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Jaime González
3 days ago
Jaime González
Independent Professional

In our new report, Cities Alive: Towards a walking world, we shine a light on walking, and the impact walkability has on the success of a city. In particular, we highlight the opportunity for cities to embrace walking in response to some of the significant societal, environmental and market challenges they are facing.

The report demonstrates the significant social, economic, environmental and political benefits of walking. The health benefits of walking are well-known, an active lifestyle dramatically reduces the likelihood of chronic disease. But there is so much to be gained from encouraging walkability. A walkable city improves mental health, reduces inequality, attracts inward investment, it improves urban micro-climates. As you can see from the illustration below, these are just a few of the 50 benefits we have identified when walking is placed at the heart of urban mobility.

LABCITIES
4 days ago
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

Every day, seven million rows of new data are created in the City of Chicago alone, and countless billions of rows of data are generated across all of state, local, and federal government. And yet while there are islands of innovation in government where data drives day-to-day decision-making, there is a still a long way to go to before this approach becomes the status quo. According to McKinsey, while 90 percent of all digital data has been created within the last two years, only one percent of it has been analyzed, across both public and private sectors. There is ample opportunity to apply more data analysis to the improvement of government operations using a variety of methods including descriptive statistics, predictive models, and data visualization.

We recently launched a new project to advance efficiency in government. The Operational Excellence in Government project seeks to share ideas for improving performance across a wide range of government functions. The project makes ...

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Jason Black
yesterday
Jason Black
Project Manager

Walt Disney’s EPCOT was, for many, the first glimpse of what a city of the future could look like. It may not have been the vision the man originally envisioned, but the themed land at Walt Disney World encapsulated the ideas of how the future would look through the eyes of late-seventies futurists. While it’s become little more than a curio by modern standards, it set minds alight about what society could look like in the future.

Fast-forward 40 years and some aspects of Disney’s dream have come to pass. Smart homes are slowly creeping into the mainstream as personal assistants such as Google Home and Amazon Echo talk to our Philips Hue lights or connected Sonos speakers. Devices also know a startling amount about our lives, helping organise appointments, find directions or just start our days the way we like.

Smart cities, however, are something far more intangible. Disney’s vision of a car-free city, where monorails transport people from A to B and green open spaces are plentiful, may be a dated utopian idea, but the smart city is a dream that many governments are still chasing. And in this field, one country is ahead of the curve: the island nation of Singapore.

What Singapore is building may not be quite the same as the vision Disney once had, but seeing all 720km of the tropical island as a virtual 3D model, I can’t help but think the forgotten technologist in him would be impressed.

LABCITIES
6 days ago
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

When we think of the city of the future, we might think about flying cars and scenes from “Star Trek” or “The Jetsons.” But coming new technologies are shaping deeper and more fundamental changes in our cities.

These changes are already well underway. CityLab readers already know how ride-hailing companies are transforming the nature of mobility and car ownership. Cities have overtaken suburbs to become a major center for high tech firms and the talent that drives them. Initiatives like Google’s Sidewalk Labs are attempting to deepen the connection between technology and urbanism and transform the city itself into a platform for new technology and innovation.

A report by a panel of leading experts on technology, business, and cities takes a deep dive into the changes that will come about as a result of one key new technology—artificial intelligence.

Julian Sandler
2 days ago
Julian Sandler
Smart City Expert

The smart cities market looks ripe for exploring, but be careful out there.

The sector has a lot going for it as a potential market for channel partners: enormous spending projections, the potential for stellar growth, a need for consulting services and demand for the internet of things.

Earlier this year, Persistence Market Research predicted that the global smart cities market would eclipse the $1 trillion mark in 2019 and expand at a compound annual growth rate of 18.8% through 2026. The market researcher contends that "favorable government initiatives" along with "brisk urbanization" will spread the smart cities concept worldwide.

The near-term demand seems to be focused on smart city pilot projects and consulting gigs to help cities figure out where they are going. The city of Philadelphia, for example, issued a request for proposal for "consulting services to develop a smart city roadmap," according to the solicitation document. The RFP was closed to bidding in April an...

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Jose Suarez
20 hours ago
Jose Suarez
Smart City Expert

Lately, smart devices have been synonymous with anything that’s network enabled. Whether that be lights (Phillips Hue), thermostats (Nest), or even toothbrushes (Prophix). But it’s more than just the abilities enabled by connecting a device to internet that make it ‘smart’. It’s a combination of services, trust, and ease of use that make a smart device a better choice for a consumer than a dumb one.

LABCITIES
3 days ago
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

What is a smart city? It’s where urban networks – human and technological – are integrated in order to optimise convenience, efficiency and the quality of life for the people who live and work in it.

Such cities aim to be self-sustainable, with minimal impact on the environment, where new innovations enable an intelligent exchange of energy and resources, and where connectivity via ICT (Information and Communication Technology) and the IoT (Internet of Things) puts citizens in control, able to improve their day-to-day lives through their own decision-making.

Here are some of the most ambitious and successful of Europe’s smart cities, and the ways in which they are changing how we think about the urban environment.

LABCITIES
yesterday
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

It’s not easy to plan for a world-changing technology that’s both 4 and 40 years away. Could self-driving cars bring on more affordable housing? Should car companies slap a “warning label” on private autos?

But that was the charge to the delegates of the National Summit on Design and Urban Mobility—a convening focused almost solely on anticipating autonomous vehicles, organized by the American Architectural Foundation. For a whirlwind 36 hours in Pittsburgh’s downtown board rooms, more than 100 U.S. local leaders, transport commissioners, engineers, mobility operators, automakers, researchers, and consultants hammered out hopes, fears, and bright ideas for shaping cities when “drive” is no longer an active verb.

The AV alarm bells sounded loudly in plenty of group huddles, full of warnings about an unbridled rise in vehicle miles traveled, nightmarish congestion, a final mass-transit death spiral, and growing equity gaps. Quieter, but still present, was the sense that self-driving technology might be something else: an opportunity to reimagine mobility from the ground up.

The AAF will distill and publish the best ideas in a report coming in June, but here are eight of the best, brightest, and most provocative ideas we heard at the summit.

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

There are more than 250 smart city projects underway across 178 cities around the world, according to a new report from market research firm Navigant Research.

The report, Smart City Tracker 1Q17, finds that of the 252 smart city projects tracked, the majority of projects are smart government-led (40%), with smart energy coming a relatively close second (27%), while smart transportation (18%), smart buildings (11%), and smart water (4%) projects made up the rest.

Geographically, the majority of projects tracked were in Europe, with Asia Pacific in second and North America third.

François Lambert
23 hours ago
François Lambert
Smart City Expert

The smart city is generally spoken of from the point of view of the practical benefits it brings to everyday life. According to a report by the Uraia organisation, the smart city is also beneficial for the budgets of municipalities involved in the digital transition. “The impact of smart technologies on the municipal budget” report analyses how.
Uraia, the exchange portal between smart cities, launched by the Global fund for the development of cities (FMDV) of which the Brussels-Capital Region is a member, met in April 2016 for a workshop comprising representatives of local governments, city networks, service and technology suppliers, civil society, international organisations and research institutes from various countries. The goal of this workshop was to “discuss current trends regarding the use of smart technologies for greater efficiency in managing and identifying their potential impact on the municipal budget.”

Jürgen Schmidt
5 days ago
Jürgen Schmidt
Smart Consultant

The promise of the smart city is one of the digitally-enabled data-driven, continually sensed, responsive and integrated urban environment and a manageable entity. Whether this promise will be kept is questionable: what remains to be seen, is the extend to which the smart city agenda is anything else than another instantiation of corporate power grabs, entrenching surveillance, private control over urban management.

The concept of a smart city refers at a loosely connected set of confluences between data, digital and other technologies, and urban processes. A repacking neoliberalism in the dressing of seductive technologies and reimagined municipalities and citizens. The modern city is a battleground of market forces, an icon of consumerism, and it is characterized by growing inequality, alienation and intolerance. Digital technologies are associated with control and power.

Micael Camozzi
3 days ago
Micael Camozzi
Civic Tech and Open Data Evangelist

Hi, how many of you are involved in project of IoT, eGovernment, Open Data, Civic Tech & Sustainability in towns with less than 5000 inhabitants?

We always talk about big cities, but nobody care about small town... isn't it?

Thanks

Giovanni Silva
6 days ago
Giovanni Silva
Smart City Expert

Smart cities—places where connected devices, big data, the urban environment, and city dwellers intersect—have been widely lauded for their potential to improve government services and trans­parency. However, while most coverage of smart city innovations has focused on their potential benefits, these technologies also carry real risks for residents’ safety and civil rights.

A new study from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University looks at both the positive and the negative aspects of smart cities. The study incorporates numerous case studies from cities that have experienced both success and failure in implementing smart city tools. The study recom­mends that reformers focus on the incentives of local officials, not just on the promises of new technologies, to ensure that smart city innovations provide a true benefit to citizens.

LABCITIES
last week
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

Cities are experimenting with smarter ways to use technologies to improve the life of citizens, but their projects are fragmented. Is there a better approach?

Smart cities need to become more intelligent about the way they control everything, from traffic lights to the distribution of water.

Cities across the world are experimenting with technology to improve the life of their residents, but many are installing technology in a fragmented way.

The problem is that smart technology systems have yet to be connected, with a system performing a function in one part of a town separate from a system performing another function in a different area.

Chris Harding, director of interoperability at independent IT standards group Open Group, is on a quest to change that. He believes creating smart networks that can talk to each other will open up huge possibilities for using data to improve the lives of citizens.

There are obvious smart city technologies that should be integrated, acc...

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LABCITIES
last week
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

Armed with a deep pool of tech entrepreneurs and startups—not to mention a government that’s eager to make the most use out of them—the island-nation of Singapore offers a wealth of urban innovation.

Today’s Singapore provides free WiFi inside subway stations, and it’s paved the way for its first driverless taxis. With limited access to fresh water, the city-state has also developed technology to catch rain and desalinate some 100 million gallons of seawater a day. Even its fabled fancy bus stops get a dose of high technology.

Then there are the sensors, cameras, and GPS devices. They’re on trains, buses, and taxis, tracking traffic and employing artificial intelligence to predict crashes. You can spot them around public spaces to monitor safety and crowd density, and atop buildings to monitor air quality and pedestrian movement. But that’s just the beginning.

In short, Singapore is a city—and nation—of sensors, barely noticeable to the average citizen. But they know they’re t...

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LABCITIES
2 days ago
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

Many smart cities collect data via fixed monitoring stations that only measure certain areas and can’t be relied upon to keep an eye on fluctuations across an entire city, or even across different sides of the street. But what if infrastructure often dismissed as a congestion-causing nuisance could help create a more nuanced data picture?

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, clunky garbage trucks are already buzzing with all sorts of sensors. Cambridge, in partnership with MIT’s Senseable City Lab, launched a program earlier this year called City Scanner that uses the city’s garbage trucks as roving information gatherers measuring variables including air pollution, infrastructure decay, and traffic.

Although drive-by sensing has been around for at least a decade, the team believes this is the first low-cost and self-sufficient sensing platform that can be easily plugged into urban vehicles. Urban sensing platforms, the team explains, are typically too bulky to install within a vehicle, and often use stationary structures to house the electronics from the elements.

Jürgen Schmidt
last week
Jürgen Schmidt
Smart Consultant

The election of a politically inexperienced president in the United States, Britain's vote to leave the European Union and the initial rejection of a peace deal in a Colombian referendum to end an armed conflict all signal dissatisfaction with the political status quo. Yet citizens have few opportunities to influence government decisions beyond the ballot box.

Last year, my students at the Governance Lab at New York University designed a process to help four governments — the city government of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and the national governments of Argentina, Colombia and Panama — to obtain expert advice about the global Zika outbreak. Our project, called Smarter Crowdsourcing, broke down the outbreak into actionable problems, such as the accumulation of standing water leading to the breeding of more infected mosquitoes. Then we organized 6 online dialogues with 100 experts from 6 continents to gather knowledge, experiences and advice. Three months on, these governments are beginn...

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LABCITIES
last week
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

The key advantage of vertical farming, the increase in space efficiency, is of particular interest for agriculture in cities. Open green space is a rarity, especially in rapidly densifying metropolises. Growing produce in stacked beds instead of regular farming can partially offset the disadvantage of missing urban farmland. It seems inconceivable that urban farmers can or will bypass vertical farming technology if they aim to generate substantially higher yields. Therefore, it is no surprising that some foresee a great potential for this technology in near future.

Several research and development programs have indicated this development. However, the expected growth within the vertical farming market can also be associated with the overall technology cost-effectiveness, rising demand for food on a global level or the optimized growth conditions.

LABCITIES
5 days ago
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

The emergence of Internet of Things technology is driving the development of smart cities in many booming metropolitan areas around the world. The visions that planners have for these cities are bold—from autonomous buses and free Wi-Fi throughout Barcelona to LED streetlights in Los Angeles that have sensors to monitor their conditions.

The best part? Tangible benefits are all falling into place, like security, savings and sustainability, as well as attracting residents and businesses that want to capitalize on lower operating costs and position themselves at the forefront of the smart city revolution.

With plenty of incentives for cities to embrace the tech future, here are the trends in the emerging social and digital arena.

LABCITIES
2 weeks ago
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

Successful businesses have systems that maximize (or minimize) a very small number of variables. Amazon is one of the best modern day examples of a company with a simple strategy, executed beautifully.

Amazon’s strategy isn’t unique. Every e-commerce company has (or should have) the same strategy. They all care about the same key variables; customers, sellers, inventory, and experience. This is typical in mature industries, companies converge on a similar strategy for growth. An early company finds a growth formula that works and other companies follow.

Once the formula for a particular industry is established, competitive advantages are created in the execution layer and accentuated through scale. The best founders (Bezos) recognize the formula early and get a jumpstart on execution. The worst founders toil away on complex strategies and waste precious execution time, typically resulting in failure.

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