestrian trips.  Learn more about some key lessons from the operation of London’s transportation network.   
 
THE FUTURE OF TECHNOLOGY AND POLICING
In an environment of dwindling resources and competing local government priorities, law enforcement agencies need to develop approaches to operate more efficiently. To meet these challenges, police departments are adopting technology to as a “force multiplier” to fight crime.   

SHARING SERVICE DELIVERY     
Municipal partnerships to share service delivery can improve the efficiency of service delivery and enable local governments to increase service levels.  While there are many ways to share services, there are also related logistical and financial challenges.  Learn more about the experience of two Georgia municipalities in successful shared service delivery.     

ATTRACTING PRIVATE INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT
A recent Cities Today article discusses the need for cities to examine new sources of infrastructure funding and explores how improved governance and revenue raising powers can help attract institutional infrastructure investment.

COMMUNITY ENERGY PLANNING
A recent report, “Community Energy Planning: Lessons Learned from Canadian Cities,” assesses the success factors and barriers experienced by five Canadian cities in their efforts to implement community energy plans.   

U.S. RENTAL ASSISTANCE DEMONSTRATION PLAN
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is piloting a new plan, Rental Housing Demonstration (RAD), that allows local housing authorities to mortgage land and buildings to private capital, who then use tax credits to provide subsidized rent.  Property repairs could then be made or properties could be demolished or rebuilt, replacing lost units in kind.

NEW SMART GROWTH TOOLBOX
Maryland’s Smart Growth Toolbox provides  a searchable online database of federal and state programs to assist individuals, jurisdictions and organizations to identify resources to support infill, redevelopment and revitalization.  

U.S METROPOLITAN AREA TRANSIT STUDY
The Access Across America:Transit 2014 study examines the accessibility to jobs by transit in 46 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas. The report ranks metro areas by job accessibility and provides maps of spatial  patterns of accessibility within each area.   

THE TRAVEL HABITS OF MILLENNIALS
A new report, “Millennials in Motion,” released by a U.S. federation of state public interest research groups, assesses the travel habits and preferences of millennials (those born between 1983 and 2000) and the implications for public policy.

ANTICIPATING THE DRIVERLESS CITY
As the automotive industry and related companies accelerate efforts to develop driverless car technology, urban professionals must also consider how this technology will impact the structure and operation of cities.  Learn more about some of the changes in regulation, traffic flow and density, service delivery and urban design that may result.     
 
NEW REPORT EVALUATES P3 MODELS

Moody’s Investors Service has released a new report, “Global P3 Landscape” that examines global trends in private-public partnerships (P3s) and the risks attached to specific partnership models. The report finds that the U.S. has the largest potential for P3s and that Canada has the most mature market where P3s have been based largely on “availability payment” projects. 
     
WHAT IS AN ALL-AGES-FRIENDLY CITY?

The University of Bristol has recently published the results of an “All-Ages-Friendly City” project that focuses on transportation systems, housing and building inter-generational interaction and trust.  Learn more about the characteristics of an all-ages-friendly city
 
FORM-BASED CODES

Form-based codes represent a reform of conventional zoning  that is becoming increasingly popular in many urban communities, where traditional zoning provisions are not responsive to an innovative project or community based developments or the emerging needs of today’s urban areas.  A recent Better Cities &Towns article examines some common misconceptions about  these urban codes.

CITIES INSPIRED BY ARCOLOGY
Arcology (Paolo Soleri), a combination of the words architecture and ecology, is a design principle that focuses on creating extremely dense areas in a compact three dimensional urban structure.  Learn more   about some arcology plans and construction designs.    

THE FUTURE OF URBAN MOBILITY
New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management has released the Re-Programming Mobility report to begin a conversation on fictional, but fact-based future urban mobility scenarios. The objective is to begin to focus public input on the factors that could impact transportation rather than reacting to them.  
    
OTHER DEVELOPMENTS   

BIG DATA AND CITY DESIGN
The collection of urban data on transportation choices, energy use, water consumption, waste management and a range of other municipal services, offers the potential to both understand and improve the quality of life and operation of cities.  Learn more about big data projects in some major cities.   

SUSTAINABLE PARKS
Sustainable parks preserve natural plant habitat and geographic features while promoting quality of life.  A recent Meeting of the Minds article identifies three U.S. parks which are assessed to identify sustainability features and why they work.
 
URBAN BRANDING WARS

Many municipalities around the world have claimed top level domains (TLDs) on the Internet to support global city branding.  Previously, internet addresses have been restricted to two dozen top level domains (e.g., .com; .org) and a range of national domains, but now cities have the opportunity to design their own miniature internets for local residents, businesses and services     

SAVING COASTAL CITIES

Many cities around the world are preparing defenses in anticipation of the next big storm or high tide.  Learn more about four key examples of mitigation projects in flood prone urban areas. 
    
URBAN VIBRANCY

The U.S. National Trust for Historic Preservation has released a study on how the character of city buildings and blocks influence urban vitality.  The study examined the diversity of age and size of buildings in three U.S. cities and the relationship between these characteristics and economic, social and cultural metrics.    

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

UBC Report Shows Health Impacts of Walkable Communities 
 
ASSESSING THE USE OF POLICE BODY CAMERAS

While criminal justice professionals recognize the benefits of police service use of body cameras, there are also practical considerations regarding how their use will be implemented, relevant operational policies and impacts on relations between police officers and the communities served. 

NEW STUDY ANALYZES POLICING/CRIME RATES     
The Fraser Institute has published a new study, “Police and Crime Rates in Canada,” that analyzes policing levels, local crime rates and other socio-economic factors in Canada’s metropolitan areas.   

HOUSTON FOCUSES ON COMPLETE STREETS
The City of Houston is developing the Complete Streets and Transportation Plan to establish a mobility network of thoroughfares, freeways, bikeways, rail and bus systems, pedestrian infrastructure and trails that can accommodate transportation and recreational uses safely and efficiently.  

PHILADELPHIA OPENS INNOVATION LAB
The City of Philadelphia has opened the city’s own Innovation Lab. The lab contains technology to support GIS research, spatial analysis and data analytics to develop leading service delivery practices across departments in support of a new innovation culture and mindset within the city government.   

IDEAS FROM CITYLAB 2014
Global mayors and urban experts met in late September at CityLab 2014 in Los Angeles, to share ideas on what initiatives have worked in their local governments.  Learn more about 10 key initiatives discussed  at this year’s event.  

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
City of Nelson Assists Neighbouring Municipalities with Financial Reporting

Contact

Bruce McLeod
OMKN Coordinator

T 416.971.9856 ext. 350
TF 1.877.426.6527
F 416.971.6191