Smart Cities – Ho-hum; Let’s Step it Up with Art and Culture Based Climate Action

Even if global greenhouse gas emissions were cut to required levels to keep temperature rise below 2°C this century, the cost between 2010 and 2050 of adapting to an approximately 2°C warmer world by 2050 is in the range of $75 billion to $100 billion a year, according to a recent World Bank report.  Making cities smarter so these financial goals can achieved is essential but ensuring redevelopment and adaptation plans are sustainable requires incorporating various types of intelligence.  In the face of significant pending funding gaps we need visionaries and artists to come forth and bring onto the stage all they can to paint the town green!

New and additional financing options will be required for adaptation measures to succeed and the cities that learn how to engage their citizens will achieve these goals more efficiently and economically.  Those that don’t, well, chances are high they will continue with the same ho-hum approaches used to date to make smart cities.

“For all the talk about smart cities a lot of dumb stuff happens in cities,” says Klaus Philipsen.  “Chicago can’t get a grip on police violence, Flint poisons its citizens with municipal water, Washington DC’s Metro subway is befallen by a series of mishaps and Baltimore can’t count its primary votes so that the State has to de-certify the election results…”

Thinking is good, feeling is essential, but action engages citizens and raises awareness while also creating new climate raising tools.  Smart cities are seeing green artists come alive and push the parameters of what it means to be artistic.  A rising tide of these artists are acting in support of the public good and municipalities that learn to leverage art and culture as a technology for change will find themselves designing and building burgeoning epicenters to only further artistic and cultural energy.  Action like this will not only raising intelligence but also capital as it enables citizens to participate in the process of setting goals, establishing policies, and empowering municipalities to meet their climate change adaption ambitions.

Urban dwellers for the most part don’t currently see what it means to be a smart city.  Providing interactive based responses through data collection means but then also exhibiting it in an artful way will activate intelligence and raise municipal goals beyond touting what the best or the healthiest city is.  In fact, municipalities that pause, reset, and stop looking to make the Human Development Index (HDI) list will take their focus where it needs to be: achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  There are 17 SDGs and all the 193 countries represented at the United Nations have agreed to try and achieve them.  Thankfully we are no seeing innovative cities are following this momentum and in particular one goal – Goal 11 –  specifically aims to build cities that are “inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”  This level of sustainability comes when art, community, and the spirit of climate action is kept alive in a city plan but not in the traditional sense, a whole new level of engagement through the promotion of art and culture is required to achieve climate action.

  • SAMPLES OF ART, CULTURAL & INITIATIVE “TECHNOLOGIES”
    • The Gates – 7,503 “gates” along 23 miles of paths in Central Park, NYC.
    • Stone River – 128 ton sculpture at Stanford University made from salvaged  buildings toppled in the 1906 & 1989 San Francisco earthquakes
    • The Mining Project – aerial photography of impacted sites in the United States transformed by water reclamation, logging, military tests, and mining
    • Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts – the intersection of environmental balance, social equity, economic stability, and cultural infrastructure
    • Project Save Our Surf – collaborations with non-profit organizations to educate and raise awareness about ocean pollution
    • World of Threads Festival – art installations questioning the notions of sustainability and vulnerability
    • Agricultural Compositions –  turning fields of human waste and pollution into colorful landscapes
    • Alliance of Artists Communities – exploring organizational sustainability and applying it to artist residencies
    • Pathway to Paris – a collection of artists, activists, academics, musicians, politicians, innovators bound together in fighting for climate justice
  • ABBREVIATED IMPLEMENTATION STEPS
    • Establish alignment of municipal protocols with the SDGs
    • Create multiple intelligent based city policies – holistic based endeavors
    • Establish artistic residency programs and event-based climate education goals
    • Engage citizens in educational and experiential arts and cultural practices
    • Engage private and public sector companies for sponsorships
    • Build neighborhood based spin-off programs to localize experience
    • Demonstrate to the world what has worked and not
    • Start again, improve, and keep targets on 2050 SDGs
  • KEY STAKEHOLDERS
    • City Planners & Urban Designers
    • Public & Private Foundation Donors
    • EcoArt and Environmental Artists
    • Citizens
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MotionMap: stress-free parking and more

Problem: Small cities (such as Milton Keynes, UK) are growing rapidly in population, but cannot always expand physically, and thus do not have the infrastructure or space to cope with booming numbers of residents.

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Solution: Data management and the appropriate real-time mobility and movement software – such as MotionMap.

  • The app gives users a real-time view of all transportation and civilian movements in the city, to facilitate planning around traffic routes and parking, train delays, construction works and weather.
  • The interface uses a combination of user observation and sensors around the city to track information, including sensors for available bus capacity, number of wheelchairs and push-chairs on public transport etc.
  • The data will also be used by the council to facilitate town planning, as the city cannot endlessly build roads and carparks to facilitate the growing urban population.
  • MotionMap is in partnership with the Milton Keynes Smart City Project, “MK:Smart”, which is based on a Data Hub operated by the Open University.

Stakeholders:

  • University Data Hub team
  • City planners & council
  • Civilians (public transport users, drivers, cyclists)
  • Shopping centers, offices, public services (which require parking)

Motion-Map

Steps to Deployment: 

  1. Data gathering: obtain real-time and historical data to start to forecast trends in movement
  2. Marketing: raise civilian awareness about the technology and its applications
  3. Partnerships: work with city council and private businesses to facilitate city movement through traffic, transport links and parking availability (especially in currently underutilized spaces).

MotionMap

Article: A multistep smart city initiative 


Comment: Cows Wearing Backpacks – A Methane Solution 

These backpacks seem like a great innovation but it does not mention the welfare of the cow anywhere, and seems like a very invasive approach. It would be interesting to also look at the unit cost of each backpack as opposed to the cost of changing the cow’s diet to reduce methane production, or on a larger scale the cost of investing in meat-alternative technologies. It should be noted that the article says large-scale production is unlikely.

 

 

Cities Get Smart by Prioritizing Mobility

By 2030, 60 percent of the world’s population will live in cities, up from about 50 percent today.  Planners and designers swiftly get transportation logistics, congestion, and air pollution, but when pushed to make urban life better for their citizens they often fail to deliver.  Some urban areas already rank above average and offer integrated multi-model mobility options but these complex offerings to deploy.  Mobility technologies exist (see below) that ease the pain when prioritizing mobility but this is not merely a “tech fix” situation for it requires collaborative stakeholder engagement and implementation planning as well.

Copenhagen has for a long time now housed parking lots full of bikes, their transport lanes throughout the city prefer pedal pushers, and when I was recently there nearly everyone told me they bike more than they use an automobile.  London is building “cycle superhighways” and New York expects to have 1,800 miles of bike lanes by 2030.  Thus, the challenge of bringing smart mobility solutions to urban dwellers doesn’t require fancy new technologies but instead lies in the requirement to establish collaborative planning processes that educate, iterate, and ultimately are built with flexibility in mind.  When driven by the urban subculture it’s apparent.  I just returned from Boulder, Colorado and when there I saw municipal bicycle storage options integrated with public transportation lines; a natural extension of the daily commuters lifestyle.  Don’t think this is something we’re going to see in Atlanta, Georgia anytime soon!

Don’t get me wrong, municipalities are working hard to solve these mobility issues, this isn’t just about meeting citizen’s demands pushed at planners and designers.  Heterogeneous trends in urban mobility have been slowly coming online and one of the most touted “technology” solutions is the high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane.  The start of smart planning to better manage congestion but then that was taken the next step through innovative laws in states like California that now allow HOV access for electric or hydrogen vehicles too.  Right on the heels of HOV lanes came congestion parking in major metros like New York City and the concept of peak demand parking sits at the bleeding edge of urban mobility, despite nobody having worked out the math just yet.  In fact, new business models are continually trying to deal with the needs for increased data collection and logistical management analysis.  This is clearly the direction smart cities are going but in my research this isn’t as far as it will go in the coming decades.  What comes next will seem extreme but population growth and the demands of urbanization on cities will require ultra efficiency.

For a hint into the future just look at Singapore.  Albeit they’re an island, but because of this they’ve been pushed to their mobility limits ahead of other major metros.  They’ve opted to set aside cars all together and this isn’t solely because they can’t build more suburbs for their commuters and cars.  They’re aware of the laden energy in costs in vehicle manufacturing and the significant potential to reduce CO2 by switching from gas powered automobiles to walking, biking, and electrified forms of mass transit.  In fact, as the Singaporean government lowers their transport and mobility energy profile, they’re guaranteeing the citizens will be able to live healthier lifestyles.  This effort paves the way for systemic shifts and opens the door for a sustainable mobility future; one inclusive of drone package delivery drops, self-service mail centers, automated vehicles (passenger, bus, tram, freight, and corporate fleet solutions), and allows for mobility as a service to flourish as well.

Cities wanting to establish integrated mobility plans and capture the full range of transportation and mobility solutions must take assessment of technology options, perform collaborative stakeholder analysis, and comprehensively implementation plans with a citizen centric approach.  Here are a few places to start:

  • SAMPLES OF URBAN MOBILITY “TECHNOLOGIES”
    • Congestion Pricing – HOV driving lanes, street, & parking
    • Urban Redesign – mobility optimization, curb, & intersection plans
    • Coordinated Actions – private & public sector collaboration
    • “Cycle Superhighways” – extra wide lanes dedicated to bicycles
  • ABBREVIATED IMPLEMENTATION STEPS
    • Establish population growth and transport demand metrics
    • Conduct customer interviews to fit future needs
    • Define the city and citizen archetypes
    • Create intelligent city policies
    • Engage private-sector mobility companies
    • Educate citizens on multi-mode mobility values
    • Leverage academic and startup incubators or accelerators
    • Build neighborhood partnership test pilots
    • Schedule citizen updates via engagement workshops
    • Act boldly and prepared for agile adjustments
  • KEY STAKEHOLDERS
    • City Planners & Urban Designers
    • Public Entities and Administrators
    • Academic Institutions
    • Accelerators and Incubators
    • Technology Mobility Solution Providers
    • Citizens

JMB2408 COMMENT TO ANOTHER BLOG POST (Fast-Charging Busses):

This is conceptually really “smart” but I wonder about what they claim to be able to do vs. what can actually be done. It’s logical to see this sort of quick charging take hold on the public transport lines and it really improves the efficiency of energy use but it’s not a straight forward fossil-fuel free solution until the energy comes from that source. Perhaps in France, with all the nuclear, it makes this ring true but if you put this in Wisconsin it won’t for all you’re doing is displacing the fossil-fuel from the source point at the vehicle to the power generation location. In my analysis there are many instances where the electrification of the transport sector makes things worse for CO2 emissions. Then again, local air quality will always go up so it depends on the objective of the smart city – local solution, regional, or global.

Thanks for sharing, cool tech and more to come I’m sure.

I don’t have any change but I want Change: contactless payment for homeless donations

Problem: Cities around the world have a growing homeless population who survive on donations from passers-by. In many cases, these donations are used for drugs or alcohol rather than for basic necessities like food and clothing, sparking debate between those who donate their change to the homeless, and those who do not. The homelessness problem encompasses civic engagement, health and safety, waste management and a host of other sustainability problems. For those who do donate, it is become less common to carry cash meaning that often they would like to donate change, but do not have any on them.

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Solution: ‘Helping Heart’ contactless payment jacket

  • An Amsterdam-based company, N=5, has come up with the concept to make homeless donations more feasible in a modern city, but also to monitor their use.
  • The jacket has an in-built contactless payment reader and LCD screen, set to a cap of EUR 1 per donation.
  • The wearer can then redeem the value of the donations from participating stores and shelters in the form of food, clothing, shelter and other essentials.
  • There are also options to direct payments towards vocational training courses and savings.

Stakeholders:

  • Helping Heart is designed specially for homeless donations, but the concept of contactless donations could be used as part of numerous charity fundraising initiatives.
  • The technology would be used by the homeless, by participating donors, by shelters and by representatives of charities hoping to raise funds.

Steps to Deployment: 

  1. Identify and organize various organizations willing to participate, namely shelters, banks, supermarkets, restaurants, clothing stores or community centers.
  2. Distribute jackets to homeless people around the city. Include an explanation or training for the wearers on how the technology works, and what they are entitled to.
  3. Invest in marketing for city dwellers to know that this is a donation option and that donations will be used for legitimate purchases of necessities, to incentivize donation.

ArticleIs ‘tap and go’ a better way to give to charity?

Company Case Film: N=5, Helping Heart


Comment on “Extinguish a Fire with Low-Frequency Sound Waves” 

The point on incorporating the technology into “swarm robotics” is a fascinating now, with an army of waterless fire-fighting drones ready to be launched at a larger-scale fire. In London, the recent Grenfell Tower fire was incredibly devastating due to the high-rise nature of the building and although many people were saved on the lower levels, firemen could not reach the higher levels fast enough. Drones would have the ability to fight the fire from above, possibly in unison with firefighters working from below, and devices like the sonic extinguisher are light enough (possibly not yet, but in later models) that this could become a reality.

This lightweight capability also makes these extinguishers possible for vehicles or airplanes, where weight is a consideration, or even in schools etc. where children would struggle to lift a fire extinguisher if required to.

An additional point is the concern over the high-heat, as the sonic extinguishers currently have no cooling system of their own, which would add weight and expense, and is a design capability that needs to be established.

 

 

Internet of Trees – When You Give a Tree an Email Address

Screenshot 2017-09-29 21.24.50

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
  • Citizens

First 3 Steps in Deploying the Technology

  1. 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.
  2. Conduct pilots in selected parts of the city: tag trees and educate public about the new service.
  3. Roll out the project to rest of the city; build a database and map of the trees, and share them with the public.

Sources:

City of Melbourne –  Urban Forest Visual

Internet of Trees: Melbourne Uses Smart City Tech To Stay World’s Most Liveable Place

When You Give a Tree an Email Address

Comments:

“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.

 

Comprehensive Healthcare Staff Culture Survey

By Niall Wallace
Edited by: Michael Diamond
July 5, 2016
Source: http://infectioncontrol.tips/2016/07/05/comprehensive-healthcare-staff-culture-survey/

A. Sustainability Problem

Many initiatives of safety and quality improvement to prevent and control hospital-acquired infections have failed. They have been unmeasurable or have ignored clinical outcomes.

Culture often determines and limits strategic planning efforts in large complex organizations. Organizational culture enacts extreme resistance to efforts at changing policy and practice.  Organizational dynamics and structures prevent improvement at multiple levels of analysis: the industry, the institution, the department. Therefore, quality and safety interventions aimed at changing collective work practices are unlikely to be sustained beyond the intervention period itself.

To get at the root of the infection issue, it is necessary to approach the culture of the hospital, on a unit-by-unit basis, to really understand what hospitals are up against in order to design and implement strategy.

To this end, Infonaut has developed a software – Risk, Behavior and Culture Assessment – that involves participating staff taking online survey.

B. Technology Stakeholders

Hospital and its participating staff: Physicians, Physicians’ Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical, Nurses, Radiology Technologists, Other Technologists, Aides

C. Implementation

First: Focus on psychological processes of the individual, rather than the normative behavior of the group. Review the key psychological principles that govern the cognition and behavior of individuals.   

Second: Target specific behaviors among staff by levering the survey results which provide a foundation for quality and safety interventions.  A focus on the individual, rather than the group, can change patient safety behavior on the hospital’s front lines.

Third: Using the survey model, draw a broad set of theories and principles concerned with changing the behavior of the individual, rather than trying to redirect the herd.  In contrast to efforts toward change directed at groups of people, individual behaviors can be highly receptive to change.

Fourth: Use the survey and assessment to highlight the challenges the individual faces to improve quality and safety and then, highlight those interventions that will be the most successful, based on the culture of the unit.

Fifth: Invite front-line staff to participate anonymously to help identify the challenges facing hospitals, to enact the change needed for improving patient safety. Invite clinical staffs to complete the Risk, Behavior and Culture Survey developed by Infonaut who built into the software an incentive feature to motivate and award stakeholders up to 1.25 hours of professional continuing education credits.

Sixth: Use the results to identify both obstacles and opportunities for introducing specific interventions on a unit-by-unit basis. The survey model serves as an instrument to learn about clinical staff perceptions of their information use habits and norms, and perceptions of patient safety and the role of management.

Seventh: Present to staff the results of these measures which act as a baseline measure for interventions targeting staff attitudes and dynamics. The survey specifically measures:

1. Unit attitudes to patient safety;

2. Unit capacity-to-learn as a group;

3. Unit information culture; and

4. Personal perception of risk.

Eighth: Follow-up retesting after a set period (i.e. a year) to determine measureable change in culture based on the effective interventions and relationships.

D. Benefits of the Technology

Infonaut is useful for solving the challenge of deadly hospital infection through their proprietary real-time surveillance, analytics and behavior improvement platform. Data sets of population health, public health, data-warehousing and privacy were referenced to develop innovative platforms that use the power of location technology, and B.I. systems for disease and infection surveillance.

E. References:

1. http://infectioncontrol.tips/2016/07/05/comprehensive-healthcare-staff-culture-survey/#_edn4

2. http://www.infonautinc.com/

3. http://www.gao.gov/assets/680/675390.pdf