How can city planning increase equity for all? Sheila Foster, Professor of Law and Public Policy for Georgetown University; Anika Goss, Executive Director at Detroit Future City; and Paul Mogush, Manager of Long Term Planning for the City of Minneapolis, Minnesota; joined Jennifer Bradley, Director of the Aspen Institute Center for Urban Innovation, to discuss at CityLab 2019. Follow this link to view the video.
As of today, 138 cities have formally announced 100% renewable energy goals or targets, while others are actively considering similar goals. Cities have a wide variety of renewable energy procurement options to help them achieve their goals. One such option available to cities is leveraging an electric franchise agreement to partner with their local utility on new renewable energy projects or programs. New National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) research provides the first available analysis of franchise agreements nationwide. The analysis evaluates the extent to which municipalities have the authority to enter franchise agreements, how many have pursued additional energy objectives in or alongside their agreements, and to what effect. From a dataset of over 3,500 franchise agreements, the authors conclude that cities in 30 states have the opportunity to pursue franchise agreements, while municipalities in 20 states may be prohibited or otherwise precluded from pursuing this option. Follow this link to learn more.
Traffic congestion in cities across the nation is on a disarming trendline heading upward, fueled, in part, by a strong economy and car-centered transportation networks. American drivers spent an average of 54 hours in traffic in 2017, according to the 2019 Urban Mobility Report, recently released by the Texas A&M University Transportation Institute. This finding is 15 percent higher than it was five years ago. The study reviewed traffic in 494 urban areas nationwide. “Usually, the first step of doing anything is understanding the problem,” said Bill Eisele, a co-author of the report. “And I think what we do a good job of is explaining just how extensive the problem is, and then from there we can begin to have the policy and other discussions about what we can do to fix it.” Follow this link to read more.
Heather Allen, an international expert in gender and transport, will share her global insights into why we need to change how we plan urban transport networks, Tuesday, December 10, 2019 from 1-2 p.m. EST.
Women in cities around the world are faced with disproportionately more difficult transport decisions, particularly low-income women, women of color, migrant women, and single mothers compared to men. Certain cities are collecting and using data more strategically than others and developing comprehensive strategies to make gender-sensitive decisions. Her recent research in Buenos Aires, Quito, and Santiago resulted in a toolkit for cities. Based on this and her work for the World Bank led SUM4ALL initiative, she will share case studies and emerging best practices for urban practitioners to consider on how to respond to the gendered needs of urban transport with a view to creating more equitable, just, and safer cities for everyone. Follow this link to register.
At the top of a three-story building in Hong Kong, with car horns blasting on the streets below, Jim Fung teaches a dozen students how to thin out choi sum vegetables. “Always use the resources you have,” the instructor said as he placed shredded office paper into soil-filled plastic crates and wound string around bamboo sticks to make support frames. Fung was coaching the first cohort of students in an academy run by social enterprise Rooftop Republic to teach a new generation of urban farmers as demand for their skills soars. The organization is spearheading a movement to turn Hong Kong’s idle rooftops and urban spaces into farms to help residents reconnect with nature and make the finance hub more livable. Follow this link to learn more.
The deadline for metropolises interested in hosting the next editions of World Habitat Day and World Cities Day is on November 11, 2019. The Expression of Interests issued by UN-Habitat gives a detailed timeline on the process used to choose the respective cities to host the two prestigious events. This year saw a colourful global observance of the World Habitat Day in Mexico City on October 7 while the historic Russian city of Ekaterinburg played host to the World Cities Day on October 31. After the deadline, the outcome of selection process will be communicated to the cities on November 25, 2019 and the winning city and the sub theme will be announced at the Tenth Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF10) to held in Abu Dhabi in February 2020. The same process will be followed in identifying the city to host the World Cities Day 2020, according to the Expression of Interest. Follow this link to learn more.
Across the country, local leaders are recognizing the benefits of reaching across jurisdictions to address climate issues. While regional collaborations of any kind can be challenging, elected officials and their staff know that social, economic, infrastructural, and ecological systems transcend city and county lines. Local leaders are partnering with academic institutions, nonprofits, regional planning councils, and other metro-regional stakeholders. Currently, there are at least 17 regional climate coalitions in the U.S. In early 2019, Council Member Lindsey Constance of Shawnee, Kansas, and Mayor Mike Kelly of Roeland Park, Kansas, took up this challenge, initiating The Metro Kansas City Climate Action Coalition with the goal of assembling elected leaders from the bi-state region to “draw down greenhouse gases, improve climate resilience, and generate corresponding economic, social, health, and quality of life benefits.” Follow this link to learn more.
A community member shared an astute assessment about how to transform a street corner in the Belmont community in West Philadelphia into a space with learning opportunities for young children. The result has become known as “Urban Thinkscape,” a collaboration between the Belmont community, Temple University’s Infant and Child Laboratory, and architect Itai Palti to build engaging learning opportunities directly into places families frequently go. On what was once a regular city street corner, there are now puzzles incorporating images of Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders into the back wall behind benches where families wait for the bus. Follow this link to learn more.