“Downtowns have an important and unique role in economic and social development for their cities and create a critical mass of activities where commercial, cultural, and civic activities are concentrated. This concentration facilitates business, learning, and cultural exchange.” – The International Downtown Association
Is it out of the realm of possibility that the privatization that happened with other critical infrastructure in prior years in the US could also happen with the nation’s road network? It is a controversial and seemingly impossible thing to consider. Yet it is a question that only something as large and transformative as the autonomous vehicle can answer.
Sea rise and extreme climate are challenging urban planners to be regional planners; they confront civic leaders with the need to take a long view of time and see beyond city boundaries. We also see how global employers can lead in shifting jobs and relocating facilities.
Today’s blog post is part II of Peter Coffee’s series on blockchain. “The future of many things, based on blockchain and the larger family of connection-intensive and cooperative data models, is here – because it is distributed.”
Urban areas are certainly important, but not exclusively so. Large swaths of population and economy reside in America’s suburbs, exurbs, and rural communities – each of which faces unique challenges that require tailored approaches. Americans outside urban areas not only recognize the impacts of climate change, they are driving unique adaptation approaches.
Cities have been the focal point for innovation and digitalization strategies for over a decade. From broadband deployment strategies, smart city pilots, projects and programs, to intelligent urban mobility schemes or open data initiatives: cities have led the way. Innovation agendas cannot and must not stop at city limits, however. Smart regional approaches represent the best recipe for digital inclusion, the scaling of relevant innovations, and accessibility to opportunity for all. Five points as to why we must and should consider smart region strategies for our communities.
Changing the paradigm from traditional technocratic solutions to those that are more agile, adaptable, and affordable is the key for the future. Although the water sector is conservative by nature, it needs innovation to challenge the status quo and that can overcome the constraints of existing infrastructure, governance, and prior decisions. It’s easy to put blame on governments, which are working hard and dealing at high volume to supply the demand of constituents. Citizens also must change their habits and tastes in order to make change work.
Some experts argue that smart precincts should provide a more complex and ambitious mix of space uses and typologies in a way that that defies simple characterisation. This view goes against allowing one typology to dominate the mixed-use precinct, and sees real value in the intermix between several different functions.
Especially if the government is offering matching funds to participating groups, a civic crowdfunding platform should be able to carry the compliance burden for participants. Small volunteer-led organizations can be burdened by agencies’ requirements that they submit forms and receipts before receiving their matching funds. Similarly, the delay between purchase and reimbursement can severely restrict cash flow for groups with small or no budgets.
Designers, planners, developers, and architects are trained to look beyond the boundaries of their project or site. The larger environment, history, culture, and economies shape the urban landscape whether for small sites, neighborhoods, districts, towns or cities. The metropolitan region is now the platform from which cities interact with the globe. As a result, every project must push beyond static jurisdictional boundaries or simple property lines to the regional context. Expanding the domain always leads to more sustainable and powerful schemes. It is essential for planning in the 21st century.
Earlier in my career I learned the hard way that you can never ratchet expectations above the baseline you set in those critical early moments of a project or initiative. People and organizations very quickly settle into the level of performance that they deem acceptable to you.