Nillumbik, VIC Place Shapers initiative brings resident ideas for public spaces and events to life
The annual Place Shapers program invites participants to develop their ideas for accessible and attractive places. Members of the 2023 cohort discuss community needs during weekly workshops with design experts and local leaders. The four-week schedule includes one-on-one coaching and support services from the council's Communities First Team. Previous Place Shapers projects included the Rural Nillumbik Connect expo, a community center renovation, and a junior beekeeping club.
Cincinnati, OH puts wood waste in public parks to better use with biochar production pilot
Cincinnati Parks and local firm Carbon Harvest LLC plan a biochar facility in a public park for the trial. Wood waste typically left in parks or disposed of at outside facilities is converted into carbon-storing biochar. A combination of the soil additive and compost supplied by Hamilton County will be used for all new park tree plantings. Biochar sales to local companies expand the climate impacts of the program and generate revenues for project expenses.
New York, NY tracks street tree inventory and maintenance with its interactive Tree Map
NYC Parks conducted a three-year inventory of 800,000 trees in parks, playgrounds, and other public spaces. The Tree Map provides overviews of total maintenance activities, tree species, and ecological benefits across the five boroughs. Individual tree entries include street-level photos, inspection results, and trunk diameter. This interactive portal supports resident engagement with local canopy including favorited trees and a Report Problem feature.
New York, NY
Campbelltown, NSW organizes community groups for conservation efforts with Platypus Pals program
Platypus Pals started with volunteer collections of environmental DNA (eDNA) from the Upper Georges River. These samples identified small populations of platypus and Macquarie perch threatened by human activities. Campbelltown placed signs near habitats identified by eDNA with tips on protecting wildlife. Platypus Pals continues through community use of the PlatypuSPOT monitoring app and workshops about platypus conservation.
Saginaw, TX addresses staffing issues while creating career pathways with Student Apprentice Program
Saginaw sought a sustainable solution for filling persistent vacancies across city departments. High school students were recruited for paid apprenticeships under this program. Apprentices worked alongside experienced employees in areas ranging from street maintenance to park programs. The Student Apprentice Program saved 55% on labor costs in its first year, maintained service levels, and demonstrated career opportunities for civic-minded apprentices.
Randwick, NSW and Waverley respond to recent drowning trend with Float to Survive campaign
Coastal communities like Randwick and Waverley experienced a significant increase in drownings from 2021 to 2022. The councils are working with the University of NSW on a multi-media campaign about the benefits of floating over swimming. Videos, posters, and ads explain that floating conserves enough energy for swimmers to float out of riptides and other dangers. University researchers will study how the Five Steps to Float messaging impacts behavior during the 2022-2023 summer season.
Port Phillip, VIC Clarendon Street Arcade strengthens social cohesion through custom arcade games
Project partner RMIT University's Future Play Lab developed five arcade cabinets for the 13-week project. Students, artists, and game designers integrated local culture into interactive experiences for Clarendon Street visitors. Free gameplay allowed single or multiple players to learn about Aboriginal culture, local music, and the natural environment. The cabinets were available from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm each day so that patrons could also frequent local businesses.
Port Phillip, VIC
Miami Gardens, FL immerses residents in local attractions with its Virtual City Metaverse
Miami Gardens collaborated with CEEK on a virtual representation of the city. User avatars explore Virtual City locations like Hard Rock Stadium and Florida Memorial University without leaving home. The CEEK VR app supports easy navigation of virtual Miami Gardens on VR headsets, mobile devices, and tablets. Project leaders plan virtual events and access to digital services for expanded Virtual City functionality.
Miami Gardens, FL
Portland, OR Trees in the Curb Zone Pilot seeks environmental and traffic benefits from tree canopy
Local officials are seeking an innovative way to add trees in places with limited planting space. The Portland Bureau of Transportation plans tree plantings in parking lanes throughout the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood starting in 2024. Increased tree canopy will not only improve air quality but decrease speeds through high-density areas. The Pedestrian Design Guide and an engagement process with community members will shape design standards as well as site selection.
Otago Regional Council, NZ deploys Limnotrack buoys for real-time water quality monitoring
Limnotrack's solar-powered buoys drop water sensors up to 120 meters deep multiple times per day. Quality metrics like algae growth, oxygen levels, and clarity are sent to a public dashboard. Each buoy includes a weather sensor for the collection of air temperature and humidity data. Otago Regional Council began its water monitoring project with a pilot at Lake Hayes in 2019 before adding permanent buoys to Lake Wanaka and Lake Whakatipu in 2022.
Otago Regional Council, NZ
Joondalup, WA Smart Control Irrigation System improves water management in public parks
A network of water sensors was installed across the city's 200 parks and green spaces. Real-time water usage data are sent to a centralized platform for analysis. Council officers can remotely adjust irrigation for each park on their smartphones and computers. The Smart Control Irrigation System kept Joondalup 14% below its groundwater allocation in its first year with an 86,000-kiloliter reduction in water consumption.
New Orleans, LA Crescent City Card pilot combines financial support and smart service access
The Crescent City Card was powered by Mastercard's City Key system for contactless facility entry. An initial 10-month pilot deposited $350 per month onto cards for 125 young residents. New Orleans conducted a follow-up pilot with 125 low-income residents eligible for $200 per month over four months. There were no restrictions on how the funds were spent. Participants accessed 16 public recreational facilities by tapping their Crescent City Cards at entry points.
New Orleans, LA