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What’s happening in the world of local government this week? – 27.02.24

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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:

UK: Library of things opens in Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes City Council has launched the city’s first ‘Library of Things’, allowing people to borrow costly household items. Designed to support people impacted by the cost of living crisis, the library offers items ranging from sewing machines to vacuum cleaners to dehumidifiers. In partnership with a local foodbank and charity providers, the council has purchased a select amount of items available for residents to borrow for up to two weeks. A council spokesperson said ““Not only is borrowing more cost-effective, but it is also more sustainable as it helps to reduce clutter and allows residents to borrow things they need for ‘one-off’ jobs and items they would only use on a seasonal basis”.
MK Citizen

Canada: Calgary invites students to rethink city… in Minecraft
Students have been invited to hone their creative and digital skills while helping to shape their surroundings in a scheme overseen by the City of Calgary. Together with the Calgary Board of Education and Minecraft Education, students have been tasked with creating new concept designs for two downtown locations in Minecraft – Haultain Park and the future underground 4th Street Station. Students have been encouraged to focus on a seamless integration between above-ground and underground spaces or creating a safe, accessible and inclusive public park space. The scheme forms part of the council’s Level Up game-based learning initiative, with student builds to be reviewed first by school districts then expert judges from the City of Calgary.
SmartCitiesWorld

Australia: Council employs new tech to zap footpath weeds
The City of Logan, Queensland is employing new smart technology to help curb the spread of weeds in gutters, edges and footpaths. The council is using the US-developed technology, which uses truck-mounted sensors to scan the footpath and infra-red beams to locate the weeds, to allow for more direct herbicide use. The sensor is triggered by the green pigment found in weeds (chlorophyll) when it responds to the red light. The council say the technology is saving its staff’s time but also reducing the use and damage of chemicals.
Government News

The Netherlands: Religious symbols given okay for Amsterdam civil servants
Amsterdam has become the latest city in the Netherlands to allow all civil servants, including council officials, to wear religious symbols. Mayor Femke Halsema informed councillors of her belief that all civil servants do their job in a professional and unbiased way, no matter their religious beliefs. Amsterdam will become the latest Dutch city to allow its street wardens and civil servants to wear religious symbols, following similar decisions by Utrecht, Tilburg and Arnhem, and will bring the capital in line with US, Canada and Britain, which have comparable measures.
DutchNews 

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