Innovation News May 2013

CFIB SAYS CITIES HEADED FOR FINANCIAL CRISIS
A Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) report is calling on municipal leaders to take action on what it contends is municipal overspending. The report, released May 29, shows that in Canada’s three largest cities, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, spending has grown more than three times the rate of population through the past twelve years.    

CANADIAN MUNICIPALITIES WIN NATIONAL EXCELLENCE AWARDS
Eight Canadian municipalities have won national awards of excellence from the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators (CAMA) for a range of innovation, education and environment initiatives. Recognized projects include a water treatment plant project, a mobile app, green partnerships, emergency social services,  staff training, solid waste management, sustainability planning and community engagement.     

DISTRICT ENERGY AND MICROGRIDS   
District Energy systems produce and distribute cooling, heating and power to neighbourhoods and while these systems enhance energy resilience, they are struggling because of market barriers.  Microgrids, a type of District Energy, rely on “smart grid” technology to supplement larger grids.  Learn more about how ocal governments can support microgrid development.      

WHAT “SISTER CITIES” MEAN  
The international sister cities program, as a vehicle to repair and promote international relations, dates from 1956 as an Eisenhower Administration initiative. A recent study of sister city agreements assesses the nature of city networks and outcomes of these partnerships.     

ST.LOUIS APPLIES DUTCH APPROACH TO FLOOD AND DROUGHT MANAGEMENT 
The City of St. Louis has endured both significant flooding and periods of extreme drought related to water levels in the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois rivers that come together just north the city.  Recently, a conference was held  in St. Louis on climate adaptation strategies for Midwest River basins to consider and design solutions for flood plains and adjacent development.  
 
THIRD MILLENIUM U.S. CITIES 
It is projected that the U.S. population, currently at 322 million, will grow  by 36 per cent to 438 million by 2050.  To accommodate this growth, the U.S. will have to build more homes than the total of those existing in the UK, France and Canada combined.  Learn more about the new urban environments needed to meet this demand and where and how new homes could be built. 

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS ONTARIO METROLINX BACKS NEW TRANSPORTATION REVENUE SOURCES
The recently released Metrolinx transportation investment strategy proposes a $34 billion project plan to fund a range of improvements to transit, roads and highways outlined in the Metrolinx Big Move framework for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. 

GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE AS PARKS
Over the past several years there has been a convergence between the concepts of sustainable design and green infrastructure in the design and development of parks.  Learn more about the concept of green infrastructure and its history and some examples of the use of green infrastructure in managing storm surge and runoff and reducing water pollution.   

THE BENEFITS OF IMMIGRATION FOR CITIES     
Historically, immigration brings the benefits of entrepreneurialism as an important component of economic growth and job creation. Some recent research by the Martin Prosperity Institute assessed and mapped immigration and immigrant characteristics to determine any connection between immigrants and the wealth of cities and metropolitan areas.  
  

AMERICA’S 10 BIG BOOMING CITIES 
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between July 2011 and July 2012, new residents gravitated to ten specific large urban areas.  Learn more about the attractions of these cities and the population gains.   

WINNPEG FIRST IN CANADA TO ADOPT NATIONAL BUSINESS NUMBER
The Province of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg have instituted the use of the National Business Number that will enable local business to see a reduction in red tape when working with the city’s Assessment and Taxation, Community Services and Planning, Property and Development Departments. Winnipeg is the first municipality in Canada to integrate the National Business Number into its client services processes.  
   
OTHER DEVELOPMENTS  100 URBAN TRENDS 
On May 21, 2013 the BMW Guggenheim Lab released 100 urban trends that cities are facing. Through the coming months, these trends will be assessed in greater detail.  

PARIS TARGETS SUBURBAN MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT 
Paris, the centre of the world’s fifth largest economy, is focused on tackling its chronic affordable housing challenge as part of its efforts to support immigration and assimilation.  Paris has undertaken an ambitious program of integrating large-scale mixed use development in its inner-ring suburbs with the central city to continue to support economic development.
 
KEEPING ROAD REPAIRS TO A MINIMUM  
Many cities and their residents confront the problem of intersections or major sections of roadway being repeatedly torn up, disrupting traffic through a series of separate, uncoordinated road and utility maintenance projects.  This results in costly, unnecessary road work, a significant loss in the service life of streets, delays in scheduled public works projects and traffic congestion. (Envista Report, 2011). Learn more  about how some jurisdictions are tackling this issue.    

INTERESTING  DATA ON CITY LIVING
Some recent data by a Georgia-based downtown consultant sets out some data on the changing market for city living.  The data relate to the housing and neighbourhood preferences of millennial.  Some 70 per cent want walkable, mixed use, transit-oriented communities, a preference that converges with that of the Boomer generation and that can potentially shape approaches to both development and redevelopment projects.    

ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN NEW YORK AND HONG KONG
Both New York City and Hong Kong are known for their numbers high rises, population densities and modern, efficient transit systems. However, one important area where Hong Kong is lagging is the level of energy use and carbon emissions from buildings.  A recent U.S. Natural Defense Council article   shows that this is no small matter.  

NEW BRUNSWICK NEW LOCAL GOVERNANCE MODEL
Amendments to New Brunswick’s Municipalities Act have been introduced to create a new form of local governance entity. The legislative changes would enable incorporation of a regional municipality, when a geographic area has a population of more than 15,000 people and includes at least one municipality.
 
PERSPECTIVES ON VERTICAL FARMING
While many iterations of vertical farming are emerging, concerns remain about the energy impacts of turning a skyscraper into a vertical farming operation.  Learn more about the problem of light sources in vertical farming and concept of “pinkhouses.”

NEW CARTOGRAPHIC MIXING ENGINE  
A new cartographic mixing engine called MapFrappe, enables users to compare urban street layout or special features of locations from around the world.  The application automatically adjusts for the distortion of the size and shape of areas at different latitudes.    

LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCIAL RISK  
Careful management of local government financial risk can preserve and increase the capacity to support service delivery.  Learn more about some perspectives on investment considerations that help manage risks. 

THE U.S. METROPOLITAN REVOLUTION 
In a recent speech, Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program outlines his views on the Metropolitan Revolution underway across the United States. Katz contends that the prospects for national economy are very dependent on the viability of the country’s top 100 metropolitan areas whose futures will be determined by demographic, building efficiency and technological transformation.  

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS   MUNICIPAL CARBON CALCULATOR AND CONTEST
In early May, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador launched a Municipal Government Carbon Calculator to assist municipalities in measuring their carbon footprints in order to decide on actions to reduce greenhouse gas emission levels.  To promote this new tool, the “Carbon Footprint Challenge” contest awards prizes to those municipalities that demonstrate their use of the new tool.  

TORONTO-CHICAGO TRANSIT SCORE COMPARISON
The Martin Prosperity Institute has compared the transit systems in the Cities of Toronto and Chicago to evaluate their relative strengths and weaknesses.  This paper outlines the use of the Institute’s transit score and metrics used in the comparison.   

THE CITIZEN IN THE SMART CITY
Technology has changed how local governments and their citizens interact.  Learn more about some perspectives on open data and how to increase its utility to individuals to gain greater insight into how local governments work and to develop applications that can improve operations.  
   

ECONOMIC DATA ON EUROPEAN METROS
A new comprehensive mapping tool, the Metromonitor, from LSE Cities (London School of Economics) measures the employment and economic growth of 150 of Europe’s largest metropolitan areas against metrics such as national growth, population size and urban typology.  An assessment of this data enables identification of patterns and trends that can lead to initiatives to increase economic prosperity.    
 
PEEL REGION STRATEGIC GOODS MOVEMENT NETWORK
The Region of Peel Strategic Goods Movement Network Study (SGMNS) identifies and maps strategic roads that connect goods manufacturers, destinations and highways. The network and implementation plan reflects a detailed analysis of goods movement data, network gaps, stakeholder input and best practices.    
 
OTHER DEVELOPMENTS KENTUCKY’S EXPERIENCE WITH P3s
Innovative public-private partnerships can accelerate the development of more affordable transportation, housing and other key infrastructure  projects, as well as job creation. The State of Kentucky has undertaken dozens of P3 projects over the past decade, supported by over $5 billion in construction spending on a range of projects that demonstrate different partnership models.  
  
PERSPECTIVES ON CITY PLANS   
A recent  Forbes article reports on a critical assessment of plans for five key U.S. cities to determine their practical value and finds that these documents speak to measures of city health that are more faddish than practical.  The key omission in the documents examined is the changing nature of local economies and related economic goals.   

VANCOUVER NON-PROFIT HOUSING DEAL
A new land deal between the City of Vancouver and a group of non-profit housing providers is being closely examined by housing providers across Canada  and  in the U.S. and European jurisdictions. The city has agreed to lease four separate city-owned properties to a group of non-profit partners for 99 years in return for the construction and operation of a mix of condos and rental townhomes  at below market rates.  
    
TRANSATLANTIC URBAN CLIMATE DIALOGUE
The City of Guelph and Guelph Hydro recently hosted  a Transatlantic Urban Climate Dialogue to discuss community energy projects and their impacts on economic development. Policy makers and municipal leaders from  Canada, Germany and the United States discussed perspectives on renewable energy, green transportation technologies, low-energy use communities, building standards and district energy systems.    

2013 VANGUARD CLASS   
Almost 200 applications have been submitted for this year’s Vanguard class from which 40 urban advocates have been selected for their innovative ideas and experience related to the financial and environmental sustainability of cities. The 2013 class will convene at a meeting in Cleveland in June (sponsored by Positively Cleveland, the Downtown Cleveland Alliance and the Gund Foundation) to discuss experiences in the built environment and urban livability.
     
OTHER DEVELOPMENTS      REPORT FINDS DETROIT “WASTEFUL, DISFUNCTIONAL”
A new report  by the City of Detroit state-appointed city emergency manager, Kevin Orr, says that the city is broke and that its financial path leads to a bleak future. The report identifies specific concerns needing immediate attention as well as policies, procedures and systems that need to be improved through the application of best practices.

THE BOSTON INDICATORS PROJECT     
The Boston Indicators Project (Boston Foundation) has been collecting information on key indicators of the city’s economic, social and environmental health.  The Project also assesses six “crosscut topics,” including Boston neighbourhoods, children and youth, “competitive edge,” fiscal health, race and ethnicity and sustainable development.  Learn more about the Project’s 2012 report

DOES RESILIENCY REPLACE SUSTAINABILITY?
It is clear that cities of the future must be prepared for anything, from infrastructure malfunction, climate events, terrorism, scandal, spread of disease and economic downturns.  To begin to meet these challenges, the Rockefeller Foundation is undertaking the 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge, a three year $100 million initiative that will pay for the hiring of a Chief Resilience Officer position in 100 cities around the world. Cities are invited to apply for support for officer positions to be announced over the next three years.  
   
23 SOLUTIONS TO CHANGE THE FUTURE OF CITIES
Twenty two global cities have announced innovative solutions to resolve major urban challenges.  These cities have opened their challenges to innovators from around the world through the LLGA/Cities Pilot the Future Programme .

WINNIPEG LAUNCHES NEIGHBOURHOOD WEB PORTAL
The City of Winnipeg has launched a new web-based portal, NOW (Neighbourhoods of Winnipeg) that offers a wide range of information on the city’s 236 neighbourhoods.  The portal provides a single point of access for information on schools, libraries, demographics, area history and mapping as well as key information for those interested in locating or expanding businesses.    

URBAN INNOVATION
Cities will become “smarter” through the use of a range of technology solutions and the application of innovative practices.  Learn more   about some of the leading prospective urban innovations.  

DATA MODELING FOR PLANNERS
Recent developments in data visualization are benefitting urban planners and designers by enabling greater precision in analyzing street networks and adjacent buildings, cost assessments of land development options and modeling economic, environmental and infrastructure impacts of proposed development projects.
  
THE URBAN IMPACT OF BROADBAND ACCESS   
Broadband or high-speed Internet access, broadband adaptation and its effective application are three critical elements supporting the technological success of cities and sustained economic development.  A recent paper, “WHY BROADBAND MATTERS:  A look at its Impact and  Application for Cities,” prepared by the U.S. National League of Cities provides a comprehensive assessment of the impacts of broadband access.   

BUILDING PROJECTS TO TRANSFORM LONDON  
Major development projects across the City of London are bringing new life to historic landmarks and rejuvenating run-down neighbourhoods.  Learn more about these transformations by some of the world’s leading architects.   

PARIS LAUNCHES MOOV’IN THE CITY OPEN DATA COMPETITION
A new big open data challenge called  “Moov’In the City” has been launched in Paris to share data on Metro stations and commuter traffic to enable the creation of new web services, applications and data visualizations to facilitate the city’s transit use. 

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS LONDON, UK MAYOR SEEKS TAX RAISING POWERS
City of London Mayor, Boris Johnson, is calling for new powers to raise property and new tourism taxes and the power to borrow money to build housing and infrastructure. The proposals, which have been developed by the cross-party London Finance Commission, reflect the movement among UK cities for greater devolution of power.      
 
MOST BEAUTIFUL CITY PARKS
City parks act as shared public gardens that often house meadows, ponds, museums, sculptures and other made-made attractions that create opportunities for personal experiences while linking natural space to the built environment.  Explore 20 of the world’s most beautiful parks.  

CITY OF OTTAWA APPROVES ACCOUNTABILITY FRAMEWORK 
Ottawa City Council has approved an Accountability Framework  recommended by the City’s Integrity Commissioner, Robert Marleau.  The integrity guidelines include a Code of Conduct for Members of Council, a Gifts Registry, Council Expense Policy and  Community Fundraising and  Special Events Policy, in addition to current requirements related Public Disclosure of Office Expenses and a Lobbyist Registry.  

MILWAUKEE TO BECOME CENTRE FOR WATER INNOVATION 
The City of Milwaukee is attempting to transform itself from an older industrial city to a centre for water innovation and research.  Two local CEOs are leading the efforts of civic leaders and representatives of over 130 local water-related companies to market Milwaukee as a “water hub.”

RESILIENT, SUSTAINABLE, LIVABLE CITIES 
There are cities that that are livable but are neither resilient nor sustainable and there are cities that resilient and sustainable that may not be livable.  Learn more about where your city or neighbourhood may fall in these three urban dimensions. 

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
SEATTLE TO BE CARBON NEUTRAL BY 2050
City of Seattle leaders have released a Climate Action Plan which seeks to achieve zero net emissions by 2050. The plan calls for making energy use more visible to consumers through smart meters and energy audits in residential and commercial buildings, new funding to expand transit service and new infrastructure to support safer walking and biking.   

MAPPING THE CREATIVE ECONOMY
The City of Philadelphia has developed a new online tool called “CultureBlocks,” that maps thousands of the city’s cultural assets.  Demographic, zoning and infrastructure information can be layered on top of the map to enable city officials to monitor the use of public resources to support local culture or  provide for better decisions on private investment in new creative projects. 
   

WINDSOR APPROVES NEW RETAIL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
The City of Windsor, Ontario  has approved a new Retail Development Corporation that will allow it to undertake activities that business improvement districts are not permitted to do. The new corporation will consult with the city’s BIAs and other business interests on city-wide retail development initiatives. 

REPORT ASSESSES U.S. LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCE   
A new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) forecasts a dismal outlook for both state and local government budgets, with a continuing gap between projected revenues and expenses in future years.  The report cites pension funding shortfalls and declining property tax revenue as major local government issues.

AUCKLAND RESIDENTS GAIN NEW ENGAGEMENT TOOL  
A new interactive civic engagement tool is now available to City of Auckland residents to provide input to the development of a 30 year master plan. The “shape housing simulator” is an online tool that enables citizens to assess various development strategies to create their ideal city in terms of growth and land use density.   

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS HAZARD MITIGATION AND LOCAL PLANNING
The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released a document, “Integrating Hazard Mitigation Into Local Planning: Case Studies and Tools for Community Officials,” that provides practical guidance for community planners and emergency managers on incorporating risk reduction strategies into local community development programs. 

THE FUTURE OF DOWNTOWN SAN JOSE
San Jose, California is a product of post-war residential and commercial emigration from the U.S. east coast and the development of the Interstate Highway System that fostered growth at a high rate of speed and large scale.  Serious questions have been raised about the capacity of the city’s downtown to meet the housing and community needs of employees of Silicon Valley companies through increasing residential density and improving connectivity and urban continuity.    
 
P3s AND THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC ROADS 
Public-private partnerships for the provision of infrastructure have been increasing in recent years because of the risk, revenue and construction timing advantages these arrangements offer to project partners.  Learn more about the details of some specific P3 roads projects and some key assessments regarding their degree of success.    

MID-SIZED CANADIAN CITIES AWAIT JOB RECOVERY
The Conference Board of Canada’s “Mid-Sized Cities Outlook 2013” indicates that almost half of the 46 mid-sized cities examined have not recovered all of the jobs lost during the 2008-09 global  recession.  Learn more about post-recession economic trends across the country.    

CHICAGO’S TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT
While the City of Chicago has invested significantly in transit-oriented development over the past decade, it has not achieved the success of other major U.S. metropolitan areas.  A recent report, “Transit-Oriented Development in the Chicago Region,” makes five key recommendations regarding future development initiatives.   

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS WORLD’S LEADING SCIENCE CITIES
Given the importance of science and technology in economic growth, a recent Atlantic Cities article reports on a new study that ranks the top cities for physics research around the world.  The report charts the changing global geography of physics production and consumption and dispersion of science through the past half century.  
  
COPENHAGEN’S FIRST CLIMATE ADAPTED NEIGHBOURHOOD
Copenhagen has in recent years, experienced heavier and more frequent rainfall that maximizes sewer thresholds and increases flood potential. The City of Copenhagen plans to demonstrate how the intersection known as St. Kjeld’s (St.Kjelds Quarter) can be adapted through design and technology to meet climate challenges.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR COMPLETE STREETS   
The Alton Road Reconstruction Coalition  a local advocacy group in Miami Beach, is developing a proposal that would take advantage of a proposed flood control reconstruction to implement some “complete streets” elements to increase pedestrian and traffic safety and introduce other transportation modes.
  
SOCIAL HOUSING PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT
The visualavenue housing software available in the United Kingdom, assists social housing operators to implement operational efficiencies to meet housing standards in a difficult economic climate. The software contains a suite of adaptable templates that compile metrics for performance management related to housing stock, tenancy, budgeting and planning.

LONDON ONTARIO RELEASES NEW SPRAWL DIRECTIONS  
The City of London occupies the same land area as Toronto, but has only a fraction of its population.  As other communities have discovered, continuing sprawl comes at a very high cost for taxpayers. The recent Rethink London project recognizes this issue and assesses the benefits of directions leading to more compact growth.

URBAN PLANNING AND DIGITAL INFORMATION 
A recent Atlantic Cities article poses some very relevant questions on the impacts of citizens’ urban experience, expressed through social media on design elements.  The article presents a case for greater integration of building designer and information designer disciplines.   

BLOOMBERG PHILANTHROPIES LAUNCHES CITIES WEBSITE  
Bloomberg Philanthropies, a major C40 Cities sponsor, recently launched a new website that takes a comprehensive view of all of the programs related to C40 priorities, including public health, the environment, education, government innovation and the arts.     

METRICS FOR GOVERNANCE
A new paper released by GovLab Research examines the potential and challenges presented by new practices in government problem solving and civic engagement strategies. The paper focuses on three key considerations related to evaluating initiatives, including the conceptual framework, metrics and indicators and methodology.   

RULES FOR “SMARTER” SMART GROWTH
Smart growth, a set of ideas developed in the 1990s to manage urban sprawl, has recently been reassessed by advocates who are suggesting some new smarter ideas to supplement the original focus on infill, density and transit.  Learn more  about how the menu of smart growth elements could be expanded

CITY-BASED TOP LEVEL INTERNET DEMANDS
Increasingly, major cities are claiming Internet top level domains (TDLs) that enable the design of unique microcosms of the Internet.  Beginning this summer, familiar top level domains such as “.com” and “.org” could be expanded to include urban and regional TLDs distributed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).  Learn more about some impacts of this anticipated expansion.  

LOCAL FOOD RESILIENCY
Sustain Ontario and partner organizations have recently released a second round of Growing Good Food Ideas videos. The videos showcase innovative approaches to developing a more resilient local food system.  

ALTERNATIVE SERVICE DELIVERY    
A new paper issued by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Certified General Accountants of Ontario, “Public Sector Problems, Private Sector Solutions: Transforming Government in Ontario ,” contends that many government services that citizens rely on can be delivered more efficiently by businesses and not-for-profits. 

CITIZEN’S GUIDE TO LEED FOR NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPMENT    
The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) “Citizen’s Guide to LEED for Neighborhood Development ,” is a user-friendly document to help readers learn about the highest environmental standards for green development and the processes for their implementation in communities.  

LIVABLE COMMUNITIES IN JAPAN
A paper in the Asia-Pacific Journal, examines the future of Japanese communities in the face of significant population decline due to very low birth rates and strict immigration policies and in light of a rapidly aging population. The study assesses the changing conditions affecting the success of communities, emerging strategies to prevent spirals of decline and necessary responses of central and local levels of government to these changes.    

IDEAS FOR THE FUTURE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT  
Two recent contests, The Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge and the Knight News Challenge, have resulted in hundreds of ideas of what government in 2020 might include.  Learn more  about seven key broad idea categories that capture rethinking public services. 
 

Contact

Bruce McLeod
OMKN Coordinator

T 416.971.9856 ext. 350
TF 1.877.426.6527
F 416.971.6191