NGI Salon/Ask Me Anything: Coming up On the smart city with Bas Boorsma and Gordon Feller

1/03/2021 - 11:45

On the smart city with Bas Boorsma and Gordon Feller

The direct reason for the conversation today is the fact that Cisco decided recently not to continue their smart city platform. This does not mean they will not continue to sell and promote dedicated smart city solutions. But they do say that the smart city is a hard sell. This reflects the difficulty to bring an integrated solution to a fragmented space of verticals in current city and regional infrastructures.

The two authors and experts we talk to in the context of Next Generation Internet , a program aimed at human centric connectivity ideas and opportunities, have been instrumental – both having worked  at Cisco – for bringing creative and citizen centric solutions to the smart city space and now it becomes clear that it is their vision that shows the way forward.

They are not talking on behalf of Cisco, as they left the company and used to be involved in the company's smart city initiatives and continue to be urban innovation professionals today.

We will ask them how they think the original vision for the smart city has changed: generic infrastructures,, good services for reasonable fees, no more waste of water (according to the OECD report waste of water Mexico City (Mexico) 44%, Naples (Italy) 37%, Rome (Italy) 26%, Prague (Czech Republic) 21%), peer to peer renewable energy, affordable housing, healthcare, education: based on optimizing good use and facilitating sharing tools (“ Right. That power drill will be used around 12 to 13 minutes in its entire lifetime. It’s kind of ridiculous, right? Because what you need is the hole, not the drill. - http://www.roughtype.com/?p=6527), can become the new positive story when it is no longer marketed to the city as main funder, but to citizens themselves.

The main reason that this is difficult today is the lack of trust by citizens. Unfortunately, from about 2000, around the time Internet of Things was coined, every technological artefact, program and vision, came to be caught up in the feeling of general distrust in what is now called Big Tech and Big Government. People felt they literally only had a choice between Scylla (billionaires harvesting data and creating new addiction prone applications) and Aribdis ( a hollowed-out state going obsessive compulsive with behavioral control) and everything that was seen to be ‘efficient’ or ‘optimizing’ or creating transparency’ was perceived as belonging fundamentally or ‘essentially’ to either one or the other.

This is changing and changing fast. If a decade ago the correct criticism of thinkers like Adam Greenfield and the Transition Town Movement found severe faults with the smart city projects (that are now failing – see Sidewalk Labs) without proposing a viable alternative beyond ‘disconnecting’ (possible only for affluent individuals and gated communities), we now have a plethora of (fee-less) components from crypto (think of Cardano, IoTa building real use cases), Self-Sovereign Identity schemes on the rise, local forms of organizing, loosely coupled vital organizations like edgeryders.eu (the co-organizing party of this converstion), #IoT Council, the massive success of Arduino, Libelium and SME across the planet facilitating edge solutions that bring analytics and purpose close to local data gathering, and innovative new ways of funding infrastructure like Invested Public Network, a platform and processes which allow citizens, businesses, and organizations to invest directly into public projects that upgrade local infrastructure, adapt their place to climate shifts, bridge equity gaps, overcome limited borrowing capacity, and shape and sustain a healthy community.

LINKS:

Waste of water in cities
Misuse and misconsumption of water is one of the main problems in urban environment

“ Right. That power drill will be used around 12 to 13 minutes in its entire lifetime. It’s kind of ridiculous, right? Because what you need is the hole, not the drill. 

Kristin Musulin : Cisco explains its smart city software exit: Christopher Reberger, a former director at Cisco, told the Journal in December that smart cities "are a hard sell" — an idea that many agree with, in part because the definition of "smart city" varies by jurisdiction. Butaney did not say explicitly if he agrees with Reberger, but noted that smart cities today may not be what Cisco had anticipated 10 years ago.

Bas Boorsma
@BasBoorsma

Beyond Smart Cities. How to Best Leverage Digitalization for the Benefit of our Communities. The Revised 2020 
How can we foster the digital enablement of our communities? How to plan for digitalization efforts that deliver value – economically, socially, and environmentally? What can we do to ensure human values are central to the exercise of digitalization? Why have so many ‘smart city’ initiatives produced mixed results and what can we learn from them? What are the stepping stones for success in building and executing on a smart city or country digitalization strategy? What does ‘digital-ready’ governance for a city, a region or a country look like? How must we prepare for a fertile coming together of investments, start-up acceleration, innovation stimulation, tech enterprise, citizens and the community at large?

Gordon Feller
@gordonfeller

Working toward a future of smart, connected, sustainable cities. Co-founder of @MeetoftheMinds.

NGI.eu Funding
Through an agile and flexible process, following the Horizon 2020 cascade funding mechanism, ongoing NGI Research and Innovation Actions (RIAs) provide support to projects from outstanding academic researchers, hi-tech startups and SMEs.
https://www.ngi.eu/opencalls/

Building an ecosystem where IoT, edge and cloud converge towards a computing continuum

Urban at Parsons

On housing: Morrish has never been interested in the form of a building in isolation. Rather, his talent lies in analyzing the complex web of relationships among buildings, humans and events. The 21st century has brought dramatic changes to that mix, especially in the housing market.

Building together

On funding Bill Morrish (New School)

To build infrastructure that participates deeply in the imaginative life of its community requires a fundamental shift in our attitude toward landscape. In his book Discovering the Vernacular Landscape, John Brinckerhoff Jackson, the noted scholar on American landscape, says that ‘the most magnificent of city complexes” recognized the need to integrate infrastructure, or civil engineering, with landscape, or architecture. Beautiful and brilliant schemes are created when ‘they both reorganize space for human needs, both produce works of art in the truest sense.’

Invested Public Network, Inc. (IPN) is a next-generation, systems-focused, public project-funding firm catalyzed through three years of ongoing research and direct exchange with municipality and county clients. IPN is uniquely designed to help small towns, mid-sized cities, and urbanizing counties across the country that face thousands of unfunded “everyday” public infrastructure projects. We offer these communities a way to create new project-funding strategies with more societal benefits than traditional funding mechanisms. Our platform and processes allow citizens, businesses, and organizations to invest directly into public projects that upgrade local infrastructure, adapt their place to climate shifts, bridge equity gaps, overcome limited borrowing capacity, and shape and sustain a healthy community.

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