“We, the people”: Cities, digital tools and the reinvention of democracy

Douche v Turd I’m stating the obvious by saying that Western democracy looks in trouble right now. In the US, the emerging Presidential line up increasingly resembles South Park’s classic Giant Douche versus Turd Sandwich episode. Meanwhile in Europe, the increasing use of national referenda combined with the downward spiral of voter participation reflects growing [...]

By Eddy Adams, on May 27th, 2016

#Basque2016, What was it about ?

Try next time, before attending your upcoming conference, to predict the main message of the meeting. In most cases you will succeed: conferences on economy and innovation usually argue for the ’modernistic perspective’ in which technical novelties will dominate and solve all the problems. In a sharp contrast to that environmental conferences will present the [...]

By Ivan Tosics, on May 27th, 2016

‘Migrant crisis’: Two worlds apart seeking cohesion between the national and local levels

Credit photos: Gordon Welters/UNHCR, “How will Germany house all its refugees?”, irinnews.org How can social innovation help in today’s Europe, which is welcoming people from Africa and the Middle East, fleeing war and poverty? How can social innovation reduce the fear of the unknown in central and east European countries, who do not have a [...]

By Peter Wolkowinski, on May 2nd, 2016

The Citizen as Mayor. Citizen participation in social innovation

    The subject of the Eurocities Social Forum in Nantes on March 16th was citizen involvement in social innovation.  Cities are now leading Europe on social innovation across a range of fields from health and care to integrating migrants.  The message of the conference was that for the city to engage with citizens it [...]

By Peter Ramsden, on April 25th, 2016

How a regulation turned Bologna’s civic pride into action

An association of Bologna women turned an unused city-owned building into an ‘ethical boutique’. It’s one result of a new city policy that encourages citizens to volunteer their time and talents while governing their use of public assets. (Rete Civica Iperbole) A few years ago, a group of women in their 50s living near Bologna’s [...]

By Simone D'Antonio, on April 12th, 2016

What’s art got to do with it? 4 reasons why sustainable cities need artists and cultural institutions on board

Bristol’s Park Street turned into a 90-meter water slide, Photo by Luke Jerram It all started with a water slide, on a sunny Sunday morning two years ago. Over 65.000 people stood in Bristol’s Park Street to watch the lucky 360 go head-first down the 90-meter slide. The installation by the British artist Luke Jerram [...]

By Ania Rok, on March 30th, 2016

Letter from America

Boston Brahmins Which metropolis was recently given the dubious title of America’s most unequal major city? Detroit ? New Orleans?  Well the answer is actually Boston, where recent Brookings Institute research shows that those in the city’s 95th percentile of income earned 17.8 times more than those in the 20th. That might come as a [...]

By Eddy Adams, on March 17th, 2016

Universal Basic Income: Crazy idea or one whose time has come?

As we get into the business of 2016, what are the big ideas ahead of us? I’ve been thinking about this, and looking round, have been surprised to find that one of them might relate to welfare reform. For it seems that, after years of stagnation, grind and paralysis, there is evidence of fresh thinking [...]

By Eddy Adams, on February 22nd, 2016

Dense suburban New Towns – solution for high-growth urban areas?

Picture 1. Tin Shui Wai new town in 2005 Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tinshuiwai_2005.jpg Hong Kong is the ’dream’ of urban planners: the city has been consistently developed in the last decades according to the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) principles, creating strong link between urban density and efficient public transport. What are the pros and cons of such [...]

By Ivan Tosics, on December 17th, 2015

Play in the city: the spaces of spontaneous (or ‘pick-up’) basketball games

Phil Jackson, perhaps the greatest coach in basketball’s history, describes the perfect game as when players ‘do without thinking’. As with many sports and activities, true joy comes from the flow of action and reaction, as players engage in the dance of what we call ‘pick-up’ basketball. When I find myself in a new city [...]

By Mark Ball, on November 24th, 2015