Blockchain has the potential to create countless smart networks and grids, altering how we do everything from vote and build credit to receive energy. In many ways, it could be a crucial component of what is needed to circumvent outdated systems and build long-lasting solutions for cities.
Take, for instance, electricity. With the help of blockchain, we can turn microgrids into a reality on a macro scale, enabling communities to more easily embrace solar power and other more sustainable sources, which in turn will result in fewer emissions and lower healthcare costs and rates of disease.
Growing numbers of cities, utilities and governments are recognizing the benefits of smart lighting. In addition to energy efficiency, these advantages include reduced carbon emissions, improved public safety, improved data insights and more, leading more and more cities around the world to incorporate smart LED lighting into their automated ecosystems.
Planners, engineers, and public health professionals all speak different languages. They may even use different terms to express similar ideas: for example, a planner may recommend tactical urbanism to improve neighborhood walkability, whereas an engineer may ascribe experimental countermeasure terminology to the same scenario, and a public health professional may view the solution in terms of an intervention. And community members may find all these terms unintelligible. In our focus groups, we heard that practitioners need to “get people on the same page” because of the differences we carry in our heads about transportation concepts.
For the city itself, there’s an enormous benefit in integrating intermodally with the airport. In the potential futures presented by autonomous vehicles, there’s the capacity for the airport to become essentially estranged from the city, a faraway piece of infrastructure relegated to long-haul travel, which wouldn’t be a future at all for many regional, non-coastal airports. Having the airport serve as one of the city’s core intermodal hubs draws the airport and city closer together functionally and emotionally.
Lighting infrastructure is a perfect example of futureproofing. As cities are swapping out traditional high-pressure sodium street lights with energy-efficient LEDs and smart nodes that can remotely monitor and control the lights, don’t just be thinking about a smart lighting solution. Think about the position those streetlights are in to support so much more, like intersection safety analytics, parking optimization, and gunshot detection.
While it may sound like a simple process, there are challenges to consider when it comes to the effectiveness of parking sensors, such as their location. For example, in-ground sensors, a technology used by some cities in the past, presented a myriad of problems, including ineffective readings that can result in unreliable data and lost revenue.
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.
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.
Water is valuable during all parts of this interconnected urban water cycle – there are opportunities at every step to maximize use that benefits the community, economy and environment. Viewing water as a resource and understanding the interconnectedness of One Water allows for innovative solutions to arise.
Fear can spurn action but it can often be paralyzing. When it comes to “acts of God,” leaders can take a fatalistic or resigned approach. We can’t prevent earthquakes or hurricanes, so if the big one hits, what really can we do about it? The fallacy in this approach is an all or nothing perspective. The belief that if I cannot solve the entire problem, then why bother?
In order to realize its potential, green infrastructure must be designed holistically in partnership with the community, delivered at scale, and maintained for the long-term.
City Light became an early leader in acknowledging climate change and supporting business practices to reduce utilities’ carbon footprints. Acknowledging this was an important first step in reducing the communal impact of this city that lies in the heart of the beautiful Pacific Northwest.