smart cities tags

Bull Session

Techno-Utopia and Alphabet’s Smart City

October 27, 2017          

Episode Summary

For our podcast topic this week, we discuss the design proposal by Sidewalk Labs—a smart city technologies firm, owned by Alphabet, Google parent’s company—for the City of Toronto. Sidewalk Labs will be partnering with the city to create a mixed-use community on Toronto’s waterfront. The aim of the pilot project is to build a smart city from the ground up, drawing on recent technological innovations in software analytics, the IoT, and self-driving cars, as well as improvements in methods of construction, waste disposal, and energy systems. Concerns about privacy abound, however. A recent Toronto Star editorial voiced some skepticism that promises of security and privacy protection would actually be built into the new infrastructure of the smart city. Join us as we discuss.

Resources:
Alphabet is Trying to Reinvent the City, Starting with Toronto
Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs to turn Toronto area into a model smart city
Don’t lose sight of personal privacy in futuristic city: Editorial

Bull Session

Urban Agriculture

June 9, 2016          

Episode Summary

On this episode of The Digital Life, we chat about urban agriculture and its importance to the cities of the future. We’re quickly approaching 8 billion people on the planet. More than half of them live in cities, and this number will continue to grow. The agriculture industry is resource intensive, especially when it comes to water and energy usage. Around the world, as they plan for the cities of the future, people are looking at urban agriculture.

Urban agriculture has many benefits.Because food is grown locally, near where we live, it reduces the cost and environmental impact of long supply chains. Locally grown also means we always get fresh produce.

Cities benefit from the increased greenery of urban agriculture which, importantly, reduces the “heat island” effect, caused by impermeable city surfaces are and dry which make urban regions warmer than nearby rural areas. Additionally, urban farming can bring healthy food as well as jobs to underserved urban areas.

In this episode we discuss the current state of urban agriculture and its future, including vertical farms and products like the Grove Ecosystem.

Resources:
Why Chicago is Becoming the Country’s Urban Farming Capital
Grove Labs

Bull Session

Smart Cities and Sidewalk Labs

April 28, 2016          

Episode Summary

On this episode of The Digital Life we discuss Google’s Sidewalk Labs and its radical plans to design a smart city from scratch. Sidewalk Labs wants to work with cities to build applications that solve big urban problems and accelerate innovation around the world. However, in their pursuit of these solutions, the company is seeking autonomy from many city regulations, so it can build free of the many constraints that come with the design of streets, parking, and utilities.

Sidewalk Labs already has two solutions in progress: Flow, a transportation coordination platform in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation; and LinkNYC, kiosks with gigabit fiber connections delivering WiFi, USB charging, free voice calls, and a tablet for access to the Internet.

Bull Session

Smart Cities and the IoT

February 12, 2015          

Episode Summary

Across the United States, from New York to Los Angeles to Boston, there are a variety of new initiatives to develop Smart City services, using sensor technology and the Internet of Things to improve the quality of urban living.

Examples of these initiatives range from well-coordinated transportation services using big data to reduce traffic congestion and save commuters time and fuel, to public safety and security services controlling police dispatch, municipal repairs, and even snow removal.

In this episode of The Digital Life, we discuss the long-term implications of designing Smart Cities, and the potential pitfalls of such wide-ranging projects, as the digital infrastructure of our environment grows.