Improving Cities’ Ability to Pilot Smart Solutions
Cities are aware of less than 10% of the solutions available to them, yet almost 90% of cities do not trust information from providers, according to Citymart.com. So how to solve this mismatch?
The Living Labs Global Award (LLGA) held their Cities Summit in San Francisco last week, bringing together innovation leaders from 22 cities as well as 120 solutions providers nominated for awards (chosen out of 456 entries). Through this process, cities launch calls for solutions, then select the best solutions to deploy on the streets, and commit to implement these pilots. LLGA estimates that their solutions reach citizens 3 times faster and save 90% compared with otherwise projected costs.
Solutions ranged from technology such as urban parasols that increase utilization of outdoor seating areas through efficient heating, lighting, and connectivity, to new grassroots community models of neighbor-to-neighbor green home makeovers. Checkout the video of the dialogue and announcement of winners.
Here’s a glimpse at some of the winning solutions, chosen by a committee of 200 jurors. Since these are chosen with an eye toward scalability and demonstrated track record, it’s nice to know they have high potential to be implemented, particularly in cities that already have broadcast their needs (see Sant Cugat, Spain’s Smart City Strategic Plan).
Challenge: Smart cities want to keep their smart citizens and visitors always informed with relevant information: when is the bus coming? What is the history of this monument? What is the next event at the exhibition hall? When will the roadwork be done?
- Reduce the cost of information delivery (digital signs are expensive)
- Put information at the point of query (who's using this space tomorrow?)
- Build stronger connection with citizens by providing customized information (promotion of neighborhood events)
Though the jury may still be out on QR codes used in marketing campaigns, maybe cities have the scale and motivation to make this happen?
Tacoma, Washington, USA
Challenge: City government is seeking a capital project-based life-cycle assessment tool for evaluating sustainable return on investment
Solution: Deploy the One Planet Operating System (OPOS) for cities, an on-line system for learning, collaboration, valuation and trading system based on BioRegional's sustainability framework called One Planet Living. The system would theoretically provide real time information to help with evaluation of tradeoffs and decision-making in procurement or implementation. As cities increasingly adopt green building codes, procurement policies, zero waste goals, and smart technology initiatives, perhaps we need better tools to accelerate the process.
Challenge: Revitalize vacant neighbourhood spaces (both indoor and out) by creating opportunities for economic growth and employment.
Solution: Avoid the empty shop problem by creating value for landlords and community organizations or ideas. Leverage an easy-in easy-out system and control mechanism that reduces the risk for landlords whilst simplifying the process for the end user, from 3Space. Though landlords of these vacant properties may not gain rental income, they can benefit from the activation of their empty properties in other ways. Users of these spaces will often invest time and funds into making the property more attractive, and maintenance and security costs are greatly reduced. For locations in transition, the use of multiple buildings in this way has the potential to improve neighborhood perception, increasing property values in the longer term. As pop-up restaurants and co-working offices proliferate and redefine our utilization of and attitude toward space ownership, more and more flexibility will be needed between owners and occupiers.
Leave your comment below, or reply to others.
Read more from the Meeting of the Minds Blog
Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology
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.
The idea of multi-channel civic engagement and the role of the grassroots community marketer is being implemented by forward-thinking smart city leaders who understand the importance—and economic benefits—of giving their constituents a voice. More investments are being made into digital systems that reach and engage the public.
From an energy type standpoint, a city’s electric utility can make a big difference regarding which actions cities should undertake. For instance, a city in the service territory of an electric utility with ambitious plans to decarbonize its generation mix may want to focus greater attention on future emissions scenarios versus current emissions when making decisions on priorities. This would mean focusing actions on transportation, space heating, and industrial processes, since those would likely be greater contributors to emissions (vs. electricity) in such a future scenario.