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...

Ownership Economies Vs Sharing Economies

Cars to Go when you need them. Why overpay for private auto insurance and loan financing? Advanced, 21st Century networking solutions are shredding the North American consumer's aspiration for a car in every garage. Welcome to the new, MESHed world of digitally connected urban travel. On-demand transit has arrived. Greener cities are just one part of an urban transformation the future promises. What's fueling the change...

Will Geodesign Finally Capture the Promise of GIS?

The Geodesign Solutions Platform. Article by Nadia Amoroso In an increasingly complex, MESHed world, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are an essential part of the urban planning and design process. Unfortunately, due to their complexity, such systems are typically difficult for designers to use. That’s changing. A process called geodesign offers new approaches that unite advanced GIS with city and landscape design in ways never...

Worldwide Urban Database for Climate Modelling Launched

A Libelium weather station for local measurements. This is a city-technology project a lot of digital developers we know will embrace because it has the potential to make a difference to our cities and our climate. The project aims to discover how urban environments affect local, regional, and global climate models. More topically for MESH Cities readers, the project's scientists ask how can...

The MESH Cities Framework: Tools For A Modern City

Wireless, mobile connectivity is changing our cities. City designers and managers face the challenge of making communities digitally connected—not to mention more economically competitive. It is not a simple task. Big companies are happy to sell expensive, smart city solutions. But do they work? Does one size fit all when it comes to the city infrastructure of the future? We understand the dilemma....

M in MESH Stands for Mobile

Nuit Blanche Paris iPhone App (artilt) Black, October night mashups of a city’s art treasures with a million people shouldn’t work, but do. The wildly popular Nuit Blanche movement turns cities into “one giant performance and carnival venue,” that thrill participants as they navigate the normally hidden culture of a city. One reason the events work so well is that,...

One Billion New Smart Phones Will Change Our Cities

(This essay is adapted from the intro story to "Tech in the City" Robert Ouellette wrote for the Winter 2014-2015 of Spacing Magazine) When Steve Jobs built the first mass culture, personal computer in 1976 he envisioned ordinary people as technically empowered as the researchers at IBM or Hewlett Packard. Jobs grew an empire pursuing his vision, living Stuart Brand's...

The Unbearable Lightness of Material (in a MESHed City)

Translucent concrete made by embedding fibre optics in the aggregate mix. (LiTraCon Inc.) In a truly MESHed CIty building materials are lighter, cheaper to make, and capable of producing an infinite array of forms and effects only the most creative designers will be able to fully exploit. What is driving this building technology revolution? Breakthroughs in nanotechnology allow these new materials to improve how our...