The Intersection of Smart Cities & Smart State Policy

By Gordon Feller, Founder, Meeting of the Minds

Gordon Feller founded Meeting of the Minds in order to harness the power of a global leadership network to build innovation-powered sustainable city futures. Gordon has worked for more than four decades at the intersection of global sustainability, government policy, and private investment focused on emerging technologies.

May 23, 2016 | Smart Cities | 0 comments

As homes, businesses, cities and governments continue to migrate to newer, faster technologies, the world is witnessing a seismic shift in how we all live, work, and communicate. Advanced, Internet-based technologies have become the primary mechanism by which cities and communities gather, share, and grow. Today, there are some 15 billion internet connected devices, think Internet of Things (IoT), and that number is estimated to jump to 50 billion by 2020.[1] In order to keep up with this staggering demand, we need public policies that support the shift from outdated networks to modern infrastructure.

Unlike the monopoly era telephone networks still in existence, modern IP networks actually have the capacity to keep up with our changing society by quickly and efficiently transmitting vast amounts of data. These modern networks are vital as cities more fully employ IoT technologies to better manage data and municipal resources. These IoT technologies weave through smart cities creating interoperability between resource agencies, allowing those agencies to serve the public at maximum efficiency. Yet that efficiency requires 21st-century infrastructure which necessitates smart state policies.

In California, a bill currently before the legislature, AB 2395, authored by Assemblymember Evan Low, seeks to transition—starting in 2020—from the outmoded legacy phone system to advanced IP-based technologies and services. The bill recognizes the future needs of California and sets the right policy goals to promote IP networks and services across the state. This policy framework creates the right environment to build out modern infrastructure that can make cities and communities across California smarter and more sustainable.

New communications infrastructure is already leading to energy optimizations, improved resource allocation, and more sustainable urban habitats. This network modernization is critical as urban populations globally are projected to grow by around 60 million people each year.[2] Rapid urbanization strains resources and can deeply impact the environment.

Cities must be able to communicate quickly, effectively and intelligently in order to conserve resources and mitigate risk. For example, it’s not uncommon for a city to lose up to 50 percent of water via leaks.[3] Drought-plagued California as a whole loses more than 220 billion gallons of potable water a year due to leaks.[4] IoT technologies offer cities the ability to recognize these vulnerabilities, and collect and analyze increasingly large amounts of data in order to better manage critical resources.

More than ever it’s important that policymakers support modern network technology infrastructure that will allow for unprecedented information and data sharing. AB 2395 addresses the reality that old phone networks cannot support California’s future needs, and these old networks are diverting significant investment and resources away from modern infrastructure. Only IP-based technologies and services can seamlessly deliver data and information to improve the sustainability of our cities and improve our quality of life. Simple policy changes, like those provided by AB 2395, can be an essential tool to deliver the mechanisms for this valuable and necessary technology shift.


[1] Building Scalable, Sustainable, Smart+Connected Communities with Fog Computing

[2] The Internet of Everything for Cities

[3] United Nations Water and Cities, Pg. 2

[4] California’s Water Agencies Lose Millions of Gallons Underground

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

How Urban Industry Can Contribute Green Solutions for COVID-Related Health Disparities

How Urban Industry Can Contribute Green Solutions for COVID-Related Health Disparities

The best nature-based solutions on urban industrial lands are those that are part of a corporate citizenship or conservation strategy like DTE’s or Phillips66. By integrating efforts such as tree plantings, restorations, or pollinator gardens into a larger strategy, companies begin to mainstream biodiversity into their operations. When they crosswalk the effort to other CSR goals like employee engagement, community relations, and/or workforce development, like the CommuniTree initiative, the projects become more resilient.

Air quality in urban residential communities near industrial facilities will not be improved by nature alone. But nature can contribute to the solution, and while doing so, bring benefits including recreation, education, and an increased sense of community pride. As one tool to combat disparate societal outcomes, nature is accessible, affordable and has few, if any, downsides.

Crisis funding for public parks

Crisis funding for public parks

I spoke last week to Adrian Benepe, former commissioner for the NYC Parks Department and currently the Senior Vice President and Director of National Programs at The Trust for Public Land.

We discussed a lot of things – the increased use of parks in the era of COVID-19, the role parks have historically played – and currently play – in citizens’ first amendment right to free speech and protests, access & equity for underserved communities, the coming budget shortfalls and how they might play out in park systems.

I wanted to pull out the discussion we had about funding for parks and share Adrian’s thoughts with all of you, as I think it will be most timely and valuable as we move forward with new budgets and new realities.

3 Ways Communities Can Bond with Residents in the Age of Covid & Beyond

3 Ways Communities Can Bond with Residents in the Age of Covid & Beyond

There is a risk of further widening the gap between so-called ‘knowledge workers’ able to do their jobs remotely and afford to move, and those with place-based employment who cannot. Beyond that, retreating residents might take the very identity and uniqueness of the places they abandon with them.

Nurturing the community-resident bond could be an antidote to these dismaying departures, and new research sheds light on how. A recent report by the Urban Institute and commissioned by the Knight Foundation surveyed 11,000 residents of 26 U.S. metro areas to uncover what amenities created a “sense of attachment and connection to their city or community.” Three key recommendations emerged in Smart Cities Dive’s synopsis of the results.

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

Sign up for our email list to receive resources and invites related to sustainability, equity, and technology in cities!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This