What Do We Know About Digital Cities Anyway?

The John Street Toronto virtual city navigation stack circa 1995 Are today's connected citizens confused by the latest digital city offerings? Probably, if only because any social benefits from the technological hype associated with the promotion of smart cities have yet to be demonstrated in a meaningful way. Sure. People can find the closest place to buy a pizza, but have these new digital...

How Big City Transit Can Benefit From Popup Services

Private bus services will get more people out of cars by offering something different than mass transit. For all those city transit workers out their wringing their hands over popup, private transit systems like Bridj, I want to remind you that in the sixties and seventies you folks tried to do something similar. You wanted to get those suburbanites out of...

Salty Ocean Water May Help Green Deserts

Fully illuminated globe image courtesy of NASA. !0% of the earth's land mass is desert unsuitable for agriculture. Gijs Graafland of the Planck Foundation wants the world's nations to beat back creeping deserts by using our oceans' abundant salt water. As every grade school student learns, the earth's surface is covered with about 70 percent water and 30 percent land. Most of that...

The US Pentagon Says Climate Change Is A Threat Multiplier

The Pentagon Makes it official: Climate change is a national security issue. Last Monday the US Secretary of Defence, Chuck Hagel, issued a position paper on the strategic implications of climate change. For those who understand that rising temperatures are a global threat, the Pentagon's conclusions are old news. That said, the publication makes it harder for those climate change deniers...

The Promise of New York’s Governors Island

A few years ago I was invited to New York to take part in a discussion about the future redevelopment of Governors Island. If you have never heard of it don’t be surprised-most New Yorkers don’t know it exists either despite the fact it is just 800 metres or so from Manhattan. Well it turns out that a decision...

The University of Toronto’s Global Cities Indicators Is Changing The World—Really

What happens to the world's top cities when they adopt a mutually recognised way to exchange design and management best practices? Just watch and find out. Big changes are coming. Here is why. Earlier this year MESH Cities participated in a special event at the Global Cities Indicator Facility's (GCIF) conference in Toronto, Canada. The big news, delivered by Facility director Patricia...

How Big Data Algorithms Simplify Building Energy Audits

Estimated US energy use in 2008 ~ 99.2 Quads (Lawrence Livermore Nation Lab.) FYI, one quad equals the energy produced by 8,007,000,000 Gallons (US) of gasoline. One gallon of gasoline equals 114000 BTU. How can relatively small (and easily achievable) improvements in building technology save the world? Our last entry on the Vectorbloc modular building system explains how improving the way we...

Can Vectorbloc’s Patented Building System Make Cities More Energy Efficient And Responsive?

Vectorbloc, the small, medium, and large modular building system from Toronto. Here is the problem: Big cities and the buildings that make them up are anything but energy efficient, let alone responsive. The vast majority of today's existing buildings are giant heat sinks radiating expensive energy into the cities that house them. The reason for this is simple. More than fifty percent of...

Western Canadian Cities Go Green By Going Smart

Heat from waste diagram: Vancouver's False Creek neighbourhood. Gillian Steward is a former managing editor of the Calgary Herald. gsteward@telus.net The story is used with permission. CALGARY—Who knew that poop could be used to heat buildings? Or that wind could power a train? It may sound funny, not to mention far-fetched, but these are more than just wild ideas. They are but...

MESH Cities Meets Crisis-Response Journal

Our founder and editor Robert Ouellette mashed up a couple of our more popular articles for Crisis-Response Journal to come up with a new way cities can respond to a massively changing world. Get the journal online at the Apple App Store or read it here. What happens the day cities become smarter than their citizens? When so-called smart cities...