Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Imagine never having to look for a parking space ever again. Imagine that from here on out, this problem is solved. Fast-forward to 2025. You’re driving from Brooklyn to Manhattan...because driving in New York City, and everywhere else, has become much simpler a task than it was a decade or so before.
Or has it?
On the surface, yes. While we may not be zooming around in speedy Minority Report-style vehicles in 2025, by we will have full (and fast, convenient, sufficiently cheap) access to data that is in the cloud - either through our vehicles (which will gradually take on new tech features with the same slow evolution as they always do) and more likely, simply because the cloud is anywhere we are - whether its accessible through our smartphones, tablets or embedded in the world around us. These services just might make life easier and more efficient than flying sedans ever would: our daily online calendars will automatically sync with those of our colleagues for meetings, those of our our children for school pickups, and even those of automated parking spaces.
The car itself will reserve and pay for a spot on the street or in a garage automatically, just as we pay seamlessly for electronic books and music via our Amazon and iTunes accounts today, without typing in our credit card information over and over again. Our computers handle the admin; we get on with our lives.
In 2025, we’ll even be comfortable delegating some of the administrative minutiae of travel to our cars to sort out; in essence, the car and the cloud will act as personal assistants and ‘travel agents’. Your travel agent will know the maximum we want to pay to park or want to walk from our parking spot to our destination. If plans or traffic patterns change while we’re en route, it will automatically off-load the reservation it has, and negotiatie an alternative. If our meeting or meal runs over and we can’t make it back to retrieve our car in time, the car itself will communicate with the next person’s travel agent - that is booked for that spot. Today in situations where someone is inconvenienced a ‘fine’ is levied to punish socially errant behaviour - the rules can be rewritten so that the inconviencer can directly compensate the inconveniencee, peer to peer, no middle man taking a cut.
Urban infrastructures are increasingly being equipped with sensors and other means of collecting information and channeling our everyday actions, from energy use to parking patterns, into software and networks that analyze data and act upon it. Cities--and communities-- are becoming “smarter” as “the internet of things” evolves. What this means is that more and more people and things, including parking spaces are becoming connected, allowing for better prediction models of traffic and energy usage thanks to real-time data flows, leading to better awareness of current resource statuses and more practical matters such as more dependable payment mechanisms.
The smart-parking scenarios will arrive more quickly than you think--in fact, they’re already nearly here. On the most basic level, anyone can get free driving directions and an instant, estimated time of arrival from Google Maps, when they agree to share where they are at a given moment via GPS. Throughout Europe now, you can reserve public parking spots via SMS messages. In San Francisco, you can time a meeting so that you don’t pay peak-prices for parking, determined by a dynamic market pricing system launched as a pilot program this fall (and running through summer 2012) by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to help alleviate congested streets. It uses real-time data tracking to determing the cost of parking at 7,000 of San Francisco’s 28,000 metered spots, as well as 12,250 spaces in three-quarters of the parking garages owned by the cities.
And then there are much more intricate examples, on epic scales. In September, the technology company Pegasus Holdings announced it is building a $200 million test city on a city scale in New Mexico--from scratch, where it will try out networked parking and transportation systems among other infrastructure innovations. In Asia and the Middle East, smart cities are being built from scratch: Tianjin Eco City in China; Songdo, South Korea; and Masdar in Abu Dhabi. In each of these examples, developers are working to implement traffic-solutions that will make use of new, networked technologies, all as part of creating more energy-efficient communities.
These optimistic visions aren’t just about making parking a more pleasant experience. They’re largely about solving urgent problems in a time of economic and sustainability-related challenges. According to a report by IBM, the economic impact of traffic congestion is $4 billion per year in New York alone, in terms of estimated lost work hours, pollution-related costs, and wasted fuel. In the United States, traffic congestion losses are growing at 8 percent a year, the most recent estimate being $78 billion in 2005. Worldwide, in both developed and developing-world cities, traffic congestion-related expenses represent between 1 percent and 3 percent of most cities’ GDP.
And on a larger scale, beyond parking and traffic, a recent report by Ericsson (published earlier this year) found that the more networked, or “smart,” a city is, the more that city sees benefits to its “triple bottom line” (its financial, societal, and sustainability-related successes). For every 10 percentage points increase in broadband penetration, the report found, the isolated economic effect on GDP growth is approximately 1% of GDP.
Whilst the pain of finding a parking space will dissipate into the cloud, the cloud will hide other, less apparent costs. The concepts of the “smart” car, “smart” parking and payment systems, and “smart” cities are interesting enough. But all are really just a smoke screen for a much deeper set of political and even philosophical issues that will impact urban dwellers in the near future, especially as more than half’s the world’s population will soon be living in cities. That set of issues centers around the delicate dance between public and private ownership of space, both in the cloud and on the ground.
The private sector is heavily involved in developing many of these and other massive urban infrastructure projects that are likely to or already use much of our personal data to create more efficient public services. To give a sense of scale, there are 100 private funds seeking to raise $95 billion for infrastructure investments globally, according to research by San Francisco-based fund adviser Probitas Partners. IBM is working on a smart-parking system with a start-up called Streetline; a consortium of nine companies including Accenture and Panasonic are building a “smart town” in Fujisawa, Japan.
The new model of privatized infrastructure is necessary to make up for city budget gaps in an era of economic challenges. And it certainly can cultivate much-needed employment. The New Mexico example, for instance, has been applauded by the state’s governor for possibly creating 4,000 new jobs. But bringing corporations in to help build new traffic and parking and other urban solutions can also raise important questions.
That’s because while this model can provide convenience, it could also create new problems for the communities that will use these smart infrastructures as well as the companies and governments that built them. Let’s go back to the parking example. Soon, there could be the possibility of third parties figuring out a way to unofficially buy and sell parking spaces in dynamic parking markets, via peer-to-peer systems of trading spots on the street. Will this become a punishable act, a violation of the rule of paying city authorities? Or will private-sector companies find ways to work with entrepreneurs who might see business opportunities in a once-regulated, government-operated systems, raising prices for parking even higher than the peak costs?
This is just one example.
I raise these questions not to cast doubt on the new public/private infrastructure--one that blurs the roles of citizens’ public and private lives, as well as the changing balance between the public and the private sectors in numerous cities turning to corporations to upgrade and update urban environments. Instead, I hope to provoke both cities and companies to consider the possible dilemmas that the new models will face: Who has the rights to exploit what happens on your sidewalk? Your neighborhood? Your roads? What are the rules? Who sets them? Who profits?
To avoid possible pitfalls will be the following when designing the new public/private infrastructure projects, it will be necessary to
- Establish clear policies on how any use of citizens’ data might be used when tracking anything from parking habits, energy use, or any other behavior that is documented and analyzed as part of a smart infrastructure
- Consider potential black markets and data or payment security breaches and be prepared for violations of new system rules (as in the parking example)
- Create best practices for both corporations and governments, and share information via networks of smart cities, both real and “test” centers
- Work with community groups and citizens and all other stakeholders, in terms of involving them from the beginning of infrastructure planning to get feedback
Of course the evolving visions of massively networked urban infrastructures are as unique as the evolution as each city itself, and in many ways these nuances are the essence of life -- home, families, businesses, communities coming together. In the big scheme of things, “smart” is interesting but pales in significance to relevance.
Via Domenico Di Siena, association concert urbain
"Cloud-enhanced services” promise to take up much of the economic slack caused by the steady shift over the last several decades from manufacturing to services. Despite the loss of those U.S. manufacturing jobs, “direct linkages” persist between high value-added services and manufacturing..."
John Zysman, Berkekely Roundtable on the International Economy
Via Murry Shohat
We're a cloud storage startup that's making it incredibly easy to store, share, and secure your data.
"Bitcasa is revolutionizing personal cloud storage! Unlike other cloud-based storage solutions that simply copy your files to the cloud, Bitcasa gives you infinite storage on your desktop. In fact, our virtual storage model allows you to easily sync all your data across devices, instantly share large files with friends and family and provides a secure alternative to other online backup solutions. You never have to worry about your data again."
"Autodesk is supporting everyone who wants to make things through not just software, but a full family of products, services, communities, and partnerships dedicated to enabling you to express your creativity, share your ideas, and get them made. The DIY community, Instructables, is a thriving community of smart individuals ready to learn from one another and share their personal inspiration and hobbies. The Autodesk 123D family of products was created with personal fabrication and 3D printing in mind to take digital concepts to the physical world. Download the free software at http://123dapp.com "
www.solidworks.com/sw/products/plastics-injection-molding.htm?scid=sm_yt_designdots As design engineers it can often be overwhelming to obtain the necessary ...
As an automotive start-up, Tesla Motors needed to efficiently engineer a vehicle from the ground up with an electric powertrain. Collaborative design is a critical element as Tesla paves the way for market acceptance of electric vehicles while revolutionizing the automotive industry with its vehicle and its approach.
Tesla Motors utilized DS software solutions from its inception and is standardizing on Version 6 (V6) PLM as its sole platform.
The Living Labs Global Award was established in 2009 to address some of the sizable problems that cities and populations face across the globe, from Asia to Africa to the Americas. To support the 125 million people affected by these various societal challenges, some 800 minds – from both the private and public sectors – have set to creating solutions, competing for the Living Labs Global Award in the process. Winners are afforded an opportunity to test a pilot program of their idea. Some of the issues include waste management in Barcelona, venture capital in Cape Town, and community healthcare in New Taipei City. Trying out a program on a smaller scale allows for a thorough evaluation and, if necessary, reworking before an abundance of resources are invested.
In 2012, 21 cities were chosen to join the Living Labs Global Award, sharing both their problems and possible solutions: Barcelona, Birmingham, Caceres, Cape Town, Coventry, Derry~Londonderry, Eindhoven, Fukuoka, Glasgow, Guadalajara, Hamburg, Kristiansand, Lagos, Lavasa, Mexico, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Santiago de Chile, and Terrassa.
Here are the 10 most shareable projects, with the sharing of information and the improvement of public transportation in urban centers showing up as consistent themes across a number of projects...
Via Jandira Feijó, Toni Sánchez, association concert urbain
The idea for these minimalist Tea Houses was triggered by the need of a nature retreat, located not far from a family home in Silicon Valley, California. The creative team at Swatt Miers Architects was in charge with transforming a vision into reality, designing the three tea houses as perfect observation spots.
According to the official description provided by the project developers, each new tea house was created as a “transparent steel and glass pavilion, hovering like a lantern over the natural landscape. Cast-in-place concrete core elements anchor the pavilions, supporting steel channel rim joists, which cantilever beyond the cores to support the floor and roof planes. With its minimal footprint, the design treads lightly on the land, minimizing grading and preserving the delicate root systems of the native oaks“.
Via Lauren Moss, Maguelonne Cintas, association concert urbain
Guedes + DeCampos have designed the Quinta Do Vallado Winery Hotel in Vilarinho dos Freires, Peso da Régua, Portugal. The project for the new Rural Hotel at Quinta do Vallado fits in a strategy that balances the need for expansion of the existing facilities of with the correct integration into the landscape so that the solution, as a whole, has a minimal impact. The two strands linked to wine – production and leisure – are addressed in a single project with a distinctive and contemporary language.
Given the strong impact of the surrounding landscape, characterized by a natural architecture that gives the area a singular character – World Heritage – the resort hotel project focuses on solving the insertion of a new volume conditioned by a long and impressive wall in shale, which draws a sharp curve on the ground...
Via Lauren Moss
http://usa.autodesk.com/autodesk-factory-design-suite/ Design and present your machine and equipment in the context of a customer's facility.
Shamengo pioneer Pierre Calleja has invented something truly remarkable--a light powered by algae that absorbs CO2 in the air--at the rate of 1 ton PER YEAR, or what a tree absorbs over its entire lifetime! The microalgae streetlamp has the potential to provide significantly cleaner air in urban areas and revolutionize the cityscape.
Via Adela Ciurea