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Should the U.S. Be Harvesting More Energy From Nuts?

Should the U.S. Be Harvesting More Energy From Nuts? | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Turkey made headlines last month with a plan to heat a new "eco-city" by burning pistachio shells. The proposed project would be located in the southeastern Gaziantep region, which exported 8.8 million pounds of pistachios last year. Burning the shell waste is expected to produce enough energy to heat 60 percent of the buildings in the new 8,000-acre development.

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The GRAVITY-powered lamp that could bring 1.5billion people out of the darkness

The GRAVITY-powered lamp that could bring 1.5billion people out of the darkness | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

The GravityLight uses a sack of sand to gradually pull a piece of rope through a dynamo mechanism which generates electricity to power an LED light.


London-based design and innovation initiative deciwatt.org designed the GravityLight as a sustainable lighting solution for the 1.5billion people in the world who have no reliable access to electricity.


Most of these people rely on biomass fuels like kerosene for lighting once the Sun goes down, but such fuels can be hazardous to health - as well as posing a fire risk.

 
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Airbnb Adds 'Experience' As a Rental Filter Choice

Airbnb Adds 'Experience' As a Rental Filter Choice | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it
Airbnb Neighborhoods allows users to sort vacation rentals by filters like "Trendy," "Great Transit" and "Artsy" in seven cities.

The filter tool is in step with the company’s strategy, said Brian Chesky, co-founder and chief executive. “Airbnb is changing the way people travel. Now you can ask yourself what kind of experience do I want to have rather than say where should I go.”
ddrrnt's insight:

Airbnb Neighborhoods is beginning to apply folksonomic filters to help users better identify and define the kind of "experience" they are looking for in the city.  Worth keeping an eye on trends involving the particpatory curation of cities.

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Why Google's Ingress game is a data gold mine

Why Google's Ingress game is a data gold mine | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

The new game sees players do battle via smartphones as they roam their city – but it's paving the way for something even more interesting...


"I'm playing a game called Ingress, which sees players fighting for control of real-world landmarks or monuments - dubbed portals - in their cities. It was released as a mysterious, invite-only beta two weeks ago by a Google spin-off called Niantic Labs. It represents a big step towards ubiquitous, accurate augmented reality (AR), in which real-world objects are annotated with a virtual layer of information that is displayed on a smartphone's camera."


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29 November 2012

by Hal Hodson





Via Elle D'Coda
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How The New Mobility Grid Can Spark Transportation Solutions

How The New Mobility Grid Can Spark Transportation Solutions | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Imagine a day when you could enter a network of New Mobility options including buses, trains, clean fuel taxis, auto rickshaws and bike share.


Recognizing that no single solution will save the day for transportation in this rapidly urbanizing and increasingly complex world, a groundswell of transportation innovation is arising worldwide. However these innovations are too rarely linked and optimized in a way that can provide a convenient, practical, affordable and sustainable door-to-door trip for the user. The next generation of urban transportation is about connecting transportation modes, services, and especially technologies, bringing diverse innovations together in ways that favor accessibility (meeting needs) over mobility (moving for the sake of moving), and that work significantly better for people, economies, and the planet.

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Obama Wins: support for high-skilled immigration reform

Obama Wins: support for high-skilled immigration reform | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Strong support for high-skilled immigration reform:


The Startup 2.0 Act is most likely the first opportunity for reform, and probably won’t happen until next year. Specifically, the Startup 2.0 Act would increase work visa availability for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) graduates from American universities. Second, it would create an entrepreneurship visa for foreign workers who create jobs in the U.S. (right now, foreign workers have to be sponsored by another company, which makes it difficult to be a founder). Finally, it eliminates country-specific caps on visas. Pressure from Democrats to include immigration reforms for Mexico and other low-represented nations will be a challenge, however.

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Towards a social change enlightenment

Towards a social change enlightenment | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

As David Bornstein claims, we are riding the verge of a social change enlightenment.


Successful social change programs are targeting the heart as well as the head, effecting change by appealing to ‘non-rational’ factors such as emotion, group identity, and relationships. (...)


At the heart of the social change enlightenment, there is a new emphasis on data and facts to evaluate the impact of social change programs. Where the historical exponents of Enlightenment used scientific experiments and logical arguments to explain the world, we are drawing on the infinite capacities of online data clouds and innovative data visualization tools to make social change challenges and solutions apparent to all. This is radically reducing costs and exponentially boosting the effectiveness of social change programs. (...)


Smart data can feed into social change in three main ways:


1. Data visualization. Visualizing problems makes it easier to respond to them. We see this in the world of crisis mapping. In the 2010 Haitian earthquake, Ushahidi’s crisis mapping tools were hailed as a breakthrough innovation.


2. ‘Socialize’ the process of systems change with smart interactive campaigns. Smart data doesn’t just enable us to visualize problems, it opens up new ways of mobilizing crowds to engage with them too. We can take inspiration here from flashmob culture and groups like ImprovEverywhere, who seek to create ‘scenes of chaos and joy in public places’.


3. Empower entrepreneurs to engage with social change initiatives. The most talented people in the world are not necessarily working for social change organizations. This doesn’t mean that they are not willing to pitch in and get involved. (...)


Our collective capacity today is truly miraculous. All that we need are tools to transform this capacity into millions of enlightened actions.


read more here.


OCTOBER 31, 2012

BY TIMRAYNER

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What Technology Wants: Kevin Kelly:

What Technology Wants

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"The city as a whole is a wonderful technological invention that concentrates the flow of energy and minds into computer chip–like density. In a relatively small footprint, a city not only provides living quarters and occupations in a minimum of space, but it also generates a maximum of ideas and inventions.”

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Coming Soon, Twitter as a Citywide Suggestions Box – Next American City

Coming Soon, Twitter as a Citywide Suggestions Box – Next American City | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

In Chicago, local developers have created apps that take advantage of public data and of the city’s efforts to roll out Open 311 — an advanced service request tracking system that went public last month.


The idea of Twitter as a citywide suggestions and complaints box came into the public consciousness over a year ago, when a group of researchers at Purdue University searched thousands of geo-tagged tweets from presumed Chicago ‘L’ train riders to gauge broad sentiment and identify common complaints. The word clouds created from their analysis show how the frequency of certain words and phrases rose and fell as trains were delayed or, for example, faced a signal fire or fallen tree.


A key discovery was that people rarely make positive comments — you’ll look long and hard before finding a tweet along the lines of “the Purple train is running wonderfully this morning!” — instead saving their energy and 140 characters for problems, delays and unexpected difficulties. This may not sound terribly friendly, but it’s ideal for municipal officials, who have little need to hear about systems running smoothly.



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Indigenous and ingenious: The roots of mobile banking in Africa | Build it Kenny, and they will come...

Indigenous and ingenious: The roots of mobile banking in Africa | Build it Kenny, and they will come... | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

In Ghana, it’s popularly known as susu. In Cameroon, tontines or chilembe. And in South Africa, stokfel. Today, you’d most likely call it plain-old microfinance, the nearest term we have for it. Age-old indigenous credit schemes have run perfectly well without much outside intervention for generations. Although, in our excitement to implement new technologies and solutions, we sometimes fail to recognise them. Innovations such as mobile banking – great as they may be – are hailed as revolutionary without much consideration for what may have come before, or who the original innovators may have been.


Via Thabo Mophiring
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What Is This App Doing To My Kid’s Brain?

What Is This App Doing To My Kid’s Brain? | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

The amount of digital media exposure we’re getting, even among the tiniest infants, just keeps growing. Half of all children under the age of 8 have access to a touch-screen device, whether smartphone or tablet, at home, and half of infants under 1 year watch TV or videos--an average of almost two hours a day. The educational app field is seeing massive growth with 80% of educational apps in the iPad store targeted to young children. But research, says one expert, is lagging far behind practice.


Via David Hodgson
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Cisco's Big Bet on New Songdo: Creating Cities From Scratch

Cisco's Big Bet on New Songdo: Creating Cities From Scratch | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it
The world is bracing for an influx of billions of new urbanites in the coming decades, and tech companies are rushing to build new green cities to house them. Are these companies creating a smarter metropolis -- or just making money?


As far as playing God (or SimCity) goes, New Songdo is the most ambitious instant city since Brasília 50 years ago. Brasília, of course, was an instant disaster: grandiose, monstrously overscale, and immediately encircled by slums. New Songdo has to be better because there's a lot more riding on it than whether Gale can repay his loans. It has been hailed since conception as the experimental prototype community of tomorrow. A green city, it was LEED-certified from the get-go, designed to emit a third of the greenhouse gases of a typical metropolis its size (about 300,000 people during the day). It's an "international business district" and an "aerotropolis" -- a Western-oriented city more focused on the airport and China beyond than on Seoul. And it's supposed to be a "smart city," studded with chips talking to one another, designated as such years before IBM found its "Smarter Planet" religion.


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The Internet Is the New Town Hall and Soon Cities Will Be Listening

The Internet Is the New Town Hall and Soon Cities Will Be Listening | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

"Sentiment analysis" of social media could change the way you report potholes forever.


The challenge for cities is how they might parse social media sentiment about not just one dish detergent (or one frequently Googled query during flu season), but about numerous interlocking indexes of civic life. Are parents in Chicago supportive of the teachers’ strike? What are New York subway riders saying about that new trash program? Or Los Angelenos about the crackdown on pot dispensaries? Is there a flare-up of graffiti concern on the west side of the city? Or a collision on the east side about to erupt into an all-out traffic jam?

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City living: There's an app for that 

In broadest terms, giving the population access to municipal data doesn't just generate apps, it changes the relationship between citizen and city. "It's greater than applications," said Jay Nath, chief innovation officer for the City of San Francisco. "For me, it's almost a new type of civic engagement."


That's the ethos that guides Code for America, which serves as a developer version of the Peace Corps for federal, state and local government. The nonprofit teams volunteer developers, known as fellows, with municipalities looking to create new apps and services with their data.


One signature Code for America app is Boston's Adopt a Hydrant program, which solved a persistent and dangerous city problem -- hydrants plowed in after snowstorms -- by pairing concerned citizens with individual hydrants to maintain. Honolulu uses the same model to deputize citizens to make sure the tsunami warning sirens near their homes have working batteries.


In total, Code for America has partnered with 11 American cities, developing and brainstorming apps similar to Boston's. "You can demonstrate to the large bureaucracy, 'This is what you get when you open up data,'" said Mark Headd, government affairs director for the organization


by Jason Slotkin

11 Jan 2013


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Empowering girls through information, communication and technology

Empowering girls through information, communication and technology | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it
If girls and women continue to live in greater poverty, with lower education levels, less access to healthcare and other services, less opportunity to work, and lower status in their societies, chances are that their access and use of ICT will not match that of boys and men.

Getting more girls into school and improving the quality of education could help more girls access and learn to use technology. Finding ways to encourage critical thinking and innovation within the education system and ways for girls to join extra-curricular activities to stimulate new ways of thinking could also help them gain skills for jobs in the ICT sector.

NGOs should advocate and support policies to make internet more accessible and affordable. Libraries and other safe spaces can also help girls and women feel more comfortable to access information and learn how to use technology.
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New York's real-world 'Sim City'

New York's real-world 'Sim City' | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it
Betaville is a multi-person open source platform which allows participants to build on empty spaces in New York City, like a real-life version of the popular game Sim City.

Players can walk around New York's streets - or fly over them - and stop at empty spaces which are shown by inverted yellow pyramids hovering over the vacant spot.

Users can also see the energy usage of some of the buildings in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, as well as whether there is the capability of heating these using alternative fuels.

Betaville allows players to re-imagine the glamorous New York skyline
As one person designs a building on a spot, others can not only see the proposal but can also modify it. And this isn't just a fantasy world of wacky ideas; Betaville's developers are hoping to turn these designs into real buildings in the city.

Nastaran Tavakoli-Far
BBC World Service
02 Oct 2012
ddrrnt's insight:

Will future citizens be empowered with gaming technology to steer the sustainable development of their cities?

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Startup Spotlight: How to fund civic projects without the government

Startup Spotlight: How to fund civic projects without the government | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Jase Wilson is the founder of Neighbor.ly, a crowd funding platform for civic projects. Organizations can post projects on the site and raise money from the community. Neighbor.ly grew out of Wilson’s frustration at community meetings. A self-identified “city geek,” he has two degrees in urban planning and design. Time and time again, Wilson heard great ideas and proposals, but the common denominator was a lack of resources to make them happen. He decided to create an alternative channel for municipal fundraising.


“Cities are broke,” Wilson said. “People need civic projects- the economy, jobs, and quality of life all benefit when good civic projects happen. It’s a problem that needs innovation now. We built Neighbor.ly to help greenlight civic projects, even when the community budget is not so awesome.” (...)


Grassroots movements are picking up around the country and Wilson and his small team are picking up where Kickstarter leaves off by focusing on civic initiatives. In addition to a financial platform, they also provide their expertise and knowledge surrounding urban planning. Wilson said depending on how things progress with the economy, this type of model would be a useful alternative for keeping certain government services alive. Only time will tell.


Rebecca Grant

26 Oct 2012

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Smart Cities – Creating Intelligent Urban Environments

Smart Cities – Creating Intelligent Urban Environments | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

The 21st century will be dominated by the city. More than half the world's population lives in cities, and the percentage is growing rapidly.


Today’s cities can barely handle the burden of their current populations: core services like energy, water, communications, transportation, and public safety are wasteful, inefficient and decrepit. Even though cities only occupy 2% of the landmass of the Earth, they consume over 75% of the Earth’s resources. The only way to prevent rapid urbanization from being an environmental disaster is to operate cities in a brand new way: faster, smarter, cleaner.


A city becomes “smart” when all parts of its infrastructure and government services are digitally connected and optimized. The city’s intelligent infrastructure is powered by three key technologies that share environment and citizen data constantly: sensors, the cloud and smart interfaces. Sensors, tiny devices that can measure variables such as motion, sound, and bacteria, collect information and send it back to a central database - the cloud. The city’s computing cloud then analyzes the information and changes the city in response to the input it has received, whether from sensors. Residents can also change the city experience, tailoring it to themselves by entering their preferences in touch screen smart applications. For example, if you’re feeling unwell, you could take your blood pressure at home, and the results will automatically be added to your health record, which is stored in digital format in the city’s cloud. If the blood pressure is at a dangerous level, your doctor is automatically paged, and soon, he appears on the Telepresence monitor in your apartment where he gives you a quick consultation.


by Ayesha and Parag Khanna

Macrowikinomics - Mar. 21 2011


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Using Smartphones to Improve Walkability

Using Smartphones to Improve Walkability | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

When it comes to walking in the city, our smartphones provide us with pedestrian sat-nav, reviews of the best places to visit and even measure how many calories we’re burning. In fact, recent research suggests that our phones are encouraging us to even explore more places.


Now, a new mobile app provides an essential tool for the walkable lifestyle. It enables people to check the walkability of the street they’re standing in, as well as discover new walkable streets in other areas and add their own reviews.

The free app uses over 600,000 street ratings from Walkonomics.com, covering every street in San Francisco, New York and England. But unlike other walkability apps, which only measure how many destinations are within walking distance, the Walkonomics app provides 5-star ratings for 8 different categories of pedestrian-friendliness:

  • Road safety
  • Easy to cross
  • Pavement/Sidewalk
  • Hilliness
  • Navigation
  • Fear of crime
  • Smart & beautiful
  • Fun & relaxing


The Walkonomics mobile app provides a crowdsourcing tool for events, allowing more people to be involved, add reviews and post suggestions. With more cities to be added, the app has the potential to become the new ‘must-have’ app for not only discovering and enjoying walkable streets, but also transforming and making streets more pedestrian-friendly...


Via Jandira Feijó, Lauren Moss
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DVICE: Ethiopian kids hack OLPCs in 5 months with zero instruction

DVICE: Ethiopian kids hack OLPCs in 5 months with zero instruction | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

What happens if you give a thousand Motorola Zoom tablet PCs to Ethiopian kids who have never even seen a printed word? Within five months, they'll start teaching themselves English while circumventing the security on your OS to customize settings and activate disabled hardware. Whoa.


Here's how it went down, as related by OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte at MIT Technology Review's EmTech conference last week:


"We left the boxes in the village. Closed. Taped shut. No instruction, no human being. I thought, the kids will play with the boxes! Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, but found the on/off switch. He'd never seen an on/off switch. He powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs [in English] in the village. And within five months, they had hacked Android. Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera! And they figured out it had a camera, and they hacked Android."

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Communities Aren't Just Places, They're Social Networks

Communities Aren't Just Places, They're Social Networks | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Cities are obviously more than just the sum of their physical assets — roads and bridges, offices, factories, shopping centers, and homes — working more like living organisms than jumbles of concrete. Their inner workings even transcend their ability to cluster and concentrate people and economic activity. As sociologist Zachary Neal of Michigan State University argues in his new book, The Connected City, cities are made up of human social networks.


Does the design of streets, for example, influence who our friends are?


What are the key factors that shape the networks of a connected city?


To what degree do influential people matter to the connected city? 


Via David Hodgson
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Technology and the democratisation of development

Technology and the democratisation of development | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

In 1993 the number of mobile subscribers in Africa numbered in the hundreds of thousands. By 1998 that had crept to four million. Today there are an estimated 735 million with penetration running at around the 70% mark. Not bad in less than 20 years. (...)


Mobile phone ownership among the communities many of them serve presents new opportunities to increase the reach and efficiency of their work. Simply being able to send messages to coordinate meetings, or to remind people of key messages, can save hours – even days – on the road.


Community healthcare workers can also stay in better touch with the hospital when they’re back in their villages. Farmers can access advice and market information directly from their fields. Citizens can report corruption, or engage in debate. Births can be registered. Illegal logging can be recorded and reported. It’s safe to say that mobile phones have touched every sector of development in one way or another. It has become so ubiquitous that, in just a few short years, many development workers can hardly imagine life without them.


via Build it Kenny, and they will come...

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How Open Data Initiatives Can Improve City Life

How Open Data Initiatives Can Improve City Life | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it
Building apps that make use of government data may not be feasible for many cities, but opening that data up to the developer community has proven fruitful for some.


Major city governments across North America are looking for ways to share civic data — which normally resides behind secure firewalls — with private developers who can leverage it to serve city residents via web and mobile apps. Cities can spend on average between $20,000 and $50,000 — even as much as $100,000 — to cover the costs of opening data, but that’s a small price to pay when you consider how much is needed to develop a custom application that might not be nearly as useful.


15 Feb 11 by Aliza Sherman

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Students Become Immersed in History with Augmented Reality Games

Students Become Immersed in History with Augmented Reality Games | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

The next generation of learners will have access to an astounding array of tools -- including augmented reality games.


The interactionist view of game-based pedagogies holds a situated learner players with their own understandings, identities, and questions, and through interaction with the game system, develop along trajectories toward more expert performance.


Thus, educational games are systems of potential interactions (more or less) carefully orchestrated to guide user’s experience (and learning), with academic knowledge, skills, values, and identities developing as a result.


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How The "Internet Of Things" Is Turning Cities Into Living Organisms | Fast Company

How The "Internet Of Things" Is Turning Cities Into Living Organisms | Fast Company | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

With a little help from what's called the Internet of Things, engineers are transforming cities from passive conduits for water into dynamic systems that store and manage it like the tissues of desert animals.


With a little help from what's called the Internet of Things, engineers are transforming cities from passive conduits for water into dynamic systems that store and manage it like the tissues of desert animals. By using the Internet to connect real-world sensors and control mechanisms to cloud-based control systems that can pull in streams from any other data source, including weather reports, these efforts enable conservation and money-saving measures that would have been impossible without this virtual nervous system.


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