Innovation News September 2015



CLEANING UP LONDON STREETS
London’s Neat Streets campaign is encouraging residents to look after streets that they live and work on.  The six month campaign is designed to change littering behavior and create a cleaner environment.  

BACKYARD COTTAGES
Micro-units  on single family properties are neither difficult nor costly to build and they do not require much space.  However, these units, some of which are backyard cottages, provide affordable housing for college graduates or grandparents who want to age in place.   

MICRO-HYDRO IN CITIES
Cities around the world are harnessing the power of gravity to produce electricity from drinking water pipes.  Learn more about how municipal piped water and energy are linked to enable micro-hydropower technology to help meet local energy needs.  

THE CASE FOR TRAFFIC ROUNDABOUTS
Traffic roundabouts can dramatically reduce car accident rates, injuries and deaths, can reduce emissions and represent a more efficient and less costly use of road space.  Learn more about the elements and benefits of a modern roundabout.  

THE CITY THAT USES SOCIAL MEDIA FOR EVERYTHING
Roanoke, Virginia has transitioned from a city with a modest social media program to one where its social media accounts are fully integrated into Roanoke’s daily routine.  The city’s Social Media Center website icon provides information streams to users for all departments and agencies and provides access to city officials for service inquiries and complaints.

LONDON’S HOUSING CRISIS
The think tank, New London Architecture (NLA) has compiled designs from an international competition for solutions to solve the City of London housing crisis.

NEW TOOL MEASURES SUSTAINABILITY
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works has developed a system called Envision, which measures the sustainability of projects by potential benefit to the environment, neighbourhood and economy, not by project costs.  The system is used in all of the agency’s design work.  

NEW ENGLAND BRIDGE TESTS SENSOR TECHNOLOGY     
The Memorial Bridge, connecting New Hampshire and Maine, is becoming a “living bridge” with self-diagnosing, self-reporting smart infrastructure to monitor traffic, vibration, stress, weather conditions and water quality.  The bridge is powered by a tidal energy turbine.   

THE UNIVERSITY CITY
University cities share characteristics that position them uniquely to take advantage of the knowledge economy.  Learn more about six U.S university cities and their diversified economies based on university research in core urban areas.

WORLD’S BEST STREET DESIGNS
A recent photo archive of urban transformations illustrates pedestrian-friendly makeovers.  The archive incorporates before and after examples from across six continents, demonstrating the global trend for these projects.     

COMMUNITY-CENTRED DESIGN
Community-centred design can assist planning professionals to better serve citizens.  Learn more about adapting elements of the user-centred design process that operates in in the manufacturing sector to cities and communities, to create more resilient and socially responsive projects.     

FIXING INFRASTRUCTURE
Jackson, Mississippi and San Diego, California are both active in developing strategies to maintain roads and water and sewer infrastructure.  Some of these approaches    are small in scale, e.g. digitizing bid processes, while others are more far reaching, like declaring an infrastructure state of emergency to leverage senior government resources.
 
RISK-BASED RESERVE STRATEGIES
The City of Colorado Springs has developed an approach to analyzing reserves based on risk factors, leading to targeted reserve levels, as well as ways to support the overall reserve strategy.    

BUILDING SMART CITIES
The Internet of Things can enable smart cities to develop scalable projects to improve service delivery that is better focused on both practical help to citizens and providing information to decision makers to increase efficiency and reduce cost.
 
NEW WAYS TO COUNT PEDESTRIANS  
Two new ways have been developed to measure human activity and to predict it.  A software company, Placemeter, analyzes camera footage for pedestrian counts and the University of Minnesota has developed a model for pedestrian activity that forecasts pedestrian traffic at Minneapolis intersections.

NYC PURSUES BOLD AFFORDABLE HOUSING STRATEGY  
The affordable housing shortage in New York City is of epic proportion, prompting city officials to pursue approaches to requiring developers to incorporate affordable units in new developments.  A new proposal will be considered by City Council in September that requires a percentage set aside for low income families and that such housing be permanently affordable.  

IMPACTS OF CONNECTED AND AUTOMATED VEHICLES
Vehicle connectivity and automation will have a profound impact on both transportation safety and the shape of urban areas over the next 30 years.  Learn more about the technologies that will lead to improved safety and mobility and reduced carbon emissions.  

SMART CITY SECURITY    
Smart cities are taking advantage of the range of data available and the advent of data analytics to increase efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery.  Guaranteeing the security of this data and technology infrastructure have become  critical priorities in order to conduct activities with confidence.

PORTLAND’S NEW CAR-FREE BRIDGE
Tilikum Crossing, the City of Portland’s new bridge, accommodates every mode of traffic except cars.  The bridge provides separate lanes for pedestrians, cyclists, light rail transit and buses and is expected to lead to new housing and businesses in proximity.     

SMALL TOWN MAIN STREETS
The Imagining Livability Design Collection is a compendium of tools and transformations that show actual examples of solutions for small town main streets in becoming walkable destinations.        

PHILADELPHIA’S CYCLE-TRANSIT PLAN
The Southern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) has released its Cycle Transit Plan, one of the few in the U.S.  The plan contains policy and infrastructure initiatives that facilitate combining cycling and public transportation in one commute.
 
PEDESTRIAN STREETS IN BUENOS AIRES
City of Buenos Aires transportation officials have installed 80 blocks of pedestrian streets in the downtown, with 20 blocks to follow by the end of the year.  The initiative, which is a component of the city’s Sustainable Mobility Plan, features protected areas for those on foot and strictly limited car traffic.

3D PRINTING MOVES TO CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY      
A Dutch startup, MX3D, bridge construction initiative in Amsterdam, is one example of the application of 3D printing technologies being adapted for use by the construction industry.  Bridge construction is controlled by computer software and industrial robots.

UPDATE ON UK CITY DEVOLUTION  
The first phase of submission of devolution deals by local governments in the UK is now complete.  Learn more about the range of content and the status of proposals for greater local authority to be considered by the UK Government.  

HOW CITIES ARE TREATING WATER AS A RESOURCE  
Cities such as Houston and Melbourne are beginning to embrace urban retrofitting by layering new infrastructure on top of old, exploring new ways to manage water and incorporating natural features to increase resiliency and assist in managing climate change impacts.  

THE VALUE OF URBAN RETROFITS
The cultural value and sustainability benefits of repurposing historic and older structures has been widely recognized in urban areas.  Learn more about ten examples of building transitions to entirely new, productive uses.   
 
COMPARING BENEFITS OF PARKLETS AND LARGE URBAN PARKS
University of Exeter (UK) researchers contend that high density neighbourhoods with large parks, rather than low density communities with smaller public spaces yield significantly better results for both urban ecosystems and residents.  
 
TECH TRENDS TRANSFORMING GOVERNMENT
In the coming decade local governments will be challenged  to respond to new technologies that enable transparency, efficiency and intelligence.  Learn more about some key trends that have the potential to increase efficiency and better decision making.  
 
AMAZON PLANS FOR DRONE SUPERHIGHWAY
Amazon has laid out its vision for a multi-tiered superhighway in the sky and a basic regulatory framework to increase air safety by partitioning air space and providing for communications between drones (uncrewed aerial systems) and regular and emergency air traffic.  
   
ACHIEVING AGE-FRIENDLY CITIES
While aging populations are expected to increase two fold over the next 25 years,  progress in implementing age-friendly processes, practices  and providing related infrastructure is slow.  Learn more about the success of some cities and the efforts of concerned organizations in age-friendly initiatives.      

Contact

Bruce McLeod

T 416.971.9856 ext. 350
TF 1.877.426.6527
F 416.971.6191