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Smart cities: trends and challenges

As a result of intense urban migration and the “unplanned” development of our cities, several solutions have been developed and tested in different fields since the 80s. A consequence of these attempts to solve urban problems is the rise of the “Smart City” concept. Around the world, old cities have been retrofitted and some brand …

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Sustainable cities: the challenge of pollution

In developed countries, after decades of high-pollution landfill practices, waste collection and waste treatment systems have moved toward the recovery of materials (recycling and re-use) and of energy (incineration). These less polluting activities have made our trash a profitable industry with excellent market expectations, consequently attracting energy multinationals and recycling companies, as well as mafia groups. …

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C40 Mayors Summit: cities lead fight against climate change

The C40 Mayors Summit took place during the first days of December in Mexico City, gathering officials from 90 cities as well as industry leaders to discuss the issue of climate change and the radical measures cities have to take in order to combat its effects. The Summit comes after the historic Paris Climate Agreement came …

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Vienna: urban planning for women

Vienna’s foray into gender mainstreaming started in 2000. Today, the city’s overhaul of infrastructure and public spaces make it a model of inclusion and urban planning. It all started with a questionnaire from 1999 that highlighted a stark contrast in the way men and women made use of the infrastructure. While men usually only travelled …

Unsustainable growth – the case of Phoenix, Arizona

Political and business leaders know that their defects and blunders will be excused if they turn in a respectable growth performance: quarterly or annual gains in corporate revenue or GDP are really all that matters. But how did these raw metrics come to surpass all other indicators of well-being? To be able to answer that …

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 …

18 European cities get UIA funding for urban innovation projects

Urban Innovative Action (UIA) is an Initiative of the European Commission that aims to provide resources for European urban areas in order to allow them to test creative, innovative solutions to the principal urban challenges of our time. They highlight the fact that 72% of the EU population lives in urban environments, and that authorities …