Weekly Round-up of Smart City News
This is a weekly round-up of interesting blog posts and news from urban sustainability thought leaders around the world.
- As the NHS, the public health care system in the United Kingdom, works to put their health records online by 2015, the are looking to the US for help opening up their public data to citizens. White House Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Government Innovation, Chris Vein, spoke to Computer World UK about the process.
- The Smart City Expo World Congress took place in Barcelona this week, convening 3,055 delegates and 319 speakers from 82 countries. Among the major announcements was the official launch of the City Protocol, the first certification system for smart cities. Read the press release and find out more at CityProtocol.org.
- Anthony Flint published an article in The Atlantic Cities this week discussing the challenges and innovations that have taken place in the mobile workplace since 1999. Flint points to major players in the work-place revolution, including LiquidSpace, Cisco, Accenture and others.
- Maggie Comstock wrote a blog post for the World Bank, citing the recent release of the State of the World’s Cities Report 2012/2013 and the new City Prosperity Index. The report looks to define what “prosperity” means for cities in 2012 and what best practices can help cities become smarter, more sustainable and more just.
- “Urban resiliency” seems to be on everyone’s minds this week. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, blogger Kaizhong Huang calls for sustainable city development to be put on the national agenda. Read about it at TheCityAtlas.org.
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Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology
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.
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.
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.