Global Climate action and sustainable development, Democracy, devolution and governance, Housing and planning, Transport and infrastructure

International local government news 17.04.24


Photo by Prakriti Khajuria on Unsplash

Here are the latest newsworthy and interesting stories from the local government sector that caught our attention. In this round-up of what’s happening right now in the world of local government, you’ll find best practices, inspiration, and more from across the sector.

The expansion of ‘garbage cafes’

Delhi, India, is home to 20 million people and a staggering 11,000 metric tons of daily waste. In 2020, the Municipal Corporation launched the first ‘garbage cafe’, which offers free meals to residents in exchange for plastic waste. This innovative concept not only addresses plastic pollution but also combats hunger – and now similar initiatives have gained momentum across India and globally. Inspired by successful programs in Chhattisgarh and Odisha, Delhi’s approach now aims to engage all urban residents in waste management efforts. Beyond providing meals, collected plastic waste can be recycled and repurposed for road construction or garden use. Delhi’s Waste to Wonder Park stands as a testament to this vision, showcasing replicas of the world’s wonders crafted from landfill materials. Through expanding initiatives like garbage cafes, Delhi hopes to instil environmental consciousness and community engagement and set a precedent for sustainable waste management worldwide.
Reasons to be Cheerful

The Hill House: City of London’s green office building advancement

The City of London has approved plans for a green office building in the Square Mile, called The Hill House development. The development aims to enhance sustainability by incorporating features such as rooftop gardens and energy-efficient technologies. It is estimated to deliver a 500% biodiversity net gain for the City of London, and there are plans to plant 28 new street trees and increase public realm space. Along with the new office space, the Shoe Lane library will be moved out from the basement to the ground floor level and will receive several new developments to improve the library’s facility and offer. The City believes this decision to proceed with the development reflects its commitment to environmental progress and sets a precedent for future green developments in the area.

Empowering Flemish Voters with unbiased election decision-making

A new chatbot aid has been created to help Flemish voters make election decisions. It’s called Regeringsrobot (which translates to Government Robot) and is completely free for users. The tool offers unbiased information on political parties and their stances because it has been data-fed all the documents issued by the regional government over the past five years. The aim is to help citizens navigate their choices for the upcoming elections by giving unbiased answers to questions about what authorities have achieved. The hope is that the voters will use the tool to become empowered with knowledge which can help facilitate informed decision making – a crucial aspect of democratic participation.
The Mayor

Local Government Net Zero Program: Collaborative emissions reduction trial

Fifteen South Australian councils have agreed to engage in a first-of-its-kind emissions reduction trial, called the Local Government Net Zero Program. The aim is to help local government identify and report on emissions profiles, act on emissions reduction initiatives and establish their own emissions reduction strategies. The trial, being led by the South Australian Local Government Association, is supported by a $120,000 state government grant. The program involves various strategies, such as energy-efficient lighting and renewable energy installations. By collaborating with local government, the trial seeks to combat climate change at the community level, fostering environmental progress. LGA CEO Clinton Jury says, “Over time, this work will create a consistent, repeatable framework that all councils can replicate in their communities.”
Government News

San Diego embraces a data-driven approach to pavement management

The City of San Diego maintains more than 6,600 lane miles of roadway and has the second largest street network in California. Through a new partnership with a tech company, they have utilised advanced analytics to assess road conditions and prioritise maintenance. During the data-gathering process, every mile of San Diego’s paved roadways underwent a comprehensive condition assessment using lasers and other tools, which outlined the need for long-term investment. Next steps, the City’s Transportation Department will present the Pavement Management Plan to the City Council, which includes a five-year plan for ongoing maintenance and improvements if funding is identified. This proactive strategy aims to optimise infrastructure investment, improve road safety, and enhance overall urban mobility.

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