mfioretti: smart cities*

Bookmarks on this page are managed by an admin user.

63 bookmark(s) - Sort by: Date ↓ / Title / Voting / - Bookmarks from other users for this tag

  1. Today, "you can look on the Internet, you can ask your friends," Ito said. "Cheating is actually a feature. Success as an adult is how resourceful you are at getting people to help you do things. Those are all unassess
    ed things" in today's schools and tests.

    The MIT Media Lab favors a more unstructured approach. "Our students and faculty can explore whatever they want. We just let them go," he said. "If you're not asking permission and writing proposals, the cost of innovat
    ion is very low."

    Students can talk about ideas in the morning. "By the afternoon they've built a prototype," he said, especially with the increasing utility of 3D printers.

    Ito had grand visions for how those printers will change manufacturing. "We're going to be manufacturing things everywhere instead of centrally. Every single person is going to become a designer," he predicted.

    Technology should help people rethink what's possible with cities, he also said. With people able to page buses on demand, bus stops should be created on demand, not fixed in advance. Rentable commuter bicycles should b
    e cheaper to use if people drop them off in high-demand areas.
    https://www.cnet.com/news/ito-think-t...about-immortality-and-the-singularity
    Voting 0
  2. This is probably the key rule, because a simple understanding of economics makes it hard to avoid reaching the conclusion that AVs will result in a ton more driving. If they cut the cost of driving by 80 percent as anticipated, that's supposed to add 60 percent of the traffic to city streets that are already at capacity. That is what has gotten former mayor Bloomberg up in arms, proposing new regulation and policy to avert disaster.

    But it’s actually worse than 60 percent, for a number of reasons. The biggest one is called induced traffic, or the fundamental law of congestion. If you ignore induced demand, 60 percent more trips are not a problem, as long as we have swarming. Elon Musk tells us that a driving lane full of swarming AVs can handle 3 times as many cars as it does today. So, problem solved, until you realize that, these days, traffic congestion is the principal constraint to driving. Because driving is already so subsidized, we do it as much as we can, unless we are punished by traffic.

    This becomes especially alarming when we realize that AVs will make driving cheaper in two ways: money and time. You will pay less per mile, and won’t mind sitting in gridlock as you work or watch cat videos.

    The right solution, is to make the streets what you want them to be. Since cars will be more efficient, you can commit to no increase in driving lanes. Maybe even get rid of a bunch! You can convert parking lanes to bike lanes and express bus lanes, which will still be needed as the AVs reach their natural state of equilibrium, which we know, from the law of induced traffic, will be determined by congestion.

    Now, I’ve been fighting sprawl for a quarter century, with limited success, and everyone knows that it’s a function of four main factors: highways, mortgage programs, local subsidies, and racism. But mostly highways. Before the car, land development was mostly nodal, mostly around rail stops, and therefore walkable. Only with the car did the entire landscape take on wasteful, unwalkable, disconnected forms that now, more than anything else, characterize American life.

    But there is recent good news, which is that cities and towns have begun to figure out that sprawl does not pay for itself. As many of you with sprawling cities can attest, the tax revenue from low-density sprawl is not enough to replace roads and pipes once they fail. For this reason, we can hope that the next great inducement to national sprawl, cheap autonomous vehicles, will not have as great an impact as universal car ownership did. But this is only a hope, which is why smart growth policy is needed.

    It sounds implausible, but there is a very real worry that AV providers will ask to buy certain city streets, or certain segments of city streets, and cities will take the money. This has precedents—like Chicago leasing it’s on-street parking to Morgan Stanley for 75 years. We need to remember that your city’s streets are its principal public spaces and, especially downtown, they perform many more jobs than just moving vehicles. They are places to walk, bike, access buildings, dine, converse, grow trees, protest, and much more, and they belong to us all.

    I particularly like this recent quote from Adam Gopnik: “Cities are their streets. Streets are not a city’s veins, but its neurology, its accumulated intelligence.” Never sell that.

    Another ownership issue has to with all the traffic data collected by Uber, which cities can benefit from in many ways—for example knowing which way to send a fire truck. Like Uber, AVs will represent a viable business model only by running on public streets. Sharing full data would seem a small price to pay for that privilege.
    https://www.cnu.org/publicsquare/2017...rules-cities-about-automated-vehicles
    Voting 0
  3. Rome and London are two huge, sluggish beasts of cities that have outlived millennia of eager reformers. They share a world where half the people already live in cities and another couple billion are on their way into town. The population is aging quickly, the current infrastructure must crumble and be replaced by its very nature, and climate disaster is taking the place of the past’s great urban fires, wars, and epidemics. Those are the truly important, dull but worthy urban issues.

    However, the cities of the future won’t be “smart,” or well-engineered, cleverly designed, just, clean, fair, green, sustainable, safe, healthy, affordable, or resilient. They won’t have any particularly higher ethical values of liberty, equality, or fraternity, either. The future smart city will be the internet, the mobile cloud, and a lot of weird paste-on gadgetry, deployed by City Hall, mostly for the sake of making towns more attractive to capital.


    Whenever that’s done right, it will increase the soft power of the more alert and ambitious towns and make the mayors look more electable. When it’s done wrong, it’ll much resemble the ragged downsides of the previous waves of urban innovation, such as railways, electrification, freeways, and oil pipelines. There will also be a host of boozy side effects and toxic blowback that even the wisest urban planner could never possibly expect.

    “information about you wants to be free to us.”

    This year, a host of American cities vilely prostrated themselves to Amazon in the hopes of winning its promised, new second headquarters. They’d do anything for the scraps of Amazon’s shipping business (although, nobody knows what kind of jobs Amazon is really promising). This also made it clear, though, that the flat-world internet game was up, and it’s still about location, location, and location.

    Smart cities will use the techniques of “smartness” to leverage their regional competitive advantages. Instead of being speed-of-light flat-world platforms, all global and multicultural, they’ll be digitally gated communities, with “code as law” that is as crooked, complex, and deceitful as a Facebook privacy chart.


    You still see this upbeat notion remaining in the current smart-city rhetoric, mostly because it suits the institutional interests of the left.

    The “bad part of town” will be full of algorithms that shuffle you straight from high-school detention into the prison system. The rich part of town will get mirror-glassed limos that breeze through the smart red lights to seamlessly deliver the aristocracy from curb into penthouse.

    These aren’t the “best practices” beloved by software engineers; they’re just the standard urban practices, with software layered over. It’s urban design as the barbarian’s varnish on urbanism.

    If you look at where the money goes (always a good idea), it’s not clear that the “smart city” is really about digitizing cities. Smart cities are a generational civil war within an urban world that’s already digitized.

    It’s a land grab for the command and control systems that were mostly already there.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/02/stupid-cities/553052
    Voting 0
  4. From 1900 to 2010, the amount of materials accumulated in buildings and infrastructure across the world increased 23-fold. We are depleting our resources at unprecedented rates. Instead of extracting dwindling raw materials from nature at ever-increasing cost, the time has come to start re-using materials from buildings and infrastructure in our cities.

    We have been working on identifying the material resources in cities that could be “mined” for re-use. In a case study, we modelled more than 13,000 buildings in central Melbourne, Australia. We estimated the quantities of construction materials as well as the embodied energy, water and greenhouse gas emissions associated with constructing these buildings (if they were built today). We also modelled the replacement of materials over time and into the future.

    Further reading: The 20th century saw a 23-fold increase in natural resources used for building

    The extraction and transformation of resources have broad environmental effects. These include resource depletion, loss of biodiversity, soil and water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions, which drive climate change.

    Adding to these challenges is the amount of waste generated, especially by the construction sector due to construction, renovation and demolition activities. Every time a construction material is discarded, all the embodied energy, water and emissions that went into producing it also go to waste.

    In our two recent studies, we propose a model that can help us “mine” our cities and quantify the environmental benefits of this urban mining.


    These maps allow us to start thinking of cities as urban mines and places of material production (supply), rather than just consumption (demand).

    We can imagine how a new construction project could survey what materials would be available at its start and how it can best re-use these and incorporate them into the design. This would save large amounts of energy and water, while avoiding greenhouse gas emissions and further ecosystem degradation from raw material extraction (usually far from the city).
    https://theconversation.com/with-the-right-tools-we-can-mine-cities-87672
    Voting 0
  5. How much longer can we sustain the high-consumption lifestyle we are used to?
    Who’s consuming? And what happens to the waste?

    To get the full picture on consumerism we need to understand inter-connected global systems of production and consumption.

    Globally, consumption patterns are unequal and wasteful. It has just 5% of the world’s population, but the US consumes 30% of the world’s resources and creates 30% of the world’s waste. It is not alone in wastefulness: a small slice of the world’s population consumes most of the resources and produces most of the greenhouse gas emissions.

    Material resources are depleting at such a rate that we are likely to soon face shortages in materials we currently dump in landfill - lead, copper, cadmium, wolfram (tungsten) and zinc, to name a few.

    In this context, plastic waste and toxic e-waste are another ticking time bomb. Why are electronics breaking so fast and why are they cheaper to replace than repair?

    In 1960, cultural critic and consumerism theorist, Vance Packard, published in his pioneering book The Waste Makers, a critique of planned obsolescence.

    He pointed out that consumers who learn that the manufacturer invested money to make the product obsolete faster might turn to a producer (if any exists) that offers a more durable alternative. We need to support a move towards more single-material, recyclable components in all industry sectors.
    https://theconversation.com/for-a-tru...world-we-need-zero-waste-cities-10552
    Voting 0
  6. The dominant narrative is that increases in mobile phone ownership and internet use signify development progress. The Sustainable Development Goals use mobile phone registrations and internet use as proxy indicators for sustainable evelopment. It was the statistics about increased levels of smartphone ownership and social media use in the Philippines that led us to base our research there. However once we were on the groun we learned quickly that these binary indicators disguise more than they reveal. Our study provides evidence that increases in mobile ownership can occur alongside widening technological and socio-economic inequalities. The people who were most able to make their voices heard on participatory governance platforms in the Philippines were ‘the usual suspects’: largely urban, middle-class and university-educated.

    What we learned in the Philippines was that development cannot really be understood in the binary terms of statistics on how many people are (not) connected. It is possible to 'connect the unconnected' at the same time as increasing inequality. In the Philippines new classes of device ownership and connectivity are forming that partly reflect and sometimes amplify patterns of existing privilege and disadvantage.

    Technology is changing rapidly, and uptake is expanding, but digital divides and economic inequalities are growing at the same time. The most disadvantaged remain unconnected whilst the already privileged race further and further ahead. It is those with the most disposable income, digital literacy and social capital that are first to own and make effective use of each new generation of technology. Those with least technology access experience new disadvantages.

    This does not mean that disadvantaged people are not active in appropriating technology to their advantage wherever possible – they are. Nor does this mean that development initiatives should not use digital technologies – they should. What it does mean is that digital development initiatives wishing to avoid unconsciously excluding those with lower-class device ownership or connectivity must conduct effective market research and on the basis of the research then 'design for equity'.
    http://www.appropriatingtechnology.org/?q=node%2F282
    Voting 0
  7. Who decides what the city really needs and will operate going forward? With a smart city comes a significant amount of decision making on what to do, who will do it, why and when to do it. The answers to the questions are not easy and can have massive repercussions. Take, for instance, the challenge of gentrification and urban displacement, which has long been framed simply as a symptom of wealthier people moving in to communities and effectively nudging out lower-income individuals. However, public investment can play a critical role in this process too. Perhaps the most shining, unfortunate example of this is what San Francisco Federal Reserve researchers refer to as “transit-induced gentrification” in which public investment in transit—light rail, buses, subway—attracts affluent individuals. So much so that several studies have found that transit investments can alter the demographic composition of the surrounding neighborhood, resulting in pushing out lower-income individuals and creating new problems within the city. Potential outcomes like these should prompt questions about who should be making these decisions about public investments associated with smart cities. Finding pathways to figure out what the public wants from its city (and perhaps more importantly, what it does not) is critical. This requires citizen participation early in the process and throughout. The New Delhi-based Housing and Land Rights Network released a report, “India’s Smart Cities Mission: Smart for Whom? Cities for Whom?” The report highlights the massive problems with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pledge to build 100 smart cities by 2020. Among the problems is the focus on technology of the future instead of issues of the present such as an agrarian crisis, insufficient civil rights for women, forced evictions to make room for the implementation of smart city projects, and so on.
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/...inconvenient-truth-about-smart-cities
    Voting 0
  8. When sharing platforms enable new relationships between people, goods, equipment, and spaces, the notion of mobility as a discrete economic sector no longer makes sense.

    The bigger story now unfolding (above) seems to be one of system transformation – a peak-car tipping point – that’s been slowly ‘brewing’ for a very long time.

    (I don’t believe the concept of “Personal Era” is a timely one – but I’ll come to that in my next post).

    For the physicist Ugo Bardi, the decline of a complex system can be faster than its growth – an insight he attributes to the Stoic philosopher Seneca, who wrote: “Fortune is of sluggish growth, but ruin is rapid”.

    This could surely be true for a global mobility ecosystem based the private car.

    After 100 years of spectacular growth, the Mobility Industrial Complex now confronts three potholes in the road ahead that could each on its own, prove fatal.

    The first is energy. Americans now use as much energy on one month as their grandparents did in their entire lifetime – and that rate of increase is accelerating with the advent of ‘cloud commuting’ and ‘smart mobility’. The Stack now runs on about seventeen terrawatts a day.

    (The chart above is from The Cloud Begins With Coal, by Mark P. Mills)

    The second un-driver of mobility is cost. It now costs 91c to travel one kilometre to travel in your own car, but less than half that (30c/km) if you share. In some Chinese cities, where dockless bike systems are marketed like an app, you can use one for free.

    The third pothole awaiting modern mobility – and it’s a big one – is complexity.

    There are more lines of code in a high-end Audi than in a Boeing dreamliner – a costly feature will feel more like a bug if the coming software apocalypse turns out to be real.

    Because neither the ‘need’ for perpetually growing mobility is questioned – let alone its biophysical possibility – the road on the downside of Seneca’s Cliff will be a bumpy one if a new story
    http://thackara.com/mobility-design/is-peak-car-headed-for-senecas-cliff
    Voting 0
  9. The League is most easily understood as a loose federation of cities that acted together in self-interest to promote trade. The Hanseatic cities developed their own legal system, and their armies came to one another's aid. Merchants who wanted to buy and sell and travel were taking the lead at a time when nation states were not fit for purpose: in the case of England or Denmark, leadership was too centralised and authoritarian, while in German-speaking lands a nation had yet to be formed.

    We think of nations today as elemental almost, immovable. Yet look at any city of Mitteleuropa and you'll see the many different names it has had as borders and regimes have shifted with the sands of time. Nations come and go. Cities endure.

    "It is often said that great cities survived great empires," says Cristina Ampatzidou, editor-in-chief of the Rotterdam-based online publishing platform Amateur Cities. "So it is not unrealistic to think of cities as discrete entities that compete and collaborate with each other, independently from the states to which they belong."
    http://thelongandshort.org/cities/the-resurgence-of-the-city-state
    Voting 0
  10. Purchasers of the Philips Hue 'smart' ambient lighting system are finding out that the new firmware pushed out by the manufacturer has cut off access to previously-supported lightbulbs. Philips contends that this move will help their customers. A statement from the company reads in part: "While the Philips Hue system is based on open technologies we are not able to ensure all products from other brands are tested and fully interoperable with all of our software updates. For guaranteed compatibility you need to use Philips Hue or certified Friends of Hue products."
    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/201...arty-bulbs-with-firmware-update.shtml
    Voting 0

Top of the page

First / Previous / Next / Last / Page 1 of 7 Online Bookmarks of M. Fioretti: Tags: smart cities

About - Propulsed by SemanticScuttle