Innovation News April 2015


ATLAS OF URBAN EXPANSION
The Lincoln Institute Atlas of Urban Expansion and Policy Focus Report, “Making Room for a Planet of Cities,” provide basic data and quantitative dimensions of the past, present and future urban expansion of cities around the world.  This data can inform the development of plans and policies to manage urban expansion.   
 
MAPPING TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT
A global catalogue compiled by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP),  maps and scores 50 urban developments on six continents that demonstrate the growing trend of transit-oriented development (TOD).    

THE INFLUENCE OF DESIGN ON HEALTH
The concept of “active design” aims to encourage architects and urban planners to consider how their designs enable people to lead healthier lives.  Learn more about six leading examples of urban active design.   

ASSESSING POPULATON GROWTH IN U.S. CITIES
While people are moving to city centres in record numbers, an Atlantic Cities article suggests that growth in denser U.S. cities may not be permanent.

GOTHENBURG’S CONGESTION PRICING PROGRAM
An analysis of the City of Gothenburg congestion zone introduced in 2013, found that traffic decreased 12% during the pricing hours, many commuters switched to public transportation and that the city experienced many of the benefits of larger city congestion pricing programs.  
 
KEY TRENDS DRIVING FORWARD-THINKING CITIES
A new report, “Using Innovation and Technology to Improve City Services,” identifies key trends that reflect evolving technology and shifts in the way  citizens use city services and are engaged in government operation.  The report focuses on practices in a dozen U.S. cities and their approaches to innovation.  

HOW CHINA’S CITIES MANAGE AUTO CONGESTION
China’s economic growth has led to a growth in car ownership and related infrastructure investment, together with greater air pollution, energy consumption and concern for traffic safety.  Learn more about the Beijing and Shanghai experience in the use of transport demand strategies (TDM) and lessons for other cities.
    
USING VALUE CAPTURE TO FUND INFRASTRUCTURE
Sao Paulo uses an innovative financing tool to pay for infrastructure projects in city neighbourhoods.  Once a redevelopment zone is designated, bonds are auctioned to developers that enable them to construct larger buildings than are normally allowed. Revenue from bonds sales is invested in roads and infrastructure in the redevelopment zone.          

NLC REPORT EXAMINES MUNICIPAL FISCAL RESILIENCE
Continuing increases in the cost of services and infrastructure needs together lower revenue growth means that cities remain very cautious about their fiscal situations.  A recent National League of Cities (NLC) report, “2015 Cities and State Fiscal Structure ” assesses municipal choices regarding fiscal health.
 
OPTIONS FOR BIKE LANES
Bicycle lanes are an essential component of street design in a growing number of communities.  Learn more about some emerging, leading practices in bike lane design.   
 
VANCOUVER COMMITS TO OPERATING ON 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY
Vancouver has joined a growing list of cities committing to operating on 100% renewable energy sources for electricity, heating and cooling and transportation.  The target year for achieving the goal will be 2035.     

IMPROVED LOS ANGELES PARKING SIGNS
The City of Los Angeles has initiated a non-technological solution to improve parking, through well-designed signage on where and when drivers can park and on parking costs.

MEASURING AGE FRIENDLY CITIES
The World Health Organization is working with 15 urban areas from around the world to pilot an age-friendly city indicator guide.  The guide will assist cities to measure city service and program areas to enable better adaptation IN meeting the needs of older people.

ARE SHOPPING MALLS DYING?          
A recent The Atlantic CITYLAB article contends that despite photos of abandoned malls, most U.S. malls are doing well.  Learn more about a recent CoStar Group research report that finds that while dying malls are real, these number just 3.4% of the 1200 malls across the country.  

THE BENEFITS OF CAREFUL STREET DESIGN
The U.S. National Complete Streets Coalition http://www.huffingtonpost.com/f-kaid-benfield/how-thoughtful-street-des_b_6951712.html has released a new report on street improvements in 37 neighbourhoods, that shows how streets re-designed with all users and transportation modes in mind can lead to both economic and environmental benefits.       
 
THE ADVENT OF PRIVATE CITIES
From the “Zee town” project by Mark Zuckerberg in Silicon Valley, to a range of gated communities in the U.S. and the emergence developer sponsored models of private cities  in India and Central America, some jurisdictions are turning to the private sector to both construct and operate cities.   

WILL PARIS BECOME THE WORLD CAPITAL OF CYCLING?
The City of Paris has announced a $164.5 million cycling infrastructure program over the next five years to double the city’s protected bike lanes, remove barriers to cycling, assign priority to cyclists at intersection lights, increase parking locations for bicycles and provide financial assistance for electric bike purchases.  

WHAT IS YOUTHIFICATION?
University of Waterloo geographer and planner, Markus Moos, defines the influx of younger adults into higher density cities and neighbourhoods as “youthification.”  Moos contends that the process happens in discrete stages beginning in relatively inexpensive neighbourhoods, such as vacant manufacturing districts.    

MICROSOFT USES BIG DATA TO PREDICT TRAFFIC JAMS
Microsoft has partnered with one of Brazil’s largest universities to conduct research that could enable the prediction of traffic jams up to an hour in advance.  The Traffic Prediction Project will analyze data from urban transportation departments, road cameras, Microsoft Bing traffic maps and social networks to assess traffic circulation patterns.   

A POLICE SERVICES MODEL FOR BODY CAMERA USE
Scott County Sheriff’s Office (Missouri) police officers now use body cameras in addition to   dashboard cameras and tasers with cameras, while on duty.  Learn more about the Scott County model for body camera use, based on guidance from the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

LESSONS FROM SMART GROWTH CITIES
A new report, “Analysis of Public Policies that Unintentionally Encourage and Subsidize Sprawl”, assesses planning lessons and mistakes from the U.S. experience, to guide jurisdictions around the world in avoiding the costs of sprawl.

GREEN CITY INDICATORS
A city’s greenness or eco-friendliness is hard to determine given the range of possible indicators. Learn more about key approaches in developing green indicators based research in Chinese and European cities and the work of the World Health Organization (WHO).

TACKLING U.S. AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Developer financing for affordable housing projects from city to city and on a project basis in the U.S. is difficult and combined with other challenges such as NIMBYism and high urban land costs, more interventionist non-financial tools may be required to meet affordable housing objectives.

BRITISH CITY OPTS FOR DRIVERLESS CARS
The British “new town” of Milton Keynes has recently ruled out the building of a tram or monorail system to serve the city’s 248,00 residents. Instead, Council has decided to implement a Personalized Transport System for the city centre.

THE ULTIMATE WALKABLE CITY
The City of Stockholm plan "The Walkable City" builds on the city’s Vision Zero concept that improves the safety of urban car trips, to implement congestion pricing and prohibition on car use in specific neighbourhoods. These measures have led to improved local economies and other social and environmental benefits.

URBAN TRENDS TO WATCH
Significant social and economic changes are converging to create a new urban reality across metropolitan regions.  Learn more about thirteen key demographic, infrastructure and urban design trends to consider and monitor.  

MEASURING LOCAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP
A new paper, “Measuring An Entrepreneurial Ecosystem,” develops a broad framework for accurately measuring local entrepreneurship to help inform policy development to build stronger local economies.  

PREPARING FOR POWER OUTAGES
A future where weather extremes become more common presents challenges to cities in building resiliency to power outages.  Learn more about how cities are working to improve their infrastructure and emergency plans to mitigate the impacts of power outages.

TACKLING HOMELESSNESS  
Approaches to end homelessness in cities have focused on criminalization and the housing first model to avoid people cycling in and out of shelters.  Robert Marbut, a U.S. based homelessness consultant advocates a custom approach for each city that includes specific actions such as  “transformational campuses” and on site treatment facilities for underlying issues, in combination with other models.    

APPROACHING COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT WITH GIS  
Geography can be an important starting point in building a community engagement strategy and GIS can enable strong community relationships by sharing geographic information.  Learn more about three key ways to approach community engagement with GIS.    

Contact

Bruce McLeod

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