Florida State University researchers sample water near the Deepwater Horizon spill in June 2010. [Photo by Dr. Oscar Garcia via Flickr]
On April 20, 2010 — one year ago this week — the Deepwater Horizon, a massive drilling rig operated by BP off the southeast coast of Louisiana, exploded, opening a sea-floor gusher that began spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The disaster that unfolded — some five million barrels of oil would be spilled in the three months before the well was capped — was a gut-wrenching reminder of how profoundly American dependence on fossil fuels affects our marine environments. Yet a mere six months later, after only modest regulatory reforms, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar lifted the moratorium on deep-water drilling; the event had already begun to recede from public consciousness. And so we wasted — along with much else — the chance to have a larger, more searching conversation about the impact of our actions and choices on the health of the ocean.
If we are to tilt toward a sustainable world, we’ve got to show more than fleeting concern for marine habitats. In the words of oceanographer and explorer Sylvia Earle: “The world is blue.” Oceans cover most of the earth’s surface — 130,000 square miles — at an average depth of 2.5 miles, forming its largest life zone and serving as the primary regulator of planetary chemistry. They are an important source of protein for the world’s almost seven billion people. Our environmental health and indeed our survival — our systems of food production, energy, transportation, temperature regulation, oxygen production, carbon sequestration and more —are dependent upon the earth’s waters. 
As planners and designers, we need to take up the mantle of blue urbanism. Just as green urbanism challenges us to rethink sustainability at the city scale, blue urbanism asks us to re-imagine ourselves as citizens of a blue planet. How can we become better stewards of the world’s oceans?
Source: The Design Observer Group
The most vital element for the future of our cities is that the bicycle is an instrument of experiential understanding.
On a bicycle, citizens experience their city with deep intimacy, often for the first time. For a regular motorist to take that two or three mile trip by bicycle instead is to decimate an enormous wall between them and their communities.
In their cars, the world is reduced to mere equation. “What is the fastest route from A to B?” one will ask as they start their engine. This invariably results in a cascade of freeway concrete flying by at incomprehensible speeds. Their environment, the neighborhoods that compose their communities, the beauty of architecture, the immense societal problems in distressed areas, the faces of neighbors… all of this becomes a conceptually abstract blur from the driver’s seat.
Yes, the bicycle is a marvelously efficient machine of transportation, but in the city it is so much more. The bicycle is new vision for the blind man. It is a thrilling tool of communication, an experiential device for the beauty and the ills of the urban context. One cannot turn a blind eye on a bicycle - they must acknowledge their community, all of it.
Here lies the secret weapon of the urban renaissance.” —
- Kasey Klimes, The Real Reason Why Bicycles are the Key to Better Cities
Good question, idroolinmysleep (what an awesome tumblr ID!). I don’t have an answer, but if anyone in Tumblrland does, please share it via http://smartercities.tumblr.com/ask or http://smartercities.tumblr.com/submit
An excellent question. In fact, as part of our business analytics efforts, we’re already working with state and local governments on optimizing the whole tax collecting process. See this release, and the accompany video, Closing the Tax Gap.
IBM Unveils New Offering to Help Governments Efficiently Collect Delinquent Tax Debt
Thanks for the question. What this megacity project in China points to is the challenge and opportunity of making cities smarter: can we leverage economies of scale to make such very massiveefforts not just bigger, but better, with much cleaner water, reduced carbon footprint and a level of sustainability that humans have never tried to achieve on this scale before. If the planet is going to be able to tolerate population growth from 3 billion in 1960 to 9 billion by 2050, one key to our ability to survive and thrive will be for the modern to become a very efficient, very high-tech “system of systems”
‘lunar cubit’ is a site specific proposal to be constructed in abu dhabi, outside masdar city,
and once completed will be the world’s first zero-carbon metropolis.
winner of the 2010 UAE design competition for energy generating public art of the
land art generator initiative, the project combines artistic vision with sustainable design and engineering.
overall, lunar cubit consists of nine pyramids that mark the lunar phases.
it is constructed from solar panels that collect energy during the day and are illuminated at night,
inversely proportional to the lunar cycle. the structures are made from glass and amorphous silicon,
giving them the appearance of onyx polished to a mirror finish.
lunar cubit’ provides a personal experience, where one is able to literally reach out and touch a
1.74 MW utility scale power plant in the form of nine monolithic pyramids.
visitors are encouraged to walk amongst these beacons. stone paths flow around the structures
in a repeating pattern mirroring buried electrical cables, conducting electrons from the
outer pyramids to the central pyramid where inside, they are transformed into AC energy
and transmitted to the local utility grid. co-locating walking paths and conduits minimize
the footprint of disturbed land during construction, allowing the maximum amount of
natural ecosystem to remain relatively untouched.
The problem with using electricity with cars is mainly (1) time(fuel), and (2) speed. The problem of bicycles is that it is to tiring to go long distances. Thus by adding electricity along with self power we can make the bicycle hybrid. /because bicycles are much lighter and don’t require as much speed as cars we can use electricity as a meens of using the bicycle. Also we can generate the electricity by using the turbins in the bike thus when we use self power we generate the energy to be used in electricity mode. The bicycle hibrid is therefor a object that will allow the problems of the car to be behind us.
Also car hybrids reduce fossil fuel usage and pollution but it does not solve the problem itself. bicycles use no fossil fuel and does not give of pollution.
This does not seem to relate to the smarter city but it does. the transportation in the city may become more and more efficient(smarter) but it cannot eliminate the problems of transportation. Thus with usage of the bicycle hybrid I hope we can make a greener and smarter city.
Incheon, South Korea, 13years of age