Sustainability Problem: Public Safety and Comfort, Civic Engagement, City Maintenance
Urban forest has been identified as one of the most cost efficient and effective strategies for mitigating the urban heat island effect and adapting to climate change. However, maintaining good tree canopy cover can be expensive and dangerous tree branches sometimes present public safety concerns.
Sustainable Technology: Assign trees with ID numbers and email addresses
- Ranked by the EIU as the world’s most liveable city for seven years in a row since 2011, Melbourne suffers from extreme weather conditions like strong heat and flashfloods. Urban forest can help to reduce urban head island effect and improve stormwater retention.
- To help to improve the city’s canopy cover, every tree in the city is catalogued with an individual ID email address, and can be seen in an open dataset with details such as life expectancy.
- Citizen can also report problems like dangerous branches by the email-a-tree service. People ended up doing more than just reporting problems, but sending messages such as greetings and love letters to the trees via the emails.
- “Internet of Trees” not only helps with city maintenance, but also encourages civic engagement.
Organizational Stakeholders that Will Use the Technology
- City officials who oversee maintaining and improving the city’s tree population
- City officials who oversee public engagement and safety
First 3 Steps in Deploying the Technology
- Identify large metropolitans that lacks tree cover and can benefit from it, such as New York and Beijing. Work with city officials to get approval and funding for the project.
- Conduct pilots in selected parts of the city: tag trees and educate public about the new service.
- Roll out the project to rest of the city; build a database and map of the trees, and share them with the public.
“IoT powered by wireless signals” – This is a great technology that once commercialized, the application could be limitless! Not only it will conserve energy, it also provides convenience – imagine you will never have to change the batteries for smoke alarms and security cameras. According to the article, “The researchers believe that tiny passive Wi-Fi devices could be extremely cheap to make, perhaps less than a dollar”. One version of the passive Wi-Fi technology is already being commercialized through a spin-off company called Jeeva Wireless.