Here is a preview of our exclusive newsletter to keep up-to-date and stay inspired by Smart City innovations from around the world.
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For those of us who don’t live in polluted cities, it’s easy to take the air we breathe for granted. And for municipal officials this much should be clear: Just like it is a city’s job to provide residents with clean water and reliable electricity, it is the city’s responsibility to ensure the air is safe to breathe.
Clean air comes in many forms. This past week, Beijing enacted a ban on smoking indoors, bringing it in line with norms in Europe and the United States. Of course, smokers aren’t the only ones making Beijing’s air unbreathable; and this week, in addition to other smart city news, we’re taking a look at a novel way that Chinese authorities are enforcing pollution controls around the country. We’ll also visit the pollution question elsewhere — for although China often gets the most attention for its pollution, it is far from the worst offender.
— Emily Liedel
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THE SMART CITY THAT BRINGS US CLOSER TO OUR FOOD
The Future Food District, a pavilion at the Milan Expo, presents a new kind of digitalized grocery store that would bring consumers more information about their food choices, La Tribune reports (French). The pavilion is set up like a supermarket, but when customers pick up an item, they see information on an overhead screen about where it came from, its nutritional content and its environmental impact. The designers say this kind of "smart food" information could help reconnect cities with the surrounding countryside, and encourage consumers to buy local products.
“Planning law has a poor record in Africa. Legislation designed to protect the public from the negative aspects of urban land development has all too often been used by the state to enhance the value of land owned by the wealthy, and to penalize and intimidate the disadvantaged.”
Stephen Berrisford, an adjunct associate professor at the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town, writes for the Africa Research Institute. Berrisford argues that African cities need new, effective urban planning laws that are applied equally to rich and poor if the continent’s cities have any hope of developing in a manageable way.
CO-CREATING THE FUTURE
In an effort to apply collective creativity to the development of a smarter city, the southern French city of Marseille hosted a day-long workshop to develop creative ideas about the city of the future, Urbannews reports (French). One of the workshop’s clear outcomes was establishing the many different visions that Marseille’s residents have of what a smart city should be — with many agreeing it should not be defined in a strictly technological sense.
SMART CITY SANTIAGO
Chile is building its first prototype smart city in Santiago’s Business Park.Smartcity Santiago will have integrated electrical grid that can be managed remotely, an automated network of renewable energy and a way to schedule tasks, like turning off the lights in an empty room, eSmart City reports (Spanish). The new city will also have both public transport and private vehicles that are 100% electric.<