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LABCITIES
2 hours ago
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

Have you ever heard about smart cities where traffic, public services and document circulation are fully automated? The smart city concept integrates big data and the internet of things (IoT) to optimize the efficiency of urban processes and services and connect to residents. One example of this innovation could be light sensors that save electricity and road surveillance costs.

The basis for how automated systems and infrastructure sensors will coordinate their activities and communicate with each other is currently being tested in Dubai, some cities in China and the US.

Bart Gorynski
3 weeks ago
Bart Gorynski
Smartivist | @bee smart city

Cities should see investment in smart city initiatives, whether technologically-enabled or not, as an investment first and foremost in the people, and the future, of the city. The economic benefits, as demonstrated, are multiple - but they should be the outcome, not the motivation, of a smart city vision.

Around the world, cities are growing. Already, roughly 180,000 people move into cities every day. By 2015, the UN estimates that there will be 22 metropolitan areas with populations of more than 10 million people. Growing urban populations mean more costs for cities - from increasing energy use, to overstrained public services - but they also provide a stimulus for innovation. After all, we can’t infinitely expand outwards and upwards. Instead, we need to find ways to be more ‘efficiently urban’: in other words, we need to be smarter with how we use our resources, time and capital.

Smart city initiatives are crucial here: they transform the problems provoked by rapid urbanizat...

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Jean-Paul Rouge
4 months ago
Jean-Paul Rouge
Independent professional

Venezuela is doing it. So is Estonia. And now Berkeley, California, is considering its own government-backed initial coin offering. But this is a different beast from the ICO craze that’s gripped the crypto world in the last year or so, and a far cry from a petro-state’s Hail Mary attempt to save its foundering economy.

Ben Bartlett, a city council member in Berkeley, is after something that is in many ways much more mundane, though potentially far more revolutionary if it works: he wants to use blockchain technology to turn municipal bonds into crypto-assets. In a turn of phrase that is oh-so-Berkeley, he calls the concept an “initial community offering.”

The idea rests on the notion that smart contracts—blockchain-based computer programs that have fueled the rise of ICOs—can securely mediate the buying, selling, and trading of assets, including stocks and bonds. For cities, municipal bonds are a vital means of raising funds for all sorts of projects, like building new schools and hospitals, improving roads, or updating a sewer system. To entice investors, bond issuers will make regular interest payments to bondholders, usually every six months, until the bond matures. The issuer is then obligated to return the bond’s face value to the holder.

Bart Gorynski
5 months ago
Bart Gorynski
Smartivist | @bee smart city

We look at some of the emerging and advancing options for finding money to invest in smart city solutions.

A study from ABI Research found that smart city technology could save enterprises, governments and citizens globally over $5 trillion annually by 2022. Cities could save as much as $4.95 billion per year.

In terms of revenue, cities could raise additional taxes through increased economic development, as well as seeing a return through data monetization (a nascent but emerging area), leasing access to community-owned assets and advertising, to name a few examples.

However, despite broad acceptance of the benefits of smart city technology, internal funds for investment and smart city financing are not always easy to find. Research from Black & Veatch found that only 16 percent of municipalities surveyed said they could self-fund a smart city initiative.

To make progress, cities need to carefully consider the cost-benefit of any investment as well as exploring new finance...

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LABCITIES
5 months ago
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

By 2050, the world’s population is expected to rise to over 9 billion, with 2 billion people above the age of 60. Governments have agreed on a very ambitious set of Sustainable Development Goals to address the challenges inherent in population growth of this magnitude.

Recent estimates by the World Health Organization published in The Lancet state that reaching SDG 3 — which addresses healthy lives and well-being — would require new investments increasing over time from an initial $134 billion annually to $371 billion by 2030 in order to address the health challenges for 67 low- and middle-income countries.

To put this number in perspective: About the magnitude of this amount, the total global development aid across all sectors reached an all-time peak of $142.6 billion in 2016, an increase of 8.9 percent from 2015 after adjusting for exchange rates and inflation.

It is clear that no single government, civil society, or the private sector can foot this bill. New mindsets, technologies, models for collaboration, financing, and delivery approaches are needed to ensure all people receive the care that they need. The good news is that we have already seen a few projects successfully tackling challenges of similar magnitude.

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