Teaming Up on Innovation: France and California Seeking Common Ground
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.
Meeting of the Minds co-founder Gordon Feller will be working with Électricité de France, the world’s second largest electric utility company, and with the French Consul-General in San Francisco, to convene a special session of the California France Forum on Energy Efficiency Technologies (CaFFEET) on November 5th and 6th at the University of California, Berkeley.
CaFFEET aims to promote technical and scientific exchanges on energy efficiency between France and California, both of them being worldwide leaders working to develop connected and smart low-CO2 economies.
Gordon will chair the session “Making the City More Attractive with ICT” on November 5th at 3:45pm. For more information, visit the CaFFFEET website.
The session’s 5 panelists include:
- Alex Bayen, Professor, UC Berkeley CITRIS
- Carolyn Hogg, CIO, City of Fresno; Robert Tse, Community Planning and Development Specialist, USDA-Rural Development California; Joseph Oldham, Sustainability Manager, City of Fresno
- Khaldoun Al Agha, Professor, Paris Sud University and Action Line leader at EIT ICT Labs
EDF and the Consulate are collaborating on the 2012 CaFFEET program with the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, a University of California-Berkeley research institute.
With a focus on “The Smart City: What Is the Added Value?”, CaFFEET will bring together city officials, researchers, global companies in energy, water and ICT, and start-ups
They will be asked to answer two key questions:
- How do smart city approaches increase city attractiveness and city resilience?
- How to manage the cyber security risks associated with the smart city?
What kinds of technology-centric approaches are helping cities to move beyond the older ways of addressing urban problems? CaFFEET will examine a few emerging solutions, and one of these is the Mobile Millennium project, led by UC Berkeley, which collects GPS data inside drivers’ cell phones to understand traffic conditions, then broadcasting it back to provide real-time traffic information.
One premise of this year’s CaFFEET: using ICT solutions brings substantial value to cities, but may increase their vulnerability to cyber threats. Cyber attacks — whether by hackers, terrorists, or organized crime — are real, as are high-impact non-malicious events such user errors.
Industrial control systems — utilized by electric, water, gas or public transportation operations, ICT solutions — are now being deployed to allow control and communication in much more advanced ways than in the past.
This raises several pressing security challenges:
- The number of interfaces between city control systems and the outside world dramatically grows, especially with the growing use of sensors and intelligent communicating components. This increases the number of access points for a potential cyber attacker. These access points can be physical (e.g., through a smart meter) or virtual (e.g., through an internet-connected system).
- Software products (e.g., Windows) are interfacing with urban solutions, and these often come from the traditional IT world. They are not well adapted to the kinds of industrial environments where one finds an electric or water utility.
- Operators of industrial control systems have a strong safety culture, but are usually not trained in security (or in cyber security).
Here’s a list of a few of the cyber attacks which have targeted cities:
- One of the first incidents was seen in Australia in 2000 and targeted a water system. As explained in one published case study, the attacker managed to remotely cause raw sewage to spill out into local environment, including a hotel. This attack was followed by many others, according to the Repository of Industrial Security Incidents (RISI), which observed in recent years a tremendous increase in the number of municipal water control-system cyber attacks.
- The deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Cyber Division analyzes three cities targeted by hackers who accessed infrastructure through SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems.
- In Poland a teen hacked a city’s train network and derailed four vehicles.
- In April 2012 hackers successfully penetrated the networks of several natural gas pipeline operators in the US.
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
This article was originally published on September 8, 2020.
Update for April 20, 2021:
After the murder of George Floyd we wrote this article as a kind of blueprint, a beginning to a new way of working with equitable resilience in our cities and beyond. Now, as the trial of Derek Chauvin comes to a guilty verdict in Minneapolis and the whole country reflects on the legacy of that verdict, we have to remember another senseless murder – another young Black man, Daunte Wright, at the hands of law enforcement, just miles from the courthouse. Again, Minneapolis is all of us. We have protested, we have voted. We stood up, we spoke out, we have raged about the anti-Black racism. We have seen people come together, we can feel a shift in this country. But there is so much more to do. No equity, no resilience.
-Ron & Stewart
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.
Since the Great Recession of 2008, the housing wealth gap has expanded to include not just Black and Brown Americans, but younger White Americans as well. Millennials and Generation Z Whites are now joining their Black and Brown peers in facing untenable housing precarity and blocked access to wealth. With wages stuck at 1980 levels and housing prices at least double (in inflation adjusted terms) what they were 40 years ago, many younger Americans, most with college degrees, are giving up on buying a home and even struggle to rent apartments suitable for raising a family.
What makes it hard for policy people and citizens to accept this truth is that we have not seen this problem in a very long time. Back in the 1920s of course, but not really since then. But this is actually an old problem that has come back to haunt us; a problem first articulated by Adam Smith in the 1700s.