Making Smarter Cities By Making Smarter Systems | Co.Exist
A city is really just made up of a myriad of micro-cities. To make an entire city smarter, you have to start on these smaller systems first.
The 2012 National Football League season is in full swing. And, each week flocks of fans head to stadiums around the country to cheer (or boo) for the home team—about 80,000 people per stadium.
The unique challenge of stadiums, which are practically cities unto themselves, is the management of intensely complex infrastructures that provide food, water, medical facilities, climate, and even traffic control. All this may require pinpointing exact locations or managing operations across tens, hundreds, or even thousands of miles.
By using information in new and creative ways, organizations can better manage these sprawling environments.
What’s becoming increasingly prevalent in the creation of these “mini-cities” is requiring innovative technology to make them a microcosm of a smarter city where information is used to deliver services effectively and efficiently. By using information in new and creative ways, organizations can better manage these sprawling environments, and teach us lessons about how to make our cities smarter.
People are Sensors
Let’s put these organizations with massively complex facilities in context. Look at the top 25 most populated cities in the United States, and you’ll see Boston, Seattle and Nashville on the list. Yet, all of these cities are less populated and occupy fewer square miles of land than the Los Angeles Unified School District.
With 14,000 buildings that cover more than 710 square miles for its 700,000 students, the district is so vast, it mimics an actual city’s infrastructure considering their use of natural resources and the complexity of operations. To help manage this vast school system, the L.A. schools are empowering its “citizens”—the thousands of students, teachers and staff—to act as living sensors to identify faulty or dangerous infrastructure, such as broken windows, doors or railings, and then sending these images or text messages from their smartphones.

Making Smarter Cities By Making Smarter Systems | Co.Exist

A city is really just made up of a myriad of micro-cities. To make an entire city smarter, you have to start on these smaller systems first.

The 2012 National Football League season is in full swing. And, each week flocks of fans head to stadiums around the country to cheer (or boo) for the home team—about 80,000 people per stadium.

The unique challenge of stadiums, which are practically cities unto themselves, is the management of intensely complex infrastructures that provide food, water, medical facilities, climate, and even traffic control. All this may require pinpointing exact locations or managing operations across tens, hundreds, or even thousands of miles.

By using information in new and creative ways, organizations can better manage these sprawling environments.

What’s becoming increasingly prevalent in the creation of these “mini-cities” is requiring innovative technology to make them a microcosm of a smarter city where information is used to deliver services effectively and efficiently. By using information in new and creative ways, organizations can better manage these sprawling environments, and teach us lessons about how to make our cities smarter.

People are Sensors

Let’s put these organizations with massively complex facilities in context. Look at the top 25 most populated cities in the United States, and you’ll see Boston, Seattle and Nashville on the list. Yet, all of these cities are less populated and occupy fewer square miles of land than the Los Angeles Unified School District.

With 14,000 buildings that cover more than 710 square miles for its 700,000 students, the district is so vast, it mimics an actual city’s infrastructure considering their use of natural resources and the complexity of operations. To help manage this vast school system, the L.A. schools are empowering its “citizens”—the thousands of students, teachers and staff—to act as living sensors to identify faulty or dangerous infrastructure, such as broken windows, doors or railings, and then sending these images or text messages from their smartphones.

massurban:

“Can Zoning Save a Downtown?
Kaid Benfield. Feb 28, 2012
A city cited not long ago as the nation’s most sprawling is now firmly on a path to become substantially greener. In particular, two weeks ago I described the Nashville region’s impressive commitment to reform its transportation investments to support increased transit access, walkable neighborhoods, and a strengthened sense of place. And there’s more.
Writing on his blog Old Urbanist, Charlie Gardner describes recent improvements to the Music City’s downtown zoning:

‘In addition to its plans for the region, Nashville has revamped its zoning code, adopting in 2010 what is in substance, if not in name, a form-based code for its downtown. The changes are some of the most promising I’ve seen in any code revision for a major American city, including the repeal of most of use-based zoning limitations and the elimination of all parking minimums within the downtown area. It’s a long overdue change for a downtown with a particularly tragic 20th century planning history.’

The new zoning code has been designed explicitly to give legal expression to a downtown community plan adopted in 2007 to strengthen the character and walkability of neighborhoods. The city hopes these neglected areas will evolve into 24-hour districts that host residential as well as commercial uses.
To accomplish this, the new code regulates the form of buildings so that, for example, building height guidelines allow increased density in logical patterns but building uses are allowed to vary to encourage mixed uses so long as they support an inviting streetscape:

‘In an urban environment, the street level design and function of a building is of the utmost importance. The interaction of the building with the street should enliven the street, making it comfortable, safe and interesting for pedestrians. The DTC is based on frontage design – storefront, stoop, porch, industrial, and civic – and includes standards on glazing, vehicular access, landscaping, and active uses on the ground level. Correctly designed, these attributes will contribute to safe and interesting streets to result in vibrant neighborhoods and a healthy Downtown.’”

Via: The Atlantic

massurban:

Can Zoning Save a Downtown?

Kaid Benfield. Feb 28, 2012

A city cited not long ago as the nation’s most sprawling is now firmly on a path to become substantially greener. In particular, two weeks ago I described the Nashville region’s impressive commitment to reform its transportation investments to support increased transit access, walkable neighborhoods, and a strengthened sense of place. And there’s more.

Writing on his blog Old Urbanist, Charlie Gardner describes recent improvements to the Music City’s downtown zoning:

‘In addition to its plans for the region, Nashville has revamped its zoning code, adopting in 2010 what is in substance, if not in name, a form-based code for its downtown. The changes are some of the most promising I’ve seen in any code revision for a major American city, including the repeal of most of use-based zoning limitations and the elimination of all parking minimums within the downtown area. It’s a long overdue change for a downtown with a particularly tragic 20th century planning history.’

The new zoning code has been designed explicitly to give legal expression to a downtown community plan adopted in 2007 to strengthen the character and walkability of neighborhoods. The city hopes these neglected areas will evolve into 24-hour districts that host residential as well as commercial uses.

To accomplish this, the new code regulates the form of buildings so that, for example, building height guidelines allow increased density in logical patterns but building uses are allowed to vary to encourage mixed uses so long as they support an inviting streetscape:

‘In an urban environment, the street level design and function of a building is of the utmost importance. The interaction of the building with the street should enliven the street, making it comfortable, safe and interesting for pedestrians. The DTC is based on frontage design – storefront, stoop, porch, industrial, and civic – and includes standards on glazing, vehicular access, landscaping, and active uses on the ground level. Correctly designed, these attributes will contribute to safe and interesting streets to result in vibrant neighborhoods and a healthy Downtown.’”

Via: The Atlantic

Which cities can best adapt to climate change? | Grist
Cross-posted from Cool Green Science.
Earlier this month, 35 mayors from major cities around the world convened for the Resilient Cities 2011 Conference and released a declaration [PDF] that highlighted the recent rise in natural disasters and the  imperative for cities to increase their resiliency and ability to adapt  to climate change.
But what does it mean for a city to be “resilient” to climate change?  Which cities are most resilient — and what makes a city vulnerable?
Grist recently ran a slideshow featuring “the top 10 climate ready U.S. cities"  — which was basically a measure of steps those cities were taking to  reduce carbon emissions. What that piece didn’t address is how  vulnerable or resilient a city is to climate change based on the city’s environmental context. For instance: What’s a city’s risk for climate-related disasters? Is its water supply sustainable?
I haven’t seen such a ranking — so I constructed my own simple one,  based on readily available and relevant information. (You can peek at  the results below.) I first factored that cities’ biggest concerns from  climate change include disruptions to water supplies, increased risk of natural disasters (e.g., floods and hurricanes), and the heat itself: In addition to causing general discomfort, heat is already the biggest weather-related source of mortality.

Which cities can best adapt to climate change? | Grist

Cross-posted from Cool Green Science.

Earlier this month, 35 mayors from major cities around the world convened for the Resilient Cities 2011 Conference and released a declaration [PDF] that highlighted the recent rise in natural disasters and the imperative for cities to increase their resiliency and ability to adapt to climate change.

But what does it mean for a city to be “resilient” to climate change? Which cities are most resilient — and what makes a city vulnerable?

Grist recently ran a slideshow featuring “the top 10 climate ready U.S. cities" — which was basically a measure of steps those cities were taking to reduce carbon emissions. What that piece didn’t address is how vulnerable or resilient a city is to climate change based on the city’s environmental context. For instance: What’s a city’s risk for climate-related disasters? Is its water supply sustainable?

I haven’t seen such a ranking — so I constructed my own simple one, based on readily available and relevant information. (You can peek at the results below.) I first factored that cities’ biggest concerns from climate change include disruptions to water supplies, increased risk of natural disasters (e.g., floods and hurricanes), and the heat itself: In addition to causing general discomfort, heat is already the biggest weather-related source of mortality.