City Mayors reports urban environmental developments and examines the challenges faced by cities worldwide

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Urban environment
City Mayors reports urban environmental developments and examines the challenges faced by cities worldwide

Germany's green citiesGreen spaces dominate
Germany’s largest cities

June 2022: Almost 70 per cent of the land areas of Germany’s largest cities is taken up by green spaces. Added together, the urban areas of all of Germany cities with more than 100,000 people total 13,564 square kilometres, equivalent to the size of Montenegro, while their green spaces amount to 9,457 sq km, an area roughly the size of Cyprus. University cities like Siegen, Göttingen, Aachen and Freiburg are among the top 10. Green spaces include parks, woodland and agricultural land within city borders and also private gardens.

With green spaces making up 86 per cent of its urban area, Siegen, in North-Rhine Westphalia, is the ‘greenest’ German city. Ludwigshafen, home to BASF, the world’s largest chemical company, is the least green of Germany’s 79 Großstädte, cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. There are 17 cities where green spaces make up 80 per cent or more of their land areas. The list of 17 includes cities like Aachen, Freiburg, Saarbrücken and Münster. The German capital Berlin is placed 63rd in the overall table, while Hamburg, Cologne and Munich are ranked 39th, 65th and 74th respectively. MORE

Defiant US mayors disagree with
President Trump and pledge to
uphold Paris Climate Accord

5 June 2017: Within a few days of US President Trump’s announcement on 1 June 2017 that the US would withdraw from the international Paris Climate Agreement, mayors from across the country re-committed their cities to the Paris goals. In a statement, almost 200 mayors, who represent more than 50 million Americans, confirmed that their cities would “adopt, honour and uphold” the accord signed by all but two of the world’s countries in Paris in December 2015. MORE

American cities save money
by replacing obsolete urban
infrastructure with green spaces
22 August 2016: What do urban agriculture, the dark sky movement, and low-impact storm water management have in common in the United States? Very often these sustainable development practices involve the decommissioning of public infrastructure. And the impetus to implement these techniques often has more to do with saving money than saving the environment. MORE

Best cities in the world: Melbourne is still on top
while war-torn Damascus dropped to the bottom

29 August 2013: The London-based Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) has again named Melbourne as the ‘best’ city in the world, whereas the US consultancy Mercer is less impressed by Australia’s second city, ranking it only 17th in its league table of the most liveable cities. Both organisations agree, however, that for people who can choose where to live Vienna deserves serious consideration. Mercer ranks the Austrian capital top in the world, while the EIU puts it in second place. Other German-speaking cities, such as Zürich, München, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt, which are much favoured by Mercer don’t feature in the EIU’s top ten at all. Not surprisingly, war-torn Damascus was named as worst city to live in. More

The best cities in the world for
environment and infrastructure

6 December 2012: Vienna has again been named as the ‘best city’ in the world, with the Austrian capital’s perennial Swiss rival, Zurich, in second place. Auckland, Munich and Vancouver complete the top five. Overall, German-speaking cities, including Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Bern, occupy six places in the top ten of this year’s Quality of Living Survey by Mercer Consulting. Paris is ranked 29th, London 38th and New York City 44th. Singapore, Frankfurt and Munich offer the best infrastructure. More

Japan urged to invite foreign expertise
when re-building tsunami communities

4 March 2012: Japan is planning to build six energy efficient so-called ‘future cities’ in the region devastated by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami one year ago. But there are concerns about the scope and sustainability of the projects and whether international entities will be shut out. More

US mayors demand stronger
regulations on hydrofracking

21 February 2012: In December 2011, Mayor Matt Ryan of Binghamton, New York, signed into law a two-year ban on hydrofracking in his city.  Mayor Ryan had concerns about the natural gas drilling technique because of “regulation as it now stands”.  Three hundred kilometers away, Mayor Michael Bloomberg voiced his opinion that hydrofracking poses “unacceptable risks” to the water supply of New York City. More

Al Gore says Green energy
needs ‘patient’ investment

20 October 2011: The second Low Carbon Investment Conference at the end of September 2011 in Edinburgh focussed strongly on offshore wind energy – specifically unlocking investment and cutting the costs of production. This is seen by the Scottish Government as essential to its aim of re-industrialisation through renewable energy. Cutting the costs of offshore wind relative to other sources is imperative if Scotland is to make progress quickly enough to become a manufacturing and exporting country in this growing subset of renewable energy infrastructure and production. More

US cities threatened by storms,
floods, drought and rising seas

28 July 2011: As the US grapples with a record year for storms, drought and weather-related devastation, a new report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reveals climate change is leaving American cities open to a range of water-related vulnerabilities – from drought to sea level rise and increased rainfall – regardless of region or size. The report looks at how communities facing these new extremes are trying to protect their water supplies and waterways. More

Toronto’s Rouge Park to become
Canada’s first urban national park

6 July 2011: With the election of the federal Conservatives the outlook on the urban agenda in Canada was mixed. But the recent Throne speech provided some optimism for Canadian urbanism outlining the creation of Canada’s first urban national park in the Greater Toronto Area, although there were no funds promised in the budget. More

Wealthy American cities
can afford to be greener

3 July 2011: San Francisco won the title of ‘greenest’ major city in North America, with Vancouver, New York City, Seattle and Denver completing the top five cities in the 2011 US & Canada Green City Index. The study of US and Canadian cities provides some important key findings. Notably, cities that performed best in the rankings are the ones that have comprehensive sustainability plans that encompass every aspect of creating a greener future including transportation, land use, energy use, carbon dioxide emissions and water. More

Access to drinking water remains
urban Africa’s number one priority

17 June 2011: Access to running water remains in a state of crisis for a huge number of people across Africa. With growing urbanisation across the continent, African cities will need the political determination to ensure sustainable water resources based on social need rather than commercial concerns. More

Half of Americans still affected
by dangerous pollution levels

2 May 2011: Unhealthy air remains a threat to the lives and health of millions of people in the United States, despite great progress. A new report shows that air quality in many places in the US has improved but that over 154 million Americans, just over one half of the nation, still suffer pollution levels that are often dangerous to breathe. More

Greenhouse gases: Rich cities,
not big cities, are main culprits

17 February, 2011: It’s the wealthy cities - not big cities in general - that produce most greenhouse gases, according to a new study. David Satterthwaite, editor of the academic journal Environment and Urbanization, who is to publish the research in April, said: “It is the world’s wealthiest cities and their wealthiest inhabitants that cause unsustainable levels of greenhouse gas emissions, not cities in general.” More

US mayors spearhead moves
to lower energy consumption

28 October 2010: Metropolitan areas in the US exhibit notable paradoxes: high employment and high unemployment; rapid physical growth and near-total abandonment; social connectivity and social isolation. Underlying these extremes is the energy efficiency paradox. As energy efficiency increases in the US, so does demand. As cars become more fuel efficient, for example, Americans purchase larger vehicles, and second or third vehicles, and drive more. More energy efficiency results in more energy consumption, not less. More

Edinburgh aims to become
os of Green Finance
13 October 2010: Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond told an audience of investors and industrialists in late September that a new conference to be held annually in Edinburgh on low carbon investment will make the city known as the 'Davos of Green Finance'. More

First cities named to benefit
from environmental initiative

19 May 2010: Fifteen cities have been named on as the first to have had their bids accepted as participants in the Green Capital Global Challenge initiative which was announced by entrepreneur Richard Branson during the Olympic Games in Vancouver. The 15 cities include two from Canada, three from Europe and 10 from the US. More

Mexico City presents comprehensive
plan to tackle environmental issues

2 May 2010: Confronting climate change is a top priority for the government of Mexico City. With the city’s Green Plan (Plan Verde), Mayor Marcelo Ebrard and his team have introduced a number of measures to cut the emission of greenhouse gases, reduce traffic congestion and preserve water resources. In an interview with City Mayor, Mexico City’s Minister of the Environment, Martha Delgado, described the extent of the challenges. More

Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo
ranked the greenest cities in Europe

3 March 2010: Scandinavian cities occupy the top three places in a European environmental index. Copenhagen leads the index overall, coming marginally ahead of Stockholm, while third placed Oslo rounds off the trio of Scandinavian cities. Fellow Nordic capital Helsinki follows in seventh place. Vienna, Amsterdam and Zurich occupy fourth, fifth and sixth places, respectively. More

American cities divided over
benefits of natural gas drilling

13 November 2009: Mayors have been the vanguard of the green movement in the United States. Their city governments have led the nation in such areas as weatherizing buildings, creating green jobs, adopting alternative fuels, and creating new tools for sustainable land use and development. Mayors have overcome significant impediments to advance their environmental initiatives – inadequate funding, a skeptical public, and obsolete zoning and building codes, to name just a few. A new process for extracting natural gas – hydraulic fracturing or “hydrofracking” -- highlights the opportunities and challenges of going green for hundreds of communities in eastern United States. More

US and Canadian Mayors demand
say in new Great Lakes Agreement

23 August 2009: In June 2009, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon announced that the two countries would update the 37-year-old Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The five Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River into which they drain contain 95 per cent of the fresh water in North America. More

European and US mayors take
lead in tackling global warming

23 March 2009: Mayors have led cities large and small in actions to tackle global warming at local level. These efforts have been linked in the United States since 2005 and since 2008 in the European Union too. In the US this was a bottom-up intervention, which sought to connect cities to the Kyoto Protocol even though the Bush administration refused to sign it. More

Mexico City seeks green
options for waste disposal

17 February 2009: The authorities are closing down Mexico City’s vast 56 million-tonne garbage landfill site at Bordo Poniente in a year’s time with plans to replace it with a recycling centre. The 420-hectare facility, opened in 1985, can no longer cope with its daily dose of 12,500 tonnes of waste. More

US mayors planning
for green prosperity

21 January 2009: It’s been said that the best way to predict the future is to invent it, and US mayors are intent on creating a future for their cities that is “green”. “Green” is the general term used to describe efforts to reduce waste and clean up the environment, and US mayors see the green movement as a new engine for economic growth and job creation. More

Saving energy by making use
of eyes' sensibility to contrast

5 November 2008: We are consuming, and wasting, vast amounts of energy. This must be changed. My idea involves changing a 60-year-old concept in the way that traffic lights work all over the world – and how they waste money and energy. What follows is a summary of the work undertaken in mechanics and electricity, which won approbation at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. More

Scientists from Germany and Korea
work on creating green mega cities

3 September 2008: Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is a typical mega city: vast, pulsating, noisy and full of exhaust fumes. This is the setting in which researchers from the German Fraunhofer Institute are developing new building concepts and IT solutions. which will save energy, cut pollution and make living in the city a more pleasant experience. More

US and Canadian mayors work
together to protect Great Lakes

12 May 2008: There are five Great Lakes in northeastern US and southeastern Canada: Superior, Huron, Michigan, Erie, and Ontario. Together with the St. Lawrence River, which extends from Lake Ontario to the Atlantic Ocean, they contain 95 per cent of North America’s fresh water. However, the entire Great Lakes-St. Lawrence water system is under considerable stress, and mayors in the US and Canada are joining forces to try to ensure that this remarkable resource retains its value in the future. More

Pittsburgh and Los Angeles
the most polluted US cities

4 May 2008: Pittsburgh has replaced Los Angeles as the most polluted city in the US. The Pennsylvanian city with a population of some 335,000 heads the list of cities most polluted by particle pollution, a deadly cocktail of ash, soot, diesel exhaust, chemicals, metals and aerosols. Pittsburgh also ranks second on the list of cities with the most year-round particle pollution while Los Angeles again claims the first spot this year. More

Green policies are good for the
environment and public purses

27 April 2008: Local governments around the world are working to protect the environment. These green cities are aiming to reduce energy use and pollution in new and creative ways. Such efforts by city governments not only help reverse the effects of climate change. They also help governments save large amounts of money on energy costs. And, cities that are leaders in this green movement set a good example to their citizens about the importance of environmental issues. More

A city’s ecological footprint bears
no comparison to its actual area

2 April 2008: The US city of Rochester, New York State, and its immediate suburbs occupy about 160,000 hectares, or the same land area as London, England. The difference is that Rochester’s urbanized core contains 735,000 residents versus 7.6 million in London. London, for its part, has less than two-thirds the population density of Tokyo. More

Dubai and Shanghai examples
of wasteful urban development

15 December 2007: The danger of treating climate change only as a man-made phenomenon that impacts nature’s systems is that it posits the problem in some distant remoteness and absolves all of us of immediate responsibility. The facts tell us that three-quarters of the carbon dioxide in the world, which is the biggest greenhouse gas, is emitted by cities. Dubai and Shanghai are models that ought to be avoided, as they are examples of environmentally wasteful urban development. More

Calcutta and Miami most at risk
from coastal flooding by 2070

6 December 2007: The impact of climate change and urban development could more than triple the number of people around the world exposed to coastal flooding by 2070, says a report by the OECD. Miami is the most exposed city today and will be for the foreseeable future. By 2070, eight of the most exposed cities will be in Asia. The most exposed city in terms of population will be Kolkata (Calcutta), while Miami will be most vulnerable in terms of infrastructure assets. More

US mayors avoid discussion
of negative effects of biofuels

14 August 2007: Mayors in the United States are among the strongest supporters of the biofuel industry. Ethanol and biodiesel, the primary biofuels today, are made from plant matter instead of petroleum. They can be blended with or directly substituted for gasoline and diesel. While other alternative power sources such as hydrogen and fuel cells require research breakthroughs and major modifications to vehicles, biofuels offer an immediate solution to energy and environmental concerns. More

16 cities around the world to
share $5 billion to go green

22 May 2007: It was a sparkling spring day when former US President Bill Clinton announced his foundation's new ‘Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program’ at the C-40 Large Cities Climate Summit of big city mayors, business leaders and environmental experts. Under the initial plan, 16 cities around the world will share $5 billion in private funds to help them go green with environmental upgrades that include the installation of more efficient heating, cooling and lighting systems, and architectural enhancements that would save enough energy to cover the costs.

Cities are not the problem, but the
solution in the battle for biodiversity

3 May 2007: Disproportionate growth of the world's urban population could result in further loss of many forms of life on Earth, warn experts in the sciences of climate change and biodiversity. Nearly 200 years ago, London was the only city in the world with more than one million people. Today, across the globe, there are more than 400 cities of at least that size. More

Los Angeles remains
most polluted US city

1 May 2007: Los Angeles ranked as the most polluted US city in the nation for all categories in a new report, even though LA’s pollution levels have dropped during the past two years. Other cities ranking among the worst for smog include several in southern California, as well as large cities in Texas and on the east coast, including Houston, Dallas, New York, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia. Other cities on the lists of the worst for particle pollution include many in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states, including Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. More

City mayors must innovate
where governments dither

17 April 2007: Tired of inaction by the federal government, American cities increasingly are taking the lead on national issues. Global warming is one example. When the Bush administration downplayed the scientific evidence in support of global warming, Seattle Mayor Greg Nichols called on American cities to sign on to the Kyoto Protocol. So far, more than 150 have done so. Innovation by cities, of course, is not unique to America. Cities around the globe use their ingenuity to develop model solutions to nation-scale issues. More

EU carbon emission agreement will
strengthen concept of liveable cities

18 March 2007: The commitment by the European Union (EU) on 9 March 2007 to a binding target of a 20 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020 will affect all tiers of government as well as business. The implementation of regulations to make the necessary changes may well force the EU to recognise the critical role of cities and accede to their calls for more powers and resources. More

Water quality issues in the US wine
industry affect small communities

21 February 2007: Most of the 19,000 municipalities in the United States are small rural communities. Nearly 17,000 US municipalities have populations of less than 10,000, and over 9,300 have populations of less than 1,000. Over the past two decades, a growing number of these small cities has come to depend on the wine industry to revitalize and support their local economies. Wine production, in particular, is attractive to small city mayors because it is capital- and labor-intensive, attracting investment and creating jobs in agriculture, tourism, and infrastructure. More

No more freeways: Los Angeles is on the road
to become one of the greenest American cities

15 February 2007: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has made it one of his goals to transform his city into “the greenest big city in America”. Plagued with traffic problems and the worst air quality in the country, LA is more often equated with urban sprawl and asthma than a model of sustainability. But that transformation is exactly what Villaraigosa and Deputy Mayor Nancy Sutley have in mind. More

Schools could save money and raise
educational standards by going green

10 February 2007: US cities signed up for climate change action, already having a robust and challenging relationship with school district boards in their areas, will be interested in the late 2006 report on the costs and impact on educational performance of sustainable buildings. More

Progress in the world’s cities will
decide the future of Planet Earth

13 January 2007: If global development priorities are not reassessed to account for massive urban poverty, well over half of the 1.1 billion people projected to join the world’s population between now and 2030 may live in under-serviced slums, says a report published in January 2007. Additionally, while cities cover only 0.4 per cent of the Earth’s surface, they generate the bulk of the world’s carbon emissions, making cities key to alleviating the climate crisis, notes the report. More

Scandinavian countries are first in
creating sustainable communities

7 November 2006: Sweden has a penchant for safety and cleanliness. Swedes invented the Volvo, one of the safest automobiles. Volvos are built to minimize harm to passengers during accidents, and they are built without toxic flame-retardants. Swedes invented the safety- match and dynamite too - much safer than the alternative it replaced, black powder. Recently, Sweden has become known for its innovations in sustainable development - safer development. More

Three locations in Russia are among
the world’s 10 most polluted places

24 October 2006: Chernobyl in the Ukraine, Linfen in China and Ranipet in India are among the ten most-polluted locations in the world, according to research carried out by the New York-based Blacksmith Institute. The top ten also includes three sites in Russia, one in Peru and one in Zambia. The biggest pollutants were heavy metals and long-lasting chemicals, say the authors of the research study. The World Bank estimates that 16 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world were in China. More

Research suggests many coastal cities
will be flooded by the end of the century

London, Tokyo, Mumbai and New York, together with thousands of other communities around the world, could be flooded by the end of this century according to research published in March 2006. Two studies suggest that global warming has a much more dramatic effect on sea levels than previously thought. Ice sheets across both the Arctic and Antarctic could melt more quickly than expected this century, with Arctic summers by 2100 being as warm as they were nearly 130,000 years ago, when sea levels eventually rose up to six meters higher than today. More

San Francisco mayor looks to
Chicago for urban inspiration

15 August 2006: San Francisco politicians and civic leaders have found a surprising new source of inspiration: Chicago, the pragmatic Midwestern US city on the shore of Lake Michigan. They're drawn not to the classic symbols of old Chicago, such as Wrigley Field or the Art Institute, but to such vivid new landmarks as the Millennium Park, a 24.5-acre gathering place that attracts residents and tourists. They're captivated by the manicured streets and sidewalks that transformed once-gritty stretches of this city into urbane green paths. More

US mayors pledge to cut greenhouse gases
while Bush administration takes no action

Recognizing that global warming may fast be approaching the point of no return and that the world cannot wait for the US government to act, hundreds of US city mayors have pledged to cut emissions of greenhouse gases. By signing the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, these mayors - representing some 44 million Americans - have committed their cities to meet or beat the US emissions reduction target in the Kyoto Protocol, despite the federal government's refusal to ratify that treaty. More

US cities to try 'smart growth'
to conform to Kyoto Protocol

More than 210 US mayors have signed up to Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels’ initiative on taking local responsibility for carbon emissions in the absence of support for Kyoto from the current US federal government. Attention now turns to what they are doing to meet the challenge with limited powers and resources. Denver mayor John Hickenlooper told City Mayors at the recent 2006 New Partners for Smart Growth conference, held in his city: “In the US our federal government has shown no inclination to address this issue. As cities we are going to conform to the Kyoto protocol. Instead of top down in terms of our climate we perhaps need to tackle it from the bottom up.” More

Brazilian architect wins
the 2006 Pritzker Prize

Paulo Mendes da Rocha has been chosen as the 2006 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. The 77-year old architect becomes the second laureate from Brazil, Oscar Niemeyer being the first, chosen in 1988. While few of his buildings were realized outside of Brazil, the lessons to be learned from his work, both as a practicing architect and a teacher, are universal. More

San Francisco Mayor proclaims
urban environmental movement

Mayors from around the globe took the historic step of signing the Urban Environmental Accords on 5 June 2005 in the rotunda of San Francisco City Hall in recognition of United Nations World Environment Day 2005. San Francisco Mayor, Gavin Newsom, said what we have accomplished here will change the world. “What we started here is only the beginning - the start of a new way of thinking about our earth, and the start of a new global environmental grassroots movement focused on cities,” the Mayor stressed. More

EIU survey:
Vancouver, Melbourne and Vienna
named world’s most liveable cities

Vancouver, Melbourne and Vienna are the world ‘best’ cities to live and visit according to a new survey the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Vancouver, on the Canadian Pacific coast, is credited with low crime, good infrastructure and virtually no threats of terrorist attacks. Jon Copestake, editor of the EIU survey on liveability said that in the current global political climate, it was no surprise that the most desirable destinations were those with a lower perceived threat of terrorism. More

Mercer survey:
The world’s best cities
are still in Switzerland

Zurich and Geneva are the best cities in the world as far as quality of live is concerned, says a new survey. Vancouver (Canada) is placed third, followed by Vienna (Austria), Auckland (New Zealand), Düsseldorf (Germany) and Frankfurt (Germany). Paris, London and Madrid are in the lower half of the top-50 table. Overall, Baghdad is not surprisingly the lowest ranking city in the survey. More

More than one billion people
call urban slums their home

At least one billion people live in slums, with the highest percentage of them found in Asia, Africa and Latin America, according to a new report by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT). At a press briefing, Anna K. Tibaijuka, UN-HABITAT executive director, told City Mayors that at least 40 per cent of settlements in the world were classified as slums. More

New York, Portland and Chicago
are among the greenest US cities

It’s not easy being green – for a city, that is. It's tough enough to simply keep up with the endless trash, traffic and pollution generated by urban life. To actually get the better of it with good public transportation, smart recycling programs and the kind of well-kept streets, parks and playgrounds that make cities fun and healthy places to live, that’s the true challenge. Homestore, the American real estate portal, selected the ten greenest US cities. More

Seoul discovers that environmental
care can produce economic benefits

The restoration of Cheonggyecheon stream in the heart of the Korean capital Seoul means that South Korea, one of Asia’s most industry-driven nations, has started to demonstrate greater concern for the environment and nature. The rejuvenated stream also has a positive economic impact on the city, officials of the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said. More

Conceived by an Italian saint, Brasilia
is the world’s most striking capital city

First conceived of in a ‘prophetic’ dream by Saint John Bosco of Italy, Brasília is the federal capital of the Latin American republic resembling its name. It was inaugurated in 1960 by President Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira and took only 41 months to construct. It is regarded as one of the most visually striking cities in the world on account of its Le Corbusier-inspired architecture by the renowned modernist Oscar Niemeyer and was planned by Lúcio Costa. It is a World Heritage Site. More

Architect of hard-edged designs
awarded the 2005 Pritzker Prize

Thom Mayne, the Californian architect known for his uncompromising designs, has been awarded the 2005 Pritzker Prize, the world’s most prestigious architectural award. Mr Mayne founded his firm Morphosis in 1972 to surpass the bounds of traditional forms and materials, while also working to carve out a territory beyond the limits of modernism and postmodernism. When told the news, he said his first reaction was shock. "When you run a cultural and artistic practice, as we do, instead of just a business, you never know where it's going to lead." The prize carries with it a $100,000 grant. More

British government explores new ideas
to strengthen sustainable communities

A fresh initiative to encourage English cities to consider introducing an executive mayor structure was announced at the British Government’s Sustainable Communities summit in Manchester at the beginning of February 2005. The conference also heard from Chicago Mayor Richard Daley who emphasized the importance of schools in creating healthy neighbourhoods and London Mayor Ken Livingstone who spoke of the need to build affordable housing for key workers. More

America’s wildlife under attack
from rapid urban development

The rapid consumption of land in the fastest-growing large US metropolitan areas could threaten the survival of nearly one out of every three imperiled species. In at least three dozen rapidly-growing counties found mostly in the South and West of the US, open space on non-federal lands is being lost so quickly that essential wildlife habitat will be mostly gone within the next two decades, unless development patterns are altered. More

Urban poor increasingly made homeless
in India’s drive for more ‘beautiful’ cities

When Mumbai (Bombay) Municipal Corporation evicted pavement dwellers in 1981, a journalist came forward to file a public interest petition to protect the rights of the pavement dwellers. After five years in 1986, the case became a landmark judgment that maintained that the Right to Life included the Right to Livelihood. As livelihood of the poor depends directly on where they live, this was a verdict in favour of pavement dwellers. More

Scientists say mangrove forests
can reduce impact of tsunamis

Dense mangrove forests growing along the coasts of tropical and sub-tropical countries can help reduce the devastating impact of tsunamis and coastal storms by absorbing some of the waves' energy, say scientists. When the tsunami struck India's southern state of Tamil Nadu on 26 December 2004, for example, areas in Pichavaram and Muthupet with dense mangroves suffered fewer human casualties and less damage to property compared to areas without mangroves. More

Urban population is growing
by one million people a week

The world’s urban population will grow from 2.86 billion in 2000 to 4.98 billion by 2030, of which high-income countries will account for only 28 million out of the expected increase of 2.12 billion. The world’s annual urban growth rate is projected at 1.8 per cent in contrast to the rural growth rate of 0.1 per cent and about 60 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities. More

By 2030 the US will have re-built
almost half its built environment

In 2030, about half of the buildings in which Americans live, work, and shop will have been built after 2000. Most US states and metropolitan areas have some idea as to the amount of growth they expect over the next several decades, based on estimates of projected demographic, household, market and industry trends. These estimates form the foundation of public policies and are vital for use in goal setting, planning, and implementation of a variety of growth and development strategies. More

Satellite identifies big cities
as major pollution sources

Mayor of Paris selects design
for regeneration of Les Halles

Slow Cities movement offers
alternative to global mediocrity

Melbourne’s newest park
wins urban design award

Australian local government
sorely needs more resources

South Korea announces
plans for new capital city

RIBA President calls for stronger
recognition of New Urbanism

A people’s park of international
importance in downtown Chicago

British cities urged to look abroad
for ideas on more attractive parks

FCM report warns of erosion of
quality of life in Canadian cities

Nanjing sets out to protect
its east-west architecture

Rio de Janeiro to spend US$1 billion on
innovative slum improvement programme

Southern German cities are
winning the battle for people

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