mfioretti: smart cities*

Bookmarks on this page are managed by an admin user.

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

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. Smart cities represent a genuine and potentially massive new market for the private sector, breathing economic life into the old structures and patterns of cities. But if faced with somnolent and uninformed local governments, the results are going to be chaotic and unwieldy systems, and an erosion of democracy. If the movement is to generate a new vigour and vision, city governments must stop being patsies to the IT giants and start to think, from first principles, what technology would look like if it served the people.
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisf...-the-tech-giants-to-rule-smart-cities
    Voting 0
  9. Riccardo spoke about how the bureaucratic systems – created in the name of efficiency, destroy the kind of places that bring joy to our hearts. He is certain that the path to health, happiness, wealth and wellbeing is one that puts people, their culture and art central to our planning process.

    Riccardo reminds us to challenge the ‘rule book':

    “You as citizens have to decide what kind of city that you want, and then demand the change to make the city you want.”

    He also urges us to:

    “Look and learn from the places that make you feel good, and demand more from the systems, that we have collectively created to make our cities work.”

    The notion of efficiency dominates everything we do; this has distorted the value system we use to gauge success. A successful city is not one that is only economically powerful. Perhaps we need to rethink the way we build cities. The happiness of people should be more important than making cities efficient.
    http://gehlarchitects.com/news/why-sm...ource=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2015-08-30)
    Voting 0
  10. There is a certain allure to the idea that cities allow a person to both feel at home and like a stranger in the same place. That one can know the streets and shops, avenues and alleys, while also going days without being recognized. But as elites fill cities with “smart” technologies — turning them into platforms for the “Internet of Things” (IoT): sensors and computation embedded within physical objects that then connect, communicate, and/or transmit information with or between each other through the Internet — there is little escape from a seamless web of surveillance and power. This paper will outline a social theory of the “smart city” by developing our Deleuzian concept of the “spectrum of control.” We present two illustrative examples: biometric surveillance as a form of monitoring, and automated policing as a particularly brutal and exacting form of manipulation. We conclude by offering normative guidelines for governance of the pervasive surveillance and control mechanisms that constitute an emerging critical infrastructure of the “smart city.”
    http://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php...e/view/5903/4660#.VbCFPTritmg.twitter
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2015-08-06)
    Voting 0

Top of the page

First / Previous / Next / Last / Page 1 of 6 Online Bookmarks of M. Fioretti: Tags: smart cities

About - Propulsed by SemanticScuttle