Sustainability problem: Cities that were designed for a different workforce and technology landscape need to be upgraded to be more efficient, comfortable, safe, human and environment focussed.

They are designing a district in Toronto’s Eastern Waterfront to tackle the challenges of urban growth, working in partnership with the tri-government agency Waterfront Toronto and the local community. This joint venture, called Sidewalk Toronto, aims to make Toronto the global hub for urban innovation.


They are deploying multiple technologies aimed at various segments of urban innovation. Such as:

  • Self-driving technology and digital navigation tools can give rise to a next-generation, point-to-point transit system that complements pedestrian, cycling, and bus or rail options to improve convenience, reduce costs, and enhance street safety.
  • Better data integration, combined with more accessible community hubs that offer a variety of local services, enable a comprehensive approach to social and community services that delivers better outcomes to people at lower cost.
  • At the core of a future city is a layer of digital infrastructure that provides ubiquitous connectivity for all, offers new insights on the urban environment, and encourages creation and collaboration to address local challenges.

And many more.


  • City government
  • District Mayors office
  • Departments of transportation, housing, industry, technology,
  • Citizens
  • Urban designers, planners, technology specialists


Next steps:

For now they have set up 3 main initiatives:

1. Sense: this is a pilot lab focussed on using data driven technology to makeintersections, parks and open spaces more valuable and safe. For instance, tech-enabled signals could slow down vehicle traffic if average car speeds at a given intersection exceeded 20 mph (the threshold at which collisions with pedestrians become more deadly) or if they recorded a high number of near-misses. They could also hold crosswalk signals to leave more time for children, the elderly, or the disabled. If combined with new alert systems, in-car systems, or V2X technology, they could also potentially give drivers a more direct warning of pedestrians or cyclists in the area.

2. Model: This pilot lab explores tools that helps communities build consensus on sustainability, affordability and transportation needs. For instance, When cities tackle transportation problems, they create simulation models in which travelers move about cities: going to work, dropping children off at school, running errands. These simulations are based on theories of traveler behavior developed and tested by academics and practitioners. For example, one theory posits that travelers consider every minute waiting for a bus about twice as annoying as every minute riding on a bus. These theories are tested and calibrated against survey data collected by the Census Bureau and local governments. Once the simulations do an adequate job of replicating what’s happening today, they modify model inputs to simulate what might happen five, 10, or 20 years from now. These inputs may include a new transit service or wider roadways or higher bridge tolls or myriad other policy and planning ideas. The goal is to learn how people may benefit from, or be burdened by, these changes.

3. Host townhall meetings for citizens to share their ambitions, visions and input for their district.

What really dug into my curiously lens was how such an integrated approach to sustainability in cities can be done, particularly in older cities/neighbourhoods.

Also curious about how cities that cannot afford the retrofitting fees that come with this, can still bring about change in perhaps smaller ways but keeping the overall vision in perspective.

Comment on another post:




Sustainability Issues

As the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution grants people the right to keep and bear Arms, 40% of the American households own at least one gun for protection. However, these legally obtained firearms are often used by unauthorized users to commit crimes after they are stolen and lost. Statistically, people who kill other people with guns in America acquire only 3% of their guns at gun stores while the other 97% are obtained through other means. Thus, preventing unauthorized use of firearms become critically important to protect not just our families but other innocent people from gun violence.

Technology: Biometric Gun Lock 

  • Sentinl, a Detroit-based startup is designing a biometric gun lock called Identilock. Attaching to a gun’s trigger, it unlocks only when the owner applies a fingerprint.
  • The size, weight and functionality of IDENTILOCK won’t inhibit common storage and staging methods of firearms.
  • IDENTILOCK provides quick access to working firearms in a crisis scenario when the authorized user put his or her fingertips to the biometric sensor, just like unlocking your phone.
  • IDENTILOCK prevents the use and discharge of the firearm by unintended and unauthorized users.


  • Gun owners
  • National Rifle Association (NRA)
  • Firearm manufacturers and dealers
  • Legislative bodies at federal and state level


  • Identify compatibility and feasibility of installing the biometric gun to majority of handguns in the U.S.
  • Launched a pilot program with local law enforcement to test the prototype
  • Gain legislative support from federal and state level for gun lock related products
  • Sell them at firearm dealers as a optional but recommended part



UNI: MH3730

Addressing the World with Three-word Phrases

Screenshot 2017-10-17 21.58.27

Sustainability Problem: Mobility, Public Administration and Service

An estimated 4 billion people, close to 75% of the earth’s population, have no address for mailing purposes, making it difficult to open a bank account, get a delivery, or be reached in an emergency. In addition, global addressing in different languages can be inconsistent and ambiguous, which often leads to errors. While GPS coordinates are more accurate, they are also too complicated and cumbersome.

Sustainable Technology: what3words assigns every 10-square-foot block of space in the world a new name

what3words is a simple way to talk about location. The idea is that a series of words is easier to remember than street addresses and the strings of number that make up GPS coordinates.

  • It divides the world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares and assigns each one a unique 3 word address. It means anyone can accurately find any location and share it more quickly, easily and with less ambiguity than any other system. For example, the White House, at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, becomes sulk.held.raves. The service can be used via the free mobile app or online map.
  • Mongolia is changing all its addresses to three-word phrases instead of house numbers and street names. The country is switching to the What3Words system because there are too few named streets and it’s sparsely populated.
  • NGOs including the United Nations have used the app for disaster recovery.
  • Pollinate Energy, an Indian solar lighting company, has used the service to delivery solar lights to people in remote areas who don’t have street addresses.

Organizational Stakeholders that Will Use the Technology

  • Government postal agency
  • Emergency service organizations
  • General businesses
  • Individuals

First 3 Steps in Deploying the Technology

  • Building on the success story of Mongolia, offer the technology to developing countries with incipient address systems.
  • Encourage adoption of the free mobile Apps to individuals by social media campaigns to make it the standard for social mapping.
  • Continue to expand its functions in serving populations without formal address/settlements by partnerships with more NGOs.


Mongolia is changing all its addresses to three-word phrases

This Startup Is Renaming Every Place On Earth


“Turning Climate Pollution Into Fish Feed”

Internet of things for better decision making

  1. Although most environmental challenges are blocked due to a financial reasons (prices for corrective measures), there is a handful of environmental problems that are due to poor decision making, unnecessary waste production with no secondary markets, energy waste due to a bad control on the thermostat, electricity waste due to a lack of information of consumption of devices, water consumption for irrigation in an unnecessary setting ( high humidity/ after rain), etc. If we analyze the decisionmaking process we tend to see that either there is not enough information at the time the decision had to be taken, or the person in charge to take the decision, did not react to that information.
  2. The Internet of Things allows to have a direct communication between things and the controller, to harvest real-time information, to allow a better decision making. There are 4 major components to the IoT:
  • Hardware: Data collectors or sensors ( temperature, movement, distance,etc.) connects physical items to digital objects.
  • Data: Serves as parameters and metrics for performance. It can be seen as a universal language of things.
  • Software: Once we have the information we need the software to interpret, analyzes the information, and to finally control it, to send out information to react.
  • Connectivity : Enables the communication between the sensors and software, and sends orders.

3. There are multiple applications for the IoT, on a state level, on an industry level, and on a personal level. In my opinion city governments should be the first to deploy these technologies, since it provides a direct financial benefit and a clear reduction in operational cost, furthermore the fact that it’s used at a city level with its main propose is to know either climate conditions ( light, humidity, temperature) or quantity of people ( traffic, public transportation usage, etc.) rather than information of a precise citizen. This is important regarding privacy issues.

4. I think that the early adopters of this technology should be large organizations that can have a large efficiency impacts. Once the technology is mature and has sufficient success stories, the adoption will come naturally.

Policies regarding privacy should be created, establishing in clear terms who owns the collection of the data, and who can use it. This is very important since until now this information has been mainly used to create personal advertising. In my opinion, this should not be the ultimate goal of collecting data.



Internet of Things – Jordan Duffy




Can Technology Help in Gun Control?

sustainability problem: Safety

Issue: With more and more school shootings happened in the past few years, people are now more aware of the risks of having a gun in the home. In the state now, there are more than three models of personalized handguns could be bought by the public. Therefore, making sure that commercial guns are carried by the registered owner is one of government’s critical task regarding gun control.


  • Protector XT was developed by Ben Tomb whose son was shot by another adolescent 25 years ago
  • Protector XT is a locking station that secures a firearm and provides access to authorized users with biometric fingerprinting technology.
  • It aims to provide “peace of mind” to firearms owners by designing products that enhance the safe storage of guns
  • Assures a quick and reliable access to a firearm in 2 seconds or less


  • State government that aims to improve gun safety and decrease the gunshot accidents
  • Gun owners who want to ensure no one else can have access to their guns to commit a crime
  • Gun manufacturers who want to be a more socially responsible company


  • Have a partnership with government’s gun control project
  • Attend SHOT Show such as the one held in LV annually
  • Launch gun safety program in communities, schools etc.


Comment on Solar-Powered Toilet That Treats and Recycles Water:

When a toilet is out of order, the Seva Sustainable Sanitation automatically directs users to other nearby sanitation systems. And in the next three years, Seva team will develop and test its maintenance system in which the embedded sensors will be able to determine if there is a failure and then an operator will be notified and come to fix it.

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.


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


“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.