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The Cities This Week: Edition 15

Visitors view the Sustainable City model displayed at Dubai International Property Show.  Source: Kaleej Times

Visitors view the Sustainable City model displayed at Dubai International Property Show. Source: Kaleej Times

 

AMSTERDAM

Amsterdam and Copenhagen are the top cities for cyclers, according to the latest Copenhagenize Index.  Some other high-ranking urban areas – including Seville, Bordeaux, and Antwerp – haven’t necessarily been on the international radar for their cycling efforts much up until now. Copenhagenize Design Co., a consulting firm “specialising in bicycle promotion, research & marketing and liveable cities,” has its roots in the Copenhagenize blog run by Mikael Colville-Andersen, now the company’s CEO. This is the second Copenhagenize Index of top biking cities.

ABIDJAN

Researchers at IBM have redrawn the bus routes of Ivory Coast’s largest city using mobile phone data. The research was completed as part of the Data for Development competition run by Orange which released 2.5 billion call records from five million mobile phone users in Ivory Coast. The anonymised data is the largest of its kind ever released. Such data could be used by urban planners for new infrastructure projects, said IBM. Currently the project is just a research exercise although IBM is hoping to implement it in a number of cities.

BOSTON

Science and technology are key drivers of economic growth. But where are the world’s leading science cities? A new study published in Nature’s Scientific Reports ranks the top cities for physics research around the world. The study tracks the “citation patterns” of papers published in American Physical Society journals between 1960 to 2009.

PAYNESVILLE

Residents of the municipal city of Paynesville are expected to benefit from a six thousand middle and upper housing project to be implemented by a Turkish based company, Kiptas. Acting City Mayor Cyvette Gibson, who made the disclosure said representatives of Kiptas are due in the country in two months to carry out feasibility studies for the commencement of the project.

DUBAI & DOHA

The construction work at Dubai Sustainable City will begin in July. The Dh1 billion green-development project, which has 500 villas and townhouses ranging from 3,100 square foot to 4,200 square foot, will be completed by mid-2015. The mixed-used project will have a car-free zone and solar-powered golf carts for each house. The green initiatives at the development will not only help reduce carbon emissions, but also save energy through insulated walls at villas and townhouses.

Doha Festival City’s mall broke ground in April and is the largest super-regional, mixed-use development currently under construction in the Middle East. It is designed to be Qatar’s largest combined retail, entertainment and leisure destination. The entire project is to be built as per Qatar Sustainability Assessment System (QSAS), the first of its kind performance-based sustainability rating system in the Mena region

CAPE TOWN

The national bus strike, which is about to enter its third week, has already cost the Western Cape economy as much as R10 million. And embattled commuters have been dealt another blow with Metrorail’s announcement that they will no longer be able to use their bus tickets on the trains.

TORONTO

In 2007, Toronto adopted Canada’s Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gas emission reduction targets as its own. The city would strive to reach a 6% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 1990 levels by 2012. A recent progress report from city staff shows that the city met the target with flying colours. In fact, Toronto is already halfway to the 2020 target of 30% below 1990 levels. Toronto’s greenhouse gas emissions have dropped 15% from 1990 levels and per capita emissions have fallen by 26%. Meanwhile, the city has grown and expanded, demonstrating that greenhouse gas emissions can shrink while a city grows.

CHINESE CITIES

Not many global cities of nearly 9m people lack an underground line, but until the end of last year the eastern city of Hangzhou was one of them. Now city slickers and rural migrants squeeze together inside shiny new carriages, checking their smartphones and reading free newspapers like commuters the world over. There is standing-room only in the rush hour and, with tickets at less than a dollar, the metro is revolutionising the way people travel across town. Two other Chinese cities—Suzhou and Kunming—have also opened their first underground lines in the past year, and the north-eastern city of Harbin is preparing to open one too. Four more cities have just added a new line to their existing systems. At least seven others have begun building their first lines.

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Melissa Meyer

Future Cape Town London-based correspondent

Urbanist-in-training from Cape Town, currently working in London. MSc City Design & Social Science.

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