Reinvent Cities

Seoul ‘Skygarden’ to replace unsightly overpass

Seoul is poised to remake a decades-old overpass into an elevated green oasis. Francesca Street reports for CNN that the Seoul Skygarden would extend almost a kilometer and feature hundreds of trees, shrubs, flowers and other vegetation. The urban walkway, inspired by New York’s famed High Line, is being designed by Dutch architect Winy Maas. Other amenities would include performance space,…

Elevated bus would cruise over China’s urban traffic

Elevated bus would cruise over China’s urban trafficThe future of urban transport in China’s traffic-clogged cities might be a gigantic elevated bus that resembles an alien spaceship. David Roberts reports for Vox that a prototype of a Transit Elevated Bus (TEB) capable of straddling traffic was recently tested in the northeast city of Qinhuangdao in…

East African cities urged to embrace ‘low-carbon’ options

East Africa is home to some of the planet’s fastest-growing cities, with urban populations expanding by more than four percent annually. The Conversation reports that this impoverished region could reduce both emissions and energy costs with “low-carbon” development. Kampala, Kigali, Dar es Salaam and South Sudan’s capital, Juba, are among the cities that might benefit…

Mayoral decisions pivotal to climate change–report

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With high-stakes climate talks underway in Paris, a new report says that decisions by city leaders over the next five years could determine the course of climate change. The report, Climate Action in Megacities 3.0, was published by C40 Cities and Arup. The study provides a broad overview of municipal-level responses to warming temperatures, heatwaves,…

Joburg’s month-long car-free experiment

Across the globe, many cities close streets to traffic each week to encourage physical activity. UrbanAfrica.net reports that in Johannesburg, an entire neighborhood went car-free—for all of October. The road closures were part of the EcoMobility Festival being held in the Sandton section of Joburg from Oct. 1 to 31. The goal of the auto-free…

White House announces major ‘smart cities’ initiative

The White House on Monday announced a sweeping new “smart cities” initiative designed to help U.S. cities tackle major challenges such as traffic congestion, crime and pollution. This is worth a read, as it is chock full of technologies and programs to be funded. Here is the full release issued by WhiteHouse.gov: FACT SHEET: Administration…

Dakar street vendors aided by West Africa’s first municipal bond

The first municipal bond ever issued in West Africa will help Dakar’s humblest entrepreneurs: street vendors.  Omar Siddique, senior urban specialist for the Cities Alliance, writes that the seven-year, $40 million bond will relocate a hodgepodge of city markets to a central marketplace. The facility would provide better commercial space for 3,000 vendors and help…

Bloomberg on the importance of cities as labs

The best urban laboratories are cities themselves, says former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In a wide-ranging interview, Bloomberg emphasizes the importance of knowledge sharing among cities about crime, pollution control and energy efficiency and other issues. “Finding solutions to these problems in one city will enable us to test them in other cities that…

La Paz debuts world’s longest urban cable car network

Mountainous La Paz has introduced an urban cable car system that’s set to become the longest in the world when complete in May. According to the Guardian, the $234 million network will cover nearly 11 kilometers (6.8 miles). The system, comprise of three gondola lines, is projected to carry 180,000 passengers an hour. For residents…

Dubai as a smart city?

Dubai is lavish, daring and full of bravado. In other words, it’s the antithesis of what a smart city aims to be. But lately, the message coming from the UAE is that this bastion of architectural excess aspires to be the next smart metropolis.