4 ways to get on with building Smart Cities. And the societal failure that stops us using them.

October 12, 2015

Great summary
Be good to include a Networked Infrastructure National Architecture system such as http://www.ninaaccesspathway.com

The Urban Technologist

( (William Robinson Leigh’s 1908 painting “Visionary City” envisaged future cities constructed from mile-long buildings of hundreds of storeys connected by gas-lit skyways for trams, pedestrians and horse-drawn carriages. A century later we’re starting to realise not only that developments in transport and power technology have eclipsed Leigh’s vision, but that we don’t want to live in cities constructed from buildings on this scale.)

The Smart City refuses to go away
In 2013 Adam Greenfield wrote “Against the Smart City”  in criticism of the large-scale corporate- and government-led projects in cities such as Masdar, Songdo and Rio that had begun to co-opt the original idea of “Smart Communities” and citizens, given a more powerful voice in their own governance by Internet communication, into what he saw – and what some still see – as a “top-down” approach to infrastructure and services divorced from the interest of ordinary…

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smart cities and why they need a lot more social scientists to get involved

March 21, 2015

Great concepts being developed
Another one would be http://www.ninaaccesspathway.com


I spent a very interesting day a couple of weeks ago at the MK Future Cities conference, held at The Open University in Milton Keynes.  It looked to me like there were well over a hundred people there, mostly policymakers, businesses and various organisations with an interest in this thing called a ‘smart city’. Milton Keynes is a city with a lot of ‘smart’ stuff going on, and the day kicked off with a great talk from its council’s Director of Strategy on what’s happening and – more importantly – why and how it will matter to the city and its inhabitants.

Definitions of ‘smart cities’ proliferate (and indeed there is some muttering that the term is now past its sell-by date), but they’re generally understood to use data produced by digital technologies to do three things: enhance their sustainability by encouraging more efficient use of resources; increase their economic growth…

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Saving the city from climate change, one house at a time

November 23, 2013

And with help of NINA. http://www.ninaaccesspathway.com


Alex Washburn was one of those New Yorkers who stayed put, defying Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s orders to evacuate when Superstorm Sandy came stomping into town. But unlike those who dug in their heels out of stubbornness or helplessness, Washburn stuck around out of pure curiosity. He’s Bloomberg’s chief urban designer — the guy responsible for shaping the city’s parks, streets, and other public spaces — and he wanted to meet Sandy in person.

“I wanted to watch, feel, understand what a storm surge meant,” he says. “If I don’t understand it viscerally, I can’t design for it.”

So while his family and many of his neighbors headed for higher ground, Washburn sat in his 19th century Red Hook rowhouse and watched.

“The first inkling was water coming out of the storm drains,” he says. “It rose very, very fast. Within minutes it had turned into a river. A little later…

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Basics of Social Responsibility

December 5, 2009

My passion for water is built on biology as my craft. This combination has led my evolution of thought in this domain.

Humans live by their actions. A natural right of human individuals is that that have “Freedom of Action” to which I add and “Responsibility for our Actions”.

Responsibility to who or what? Self yes, but ultimately the biosphere. The biosphere was the source of our life and with whom we evolved a co-existence. We are coded with best practice for ensuring the continuity of our genetic material in that biosphere, through these imprinted codes, and “rules of thumb” passed down the generations, modified by the reality of the moment and the immediacy of our surroundings, as visioned by the five inbuilt senses. Cerebral activity, also coded, is the site for the integration of all the dimensions associated with our decisions and subsequent actions. Life in its entirety is coded.

The inherited code included the physiological needs base of Maslow (water, food, O2 etc) but also the social “self actualisation” he deduced we attained to. While the physiological coding may not have needed to change much to fit the current environment, the coded social (moral) instincts are confronted by a different scene due primarily to the combination of six billion humans, not just a few, and the consequences of their coded capacity for imagination and creativity.

The social dimension includes cooperation as a crucial factor in the evolution of humans to date and will be even more critical in the future. Social evolution toward eusociality and organismality are directions that have to be taken into account. Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom has worked to understand “common pool resources” and how self-organising and self-governing communities could evolve and exist. Central to this approach is the trust that individuals have in others and reciprocity norms. This appears to be different from a perceived necessity of a “competitive” environment for success, a preoccupation with land, labour and capital as the resources and “survival of the fittest”. With resource limits to growth, and the economic solution for individuals (or institutions) to own resources and to “price” the resources, there is inevitability, that the rich will grow richer and the poor poorer as has been witnessed by the slow dying of the middleclass in the USA and the North South divide. The evolution of the “in group” and the “out group” is not set in the genome.

The wellbeing of the individual is therefore framed by biological, intellectual, relationships, physical, and financial assets which for the community or business could be called named financial, physical, human, social and natural assets (or capital). To focus on one aspect in the short term will be to the detriment of the others and potentially to the disintegration of wellbeing of not only the individual and communities but the biosphere in the long term.

Water fits as a subset in this view of human wellbeing, albeit a necessity for the a fundamental aspect of humans, life itself. There is a need to dynamically quantify the physical entity water and include the information as part of everyone’s Cyberbrain but also to investigate new moral norms that may be required in the social space to responsibly manage biosphere water. This is our challenge. Final Presentation 1

Life, What a Concept

October 31, 2009

This blog is to develop a dialog that involves aspects of social responsibility,  from the level of self to the that of the biosphere. After the initial acknowledgement that life is a great concept and the human a miraculous being, the understanding of how humans are going to live with each other, especially given the development paths that they have chosen, invites a serious debate!!!!

The approach is simple in that we declare that all humans have “Freedom of Action but Responsibility for their Actions”. This invites the question “Responsible to who?”;  the Biosphere because it is the source of “Life” both in the historical sense and the current sense. The human temptation is to say, to “self”,  and this is partly true and necessary for survival, which immediately introduces the fundamental question that is to be asked of all humans actions “Is the action in the self or common interest? or some balance of that and if a balance, what balance”.

This question is asked before the action by the brain and it is hoped that “common sense” influences the decision and therefore the subsequent action. Judgement of these actions by self is likely to bring a different answer from that of an independent observer, and as in the case of quantum mechanics, the presence of the  observer may change the action. The dialog therefore is to consider the extent to which self-organisation will occur to bring a solution that is in the common good.

Hello world!

October 31, 2009

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