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
There is a small ray of light in this dark American election season. The Presidential contenders actually agree on something: the need to bring back manufacturing in America. To quote from an editorial by Binyamin Applebaum:
Trump’s keynote proposal is to encourage domestic production by taxing imports — an idea more likely to cause a recession than a manufacturing revival. Clinton is promising to basically extend the efforts of the Obama administration, which said it would create a million factory jobs. With just a few months left, the president is still more than 600,000 jobs short.Read more
Last week 192 nations were in New York sorting through the world’s problems, while I was trying to sort through the traffic jams they were creating in my world: the streets of New York. When the peacemakers come to town, blessed though they may be, our traffic gets miserable. However, as the home of the United Nations, we live with the hope that we are hosting people who will make the world safer and happier – or at least happier than my taxi driver.
But for the record, 85% of my trips around the city were via public transit. Blessed be IT! Let us have more of it.Read more
Is Robby the Robot casting a covetous eye on your job? Or on the jobs of your friends, colleagues, citizens and taxpayers? A 2013 study by an Oxford University researcher forecast that as many as 47% of jobs in the United States were at risk of being automated out of existence in the future. These are jobs with a lot of routine work in them that do not, on the other hand, require the soft skills of interaction with human beings.Read more
As the first hurricane-force storm sits just off from the Atlantic Ocean’s shores, the American Northeast Summer draws to a close. During its rapid course, I took some hours to look back on the ICF Summit in June, celebrate its highlights and to consider what it means as our movement goes forward into the next Awards cycle, with its conclusion this time on the big stage of New York.Read more
“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion,” wrote that American political leader and man of letters Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “but not to his own facts.”
I am concerned - and you probably are as well - about the rising political polarization of our time. Whether it is the candidacy of Donald Trump, with its “the truth is whatever I say today” style, or the increasing appeal of right-wing, anti-immigrant, anti-compassion parties to the electorates of Europe. Each side has its truths and seems willing to stick to them, regardless of the inconvenient intrusions of reality.Read more
Ever wonder how an idea is started and how it might lead to something much bigger than you ever thought it could? The birth of the Intelligent Community Forum started through a new idea generated in the 1980’s and early 1990’s through participation in two organizations, the World Trade Centers Association, focused on global trade, and the World Teleport Association, focused on global telecommunications to link opportunities for global trade, international sports and entertainment events and communications.Read more
Today’s earthquake in Amatrice, Italy prompted the city’s mayor to say, “The town is not here any more!"
There are no sadder words. It is obvious when an earthquake or natural disaster wipes out a place that the future will never be the same. So much is lost when the icons and life of a community are wasted. Desperation seeps in.
Over the summer, I was back in my hometown of Lyons, New York and witnessed another moment of community evisceration that I want to share with you.Read more
The small American rural city of Ashland appeared on our Smart21 list for the first time in 2007. Located in the mountains of southern Oregon, Ashland (population 22,000) has a seasonal economy built on forestry and, as home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, on tourism.
Both are seasonal businesses, so Ashland set out in 1997 to diversify its economy by building a metropolitan fiber network. The deployment went well: from 1997 to 2006, it helped add 517 businesses to a town of just over 10,000 postal addresses. New companies sprang up in e-commerce and audio books as well as such esoteric technologies as the handling of unexploded ordinance.Read more
People who live in big metropolises, like New York City, London or Hong Kong, often say that they can always find someone within a few miles who has a special skill they need to complete some project or build a business. I’ve pointed out that the close proximity of millions of people with so many different skills is part of what has made cities successful economic engines during the industrial era.Read more