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Paying for the Cities of the Future

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Heidi R. Boudreau
Heidi R. Boudreau  
7/8/2014 2:57:17 AM
User Rank Village Voice
Re: What comes next
We should build a better city and better future for our next generation. The technology in improving at a rapid pace and many high rise building is being built in many city. Dubai is very famous city in the world. I visited several time there. The online resume helps to build a career so that he/she will contribute in the development of the city.

Rick Robinson
Rick Robinson  
4/16/2014 10:56:53 AM
User Rank Village Voice
Open cities
Hi Toby, City Solver, Kim, There are a set of technologies that I think will become more and more influential in the next few years by increasing the power available to consumers, small businesses and citizens - open data, 3d printing, small-scale energy generation etc. The New Scientist recently ran an article describing examples of open data being used by citizens to hold their governments to account, for example; and Forbes and the Economist both recently covered the economic impact of "sharing economy" peer-to-peer business models made possible by social media. Smart cities will realise that they'll be most successful when they encourage these trends through creation of the right policy and governance environments, and by making technology infrastructure accessible to all of their citizens. This is how I think we'll find a balance emerging between "top down" and "bottom up" approaches to cities, Cheers, Rick

Kim Davis
Kim Davis  
4/14/2014 3:13:10 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: What comes next
I would need to develop this thought at length--and maybe I will--but there has been a big turnaround in the past ten years or so between opposition to technology from socially aware urban elements, and embrace of technology.

Kim Davis
Kim Davis  
4/14/2014 3:11:54 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: city purpose
City Solver, I hope you're right.  The approach to smart cities we've seen exemplified in places like Dubai, where the city itself is supported by transient workers living in miserable housing conditions, is not what we're aiming for.

Toby
Toby  
4/14/2014 5:42:25 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: What comes next
@Rick: Thanks for a thoughtful response. Yes, the future should always be seen optimistically, I agree entirely. technology will enable many fascinating and hopefuly useful changes. What advances do you expect to see in the near term given you purview at IBM?

CitySolver
CitySolver  
4/12/2014 10:11:47 AM
User Rank Blogger
city purpose
Really enjoyed the article. One thing stuck out as important (apart from the fascinating brain scanning technology), was where you said cities are learning athat they are there to provide their residents with healthy clean places to live. This I thought was a very important point as we move from an industrial twentieth century to the making of a technologically diverse twenty first. Health and wellbeing in dense cities will surely become more than a mantra as populations demand more from city leaders. India is a prime example I heard on BBC Radio 4, where young people are demanding change to unsanitary and unsustainable communities.

Resurgent phoenix
Resurgent phoenix  
4/11/2014 5:24:49 PM
User Rank City Slicker
The possibilities
Rick the telepathy technology is huge...so many handicap people can benefit. I also appreciate the idea on investable infrastructure. One City can work out the bugs and sell the technology to other municipalities .

Rick Robinson
Rick Robinson  
4/10/2014 11:13:31 AM
User Rank Village Voice
Re: Solar panels, etc.
Hi Amy,

That's a great example - thankyou for sharing it!

I've seen similar schemes in some cities in the UK; some social housing agencies are taking an admirably long-term view and making these investments as both they and their tenants will eventually benefit. 

It's exactly the sort of thinking that I regard as "smart", whether the technology is solar panels, smart meters or cavity wall insulation!

Regards,

Rick

Amy Rogers Nazarov
Amy Rogers Nazarov  
4/10/2014 11:03:12 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Solar panels, etc.
Hi Rick: Great post! And I had my six-year-old in my mind's eye as I read.

I'd like to point you toward an article about using solar panels in affordable housing here in DC. What a neat marriage of green technology + homes for regular folks on regular salaries (the bread-and-butter community members like teachers, cops, restaurant personnel). It's one thing to help affluent folks conserve energy and paying for energy; it's another thing to help the less affluent do the same. While it benefits us all if everyone consumes less energy, an additional layer of benefit accrues to folks for whom utility bills can make or break their monthly take-home pay.

Further to your point, the addition of smart chips to solar and other proven technologies seems to enhance further the benefits of both.

Rick Robinson
Rick Robinson  
4/9/2014 4:53:42 PM
User Rank Village Voice
Re: What comes next
Hi Toby and Kq4ym,

Thankyou for your comments;

Actually, I see a huge amount of social innovation in cities that creates great value, often in places or communities with the scarcest resources. For example, if you look at the "Community Lovers Guides" published for Birmingham and several other cities, many of the initiatives in them have used technology as part of a social innovation or community initiative. 

The challenge is how to engage the resources of larger, more formal institutions - either local authorities, property developers or technology companies - in a way that supports those grass-roots innovations. I've worked with some local authorities who are extremely good at doing this; and the Open Data APIs that Markus mentioned are one way of opening up technology systems for that purpose.

There is certainly a lot of top-down planning in the world; but on the other hand most of the urban designers and landscape architects I know are more focussed on the ideas of the "human-scale cities" movement that encourages bottom-up creativity. 

So I have to be optimistic; I think there's a general realisation that top-down determinism will not create good cities, and that the institutions and investments that do start top-down should engage properly with the bottom-up creativity that makes real places thrive.

I think you are absolutely right, by the way, to say that technology is only the enabler of change - what matters is how we choose to use it. That's a discussion that I think should be open and collaborative - both in general in forums like this one, and in specific cities and communities.

Cheers,

Rick

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