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Politics & Legislation

Should Cities Ban Single-Use Plastic Bags?

June 30, 2015 by Cathy Rust

Their time is over

Should cities ban single use plastic bags or keep them but charge a fee? Plastic bags are definitely a scourge on the environment, particularly once they get into the ocean, but does banning them outright make sense, or is there a better way to phase them out?[read more]

Reshaping Growth Centers with Open Space = Smart Growth

June 26, 2015 by Klaus Philipsen

Germany does it well

It is time to look more carefully at what happens inside the development envelopes about open space. In retrofitting suburban centers open space is the ace card. Requirements and fees are not there to repel or sink development but to make it more valuable in the long run. Only shortsighted developers would fight that.[read more]

Four Months to Dream Up a Smart City Plan for Mumbai

From slumdogs to smart canines?

How can Mumbai become a Smart City that the nation is proud of? The recently published Draft Development Plan (DP) for Mumbai was so poorly received by various stakeholders that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis scrapped it and it has to be reworked in just four months.[read more]

Tell Us What You Think Is the Role of Local and Regional Governments in Sustainable Development

Your views are needed

UCLG is working with its members and partners to develop a Global Agenda of Local and Regional Governments for the 21st Century. We invite local governments to discuss the following ideas and to build on the consultations with their own inputs, leading up to next year's important Habitat III conference.[read more]

Los Angeles Has a Hugely Ambitious Sustainability pLAn - Will it Succeed?

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

“We hope to get rid of ornamental lawns and put in more native plants.” Los Angeles, known for its extensive car culture, lawn-filled suburbs and smog, is getting serious about sustainability—and the effort includes local and sustainable food and agriculture and aiming for zero waste.[read more]

International Regional and Local Leaders Call on Cities to Bind Together for Justice and Climate Action

June 18, 2015 by David Thorpe

The Mayor of Montevideo, Ana Oliveira

Around 200 representatives of local and regional governments from over 35 countries and all world continents participated in the UCLG Executive Bureau meetings that took place between 10 and 12 June 2015 in Porto Alegre, Brazil, focusing on the Post-2015 development programme and the New Urban Agenda.[read more]

Does This Change Everything? What the Pope Says About Climate Change

June 16, 2015 by David Thorpe

The cover of Pope Francis' Climate Change Encyclical

An encyclical signifying the support of the Catholic Church for action against climate change has been leaked, in advance of the speech Pope Francis was due to make this week. In it he calls for a change in lifestyles and energy consumption in order to avert the "unprecedented destruction of the ecosystem". But he says much more...[read more]

Are the EU's Birds and Habitats Directives Fit For Purpose?

June 16, 2015 by Ceri Margerison

Unpeeling the truth

The Birds and Habitats Directives, the cornerstones of European conservation legislation, are now subject to a “Fitness Check” review. At last week's annual EU Green Week, governments, NGOs, businesses and academia argued about whether the directives are fit for purpose. What does the evidence say?[read more]

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Baltimore to Receive National Award  for Excellence in Sustainability

June 11, 2015 by David Thorpe
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Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will accept the award today

Baltimore City will today be awarded a national rating for its efforts to become a more sustainable community by the STAR Community Rating System, the United States' first comprehensive framework and certification program for evaluating local sustainability.[read more]

Can a Sugar Daddy Create a Sustainable City?

June 10, 2015 by Klaus Philipsen

Kevin Plank – goodie or baddie?

Can a sustainable city result from a 'sugar daddy' patron, a grand idea, a Big Plan? Are the campuses of Google, Microsoft and Apple comparable to the Florence of the Medicis? And is the agenda of Armour's CEO Kevin Plank and his sports apparel company, headquartered in Baltimore, benign or to be resisted by residents?[read more]

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From 'Smart City' to 'collective intelligence': radical change in Barcelona

June 1, 2015 by Kate Shea Baird

Barcelona en Comú party celebrates

Barcelona's recent elections saw the professionalized, Smart City of incumbent mayor Xavier Trias lose to the idea of a city governed by the 'collective intelligence' of its citizens, advocated by Ada Colau. So what can the world can expect to see from a Barcelona governed 'in common' over the next four years?[read more]

Revealed: The Best Way To Tackle Racial Exclusion and Social Mobility

May 30, 2015 by Christopher Sellers

What's better than racial justice?

How broad-based economic growth, low housing costs, and limited regulation provide the best conditions for social mobility and tackling racial exclusion, rather than focussing on racial and class justice.[read more]