Researcher and Paratransit Operator Collaboration in South Africa

Meeting of the Minds took a few moments to talk with Herrie Schalekamp about new working relationships between researchers and paratransit operators in South Africa and beyond. Herrie is the ACET Research Officer at the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Transport Studies. In addition to his research, teaching and consulting in the fields of paratransit and public transport reform he is involved in specialised educational programmes for paratransit operators and government officials. Herrie’s activities form part of a broader endeavour to investigate and contribute to improved public transport operations and regulation in Sub-Saharan African cities under ACET – the African Centre of Excellence for Studies in Public and Non-motorised Transport.

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Leveraging Big Data & Analytics to Revitalize Brownfields

Brownfields are sites that are vacant or underutilized due to environmental contamination, real or imagined. There are brownfields of some kind in virtually every city and town in the U.S., usually related to a gas station, dry cleaner, auto repair shop, car dealership or some other ubiquitous local business that once benefited the community it now burdens with environmental hazards or old buildings.

In addressing this issue, technology has not been effectively deployed to promote redevelopment of these sites and catalyze community revitalization. We find that the question around the use of technology and data in advancing the redevelopment of brownfields is twofold:

How can current and future technology advancements be applied to upgrade existing brownfield modeling tools? And then, how can those modeling tools be used to accelerate transformative, sustainable, and smart redevelopment and community revitalization?

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New Public and Private Funding Strategies for Urban Parks

Across the country, urban parks are enjoying a renaissance. Dozens of new parks are being built or restored and cities are being creative about how and where they are located. Space under highways, on old rail infrastructure, reclaimed industrial waterfronts or even landfills are all in play as development pressure on urban land grows along with outdoor recreation needs.

These innovative parks are helping cities face common challenges, from demographic shifts, to global competitiveness to changing climate conditions. Mayors and other city officials are taking a fresh look at parks to improve overall community health and sense of place, strengthen local economies by attracting new investments and creating jobs, help manage storm water run-off, improve air quality, and much more. When we think of city parks holistically, accounting for their full role in communities, they become some of the smartest investments we can make.

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California to be at 50% Renewable Energy by 2030

In addition to meeting traditional electricity needs for homes and buildings, demand for electricity is growing with increased population, economic growth, water pumping, recycling and desalination, and millions traveling in electric cars, buses and rail. Although California has only 13 percent of the nation’s population, it has half the nation’s solar power, half the grid storage, and half the electric vehicles.

California is on track to use 50 percent renewables in 12 years. Today, California is coal free and nuke free, generating 40 percent of electricity from solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower. Wind and solar power are being added, often for less than four cents per kilowatt-hour. Renewables, energy efficiency, energy storage, microgrids, and software are enablers of the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy.

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From carbon-neutral laneway homes to Passive House rental apartments, Canadian cities are quietly leading in building innovation

From carbon-neutral laneway homes to Passive House rental apartments, Canadian cities are quietly leading in building innovation

In a country with relatively dense urban centers, a cold climate, and predominantly fossil fuel heating, it’s no wonder that for many of Canada’s largest cities, buildings are the largest single source of carbon emissions.

Recognizing both the need to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and that they hold many of the tools to do so, Canadian local governments are approaching the built environment as a key leverage point to creating low-carbon cities. Builders are increasingly seeking first-mover advantage while building operators are hedging against the lifetime costs of electricity and heating fuels. Combined with sky-high real estate costs in cities like Toronto and Vancouver, public and private incentives for innovations to cut energy use, emissions, and long-term expenses in the building sector are stacking up.

Looking Beyond Borders: The Reality of Migration in Cities

Looking Beyond Borders: The Reality of Migration in Cities

Current mediatised depictions of the so-called ‘refugee crisis’ would have us place this phenomenon in a border fence, raft on the sea or at a makeshift camp. However, this is only the beginning of the story. Paradoxically, some people risk it all in treacherous...

Schools Save Millions with Solar + Storage

Schools Save Millions with Solar + Storage

The 125,000 public schools in the U.S., kindergarten through twelfth grade (K-12), spend $8 billion annually on energy. School districts are installing energy efficiency, solar, and energy storage to reduce energy cost, freeing more money for better education. Schools...

Urban Innovator of the Week: Doria Robinson

Urban Innovator of the Week: Doria Robinson

This profile was originally published by Urban Innovation Exchange in partnership with Meeting of the Minds and Kresge Foundation. For more stories of people changing cities, visit UIXCities.com and follow @UIXCities. Doria Robinson is a third-generation resident of...

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Dreams Come True on the Cool Block

Ten years ago, a Big Idea constellated in the mind of pro-social behavior change researcher and innovator David Gershon, CEO of the Empowerment Institute. The idea was to operationalize the modest goal of keeping the planet viable into the long-term future and...

Ecosystems Enable Urban Evolution

This post begins a 5-part series on Smart Cities from our partners at Black and Veatch. For more, visit the series archive. The ecosystem concept, once confined to its biological origins, has found new life in the smart city. When natural systems begin to evolve,...

Urban Innovator of the Week: Gene Powell

This profile was originally published by Urban Innovation Exchange in partnership with Meeting of the Minds and Kresge Foundation. For more stories of people changing cities, visit UIXCities.com and follow @UIXCities. Gene Powell wears a lot of hats. His first passion...

Meeting of the Minds is made possible by the generous support of these organizations.

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