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Science fiction no more: The perfect city is under construction

Science fiction no more: The perfect city is under construction
Formula One car racing is the most viewed sport in the world. On any given race day, half a billion people — one-fourteenth of the globe — are watching it on TV. But it’s what they’re not seeing that wins races today: More than 300 sensors are implanted throughout each vehicle to monitor everything from air displacement to tire temperature to the driver’s heart rate. These data are continuously transmitted back to a control room, where engineers run millions of calculations in real time and tweak their driver’s strategy accordingly. Through this process, every last ounce of efficiency and performance is wrung out of each car. “We saw an opportunity … to go create something that was starting with a blank sheet,” said PlanIT Valley creator Steve Lewis, “thinking from a systems-wide process in the same way we would think about computing technologies.” But wait, there’s more! Cities are more than the sum of their parts because it’s not their parts that make them great. The lesson? Related:  Cities AI .. gestion des villes

Précis d'utopie appliquée David Bornstein, Comment changer le monde, Les entrepreneurs sociaux et le pouvoir des idées nouvelles, La Découverte, 300 pages, 22 euros. Cela démarre sur l’histoire d’un entrepreneur brésilien qui a électrifié (au solaire) les campagnes de son pays et chassé la pauvreté. Suivent en vrac les exemples d’une Hongroise qui a créé des centres où l’on traite dignement les handicapés, puis celui d’une Indienne qui a mis sur pied une ligne téléphonique pour aider les enfants des rues, ou encore d’une Sud-Africaine qui soigne les malades du sida vivant dans les bidonvilles... Louables exemples, dira-t-on. Mais l’ouvrage qui les recueille s’intitule Comment changer le monde. Du coup, David Bornstein a eu la bonne idée de décortiquer les idées, d’examiner leurs acteurs, leurs points forts, leurs faiblesses, un peu comme on démonte un réveil pour comprendre son fonctionnement. Cette monomanie semble être le secret de la réussite dans un environnement hostile, dont David l’auteur ne cache rien.

Will that Starbucks last? - Dream City Everyone knows that cities like New York, Boston and Chicago have flipped the script over the past couple of decades, turning richer and whiter as their surrounding suburbs grow more diverse. Today, you’re more likely to hear Farsi and Thai spoken in the sprawling cul-de-sacs outside of Atlanta than you are in many parts of the Starbucks-soaked city center itself. Exactly how this happened, however, doesn’t get as much ink. The revitalization of cities seemed to come out of nowhere, but you write that it was actually the result of deliberate efforts and policies. In Chicago’s case there were two factors: One is that Chicago is simply the biggest, so it inherits the title of Magnet City of the Midwest. Of course, the flip side is more immigrants and working-class families now living in the suburbs, which has complicated politics in places like Gwinnett County, a suburb of Atlanta, because all these different immigrant groups have a harder time uniting on issues.

Au Portugal, la ville intelligente c'est pour maintenant La ville «intelligente et douée de sensation» est pour bientôt. D’ici 2015, la PlanIT Valley, une cité de 150.000 habitants devrait sortir de terre au Portugal. Sa particularité? Près de 100 millions de capteurs seront disséminés dans toutes ses infrastructures, permettant de moduler presque tous les aspects de la vie de ses habitants, explique le site d’information Salon. Le projet, chiffré à 25 milliards d’euros, prévoit de relier chaque capteur en réseau à un ordinateur central dénommé UOS et construit en partenariat avec CISCO, contrôlant la ville avec le minimum d’interventions humaines possible. Les promoteurs expliquent que cette technologie sera mise au service de l'écologie. Concrètement, l’UOS gérera de façon automatique la plupart de la PanIT Valley. L’omniprésence des capteurs dans la vie des habitants pose cependant des problèmes éthiques.

PlanIT Valley - the new smart city in Portugal! Date of release : 05/16/2012 Format : News feed 150,000 inhabitants will be able to live in PlanIT Valley. What’s this city’s special feature? With almost 50% of the global population living in cities, the development of urban zones represents a genuine economic and ecological issue. Tomorrow’s city is being constructed today in PlanIt Valley, thanks to the initiative of Cisco, Microsoft, Philips and many other partners. So, in the morning, when you leave your home to go to work, the temperature will be automatically turned down so as to avoid wasting energy. What is the future for these cities of tomorrow? However, if pushed to its limits, will the smart city genuinely be part of a “win-win” situation for its inhabitants? One thing is certain: PlanIT Valley appears to be the first in a long series of smart cities!

A plea for beauty: a manifesto for a new urbanism - Society and Culture AEI’s new Society and Culture Outlook will examine important ideas in areas such as architecture, art, literature, music, and philosophy that are outside today’s front-page news. Subscribe to this series A plea for beauty: a manifesto for a new urbanism Download PDF Our culture is a culture of cities, and without cities we could not conceivably have enjoyed the enormous scientific, economic, and political advances of the Enlightenment. Key points in this Outlook: The decline of American cities, which saps the nation’s social, cultural, economic, and political vitality, is due largely to the ugliness of their centers.Neither market solutions nor centralized master planning can save our cities.Urban renewal depends on attracting the middle class with the kind of beauty that flourishes in cities and obeying aesthetic side constraints that create a sense of settlement. When it comes to the difficult problems faced by our ever-growing societies, conservatives tend to favor market solutions.

Fabrice Flipo : " Les technos vertes manquent d'utopie " « Le secteur des télécoms a très récemment découvert qu’il n’était pas aussi “ dématérialisé ” qu’il le pensait. Il utilise des quantités considérables d’énergie, entre 7 % et 13,5 % de la consommation électrique française, tout de même. Il exploite des ressources rares : il est à l’origine de 30 % de la demande mondiale d’argent, 12 % d’or, 30 % de cuivre, et jusqu’à 80 % de ruthénium ou d’indium, selon des chiffres 2007 d’Umicore, l’un des leaders mondiaux des matériaux. Enfin, les Technologies de l’information et de la communication (TIC) nécessitent des produits toxiques : retardateurs de flamme bromés, phtalates ou béryllium. La pression des associations écologistes a largement contribué à cette prise de conscience. Greenpeace a publié, dès 2005, un rapport pointant les problèmes du secteur. Mais les associations n’ont pas l’exclusivité du sujet. Cantonnée à la poubelle

Why Don't Conservative Cities Walk? Wikimedia Commons Photo Reading Tom Vanderbilt’s series on the crisis in American walking, I noticed something about the cities with the highest “walk scores.” They’re all liberal. New York, San Francisco, and Boston, the top three major cities on, are three of the most liberal cities in the country. In fact, the top 19 are all in states that voted for Obama in 2008. The lowest-scoring major cities, by comparison, tilt conservative: Three of the bottom four—Jacksonville, Oklahoma City, and Fort Worth—went for McCain. You might think it’s a simple matter of size: Big cities lean liberal and also tend to be more walkable. Substituting density for size gets us closer: Houston, Phoenix, and Dallas are notorious for sprawl, while New York, San Francisco, and Boston are tightly packed, partly because they are older cities whose downtown cores developed in the pre-car era. That still leaves the question of why urban density should go hand-in-hand with liberal politics, however.

Living PlanIT - Cisco Collaborates with Living PlanIT to Develop a Sustainable, Intelligent and Connected Community in Portugal Paredes, Portugal – June 28, 2010 Cisco today announced the signing of a strategic Letter of Intent ("LOI") with Living PlanIT, the leading urban technology company that enables intelligent sustainable urban development and operations. The LOI sees the expanded collaboration of two visionary companies with complementary skills, capabilities, technologies, and solutions to create smart, sustainable communities of the future. The LOI between Cisco and Living PlanIT builds on an earlier Memorandum of Understanding aimed at bringing more robust solutions to world markets, building upon the two companies' technologies and shared vision. Highlights / Key Facts Cisco shares a common vision with Living PlanIT that cities of the future require urban services to be delivered more innovatively and managed more efficiently using technology that enables new models of managed and hosted services within public-private partnerships. Executive quotes: About Cisco Systems About Living PlanIT

Burying Bits of the City: Hong Kong Underground Several months ago we looked at a network of artificial caves being built beneath Singapore that will, upon completion, extend the city's energy infrastructure under the Pacific seabed; and, back in 2010, we took a very brief look at huge excavations underneath Chicago, courtesy of a feature article in Tunnel Business Magazine. Now, according to the South China Morning Post, civil engineers in Hong Kong are exploring the possibility of developing large-scale underground spaces—artificial caves—for incorporation into the city's existing infrastructure. In the full text of the article, available online courtesy of Karst Worlds, we read that the Hong Kong government "is moving towards burying bits of the city—the unsightly ones—in underground caverns, freeing up more land for housing and economic development." [Image: From the Enhanced Use of Underground Space in Hong Kong]. [Image: From the Enhanced Use of Underground Space in Hong Kong; view bigger].

Une transition écologique est-elle possible ? La sympathique revue Politis publie ce mois-ci, un hors série intitulé "De l'utopie à la réalité, les transitions écologiques". Or, les articles de ce numéro sont particulièrement décevants : ils ne sont pas à la hauteur de la désespérance de nos contemporains et de leurs espérances à imaginer un avenir plus radieux. Prenons quelques exemples de cette déception. Sur l’urbanisme, par exemple, on y imagine l’avenir sous la forme de "maisons bio à 100000 euros", comme si, dans un pays urbanisé à 80%, nous allions tous pouvoir construire sur "un joli terrain au milieu des bois et des collines" (sic). Autre exemple, un article consacré aux villes "slows", joli concept réservé aux agglomérations de moins de 50000 habitants. Mais au-delà de l’exemple de l’urbanisme, le numéro de Politis pêche surtout pour sa vision naïve de la transition écologique : qui va l’impulser ? Mais où sont les pouvoirs publics ? Alors, comment réaliser la transition écologique ?

Star Garden [Image: Building the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor; ©ITER Organization]. An artificially excavated limestone pit in the south of France will soon host star-making technology, New Scientist reports. "If all goes well," the magazine explains, in a few year's time the pit will "rage with humanity's first self-sustaining fusion reaction, an artificial sun ten times hotter than the one that gives our planet life." Reaching that point, however, requires an ambitious reformatting of the entire site, seemingly the very limit of landscape architecture: a kind of concrete garden that produces stars. As the project now stands, construction involves inserting a supergrid of rebar into the quarried pit, securing the limestone walls with concrete foundation work, then pouring seismically-stabilized plinths that will support the so-called International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (or ITER) upon completion. More images are available at the ITER website.

Engaging Citizens Through Games: San Jose, CA Budget Prioritization Games Like many city, state and national governments, the City of San Jose, CA, is facing a significant 2011-2012 budget deficit. In this first of three posts on how Innovation Games® can be used in to engage citizens and improve democratic processes, I will outline the plans for a specially designed Buy a Feature game that The Innovation Games® Company will be producing for approximately 100 San Jose neighborhood community leaders on Jan 29, 2011. My hope is that community leaders, motivated citizens and public service employees will find inspiration and ideas that they can leverage to create effective and meaningful conversations about the issues that shape our lives. I will also compare our approach to other games and puzzles that have been created to address similar problems, such as the NY Times Budget Puzzle, the LA Times California Budget Balancer and the Next10 Budget Challenge. Which sounds easy. This is a great start. I’ll explain the selection and design of the games shortly.