Is Your City Smart Enough?

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“Smart” cities herald a new age where information technology, not roads, buildings or bridges, will form the core infrastructure. A network of sensors, cameras, wireless devices, data centres and powerful analytics will enable the government to provide more efficient services, maintain a low carbon footprint and create an entrepreneurial environment for its citizens. Given the potential for such intelligent governance, cities with digital infrastructures are called “smart” cities. Today, there are over 125 smart city projects of varying sizes all over the world, including new cities like Songdo in South Korea and Masdar in the UAE, and existing cities like Stockholm and Rio de Janeiro.

[Link to Is Your City Smart Enough?]

Buffalo, Then and Now (1902-2011)

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Time has not served Buffalo well since. Fighting rapid population loss and economic stagnation, the city’s attempts to revitalize itself have resulted in swaths of surface parking and clusters of vapid office towers that impede on its radial street grid. We pulled sections from this 1902 map via the Library of Congress and compared it to current satellite imagery to see just how much has changed.

[Source: The Atlantic Cities]

Sadly, too many parking lots.

Liveable vs Lovable

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I spoke to Joel Kotkin, a professor of urban development, and asked him about these surveys. “I’ve been to Copenhagen,” (Monocle’s Number 2) he tells me “and it’s cute. But frankly, on the second day, I was wondering what to do.” So, if the results aren’t to his liking, what does he suggest? “We need to ask, what makes a city great? If your idea of a great city is restful, orderly, clean, then that’s fine. You can go live in a gated community. These kinds of cities are what is called ‘productive resorts’. Descartes, writing about 17th-century Amsterdam, said that a great city should be ‘an inventory of the possible’. I like that description.”

[Link to Liveable vs Lovable]

50 Ideas for Improving Cities

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Below you will find 50 ideas for New York already explored on Urban Omnibus and a space for you to share your own. For each idea listed, click through to see a related Urban Omnibus feature that describes a specific project or perspective. We hope, in some small way, we can help re-enchant the urban environment as a landscape of possibility, a realm of action and intention, and a place that represents — and deserves — a long and evolving history of creative ideas.

[Link to 50 Ideas for Improving Cities]