Portland to participate in Whitehouse's Smart Cities Initiative
80 million investment to build smarter cities. There are some endeavors that are simply too much for any one city to take on by itself.
NIST’s Global City Teams Challenge is establishing multi-team super-clusters to take on grand challenges too big for any single city team to tackle. Examples include multi-city resilience to large-scale natural disasters, intelligent transportation systems that work in any city, and regional air quality improvements through coordinated local action. This initiative brings together groups of communities formed around lead cities—Portland, Oregon; Atlanta, Georgia; Newport News, Virginia; Columbus, Ohio; Bellevue, Washington; Kansas City, Kansas; and Kansas City, Missouri—to work with NIST and its collaborators, including DOT, DHS Science and Technology Directorate, NSF, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the International Trade Administration, the Economic Development Administration, IBM, AT&T, CH2M, Verizon, Qualcomm Intelligent Solutions, Intel, US Ignite, and Urban-X, to develop ‘blueprints’ for shared solutions that will be collaboratively implemented in multiple cities and communities.
NIST is announcing $350,000 in four new grants enabling 11 cities and communities to work together on innovative smart city solutions. The Replicable Smart City Technologies grants to teams of communities led by Newport News, Virginia; Bellevue, Washington; Montgomery County, Maryland; and Portland, Oregon focus on the development and deployment of inter-operable technologies to address important public concerns regarding air pollution, flood prediction, rapid emergency response, and improved citizen services through inter-operable smart city solutions that can be implemented by communities of all types and sizes.
"But when mayors and developers focus on technology rather than people, smart quickly becomes stupid, threatening to exacerbate inequality and undermine the social cooperation essential to successful cities."
"After researching leading cities around the world, we’ve concluded that truly smart cities will be those that deploy modern technology in building a new urban commons to support communal sharing.
What can we do as community citizens to promote ecologically sensible urban planning projects in our communities?
What role should crowdfunding play in our cities?
"By allowing citizens to donate small amounts of money to projects of their choosing, urban planning can become a more participatory and inclusive process. These platforms also open up a new source of capital for projects that may not otherwise be funded.
However, civic crowdfunding also presents risks. While it can make planning more participatory, it may exclude citizens who lack the ability to make significant donations. Further, it is unclear whether governments will turn to civic crowdfunding instead of funding projects that should be paid for with public funds. Finally, most civic crowdfunding projects remain small, and it is unclear whether the model will effectively scale up.
Still crowdfunding is gaining momentum around the world. While is it most common in wealthier countries, it also has strong potential for opening up new capital in middle and lower income countries. It is already growing quickly in India, where a variety of crowdfunding platforms are emerging to fund arts and business ventures.
Crowdfunding is growing as a tool being used to fund a variety of projects, including investments in start-up companies, real estate ventures, and alternative energies. Still, these innovative funding models are early in their growth. In time, civic crowdfunding may help reshape our cities to be more sustainable and responsive to citizens’ needs and desires."
Interior of the Vo Trong Nghia Architecture
"What we know from history is that [we] need a really small group of innovators ... that can demonstrate how to do things differently and once that gets mainstreamed, change happens really quickly." - Edgar Pieters Urbanized
Can we build happiness into a city via urban planning?
"The pursuit of happiness may be an unalienable right, but are the technologies we are designing really helping its users to be happy? Take the simple example of a web map. It usually gives us the shortest walking direction to destination. But what if it would give us the small street, full of trees, parallel to the shortest path, which would make us happier? As more and more of us share these city streets, what will keep us happy as they become more crowded?"