3 Lessons from Chula Vista to Help Clarify A Smart City Vision

Collaboration extends beyond City Hall. Unlike a city like New York, where most government functions are under the purview of the municipal government, a city the size of Chula Vista (population 268,000) or smaller has to collaborate with regional partners, such as school districts, hospital districts, water districts, the port district, and neighboring cities. By keeping dialogue open and working together on major projects we’ve opened up new opportunities for economic development, smart cities pilot initiatives and education.

Autonomous London

AVs can move more people in fewer vehicles on less congested streets compared to private cars. This means that some London streets could be made narrower and spare street space can be reallocated for other uses including bus lanes, cycling lanes, or expanded pavements. Street space can also be released for vegetation, allowing for cleaner streets and better storm water management.

California’s 2018 Climate Action Breakthrough

The 40-million people of California are not only growing the world’s fifth largest economy, they are accelerating the transition to use 100 percent renewables in less than 30 years. Recent success, shows that reaching 60 percent renewables for energy will be achieved and an enormous win for slowing global warming, improving health, efficient economy. Beyond 60 percent, there are several paths to carbon neutrality.

A Safe & Cost-Effective Alternative Water Supply for Potable Reuse

Altamonte Springs wanted to demonstrate a treatment system that produces purified water that meets or exceeds all drinking water quality standards. This would create an alternative water supply that is protective of public health and uses an energy-efficient technology to reduce or eliminate the production of a brine waste product. We had two primary goals for pureALTA and both are based on people. 

Change the Rules of Housing and Let Tiny Houses & ADUs Flourish

Change the Rules of Housing and Let Tiny Houses & ADUs Flourish

Right-sized living is far from a new idea. The architect Le Corbusier was a pioneer, from his cabanon at the Cote d’Azur to the super-efficient and well-designed density of Unite d’Habitation. This was a good idea then, as it is now. This is a classic case of the importance of the underlying rules of the game – the land use regulations, zoning, and building codes that guide our built environment. These more technical matters aren’t nearly as sexy as the shelter porn in Dwell magazine. But you can’t have one without the other.

Uber’s Mobility Dream Might Be a Consumer Nightmare

Uber’s Mobility Dream Might Be a Consumer Nightmare

In the long run, even the largest, most powerful cities will struggle to rein in sophisticated global mobility companies. Thoughtful regulation at the state and federal level will eventually be necessary. Cities are becoming more active in setting policy for emerging services like bikes and scooters, and can incorporate thoughtful requirements in their license schemes. There are steps that government can take today to avoid some of the worst long-term risks.

Trees Play a Key Role in a Sustainable Urban Future

Trees Play a Key Role in a Sustainable Urban Future

Urban trees remove over 710,000 tons of air pollution per year in the U.S., which has a major impact on fighting respiratory illnesses like asthma. Trees also filter up to 80% of phosphorus out of stormwater before it pollutes waterways and drinking water. And tree canopy shade, along with evapotranspiration (the return of water vapor from trees and vegetation back to the atmosphere), can lower peak temperatures by 2°-9°F—a key tool in combating the heat island effect present in many cities, which disproportionately impacts lower-income neighborhoods and other vulnerable populations.

How ITS and Technology Can Accelerate Making Cycling About People

How ITS and Technology Can Accelerate Making Cycling About People

Developing ITS solutions for cycling shows cyclists that they are appreciated and welcome in the city. Creating high-quality tech solutions for cyclists as a way of encouraging cycling was first tested in Denmark in 1999-2002 during the Odense Cycle City project. In addition to green waves and LED lane lights, the city and a local ITS company developed the world’s first so-called cyclist counter, which is now implemented in cities all over the world.

How the Town of West Union Built a Transformational Geothermal Project

How the Town of West Union Built a Transformational Geothermal Project

Downtown West Union is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building stock dates from the late 1800s to 1910 and remains relatively intact. Having a downtown full of historic buildings can be a wonderful asset. Perhaps not the same can be said for 100+ year old underground infrastructure when seeking to serve 21st century business.

An Overview of California’s Water Challenges and Solutions

An Overview of California’s Water Challenges and Solutions

The groundwater basin is only 46 percent full, but that is an annual improvement thanks to reduced pumping. Beyond centralized water recycling, water reuse is also done at the building level, following zero-energy and living-design principles. Water efficiency, AMI (advanced meters), leak detection, storage, infrastructure, and IoT with sensors are all helping.

A Parking Solution for Smart Cities

Parking is a tough problem, and it’s a common issue for many cities across the globe. Municipalities face the challenge of keeping residents happy while also providing a welcoming atmosphere to out-of-towners when an influx of traffic occurs.

Observations & Predictions for Cities Based on Three Revolutions

Mobility could get much better or it could get worse. Planning, policy, and pricing will make the difference. Done well, we will have fast mobility powered with renewable energy as we travel connected cities on high-speed rail, then fast commuter rail and electric buses, with last mile services that include ride-hailing AV-EV shuttles, cars, bikes and safer walking.

Fostering Trust by Reimagining our Shared Public Spaces

Akron Civic Commons launched in 2016 as a demonstration project of Reimagining the Civic Commons. After selecting Summit Lake as one of the sites for reinvestment, we immediately recognized that one of the greatest challenges to the work was overcoming decades of broken promises. There was a legacy of things being done to the community, not with them, and a healthy skepticism and mistrust of government and community organizations. If we wanted to do this work, it was imperative that we restore trust as part of the process.

Key Lessons Learned in the Quest to Re-green Chicago

The data we have gathered about trees in this region are powerful, but are mostly meaningful because they are in fine enough in detail to be applicable at a local scale. We spent our first few years gathering data so we could identify solutions based on need and not speculation.

10 Ways Portland is Addressing Housing Issues

Here are 10 ways Portland is tackling housing—along a spectrum from homelessness to homeownership, and creating affordable solutions along that spectrum. We have focused our efforts on leveraging funding sources, and maximizing strategic investment opportunities.

Better Urban Living Through Parking Solutions

Cities and private parking owners can use parking analytics to create policies and rates, adapting them to changing conditions or shifts in demand. Parking analytics help managers better understand pricing and maximize revenue in different parts of the city. This can also be adjusted for special events or if new businesses move into a location.

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