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What’s happening in the world of local government this week? – 20.03.24

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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:

European cities to trial remote slowing of e-bikes
Six cities in Europe will test a system to remotely slow down electric bikes in certain areas. In Milan, Athens, Amsterdam and other EU cities, pedal assistance on e-bikes will be switched off when entering “vulnerable areas”, places near a school, park, road works, a busy junction, or an accident scene. The tech was developed by the Townmaking Institute, a mobility non-profit, and will be tested next year. Residents can volunteer to participate by installing an app, which will warn them of speed limits, and by installing a device on their bikes.
NL Times

The local reuse centres letting residents exchange household items
The City of Aarhus has set out to boost local reuse by allowing its citizens to exchange items like lamps and sofas for free at a city-owned centre. More than two metric tons of items reportedly pass through the Reuse circular economy centre each day, with dishes, tables, wardrobes, electronic devices and other household items available to trade. Residents can bring the items to new homes via special cargo bikes lent to citizens by the council. The project was first launched in 2015 to tackle wastefulness and has become a hit with locals. Now, the council is investing in creating other centres across its recycling stations to make the project more local and more circular by keeping donations within neighbourhoods.
Reasons to be cheerful

Munich faces backlash after easing height restrictions
High-rise buildings are a rarity in the City of Munich, due to a local moratorium on structures that exceed 100 meters. The limit, in place since 2004, was implemented to prevent new construction from impeding the view of the best-known symbol of the Bavarian capital: the towers of the Frauenkirche cathedral, as well as the city’s Alps backdrop. But in 2023 the city ended the moratorium, welcoming new buildings under strict conditions. Now, the council is deliberating on two new 154-metre tall towers. While these buildings would be located away from the city centre and likely not block any views, their application has created opposition from local groups, who fear it may create a precedent for wider skyscraper construction.
CityLab

Housing the homeless in Belgium
Construction has finished on a construction project to aid unhoused people in the City of Ghent, Belgium. Believed to be a national first, the project helps unhoused people readapt to living in a home, and forms part of a wider goal to end homelessness in the city by 2040. 11 new homes have been built, with support by the Flanders Domestic Administration Agency and the Province of East Flanders. Inspired by the Housing First concept, people experiencing homelessness are first helped into a home, before various local organisations help guide the new residents in tackling other problems.
VRT

Budapest recognised for its sustainable urban mobility
The City of Budapest has been announced as a winner at the European Mobility Week and Mobility Action urban mobility awards, having been recognised for its car-free weekend and car-free day initiatives. The former saw some 10,000 Budapest residents go car-free last September, with the city recently following up with a public event to promote best practices in cycling and walking policy, hosted in partnership with the City of Vienna.
SmartCitiesWorld

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