Weekly Round-up of Smart City News

By Dave Hahn

Dave Hahn is the Director of Communications for Meeting of the Minds. He leads the organization's online and offline communications strategy.

This is a weekly round-up of interesting blog posts and news from urban sustainability thought leaders around the world.

  • As the NHS, the public health care system in the United Kingdom, works to put their health records online by 2015, the are looking to the US for help opening up their public data to citizens. White House Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Government Innovation, Chris Vein, spoke to Computer World UK about the process.
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  • The Smart City Expo World Congress took place in Barcelona this week, convening 3,055 delegates and 319 speakers from 82 countries. Among the major announcements was the official launch of the City Protocol, the first certification system for smart cities. Read the press release and find out more at CityProtocol.org.
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  • Anthony Flint published an article in The Atlantic Cities this week discussing the challenges and innovations that have taken place in the mobile workplace since 1999. Flint points to major players in the work-place revolution, including LiquidSpace, Cisco, Accenture and others.
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  • Maggie Comstock wrote a blog post for the World Bank, citing the recent release of the State of the World’s Cities Report 2012/2013 and the new City Prosperity Index. The report looks to define what “prosperity” means for cities in 2012 and what best practices can help cities become smarter, more sustainable and more just.
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  • “Urban resiliency” seems to be on everyone’s minds this week. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, blogger Kaizhong Huang calls for sustainable city development to be put on the national agenda. Read about it at TheCityAtlas.org.

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Read more from the CityMinded.org Blog

Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology

Big Data, Automation, and the Future of Transportation

In recent years, a variety of forces (economic, environmental, and social) have quickly given rise to “shared mobility,” a collective of entrepreneurs and consumers leveraging technology to share transportation resources, save money, and generate capital. Bikesharing services, such as BCycle, and business-to-consumer carsharing services, such as Zipcar, have become part of a sociodemographic trend that has pushed shared mobility from the fringe to the mainstream. The role of shared mobility in the broader landscape of urban mobility has become a frequent topic of discussion. Shared transportation modes—such as bikesharing, carsharing, ridesharing, ridesourcing/transportation network companies (TNCs), and microtransit—are changing how people travel and are having a transformative effect on smart cities.

Smart Cities and the Weather

A study by the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in 2008 found that the impact of routine weather events on the US economy equates annually to about 3.4% of the country’s GDP (about $485 billion). This excludes the impact of extreme weather events that cause damage and disruption – after all, even “ordinary” weather affects supply of and demand for many items, and the propensity of businesses and consumers to buy them. NCAR found that mining and agriculture are particularly sensitive to weather influences, with utilities and retail not far behind.

Many of these, disaster management included, are the focus of smart city innovations. Not surprisingly, therefore, as they seek to improve and optimize these systems, smart cities are beginning to understand the connection between weather and many of their goals.  A number of vendors (for example, IBM, Schneider Electric, and others) now offer weather data-driven services focused specifically on smart city interests.

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