May 23, 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.”

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JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"The results were surprising. The center-right coalition, led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, remained in power against the opposition Labor party, which had led in every poll for years."

"Anger seldom works against Trump; he owns the currency and can always issue more of it. In addressing the rogue President directly, or speaking about him in the third person, Pelosi usually adopts a tone that is more sorrowful than angry..."

"I am Mizrahi, as are the majority of Jews in Israel today. We are of Middle Eastern and North African descent. Only about 30% of Israeli Jews are Ashkenazi, or the descendants of European Jews."

"Kids are exposed to plenty of controversial social issues on a daily basis. And if parents don’t want their kids to watch “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” they can turn off the TV."

"Are public-school teachers really underpaid? It’s a claim often made during teacher pay disputes, but the same data and statistical methods that produce the “teacher salary gap” lead to some ridiculous conclusions..."

"Tech companies are getting into the business of making cities. We need to stop Silicon Valley social engineering before things get even worse."

"Having a Library or Cafe Down the Block Could Change Your Life: Living close to public amenities—from parks to grocery stores—increases trust, decreases loneliness, and restores faith in local government."

"“What name . . . shall we give to the darkness of hell...?” The question of how we can name a place such as this is at the center of scholar Scott G. Bruce’s new anthology The Penguin Book of Hell."

"She had all six of her kids — ages 5, 4, 2 (twins) and 10 months (also twins!) in her 10-seater van. To get the kids a quick snack, Curry parked in front of the Cobbler’s Café."

"Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed said they grew up typically eating dinner at a kitchen table, but a little less than half said they do so now when eating at home."

"If you tied a rope tight around the Earth’s equator and then added a single yard of slack, would the extra material make any noticeable difference to someone standing on the ground?"

"While American Jewish women face attacks on our freedom and rising anti-Semitism, abortion opponents are appropriating Jewish history in order to push an agenda that hurts women."