City Protocol’s “Anatomy” Sets Foundation for Interoperable City Platform

By Sue Lebeck

Sue Lebeck is the Chair Emeritus of the City Protocol Task Force (CPTF), an open collaborative R&D community hosted by the City Protocol Society (CPS) to help create the Internet of Cities. Sue is also technology advisor to the Cool City Challenge,  creator of InnovatingSMART, and contributor to GreenBiz.

Jul 17, 2014 | Smart Cities | 0 comments


Who will you meet?

Cities are innovating, companies are pivoting, and start-ups are growing. Like you, every urban practitioner has a remarkable story of insight and challenge from the past year.

Meet these peers and discuss the future of cities in the new Meeting of the Minds Executive Cohort Program. Replace boring virtual summits with facilitated, online, small-group discussions where you can make real connections with extraordinary, like-minded people.


 

Cities hold the opportunity – and arguably the responsibility – to host and shape the vibrant and sustainable societies of tomorrow.   I first “got” this in a deep way in 2012 while reading the report “CityStates: How Cities are vital to the future of sustainability.”

This report, developed by Chris Guenther and Mohammed Al-Shawaf of SustainAbility, outlines how the power of the CityState is derived and enhanced by being “connected, decisive, adaptive, collaborative/competitive, visceral, personal and experimental.”   The understanding of a City as a potent jurisdiction for sustainability-driven transformation was born in me that day.  As Al-Shawaf asserts in the video introduction to the report, “Sustainability needs cities as much as cities need sustainability.”

So — I was intrigued to discover the City Protocol while doing research for a series of sustainability-focused articles on Smart Cities earlier this year.

The City Protocol seeks to define a common systems view for cities, and co-develop protocols that will help innovators create and cities deploy interoperable and sustainable solutions –  solutions which help cities and citizens to connect, decide, adapt, collaborate/compete and experiment in a personal, experimental – and yet risk-mitigated – way.

As a veteran in Internet/messaging protocol and platform development, I quickly understood the potential power of this premise.   And I am privileged and pleased to say I have recently become Chair of the City Protocol technical effort.

Interoperable City Platform

The City Protocol will enable powerful solutions-development, and powerful  learning  within cities – all while crossing city siloes, and serving diverse city profiles.

The City Protocol will do this by enabling the creation of a platform to support the Internet of Cities.  This platform will:

  • Enable a city to sense and see itself, measure and manage itself, and evolve and transform itself;
  • Enable diverse cities to deploy common and interoperable solutions, reducing cost and risk, and increasing solution choice; and
  • Enable cities to compare and share, to learn and evolve together in both competitive and cooperative ways.

An Open and Global Process

The City Protocol will be developed through an open and global process of the City Protocol Task Force (CPTF).  The CPTF was created, and is hosted, supported and empowered by the City Protocol Society (CPS), a non-profit community of institutional members including cities, commercial and non-profit organizations, universities and research institutions.

The CPS is organized under the premise that “the whole cycle of innovation can only be enabled by a solid, trust-based cross-sector partnership. It is only by bringing together the resources and strengths of all key stakeholders that cities will be able to meet the challenges they are faced with every day.” CPS invites city-focused institutions to join them as members in supporting this work.

The CPTF invites city-focused individuals from cities, from businesses, from universities and other organizations, and independent affiliation from around the world into this open and global community.  Informed by the practices of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and grounded in the principles of Open-Stand, the CPTF will co-create – in collaboration with each other, and with other city-centered and standards-creating organizations – a series of “City Protocol Agreements”, or CPAs.

A Community of City-Focused Working Groups

In the CPTF, we call our CPA-creating working groups “Task-and-Finish-Teams” or TAFTs. The CPTF is further organized into “Thematic Areas” (TAs) which, together with the CP Technical Steering Committee (CPTSC), provide a systems integration view of, and guidance to, individual TAFT initiatives.

We are currently working on two foundational TAFT initiatives.

The “Anatomy of City Habitat” (internal acronym “ancha”) TAFT has created a City Anatomy framework which “describes the various inter-dependent systems that comprise a city, in generic, systemic, visual and comprehensive terms. “ It has just issued its first complete informational working draft (CPWD-I) and is seeking feedback from interested cities (see below).

The “Urban Metabolism Information Systems” (internal acronym “umis”) TAFT is just beginning its work, which will build upon the Anatomy by “developing a protocol for managing information in ways that make it easy to continuously track and draw ‘flows’ for the core urban subsystems.“

Many additional TAFTs are forming as we speak.  Join our open forum  and see what’s brewing!

ancha_sketchHelp us Evolve City Protocol’s “City Anatomy”

We have just completed a working draft of the City Anatomy informational CP Agreement.  This first CPTF deliverable provides an organizing framework for the City Protocol.  It creates a foundation upon which to build tools to support effective city governance, evaluation and transformation.

The City Anatomy offers a common language describing the city ecosystem as a set of physical Structures, the living entities that make up a city’s Society, and the Information flows between them.  In so doing, it suggests an analogy to the human anatomy which further informs the vibrant dynamics of a city – think nervous system, circulatory system, digestive system and more.

Cities interested and willing to help us assess and evolve this working draft are invited to contact me at slebeck@cityprotocol.org.    Meanwhile, all city-minded professionals anywhere are invited to join our open forum at the City Protocol Task Force.  We’d love to hear from you!

As a contributor and sometimes leader in developing the innovation-serving Internet/open messaging platform we rely on today, I am personally pleased and privileged to directly support this process as Chair.  And as a champion of cities – with the power and challenges that they hold – I am thrilled to have joined this community of knowledgeable and city-wise technical contributors.

Discussion

Leave your comment below, or reply to others.

Please note that this comment section is for thoughtful, on-topic discussions. Admin approval is required for all comments. Your comment may be edited if it contains grammatical errors. Low effort, self-promotional, or impolite comments will be deleted.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read more from MeetingoftheMinds.org

Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology

Sustainability and Resilience: Not Quite the Perfect Relationship

Sustainability and Resilience: Not Quite the Perfect Relationship

People seem frequently to assume that the terms “sustainability” and “resilience” are synonyms, an impression reinforced by the frequent use of the term “climate resilience”, which seems to enmesh both concepts firmly.  In fact, while they frequently overlap, and indeed with good policy and planning reinforce one another, they are not the same.  This article picks them apart to understand where one ends and the other begins, and where the “sweet spot” lies in achieving mutual reinforcement to the benefit of disaster risk reduction (DRR).

Stormwater Management is an Equity Issue

Stormwater Management is an Equity Issue

As extreme weather conditions become the new normal—from floods in Baton Rouge and Venice to wildfires in California, we need to clean and save stormwater for future use while protecting communities from flooding and exposure to contaminated water. Changing how we manage stormwater has the potential to preserve access to water for future generations; prevent unnecessary illnesses, injuries, and damage to communities; and increase investments in green, climate-resilient infrastructure, with a focus on communities where these kinds of investments are most needed.

Public-Private Collaboration – Essential for Disaster Risk Reduction

Public-Private Collaboration – Essential for Disaster Risk Reduction

A few years ago, I worked with some ARISE-US members to carry out a survey of small businesses in post-Katrina New Orleans of disaster risk reduction (DRR) awareness.  One theme stood out to me more than any other.  The businesses that had lived through Katrina and survived well understood the need to be prepared and to have continuity plans.  Those that were new since Katrina all tended to have the view that, to paraphrase, “well, government (city, state, federal…) will take care of things”.

While the experience after Katrina, of all disasters, should be enough to show anyone in the US that there are limits on what government can do, it does raise the question, of what could and should public and private sectors expect of one another?

The Future of Cities

Mayors, planners, futurists, technologists, executives and advocates — hundreds of urban thought leaders publish on Meeting of the Minds. Sign up to follow the future of cities.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Wait! Before You Leave —

Wait! Before You Leave —

Subscribe to receive updates on the Executive Cohort Program!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This