Smart Urban Growth Tackles Mobility and Electricity Distribution Concurrently

Cities can get smart taking control of their electrical grid and electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure as a means of addressing urban growth.  Boulder, Colorado is making a run at it but few outside Germany have taken a serious move in this direction for it requires a long-term vision.  Seeking this urban planning route is not always initiated for economical reasons.  Boulder, for instance, is driven to engage as a means of increasing renewable energy sources in their electricity generation fuel mix.  Here’s the catch, this approach may not a scalable or sustainable solution for all cities  Mega cities; no way anytime soon.  Rural environments; not likely ever needed.  So, Boulder just happens to sit in the Goldilocks Zone but even with it being “just right” the increasing digitalization of the electric grid and new sources of distributed energy will make this endeavor a tenuous pursuit.

Years ago I was involved in dozens of negotiations with municipalities throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico.  Many desired to “take control” of and then offer, as a public service, wireless Internet services for their citizens.  The complexities in equipment management and selection, maintenance, and budgeting were often solely regarded in the context of whether to make the WiFi a free or a for a fee amenity to subscribers.  Thing is, that’s not where the root challenge existed.  Even a little bit of education in these matters achieved a stakeholder stalemate for trying to figure out how to convert a privatized service into a public good without causing bias to an ongoing free market was no simple matter.  The concept of a public-private partnership was alien.

Dealing with increasing urbanization today requires a systemic stakeholder analysis and just the right sitting of pilot efforts in advance of any at-scale execution plans.  To date few cities have taken this approach but Toronto, Canada is on the way.

“...We are designing a district in Toronto’s Eastern Waterfront to tackle the challenges of urban growth…Sidewalk Toronto will combine forward-thinking urban design and new digital technology to create people-centered neighborhoods that achieve precedent-setting levels of sustainability, affordability, mobility, and economic opportunities” – Sidewalk Labs

To do as Sidewalk Labs proposes there must be an integration of technologies, policies, and financial mechanisms that allow for private and public implementation plans to surface, ones in service of many stakeholders.

  • SAMPLE TECHNOLOGIES AT PLAY
  • IMPLEMENTATION APPROACHES
    • Analyze long-tailpipe electricity generation fuel mixes
    • Promote EVs and pilots ONLY in cities that have clean fuel sources
    • Establish population growth and transport demand metrics
    • Conduct customer interviews to fit future needs
    • Create intelligent city policies to cater to DER and EV microgrids
    • Engage private-sector electric mobility companies
    • Educate citizens on mobility and clean energy options
    • Build neighborhood based pilots
    • Engage citizens via engagement workshops for updates
    • Prepared to pivot for at-scale execution
  • STAKEHOLDERS TO ENGAGE
    • City Planners & Urban Designers
    • Public Entities and Administrators
    • Private Technology Providers
    • EV Manufacturers & Infrastructure Providers
    • Load Balancing Software Solution Providers
    • Private and/or Public Electric Utilities
    • Citizens

 

JMB2408 COMMENT TO ANOTHER BLOG POST (Leaf Plates):

This is an excellent solution to consumption and in turn waste. If this was a compostable solution that can be put to use in the local houseplant or compost pile then we’re talking about a dream conversion in consumption to waste. The other thing that would be amazing is to see this scale to shipping boxes or other high consumption transport items. Awesome find, thanks for sharing.

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5 thoughts on “Smart Urban Growth Tackles Mobility and Electricity Distribution Concurrently

  1. I think that building an infrastructure centered around renewable energy for this project, would be a step in the right direction under the Public Works Administration. There is some debate as to whether or not the New Deal project of 1933 successfully achieved its goal as a recovery instrument to stimulate economic activity, but there is little argument about its success in actually building an infrastructure that lasted many years and was beneficial to millions of people. I think that if the government approached this project from a PWA perspective without the emphasis on economic return but with an emphasis on the long term public benefits that would be derived from the project, it would be a viable supplemental solution to urban energy distribution.

    oaf2118

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Intersting post!
    I would add a note about Better Place, as someone who lived 10 minutes form their HQ and witnessed their almost-rise and fall: Better Place’s plan was to first set up a charging infrastructure throughout Israel and only once they reached a sufficient quantity and reach of charging stations, then they would begin to really push their family-oriented EV model. They encountered a series of setbacks and constant delays, yet decided to release their EV when there is no adequate infrastructure to support it, which at the end (in my opinion) led to their failure.
    Also, I visited their HQ and showroom about a two years before they ceased operations and at the time they were still not on schedule for the deployment (and perhaps even large scale feasibility) of the battery changing stations.

    OK2213

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This I brilliant and works very well in cities.I visited Norway this summer and the streets are planned in a way that have multiple electric vehicle charging stations.There is also free street parking for electric vehicles in Norway.Tesla is heavily subsidised in Norway too!Time for other countries in the world to take this example!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fascinating piece! its amazing how the technologies are beginning to blend in to create a more cohesive system. The cohesion also means that each technology is inter linked, also leading to shared security challenges. All eyes on Sidewalk Labs for now!

    Like

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