One of the urban myths is that technology, especially gaming technology will create couch potatoes, making you dull, inactive and unhealthy. And for many years that was probably the case. But in July 2016 a mobile game called Pokémon Go was launched globally to immediate success. It was even called a "social media phenomenon". In Pokémon Go millions of players use GPS capability in their smartphones with an augmented reality platform to locate, capture, battle, and train virtual Pokémon creatures located in the same real-world location as the player. This global phenomenon has been downloaded more than 500 million times worldwide. Even though by end of that same summer Pokémon Go’s popularity was beginning to seriously fade, the impact was evident. It got millions of video machine advocates off the couch, go outside and walk to catch their Pokémon Go characters.Read more
I had one of the most memorable New Year’s Days that I have had in my 35 years in New York. I was not hungover, which was a new experience. Yet I did celebrate with millions of New Yorkers, although not in Times Square, and not at night. Instead, I was on the Upper Eastside of the city, in my own neighborhood but with an enthusiastic crowd.
We were not watching the legendary “Ball” drop in Times Square. Honestly, this is for tourists who enjoy freezing for a free thrill which ends up costing them a lot of money because they are in Manhattan eating, drinking and sleeping after the Ball goes down. My thrill cost only US$2.75.
I rode the Subway.Read more
Over the past two decades, the concept of the smart city and Intelligent Community has evolved. ICF’s core ideas quickly went beyond the concept of primarily promoting broadband and related smart infrastructure and evolved an holistic approach reflecting people’s use and application of this infrastructure for economic, social and cultural gain; reflecting societal needs and aspirations; and encouraging innovation, advocacy and sustainability. These concepts became improved over the years, explained and reinforced, but their core values have been around for a long time.Read more
As the population of cities is expected to grow, from being home to just over 50% of the world’s population in 2015 to 60% by 2030, finding innovative solutions to improving urban resilience becomes even more pressing.Read more
In 2011, Eindhoven was selected by ICF as the Intelligent Community of the Year. It is globally renowned for its smart mobility efforts. It includes a diverse set of mobility options for its citizens including a unique raised “hovering” bicycle roundabout and street lighting and traffic signals dedicated to bicycles throughout the city and region. The city centre also includes a significant pedestrian area. Eindhoven’s Automotive Technology Centre involves over 125 organizations in collaborative projects ranging from start-up of new high-tech mobility systems to ICT companies, stimulated by being involved with the region’s incubators. The Centre for Automotive Research in the Auto Campus has had a driverless bus, called Phileas, navigate parts of Eindhoven since the late 1990s. As a smart mobility bus rapid transit system, it is intended to deliver tram-like public transport at a very low cost because of low maintenance, lack of rails, no overhead lines and the ability to recharge the battery by means of electromagnetic induction. It has had commercial success in places like Korea, Turkey and Israel. More recently, WePods are being experimented within neighbouring towns on public roads.Read more
In 2001 we established five ways that a community, whether large or small, could reconnect itself after the separation that occurred worldwide in the post-industrial economy. Among the five, the fourth was “Digital Democracy,” now known by us and communities as “Digital Equity.” It is simple to explain but hard to achieve (evidently). It means simply that, as in the great moral mandate of our species, we leave no one behind. In our case, we urged that all communities find ways to ensure that all of their population, rural or ex-urban or dense city blocks, be given access to the global economy. For it is in the “global economy” where opportunities, ideas and vast treasures and muck proliferate in ways that can rebuild our local places.Read more
Like Columbus, Toronto, Ontario in Canada is a community that is part of the Great Lakes and North American rust belt, having been negatively impacted by massive manufacturing decline in the later 1900’s. Like Columbus, Toronto has leveraged education, enlightened civic institutions and private sector innovation to transform its city core, waterfront and now its entire Greater Toronto Area (GTA) for the digital era.Read more
Columbus, Ohio, is the state capital of one of the states that border Lake Erie in the Great Lakes region of the United States. It has the highest metropolitan concentration of Fortune 1000 companies in America and is the home of one of the best research schools, Ohio State University (OSU). It is also home of Battelle, the world’s biggest private research institute. On the other hand, Columbus also has a large, low-income population stranded by the decline of low-skilled factory employment and was ranked 46th out of the 50 largest U.S. cities for upward mobility. As a result, average per-capita income is among the lowest in the U.S, employers in the Columbus region struggle to find qualified staff and the struggles associated with unemployment and low-wage jobs afflict too many of its citizens. Nevertheless, community-wide leadership and collaboration among organizations are working to turn this around by leading a regional approach to economic development with surrounding communities. Columbus is now one of a handful of US regions that turned the exodus of newly minted grads to instead become a magnet for talent. In 2013, Columbus was named one of the top 10 cities in the US for new college grads and employment growth in skilled manufacturing has exceeded 35% over the past decade.Read more
Definitions of Smart Mobility, like Smart Communities, are never crystal clear and agreed to, however, for the purposes of this blog, let’s use the EU Commission’s definition of a Smart City as … a city seeking to address public issues via ICT-based solutions on the basis of a multi-stakeholder, municipally based partnership. By extension, the related focus on Smart Mobility refers to ICT Supported and Integrated Transport and Logistics Systems, prioritising clean and often non-motorised options for urban areas. The result of such a smart mobility focus would benefit the community by enacting public policies supporting ICT-enabled strategies creating “sustainable, safe and interconnected transportation systems, such as trams, buses, trains, metros, cars, cycles and pedestrians in situations using one or more modes of transport. [But it would also] support relevant and real-time information, accessed by the public in order to save time and improve commuting efficiency, save costs and reduce CO2 emissions, as well as network transport managers to improve services and provide feedback to citizens.” Similarly, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) are defined as “the application of advanced and emerging technologies (computers, sensors, control, communications, and electronic devices) in transportation to save lives, time, money, energy and the environment.”Read more
Urban transportation and efficient logistics is at the heart of vital, thriving metropolitan areas. Unbridled growth can result in congestion, pollution and undesirable daily stress which can evolve into impoverished environments leading to inefficiencies, unproductive land-uses and a diminished quality of life. Solving the mobility challenges of moving people, goods and services is one of the most pressing issues in modern and growing cities around the world, especially given that by mid-century three-quarters of the world’s population will be living in urban centres. With our cities ill-prepared for this massive migration, mobility and its impacts: social, economic, environmental and political, will all need to be addressed before it is too late to save our cities as liveable ecosystems. Mobility challenges impacting trade and the attraction and retention of investment and talent can seriously undermine the sustainability of the city and region from an environmental, fiscal and social perspective. This series of blogs will look at international smart technologies which aim to manage urban assets and systems to improve efficiencies, increase transport productivity and harness enhanced mobility options. These blogs will also look at city examples from around the world of a more holistic approach we refer to as intelligent communities that aim to solve transportation, sustainability and liveability issues.Read more