July 21, 2014
[Avec l’application DansMaRue] La Ville de Paris invite les Parisiens à recenser les lieux qui pourraient accueillir de la végétalisation au plus près de chez eux (délaissés, mobiliers urbains, murs…). En effet, les riverains sont les meilleurs connaisseurs de leur quartier, des usages qui s’y développent et des lieux qui sont susceptibles de se prêter à une végétalisation ponctuelle. Avec le concours des services de la Ville, c’est une occasion nouvelle qui est offerte aux habitants de repérer, et éventuellement faire vivre, de nouveaux espaces de verdure. (via Du vert près de chez moi - Paris.fr)

[Avec l’application DansMaRue] La Ville de Paris invite les Parisiens à recenser les lieux qui pourraient accueillir de la végétalisation au plus près de chez eux (délaissés, mobiliers urbains, murs…). En effet, les riverains sont les meilleurs connaisseurs de leur quartier, des usages qui s’y développent et des lieux qui sont susceptibles de se prêter à une végétalisation ponctuelle. Avec le concours des services de la Ville, c’est une occasion nouvelle qui est offerte aux habitants de repérer, et éventuellement faire vivre, de nouveaux espaces de verdure. (via Du vert près de chez moi - Paris.fr)

May 16, 2014
"That’s us in a nutshell: insights and incentives to attack congestion," says CEO and co-founder Shiva Shivakumar, a former Google engineer. "The better you can understand both sides of the [supply-demand] equation, the better you can start optimizing it." On the insight side, Urban Engines relies on an approach called “crowd-sensing” to understand what’s happening across an entire city transport system. Let’s take the example of a subway. Each fare card entry swipe delivers basic information on rider location and (at least for cities that require a swipe in and out) total travel time. Using algorithms and supplemental data, such as real-time transit schedules, Urban Engines can deduce what’s happening at any given subway station or train at any given time. (via Using Insights and Incentives to End Rush Hour - CityLab)
[…]
The incentives side of Urban Engines draws from programs that Prabhakar has helped conduct that pay commuters to travel at off-peak hours. Recognizing that too few cities had implemented congestion pricing plans, Prabhakar and collaborators have taken the opposite tack — rather than charge commuters who traveled during rush hour, they reward them for traveling outside it. In behavioral terms, it’s a carrot instead of a stick, and Prabhakar says it’s been successful so far in Bangalore, Singapore, and Palo Alto.

"That’s us in a nutshell: insights and incentives to attack congestion," says CEO and co-founder Shiva Shivakumar, a former Google engineer. "The better you can understand both sides of the [supply-demand] equation, the better you can start optimizing it." On the insight side, Urban Engines relies on an approach called “crowd-sensing” to understand what’s happening across an entire city transport system. Let’s take the example of a subway. Each fare card entry swipe delivers basic information on rider location and (at least for cities that require a swipe in and out) total travel time. Using algorithms and supplemental data, such as real-time transit schedules, Urban Engines can deduce what’s happening at any given subway station or train at any given time. (via Using Insights and Incentives to End Rush Hour - CityLab)

[…]

The incentives side of Urban Engines draws from programs that Prabhakar has helped conduct that pay commuters to travel at off-peak hours. Recognizing that too few cities had implemented congestion pricing plans, Prabhakar and collaborators have taken the opposite tack — rather than charge commuters who traveled during rush hour, they reward them for traveling outside it. In behavioral terms, it’s a carrot instead of a stick, and Prabhakar says it’s been successful so far in Bangalore, Singapore, and Palo Alto.

May 14, 2014
Indian cities—joined by many in Africa and Latin America—have sprawled out rather than up. Whether Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi, Kolkata, or Pune, the fastest growth occurred at the cities’ edges, while the core remains low-slung. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Frolking and company found that developed world capitals such as London, New York, and Tokyo added considerable mass and height to their skylines while growing slowly, if at all on the periphery. And to no one’s surprise, China’s megacities did both. Not just Beijing and Shanghai, but also second-tier cities such as Shenzhen, Dongguan, Foshan, and Tianjin experienced patterns of growth that resemble no other nation on the planet (via The Insane Growth Of China’s And India’s Megacities Mapped Through Satellite Imagery | Co.Exist | ideas   impact)

Indian cities—joined by many in Africa and Latin America—have sprawled out rather than up. Whether Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi, Kolkata, or Pune, the fastest growth occurred at the cities’ edges, while the core remains low-slung. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Frolking and company found that developed world capitals such as London, New York, and Tokyo added considerable mass and height to their skylines while growing slowly, if at all on the periphery. And to no one’s surprise, China’s megacities did both. Not just Beijing and Shanghai, but also second-tier cities such as Shenzhen, Dongguan, Foshan, and Tianjin experienced patterns of growth that resemble no other nation on the planet (via The Insane Growth Of China’s And India’s Megacities Mapped Through Satellite Imagery | Co.Exist | ideas impact)

May 1, 2014
Predicting that your city will be the next Silicon Valley is simple. But actually making it the next Silicon Valley is something else entirely — as New York is slowly finding out. A few years ago, officials and executives in New York proclaimed their ambition: to build the city into a powerful hotbed for tech innovation. Officials funneled money into start-up incubators and approved a bid from Cornell University to transform Roosevelt Island into a two-million-square-foot, next-generation technology campus to rival Stanford’s. (via Despite Big Ambitions, New York’s Tech Scene Is Still Starting Up - NYTimes.com)

Predicting that your city will be the next Silicon Valley is simple. But actually making it the next Silicon Valley is something else entirely — as New York is slowly finding out. A few years ago, officials and executives in New York proclaimed their ambition: to build the city into a powerful hotbed for tech innovation. Officials funneled money into start-up incubators and approved a bid from Cornell University to transform Roosevelt Island into a two-million-square-foot, next-generation technology campus to rival Stanford’s. (via Despite Big Ambitions, New York’s Tech Scene Is Still Starting Up - NYTimes.com)

April 30, 2014
Congestion pricing is a travel demand management policy that charges a fee for vehicles that enter a certain urban area or a certain street during specific periods of time. It aims to relieve traffic congestion, reduce air pollution and generate revenue for urban transport improvement. Singapore was the first city to introduce congestion pricing in 1975, but it was not until London implemented the policy in 2005 that it began to receive global attention. In recent months, discussions around introducing the measure have also reemerged in New York City, Beijing, and Bogotá. (via Congestion Pricing and Making It Real | Sustainable Cities Collective)

Congestion pricing is a travel demand management policy that charges a fee for vehicles that enter a certain urban area or a certain street during specific periods of time. It aims to relieve traffic congestion, reduce air pollution and generate revenue for urban transport improvement. Singapore was the first city to introduce congestion pricing in 1975, but it was not until London implemented the policy in 2005 that it began to receive global attention. In recent months, discussions around introducing the measure have also reemerged in New York City, Beijing, and Bogotá. (via Congestion Pricing and Making It Real | Sustainable Cities Collective)

April 26, 2014
Getting cities right will help China to keep growing fast for years to come. Getting them wrong would be disastrous, bringing worsening inequality (which the World Bank says has approached “Latin American levels”, although Chinese officials insist it has recently been improving), the spread of slums, the acceleration of global climate change (cities consume three-quarters of China’s energy, which comes mainly from coal) and increasing social unrest. (via China: Building The Dream - Business Insider)

Getting cities right will help China to keep growing fast for years to come. Getting them wrong would be disastrous, bringing worsening inequality (which the World Bank says has approached “Latin American levels”, although Chinese officials insist it has recently been improving), the spread of slums, the acceleration of global climate change (cities consume three-quarters of China’s energy, which comes mainly from coal) and increasing social unrest. (via China: Building The Dream - Business Insider)

April 21, 2014

How Urban Anonymity Disappears When All Data is Tracked

Cities are our paradises of anonymity, a place for both self-erasure and self-reinvention. But soon, cities may fall first in the disappearance, or at least a radical remaking, of privacy. Information about our innocuous public acts is denser in urban areas, and can now be cheaply aggregated. Cameras and sensors, increasingly common in the urban landscape, pick up all sorts of behaviors. These are stored and categorized to draw personal conclusions — all of it, thanks to cheap electronics and cloud computing, for affordable sums.

(Source: The New York Times)

April 19, 2014
(via The Future of Facebook May Not Say ‘Facebook’ - NYTimes.com)
For software companies, one of the perils of success is becoming shackled to your customers; the more users you have, the harder it is to innovate, because most will be averse to any change. (Microsoft has suffered a version of this.) By filtering its innovations into new apps that lack an established user base, engineers and designers can take creative leaps that may not have worked if they’d simply been adding features to Facebook’s primary app.

(via The Future of Facebook May Not Say ‘Facebook’ - NYTimes.com)

For software companies, one of the perils of success is becoming shackled to your customers; the more users you have, the harder it is to innovate, because most will be averse to any change. (Microsoft has suffered a version of this.) By filtering its innovations into new apps that lack an established user base, engineers and designers can take creative leaps that may not have worked if they’d simply been adding features to Facebook’s primary app.

April 18, 2014
A report by Deloitte defines a smart city as “when investments in human and social capital, traditional (transport) and modern information and communications technology ICT infrastructure fuel sustainable economic development and a high quality of life, with a wise management of natural resources”. In that way Africa is right at the heart of the conversation. The UN Habitat Global Activities Report 2013 states that in 2009, Africa’s total population for the first time exceeded one billion of which 395 million (or almost 40 per cent) lived in urban areas. Around 2027, Africa’s demographic growth will start to slow down and it will take 24 years to add the next 500 million, reaching the two billion mark around 2050, of which about 60 per cent will be living in cities. Africa should prepare for a total population increase of about 60 per cent between 2010 and 2050, with the urban population tripling to 1.23 billion during this period. (via A Different Kind of ‘Smart’ City | CIPE Development Blog)

A report by Deloitte defines a smart city as “when investments in human and social capital, traditional (transport) and modern information and communications technology ICT infrastructure fuel sustainable economic development and a high quality of life, with a wise management of natural resources”. In that way Africa is right at the heart of the conversation. The UN Habitat Global Activities Report 2013 states that in 2009, Africa’s total population for the first time exceeded one billion of which 395 million (or almost 40 per cent) lived in urban areas. Around 2027, Africa’s demographic growth will start to slow down and it will take 24 years to add the next 500 million, reaching the two billion mark around 2050, of which about 60 per cent will be living in cities. Africa should prepare for a total population increase of about 60 per cent between 2010 and 2050, with the urban population tripling to 1.23 billion during this period. (via A Different Kind of ‘Smart’ City | CIPE Development Blog)

Many modern urban planners advocate higher densities because of the widely held theory that cities operate more efficiently when residents live in denser urban surroundings. However, there are mitigating factors such as higher traffic congestion when traffic thinning and parking capacity reductions are not in place. When cities have high densities, they tend to be more walkable and have greater transportation options. However, when cities are allowed to expand from the center without benefit of smart growth planning, they can become relatively unsustainable. Sustainability has several components germane to urban planners but the single most important of these is transportation – how people get around. When cities rely on automobiles as their primary means of transit, they lack sustainability and quality of life choices that can only come about when urban fabrics are built for their human users rather than their cars. (via Population Density and Sustaining Cities | Sustainable Cities Collective)

Many modern urban planners advocate higher densities because of the widely held theory that cities operate more efficiently when residents live in denser urban surroundings. However, there are mitigating factors such as higher traffic congestion when traffic thinning and parking capacity reductions are not in place. When cities have high densities, they tend to be more walkable and have greater transportation options. However, when cities are allowed to expand from the center without benefit of smart growth planning, they can become relatively unsustainable. Sustainability has several components germane to urban planners but the single most important of these is transportation – how people get around. When cities rely on automobiles as their primary means of transit, they lack sustainability and quality of life choices that can only come about when urban fabrics are built for their human users rather than their cars. (via Population Density and Sustaining Cities | Sustainable Cities Collective)

Surprisingly, very few online maps that show the distribution of bike-share docking stations include bike lane networks. Safe bike lanes, and the knowledge of how those bike lanes connect together and in turn connect to other forms of transport, help to mainstream bike-sharing as a mode of transport and improve overall bike-sharing system performance. One recent study even points out a statistically significant relationship between the number of trips by bike-share and the supply of bike lanes. For this reason, integrating bike-share systems with networks of bike lanes is key to increasing ridership and making bike-share safe and desirable for users. (via The bike-share report: Connectivity and bike lanes key to successful bike-sharing | TheCityFix)

Surprisingly, very few online maps that show the distribution of bike-share docking stations include bike lane networks. Safe bike lanes, and the knowledge of how those bike lanes connect together and in turn connect to other forms of transport, help to mainstream bike-sharing as a mode of transport and improve overall bike-sharing system performance. One recent study even points out a statistically significant relationship between the number of trips by bike-share and the supply of bike lanes. For this reason, integrating bike-share systems with networks of bike lanes is key to increasing ridership and making bike-share safe and desirable for users. (via The bike-share report: Connectivity and bike lanes key to successful bike-sharing | TheCityFix)

The [Chinese] Energy Foundation has come up with a whole set of criteria to explain urban sustainability to China’s mayors. The principles are well considered: places should be walkable; bicycling should be prioritized; networks of streets should be dense; public transit should be high-quality; developments should be mixed-use; and parking should be regulated. (via City Blocks and Urban Space Needs | Sustainable Cities Collective)

The [Chinese] Energy Foundation has come up with a whole set of criteria to explain urban sustainability to China’s mayors. The principles are well considered: places should be walkable; bicycling should be prioritized; networks of streets should be dense; public transit should be high-quality; developments should be mixed-use; and parking should be regulated. (via City Blocks and Urban Space Needs | Sustainable Cities Collective)

Vienna has singled out this year to be to theme of its own bid for a unique badge that it can wear to distinguish itself. It has launched a competition called City Hype to come up with ideas to make the Solidarity City work.
January 5, 2013
March 2, 2012
By losing the free and open Internet, and free and open devices to interact with it — and even such ordinary things as physical books and music media — we reduce the full scope of both markets and civilization. But that’s hard to see when the walled gardens are so rich with short-term benefits.