Innovation News

January, 2016



THE ADVENT OF SELF-DRIVING CARS
While fully autonomous cars could be ready for operation within the next decade, a study from the National League of Cities (NLC) finds that only about six percent of U.S. cities have accounted for these vehicles and related technology in their planning.  Learn more about some of the impacts of driverless cars.

COPENHAGEN PARKS THAT TURN INTO PONDS
Parks in Copenhagen are being designed and built to turn into small ponds during heavy rain to capture and retain water on site, until drainage systems can manage the water flow.  Learn more about the city’s climate-resilient neighbourhoods.    

HOW MILLENNIALS COULD IMPACT THE REAL ESTATE MARKET
Millennials have the potential to become an historically significant segment of buyers in the real estate market, during their younger years and as they form families and need more space.  Learn more about some potential impacts on the Toronto real estate market.   

FINALISTS FOR CITIES CHALLENGE ANNOUNCED
Finalists for the Knight Cities Challenge have recently been announced, after a review of over 4500 submissions from urban planning and design professionals, non-profits, individuals and municipalities.    

LA DOWNTOWN PARK REDESIGN
Pershing Square, an historic park in downtown Los Angeles, is to be re-designed by a non-profit public-private partnership.  Four finalists have been named, as a result of a recent design competition.   

BEST CITIES FOR MOBILITY WITHOUT A CAR
Seattle-based company, Walk Score, has analyzed the largest 3,000 U.S. cities to identify those with the easiest commuting without a car.  Scores combined data on walking routes, cycle paths and public transportation.   

CITY OF VAUGHAN BUILDS DOWNTOWN FROM SCRATCH
The City of Vaughan is reversing the normal pattern of cities growing outward from their cores, by planning the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC) around a stop on the York-Spadina subway extension.      

FINANCING URBAN RESILIENCE
The State of the City Climate Finance Report focuses on the need for cities to become more climate change resilient and mechanism to achieve this goal.

BRT PROJECTS STIMULATE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
A new study (Transportation For America) that examined existing bus raid transit (BRT) lines, has found evidence that BRT projects lead to economic development, job growth and increased retail and affordable housing development.  

ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING
A recent Next City article suggests that “missing middle’ architecture could provide more choice in affordable housing options and assist communities in achieving thresholds for viable transit and retail development, at less density and with better design.   

KNIGHT FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES CITIES CHALLENGE FINALISTS
The Knight Foundation has recently announced the finalists in the second Knight Cities Challenge.  Transformative ideas from over 4500 submissions from urban professionals, municipalities and individuals were considered. Learn more about innovative ideas from U.S. cities.    

MAPPING NEIGHBOURHOOD CHANGE  
A new study published in the Annals of the American Association of Geographers makes a detailed assessment of neighbourhood change and “sequencing,” occurring in Los Angeles and Chicago.  Five types of neighbourhoods are identified based on demographic, economic and housing characteristics.

INNOVATION LABS
Local government innovation labs  that connect citizens with each other and  with government are proliferating as problem solving tools. Learn more about five key strategies to generate civic innovation platforms.  

LOCAL FOOD POLICIES
Cities are considering new ways to promote public health and economic opportunity through local food initiatives.  Learn more about the work of five U.S. cities to achieve these outcomes.    
 
SAN JOSE ON-DEMAND BUS SERVICE

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority has launched, Flex, an on-demand transit service, where riders can request buses using a smart phone app or a computer.

WATER MANAGEMENT AND SUSTAINABLE ENERGY
Learn more about how comprehensive water management can lead to creating sustainable urban energy outcomes.  A new collection of 70 articles examines a wide range of innovative aspects of water management.

TACKLING AIR POLLUTION IN JOHANNESBURG
IBM Research has entered into a collaboration agreement with the City of Johannesburg to leverage the Internet of things (IoT) to deliver the city’s air quality management plan.  Experts will analyze historical and real-time data from monitoring stations for improved information about pollution causes to improve intervention strategies.  

STOCKHOLM PLANS FLOATING SKYWALK
A new plan for central Stockholm proposes a series of roof sidewalks connecting densely packed towers of varying widths and heights that would act as a high rise park. The proposal was developed to address rising land values and limited space in the city’s core.

BLOOMBERG MAYORS CHALLENGE  
The winners of the 2015 Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge a program that encourages cities to create innovative ideas,  have recently been announced.  Read the case studies of the winning submissions.

FISCAL IMPACTS OF DEVELOPMENT PATTERNS
Smart Growth America has created a new model to help municipalities understand the financial performance of development plans and strategies to yield better returns in the future.

FIVE PREDICTIONS FOR UK CITIES IN 2016
A recent UK Centre for Cities article predicts that 2016 will bring significant economic and financial challenges for UK cities.  Learn more about specific outlooks for local economies, housing and devolution.

ENERGY BENCHMARKING IN SAN FRANCISCO
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) Energy Benchmarking Project has collaborated with 25 partner agencies to collect, analyze and publicly release data (Energy Benchmarking Report) on the energy efficiency of some 500 public facilities totaling about 49 million square feet of building area.  

IMPACTS OF RAIL TRANSIT IN METROPOLITAN AREAS
New research by the U.S. Census Bureau, based on Washington, D.C, examines demographic and social changes of successful rail transit systems. The research methodology can be applied to other metros and the specific results can inform land use and transit planning decisions.
 
KEY DESIGN ELEMENTS IN CITY PARKS  
The U.S. TKF Foundation promotes improvements in community health and wellness. The Foundation’s urban parks research grant program focuses on evidence-based parks design that relates natural aesthetics to physical park features associated with those properties.  

CHICAGO OPEN DATA STRATEGY SEEN AS A BEST PRACTICE
Chicago’s open data portal, created in 2011, contains some 600 viewable, downloadable datasets, charts and maps that form a powerful information platform for reporting and app development.  Learn more about the key features of the portal.

COUNTY MUNICIPALITIES SHARE INFORMATION SERVICES
All municipalities in Frontenac County (Ontario) are combining their Information Services activities, as of January 2016.  There will be a shared procurement process for IT hardware, including servers and computers, as well as software.   

BOOSTING CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT
Integration of IT technology has transformed citizen engagement processes and supplemented by social media, mobile and desktop applications, there have been dramatic alterations to how data is collected and distributed.  Learn  more about some key considerations to boost citizen engagement.

MAKING CITIES SMARTER IN 2016
Cutting edge technologies promise to make cities smarter in 2016, acting as a foundation for the next generation of service delivery.  Follow some key mega trends and drivers that can make cities smarter.
 
FUTURE URBAN MOBILITY
In a recent speech to International Association of Public Transport (UITP) transportation professionals, futurist Jean Christophe Victor, offered seven predictions to promote more comprehensive thinking and decision making about public transportation.  

INFRASTRUCTURE INNOVATION
In November 2015, MIT hosted a thought leadership forum on infrastructure innovation to meet planning, building and operating challenges.  Learn more about some conclusions from this forum.  

2015 INNOVATIVE PARK DESIGN
Learn more about the development of some leading public space designs in 2015 from municipalities around the world that improved walkability, recreational opportunity and community amenities.   

TOP 2015 NORTH AMERICAN BIKE PROJECTS
Major U.S. and Canadian cities pursued key initiatives in 2015 to install quality, safe cycling infrastructure to encourage increase cycling ridership.    

“TRAFFIC MYTHS” FROM 2015      
A recent CITYLAB article provides some perspectives on what it contends are widely shared misconceptions about urban traffic circulation and safety.  

VANCOUVER INITIATIVE TO CREATE LANEWAY HOUSING
Laneway houses are part of Vancouver’s response http://vancouver.ca/people-programs/creating-new-market-rental-housing.aspx  to offer affordable accommodation for middle income earners.  Vancouver has created the most permissive policy in North America enabling laneway homes.  

INDIANAPOLIS POLICE OPEN DATA   
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has launched  "Project Comport,” a  web portal that includes publicly accessible data on uses of force, officer-involved shootings and complaints against officers.   
 

Contact

Bruce McLeod

T 416.971.9856 ext. 350
TF 1.877.426.6527
F 416.971.6191