Innovation News February 2015



TRANSPORTATION-EFFICIENT GROWTH IN SMALL COMMUNITIES
The U.S. Transportation Research Board has developed the Handbook for Transportation-Efficient Growth in Small Communities and Rural Areas, which reviews land use characteristics in small communities and proposes various development scenarios.  
 
GLOBAL CITIES LEAD IN CLIMATE REPORTING
 
AECOM (technical and management support services firm) has developed the In Focus City Reports  that feature the ten cities whose climate action reporting is of the highest quality.  Learn more about the work of five of the selected cities who are C40 Climate Leadership Group http://www.c40.org/ members.

LOCAL CURRENCIES AND LOCAL ECONOMIES
A local currency is one that can be earned and traded within the community and can add value to the local economy where it operates.  Learn more about the operation of some successful local currencies in Switzerland and Massachusetts.  

TIPS FOR RECRUITING MILLENNIALS  
Millennials (those born between the early 1980’s and early 2000’s) do not demonstrate loyalty to institutions but do have a sense of loyalty to individuals that help them.  Learn more about some tips for recruiting and retaining millennials in the workplace.   

PUBLIC SPACE ANALYTICS
By selectively incorporating sensors into the design of physical space, resulting data can provide valuable real-time data that can assist in the management and assessment of use of that space.  This data becomes even more powerful when combined with environmental, climate and other municipal data sets to create a broader predictive data analysis  to inform local decision making.    

NEW GUIDE HELPS TO IMPROVE ROAD SAFETY
The 2014 Roadway Safety Guide (U.S. Highway Traffic Safety Administration) is designed to provide local elected officials and community leaders with information to improve community road safety.

PREDICTIONS FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN 2015  
Learn more about what some local government experts and observers thinks will be the most significant management, legislative, public finance and community relations issues in 2015.   

THE NEXT GENERATION OF COMPLETE STREETS    

New Haven, Connecticut have developed an initiative called “Complete Streets 2.0,” that provides cheap and lean street modifications that include protected bike lanes, pedestrian-friendly curb extensions and pop-up triangular parks.  Projects are designed to go up quickly and “fail fast” if they don’t provide benefits within a short timeframe.    
 
SOME IDEAS FROM U.S. LOCAL GOVERNMENTS

The Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation has published a compendium of innovative ideas implemented by states, government agencies and 86 local governments.
 
CITY OF TORONTO GRAFFITI PLAN

The City of Toronto Graffiti Management Plan has received an IPAC Leadership in Municipal Government award.  The plan takes an integrated approach to graffiti and street art and combines enforcement, removal and beautification provisions.     

PORTLAND’S MULTI-PURPOSE WATERPIPES
A new water system in the City of Portland, Oregon supplies running water to the eastern quadrant of the city and generates electricity inside a stretch of the pipeline.  The hydroelectricity produced powers 150 homes.  The infrastructure results for a partnership between the Portland Water Bureau and a local startup.    

CLEVELAND PIONEERS A NEW KIND OF SMART GROWTH  
In an effort to stimulate future economic growth, Cleveland is planning to offer the world’s fastest commercial Internet service in the city’s Health-Tech corridor, that links businesses and institutions to the Downtown University Circle.  
   
DENVER TACKLES AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Jumpstart 2015, Denver’s strategic economic plan provides for 600 affordable housing units to be added in 2015, as part of a five year plan to create 3000 such units.  The city’s goal is to keep neighbourhoods affordable and livable, notwithstanding rapid gentrification.     

USING BIG DATA IN CITIES
Big Data enables access to huge, complex sets of information that can assist city officials in improving city performance.  Learn more about some specific Big Data initiatives in Chicago, New York and Seattle that relate to infrastructure, flood control, service complaints, traffic patterns and urban design.

DRIVERLESS CARS AND SUBURBAN PLANNING    
The advent of the driverless car, that can be ordered by phone or an app to make multi-purpose trips, may make today’s level of reliance on personal vehicles a thing of the past and will likely have  significant impacts on the design and operation of car-dependent urban landscapes.        

ASSESSING IMPACTS OF DRONE TECHNOLOGY
For the most part, we hear about drones in the context of war and surveillance. However, drone technology is already in use in cities around the world for building and infrastructure inspections, mapping, law enforcement and emergency responses. Learn more about this technology, its opportunities and integration in urban areas.

CONSIDERATIONS IN BUILDING THE 21ST CENTURY CITY
The Globe and Mail recently published an article that surveyed prominent urbanists on the primary considerations for tools and policies to build the city of the 21st century.

USING GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE TO CREATE RESILIENCE
The Trust for Public Land has examined how to implement green infrastructure to make cities more “climate smart", leading to a focus on creating safe opportunities to walk and cycle, lowering temperatures through tree planting and creation of park space, absorption of storm water and development of green shorelines.

SEVEN CITIES GOING CAR-FREE
A growing number of cities are reducing automobile use in certain areas through a combination of fines, better urban design, new apps and local incentives to use urban transit. Learn more about seven urban leaders in moving to car-free neighbourhoods.

THE BEST COMPLETE STREETS POLICIES
The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2014 released by Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition outlines ten ideal elements of a Complete Streets policy and scores individual U.S. city policies based on these ideals.

MOBILE PARKING APPS HELP CITIES EASE TRAFFIC
Experts predict that congestion in urban parking facilities and on streets is likely to continue, in spite of alternative transportation developments.  Lean more about some smart parking apps and platforms that offer assistance in managing this issue.    

BURLINGTON, VT POWERED BY 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY

Burlington, Vermont (population 42,000) is the first city in the U.S. to be powered 100 per cent by renewables. Electricity is supplied by a combination of sources including wind power, solar power, biofuels and hydropower.   
 
SEATTLE’S FIGHT AGAINST SPRAWL
The Seattle Sustainable Neighborhoods Assessment Project (SSNAP) Report 2014 has the city’s 1992 strategy to direct growth to walkable, affordable “urban villages” has worked to prevent urban sprawl.  Learn more about the results of this assessment.   

SAN FRANCISCO’S TRANSIT ACCESS MAP
San Francisco transit riders now have the use of an interactive transit access map  that shows riders areas of the city they can reach on buses and trains within a given period of time.  The map indicates areas that can be accessed with a high degree of certainty or less certainty and provides useful input transit agency operations and spending.

FCM PRESENTS 2015 SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES AWARDS
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has recognized the 2015 Sustainable Communities Awards winners.  Learn more about the nine award winners.  

UK CITIES LAUNCH DEVOLUTION CHARTER
Ten of the largest cities in the UK have launched a ”freedom charter” setting out demands for devolution.  The Core Cities Group advocates additional powers to cities and their regions, to recognize varying local circumstances and boost local economies.     
 
CHICAGO’S NEW TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT ORDINANCE

Designers of mixed use projects in Chicago are relying on a new transit-oriented development (TOD) ordinance that allows a residential building within 600 feet of a transit station or 1200 feet on “Pedestrian Streets,” to reduce parking requirements by fifty per cent.   

THE WORLD’S MOST SUSTAINABLE CITIES
The Sustainable Cities Index assessed 50 urban areas across the world based on their economic, social and environmental characteristics.  Learn about the results.

THE ROLE OF CIVIC TECHNOLOGIES
Civic technologies are connecting residents to a range of information about city services and to  one another.  Major advances have been made in open data and its use, mobile devices, cloud computing, social media and open source software, all of which have led to genuine change in public digital services or “civic software.”   
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. LEADS IN USE OF TRANSPORTATION TECHNOLOGY

The Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) evaluated 70 cities to determine the level of use of  eleven technology-based transportation services.  Washington, D.C. ranked third in the nation, with ten of the eleven services available.    

RESCUING DETROIT
Detroit Future City, is a plan to guide the next 50 years of decision making in the city.  Future City is funded by private foundations, not taxpayers and consequently adoption the city’s public sector is key.  Learn more about the Future City vision and the specific planning proposals.  

SUSTAINABLE URBANISM  
A new book by Douglas Farr, Sustainable Urbanism:  Urban Design With Nature, provides an overview of sustainable planning strategies, a series of design tactics for development and useful case studies.    

ASSESSING THE LONDON UNDERLINE
A new project from a London design firm would turn the city’s abandoned tube tunnels into living streets beneath the city.  The proposal would create parallel pedestrian paths and cycle ways, lined with cafes.  Learn more about some perspectives on this initiative.

ADAPTING BUILDINGS TO CLIMATE CHANGE     
BIG, one of the world’s foremost architecture and urban design firms, recently sponsored an exhibition at Washington D.C.’s National Building Museum showing how buildings and landscapes can be merged to create new experiences in the built environment.  
       
TORONTO’S CONNECTED PARK SYSTEM

A recent SustainableCitiesCollective article examines the role of Toronto’s connected park system in bridging city divisions and forging city identity.    

LONDON BUILDS EUROPE’S LONGEST BIKEWAY
The City of London has approved the development of what is believed to be Europe’s longest segregated bicycle superhighway. The route is designed to offer a safer alternative to car dominated roadways and will extend from east to west London.  A north-south route is in the works as well.   

CHICAGO WEBSITE MAPS INFRASTRUCTURE DETAILS
A new website designed by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), converts regional statistics into interactive maps. Users can use a tool bar to obtain information on public transportation by modal category, bridge construction data and data on walkability and connectivity.      

INNOVATION AT LONDON TRANSPORT
London Transport has a hard earned, historical reputation for innovation in moving Londoners more efficiently through city streets.  Learn more about the transport authority’s initiatives related to access to bus seating, open data, and traffic and pedestrian management.  

BECOMING A SMART CITY
The notion of a smart city is an extension of the idea that cities operate as systems and reflects the use of technology to maximize system potential, with a focus on increased sustainability.  However, there has been little attention paid to whether a smart city means something different in Asia as opposed to North America or whether city size makes a difference.  Learn more some recent research on specific smart city approaches.  

SAN FRANCISCO MARKET CLEARING PARKING PRICING
San Francisco’s SFpark, the city’s variable-rate parking program, gradually adjusts rates on electronic parking meters in the most congested areas of the city.  Results have shown that parking occupancy goals have been met and “cruising” for parking has been cut in half.   

Contact

Bruce McLeod

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