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LES ECHOS

Smart Cities International: Quebec Lights, Bordeaux Energy, Megacity Smog

Here is a preview of our exclusive newsletter to keep up-to-date and stay inspired by Smart City innovations from around the world.

Time-lapse picture of Bordeaux, France.
Time-lapse picture of Bordeaux, France.
Emily Liedel
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JOURNALISTIC EXCELLENCE·TRANSLATED INTELLIGENCE
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April 9, 2015


Hello City Folk!


As technology becomes more integrated into our lives, observers are right to wonder whether all these cool new tools will either ameliorate or exacerbate the already widening gaps in wealth and income. You'd think that if owning a computer that costs hundreds of dollars is the gateway to the economy, then those who can’t afford the initial investment would suffer disproportionately.


Yet there are also interesting ways that lower-income citizens can use technology to make their lives better, as well as more secure. This week, in addition to other smart city news, we’ll look at one such example in Zimbabwe.


— Emily Liedel

SMART LIGHTS IN QUEBEC

Could our streetlights also serve as guides for emergency services? Yes, says the head of the Dimonoff company in Quebec, which has already installed smart lighting systems in Quebec’s airport and in the Ontario city of Mississauga, Radio-Canada reports (French). In addition to using around 50% less electricity than regular lights, the sensors on the lights will allow controllers to know within 15 sections if something is wrong — and often, exactly what is wrong — with the city’s lighting system.

NUMBER OF THE WEEK:1,250

More density does not always mean lower per capita vehicle emissions. Up to 1,250 residents per square kilometer, a higher density has zero effect on per capita emissions, Pacific Standard reports. But after the 1,250 mark, individual emissions do indeed fall as density increases. How dense is that? Famously sprawling Detroit has around 1,985 people per square kilometer.

THE OLDEST PROFESSION GETS NEW PAYMENT SYSTEM

In Harare, Zimbabwe, sex workers are tired of dealing with clients who refuse to pay, or violently demand their money back after services, not to mention the police officers who shake them down for cash. The solution: cash-less transactions, facilitated by mobile payments systems that have become increasingly popular in the country, New Zimbabwe reports. Most sex workers report carrying two cell phones, each one set up with a different mobile payment service, to make sure they can accept transactions from their customers.

*PARTNER CONTENT*

According to James Huntley, a participant at the upcoming Smart City Event in Amsterdam, "The energy challenge facing our planet will be lost or won in the cities. By 2050, 70% of the world’s populations will be based in cities — compared to 50% today. This increased urbanization will give cities increased problems in terms of infrastructure, their ability to meet existing environmental targets and also on their ability to attract new residents and companies, which bring wealth and prosperity to a city It’s a challenge not only for the new economies but also for mature economies. We know that the majority of the growth will be in the new economies but for the mature economies they need to invest in their existing infrastructure to make their city smart."

Read more here: Smart City Event 2015, Amsterdam

BOGOTA’S NEW BUS BLUES

As Bogota is now discovering, transitioning to a new public transit system is never easy, especially when it involves bringing hundreds of informal bus drivers into a more regimented system. The Colombian capital is hoping to completely phase out old buses by this summer, but still faces opposition from bus owners, who prefer to keep their own buses and get paid in cash daily rather than become salaried city drivers — as will happen once the transition ends, El Espectador reports (Spanish). Riders are also unhappy, saying that the disappearing older buses haven’t been replaced by new, higher-tech, cleaner versions, and they have to transfer several times to get to their destinations.


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Geopolitics

The West Must Face Reality: Iran's Nuclear Program Can't Be Stopped

The West is insisting on reviving a nuclear pact with Iran. However, this will only postpone the inevitable moment when the regime declares it has a nuclear bomb. The only solution is regime change.

Talks to renew the 2015 pact have lasted for 16 months but some crucial sticking points remain.

Hamed Mohammadi

-OpEd-

Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear inspectorate, declared on Sept. 7 that Iran already had more than enough uranium for an atomic bomb. He said the IAEA could no longer confirm that the Islamic Republic has a strictly peaceful nuclear program as it has always claimed because the agency could not properly inspect sites inside Iran.

The Islamic Republic may have shown flexibility in some of its demands in the talks to renew the 2015 nuclear pact with world powers, a preliminary framework reached between Iran and the P5+1 (the U.S., the U.K., China, Russia, France and Germany). For example, it no longer insists that the West delist its Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization. But it has kept its crucial promise that unless Western powers lift all economic sanctions, the regime will boost its uranium reserves and their level of enrichment, as well as restrict the IAEA's access to installations.

Talks to renew the 2015 pact have been going on for 16 months. European diplomacy has resolved most differences between the sides, but some crucial sticking points remain.

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