Do Cities Really Need Innovation?

By Dave Hahn

Dave Hahn is the Director of Digital Strategy for Meeting of the Minds.

Oct 17, 2012 | Announcements | 0 comments

Do citizens really need apps? Or should city leaders keep their focus on paved roads and zoning rules?

The question is raised in John King’s coverage of Meeting of the Minds 2012 in the San Francisco Chronicle: ‘Meeting of the Minds’ on cities’ future.

An excerpt:

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.

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Your email address will not be published.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 *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Read more from MeetingoftheMinds.org

Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology

How Stormwater Infrastructure Balances Utility and Placemaking

How Stormwater Infrastructure Balances Utility and Placemaking

I see the outcomes of Duke Pond as a representation of the importance of the profession of landscape architecture in today’s world. Once obscured by the glaring light and booming voice long-generated by building architects, landscape architects are steadily emerging as the designers needed to tackle complex 21st century problems. As both leaders and collaborators, their work is addressing the effects of rising sea level on coastal cities, creating multi-modal pedestrian and vehicular transportation systems to reduce carbon emissions, reimagining outdated infrastructure as great urban places, and as with the case of Duke Pond, mitigating the impacts of worsening drought.

The 7 Forces of Artificial Intelligence in Cities

The 7 Forces of Artificial Intelligence in Cities

AI has enormous potential to improve the lives of billions of people living in cities and facing a multitude of challenges. However, a blind focus on the technological issues is not sufficient. We are already starting to see a moderation of the technocentric view of algorithmic salvation in New York City, which is the first city in the world to appoint a chief algorithm officer.

There are 7 primary forces determining the success of AI, of which technology is just one. Cities must realize that AI is not the quick technological fix that vendors sell. Not everything will be improved by creating more algorithms and technical prowess. We need to develop a more holistic approach to implementing AI in cities in order to harness the immense potential. We need to create a way to consider each of the seven forces when cities plan for the use of AI.

I Am The River, The River is Me: Prioritizing Well-being Through Water Policy

I Am The River, The River is Me: Prioritizing Well-being Through Water Policy

In New Zealand, persistent, concentrated advocacy and legal cases advanced by Māori people are inspiring biocentric policies; that is, those which recognize that people and nature, including living and non-living elements, are part of an interconnected whole. Along the way, tribal leaders and advocates are successfully making the case that nature; whole systems of rivers, lakes, forests, mountains, and more, deserves legal standing to ensure its protection. An early legislative “win” granted personhood status to the Te Urewera forest in 2014, which codified into law these moving lines:

“Te Urewera is ancient and enduring, a fortress of nature, alive with history; its scenery is abundant with mystery, adventure, and remote beauty … Te Urewera has an identity in and of itself, inspiring people to commit to its care.”

The Te Urewera Act of 2014 did more than redefine how a forest would be managed, it pushed forward the practical expression of a new policy paradigm.

Share This