Giving Nature a Voice

The Talking Tree project, Brussels Any reasonable discussion about the making of sustainable, MESH Cities must include the way nature is incorporated into the urban matrix. Our cities are overlaid, even imposed, on existing landscapes. Most often those landscapes began as green fields free from the machinations of unbridled city development. But natural elements that had evolved over thousands of...

The Best MESH Cities Technology of 2011—Hint: It Keeps Shrinking

What technologies will be the driving force of change in the evolution towards sustainable, responsive cities? MESH Cities makes this selection for 2011. In the 1950's world of science fiction the protagonist hero was often a man metaphorically being assaulted by forces he could not control. Images of humans changed by out-of-control technologies or natural forces were the norm. Welcome...

Collapsing the Distance Between MESH Cities and Government

Dan Hill’s thoughtful essay on the ARUP-led C40 installation in Melbourne last year explains, at least in part, why government tends not to embrace even the most self-evidently “smart city” solutions. Hill observes that governments see little benefit in empowering the public digitally: And this is hugely challenging for clients (in this case, city governments.) When I noted earlier it...

Responsive, Pop Up Cities In History

Image by R. Ouellette, Copyright. The idea of building responsive, if not "smart" in the modern term, cities is certainly not one restricted to the hubris of 21st Century urban designers. Popular media has dined ravenously on the conceptual remains of the recent "smart" cities phenomena, especially when new cities are built on farmers' fields or in deserts. The result...

Renault’s “Car As A Platform” Leads Auto Makers

There was a surge in the Net's influence curve this week as Renault Automobiles announced their new "car as a platform" project: R-Link. MESH Cities has looked at the state-of-the-art in IP-enabled autos before with our story on Ford's research, but this is different. Renault is rolling out their connected auto now—well, at least as part of its 2012 model...

TED Declares Cities 2.0 Winner—Do They Mean MESH Cities?

It was clever to declare Cities 2.0 as winners of the 2012 TED Prize. But don't think for a moment that their choice was in any way ironic or even cynical. The masthead announcement says it all: We, I mean the world's people, need this. Our cities have to be more efficient and accommodating if only because with half...

Smart Cities Planning: It Was Ten Years Ago Today (Almost)

Hong Kong view by Mike Hudson, www.seriocomic.com Smart Cities as an aspiration got traction in policy circles a little more than ten years ago. Researchers at the Brookhaven National Laboratory started to make public the ideas they thought were the next big thing—efficient cities. While the commercial Internet was going insane over the ability to order pet food online, the bright...

MESH City Technologies Lead Green VC Investments

Drive-Switch-Go by better place. These green-tech investments were completed last month (from Eric Wesoff at Cleantechmedia): Solar Power Reel Solar (San Jose, California) raised $15 million in venture funding according to an SEC form D spotted by Smart Energy News. The stealthy thin-film PV firm's investors include Pangaea Ventures, Nth Power, and Mayfield Fund. The Pangaea website describes the company as having "had...

Ferrari, Surgeons, and Cities: Connecting the Dots

Designing effective control and process systems is a fundamental part of what today's city planners do. In the past they've relied on improving existing infrastructure through incremental change. In today's world, however, massive disruptions in climate, food supply, logistics, and the growth of cities demands a complete rethinking of how we do things. Let's take a moment for some serious...

Wind Turbines For the Rest of Us

Two weeks ago I spoke at the i-Canada, "Building an Intelligent Nation" conference in Windsor, Ontario. To Ontario residents not familiar with the Southern Ontario landscape, I'll let you in on a little secret: In spite of what anti wind power groups say, it seems the population around Windsor has embraced wind technologies in a massive way. There are...