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.

On The Right Track - The Architect’s Newspaper
An autocentric culture sets a high bar for the rest of the nation as mass transittled by light raillchugs ahead on the West Coast.
National attention focused on the recent opening of the Expo Line, an 8.6-mile light rail route that connects downtown LA with Culver City. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Before all is said and done, Los Angeles —long stereotyped as a car-only city—will have more than 100 miles of public transit lines, as the West Coast, home to the nation’s first light rail line in San Diego and to its most comprehensive light rail system in Portland, continues to add a slew of new rail.
New lines, stations, infrastructure, and transit-oriented developments are popping up and in planning stages in and around Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego. And if you count West Coast–adjacent cities such as Phoenix and Denver, there are even more. Los Angeles and Seattle are set to double their offerings while Marin and Sonoma are just beginning to add rail to the mix.

On The Right Track - The Architect’s Newspaper

An autocentric culture sets a high bar for the rest of the nation as mass transittled by light raillchugs ahead on the West Coast.

National attention focused on the recent opening of the Expo Line, an 8.6-mile light rail route that connects downtown LA with Culver City. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Before all is said and done, Los Angeles —long stereotyped as a car-only city—will have more than 100 miles of public transit lines, as the West Coast, home to the nation’s first light rail line in San Diego and to its most comprehensive light rail system in Portland, continues to add a slew of new rail.

New lines, stations, infrastructure, and transit-oriented developments are popping up and in planning stages in and around Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego. And if you count West Coast–adjacent cities such as Phoenix and Denver, there are even more. Los Angeles and Seattle are set to double their offerings while Marin and Sonoma are just beginning to add rail to the mix.

A Food Forest is a gardening technique or land management system that mimics a woodland ecosystem but substitutes in edible trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. Fruit and nut trees are the upper level, while below are berry shrubs, edible perennials and annuals. Companions or beneficial plants are included to attract insects for natural pest management while some plants are soil amenders providing nitrogen and mulch. Together they create relationships to form a forest garden ecosystem able to produce high yields of food with less maintenance.

Seattle creates a ‘food forest’ in the middle of the city. (Forbes. HuffPost)

(via thegreenurbanist)

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.

Worldchanging: Bright Green: Future City: Portland & Networked Urban Sustainability

In preparation for our Future City event this Friday, we’re comparing progress towards urban sustainability in Portland and Seattle.
When cities first stepped up as leaders in climate action, a few  simple projects would get you noticed. For a good 15 years, just doing  anything set you apart. But, almost without realizing it, we have walked  into a new phase of urban sustainability – version 2.0 – where cities  are being pushed to tackle the really tough issues. Retrofitting City  Hall is nice, but the real game revolves around how we plan and travel  through our cities, how we build and run our buildings, and how we make  and use energy.  “Go big” as they say “or go home.”  Or in this case “go  big at home.”

Worldchanging: Bright Green: Future City: Portland & Networked Urban Sustainability

In preparation for our Future City event this Friday, we’re comparing progress towards urban sustainability in Portland and Seattle.

When cities first stepped up as leaders in climate action, a few simple projects would get you noticed. For a good 15 years, just doing anything set you apart. But, almost without realizing it, we have walked into a new phase of urban sustainability – version 2.0 – where cities are being pushed to tackle the really tough issues. Retrofitting City Hall is nice, but the real game revolves around how we plan and travel through our cities, how we build and run our buildings, and how we make and use energy. “Go big” as they say “or go home.” Or in this case “go big at home.”

Visualization of Simulated Urban Spaces (via cvanegas)

We build on a synergy of urban simulation, urban visualization, and computer graphics to automatically infer an urban layout for any time step of the simulation sequence. In addition to standard visualization tools, our method gathers data of the original street network, parcels, and aerial imagery and uses the available simulation results to infer changes to the original urban layout.

Last spring Seattle City Councilman Tim Burgess invited David Kennedy and Gary Slutkin, two of the most prominent figures in national antiviolence campaigns, to his city to present their respective methods so that Burgess could choose the best fit for Seattle. Both men agreed to come, but not at the same time. Burgess doesn’t remember which one refused first, but he quickly gathered, both from them and from others, that there was no love lost between the two reigning kings of antiviolence.

On the face of it, it would seem that the two should have a lot in common. They both came from outside the traditional arena—neither is technically a criminologist—to pioneer innovative, attention-grabbing anti-crime programs. Both have been the subjects of profiles extolling their methods—Slutkin in The New York Times Magazine and on This American Life, and Kennedy in The New Yorker and this magazine. And both programs are called Ceasefire, a name both men claim to own. “The controversy over the name is illustrative of the deeper problem,” Burgess says. “They are two brilliant and competitive people, and they both acknowledged that there’s conflict there.” The heart of that apparent conflict, which Kennedy and Slutkin prefer not to discuss publicly: two men with big personalities, who have similar methods but different philosophies, competing for the same limited pool of funding. The disagreement between them underscores a bigger question: what is the best approach to violence prevention in America today?