Paris Agreement: city reforms are crucial for achieving targets

The Paris agreement was signed in December 2015 and came into force on the 4th of November, 2016. Countries have agreed to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and cap global temperature rise at 2 degrees Celsius above 1990 levels. Cities around the world account for 70% of all greenhouse gas emissions, which means that …

The New Urban Agenda: priorities for the next two decades

The New Urban Agenda is the defining document of the Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador, where urbanists from around the world gathered to discuss solutions for future urban development. It has been intensely negotiated over the last months and has gone through many changes, but the final version, found here, was ratified at the …

Habitat III: the UN conference on the future of cities

Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, is an event that takes place once every 20 years, and 2016 is the year of its third edition. Around 50.000 people were present in Quito, Ecuador to attend various discussions within Habitat III, including world leaders, mayors, businesses, innovators, researchers and experts. During …

The United Smart Cities Project

The United Smart Cities Project is a global initiative started by United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), in cooperation with several high level and expert project partners. The main objectives encompass promoting sustainable development in cities at a global level, supporting cities in transition and developing countries to create smarter and more sustainable urban solutions. In …

“Cities lead, nations follow” – How and why cities are defining this century

Following our article “Embracing the metropolitan revolution”, we now turn our focus to why cities should lead decision-making in the 21st century and how cities can take this lead.  It is time to rethink the power hierarchy and define which system can empower citizens the most in order to face current economic and social challenges.  Why …

Is hyperdensity the best solution for cities?

We’ve written about the debate around urban density and urban sprawl before, and found that there isn’t a definitive answer as to which is better for building sustainable, smart and friendly cities. However, Vishaan Chakrabarti from Columbia University offers a point of view strongly in favor of urban density, and even for a more advanced concept which …

Autonomous vehicles and their impact on the city

Owning a car used to be a status symbol or an expression of personal identity, but younger generations today are much less interested in cars. They see mobility as a service, and themselves as its users. And as cars are becoming less popular, so is the act of driving. There are more and more attempts …

The Engineering Living Materials program – a house that can grow and repair itself

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has certainly had its hand in turning the gizmos and gadgets we used to dream of into a reality. The agency is still hard at work blazing the trail for future tech, issuing challenges for the creation of the most advanced things on this Earth. It has now taken on a new challenge, this …

The Sharing Cities project: responsibility and passion for the future

The Sharing Cities ‘lighthouse’ programme is a proving ground for a better, common approach to making smart cities a reality. By fostering international collaboration between industry and cities, the project seeks to develop affordable smart city solutions. It will result in integrated commercial-scale smart city solutions with a high market potential.  The demonstration districts in …

The zero-emission flying boat taxi in Paris

A French inventor plans to have driverless vehicles – or ‘flying boat taxis’ – hovering over the River Seine in the not-too-distant future. Alain Thebault is a man with a dream – he wants to make sailboats fly – and his design is already proving popular. In fact, it’s something the Frenchman has been working on for …