May 2014


By Derrick Choi, POPULOUS

Each year, over 3 billion passengers worldwide take to the air for their travel, a number on the upswing; in fact, the International Airport Transport Association (IATA) anticipates an increase of 930 million passengers by 2017.  As more people travel by plane each year, it’s inevitable that global air passenger standards have dramatically evolved from enduring tired, drab passenger terminal holdrooms to expecting high-quality, convenient, and environmentally-friendly spaces that offer a distinct and interactive sense of place.  As a consequence of the dramatic growth in air transportation, airports are easily the single most important opportunity for a city to shape visitors’ impressions. It’s an inevitable touch point – a gateway moment that gives regions and cities a strategic opportunity to reach out to, impact and influence each and every traveler passing through.

Airports the world over are now the new 21st century rail stations that connect the traveling populace to the city.

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The Three Reasons Why Sustainable Cities are Now Achievable, and the Three Steps to Getting There
By Emma Stewart, Ph.D.

For thousands of years, humans have struggled to balance our “biophilia” – our innate affinity for non-human forms of life — with our proclivity for urbanization (to coin a new term, perhaps we could call this “polisphilia”?).

Being biophilic, we instinctively love the settings of forests and pasture in which we evolved to become human, but we also crave the human settlements that foster culture and camaraderie, and make us unique as a species.

For the past century, we’ve tried to straddle these two loves by living in cities but breathing in the countryside (per Henry David Thoreau), though only the wealthy could afford such a lifestyle. We experimented with greenbelts in London and central urban parks in NY. We took advantage of the invention of the streetcar and air conditioning to create quasi-country estates, like that of The Hamptons.

But this proved to be sub-optimal on both fronts, and the resultant sprawl – by binding us to cars and large, appliance-centric homes — had the effect of damaging the very natural environment we aimed to appreciate.

We have now arrived at a unique moment in time when this balancing act between biophilia and polisphilia can be achieved. Why? Because of the emergence of 3 simultaneous phenomena:

A. A global shift in power from nation states to cities
B. Early recognition of the collapse of life-supporting ecological systems
C. A prodigious leap in our ability to collect, store, and process data

We can capitalize on these 3 phenomena to create smart and sustainable cities that – while not a panacea – will set humankind on a healthy and wealthy trajectory for centuries to come.

Which real estate markets will outperform in the next five years?

Cynthia Parpa, Group Research, gives an overview of Grosvenor Fund Management’s latest property market forecasts. Overall the rate of return on world real estate over the next five years is 7.4% but some markets, such as those in Southern Europe, will do better than others.

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May 12, 2014

Mayor Don Iveson is inviting mayors and leaders in government, business and research from around Alberta and Canada to CityAge’s Western Cities Summit taking place June 23-24, 2014 in Edmonton.

CityAge brings together leaders in government, business, research and design from across Canada, North America and the world to look at the business of city building. The Western Cities Summit will focus on the potential of western cities to lead economic growth and urban innovation to help Canada prosper in the 21st Century.

“Edmonton views the CityAge Summit as a great opportunity to bring leading thinkers together to talk about the rise of cities in the West,” said Mayor Iveson. “But more importantly, many of the speakers and topics we’ll cover will have a direct relevance to our goal of building Edmonton into a 21st Century city.”

“Economic and demographic trends mean that Western cities are on the ascendancy and will shape the future,” said Miro Cernetig, a co-founder of CityAge. “With its plans for downtown revitalization, new models of public transit and managing population growth, Edmonton is a perfect place to bring together the leaders in city building.”

The Western Cities Summit will host representatives from cities across North America, including Winnipeg, Yellowknife, Saskatoon, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Wichita and Fort Lauderdale. About 250 attendees are expected and registrations are still open.

Over the last two years, more than 4,000 people from around the world have attended CityAge events in New York, Vancouver, Toronto, Kansas City, MO, Philadelphia, Ottawa and the Waterloo Region.

View the full release here.

Ask city officials in Kitchener and Waterloo, Ont., where the future of Canada’s technology sector lies, and they’ll show you a map of Silicon Valley.

The bustling stretch between sunny San Francisco and San Jose — home to giants like Google and Apple — has become the template for a new vision of Ontario’s technology sector, which is redefining itself in the wake of BlackBerry’s massive layoffs…

Communitech’s Tony Reinhart lays out a vision for building the world’s next great technology cluster in Southern Ontario in this piece for CTV.

Join us in The Waterloo Region on October 9 & 10 to learn meet the people making it happen.

What city is home to the best-paid lawyers in the United States?

No, not New York or Washington, D.C. It’s San Jose, California.

Where’s the best place to be a waiter? Again, not in LA or NYC. Las Vegas leads, followed closely by San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, and Washington. Raleigh-Durham, San Diego and Austin are also in the top ten. These same cities lead salary rankings among hairstylists, barbers, and cooks.

What’s the common thread? These cities are the capitals of American innovation. They’re also now the engines of the US economy.

Enrico Moretti provides these, and many more, proof points in The New Geography of Jobs, in which the Stanford University builds a case for why the United States’ economic future lies in building  an innovation economy.

According to Moretti, one job in the high technology sector creates five other jobs in the local economy. That’s a much higher impact than in manufacturing, which only creates 1.6 jobs beyond its direct employment.

Where you live may  now  be even more important to your salary than what you learn. High school graduates in Stamford, Connecticut make $50,000 more a year than college graduates do in Yuma, Arizona.

What’s behind the trend?

Companies in the innovation sector pay well (Microsoft’s average wage is $170,000), which means employees have a lot more money to spend on services around town. These companies also draw on a wide variety of services, from graphic design to lawyers to yoga instructors.

Innovation is also local. Despite predictions of the death of cities at the dawn of the internet, it turns out that innovation and technology is urban. Cities (and neighborhoods) are more important in the innovation economy, not less.

So, what to do to build the innovation city? Focus on great education, encourage partnerships between colleges and universities and the private sector, make sure digital infrastructure is widely accessible, and invest in transit and  urban design that attracts young, creative people who will build companies. Do all that, and you’ll  benefit the entire economy of lawyers, waiters and yoga instructors. And you’ll be home to some pretty good barbers, too.

Canada is a suburban nation, with nearly two-thirds of its citizens now living in the outskirts of our cities. But it is unlikely that our next wave of development will resemble the last. After half a century of sprawl our focus – for a few simple reasons – has to turn back to creating urban, walkable places . . .

Torontos Chief Planner’s Take on Cities in The Globe and Mail