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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Cities as Innovation Platform for Green Economic Development

Cities as Innovation Platform for Green Economic Development

Since 2010, the City of Vancouver has been executing on it’s world-acclaimed Greenest City Action Plan (GCAP) which aims to have Vancouver reduce its environmental impact, by a wide range of measures, and become the “greenest city in the world” by 2020. The plan is a bold one and has called on the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) and the City to support and enable innovation and innovators in new ways. Vancouver has transformed from a resource-based economy to a low-carbon, knowledge-based economy that can count over 20,000 “green jobs” representing more than 5% of today’s local workforce.

Redefining Urban Risk and Resiliency

Redefining Urban Risk and Resiliency

In today’s increasingly interconnected and rapidly changing world, social, technological and sustainability issues bring new dimensions to risk and have a major impact on the development and competitiveness of our urban centers. This results in urban risk management...

The Future of Urban Transportation Is Sharing

The Future of Urban Transportation Is Sharing

Recently, a researcher on LinkedIn who has done extensive research on ridesharing in the United States messaged me saying: “Sharing is not in the American DNA”. He doesn’t believe that ridesharing will take off in the U.S. The statement intrigued me both as a trained...

Equity in Smart Cities: The Myth of Neutrality

Equity in Smart Cities: The Myth of Neutrality

There is an ideal that we can be neutral citizens in today’s society, but as responsible citizens we must engage in conversation to imagine and demand equitable, sustainable, and beautiful spaces today more than ever before. To do this, we have to recognize and...

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Urban Revitalisation in Middle East Cities

Over the past fifty years, development in the rapidly-growing cities of the Arabian Gulf has been based primarily on ‘greenfield’ development. Recently; however, investment is turning towards revitalization of existing urban areas. The drivers for this shift vary,...

Best States to add Solar Power and Wind Energy

A massive 16 GW of renewable energy (RE) was installed in the United States in 2016, adding more new electricity generation than from coal, nuclear, and natural gas combined. This growth in renewables was driven by commercial and industrial (C&I) users like...

The people power behind Mexico City’s new constitution

By Gregory Scruggs MEXICO CITY, Mexico — When you think about people drafting a constitution, it might conjure a bunch of white statesmen in powdered wigs. Francisco Fontano Patán doesn’t fit that description. Editors note: This article first appeared in Citiscope.org...

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

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