Do Cities Really Need Innovation?
Do citizens really need apps? Or should city leaders keep their focus on paved roads and zoning rules?
Yes, cities need to innovate. They need to be more nimble. But the priorities of most people in most cities are more basic. An app that finds us a parking space isn’t as important as streets that are paved or parks that are safe. We don’t want our neighbor renting his or her apartment to short-term boarders if the folks passing through cause a late-night ruckus.
While smooth roads and safe parks are, and should be, the main focus of city leaders attention – it would be a mistake to ignore the revolution of smart city innovation and technology. Indeed, apps like seeclickfix and others can help city leaders to respond more quickly and more effectively to these basic needs of citizens. A city’s priority should not just be to make life livable, but also – as James Anderson of Schneider Electric said last week – sustainable and efficient.
Furthermore, basic needs and modern innovations are never mutually exclusive. This was made most clear last week by the presentations from three San Francisco leaders – Jay Nath, the Chief Innovation Officer of the San Francisco; Jon Walton, the Chief Information Officer of San Francisco; and Mayor Edwin Lee himself. All three presented a vision for the city of San Francisco that encouraged innovation and fostered the citizen-public-private partnerships that are needed for these innovations to succeed.
Does city innovation potentially lead somewhere “murky,” as John King suggests? What do you think? Leave a comment below to continue the 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.
Read more from the Meeting of the Minds Blog
Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology
Shifting to a high-tech mobility future is challenging transportation experts to think in a different way. It used to be the car was the common thread for all this data, but we are now making room for so many new modes, and new ways to gather analytics for those modes.
We’re at the point where we have plenty of data, now it’s time to start understanding these issues and how they interact. Mobility experts have created measurement tools, but not as much thought about how they all come together for the bigger picture.
Big Data is helping integrate these data flows, making sense of disparate sensors and creating a single-source “dashboard” that gives cities a whole new level of insight into the modes on their streets.
The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office reforms provide an excellent example of behavior change requiring attention and effort on many fronts. From systems and technology, to human resources and processes, multiple changes have been underway in parallel within this organization.
During the Mobilize Summit, urban transport and development practitioners come together alongside world-class researchers to celebrate best practices and accelerate implementation of sustainable transport projects grounded in equity. All the panelists agreed about the need to help decision-makers trust and believe that change is possible. “For instance, everyone thought rampant bike theft in Medellín would be the inevitable downfall of our bike share program, but it just didn’t happen that way,” explained Lina. “Our early adopters were the ‘rock stars’ who helped change hearts and minds simply through their passionate embrace and adoption of cycling.”