Cities Outlook 2019

Each year the London-based think tank Centre for Cities produces Cities Outlook which provides an overview of what’s happening with cities across the UK with an emphasis on economic issues and the challenge of service delivery in an environment of austerity.

Delivering change: Making the most of public assets

In the search for revenue to offset the impact of significant reductions in government funding, many English local authorities have been seeking to generate additional revenue through the management of their assets including significant investment in property purchase and development. This report from the Centre for Cities looks at their experience.

London Ideas

The Centre for London is a think tank which focuses on London issues. London ideas is a regular newsletter it puts out considering urban innovation. This issue showcases a number of fascinating civic innovations from around the globe.

Cities alive: towards a walking world

This report by the global consultancy Arup shows the benefits of walkable cities – economic, social, environmental and political – and sets out measures for improving walkability, illustrating these by case studies. The report challenges decision-makers to be more aware of the direct and indirect benefits of more walkable cities and provides guidance on how they might be realised.

Participatory City

The Participatory City Foundation’s research demonstrates that participation in practical everyday activities transforms people’s lives and the neighbourhoods in which they live. Participatory City amplifies the scale of these activities; grows new projects, and builds support platforms. The key finding of this work has been that increasing participation in practical everyday activities to high levels could help to transform people’s lives and the neighbourhoods in which those people live. Its publications include an illustrated guide to participatory city (it’s worth looking at just for the graphics) and an in-depth research report (60MB).

Smart Cities Council Financing Guide

This publication prepared jointly by the Centre for urban innovation at Arizona State University and the Smart Cities Council showcases a wide range of financing tools used by American councils. It’s a useful stimulus to thinking about options New Zealand councils could explore.

Autonomous Vehicles: a Policy Preparation Guide

This guide was prepared by the National League of Cities Centre for City Solutions. It’s a very good example of advice on how to prepare for a potentially transformative innovation in a timely way. The focus is on cities examining all of the regulatory frameworks to identify any issues which would need to be addressed to enable the smooth introduction of autonomous vehicle operation.

Fifth annual Menino mayoral survey

Each year Boston University’s Initiative for Cities undertakes a countrywide survey of mayoral attitudes on a specific topic. The 2018 survey focused on economic development. It’s a very interesting read through a New Zealand lens to gain an understanding of how activist mayors approach promoting economic development within their cities.

Connect to Compete: How the University City-Center City innovation district can help Philadelphia excel globally and serve locally

This report prepared with the support of the Brookings Institution considers how institutions within the city of Philadelphia innovation district could best work together to optimise the centre’s potential. It’s an excellent discussion of the importance of collaboration even amongst competitors in order to strengthen an overall locality.

Lighting up our great small cities: challenging misconceptions

This report prepared by the Regional Australia Institute considers the economic performance of Australia’s regional cities with that of main metropolitan centres. It demonstrates that by and large regional cities perform more or less as well as metropolitan centres. In doing so it refutes the common belief that regional centres are inherently less productive and perform less well than metropolitan centres. There are lessons for New Zealand in terms of understanding.

Inclusive Urban Economies

This report prepared for the Commonwealth sustainable cities network provides a short background and context to the nature of urbanisation in the Commonwealth and the global movement toward greater recognition of the critical role of cities in development - expressed most notably in the New Urban Agenda.