What are public spaces? They are indoor/outdoor attraction centers, and highly visible commerce areas that have unique features that add to city livability. They are diverse and can be found in downtown areas, on the outskirts, or as a feature of a specific neighborhood. Wherever they are, they attract the public. When linked to city infrastructure, public spaces are promoted by tourism departments as valuable enhancements to the town: from transit hubs, airports, and recreation centers to parks, playgrounds, and sidewalks.
Livability describes the diverse aspects of society, surroundings, and shared experiences that shape a community. It focuses on the human experience and is specific to place and time. It includes economic, spatial, and social components that together are challenging to understand and measure in our defined world of planning and development of today's communities for tomorrow. As such, it is best defined by the state, region, or community, and is best measured at a scale where consensus can be found.
Call it Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or Chief Information Officer (CIO), technology leaders for cities and towns hold a great deal of responsibility for establishing the municipality’s technical vision and leading all aspects of its technological development. The CIO/CTO sets the overall direction for technology through strategic planning and evaluation. They provide leadership, planning oversight and management for all areas of information technology (IT) strategy, development, and implementation. As leaders, they show a demonstrated ability to influence decisions and decision makers in a professional manner. These public sector CIO drives change with transformative technology.
As the world around us evolves due to changing economies, governments, natural resources, and the environment, municipalities may face strains on assets and resources. Cities and towns are proactively building strategies to limit the impact of acute shock and chronic stress that threaten them or weaken their foundation on a day-to-day or cyclical basis. Sudden, sharp events like disease outbreaks, national and international political and economic disruptions, terrorist accounts, and extreme weather and natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods are hard to deal with without proper pre-planning and disaster recovery plans in place. Stresses like inefficient public transportation systems; high unemployment; endemic violence; and power, food, and water shortages or interruptions also pose challenges for municipalities.
We have all been there at some point…stuck in our car behind a garbage truck as it makes frequent stops to collect waste and recycling. We see and smell the dark plumes of exhaust released from these loud, diesel-powered trucks. We might even wonder if there is a more environmentally friendly way to collect garbage.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is well known to most people involved in technology innovation. Need a refresher? Check out one of our recent blog posts which defines IoT. Simply put, it’s a growing network of physical objects that feature an IP address for internet connectivity where the communications occur between objects and other Internet-enable devices and systems. IoT projects are found across most industries – higher education, healthcare, manufacturing, logistics, consumer electronics, automotive, etc.
When it comes to government, the promise of IoT is designed to solve everyday problems associated with urban living. Urban IoT initiatives are flush with sensors for fire and smoke detection, remote monitoring and performance of infrastructure related to core city services, reporting the structural integrity of roadways and bridges, alerting consumers to parking availability, broadcasting public service announcements or city events and news, tracking lost items (people and pets, too!), smart lighting, and more.
Most state governments know that emerging technologies can transform the delivery of state services and are looking for Chief Information Officers (CIOs) who can see the potential, understand policy, and deliver productive use of technology. How is this different from a private sector CIO? In many ways, the skills are the same.
Today’s successful public sector CIOs are change agents. They are the primary technology business leaders of the state. They do more than manage hardware, software, IT procurement, and training. Today’s public sector CIOs don’t just automate processes, they transform the business of urban management through the use of innovative technology. They can anticipate policy implications and public expectations, define and deliver tangible results, and articulate project plans to all constituents.
Each year city leaders take on the task of balancing budgets while keeping a close eye on core city services. If there’s a deficit, one line item that might face reduced support is recycling-related efforts and programs. While they do require budget dollars to maintain, these recycling efforts also promise to save a city money (and environmental impact) in the end.
Recycling costs vary from one city to the next depending upon proximity to landfills, labor cost, real estate prices, and method of recycling. Despite varying financial benefits, there are many positive reasons both economically and environmentally to recycle.
When it comes to recyclable materials - aluminum, glass, plastic, and paper - some recycle more easily than others and their life spans are extraordinarily long. In all cases, recycling of these materials results in energy and natural resource savings.
What defines a Smart City? Traditionally, a Smart City is a municipality that uses information and communication technology to make its critical infrastructure, services, and utilities more efficient and interactive, and at the same time builds awareness among residents to city services and related programs. The creation of a Smart City requires investments in human and social capital, communications infrastructure, and wise management of natural resources. This combination helps support sustainable economic development and higher quality of life for residents, visitors, and businesses.
Modern cities face many challenges accompanied by the corresponding opportunities: from providing a high quality of life to ensuring socio-economic development; from efficient and innovative business development to the reduction of crime. Central to successfully addressing challenges and capitalizing on opportunities is the adoption of innovative information and communication technologies.
Further defining and developing their Smart Cities, municipalities around the globe are testing ways to equip existing street ‘furniture’ – parking meters, lamp posts, trash bins, and more – with 'smart city' applications, devices, and sensors for more intelligent ways to manage and maintain city services and infrastructures.