Repurposing the Built Environment – A Major Theme at Meeting of the Minds 2012
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.
The major themes from last week’s Meeting of the Minds are beginning to emerge as speakers, attendees and press begin to parse through the abundance of insights and innovations presented at the event.
One of the major themes this year was the repurposing of the built environment, specifically telephone booths and light poles.
Fast Company’s Ariel Schwartz reported this week on a new project from City24x7 to retrofit old phone booths in New York City with 32-inch touch screens that display hyper-local transportation, event and business info.
From Fast Company’s website:
The screen, which I previewed at the recent Meeting of the Minds conference in San Francisco, looks familiar to anyone who uses a smartphone; it’s filled with buttons that look like apps–and in fact, many of the services are based on real apps and available online services (restaurant reviews come from Google Places’ Zagat information, transportation data comes from real-time transit app Roadify). The difference is that the information is tailored to your exact location and available in one place. “It’s highly integrated. You don’t need to go to the Roadify website–all channels of the city are local to where you are,” explains Jeff Frazier, director of global public sector practice at Cisco IBSG (Cisco is also involved in the SmartScreen project).
Read the full article here: Turning Old Phone Booths Into Digital Information Hubs
Another example of renewing the urban environment came during Mayor Gregor Robertson’s presentation, when he spoke about the installation of V-Poles in the city of Vancouver.
The V-Pole is a multipurpose light pole for modern urban living. From V-Pole.com:
The V-Pole (‘V’ for Vancouver) is a slim, modular utility pole connected to underground optical wiring. In a simple Lego-like manner, it can be installed in urban settings and provides neighborhoods with wi-fi and mobile wireless, LED street lighting, electric vehicle charging, parking transactions and can act as an electronic neighborhood bulletin board.
The V-Pole will be more energy-efficient and cost-effective than the current generation of utility structures found on city streets, and will reduce visual clutter along the streetscape.
What other themes emerged for you at Meeting of the Minds 2012?
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 MeetingoftheMinds.org
Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology
The development of public, open-access middle mile infrastructure can expand internet networks closer to unserved and underserved communities while offering equal opportunity for ISPs to link cost effectively to last mile infrastructure. This strategy would connect more Americans to high-speed internet while also driving down prices by increasing competition among local ISPs.
In addition to potentially helping narrow the digital divide, middle mile infrastructure would also provide backup options for networks if one connection pathway fails, and it would help support regional economic development by connecting businesses.
One of the most visceral manifestations of the combined problems of urbanization and climate change are the enormous wildfires that engulf areas of the American West. Fire behavior itself is now changing. Over 120 years of well-intentioned fire suppression have created huge reserves of fuel which, when combined with warmer temperatures and drought-dried landscapes, create unstoppable fires that spread with extreme speed, jump fire-breaks, level entire towns, take lives and destroy hundreds of thousands of acres, even in landscapes that are conditioned to employ fire as part of their reproductive cycle.
ARISE-US recently held a very successful symposium, “Wildfire Risk Reduction – Connecting the Dots” for wildfire stakeholders – insurers, US Forest Service, engineers, fire awareness NGOs and others – to discuss the issues and their possible solutions. This article sets out some of the major points to emerge.
Whether deep freezes in Texas, wildfires in California, hurricanes along the Gulf Coast, or any other calamity, our innovations today will build the reliable, resilient, equitable, and prosperous grid tomorrow. Innovation, in short, combines the dream of what’s possible with the pragmatism of what’s practical. That’s the big-idea, hard-reality approach that helped transform Texas into the world’s energy powerhouse — from oil and gas to zero-emissions wind, sun, and, soon, geothermal.
It’s time to make the production and consumption of energy faster, smarter, cleaner, more resilient, and more efficient. Business leaders, political leaders, the energy sector, and savvy citizens have the power to put investment and practices in place that support a robust energy innovation ecosystem. So, saddle up.