Tags: smart rural*

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  1. The study examined data collected from 40 municipal broadband providers and private throughout 2015 and 2016. Pricing data was collected predominately by visiting carrier websites, where pricing is (quite intentionally) often hidden behind prequalification walls, since pricing varies dramatically based on regional competition.

    In many markets, analysts couldn’t make direct comparisons with a private ISP, either because the ISP failed to meet the FCC’s 25 Mbps down, 3 Mbps up standard definition of broadband (a problem for countless telcos who refuse to upgrade aging DSL lines), or because the ISP prequalification website terms of service “deterred or prohibited” data collection.

    But out of the 27 markets where they could make direct comparisons, researchers found that in 23 cases, the community-owned ISPs’ pricing was lower when the service costs and fees were averaged over four years.
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2018-01-17)
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  2. Indian agriculture is going to witness Internet of Things (IoT) applications soon as SenRa, a pan India Low-Power Wide-Area Networks (LPWANs) provider for long range-based (LoRa®-based) IoT applications, and Skysens, a Turkey-based LPWAN technology provider, today announced their partnership to bring cutting-edge, low-cost, and long-range solutions to India. The collaboration between the two companies will provide needed solutions in a growing IoT market in India and will provide more efficient and environment friendly offerings. This LoRa® ecosystem partnership brings a combined knowledge of LoRaWAN technology, to include network services, connectivity, and end-device expertise.

    "We are excited to announce our partnership with Skysens. We believe partnerships like this will bring innovative solutions to address some of the current challenges which are present in India today," said Ali Hosseini, Chief Executive Officer of SenRa. "For example, agriculture is the main source of livelihood for about 48% of the Indian population. Due to lack of resources and ongoing climate changes, it is more critical than ever to provide farmers the tools they need to produce crops and manage their limited resources. Leveraging solutions such as Skysens soil sensors, provide farmers the ability to monitor their soil and determine the health of their crops in real-time,” Hosseini added.
    Tags: , , , , by M. Fioretti (2018-01-07)
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  3. The business model is unusually communal. The field is “open” in the sense that he sells his produce to 320 people in the immediate neighborhood, who each pay between €220 and €320 per year, depending on their income, for the right to come and harvest food on his land.

    “The important thing is that everyone can join and the strongest can bear the heaviest weight,” Troonbeeckx said, recounting that part of the motivation behind his socially supportive model came from seeing his mother left far worse off after his parents divorced.

    “Since I’m not into international markets or the multinational economic system, I can create my own economy,” he said, looking out over a field of pumpkins and winter salad leaves.

    Troonbeeckx’s farm, though nowhere near as big, follows a similar ethic.

    He employs complex rotational methods that allow his cows to eat the grass, fertilize the soil and then change location to a new pasture so that vegetables can be planted using his newly-enriched soil. But getting such projects off the ground is much harder than it looks — in his first years of farming, he had to work in a restaurant just to makes ends meet.

    “Only people who have dreamt of being a farmer since a child should do it. It’s something that burns deep insides,” Troonbeeckx said. “If that fire does not burn then do not do it.”
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2018-01-04)
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  4. 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'.
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  5. 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.
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  6. How far do you have to go to get water? If you simply have to walk into the bathroom or kitchen, you’re one of the luckiest people in the world. In developing countries, getting water involves walking an average of three miles round trip, carrying a jug weighing about 40 pounds on the way back. In areas suffering from drought, the walk can be 15 miles or more. That’s hard to imagine, but for people living in these regions, there’s no other way. The job of collecting water often falls to women and children, taking up large portions of their time and keeping them away from other pursuits, like education.
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  7. turismo di massa qui non arriva. Via via si arriva al centro storico: municipio, di lato le poste aperte a giorni alterni e poco via vai. Ci sono pure tre negozi alimentari, un bed & breakfast, l’edicola-tabacchi. E una scuola nuova, ma chiusa.

    È uno dei tanti paradossi dello spopolamento e della vita di questi paesi: perché, per esempio, Goni non è a rischio “estinzione”. Ma i 28 alunni (tra elementari e medie) non bastano per tenere aperto – nemmeno in modalità pluriclasse – secondo i criteri regionali del dimensionamento scolastico. Quindi, dopo una lunga battaglia, e addirittura l’occupazione in autogestione con i genitori che facevano da bidelli e insegnanti, è arrivata la resa. Dopo un mese di assenza dalle lezioni “ufficiali” i ragazzi sono stati sparpagliati nelle scuole dei paesi vicini. E fanno la spola, ormai pendolari. Nelle aule chiuse ci sono finestre nuove di zecca: montate a fine settembre, e a disposizione c’è una palestra con parquet e campo di calcio esterno. Tutto nuovo, finanziato con soldi pubblici – della Regione – e consegnati nemmeno un anno fa. Ma le lezioni e le partite si fanno altrove: alcuni vanno ogni mattina a Ballao: 14 chilometri verso la valle del Flumendosa. Qui le scuole sono aperte, ma è uno dei paesi a rischio con 831 abitanti. Risalendo la collina, ancora tornanti e curve ecco Armungia, secondo paese che secondo gli statistici non dovrebbe più esistere tra sessant’anni. Sarà così?

    Tentativi di resistenza e le case a un euro
    La via principale – e tutte le strade laterali – sono dedicate a Emilio Lussu, nato in questo paese che ora ha 481 abitanti. Storico fondatore del Partito sardo d’Azione, comandante della Brigata Sassari durante la prima guerra mondiale poi antifascista, intellettuale, deputato, ministro. Da qualche anno suo nipote Tommaso si è trasferito qui da Roma, ha aperto un b&b nella storica casa del nonno e tenta di resistere, invertire il trend, far conoscere e animare questo angolo di Sardegna. Passo passo tenta l’innesto tra tradizione, innovazione con iniziative culturali e laboratori, come quello tessile, col telaio a mano. (Your) revolution is here con una freccia che indica il punto geografico: così recita un murales su un muraglione di cemento sulla strada ed è anche l’immagine profilo scelta da Tommaso su Facebook.

    Stessi propositi un po’ più a nord, nel Nuorese, con l’iniziativa più istituzionale della vendita della case a un euro. Esperienza sperimentata in altre zone d’Italia e che qui muove i primi passi. A Ollollai, per esempio, e a Nule il passaggio simbolico – e poi il restauro concordato – ha portato soprattutto stranieri del tutto slegati dal contesto.
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  8. It was startling how often this scene repeated as I drove through the rural areas of the Midwest, South, and West on the road trip that resulted in the book The Revolution Where You Live.

    Many of these are the same areas that famously voted for a loudmouth New Yorker. For some, he better represented conservative, rural values than Hillary Clinton did. These devastated regions, where opioid addiction is at epidemic levels, are places that ran out of hope.

    The cynical and bankrupt answers offered up by the 45th president will not bring prosperity to these regions. But neither would the corporate-friendly policies of a President Hillary Clinton and others in her wing of the Democratic Party.

    So what actually would bring about rural prosperity?

    I found some hints on my long road trip. The relatively prosperous small towns I stumbled on often turned out to include large Amish or Mennonite populations. These groups have been spreading quietly, buying up land and bringing back small-scale farming.

    Farmers who depend on large corporations for seeds, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and for markets, face a very different reality. They have little bargaining power with these behemoths, which are free to roam the planet for the lowest prices and best subsidies, and to form near-monopolies on seed and fertilizer. The federal government supports the corporate agriculture model via trade deals and subsidies; President Nixon’s Agriculture Secretary, Earl Butz, famously urged farmers to “get big or get out.”

    Supporters of this model “almost brag that we’re down to half a percent of the population making their living from agriculture,” Steve Charter told me when I visited him on his land north of Billings, Montana. “There is no relationship to the land anymore. There’s just someone driving a huge tractor, putting on all these chemicals.”

    Charter is a rancher, not a dairy farmer, but like the Organic Valley member-farmers, his vision of agriculture runs counter to the corporate ideal. He manages his cattle so they behave like the wild ungulates that once wandered the plains, corralling them so that they chop up the soil with their hooves and fertilize it with their waste, before moving off to let lush grass grow back. Through this and other processes, Charter is rebuilding the complex bacterial and fungal biomes that make soil productive.

    And at a time of climate crisis, this is a big deal: This living soil holds water instead of shedding it after a rainfall. As a result, these semi-arid plains are less likely to degrade into deserts as a shifting climate brings drought and heat waves. And these techniques can turn vast grasslands into giant carbon sponges, reliably extracting large quantities of carbon from the atmosphere and sequestering it safely in the soil.

    The catch?

    It takes a lot of hands-on work with the cattle and the land.

    “But that’s a good thing,” Charter said. “This is the kind of job that people like doing once they know how to do it. As ranchers, we hope to bring people back to where human knowledge and hands will do this, and not petrochemicals and running tractors.” Instead of feeding the profits of agribusiness corporations, more money goes to pay ranch hands.

    And with these sorts of jobs comes another possibility: the restoration of agricultural livelihoods and the small towns that support them. Ways of life that can offer sustenance to families and revitalize rural America.
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2017-04-20)
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  9. A purely transactional maker economy, based only on selling things, is unlikely to be sustainable in the longer term.

    If it’s just about the thing,
    someone will soon find a way to source a similar thing,
    but cheaper.

    Rather than focus only on selling products as the core measure of progress, it makes more sense to focus on the resources and connections needed for a regional economy to thrive.


    In agriculture, the healthiest food systems and landscapes have been created, shaped and maintained by generations of farmers and herders building on local knowledge and experience. Artisan traditions that embody healthy relationships between people, place, and living systems, can therefore be our teachers.

    So-called extension services in which farmers—often women— teach other about about agroecological practices are more developed in the south than in the city-dwelling north. In large areas of Asia, farmers are able to join farmer field schools, a group-based learning process that enables farmer-to-farmer instruction.

    The opportunity here is to accelerate learning among growers groups whose expertise and resources, when pooled, can deliver a lot of the value currently added by today’s cost-adding layers of intermediaries. Of particular importance are alternative trade networks and the Community Agroecology Network.


    Networked actions at a bioregional scale are also emerging in the form of Fibersheds

. The fibershed model integrates all the activities involved in growing, making and using fibre within a soil-friendly, climate-beneficial fibre system.
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2017-03-24)
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  10. The opportunity here is to accelerate learning among growers groups whose expertise and resources, when pooled, can deliver a lot of the value currently added by today’s cost-adding layers of intermediaries. Of particular importance are alternative trade networks and the Community Agroecology Network.
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