LA is doing water better than your city. Yes, that LA.

SHORT FILM / ARTICLE

Matt Simon, Wired, 12 June 2018

But Los Angeles is in the midst of an aqueous awakening, setting an ambitious goal to cut its reliance on imported water in half by 2025 by following an increasingly urgent rule of good water policy: diversification. In a nutshell, that means getting your water from a range of sources—rain capture, aquifers, wells, desalination, even right out of the air. A study from UCLA earlier this year even said the city could feasibly reach 100 percent locally sourced water. To do it, the city is diving into a series of high- and low-tech campaigns that could transform Los Angeles into a model city for water management.


To find out about Singapore’s ‘Four Taps’ and leading water supply policy click here.

ARCADIS Sustainable Cities Mobility Index

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arcadis.com, 2017

There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for sustainable mobility in cities. As the Index demonstrates, mobility challenges differ from city to city and vary according to geographical, ecological, economic and political factors. In this section, we outline some of the top trends in urban mobility as well as looking to the future to provide food for thought for those responsible for their city’s mobility.

 

The biggest risks facing cities – and some solutions

TALK

Robert Muggah, TED Talk, September 2017

It’s a small opportunity but a golden one: in the next 10 to 20 years, to really start designing in principles of resilience into our cities. There’s not one single way of doing this, but there are a number of ways that are emerging. And I’ve spoken with hundreds of urban planners, development specialists, architects and civic activists, and a number of recurring principles keep coming out. I just want to pass on six.

First: cities need a plan and a strategy to implement it. I mean, it sounds crazy, but the vast majority of world cities don’t actually have a plan or a vision. 

Second: you’ve got to go green. Cities are already leading global decarbonization efforts.

Third: invest in integrated and multi-use solutions. The most successful cities are those that are going to invest in solutions that don’t solve just one problem, but that solve multiple problems.

Next, fourth: build densely but also sustainably. The death of all cities is the sprawl. Cities need to know how to build resiliently, but also in a way that’s inclusive.

Fifth: steal. The smartest cities are nicking, pilfering, stealing, left, right and center. They don’t have time to waste.

And finally: work in global coalitions. You know, there are more than 200 inner-city coalitions in the world today. There are more city coalitions than there are coalitions for nation-states.


To learn more about Robert Muggah, his work on evidence based urban policy and data visualisations, visit the Igarapé Institute here and SecDev here.

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What is Urban Resilience?

INFOGRAPHIC

100 Resilient Cities

Why do we focus on cities? First, the world is rapidly urbanizing—by 2050, 75% of the world’s population will live in cities. Second, global pressures that play out at a city scale − such as climate change, disease pandemics, economic fluctuations, and terrorism − pose new challenges and uncertainty. Sudden shocks or accumulating stresses in cities can cause significant damage and disruption; in 2011, the cost of natural disasters was estimated at over $380 billion. Because city systems are interconnected, breakdowns can lead to multiple or sequential failure. At worst, this can result in social breakdown, physical collapse, or economic decline.


For more from 100 Resilient Cities, click here.

7 principles for building better cities

TALK

Peter Calthorpe, TED, April 2017

So there are seven principles that have now been adopted by the highest levels in the Chinese government, and they’re moving to implement them. And they’re simple, and they are globally, I think, universal principles.

One is to preserve the natural environment, the history and the critical agriculture.

Second is mix. Mixed use is popular, but when I say mixed, I mean mixed incomes, mixed age groups as well as mixed-land use.

Walk. There’s no great city that you don’t enjoy walking in. You don’t go there. The places you go on vacation are places you can walk. Why not make it everywhere?

Bike is the most efficient means of transportation we know. China has now adopted policies that put six meters of bike lane on every street. They’re serious about getting back to their biking history.

Complicated planner-ese here: connect. It’s a street network that allows many routes instead of singular routes and provides many kinds of streets instead of just one.

Ride. We have to invest more in transit. There’s no silver bullet. Autonomous vehicles are not going to solve this for us. As a matter of fact, they’re going to generate more traffic, more VMT, than the alternative.

And focus. We have a hierarchy of the city based on transit rather than the old armature of freeways.

It’s a big paradigm shift, but those two things have to get reconnected in ways that really shape the structure of the city.


To visit Calthorpe Associates website click here.

Planet Earth II: Cities

DOCUMENTARY

Sir David Attenborough (Narrator), Hans Zimmer (Composer)
Planet Earth II, Episode 6, Cities, BBC, 2016

The complexity of urban life favours the clever, but to compete with humanity during daylight hours takes more than just intelligence – it takes nerve. One enterprising species of monkey has moved into the city of Jaipur in India – the Rhesus Macaque. But how to get a share of all this juicy fruit …

Ten things you need to know about the New Urban Agenda

ARTICLE

Lucinda Hartley, Landscape Australia, 24 Oct 2016

The New Urban Agenda represents a paradigm shift in global thinking, recognising what professionals have perhaps understood for some time: that our future is urban. From gender-equity to youth-empowerment, participatory planning to inclusive public space, The New Urban Agenda sets a high benchmark for the type of urban development we should strive for and a global accountability framework for achieving it. Its catch-cry to “leave no one behind” commits to reducing urban inequality. This is a challenge that we can take up and apply to every city and neighbourhood.


For UN Habitat‘s New Urban Agenda whiteboard video click here.

ARCADIS Sustainable Cities Index

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arcadis.com, 2016

Well-established European cities dominate the top of the overall ranking making up 16 of the top 20 positions. They are joined by the advanced Asian cities of Singapore (in second place), Seoul (7th) and Hong Kong (16th) as well as Australia’s capital, Canberra (18th). Cities around the world are living at extremes, not balancing these pillars of sustainability. While taking the lead in some areas, cities often sit lower in one area of sustainability. How can cities do more to ensure that as they develop and implement strategies and policies to address the considerable challenges they face – from environmental to socio-economic – they do so in a way that puts people first and at the forefront of their sustainability?

Revealed: Cambodia’s vast medieval cities hidden beneath the jungle

ARTICLE / SHORT FILM

Laura Dunston, The Guardian, 11 June 2016

That survey uncovered an array of discoveries, including elaborate water systems that were built hundreds of years before historians believed the technology existed. The findings are expected to challenge theories on how the Khmer empire developed, dominated the region, and declined around the 15th century, and the role of climate change and water management in that process.


For more from Guardian Cities, click here.

Angkor Wat’s Hidden Megacity

DOCUMENTARY

BBC, 2014

For the first time in 500 years lidar is helping to reveal the lost metropolis of the people who built Angkor Wat … “Some colleagues of mine have described it as, essentially, a scientific revolution” …We are now closer than ever before to an understanding of how the Khmer people came to dominate South East Asia and why their great city ultimately collapsed.


For more from Dr Damien Evans and the Cambodian Archaeological Lidar Initiative, click here.

The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.

Robert Swan, polar explorer

The Conundrum

SHORT FILM

David Owen

Every device I own today is vastly more efficient than it’s 1970s equivalent, yet my energy use, along with the country’s and the world’s has soared. That’s because we almost always reinvest efficiency gains in additional consumption. The better we get at doing things the more things we do. That’s The Conundrum.