Intelligent Cities Forum 2011

Since the fall of 2010, members of the JCDC have been acting as delegates of the Intelligent Cities Initiative which is a collaboration between the National Building Museum, TIME Magazine, IBM, and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.  As a delegate, we have been connected to an eclectic group of professionals that include, but are not limited to architects, software engineers, economists, curators, social media experts, to discuss our angles on urban and community development and design.  We answered polls, responded to questions through YouTube, and helped lead a lunch discussion during the Intelligent Cities Forum.

On June 6, 2011 the leaders and brightest minds of our government, cities, and technology development congregated to discuss how our cities and citizens can utilize data and technology to become more “intelligent.”  We heard from top executives at IBM, the Rockefeller Foundation, the White House, TIME Magazine, MIT, and other non-profit or civic minded designers and organizations.  The message was clear, we have data.  Lots and lots of data with infinite possibilities for disseminations, but how do we make sure municipalities and citizens are maximizing its potential to lead to cities with minimized carbon footprints, healthy air, or the myriad of other characteristics that would lead to a more sustainable world?  Not surprisingly, It seems to always boil down to economics, legislation, and accessibility.

It was also overwhelmingly clear that we have reached a point where accessibility is more achievable than ever.  Average citizens can purchase hand held devices that open up to a world of organized information, cities can build technological architecture to improve efficiency and safe money, and the government has open source information available.  Where the creativity must be implemented is in establishing the RIGHT systems, collecting the CORRECT and COMPREHENSIVE information, and working to ensure that we have learned from past mistakes in development.

IBM introduced an interactive wall of screens that housed “The Smarter City.”  An imaginary smart city that is modeled and contains the real time data necessary to make informed, real time decisions for lawmakers and citizens.  This information can be transferred through Smart Phone application and analysis tools for government departments.  A good example of how this is being implemented in cities already are Mobile Parking Apps which combine sensors on parking spots and a database of available parking garages which reduces the amount of time people spend driving around looking for a spot to park, waisting gas and emitting exhaust into the environment.

The National Building Museum also sponsored a 24-hour competition that posed the question “What would you do for your city if you had 24 hours? Although the content proposed varied from this 24 hour time frame. It was very interesting to see how information about an initiative manifested. The winning team

Susan Piedmont-Palladino, the curator of the National Building Museum and organizer of the Intelligent Cities Initiative published an article on The Hill’s Congress Blog.  Please visit the link to read even more about the potential for our cities to become more intelligent: Building Intelligent Cities.  Piedmont-Palladino will also be the author of the Intelligent Cities Book to be released later this fall.  Stay tuned.

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