What can the ‘smart city’ gain, and what might it lose?

Image courtesy of ULI Europe. I recently moderated a session on Technology and Real-Estate at the Urban Land Institute conference in Paris. The overall context recognised the rise of the Sharing Economy and emerging innovations and disrupters that are influencing the development of urban land and real estate. The panelists: Alice Charles, Urban Development leader at […]

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The nanotechnology energy revolution

Nighttime energy usage in global cities (NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC – 2012) Nanotechnology is the ability to engineer and create useful materials at the nanoscale (100,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair) to take advantage of enhanced properties not present in their bulk counterparts. It is a disruptive technology, a new technology that […]

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Should cities be more like apps?

Ever since the advent of the smartphone, apps have been transformative. Whether allowing us to instantly communicate with millions, navigate unfamiliar cities, or request a private car, apps like Twitter, Google Maps and Uber now provide the digital infrastructure on which we increasingly rely. In the competitive market place of the App Store or Google Play, those apps which […]

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Water crisis: nano solutions

UCSB researcher with scanning-tunneling electron microscope. The risks to our global water supplies are many and complex. They include aquifer depletion from excessive withdrawal; increases in salinity from saltwater incursion, irrigation practices, fertilizer use, and road salting; pollution from industrial, agricultural, and human and animal waste; and drought exacerbated by climate change. As our usable […]

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For future cities, think small, as in nano

The “Energy-Efficient House of the Future,” designed by AECOM for the Government of the Chuvash Republic and RUSNANO Corporation. “Based on recent Department of Energy Annual Energy Outlook reports, residential and commercial buildings account for 36% of the total primary energy use in the United States and 30% of the total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.”[i]  Consequently, there is […]

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Buildings and bridges join the ‘internet of things’

Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute, a building that uses SMART solutions. ©AECOM photo by Cameron Triggs. What do the following things have in common? Telephone networks Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems Video games Sensors Computers in products such as vacuum cleaners, airplanes and cars Robots used in manufacturing plants […]

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Smart mobility: connecting people and places

Source: Rocky Mountain Institute. Cities cover 2 percent of the earth’s surface, contain over half of its population, consume 75 percent of global energy and give off 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).  Cities are growing.  Between 2010 and 2050, the number of people living in the world’s urban areas is expected to grow […]

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Transportation nerve centers

Traffic congestion in our cities continues to be a problem — resulting in delays, accidents, economic loss and environmental impacts. The Texas A&M Transportation Institute publishes an annual Urban Mobility Report that tracks several indicators of congestion in U.S. cities. Summary highlights of the 2012 Urban Mobility Report, which reported on travel data during the […]

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