SmartPlanet Coverage of Meeting of the Minds 2012
SmartPlanet’s Rachel King continued her excellent coverage of Meeting of the Minds 2012 this week with two articles focused on Colin Harrison and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.
‘Smart’ cities organize services around needs
The digital and physical worlds are converging, enabling us to leverage information to develop new insights and wisdom, according to IBM engineer Dr. Colin Harrison.
Speaking at Meeting of the Minds 2012 on Wednesday morning, Harrison covered the basic set of principles behind IBM’s Intelligent Operations Center and portfolio of solutions designed to enable smarter cities and intelligent systems for public safety, utilities, transportation, social programs and venues.
In explaining the genesis behind the Smarter Planet initiative at IBM, Harrison cited that the world has produced the following during the last 20 years:
- A global, high-bandwidth network
- A population of over 1 billion Internet users
- Roughly 4 billion mobile phones
- Billions of embedded sensors in infrastructures and environment
- Globally-integrated business processes
Harrison posited that it is no longer necessary to make guesses about what is happening today or what might happen tomorrow because we have the data and the planet is wired for that data.Read the full article
Vancouver mayor: Cities are ‘most entrepreneurial level of government’
Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson asserts that his city’s economy will be the fastest growing of any city in Canada, adding that defies the myth that you can’t be green and prosperous at the same time.
“Our goal is to be a mecca for green enterprise. We’re not alone in that,” asserted Robertson, while speaking at Meeting of the Minds 2012 on Wednesday afternoon, adding that the British Columbia city has “an enormous amount of expertise” to offer.
For example, Robertson cited that Vancouver has a hydroelectric power infrastructure, making 90 percent of electricity produced green and renewable.
Robertson described that Vancouver, the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada, is constrained by land between the North Shore Mountains, the Pacific Ocean and the U.S.-Canadian border. Thus, as the city grows exponentially, that requires some creative thinking about how to sustain that growth without wasting and running out of resources.
“Cities are all about action. We are the most entrepreneurial level of government,” Robertson remarked.Read the full article
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Read more from MeetingoftheMinds.org
Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology
A new toolkit has been developed to help businesses think through strategies to decrease mobility barriers to the workplace, which reduces turnover. When workers can reliably get to work regardless of their personal circumstances, it provides employment stability and the opportunity to build wealth. It’s a win-win. Developed through a partnership between Metropolitan Planning Council and a pro bono Boston Consulting Group team, the toolkit includes slide decks, an overview report, customizable templates, a cost calculator, and instructional videos walking a company through the thought process of establishing a baseline situation, evaluating and selecting a solution, and standing up a program.
Depending on the employer’s location and employees’ needs, solutions may range from helping with last-mile transportation to the transit system, to developing on-demand vanpools, to establishing in-house carpool matching systems. The ROI calculator gives employers the ability to determine the break-even cost—the subsidy amount a company can manage without hurting the bottom line.
Housing that is affordable to low-income residents is often substandard and suffering from deferred maintenance, exposing residents to poor air quality and high energy bills. This situation can exacerbate asthma and other respiratory health issues, and siphon scarce dollars from higher value items like more nutritious food, health care, or education. Providing safe, decent, affordable, and healthy housing is one way to address historic inequities in community investment. Engaging with affordable housing and other types of community benefit projects is an important first step toward fully integrating equity into the green building process. In creating a framework for going deeper on equity, our new book, the Blueprint for Affordable Housing (Island Press 2020), starts with the Convention on Human Rights and the fundamental right to housing.
I caught up recently with Sarah Charlton who is Associate Professor at the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
The research she is leading, located in both Johannesburg, South Africa and Maputo, Mozambique, looks at the interface between the mobility use by residents and transportation investments by the state. The question guiding her research is “are ordinary households using the transport modes that the government is investing in and prioritizing?” The research is a partnership between two universities across two countries and two cities.
Sarah reflects on research during the pandemic across languages, countries, histories and cultures.