Meeting of the Minds took a few moments to talk with Herrie Schalekamp about new working relationships between researchers and paratransit operators in South Africa and beyond. Herrie is the ACET Research Officer at the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Transport Studies. In addition to his research, teaching and consulting in the fields of paratransit and public transport reform he is involved in specialised educational programmes for paratransit operators and government officials. Herrie’s activities form part of a broader endeavour to investigate and contribute to improved public transport operations and regulation in Sub-Saharan African cities under ACET – the African Centre of Excellence for Studies in Public and Non-motorised Transport.
Bringing Water into the 21st Century: Managing Water with Open Data
I chaired a session during the 4th Annual Silicon Valley Energy & Sustainability Summit organized by The Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
This special program convened on June 30th at Oracle Headquarters in Redwood City, California. The overarching theme was built around this question: “What’s Next After Paris & What’s In Store For California?”
Meeting the goals laid out in the Paris agreement signed in December 2015 will require new technologies, new policies and new financing – and, even then, the successful transition to clean energy will be quite difficult.
In seeking to meet the needs of residents, businesses and the environment, California lacks a comprehensive and accurate way to assess the water use and supply under its management responsibility. The State of California currently lacks the water data, or the widely adopted practices and technologies, which will enable better water management by its own governmental agencies. In addition, water infrastructure throughout the state is aging and in need of repair, numerous communities are without safe water, and many suffer from unreliable and degraded water supplies.
This 60-minute panel session featured a vigorous discussion of the various policies, technologies and practices that help California identify and remedy the problems it faces, while fostering innovation to address our most basic needs. As you might expect from anything involving Meeting of the Minds, there was a special focus on data and information systems.
The panelists who joined me on stage were these four leaders:
Goverment Affairs Manager Sonoma County Water Agency
Assemblymember California State Assembly Author of AB 1755, The Open and Transparent Water Data Act
Director of Operations and Market Development WaterSmart Software
Water Sector Lead for Smart Integrated Infrastructure and Director of Water Treatment Technology Black & Veatch
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Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology
Brownfields are sites that are vacant or underutilized due to environmental contamination, real or imagined. There are brownfields of some kind in virtually every city and town in the U.S., usually related to a gas station, dry cleaner, auto repair shop, car dealership or some other ubiquitous local business that once benefited the community it now burdens with environmental hazards or old buildings.
In addressing this issue, technology has not been effectively deployed to promote redevelopment of these sites and catalyze community revitalization. We find that the question around the use of technology and data in advancing the redevelopment of brownfields is twofold:
How can current and future technology advancements be applied to upgrade existing brownfield modeling tools? And then, how can those modeling tools be used to accelerate transformative, sustainable, and smart redevelopment and community revitalization?
Across the country, urban parks are enjoying a renaissance. Dozens of new parks are being built or restored and cities are being creative about how and where they are located. Space under highways, on old rail infrastructure, reclaimed industrial waterfronts or even landfills are all in play as development pressure on urban land grows along with outdoor recreation needs.
These innovative parks are helping cities face common challenges, from demographic shifts, to global competitiveness to changing climate conditions. Mayors and other city officials are taking a fresh look at parks to improve overall community health and sense of place, strengthen local economies by attracting new investments and creating jobs, help manage storm water run-off, improve air quality, and much more. When we think of city parks holistically, accounting for their full role in communities, they become some of the smartest investments we can make.