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Cities Have Metabolisms Too: İzmir and Rotterdam Work to Streamline Resource Use at a Civic Level

Latest from Cityfix - Wed, 2018-10-17 13:13
From space, cities can look like microscopic living organisms, with bright nodes of industrial and civic activity connected by circulating routes of traffic and transport. Some cities are taking this analogy to a new level with an “urban metabolic” approach ...

Continue reading on TheCityFix.com.

5 Major Cities Threatened by Climate Change and Sea Level Rise

Latest from Cityfix - Mon, 2018-10-15 13:13
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released a special report on the social and economic consequences of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming compared to 2 degrees Celsius. Changing the temperature in your home by one or two ...

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Memo to Carmakers: The Future Is Electric

Latest from Cityfix - Fri, 2018-10-12 13:13
Electric car sales hit U.S. records this year, with almost 66,000 sold in July and August, more than double the number sold during the same period in 2017. One reason for the boom is the success of the Tesla Model 3, ...

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Unlocking Climate Action: When Nations, States and Cities Reinforce Each Other, Everybody Wins

Active Transport - Wed, 2018-10-10 13:13

Biking in Copenhagen. Flickr/Mikael Colville Andersen

As the recent Global Climate Action Summit underscored, we’re seeing a steady rise in the number of commitments by cities, states and provinces to address climate change, with over 17,500 actions registered on the NAZCA Climate Action Portal. Not only are these efforts curbing greenhouse gas emissions within their jurisdictions, they can also have far-reaching impacts at the national level.

We know that national commitments are not enough to stabilize the climate, and the efforts of cities and local governments, while crucial, can only go so far toward achieving the Paris Agreement goals. To pick up the pace, we need to strengthen the mutually reinforcing relationship between national and subnational climate actions to support and unlock greater ambition. Subnational innovations can inspire national policy change, which in turn can spread these ideas and actions throughout countries that adopt them.

When this relationship goes awry, it can have significant consequences, especially for cities, which are the economic powerhouses of their economies, representing over 70 percent of GDP. Even in progressive places like California, the challenges can be great. In San Francisco, which just hosted the Global Climate Action Summit, building owners are not able to electrify their buildings, even though that would be a good way to meet the city’s decarbonization goals, because the state Public Utilities Commission does not allow utilities to grant permits for fuel switching which can save money and carbon emissions.

Here are some examples of unlocking action.

Transport Sector, Denmark:nationwide air quality benefits and opportunity for more ambitious local policies.

In 2011, the Danish government’s energy efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles improved urban air quality and gave cities permission to introduce low-emission zones. This boost of authority empowered local governments to pursue complementary and potentially more aggressive policies.

Water Sector, China: reduced GHG emissions through nationwide wastewater treatment standards.

Inspired by sludge-to-energy pilot projects in the city of Xiangyang, China drove the adoption of national and state-level wastewater treatment minimum standards and demonstrated the potential environmental and economic benefitsfor other cities in China.

Forest Sector, Brazila national restoration commitment that builds upon state-level pledges.

In 2015, Espírito Santo, São Paulo and Mato Grosso made state-level restoration pledges to restore a collective 3.28 million hectares (more than 8 million acres) of degraded forest. Expanding on state-level pledges, the federal government followed suit just one year later, pledging to bring 12 million hectares of land (nearly 30 million acres) into restoration by 2030 under the Bonn Challenge and 20×20 Initiative.

Financial Sector, CanadaNationwide carbon pricing based on a successful provincial policy.

British Columbia made history in 2008 when it implemented North America’s first broad-based carbon tax. Eight years later, in 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a pan-Canadian price on carbon, basing its design and scope on British Columbia’s effective province-level carbon tax.

Real Estate Sector, Colombia : Cities nationwide have building energy standards that are easier to implement.

Reducing building energy use is central to meeting Colombia’s international climate commitments but the capital city Bogotá struggled to implement building codes passed in 2015. With support from domestic and international partners, Bogotá was able to develop a protocol that made the legislation more realistic and easier to implement.

These examples show that national governments have a unique role in sending clear policy signals, creating incentives, supporting subnational climate success and reducing barriers to subnational ambition. Subnational governments are essential to putting climate policies in action and driving constituents’ support for national climate policies, and they need to be actively engaged in supporting the transition for communities deeply rooted in fossil fuel industry. They are also crucial for building resilience and ensuring adaptation to climate impacts (such as coastal infrastructure, zoning and development). Different levels of government are interdependent and their fates are linked. However, national and subnational actors are frequently out of step, stifling one another’s ambition and abilities.

That dysfunction needs to end. The path needs to be cleared so subnational actors and national governments can play the self-reinforcing roles that can keep global warming below 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) or 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees) to ward off the worst impacts of a changing climate.

Over the next six months, look for a series of blogs highlighting in more detail specific cases of this virtuous interdependency.

This blog originally appeared on WRI’s Insights.

Cynthia Elliott is an Associate for the Global Climate Program at World Resources Institute.

Emma Stewart is the Urban Efficiency & Climate Director at WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities.

Eliza Northrop is an Associate in the International Climate Action Initiative at World Resources Institute.

Andrew Wu is the Research Analyst for the New Restoration Economy at World Resources Institute.

Caroline Gagné is a Research Analyst for the Global Restoration Initiative at World Resources Institute.

Unlocking Climate Action: When Nations, States and Cities Reinforce Each Other, Everybody Wins

Latest from Cityfix - Wed, 2018-10-10 13:13
As the recent Global Climate Action Summit underscored, we’re seeing a steady rise in the number of commitments by cities, states and provinces to address climate change, with over 17,500 actions registered on the NAZCA Climate Action Portal. Not only are ...

Continue reading on TheCityFix.com.

Financing the Transition to Sustainable Cities: Introducing TheCityFix Labs India

Latest from Cityfix - Mon, 2018-10-08 09:31
Cities are changing at an unprecedented rate: 75 percent of the infrastructure expected to be in place by 2050 has yet to be built. Meanwhile, major adjustments are needed to reach global climate and development goals. Now is the chance ...

Continue reading on TheCityFix.com.

With Electric Scooters, Road Space Isn’t So Black and White After All

Latest from Cityfix - Sat, 2018-10-06 00:41
Over the last year, electric scooters have sped onto the streets of some of America’s largest cities, delighting many riders but also surprising and confusing pedestrians and drivers who aren’t quite sure how to deal with them. Do they belong ...

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6 Road Design Changes That Can Save Lives

Latest from Cityfix - Fri, 2018-10-05 13:13
 Urbanization is by and large a good thing, corresponding with steady declines in extreme poverty. More compact cities may also hold the key to a sustainable future. But this trend has come with a side effect: more dangerous city streets. With ...

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It’s Hard to Understand the Shared Mobility Revolution When It’s Called Different Things

Latest from Cityfix - Wed, 2018-10-03 13:13
Uber, Lyft, Didi, Ola, Grab, Via, Chariot, Bridj, car2go, Zipcar, Lime, Jump… The list of companies offering new ways to get around – and new business models to access and pay for it – is long and only getting longer. ...

Continue reading on TheCityFix.com.

It’s Hard to Understand the Shared Mobility Revolution When It’s Called Different Things

Latest from Cityfix - Wed, 2018-10-03 13:13
Uber, Lyft, Didi, Ola, Grab, Via, Chariot, Bridj, car2go, Zipcar, Lime, Jump… The list of companies offering new ways to get around – and new business models to access and pay for it – is long and only getting longer. ...

Continue reading on TheCityFix.com.

Help for São Paulo’s Complex Water Woes: Protect and Restore Forests

Latest from Cityfix - Wed, 2018-09-26 13:13
In 2014, São Paulo nearly ran out of water. Schools closed, crops faltered and reservoirs were left at a tiny 5 percent of their capacity for the city and its surrounding population of 22 million. It was the worst drought in eight decades. ...

Continue reading on TheCityFix.com.

Help for São Paulo’s Complex Water Woes: Protect and Restore Forests

Latest from Cityfix - Wed, 2018-09-26 13:13
In 2014, São Paulo nearly ran out of water. Schools closed, crops faltered and reservoirs were left at a tiny 5 percent of their capacity for the city and its surrounding population of 22 million. It was the worst drought in eight decades. ...

Continue reading on TheCityFix.com.

Need New Ideas to Advance Public Transport? Look to Vienna

Active Transport - Mon, 2018-09-24 13:13

Vienna’s U-Bahn metro system saw a 10 percent increase in ridership between 1993 and 2012. Photo by Vivien/Flickr

European cities by and large have a sterling reputation when it comes to walkability and public transportation. Recent data compiled by Ralph Buheler, John Pucher and Alan Althauser in the International Journal of Sustainable Transportation show that between 1989 and 2015, across 10 Western European cities, bicycling increased by 4.5 percent and walking by 3 percent, while car usage declined 7.5 percent.

But perhaps contrary to popular belief, public transport did not fare nearly as well. At a time when the 10 European cities surveyed grew 18 percent, the percent of people using buses, metro, trams, rail and other public transit options increased just 0.6 percent on average. Some cities, like Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Amsterdam and Copenhagen even saw small declines in public transport use, between 4 and 1 percent.

Only in Vienna did public transport use improve markedly, increasing by 10 points between 1993 and 2012. Why?

Strong Planning

Buehler et al. conclude that Vienna’s outlier status is largely the result of a remarkable continuity of politics, policies and transport planning.

Social democrats governed the city in coalition with other parties from 1945 to 2010, with a tradition of strong support for labor, social housing and public transport. In 2010, the Green Party took over, but with similar commitments to environmental protection, bicycling, public transport and walking.

Important breakthroughs during this period included beginning construction of the underground metro in 1968 and cancellation of plans to build downtown expressways in the 1970s after community opposition.

Master plans were approved by Vienna´s parliament in 1980, 1993, 2003 and 2014. Buheler, Pucher and Althauser write that “the 1980 plan’s main stated goals were to expand and speed up public transport, to limit roadway expansion, to restrict on-street parking, to move through traffic out of residential neighborhoods, to improve walking and cycling facilities, and to expand both car-free zones in commercial areas and traffic-calmed zones in residential neighborhoods. The 1993, 2003, and 2014 transport plans established specific percentage targets for successively reducing the car share of trips over time. Each encouraged further expansion of the U-Bahn and parking management, improvements in walking and cycling conditions, and better regional coordination of public transport, including suburban rail lines into Lower Austria.”

And Follow Through

What’s more, Vienna’s master plans were implemented.

From 1990 to 2015, the U-Bahn metro system was doubled to 80 kilometers of track and wait times were reduced to between two and three minutes during peak hours. At the same time, the supply of the tram network, the backbone of the city’s public transport system, expanded by 50 percent in terms of seat-kilometers. There are now 28 tram lines and 423 kilometers of tracks, serving more than 1,000 stops. This is complemented by 43 daytime bus routes, 23 nighttime bus routes, and 10 regional rail lines, with 181 stations.

These modes are integrated at various levels, including through common fares, operation, branding and a single data network that provides real-time information on all services.

User fare revenues (€480 million per year, or about $560 million) cover about 55 percent of transit operating costs. The remaining 45 percent comes from a public transport tax on large employers, similar to the France’s Versement (about €100 per employee per year, €70 million) and fees from on-street parking and city-owned parking garages (around €100 million per year). These fees can only be used for public transport, park and ride, parking garages, and bicycling.

Public transport in Vienna also receives strong financial support from the federal level: 50 percent of the capital expenditures for the U-Bahn, 100 percent for regional investments, and 100 percent for the administrative and planning costs of the regional coordination authority.

The city also receives general revenue sharing funds from the federal government to the tune of twice as much revenue sharing per capita compared to the average for Austria. The special treatment is justified by the multiple federal, economic and cultural functions provided by the capital.

Buoyed by this support, the city is able to keep fares very affordable. In 2012 the yearly pass cost was reduced by 20 percent and the monthly pass by 10 percent. There are also senior and student discounts. The authors report that fare cuts resulted in increased ridership, with transit ridership increasing from 36 to 39 percent following fare cuts.

On top of improved supply of public transport, integration and low fares, Vienna has a strong parking management system. Since 1993, the city introduced parking management in its central district, controlling the supply of parking spaces, charging strong parking fees and strictly enforcing violations. There was strong opposition at first, but the benefits of reduced congestion and making it easier to find a parking spot (for residents and those willing to pay), resulted in widespread support. By 2016, 16 of the city’s 23 districts had parking management.

Consistency Is King

Like other European cities, Vienna has taken steps to curb car usage and improve the experience for pedestrians and cyclists. But unlike other European cities, Vienna has also had remarkable political continuity and federal support for public transport.

It has taken more than 60 years, but consistent leadership has allowed the city to develop a comprehensive suite of sustainable transport options that is encouraging more compact, coordinated and connected development while enjoying widespread support from residents and multiple political parties.

Dario Hidalgo is Director of Integrated Transport at WRI Ross Center For Sustainable Cities.

Need New Ideas to Advance Public Transport? Look to Vienna

Latest from Cityfix - Mon, 2018-09-24 13:13
European cities by and large have a sterling reputation when it comes to walkability and public transportation. Recent data compiled by Ralph Buheler, John Pucher and Alan Althauser in the International Journal of Sustainable Transportation show that between 1989 and ...

Continue reading on TheCityFix.com.

Need New Ideas to Advance Public Transport? Look to Vienna

Active Transport - Mon, 2018-09-24 13:13

Vienna’s U-Bahn metro system saw a 10 percent increase in ridership between 1993 and 2012. Photo by Vivien/Flickr

European cities by and large have a sterling reputation when it comes to walkability and public transportation. Recent data compiled by Ralph Buheler, John Pucher and Alan Althauser in the International Journal of Sustainable Transportation show that between 1989 and 2015, across 10 Western European cities, bicycling increased by 4.5 percent and walking by 3 percent, while car usage declined 7.5 percent.

But perhaps contrary to popular belief, public transport did not fare nearly as well. At a time when the 10 European cities surveyed grew 18 percent, the percent of people using buses, metro, trams, rail and other public transit options increased just 0.6 percent on average. Some cities, like Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Amsterdam and Copenhagen even saw small declines in public transport use, between 4 and 1 percent.

Only in Vienna did public transport use improve markedly, increasing by 10 points between 1993 and 2012. Why?

Strong Planning

Buehler et al. conclude that Vienna’s outlier status is largely the result of a remarkable continuity of politics, policies and transport planning.

Social democrats governed the city in coalition with other parties from 1945 to 2010, with a tradition of strong support for labor, social housing and public transport. In 2010, the Green Party took over, but with similar commitments to environmental protection, bicycling, public transport and walking.

Important breakthroughs during this period included beginning construction of the underground metro in 1968 and cancellation of plans to build downtown expressways in the 1970s after community opposition.

Master plans were approved by Vienna´s parliament in 1980, 1993, 2003 and 2014. Buheler, Pucher and Althauser write that “the 1980 plan’s main stated goals were to expand and speed up public transport, to limit roadway expansion, to restrict on-street parking, to move through traffic out of residential neighborhoods, to improve walking and cycling facilities, and to expand both car-free zones in commercial areas and traffic-calmed zones in residential neighborhoods. The 1993, 2003, and 2014 transport plans established specific percentage targets for successively reducing the car share of trips over time. Each encouraged further expansion of the U-Bahn and parking management, improvements in walking and cycling conditions, and better regional coordination of public transport, including suburban rail lines into Lower Austria.”

And Follow Through

What’s more, Vienna’s master plans were implemented.

From 1990 to 2015, the U-Bahn metro system was doubled to 80 kilometers of track and wait times were reduced to between two and three minutes during peak hours. At the same time, the supply of the tram network, the backbone of the city’s public transport system, expanded by 50 percent in terms of seat-kilometers. There are now 28 tram lines and 423 kilometers of tracks, serving more than 1,000 stops. This is complemented by 43 daytime bus routes, 23 nighttime bus routes, and 10 regional rail lines, with 181 stations.

These modes are integrated at various levels, including through common fares, operation, branding and a single data network that provides real-time information on all services.

User fare revenues (€480 million per year, or about $560 million) cover about 55 percent of transit operating costs. The remaining 45 percent comes from a public transport tax on large employers, similar to the France’s Versement (about €100 per employee per year, €70 million) and fees from on-street parking and city-owned parking garages (around €100 million per year). These fees can only be used for public transport, park and ride, parking garages, and bicycling.

Public transport in Vienna also receives strong financial support from the federal level: 50 percent of the capital expenditures for the U-Bahn, 100 percent for regional investments, and 100 percent for the administrative and planning costs of the regional coordination authority.

The city also receives general revenue sharing funds from the federal government to the tune of twice as much revenue sharing per capita compared to the average for Austria. The special treatment is justified by the multiple federal, economic and cultural functions provided by the capital.

Buoyed by this support, the city is able to keep fares very affordable. In 2012 the yearly pass cost was reduced by 20 percent and the monthly pass by 10 percent. There are also senior and student discounts. The authors report that fare cuts resulted in increased ridership, with transit ridership increasing from 36 to 39 percent following fare cuts.

On top of improved supply of public transport, integration and low fares, Vienna has a strong parking management system. Since 1993, the city introduced parking management in its central district, controlling the supply of parking spaces, charging strong parking fees and strictly enforcing violations. There was strong opposition at first, but the benefits of reduced congestion and making it easier to find a parking spot (for residents and those willing to pay), resulted in widespread support. By 2016, 16 of the city’s 23 districts had parking management.

Consistency Is King

Like other European cities, Vienna has taken steps to curb car usage and improve the experience for pedestrians and cyclists. But unlike other European cities, Vienna has also had remarkable political continuity and federal support for public transport.

It has taken more than 60 years, but consistent leadership has allowed the city to develop a comprehensive suite of sustainable transport options that is encouraging more compact, coordinated and connected development while enjoying widespread support from residents and multiple political parties.

Dario Hidalgo is Director of Integrated Transport at WRI Ross Center For Sustainable Cities.

Need New Ideas to Advance Public Transport? Look to Vienna

Latest from Cityfix - Mon, 2018-09-24 13:13
European cities by and large have a sterling reputation when it comes to walkability and public transportation. Recent data compiled by Ralph Buheler, John Pucher and Alan Althauser in the International Journal of Sustainable Transportation show that between 1989 and ...

Continue reading on TheCityFix.com.

In Las Vegas, Ride-Hailing Is Eating Away at Taxis. The Effect on Public Transit Is Less Clear.

Latest from Cityfix - Wed, 2018-09-19 13:13
Ice hockey isn’t the only recent addition to the desert city of Las Vegas achieving major success. Prior to the arrival of the Golden Knights, the city welcomed Uber and Lyft in 2015 and the ride-hailing companies have upended the ...

Continue reading on TheCityFix.com.

In Las Vegas, Ride-Hailing Is Eating Away at Taxis. The Effect on Public Transit Is Less Clear.

Latest from Cityfix - Wed, 2018-09-19 13:13
Ice hockey isn’t the only recent addition to the desert city of Las Vegas achieving major success. Prior to the arrival of the Golden Knights, the city welcomed Uber and Lyft in 2015 and the ride-hailing companies have upended the ...

Continue reading on TheCityFix.com.

4 Questions on the Future of Dockless Bike Sharing, From Its Birthplace

Latest from Cityfix - Mon, 2018-09-17 13:13
Just three years ago, dockless bike sharing was operating at a small, university-scale in China. By the end of 2017, there were more than 20 million dockless bikes in the country, generating more than $3 billion in investment. Xinhua, the ...

Continue reading on TheCityFix.com.

4 Questions on the Future of Dockless Bike Sharing, From Its Birthplace

Latest from Cityfix - Mon, 2018-09-17 13:13
Just three years ago, dockless bike sharing was operating at a small, university-scale in China. By the end of 2017, there were more than 20 million dockless bikes in the country, generating more than $3 billion in investment. Xinhua, the ...

Continue reading on TheCityFix.com.

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