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UN-Habitat has launched a new open-access portal for urban data. Urban Data allows users to explore data from a number of cities and regions around the world and compare indicators such as slum prevalence and city prosperity. you can try it out for yourself here.

As e-shopping eats into the markets previously dominated by traditional shops and stores, what will the retail store of the future look like? Are the malls and the arcades a relic of the last century? What does it mean for our towns and cities?

Public markets add greatly to the vitality of cities and provide essential goods and jobs for many people. They are an integreal part of our urban cultural heritage across all the continents. Yet a number of these markets are now at risk warns a new study.

The new ESPON programme will be launched at an event on 3 and 4 June 2015 in the Latvian sea-side town of Jurmala, under the Latvian presidency of the EU. ESPON 2020 will continue the consolidation of a European Territorial Observatory Network and grow the provision and policy use of pan-European, comparable, systematic and reliable territorial evidence. The five specific objectives decided for the period 2015-2020 are:

1. enhanced the production of territorial evidence through applied research and analyses,
2. upgraded knowledge transfer and use of analytical user support,
3. improved territorial observation and tools for territorial analyses,
4. wider outreach and uptake of territorial evidence, and
5. leaner, and more effective and efficient implementation provisions and more proficient programme assistance.

Participation in the event is free and open to all. check for more information. Tendering of a first round of research projects is likely to begin in the late summer.

Vancouver's city council has voted to source 1005 of its energy needs from renewables. Officials have been asked to report on how to deliver on the policy.

“Cities around the world must show continued leadership to meet the urgent challenge of climate change, and the most impactful change we can make is a shift toward 100% of our energy being derived from renewable sources,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “The future of Vancouver’s economy and livability will depend on our ability to confront and adapt to climate change, and moving toward renewable energy is another way that Vancouver is working to become the greenest city in the world.”

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