High resolution real-time weather forecasting

With over 50% of the world population living in cities and a projected two-thirds of the population living in cities in 2030 (UN-Habitat), accurate weather forecasting becomes an important tool to respond timely and mitigate risks in cities. Extensive conurbations like the Pearl River Delta, Tianjin-Beijing, Yangtze River Delta, New York-Boston and (mega) cities like Tokyo, Sao Paulo, Jakarta, Manila, Los Angeles, Lagos, London, Hanoi, Bangalore have important features in common: dense populations, impervious built surfaces, significant emissions of pollutants, heat and waste, etc.(WMO). Large urban areas have differentiated weather patterns distributed across the city or metropolitan area. High resolution real-time weather forecasting becomes ever more important in order to forecast impacts, to communicate timely to urban populations at risk and to take right decisions in deploying emergency services in cities. It can also provide the evidence for adaptation measures among others the location of flood retention areas or the implementation of smart sewage systems that can be controlled as needed. High resolution weather forecasting can also provide diversified data on energy consumption and production of different neighbourhoods in the city and the way smart grids should respond to distributed peaks. In an urbanised world the weather forecast can no longer be seen as an external factor as the urban atmospheric conditions are impacted by emissions, pollution, heat island effects, urban form and other environmental factors. High resolution weather forecasting is increasingly focusing on air quality in addition to temperature, humidity and precipitation which is a signal that urban meteorology, climate and environmental research could evolve in more integrated city services (Urban Climate, Baklanov, Grimond). High resolution real-time weather forecasting for urban areas is a field that requires not only the technical instruments, data collection and interpretation, but also sophisticated comparative analysis between urban datasets available in cities, accurate algorithms, policies and governance models for risk mitigation.
Picture: Antony Pratap CC2.0

Algorithmic Transparency

“Algorithmic governance is made possible by vast increases in computing power and networking, which enable the collection, storage, and analysis of large amounts of data. Cities seek to harness that data to rationalise and automate the operation of public services and infrastructure, such as health services, public safety, criminal justice, education, transportation, and energy. The limitations of local government make private contractors central to this process, giving rise to accountability problems characteristic of policy outsourcing.” (2018, Brauneis, Goodman) Algorithmic governance will be increasingly important in the way decisions are made in cities. This has led to a debate on the transparency of the algorithms and the potential biases built into it. As discussed in the Right Way to Regulate Algorithms: “The purpose of data-driven algorithms like this one is to make policing more objective and less subject to individual bias. But many worry that the biases are simply baked into the algorithms themselves.” New York will be the first city that will scrutinise the potential biases in algorithms and that will develop policies on how to regulate access to underlying assumptions. According to the New Yorker: “Once signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio (dec 2017 red.), the legislation will establish a task force to examine the city’s “automated decision systems”—the computerised algorithms that guide the allocation of everything from police officers and firehouses to public housing and food stamps—with an eye toward making them fairer and more open to scrutiny.”

Sources:
Algorithmic Transparency for the Smart City, Robert Brauneis & Ellen P. Goodman
The Right Way to Regulate Algorithms, by Chris Bousquet, Stephen Goldsmith
The New Yorker: New York City’s Bold, Flawed Attempt to Make Algorithms Accountable
Picture: Kolitha de Silva CC BY 2.0

Matchmaking database

Blackburn village is an informal settlement in Durban. To support match making between growing job opportunities and the inhabitants of the settlement iTHUBA centre has been established. Through gathering data such as income and education levels and gathering data on foreseen job opportunities in the area matchmaking can take place. Many inhabitants do not have the right skills for jobs in retail, hospitality, security and construction, hence a tailored skills development programme is developed to bridge that gap and to prepare job seekers for the interviews with employers. A large urban development in the vicinity that includes housing, offices and retail will drive the regional job market. The unique approach of the iTHUBA is that it links job demand and supply within a specific geographic area.This contributes to reduction of transportation needs which in poor households in South African cities easily add up to 40% of the monthly family expenditure. The programme also offers a nursery for mothers with little kids so they are able to attend trainings and anticipate upcoming job opportunities.
Source: iTHUBA
Picture: Tongaat Hulatt

Blockchain for Land Registries

Blockchain, the technology developed for cryptocurrency finds its way into the field of governance. Opportunities to apply this decentralised, secure technology, are promising in e-voting, municipal finance, real estate transfers and land registries. This technology for land registries is piloted in Sweden, the Netherlands and India and discussed in Ghana and Kenya among others. Blockchain technology offers access to up to date encrypted data by many stakeholders, without being vulnerable to hacking. Instead of having a central server, blockchain disperses the encrypted data or the ledger of a process in a chain of blocks at different interconnected locations. In developing and emerging economies blockchain can offer a more transparent technology to avoid painstaking land registry processes and fake deeds that are common in places without a cadaster. According to the World Bank only 30% of the land is being registered. The market for this upcoming technology for land registry is big, but so is the challenge. Firstly there is the complexity of legal frameworks related to land and real estate that will not allow transfers to happen in digitial space with digital signatures only. Secondly the technology requires a blockchain protocol, smart tokens for land parcels, capacities of the parties involved – the agent, the banks, the seller and the buyer. Developing smart tokens for a city where no or limited has been been registered yet is already an immense task in itself. Blockchain technology offers many opportunities within the urban governance fields, but as always it is not a silver bullet, it requires a combination of new technology, data collection, policymaking, capacity building and stakeholder involvement to succeed.

Sources and links:
https://www.economist.com/news/business/21722869-anti-establishment-technology-faces-ironic-turn-fortune-governments-may-be-big-backers
http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/land
https://www.ft.com/content/60f838ea-e514-11e7-8b99-0191e45377ec
Picture: Stockholm, Magnus Johansson, Creative Commons

Decentralised Renewables

Decentralised Renewables offer an alternative for connections to the grid. In Africa 110 million of the 600 million urban dwellers still have no access to electricity (the Conversation). “Pay-as-you-go solar systems and appliances, for example, can provide a much lower barrier to entry (as opposed to fixing the last mile to the grid, red.) Compared to the high upfront connection costs in Kenya, a 15-watt solar home system costs on average USD $9 per month for 36 months after which point the household owns its system. (the Conversation). The solution to the challenge of financing the scale-up of Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) energy access lies not so much in the development of new initiatives but in the use and redirection of existing approaches for PAYG, particularly the use of credit guarantees, lines of credit, technical assistance, and investment in a “fund of funds.” (WRI).
As SmartCityStudio has discussed earlier in the posts of the platform is that cities will not become smart with technology only. The policy and finance environment is crucial to succeed in using data and technology for better analytics, for new systems and for decentralised solutions as mentioned above. National governments have a responsibility in the ambition to let smart cities thrive. According to the Innovation and Technology Foundation: “While national governments should always be involved in supporting innovation, their main goal with smart cities is to enact policies that set in motion significant shifts in how cities operate that will allow this evolution to be self-sustaining.” Additionally the international community and the private sector can acellerate implementation of decentralised renewables. End of 2016 the “Green Climate Fund agreed to become the anchor investor in a $3.5 billion debt fund for decentralised renewables proposed by Deutsche Bank AG” “Which will initially focus on Nigeria, Benin, Namibia, Tanzania and Kenya”. (Thomson Reuters Foundation News)
Picture: Kibera, Kenya, Rogier van den Berg

City Permits for Sharing Services

Three startups in San Francisco raised more the $200 million for their electric scooter sharing product. This new San Francisco trend, that allows you, with your phone, to scan a bike, take a ride and leave it for the next to use wherever you want. The latter has not only sparked complaints by citizens annoyed by scooters left on the pavement, it has come to the city attorney issuing a cease-and-desist order to the startups. The scooter and bike sharing programmes without docks and dedicated parking spaces have led globally to discussions on the regulations related to sharing of private sector products in public spaces. Although the intentions and impacts of bikes and electric scooters for short rides in cities should be encouraged, regulations and permits for operators in cities should be respected. Scootergate in San Francisco is exemplary for many challenges that cities face when going Smart. Implementation of Smart City technology even frivolous ones like electric scooters requires Smart regulations and well thought-through partnerships. Per region globally the way public space is being used and managed is very different and as such requires tailored approaches to regulations and public-private partnerships.

Sources and links:
https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/San-Francisco-has-no-interest-in-banning-electric-12849134.php
http://www.businessinsider.com/electric-scooter-startup-war-in-san-francisco-2018-4
https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/16/electric-scooters-are-getting-closer-to-regulation-in-sf
Picture: San Francisco, GPS, Creative Commons

Infrastructure Bonds

Bonds have become a increasingly important financing instrument in the debt capital market for infrastructure projects. Until the early 2000s infrastructure finance mainly relied on equity from industrial sponsors (contracting parties that contribute to the establishment of the project) and the public sector. Since then banks and bank syndicates have become more interested in the debt side of large scale infrastructure projects. Since 2010 the share of bonds as part of total project finance has grown steadily to a 12-20%. Bonds can provide a stable long term cash flow over the lifecycle of a infrastructure project and are of interest to banks, pension funds and other investors with a long term horizon. Bonds for financing infrastructure are issued as part of Special Purpose Vehicles that are set up to finance, construct and maintain large scale infrastructure projects. Municipal bonds are debt securities that are issued by municipalities to finance its capital expenditures like highways bridges or schools. There is a bright future for bonds tapping into new capital markets to finance infrastructure for Smart Cities.
Sources: Bocconi/S.Gatti; financing infrastructure projects, Investopedia.
Picture: E class Melbourne Tram, Flickr, Bernard Spragg

Private Equity for Urban Services


One of the key drivers of growth and development in emerging markets is the private sector. Urbanisation comes with a growing private sector of SMEs and private firms providing services to the general public, industries and the public sector. Capital investment is key in these emerging urban economies and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group has committed major investments in “diverse sectors of the Kenyan economy”. “Kenyan firms are increasingly taking debt and equity investments from the IFC and other global financiers, including European Investment Bank (EIB), Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Proparco and DEG to compensate for the limited funding opportunities in local capital markets.” According to Business Daily the global fund’s latest investment commitments include a Sh15.2 billion loan to Co-op Bank and a Sh2.7 billion debt and equity investment in a hospital to be built on Nairobi’s Kiambu Road. The financier says it intends to provide $22 million (Sh2.2 billion) in equity and $5 million (Sh505 million) in debt to an investment vehicle that is building the hospital. Owners of the hospital have acquired three acres on Kiambu Road for the facility.
Source: Businessdaily
Footage: Rogier van den Berg

Smart City Strategies

Future Cities Catapult has released their first global review of smart city strategies at the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona. The report looks at 21 smart city strategies from around the world including New York, Berlin, Sao Paulo and Manchester.|

The publication will give city leaders insights into how they can begin their smart city journey. This Global Review charts the evolution in smart city strategies from technology-driven towards citizen-centred. It highlights the challenges in creating collaborative citizen-led strategies that can cope with a new wave of digital disruption as evidenced by apps such as Uber and Airbnb.
The review makes the following five recommendations for city governments:

  1. Establish strong leadership to develop skills and capacity within local government to initiate and deliver at-scale smart city projects.
  2. Embed your smart city strategy within existing statutory frameworks in order to ensure the strategy’s implementation and funding.
  3. When creating your smart city strategy, consider a collaborative approach, coupled with strong political support, to ensure that you harness your citizens’ and businesses’ capabilities and respond to their needs.
  4. Tap into core city funding by regularly scanning your existing city assets and budgets in order to leverage these for smart city projects.
  5. Create a plan for private sector engagement and long-term collaboration, as well as a designated person or team for communicating with businesses and investors.
    Picture: Geneva, Rogier van den Berg

Maximizing Finance for Development

From the World Bank: “A high-profile panel on maximizing finance for development, with Dr. Kim, President Kagame of Rwanda, and the CEOs of Standard Chartered, the NZ Super Fund, and the Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) of India, was held at Annual Meetings. Key takeaways follow:
President Kagame pointed out that the prosperity Rwanda needs cannot come from just the public or the private sector alone, and noted that only when they work together can they maximize finance for development.
Renu Sud Karnad of HDFC, agreed that the regulatory framework is often an obstacle for private investment. She explained that IFC was a founding shareholder of HDFC, and it was a leap of a faith as HDFC had no framework when they started. Subsequently, HDFC has built the housing finance market in India and helped create housing industry standards and regulations.
Adrian Orr of NZ Super Fund, indicated that there’s a “wall” of money that wants to get into “frontier” markets, but the two can’t meet at the moment. He applauded the World Bank Group’s leadership in acting as a clearinghouse for investment opportunities and in trying to stabilize regulatory frameworks and standardize the investment procurement framework.
Bill Winters said that Standard Chartered, an investment bank founded in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, is focused on creating the facility to allow underlying businesses to grow and that their value is in catalyzing or bridging the portion of capital that allows an unfinanceable project to get financed.
Dr. Kim highlighted the imperative of maximizing finance to provide the crucial resources needed to finance the SDGs: Maximizing finance is the only chance that we have to provide enough resources to invest in infrastructure, transport, ICT, education and health and to make sure that everyone in the developing world can compete in the digital economy of the future.”
https://live.worldbank.org/maximizing-finance-for-development
Picture: Outskirts of Addis Ababa, Rogier van den Berg

100 Smart Cities

Mumbai

The Indian government will develop 100 Smart Cities in the next 15 years. The current urbanization level is around 31% accounting for 60% of India’s GDP. The urbanization level is expected to grow rapidly in the coming 15 years and hence the Indian Government developed an ambitious plan to develop plans for these ‘engines of economic growth’ using the latest principles for sustainable urban development and new technologies. Accordingly, the current thinking is that 100 cities to be developed as Smart Cities may be chosen from amongst the following:

  • One satellite city of each of the cities with a population of 4 million people or more – 9 cities
  • All the cities in the population range of 1 – 4 million people – 44 cities
  • All State Capitals, even if they have a population of less than one million – 17 cities
  • Cities of tourist and religious importance – 10 cities
  • Cities in the 0.5 to 1.0 million population range – 20 cities
  • In Delhi, a new smart city through the land pooling scheme has been proposed

More than one and a half year ago the Indian government already launched the initiative. At that moment in time the ‘100 Smart Cities’ plan was conceived as a mere technological approach to the city. The Note on Smart Cities that is to be found on the website of the Indian government now takes a much broader and interesting approach. Summarised ‘Smart’ is being defined as providing basic infrastructure and services, resilient and attractive urban patterns, quick and transparent planning processes and new technologies. In a sense the ‘100 Smart Cities’ strategy is upscaling the ‘pilot project’ hundred fold in order to generate a real and lasting effect on a broad range of cities across the country. Learning from these examples and all the new brainpower that this ‘grande project’ attracts should equip local governments with the right tools and guiding principles to cope with the rapid urbanisation in the country.
Picture: Martin Roemers

Vacant Buildings Rotterdam

marconitorens

Client: Municipality of Rotterdam Year: 2013-2014
Project: “What’s necessary for the successful redevelopment of vacant buildings in the city?” That’s the underlying question of the study done for the municipality of Rotterdam. Five interviews with private sector parties that were responsible for the successful redevelopment of vacant buildings in Rotterdam provide experience based knowledge and lessons. The interviews and research have been conducted by SmartCityStudio together with ‘Bureau Binnenstad’, the municipality of Rotterdam. Besides these ‘experience based lessons’ that are instructive for everyone that works on the transformation of the city, this research reflects on a new playing field between the private sector and the local government that draws on lessons from the past and that defines models for the future.
Download ‘5 interviews on successful transformation’ – complete stories brochure (Dutch)
Download ’10 Lessons Learned’ – summary brochure (Dutch)

 

Ride-Sharing Services

ride-sharingRide-sharing services, like Uber, and taxi-hailing apps show us how increased connectivity shapes the behaviour of citizens. This has an impact on the mobility patterns of people, vibrancy of the city, on job opportunities, job efficiency and convenience. Two recent quotes on this matter:

“How Uber Is Changing Night Life in Los Angeles”, From the NY Times: 
…“It became very clear to me that I could use Uber and have the kind of life I wanted,” he said. “I feel like I found a way to take the best parts of my New York lifestyle, and incorporate them in L.A.”
Mr. O’Connell is part of a growing contingent of urbanites who have made Ubering (it’s as much a verb as “Googling”) an indispensable part of their day and especially their night life. Untethered from their vehicles, Angelenos are suddenly free to drink, party and walk places. Even as their business models are evolving, these ride-sharing services, which include Lyft, Sidecar and others, have upended the social habits of the area, and rallied its residents to be more peripatetic. A night out in Los Angeles used to involve negotiating parking, beating traffic and picking a designated driver. Excursions from one end to the other — say, from the oceanfront city of Santa Monica to the trendy Silver Lake neighborhood on the eastern side — had to be planned and timed with military precision, lest they spiral into a three-hour commute. More often than not, they were simply avoided.

“Before Uber was a thing, I would rarely go to Hollywood,” said Drew Heitzler, an artist who lives in Venice, a potentially treacherous drive away. “The prospect of going to Hollywood on a weekend night, if I was invited to a party or an art event, it just wouldn’t happen. I would just stay home.”
Now Mr. Heitzler, 42, uses the ride-sharing app at least weekly, gladly leaving his car behind when he socializes. “In Los Angeles, you have the ubiquitous D.U.I. checkpoints everywhere,” he said. “If you’re going to go to a party, you either don’t drink or you Uber there and Uber back, and problem solved.”….

‘Cab Fair’, From the Economist:
RU LI is typical of many Beijing taxi drivers these days—relaxed, smiling and, at rush hour on a Friday afternoon, politely declining to pick up passengers from the street. He is waiting by a mall in central Beijing for a customer he has connected with using Didi Dache, China’s leading taxi-hailing app. Across the street are two other taxis that have also arranged pick-ups using the same app.
Not long ago taking a taxi in Beijing was unpleasant for customer and driver alike. Passengers hunted desperately for cabs. Drivers, angry at working conditions and low fares, waved them away. The vague threat of a formal strike loomed and, before smartphones, might have happened.
Today the experience is transformed. Taxi-hailing apps have given drivers more control, as the apps match drivers with passengers, who can offer a tip as an incentive. The government stepped in, too: last year Beijing authorities raised the minimum fare by 30% to 13 yuan ($2.10), the first increase in a decade.

Like most drivers Mr Ru, who is 32, also uses the app Kuaidi Dache (which means “Quickly Hail a Taxi”), owned by Alibaba, an internet conglomerate. (Didi Dache, owned by Tencent, another conglomerate, means “Honk, Honk, Hail a Taxi”.) Owing to fierce competition, the rival apps offer subsidies to drivers as well as customers, who pay for the ride through their smartphones. The two apps each have more than 100m registered users and, at the end of March, claimed a combined 11m daily orders for taxis. Unlike apps in the West such as Uber, which use a network of drivers in competition with taxi firms, Chinese apps work in co-operation with them.
Thanks to the apps and to the rise in cab fares, Mr Ru says that, instead of 12-hour workdays and only a few days off each month, he now works ten hours a day, five days a week, for the same money—about 5,000 yuan ($800) a month…

Picture: Emily Berl for the New York Times
Sources: New York Times, the Economist

Infrastructure Packaging

Historically, cities as separate urban government units had never garnered any significant attention from the United Nations, but at Tuesday’s U.N. Climate Summit in New York, mayors from all over the world took center stage.
A common theme throughout the day was that cities are crucial to fight climate change because urban areas are responsible for nearly 70 percent of all carbon emissions.
To reduce pollution from urban centers, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the establishment of the Climate Finance Leadership Alliance, tasked with funding low-carbon and climate-resilient infrastructure projects and make their implementation better and easier as a key component of the struggle against global warming.

Despite the U.N.’s usual good intentions, the purpose of CFLA seems to be a work in progress, not due to a lack of focus by the loose partnership, but in part because infrastructure project funding is so different for various sectors in different cities. Participants at the summit highlighted that any financing initiative must be flexible in order to bring everyone to the table.
So far about 20 partners — ranging from the C40 advocacy group to Citibank — have committed to CFLA, according to Amanda Eichel, adviser to Michael Bloomberg, U.N. special envoy on cities and climate change and former mayor of New York.

Partners will not engage in direct funding of infrastructure projects, but rather leverage the right investors to make those projects a reality in developing countries, precisely where the risk is highest.
CFLA will thus function like a consulting firm for cities on “how to package projects in an interesting way to make them more attractive to investors,” Eichel said.
“A common communication, language and approach” in presenting infrastructure projects is the main reason cities have such trouble funding large infrastructure projects, Bloomberg’s adviser explained.
Investors struggle to navigate the bureaucracy’s competing priorities and the lack of clarity on any potential returns, so the initiative will provide them with guidance on each sector instead of focusing on individual cities, in order to maximize development impact.

To illustrate how the process works, Eichel gave the example of a mass transit development project in a particular urban area. CFLA would study what transport needs are across a range of cities within that sector and give recommendations on how to “market and advertise” that type of project to potential investors. It would then be up to that city to apply that “branding” strategy and choose their own partners and contracts based on individual cities’ criteria.

Outside of its partners, the initiative’s unofficial steering committee is led by the World Bank,Bloomberg PhilanthropiesU.N.-Habitat and the Rockefeller Foundation. Although final roles have yet to be finalized, Bloomberg Philanthropies and World Bank will be in charge of researching and assessing “the state of climate finance in cities” in annual reports, because measuring impact can provide more confidence to investors. U.N.-Habitat will act as technical adviser, determining the type of project for particular needs in various cities. The Rockefeller Foundation will be a core member of this group, although in a still unknown capacity.

Capacity building

Joan Clos, executive director of U.N.-Habitat and former mayor of Barcelona, insisted the problem is not a lack of money but putting it in the right places.
“What is lacking is not funding, what is lacking is the quality of the project,” he told Devex, stressing that the real issue is making sure cities know how to get a slice of that money. “Financial institutions require that [urban infrastructure] projects have a clear business model, they are understandable, in order to be funded.”
We are in the “demand side of the equation” to build up the capacity of developing country cities, Clos said.

The head of U.N.-Habitat specified that “turning solid waste into energy is one of the most important group of projects.” For instance, landfills in developing countries are usually the highest emitters of methane gas, but urban governments there don’t have the technology to harness the waste and turn it into energy. The goal is to convince investors that they can make a return on that type of financial risk, which Clos noted can be done by showing them the potential for “maturity of long-term investment” in sanitation and transportation projects, to name just two.

CFLA, he said, will help create institutional settings to attract investors. These would be “innovative instruments … not necessarily on the financial side” in the form of new water, electricity or transport companies, legislative reform or utility subsidies. The field is open because each city has a unique set of issues despite a shared, overarching problem within different sectors.

“The scarce resource is the solid business plan” for infrastructure projects, and the initiative has been established to remedy just that, Clos pointed out.
CFLA will thus adopt a unique business and climate change-based approach to development, which has the potential to push more private sector engagement if investors see they can make a profit.

Top U.S. banks want to be a part of the initiative, and surely Bloomberg’s name and business acumen will also help attract investors. But it remains to be seen if governments, aid groups and the private sector will be able to work together to achieve the goal of helping cities develop low-carbon and carbon-resilient infrastructure to really make them the next battleground to combat climate change.

Source: www.devex.com
Picture: Johannesburg by SmartCityStudio

Smart Citizen

“What are the real levels of air pollution around your home or business? and what about noise pollution? and humidity? Now imagine that you could know them, share instantly and compare with other places in your city, in real time … How could this information help to improve our environment quality?” Smart Citizen wants to answer to these questions and many more, through the development of low-cost sensors. Smart Citizen claims that you can only build a real Smart City with Smart Citizens, and that’s true.
By connecting data, people and knowledge Smart Citizen creates a platform to generate participatory processes of people in cities. A fine grain network of sensors can monitor microclimatic behaviour in cities. This could create possibilities to measure the impact of interventions in the living environment.
Source: http://smartcitizen.me

Smart Cities NL


Client: Minitstry of Infrastructure and the Environment Year: 2013
Project: For the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment SmartCityStudio produced a short film about the opportunities for Smart Cities in the Netherlands. The film has been screened at the High Level Meeting Smart Cities and the Dutch Innovation Congress in november 2013

Digital Matatus

“Digital Matatus shows how to leverage the ubiquitous nature of cellphone technology in developing countries to collect data for essental infrastructure, give it out freely and in the process spur innovation and improved services for citizens. Conceived out of collaboration between Kenyan and American universities and the technology sector in Nairobi, this project captured transit data for Nairobi, developed mobile routing applications and designed a new transit map for the city. The data, maps and apps are free and available to the public, transforming the way people navigate and think about their transportation system.”


Source: www.digitalmatatus.com

Airport and Region

Client: Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment Year: 2012
Output: Spatial models for the future development of Schiphol Airport and the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region.
Project: How to balance future economic developments in the Amsterdam Metropolitan region with the noise pollution contours of one of Europe’s busiest airports? Although limits of the noise contours have been legally set, the way they could be interpreted varies. This opens a playing field in which local politics, private parties and environmental agents act and follow their individual interests. The project entitled SMASH generated three spatial models of the playing field until 2040 through a series of large conferences and workshops with many stakeholders involved. These models are input for the national policy of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment for the airport and the metropolitan region around.
Picture: Kitty Terwolbeck, Creative Commons

Shared Electric Car Network

Paris has been wired with a shared electric car network: Autolib’. Modelled after the successful Velib’ bike-sharing program Autolib’ has won over 70.000 clients since its launch in 2011. The program combines a sharing concept with an easy-to-use internet platform, an urban transit strategy and clean fuel technology. It fuses low tech and high tech, people and the city in one system. Although SmartCityStudio is very positive about the distribution and amount of stations implemented in the metropolitan area of Ile-de-France, this new urban ecology has not only been cheered. The criticasters somehow surprisingly come from the green party in Paris according to the Chicago Tribune:

“Conservatives intially attacked Autolib as a vanity project of the Socialists who control the Paris city hall, but have toned down their criticism as the scheme’s popularity has grown. …But Greens fear the 1,800-strong fleet may be drawing Parisians away from public transport rather than from their gas and diesel-powered cars…The Greens, who voted against Autolib while remaining part of Socialist Mayor Bertrand Delanoe’s majority, have asked for an audit on the scheme’s finances and its impact on traffic. “We remain very sceptical on Autolib,” said Denis Baupin, Green MP for Paris and transport councillor until last year.

As opposed to this criticism Autolib’s backers make some bold claims, according to the Chicago Tribune: “The project, they say, is breaking down social and physical barriers between the two million inhabitants of affluent central Paris and the other eight million who live in the “banlieues”, the often neglected high-rise suburbs outside the “peripherique” ring road. “There was a time when Parisians thought the banlieues were where they sent their rubbish and built council blocks or cemeteries,” Paris transport councillor Julien Bargeton said. “That relationship is changing, and Autolib shows that,” he told Reuters, estimating that about a third of all trips in the electric cars take place between Paris and its outskirts.”

Some information on the system itself. It is a public private partnership. The French Bollore Group invested in the fleet of Italian designed cars (Pininfarina) and spends 50 million euro’s annually to keep the fleet running. The City of Paris has invested 35 million in the charging points. As a customer you can choose between a yearly subscription (144 euro’s and 5 euro per half an hour), a monthly subscription (30 euro’s, 6 euro per half an hour), a weekly subscription (15 euro’s, 7 euro’s per half an hour) and a one day subscription (10 euro’s and 7 euro’s per half an hour). A total of 1750 cars has been registered in January 2013 and the Bollore Group’s goal is to deploy 3000 cars by 2013. By February 2013 the fleet had 65.000 subscribers and has driven a total cumulative of 15 million kilometer. There are over 650 charging stations in around 50 municipalities in the area of Ile-the-France with over 4000 charging points. The Bollore Company plans to expand the system on a short notice in Bordeaux and Lyon.

Sources: Wikipedia, Chicago Tribune, Paris, Autolib. Picture: Mairie de Paris

Canvas of Light

According to Vivid Sydney: “Sydney will once again be transformed into a spectacular canvas of light, music and ideas when Vivid Sydney takes over the city after dark from 24 May – 10 June 2013. Colouring the city with creativity and inspiration, Vivid Sydney highlights include the hugely popular immersive light installations and projections; performances from local and international musicians at Vivid LIVE at Sydney Opera House and the Vivid Ideas Exchange featuring public talks and debates from leading global creative thinkers.”

New South Wales Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner officially opened the fifth annual Vivid Sydney festival by lighting the sails of the Sydney Opera House to unveil a stunning visual feast of colour, movement and lighting artistry, with 3D-mapped light projections. The greatly expanded Vivid Sydney this year includes the lighting of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the transformation of the Darling Harbour into a water theatre.
“The Vivid Light footprint has tripled in size and for the first time Sydney’s Harbour Bridge will come alive with a spectacular installation created through a collaboration between Vivid partner Intel Australia and Sydney’s 32 Hundred Lighting, with support from North Sydney Council, in an interactive programmable lighting installation on the bridge’s western face, controlled by the public from a touch screen located on the Luna Park boardwalk.
With a record number of applications to be part of Vivid Light, one-third of all light installations are from overseas artists, demonstrating the unique platform Vivid Sydney offers to engage with the best of the global creative economy and foster international business opportunities. “Vivid Sydney is where technology, commerce and art intersect—delivering real business outcomes. With 37 per cent of Australia’s creative industries located in NSW, supporting creative industries through events like Vivid Sydney is key to the NSW Government’s strategy to grow the NSW economy,” Mr Stoner said.
“In 2012 Vivid Sydney attracted more than 500,000 spectators and we anticipate numbers will reach well over 550,000 in 2013, injecting around $10 million in new money into the NSW economy.”
Have look at the timelapse video that shows the Canvas of Light that has been projected on the Sydney Opera House: [vimeo vimeo.com/66892937 w=600&h=450]

Sources: Vivid Sydney Picture: The Guardian Video: Vivid Sydney