Weekly Round-up of Smart City News
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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
People seem frequently to assume that the terms “sustainability” and “resilience” are synonyms, an impression reinforced by the frequent use of the term “climate resilience”, which seems to enmesh both concepts firmly. In fact, while they frequently overlap, and indeed with good policy and planning reinforce one another, they are not the same. This article picks them apart to understand where one ends and the other begins, and where the “sweet spot” lies in achieving mutual reinforcement to the benefit of disaster risk reduction (DRR).
As extreme weather conditions become the new normal—from floods in Baton Rouge and Venice to wildfires in California, we need to clean and save stormwater for future use while protecting communities from flooding and exposure to contaminated water. Changing how we manage stormwater has the potential to preserve access to water for future generations; prevent unnecessary illnesses, injuries, and damage to communities; and increase investments in green, climate-resilient infrastructure, with a focus on communities where these kinds of investments are most needed.
A few years ago, I worked with some ARISE-US members to carry out a survey of small businesses in post-Katrina New Orleans of disaster risk reduction (DRR) awareness. One theme stood out to me more than any other. The businesses that had lived through Katrina and survived well understood the need to be prepared and to have continuity plans. Those that were new since Katrina all tended to have the view that, to paraphrase, “well, government (city, state, federal…) will take care of things”.
While the experience after Katrina, of all disasters, should be enough to show anyone in the US that there are limits on what government can do, it does raise the question, of what could and should public and private sectors expect of one another?