Waves of Change: Ubiquitous Computing Reinvents Public Space

A Cray Super Computer of the 90's. Image: NASA (This story was originally published in the Ontario Planning Journal, Fall 2016 edition) Smart, mobile technologies are lashing a wave of change that will wash over our cities with the metaphorical force of a Pacific tsunami. When it hits it will first disrupt then reinvent how we design our streets and use our...

The Turbulent Times of City Chief Digital Officers

How to change things: Buckminster Fuller (image from ilikearchitecture.net) The new Chief Digital Officer position some cities are adding to their management teams is not well understood, but that doesn't mean city leaders should ignore it. Far from it. If your city isn't empowering a person in that position now or in the near future then it is already behind the adoption curve. Why? The livable—not...

Cap and Trade / Carbon Tax Explained

This story was originally published at Corporate Knights Forum a few years ago. It remains a useful way to understand the discussion around paying for carbon production. We republish it here in honour of the Climate Change Conference in Paris. There is a growing discussion in the press about the validity of carbon Cap and Trade schemes. Most people do...

Mark Kingwell on The IdeaCity: Ten Years After

This posting was written for readingtoronto.com in November of 2005. Ten years later it remains as nuanced and topical as it did then.  Everybody talks nowadays about cities as centres of culture, ideas and entertainment -- the creative city -- rather than centres of industry or business.  Paul Goldberger gave the argument a new lease on life in The New Yorker...

Why Cities Resist Change Part 2: The C40 Turns Cities Into Changemakers

The C40 City Power Mix According to C40.org cities are the new changemakers. This is how it happened. David Miller Chaired the C40 from 2008 to 2010 leading the Copenhagen Climate Summit for Mayors as well as the C40 Mayors Summit in Seoul. While in that role Miller urged the development of climate change fighting solutions all cities could use. Under recent Chairs Bloomberg...

Why Cities Resist Change Part 1: C40 Mayors David Miller And Eduardo Paes On Smarter Cities

C40 Chair and Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes (photo courtesy of C40.org) Rugby is a sport for the determined. Eighty minutes of continuous battering, the game is punctuated by neck-wrenching collisions between opponents. Rugby fans scoff at its weak sister, American football, with its dilettante, over-armoured teams playing their five-second action sequences between commercials.  Rugby, on the other hand, is a...

Connectivity Blocking Smart Cities Networks Punished by FCC

Last week a trade show company named Smart City Holdings learned that interfering with conference-goers’ connectivity is a costly mistake. But in an increasingly connected world are your city leaders and digital infrastructure providers making similar bad choices? Trade shows, especially big ones, resemble cities. Both order themselves around central blocks with the most desirable ones going to the highest bidder....

What’s The Biggest Threat to Smart Cities?

“Space and light and order. Those are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep.” Le Corbusier This Is How Cities Evolve When given new, innovative tools and methods the best designers will imagine ideal or even utopian uses for them. In the process of satisfying some aspirational human need they create new markets others never imagined. And if their solutions, and the...

New Engines of Economic Growth

What will the livable cities of tomorrow look like? Cities can be the 21st. Century’s primary engines of economic growth. If so, they will solve the problem that Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee call the Great Decoupling of the Second Machine Age. The West’s recent economic performance illustrates that the growing wealth of corporations has failed to generate a corresponding growth...

What Will Big Oil Do Now That Sunlight Can Power Cities?

Last night, at a media event in Los Angeles, Elon Musk of Tesla Inc. changed the energy game for cities everywhere. How? Musk promised to deliver an affordable way to store solar energy. If his company can deliver on the Powerwall promise, our cities will do away with high CO2 and dangerous nuclear sources for their power. Finally. But with electric cars, solar powered homes, and...