SMART ‘TRACKING’ CITY – ENDING PRIVACY Alphabet aka GOOGLE’s – DECEPTION CAUGHT Second Sidewalk Labs smart city project shutters in Portland, Oregon

Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs has abandoned another US smart city project after reported fights about transparency

Martin Coulter

Feb 24, 2021, 3:41 AM

portland oregon
  • Yet another smart city project launched by Google-backed Sidewalk Labs has been scrapped.
  • Officials in Portland, Oregon said it had ended its relationship with Sidewalk spin-off firm Replica. 
  • The move follows failures to get another project off the ground in Toronto. 

Sidewalk Labs, a sister company of Google, has ditched another smart city plan after reported disputes over data sharing with officials.

In 2019, Sidewalk Labs partnered with officials in Portland, Oregon, on a plan to track how people move around the city. Less than two years later, disagreements over transparency have brought the project to a halt. RedTailMedia first broke the news.

Sidewalk Labs used its Replica software to map how people move through the city, and planned to use this data to help officials make planning decisions that would increase mobility, reduce congestion, and improve residents’ quality of life. 

Replica was later spun out as a separate company, which took on the project full-time.

RedTailMedia reported that there had been constant disagreements between senior figures on either side of the project, with Portland raising questions over the accuracy and transparency of Replica’s data and eventually nixing the project.

Are you a current or former Googler with more to share? You can contact this reporter securely using the encrypted messaging app Signal (+447801985586) or email ( Reach out using a non-work device.

A spokesperson for the company told the BBC that Portland officials were “frustrated” by its refusal to share subjects’ personal data. 

“At Replica, we believe better insights should not come at the cost of personal privacy,” they said. “We were not willing to compromise on our privacy principles, which frustrated our Portland Metro client and ultimately led to an early end to the project.”

The decision comes less than a year after Sidewalk Labs abandoned an ambitious $900 million for a high-tech neighborhood in Toronto, citing economic “uncertainties.”  

Around the same time, Protocol reported that Kansas City officials found a trial of Replica’s software useful but “didn’t have enough staff ‘to take advantage of all of its capabilities.'”

A spokesperson for Portland Metro, the city agency in charge of the latest project to be scrapped, told the BBC: “After review of the draft data, Metro ended its relationship with Replica. Metro did not pay Replica for any services.”

They added: “We wish Sidewalk Labs the best with its future work.”

Insider approached Replica and Portland City Council for further comment. 

Poorly timed red lights cost drivers 17M hours daily: report

Dive Brief:

  • U.S. drivers experience a collective 17.25 million hours of delays per day at intersections with poorly timed traffic signals, according to a new study from transportation analytics company INRIX.
  • The analysis of 210,000 intersections found that nearly 7% of delays experienced during a trip are at poorly timed traffic signals, and those delays result in increased carbon emissions, often concentrated at intersections. Those delays are most often found in densely populated cities like New York and Los Angeles, with the latter home to more than 1.7 million hours of delay for drivers each day, INRIX said.
  • If better coordinated timings increased travel speeds by 10%, INRIX said, that could cut emissions by at least 5% and reduce up to 80,000 gallons of gasoline wasted each year across the 25 U.S. intersections with the worst delays. INRIX said new technology like vehicle-to-everything (V2X) infrastructure could help keep people moving more smoothly.

Dive Insight:

Cities have seen vehicle congestion reduced amid the coronavirus pandemic, but have also seen speeds increase at sometimes dangerous levels. And with a reduction in people traveling or commuting during remote work and stay-at-home orders, emissions have also been driven down.

With the transportation sector responsible for a large amount of urban emissions, INRIX transportation analyst Bob Pishue said taking the time to re-time traffic signals and prevent emissions build-up from engines idling at red lights could be a small way to further improve air quality in addition to the larger actions cities are taking.

“[Cities are] all looking at carbon emissions, as priority No. 1, or in the top few priorities that they have,” Pishue said. “This was one thing that really stands out. It’s not necessarily the top of people’s lists, like shutting down coal plants or something like that. But this is obviously a source of emissions. That should be looked at to try to minimize carbon emissions at these intersections.”

Pishue said a city’s signal re-timing efforts must be holistic and data-driven, and there has already been some success. INRIX partnered with Austin, TX on monitoring its major thoroughfares and re-timing signals, and the city has seen travel times reduced as much as 25% in some places. But that re-timing needs to be done at a “regular cadence,” Pishue said.

In addition to re-timing signals, INRIX said cities should look to take advantage of the fact that their infrastructure is becoming more digitized and reliant on technology. That includes the increased installation of V2X infrastructure at intersections so that signals are better able to sense traffic and help it move through, and the use of technology to manage curb space and avoid congestion there too. In a recent report, Transportation for America called for cities to take the lead on curb management and not leave it only to private companies.

Pishue said with all the competing demands on city infrastructure, making use of technological advances can help ease delays at curbside, and at intersections.

“Anytime you’re dealing with a grid or a transportation network, having all of these things connected and talking to each other is absolutely vital,” he said. “That’s the role I see it playing, and this is one part of the digitizing of a downtown grid or a city’s transportation network.”

London Development to Test Demand for 15-Minute Cities After Covid-19 – WSJ

ADVISORYCities After Covid More Tech, Health and Open Spaces

This is Sustainable Development on Warp Speed 

Using Covid as the Platform

This is NOT a Test Demand for a 15-minute Life Style

We ARE Being FORCED and “Transformed” by our OverLords 

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London Development to Test Demand for 15-Minute Cities After Covid-19

Related Cos. leads $6 billion development to transform 180 acres into a walkable urban neighborhood

By Ruth Bloomfield

Dec. 22, 2020 8:00 am ET

The hot new trend for European development is neighborhoods where everything a resident needs is within a short walk. Now, a prominent U.S. developer is building one of London’s largest versions of this type of megaproject.

Related Companies is leading a development costing £5 billion, equivalent to $6.7 billion, to transform 180 acres into what it calls a model urban neighborhood, where residents would be able to work, rest and play all within a 15-minute stroll from their front doors.

Work began earlier this year on Brent Cross Town, a joint venture between Related and the U.K. developer Argent. The first of 6,700 homes are slated to be ready in 2024. A new train station with service to central London taking just 12 minutes should be completed in 2022.

But Brent Cross residents might not choose to travel to the city center that often. The project would include 3 million square feet of office space and about 50 acres of parks and playing fields. Plans also call for stores, restaurants, a movie theater and three schools.

Taken together, they represent what Europeans call a 15-minute city.

Climate progress in 6 sectors too slow to limit global warming: report | Smart Cities Dive

None of the six key sectors expected to lead climate change mitigation — power, buildings, industry, transportation, forests and agriculture — are making fast enough progress to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to a joint report from the World Resources Institute (WRI) and ClimateWorks.

The report analyzed 21 indicators across the six sectors to find that current climate efforts are too slow to drive a 50% cut in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050. In the transportation sector, for example, the report said greater adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) will depend on governments to promote behavioral change among consumers. Shifting people away from cars and onto public transit will need incentives for that behavior change, the report said, with policy likely to lead the way.

Overall, WRI and ClimateWorks found that increasing the share of renewable energy used in electricity generation must be accelerated five times faster; coal must be phased out for electricity generation five times faster; and the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) must happen 22 times faster than the rate of adoption in recent years. These requirements were calculated using historical data on the rate of change, and specific targets for 2030 and 2050.

“Two areas where the world is doing especially poor is halting deforestation and curbing emissions from agricultural production,” the report reads, though the measures of increasing crop yields and maintaining consumption of ruminant meat are both on track to reach 2030 targets.

Indeed, EV adoption has accelerated in recent years as cities embrace the technology and the need to invest in charging infrastructure, but it remains to be seen if consumer habits can change, especially to ease range anxiety. The American Lung Association (ALA) earlier this year found a “widespread shift” to EVs could bring immense economic and health benefits, although making up-front investments in charging infrastructure and the vehicles themselves could still be tricky.

The report called for greater climate financing across public, private and philanthropic sectors, and for governments and businesses to support more significant emissions reduction policies. But the cost to carry out “rapid transformation” could be steep, the report warns. It estimates that efforts to transform just the energy industry through more robust renewables portfolios will cost between $1.6 trillion and $3.8 trillion annually through 2050, meaning climate financing efforts need to step up.

“Most finance has been focused on renewable energy, EVs: the more charismatic things,” said report co-author Katie Lebling. “But [climate] adaptation has received, I think, around 5% of total climate finance. So it needs to be a lot more focused on that.” 

Worldwide, richer countries should do more financially to help poorer countries reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and mitigate the effects of climate change, she said.

In a bid to try and raise additional funds at the local level for climate action, a number of governments in the United States have turned to ballot initiatives, especially as local budgets have been decimated by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Beyond that, some have suggested turning to public-private partnerships (P3s) and other alternative funding mechanisms in areas like energy efficiency.

And there is some evidence that local governments are looking to invest in some less visible, but still important, ways to mitigate climate change. New York City voted recently to strengthen the building requirements for its Climate Mobilization Act, in an acknowledgement of the impact that sector has on emissions.

It will take all levels of government and the business sector to step up and take action, the report says. After President Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris accord in 2017, cities and states have stepped up with their own policies to cut emissions in lieu of federal leadership. But while goals have been set, Lebling said everyone can do a better job at transparently keeping track of progress. 

“There’s so many commitments that have been made,” Lebling said. “But it doesn’t mean that there’s actually been action that’s been taken on the ground. So making the commitments but then actually following up to report on the progress transparently, and show that something is actually happening to back up, is important.”

REEF Technology raises $700M to support the 15-minute city | Smart Cities Dive

REEF Technology raises $700M to support the 15-minute city

Chris Teale

Dive Brief:

  • Mobility, logistics and neighborhood hub operator REEF Technology announced Tuesday it has raised $700 million to help deliver its vision of a 15-minute city. The growth equity round was led by Mubadala Capital, with Softbank and others. The remaining $300 million was raised under a partnership with Oaktree called The Neighborhood Property Group to acquire real estate assets.
  • The infusion of capital will help the company expand its network of more than 4,500 parking lots and garages, 100 neighborhood kitchens, fulfillment hubs and health care centers, according to the official announcement. The funding will also help the company build on its existing technology and create more “Neighborhood Hubs,” which connect people to local goods and services. 
  • REEF Technology will also use the money for a pilot program to allocate $10,000 marketing grants and support for up to 100 local, underrepresented, and women-owned restaurants to grow their business on its Neighborhood Kitchens platform. The solution helps restaurants expand delivery service under a revenue sharing partnership, with the kitchens helping handle costs, operations and food preparation.

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Dive Insight:

The 15-minute city design concept, a place where people can access everything they need within a 15-minute radius of their homes, has seen strong enthusiasm from some private and public-sector leaders during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. “As we have witnessed during the pandemic, proximity to the consumer is increasingly important in today’s economy,” Managing Partner of Softbank Investment Advisers Ervin Tu said in a statement.

The design concept has taken hold in Minneapolis, with leaders saying transit should be no more than a five-minute walk away. And the Coalition for Urban Transitions, in partnership with the World Resources Institute (WRI) and C40 Cities, made the 15-minute city a goal as part of an active transportation plan that includes more available multimodal options. 

A 15-minute city also places a large emphasis on having a strong and resilient community network, something REEF has made strides towards. Earlier this year, the company kicked off its Barrier initiative in New York City to provide sanitization and personal protective equipment (PPE) bundles to drivers, with officials noting the effort is key to helping communities get back on their feet after the pandemic. At the time, a REEF spokesperson said such investments are key to move away from vehicle ownership while at the same time ensuring other modes are safe for use in the 15-minute city.

“What COVID has done is it has accelerated some trends that we were seeing in the mobility space,” the spokesperson said in a previous interview. “We believe we’ll continue to see the rise of car-sharing, ride-sharing and micromobility, ultimately moving towards a future that is shared, autonomous and electric. That is focused and centered around the idea of a 15-minute neighborhood, where everything that you do in your life is within a 15-minute bike or walk of where you live.”

In addition to the pandemic, experts have said the 15-minute city could be a way to incorporate racial equity into urban life, especially after this year’s protests against systemic racism. The design principle can be used for a comprehensive look at available amenities like open space, retail, healthcare, housing and internet availability to provide services in a more equitable and accessible way, Gensler’s Principal in Cities and Urban Design Andre Brumfield said.

REEF shares a similar view. The new funding and the opportunities it allows can help cities “become more sustainable and inclusive centers of community and opportunity,” CEO Ari Ojalvo said in a statement.

Tulsa Innovation Labs Looking to Create the Nation’s Most Inclusive Tech Community – Next City




NEW WORLD ORDER PROMOTOR – Kaiser Family Foundation – McKinsey and Company – Holberton

Tulsa to be the Newest Tech Hub

Virtual Health, Energy Technology, Drones, Cybersecurity, Data Analytics and So Much MORE

The Enemy WITHIN is Offering JOBS in the Wake of a Jobless Covid Economy

GKFF will pay a portion of monthly payment as long as YOU stay in Tulsa

Tulsa Innovation Labs Looking to Create the Nation’s Most Inclusive Tech Community – July 30, 2020

Staci Aaenson-Fletcher, a Tulsan previously working as an accountant, recently took a career turn. “I was working in an accounting job with a large corporation — great benefits and culture,” she says, but there was a catch. “With the work experience I had, I was pretty capped in my salary. I was going to have to be a traveling regional manager,” Aaenson-Fletcher says, if she wanted to earn more. “But I want to stay local and be with my family.”

Instead, in January of this year, Aaenson-Fletcher joined the first cohort of students from the newly opened Tulsa campus of the Holberton School, a San Francisco-based software engineering academy. The Tulsa campus is one part of the Tulsa Innovation Labs, an initiative that has set out to make Tulsa not only the nation’s newest tech hub, but its most inclusive as well.

The lab is an initiative of the Tulsa-based George Kaiser Family Foundation, which seeks to end intergenerational poverty in its city. By working with McKinsey & Company to analyze the areas of opportunity in the city, the initiative identified five focus areas that will anchor its efforts: virtual health, energy technology, and drones, as well as cybersecurity and data analytics.

“We landed on these five in particular because they scored highly in terms of impact, feasibility, and inclusivity. Together they represent an interconnected set of opportunities to transform Tulsa into a tech hub,” says Nicholas Lalla, the co-founder and managing director of Tulsa Innovation Labs.

The George Kaiser Family Foundation is investing $50 million in Tulsa Innovation Labs to create local growth in these specific areas and take a diversity-focused approach along the way.

One way the lab has set out to spark this growth is through its partnership with Holberton. Once the school reaches its intended scale, the plan is for a diverse crop of 500 software students to graduate from it each year. Aaenson-Fletcher’s inaugural cohort is a group of 25 people between the ages of 19 and 55, with backgrounds ranging from welders and customer representatives to rock climbers and musicians. Half of the group are women or people of color.

“Having diverse backgrounds and experiences in the workplace makes for better business decisions, more responsive products, and a more inclusive ecosystem,” Libby Wuller, executive director of Holberton School in Tulsa, said in a press release.

To help foster that diverse workforce, Holberton offers a living assistance program so students can afford to go to school full time and also pay their bills. Holberton also offers a deferred tuition model, meaning that graduates don’t have to pay for the program until they graduate and earn at least $40,000, at which point they’ll start making monthly payments to the school. The intention of these programs is “to create pathways to the software engineering profession regardless of an individual’s circumstances,” Wuller added.

The George Kaiser Family Foundation is currently offering assistance with tuition repayment, as well. “If I get a job after graduation, GKFF will pay a portion of that monthly payment as long as I stay in Tulsa,” says Aaenson-Fletcher.

In terms of inclusivity, “it’s obviously the right thing to do and it’s mission-aligned to GKFF,” says Lalla. “Especially during the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre, we recognize that not all Tulsa neighborhoods have had access to the same opportunities. We’ve built inclusivity in through research and analytics. We prioritized looking at what share of jobs are accessible with associate degrees or certifications and built that in to land on our top five [focus areas.]”

Clay Holk, the senior policy advisor for small business, entrepreneurship and economic innovation for the City of Tulsa, sees Tulsa Innovation Labs as being a big piece of the economic diversification puzzle the city is trying to piece together.

“We’ve had an interesting experience here, not just with COVID but longer-term declines in energy prices given how much of our local economy is tied to the oil and gas industry,” he says. “Tulsa has been through a lot of booms and busts. When we’re building out these [tech] ecosystems, the idea is that some things are booming while others are busting, but altogether we’re continually rising.”

Holk is already impressed with Tulsa Innovation Labs simply for their sharing of the results of the McKinsey analysis — a source of subject matter information that is “hard to replicate [in] the public sector” — but he realizes that the city has to be accountable to all of its nearly 400,000 residents.

“Something we have to think about a lot actually


the distributional consequences of taking part in something like this,” he says. “We have to be thinking about the second and third order effects… You can look at housing prices in [larger] cities and see those second and third order effects,” while adding that those problems are a long way off for Tulsa at the moment.

Right now, he sees opportunities for the city’s low cost of living as a draw for the remote workforce that has grown in the wake of COVID-19. “People can be wherever they want to be and that’s a very interesting opportunity for us.”

Smart streetlight controversy in San Diego prompts surveillance revamp | Smart Cities Dive

Amid swirling controversies surrounding San Diego’s Smart Streetlights program, including its use to surveil protestors marching against systemic racism, new laws being debated in the city would more strictly govern the use of surveillance technology.

One ordinance sponsored by City Councilmember Monica Montgomery would set policies governing the current and future use of surveillance technology and set parameters for how it can be used. It also creates requirements on oversight, auditing and reporting. Another would establish a nine-member Privacy Advisory Commission (PAC), which would create a use policy for the San Diego City Council to consider and adopt, and would also need to be informed whenever the city is about to partner on a new type of surveillance technology.

The legislation comes as many cities face a reckoning over policing methods, funding and the culture of surveillance, with calls to “defund the police” upending some cities’ budgeting processes. While some police departments have worked to try and assuage residents’ fears about the use of technology in law enforcement, it has prompted legislative action in cities including New York, where the city council voted in June to force the New York Police Department (NYPD) to be more transparent about the tech it is using.

The two ordinances unanimously passed the San Diego City Council’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee and the Rules Committee, setting up a vote before the full council in September.

“The impact will be at the very least that we’ll have oversight and certain uses will not be allowed,” Montgomery said in an interview. “I think it’ll make people feel safer, I think it’ll build more trust with law enforcement in using these the right way.”

Controversy has dogged San Diego’s Smart Streetlights program, powered by CityIQ, for some time. Montgomery said elected officials started hearing “rumblings” in 2018 and 2019 that the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) had started using the cameras primarily as a crime-solving method, rather than for the original purposes of optimizing parking and traffic and tracking air quality. Earlier this year, there was a dust-up in city council as Mayor Kevin Faulconer proposed paying for the program through the city’s community parking district budgets, but saw that proposal rejected.

Objections came as the SDPD wrote the policies for how its officers would use the surveillance footage collected on the smart streetlights. “[There] was no oversight, there were no parameters given to the department and they had their own internal policies. That’s when this stuff started to rise to the surface,” Montgomery said. City officials did not respond to requests for comment on the program, which was the subject of a lawsuit late last year over its data collection and use.

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The city’s Smart Streetlights program has been the subject of some change in recent months, as smart streetlight company Ubicquia acquired all CityIQ assets in May, including the program in San Diego. Ubicquia declined to comment on the legislation through a spokesperson.

The program raised the hackles of various community organizations, which objected to the streetlights’ use by law enforcement and wanted to see some changes to the program. That helped prompt the formation of the Transparent and Responsible Use of Surveillance Technology San Diego (TRUST SD) Coalition, which collaborated on the legislation and has run public education and advocacy campaigns on the technology.

Genevieve Jones-Wright, the TRUST SD Coalition’s facilitator, said given the public interest in surveillance technology and the desire to see policing methods change, this legislation and the new PAC are steps in the right direction.

“When we started doing those community education forums, we were worried a little bit that maybe it would be a little too highbrow for some folks and they wouldn’t care, as it’s not that sexy,” Jones-Wright said in an interview. “But people were really pouring into these forums … So many people were interested in this, and a lot of people were extremely concerned and appalled. I think when we have this open discussion, we are going to see more civic participation.”

Lilly Irani, an associate professor at the University of California-San Diego who is involved with the TRUST SD Coalition, published a report earlier this year that said the Smart Streetlights program has merely resulted in “broken promises on civic innovation.” 

“Instead, the city is left with a surveillance system that pervasively records video in public thoroughfares and near homes, workplaces, and places of worship — and the city, not citizens, access and use the data,” Irani wrote.

Montgomery said while there is a recognition that technology can play a role in helping keep people safe in what she called a “technological world,” its use must be governed properly to prevent over-surveillance, especially of communities that have traditionally been targets of such practices.

“We use technology quite a bit, we’re very dependent on it,” Montgomery said. “And the police department and law enforcement can use some of these things in their crime-solving methods. But overwhelmingly, people believe there should be very consistent oversight, because folks are really concerned about technology and surveillance creeping into their lives, and their privacy and civil liberties being violated through this technology.”

NYC accelerates Internet Master Plan

UPDATE, July 10, 2020: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an acceleration of the city’s Internet Master Plan to provide high-speed internet access across all five boroughs, prioritizing public housing communities.

The city will invest $157 million to connect 600,000 New Yorkers over the next 18 months, with $87 million of that redirected from the New York City Police Department (NYPD) budget. Officials said they will prioritize 200,000 residents of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) for high-speed internet rollout, as they have suffered disproportionately from the effects of COVID-19.

“Broadband service has quickly become as necessary to modern life as electricity and running water,” said NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray in a statement. “Having it or not having it can be a matter of life and death, particularly for communities of color, which may be cut off from critical health alerts and other information during the COVID-19 crisis.”

Dive Brief:

  • In an effort to close the city’s digital divide, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has released a plan to partner with private companies to bring affordable, high-speed internet service to the city’s five boroughs.
  • The city’s Internet Master Plan will begin with a “Universal Solicitation for Broadband” (USB) for private companies to detail how they will use city assets to bring broadband access to underserved neighborhoods. From there, the city plans to work with service providers to use existing infrastructure like rooftops and light poles and build new connective infrastructure.
  • According to city data, 40% of residents lack either mobile or home broadband service, and 18% lack both. Many neighborhoods outside of lower Manhattan lack the infrastructure for broadband service, especially in areas of Brooklyn and Queens where there are fewer accessible conduit or utility poles.

Dive Insight:

Addressing the digital divide and increasing broadband access has become a national priority, with a particular focus on closing the urban-rural divide. However, the statistics from New York are a reminder that cities face their own divides, with many poor neighborhoods lacking affordable options for internet access. In response, some have looked to encourage municipally-run broadband internet, with success in Chattanooga, TN and others looking to replicate their efforts.

New York’s plan notes that this is a “once-in-a-generation opportunity,” with some existing contracts expiring or reaching milestones, and new wireless technologies like 5G coming online. New York has been an early launch site for 5G and hosts a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) “innovation zone” project on mobile technology. The city is entering “the most pivotal period for its communications infrastructure since the dawn of the internet,” making it the right time to push access to new areas, according to the plan.

A key part of the plan is making city assets available for the first time and allowing multiple providers to share those assets for a variety of technology. The city will make investments and partner with private companies to support the build out. The planned infrastructure, if built throughout the entire city, would cost an estimated $2.1 billion, although the initial focus will be on unconnected neighborhoods.

However, infrastructure is only the first part, said Francella Ochillo​, executive director of the group Next Century Cities, which advocates for expanded broadband access. Making the plan work will require community outreach, work with private companies to offer low-cost options and constant check-ins, something other cities have discovered as they expand broadband.

“This plan assures the public that the city is working on it and is making it a priority,” Ochillo, whose group was not involved in drafting the plan, told Smart Cities Dive. “The next step might be about affordable plans, making sure there’s regular adoption. Then it’s about the people we may have missed. We would be missing something if we thought this was anything near the end of the process.”

Council Post: What Does The Next Generation Of Smart Cities Look Like?


Smart cities are an emerging solution to the question at the heart of converging trends in rapid urbanization and technological advances: How do we build a world ready for the future, today?

According to the United Nations, 68% of the world’s population is expected to live in cities by 2050. The UN also says sustainable urbanization is the key to successful development. Cities and countries around the world will, in the years ahead, face serious challenges in meeting the needs of their growing urban populations. As our cities grow and expand, we must improve our collective offerings in housing, transportation, energy systems and infrastructure. We must find new avenues for employment and the provision of education and health care. In preparing our world for the next generation of growth and advancement, the technologies powering the smart city movement are set to play a vital role.

Most people, when they think of smart cities, probably think of science fiction; Big Brother’s telescreens in George Orwell’s 1984, or retinal scanners in convenience stores a la Demolition Man. But the reality of the smart city in the real world is far more benign, with an emphasis on technologies that power the infrastructure of the city itself. Even today, smart infrastructure controls our power grids, our water flows and our traffic patterns.

However, somewhere soon, the smart city as we know it today will begin to take siloed systems and connect them, integrating infrastructure around us with our devices, our online data and ultimately our lives. Even at home, smart devices controlled through the internet of things (IoT) are beginning to integrate into single points of control. Imagine that at the infrastructural level.

Although centralized and multifaceted connections controlled at single points of contact may be rare today, smart cities powered by interconnected IoT are the vision of the near future.

Devices connected to the IoT can autonomously perform pre-set actions and can adjust on the fly based on real-world conditions. With smart lighting, for example, failures are automatically reported to the system, and energy production can be more closely dependent on consumption in real-time. Moreover, in our homes and offices, lights left on can automatically dim when ambient lighting is bright enough — to reduce the use of unneeded electricity.

Cities can become smarter, too, with garbage cans that alert waste management when waste-collection is warranted. With more intelligent and efficient routes, garbage collectors can visit only the waste bins that need it.

Imagine the possibilities that could come with our people-driven and interconnected devices and the self-aware objects around us. Thanks to the ever-expanding communication potential between the two, challenges like finding a parking space may become a worry of the past. Today, certain models of cars can find an open spot using ultrasonic soundwaves and drive you right to that open spot in minutes.

Cities around the world are transforming their digital capabilities to improve the environmental, financial, and social aspects of urban life. However, the changes we’re preparing for today will rely on platforms that connect IoT infrastructure and aid efficiency, help data be shared across systems and further flex IT investments tied to smart missions.

With the right digital platforms, for instance, a city could manage the entirety of its smart city operations from a single portal. It could deploy an army of employees, dispatched each day to perform their jobs by intelligent and informed technologies to drive maximum efficiency. Yet, these capabilities are limited today by a historical approach to data.

Since the advent of the graphic user interface (GUI) over 30 years ago, as made popular by Apple in 1984 and Windows not soon after, computers have remained largely the same, with silos in place between programs and information quarantined within. We have historically put this data in this bucket and that data in that bucket. It’s only today that we’re realizing the need for all our data to live in one great bucket. An interconnected future will require interconnected tools, single-source platforms for management and portability of assets.

Luckily, improvements in the area of flexibility and user-definition of need are on the horizon.

Using machine learning and AI, organizations can begin developing databases that understand the data they contain. They can understand, build and disassemble the relationships within that data in real-time based on need, use and changing requirements.

To be safe and secure, data also needs to understand who owns it, who has access to what parts and what limitations to place on its usage. This functionality allows data access from a multitude of different types of programs — for varying purposes — while reducing the potential for a data breach.

The fundamentals of software development and the concepts of user-interaction must change for end-users to gain the most significant benefit from the aforementioned data model. For our smart cities, our smart homes and our smart devices to connect — for each of us to serve as nodes in a greater digital landscape — we will soon be tasked together to build and adopt platforms for all.

The most powerful thing that you can do to see this bold vision of the future come to bear is simple: Get involved. No one organization can solve a city’s problems. Making our cities better places to live and work requires an ecosystem.  If we want to build smarter cities, we need to do it together. By establishing a governance and operations model that includes everyone’s voices through public and private partnerships, we’re far more likely to accelerate adoption and ensure that, when we build systems, we do so with the intention to invest in our future — and in our best potential.

It will require tremendous product architecture to realize the full potential and power of smart data on a mega scale. But in the end, the vision we should all share for ourselves and for our world should encompass not just smart cities, but smart lives.

GHG Reduction THREATS: C40 Cities – Smart Cities Delhi, India – NCT (Natural Capital Territory! )

Delhi NCT – Fighting Against The Worst of The Emissions In The World

Delhi NCT – Fighting Against The Worst of The Emissions In The World

Currently, the global commitment is to limit the rising temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius which requires ‘rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes’ in every urban sector, as stated by the global warming report by the IPCC. A situation where the temperatures increase by 2 degrees Celsius will be regarded as deadly and catastrophic, first hitting the millions of the underprivileged people.

The report predicts that India and other densely populated countries that significantly depend on agriculture and fishery will be highly affected due to the high frequency of droughts and floods, sea level rise, and heatwaves.

At present, India’s National Capital Territory of Delhi or Delhi NCT is experiencing severe climate change impact with air pollution being the worst scenario in the city. The city with a population of about 19.8 million is expected to be the most populated city in the world by 2028.

Hence, at this point in time, Delhi NCT is in the position to gain full speed against climate change while taking care of the living standards of the millions of citizens. 

It is rather pivotal to see how the densely populated mega urban centre – which is also the most polluted city in India – deals with the climate change phenomenon. The challenges are in fact an opportunity to demonstrate how a city can transform into a smart city!

Showing Efforts Since 2001

In 2009, Delhi NCT began laying out an action plan to fight climate change. However, the action plan was submitted to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest in January 2019, after a span of eight years. According to sources, the delay in submission was due to lack of coordination among the city agencies. 

But recently, India’s Minister Harsh Vardhan stated that India did not wait for any report to understand the threat and showed all efforts in combating climate change.  (my comment – sounds like they were threatened with weather attacks).

To talk about Delhi NCT, the city has one of the world’s most successful smart initiatives to discontinue the use of diesel. Launched in 2001, the initiative focused on switching the diesel-powered public transport system in Delhi to natural gas at the direction of the Supreme Court of India. The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) was also promoting the use of ultra-low-sulphur diesel as an alternative. The initiative was led by the DTC buses which soon became the world’s largest CNG fleet operator. That said, the contribution also came from private buses, taxis and autorickshaws.

Imran Hussain, Delhi’s Environment Minister stated that the recently submitted action plan extended on how the climate over Delhi NCT could change over the next three decades. With that, it also has fixed targets for multiple departments on the goals that need to be achieved by 2030.

Furthermore, the action plan focuses on six vulnerable sectors with energy, transport and urban development predicted to be affected the most. As per sources, Delhi NCT is required to concentrate particularly on water conservation, drainage and energy.

Waste-to-energy Plant Working To Achieve The 2030 Goal

How Waste In The City Is Transformed Into Energy ?

According to estimates, Delhi NCT will be generating about 15, 750 tons waste per day in 2021. This is going to impact the city’s waste-to-landfill disposition system further leading to air pollution and diseases. In fact, 60% of the city’s population is already suffering from respiratory illness due to dumpsites.

Hence, to address these issues, Delhi NCT is working towards transforming the waste management system. The initiative started with the development of Ghazipur Waste-to-energy Plant. The aim is to turn the so-called waste to energy, mitigate GHG emissions and clean the city that will eventually reduce illnesses and promote better living standards.

The Ghazipur Waste to Energy Plant is India’s state-of-the-art facility that was established in Delhi in 2011 with phase one completed in 2014. The plant is helping in creating energy out of the so-called waste and contributing to the nation’s vision to achieve 40% fossil fuel-free energy by 2030. 

The facility processes more than 2,000 tons of waste every day.As a result, it generates 12 MW power and 127 tons of fuel which can be used in cement and power plants – as an alternative source. WHAT ? ? ?

The plant has hugely invested in air pollution control devices to stay in line with the European Industrial Emissions Directive. In addition, it has also deployed world-class technology from Siemens, Schneider, Keppel Segher of Belgium, SPIG, and BMH Finland among others.  

As per estimates, the dumping of municipal solid waste at the Ghazipur dumpsite will reduce by 90% within 25 years. Apart from converting waste into energy the plant also works towards the betterment of the community. It supports a community centre that in turn provides support to over 200 local women who used to earn a living by picking waste with direct employment, artisan training and micro-enterprise support. PFA

The Ghazipur facility is not just contributing in reducing surface runoff but also reducing the instances of diseases such as dengue, malaria, and other eyes, skin, gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses which are caused due to open dumping.

This waste management infrastructure is exploiting the double benefit by reducing waste and producing energy. At the same time, it is also supporting the local communities. This is a successful project that will be emulated with similar plants in Delhi and other Indian cities.

Converting Waste Into Compost And Fuel

To further speed up the reduction rates of CO2 emissions and move towards a better environment, Delhi NCT is converting municipal waste into compost and fuel.

The municipality of Delhi NCT partnered with IL&FS, Indian infrastructure development and finance company to open a plant that can process waste to produce compost and resource-driven fuel. The fuel is produced by shredding and dehydrating solid waste. As of 2015, the plant managed 200 tons of waste each day.

The city has collaborated with the Indian company Mother Dairy to supply the compost to farmers. Whereas the resource-driven fuel is supplied to cement manufacturing plants, aiding in reducing the need to burn coal.

250,000 tons of waste processed at the plant each time reduces GHG emissions that are equivalent to eliminating 1 million cars from the streets of Delhi for 10 days.  

Other Notable Smart Initiatives Against Climate Change

Apart from the initiatives mentioned, Delhi NCT has introduced multiple ones at the local level. These smart initiatives definitely inspire other smart cities.

  • In 2017, National Green Tribunal of India directed the ban of plastic bags that are less than 50 microns in Delhi NCT. Individuals who fail to comply were to pay some of Rs 5000 (approximately 73 USD) as environmental compensation. Moreover, the city encouraged citizens to use bags made out of jute, cloth and paper.
  • From 2016 to 2017, Delhi NCT ran odd and even scheme for private vehicles in the wake of increasing smog. Private vehicles were allowed on the road depending on their license plate number.
  • To discourage the use of private cars, the city increased the parking fees by 3-4 times.
  • Public transport is being encouraged by introduced better-equipped buses and Metro system.
  • The city allows construction activities only in covered and barricaded areas.
  • Recently, Delhi NCT banned the sale and bursting of conventional fireworks to reduce pollution. Green fireworks are allowed to be used between 8-10 PM.

There are many more smart initiatives that are introduced depending on air pollution levels in the city. Delhi NCT is one of the megacities in the world. Its efforts are surely going to influence other would-be smart cities in India and the world.

How Smart Homes Can Connect To Smart Cities

How Smart Homes Can Connect To Smart Cities

How Smart Homes Can Connect To Smart Cities

As we have already explored the practicability of home automation, it’s time we discuss about where exactly a smart home lies in the connected world of a smart city. The existence of smart home is not limited to the convenience and efficiency levels. Rather, it stands to grease the wheels of a smart city in the near future.

Substantially speaking, the connection between smart home and smart city involves multitudinous applications in diverse sectors. But there is one name that defines this connection unanimously and that’s ‘big data’. What’s so ‘big’ about the ‘big data’? Let’s move on to know more about it.

Smart Home For Elderly And Disabled

Before we move on to big data, it’s important to pay heed to significance of smart home in lives of elderly and disabled. Because there is a strong connection between big data and smart home for elderly and disabled.

Home automation for older adults and physically or mentally challenged people is referred as ‘assistive domotics’. Assistive domotics resembles the same technology and devices employed in home automation for security, energy conservation and entertainment. The difference is that it is tailor-made to fit the needs, safety and security of the elderly and disabled with intricacy and detailed apprehension.

There are two types of assistive home automation systems: Embedded Health Systems and Private Health Networks.

Embedded Health Systems – Microprocessors and sensors are incorporated into furniture, home appliances, and clothing which help in collecting data that is further used to analyse diagnostic diseases and identify health risks.

Private Health Networks – Wireless technology is actuated with all the connected devices to gather important data and store it in domestic health database.

Additionally, the smart home(with both systems mentioned above) for aged and people with disabilities are implemented with emergency help system, accident prevention, security systems and automated timers and alarms. All this together provides a sense of independence, confidence, and comfort to elderly and disabled. They can move around the house without anybody’s support anytime they want. They don’t have to unwillingly shift to a healthcare facility which may be expensive and not as good as home facilities. Moreover, the loved ones can take care of them 24/7 by being in contact with the household automation through their smartphones.

Due to the rising demand in assistive domotics, the industry and creators of home automation are showing considerable interest in developing a better home technology.

The Big Data

Since the genesis of intelligent technology and wireless networking, the significance of data has changed completely. Every device which operates digitally gathers data in large amount. This data is captured and amassed in the main database of a software.For example, the composite health organisations have to gather data coming from different sources on one single platform. This platform would serve them with easily accessible data whenever required. The challenge lies in picking out sensible data and transforming it into executable information which is today known as the ‘big data’.

Big data are massive data sets beyond the size of conventional database software which is used to store, handle and analyse data. The use and reference of big data depends on the sector where it is used. The big data can store information ranging from few terabytes to thousands of petabytes.

Big Data For Smart Homes

As we know that smart home is a set up of connected devices, it is understandable that these devices would gather data involving every minute detail of the house as well as the people living in. The absorption and analytics of this particular data will keep advancing as the smart home devices become more and more sophisticated. Like, the Google’s nest thermostat keeps an eye on you wherever you move in the house at what time and permanently memorises it.The future robot vacuums will know about the dimensions of the house including the flooring in every room. There are plenty of other devices arriving in future which will have the detail about every task you perform at home. All these details will accumulate together and be called big data of smart homes.

How The Smart Home Data Will Connect To Smart Cities

It is self-explanatory that a city becomes smarter when the number of smart homes increase.

At present, the use of smart home data is implemented in customer engagement by different industries. How each industry focuses on the home data solutions is given below:

The Energy Industry – This comes amongst those important sectors where big data solutions can prove to be profitable. The utilities use the smart home data to provide refined information on energy consumption and means by which they can cut down on electricity and the energy bills. This is not just important for a smart home but also for a smart city. As the city keeps gathering more information on energy consumption patterns of the smart home dwellers it is on the road to making new policies and initiatives which can conserve our natural environment, resources and provide better solutions for efficient living.

Digital Hardware Industry – The vendors of smart hardware products are showing interest in home data analytics market by providing free of cost data analytics by their devices. The best example is the Nest company offering an app to the customers(along with device) which give solutions to curb energy usage and change energy using patterns for better living. Likewise, many such devices can aid in supporting a better lifestyle in smart cities.

Health Industry –

Keeping smart home for elderly and disabled(mentioned above) in mind, the data stored at home can be used by healthcare centres to analyse any risks related to health by following the datasets of an individual. Digital health recording and real time alerts can be of great use in emergencies and other major health problems. For instance, when the hospitals have the access to a person’s data, it can send medical assistance within minutes of analysing threatening high blood pressure level in that person. With this, thousands or may be millions of lives could be saved. Conjointly, the datasets available to hospitals can keep a track on how many patients are going to visit the hospital in a given time. This gives the faculty prior arrangement facility for any kind of treatment required. Using big data for healthcare is gaining grounds in the USA while Europe is still in the midway to successfully implement the smart data analytics solutions. One more beneficial aspect is that healthcare industry can favourably become cost effective. With all points considered, the ratio of healthy population will lead to increase in healthy smart cities which is indeed first step towards progress.

Are There Any Risks Related To Big data In Smart Home?

It cannot be ignored that if the data set stored in a smart home is hacked or misused by someone it can lead to detrimental effects. The security breaches of smart home data can make the system vulnerable. For the reason, Europe has strict laws that protect consumer data. But this again prevents the utility industries from adding value services through data analytics.

Privacy and security both matters. Therefore, to fend-off possible risks related to smart home data, it is crucial for the consumers to be aware of how their data is being monitored and used. To secure your smart home use strong passwords that cannot be cracked. Reduce the exchange of sensitive information and pay attention to privacy policies.

Advantages and disadvantages in new ideas and innovations are just like two sides of a coin. But if the coin is spent carefully and wisely you’ll never have to face the disadvantages. The same thing holds good when big data is deployed to bridge the gap between smart homes and smart cities.