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What’s happening in the world of local government this week? – 13.03.24


We’ve compiled together some of the most interesting, newsworthy stories of the last week from the local government sector worldwide. We’re just trialling this service out for now, so let us know what you think in the comments below:

Utrecht’s “digital doorbell” helps local fish

The Municipality of Utrecht is inviting its residents to lend a helping hand for the city’s fish. In what has become something of a beloved local tradition, anyone in the city can press a digital button online if they spot a fish on a webcam display in one of the canals. In doing so, residents will notify a canal lock keeper to open the gates to let the animals swim through. Spring is the reproduction season for fish, with many swimming from the sea upstream to find spawning grounds. Many end up passing through the urban canals of Utrecht, which are equipped with lock gates. The “digital doorbell” is a way to keep the animals moving on to their next destination.
The Mayor / The fish doorbell

Mexico City launches decarbonisation initiative for road freight

58% of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by transport in Mexico City. A new partnership launched by the city sets out to decarbonise road freight, accelerating the development of EV infrastructure and the deployment of electric heavy-duty trucks. The city is joining the Laneshift initiative, which counts C40 Cities, Amazon, and Global Optimism’s Climate Pledge among its collaborators. General director of air quality Sergio Zirath Hernández said “through Laneshift, we want to celebrate and incentivise participation in the Electromobility Self-Regulation programme and demonstrate this transition can provide significant economic and operational benefits to businesses”.

Women launch council campaigns on International Women’s Day

Eleven women across Australia launched election campaigns on International Women’s Day, seeking local government positions in male-dominated councils. The women, including 25-year-old Emily Green of Frankston, Melbourne, are part of a wider movement across Victoria aiming to address female under-representation in local government. The movement has seen the launch of the Women Leading Locally Program by the state government, which encourages women to run for local politics and aims to achieve 50:50 gender parity in Victoria by 2025. It has equipped more than 100 female prospective councillors with the tools and connections needed to run in the 2024 local elections. The national record for female representation in local government was achieved at the previous Victorian elections in 2020, with 43.8% of elected councillors being women.
ABC News

Amid Oscar buzz, Tokyo neighbourhood offers toilet tours

While Japan’s public toilets are often the subject of fascination for international visitors for their cutting-edge technological advancements and occasional artistic credentials, interest in the country’s conveniences has recently surged further, thanks to the impact of an Oscar-nominated film about a Tokyo toilet cleaner. Authorities in Tokyo’s Shibuya neighbourhood, where the new film Perfect Days is set, are offering tours of 17 facilities created under the Tokyo Toilet initiative, where public facilities were imagined by acclaimed architects and creators.
The Guardian

$1 vacant homes plan put on hold in Baltimore

A plan supported by Baltimore mayor Brandon Scott to sell city-owned vacant properties for just $1 has been paused by the council following internal pushback. The plan would allow certain city-owned homes to be sold to private investors for next to nothing, provided the new owners renovate the dwelling, move in within a year, and stay there for five more. Buyers also must have $90,000 in funds for refurbishment. The plan has faced pushback from some councillors, who wish to address concerns over protections for residents, gentrification, and equity.
CBS News

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