green streets
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green streets
thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
Curated by Lauren Moss
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Social Physics: The city as network

Social Physics: The city as network | green streets |

Traditionally, cities have been viewed as the sum of their locations – the buildings, monuments, squares and parks that spring to mind when we think of ‘New York’, ‘London’ or ‘Paris’.

In The new science of cities, Michael Batty argues that a more productive approach is to think of cities in terms of flows, connections and relationships – in other words, as a network. Places like Times Square or the Champs Elysée are not big, famous or busy because of their inherent qualities, but rather because they sit at the intersections of movements of people, wealth, information, or power...

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NYC Subways Deploy A Touch-Screen Network, Complete With Apps

NYC Subways Deploy A Touch-Screen Network, Complete With Apps | green streets |

The designers at Control Group--have been hired by New York’s MTA to bring a plan for bringing a networked, touch-screen system to their subways. Starting this year, 90 touch-screen kiosks will make their way to thoroughfares like Grand Central Station and hip stops like Bedford Avenue. Together, they’ll make a beta network for 2 million commuters and tourists a day.

Each kiosk is a 47-inch touch screen, encapsulated in stainless steel, with an operational temperature up to 200 degrees. They’ll be placed, mostly in pairs, outside pay areas, inside mezzanines and even right on train platforms. Control Group has skinned the hardware with a simple front end and an analytics-heavy backend. And the platform will even support third-party apps approved by the MTA.

At launch, the screens will feature all sorts of content, like delays, outages, and, of course, ads (which bring in $100 million in revenue for the MTA each year, but mostly in paper signage). Yet its most powerful interaction for many will likely be its map, which features a one-tap navigation system.

You look at the map, you tap your intended destination, and the map will draw your route, including any transfers along the way. It’s an interface that puts Google Maps to shame.

James's curator insight, March 21, 2013 6:15 AM

Touch interface has seen a rise in the community, such as information booths.

It allows for easy usability and quick access for people in a hurry.

While it does give convenience to the people, it's another job that's been mechanized because of its efficiency.


Touchscreens do away with the harder input devices and allow people to use it little to no prior knowledge of how to access it.

luiy's curator insight, March 21, 2013 10:23 AM



At the same time, the system’s screens could be the least interesting part of this project. The kiosks will be fitted with extra modules--video cameras, mics, and Wi-Fi--to open up a whole secondary layer of data collection and interface.


With cameras and mics, the MTA can enable two-way communication (what I imagine as emergency response messaging), and they can also pull in all sorts of automated metrics from their stations--they’d have eyes capable of counting station crowdedness or even approximate user ethnographics.

Meanwhile, Wi-Fi opens the door for networking a whole platform of mobile users with Internet access and other streamed content. Given that the average person waits 5 to 10 minutes on a platform, O’Donnell sees the potential of engaging, sponsored experiences, like a networked game of Jeopardy, while people wait for the train, or streaming media content, like TV/movie clips. A tourist could, of course, do something far more practical, too, like download a city map in moments.

“We can’t provide Internet for everybody,” he says, “but we can allow interactivity on the platform.”

david nguy's curator insight, October 21, 2014 5:53 PM

Sous la ville, de nouvelles technologies et innovations se mettent en place afin de faciliter la diffusion de l'information.

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The Connected City

The Connected City | green streets |

Cities and their influence on citizens’ behavior, community, and culture is top of mind for more than the usual suspects: urban planners and city hall officials.

Right now designers, technologists, hacktivists, and journalists are all exploring how the urban environment is going to change in coming years, as the megapolis becomes more of a reality. As Design Mind's Creative Director Scott Nazarian, states in his article in the upcoming print issue, “Cities challenge us to manage their many networks, all of which must be managed or facilitated by both people and automated systems.”

So, who are the people and organizations rethinking our cities? Mathieu Lefevre is the Executive Director of the New Cities Foundation, a new global platform for innovation and exchange on the future of urbanization. I discussed the future of the connected city with him, the places that are getting urbanization right, and technology’s role in these transformations...

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Networked Intelligent Bicycles Are Transforming Urban Riding

Networked Intelligent Bicycles Are Transforming Urban Riding | green streets |

The world’s first open source piece of hardware was the bicycle, according to the Open Source Hardware Association. To be more precise, it was the draisine, introduced as a two-wheeled human-propelled walking machine in 1817.

Technologists of the day added things like pedals, chains and rubber tires, as the bicycle became one of the world’s most widely used and loved machines. Nearly two centuries and a couple billion bicycles later, entrepreneurs are applying computer controls, GPS and wireless connectivity to bikes to help save the world’s cities from automobile gridlock...

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Open Data: a platform to improve city infrastructure + public services

Open Data: a platform to improve city infrastructure + public services | green streets |
Many cities are adopting data analytics to improve public services.

Cities are learning that data collected can be used to shorten transit times, assist in the replacement of failing infrastructure, and even make parking easier. In this always-developing technology of data analytics, many cities have already witnessed improvements. At a time when infrastructure funding at the federal level has been cut, U.S. cities are embracing technologies that lower costs while improving services. Global cities are also benefiting from the cost-savings of data analytics.

Some are claiming that data analysis technologies are creating cities as a platform. Paul M. Davis of Shareable writes that “…cities are embracing the concept of the “city as a platform,” a hyper-connected urban environment that harnesses the network effects, openness, and agility of the real-time web.” I agree that as cities adopt network technologies, they will become platforms themselves. And as platforms, cities can leverage data to implement necessary changes and act as a source for businesses and stakeholders through open data networks.

We are already seeing cities that have adopted data analytics open the data to tech firms and developers. This offers a new avenue for further improvement. Moreover, open data increases transparency...

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