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What cities can learn from one another

Struggling with infrastructure, transport needs, housing and environmental pressures – today’s cities have a lot to contend with.

Some ideas listed below have already been copied; others originated elsewhere. But they’re all ideas that cities can learn from as they try to meet their inhabitants’ needs.

Beijing – rationing of road use by license plate

On days when air quality is very poor, only half of Beijing’s cars are allowed on the city’s roads. Cars with number plates ending in an odd number can take to the tarmac one day. The next time air quality dips below the threshold, cars with even numbers are allowed out.

Copenhagen – car-free city

The Danish city began creating car-free areas in the 1960s. The zones have since expanded and now the city has one of the lowest rates of car ownership in Europe plus an extensive bike lane network.

Seoul – traffic management using GPS in taxis and buses

Cabs and buses are equipped with GPS transmitters. And resulting data is used to optimize traffic lights, speed limits and public transport timetables, often in real time.

London – debit and credit cards for tap-and-go transport

Travelers can use their own contactless debit and credit cards to pay via tap-and- go for public transport. Their accounts are automatically charged with every journey by tube or bus. This could spell the end for the pre-payment Oyster cards, which London introduced in 2003, making the UK capital one of the first in the world to introduce tap-and-go payment.

Frankfurt – women-only parking

Frankfurt hit the headlines when it introduced women-only parking spaces at the airport in 2015. Now 5 percent of the city’s parking spaces are reserved for the female driver. Branded sexist by some because the bays are slightly larger, they were in fact set up with women’s safety in mind and are near exits and CCTV cameras. Not just the preserve of Frankfurt, women-only parking spaces exist in many places in Germany. In some states they make up 30 percent of parking spaces.

Almere – self-build housing on a massive scale

The Dutch new city, just half an hour from Amsterdam, has created an area where residents can self-build 3,000 homes. The area was master-planned by the local authority, which has put in infrastructure, roads and utilities. Individual plots vary in size from 86m2 to more than 1200m2. And the scheme even caters for collectives of would-be home owners who want to build apartment blocks or terraces of similar houses.

Melbourne – loans to fund green retrofits

Building-owners are loaned money via the local authority to retrofit their properties to make them more environmentally friendly. The money can be spent on ensuring the city’s buildings use less energy and water and have lower carbon emissions. Repayment periods of 10 years or more are available.

​This article originally appeared on Real Views, JLL's news site that features stories exploring the world of real estate and its impact on the wider business world. Visit the Real Views site to subscribe for our weekly email of top stories, delivered direct to your inbox.​​