July 18, 2019

Smart Cities of Today and Tomorrow

“Smart cities using data captured by the Internet of Things (IoT) devices and processed with artificial intelligence (AI) are all the rage today among cities. Promoters tout the benefits these data-driven utopias, but as an urban planner, I tend to be sceptical of marketing hype. In the past, urban innovations painted visions that masked their real intentions and results. Urban renewal was sold as “garden cities,” but became black removal. Redevelopment during the 1980s eliminated small businesses and poor residents to make way for corporate offices, stadiums, and convention centers, leaving “ghost cities” with officials wondering why shoppers left for suburban malls. The race to attract “the creative class” has resulted in skyrocketing housing prices, gentrification, income inequalities and homelessness. As planners know, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.” Smart cities are typically pitched as ways to make cities safer, healthier and wealthier, but is it true? What are their real impacts?

Smart Cities 1.0: The Inferno of Surveillance, Ticketing and Automated Pollution

Today’s smart cities were born from tragedy. After the 9/11 attacks, New York City and other cities installed 24×7 surveillance cameras and AI to protect public spaces through public-private partnerships (PPP) driven by cities and corporations. Cities routinely gather huge amounts of data in a top-down fashion without any public review. In China, social profiling is used to monitor political and social behavior as a way to control the right to travel, education and housing. In Toronto, Google touts its Sidewalk Lab as a way to revitalize the waterfront, but citizens are divided over growing concerns about the lack of data privacy and transparency.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"The likely successor to British Prime Minister Theresa May, Boris Johnson, has plans to subsume the government department overseeing development aid into the foreign office, effectively eliminating it. That will destroy a post-Brexit United..."

"Gerard Baker, editor-at-large at the Wall Street Journal (no reflexively anti-Trump publication) recently wrote a piece decrying Donald Trump and his foreign policy as a fount of erratic unpredictability. This essay will give the counter view...."

"On Wednesday, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar announced that she will be visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories in the coming weeks. Omar will be accompanied by Rep. Rashida Tlaib. The two freshman congresswomen have become a focal point of..."

"Netflix may have lost US subscribers for the first time since it began making its own shows, but that didn't stop the streaming giant from dropping new figures about how many people are sucked into its Adam Sandler vortex. (Spoiler: More than..."

"A few years ago, Amy Balliett, CEO of a Seattle-based design and marketing firm, noticed that as the work week slogged on, her employees’ energy and productivity wilted. “That would slump to such an extent that the same task on Monday would..."

"Over the last few days the #faceappchallenge has taken over social media. This “challenge” involves downloading a selfie-editing tool called FaceApp and using one of its filters to digitally age your face. You then post the photo of your wizened..."

"Although there are plenty of irrational aspects to life in modern America, few rival the odd fixation on lawns. Fertilizing, mowing, watering — these are all-American activities that, on their face, seem reasonable enough. But to spend hundreds..."

"Can a book change the way we think? I don’t mean that in the sense of a reader’s opinion or ideology shifting—of course the right literary work can do that. But can a book rewire the brain itself, literally changing the way one particular mind..."

"It’s our job to let kids know we see and hear them, but we’re not necessarily going to solve siblings’ conflicts for them (or else they never get the practice). When squabbles start, imagine you’re a sportscaster and describe what you see in..."

"Magali Trejo-Martinez, a 22-year-old living in Salem, Oregon, recently went on a date that was rather uninspiring. “I had dinner, had a couple margaritas, and then went home,” is how she recapped the evening. This outcome wasn’t entirely..."

"The first lunar landing was many things — a D-Day-like feat of planning and logistics, a testament to the power of man's will, an ostensible propaganda coup for NATO. It was also, I think, one of the most misunderstood events in the history of..."

"THE FIRST TIME Bernie Sanders ran for president, he didn’t talk much about being Jewish. In fact, he didn’t talk much about himself at all. His 2016 primary campaign, like his whole political career, was relentlessly focused on one topic: income..."