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Smarter Cities

Smart Cities International: Delhi's Water ATMs, Anti-Noise Gardens, Bogota's Mobile Schools

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

Valencia, Spain, has just launched a digital platform to make city data available to all
Valencia, Spain, has just launched a digital platform to make city data available to all
Emily Liedel

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JOURNALISTIC EXCELLENCE·TRANSLATED INTELLIGENCE
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Hello city folk!

No one wants to live in a concrete jungle. Even those of us who are die-hard urbanites prefer an urban environment that is dotted with greenery — whether it is parking-strip gardens, tree-lined streets, parks or nature reserves. Being among nature calms us, purifies the air and, in the case of trees planted between sidewalks and roads, can even help prevent deadly accidents.

So it’s no surprise that creating and preserving more greenery is a priority for any city that prides itself on livability. This week, in addition to other smart city news, we’re looking at how Dakar is giving extra attention to its green spaces and how a Swedish study found other, less-expected benefits to mixing urban environments with some rural touches.

— Emily Liedel
WATER ATMS
The Indian water company Sarvajal has developed a water-dispensing system that can provide clean drinking water virtually anywhere, as its machines are solar-powered and cloud-connected. The "water ATMs" were originally designed to bring clean drinking water to remote rural areas, but the company started a pilot project in the city of Delhi last fall, SciDev.Net reports. The company was given license to set up a dispenser where the city’s water infrastructure hadn’t been built, which includes many of informal settlements and unregulated encampments. There are already 24 machines located around the city, and the pilot project is expected to run for two years before the city decides on the best way to integrate these water ATMs into the existing water system.
GREEN NOISE WALLS
For many designers, building a vertical garden on a building’s exterior is often an aesthetic, impractical choice. But there are very down-to-earth reasons to build such gardens. A Swedish study, funded by the European Union, found that the "green walls" substantially reduce the outside noise that makes its way inside, replacing unpleasant traffic sounds with the sounds of leaves rustling. The greenery also provides thermal insulation, cooling the building’s interior without air conditioning.
KEEPING WATER PUBLIC
After an 18-month struggle by civil society, environmental activists and employees at the Lagos Water Corporation, the Nigerian city's public utility has stopped negotiations with the World Bank to privatize its water supply, the Premium Times reports. In fact, the utility now claims that it never planned to privatize water at all, but civil servants who work at the agency insist that it did and were most vocal in their opposition to the plan. According to privatization critics, the plan would have led to skyrocketing prices, making water unaffordable for many of the city’s residents, similar to what happened when Lagos’ electricity was privatized.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Russia's Next New Strategy: Try To Stall Until 2023

Russia's progress on the frontline has stalled. But without weapons promised by the West, Ukraine has not been able to carry out decisive counteroffensives. The West's indecisiveness risks the war being dragged out until next year — which is exactly what Putin wants.

Ukrainian soldiers patrolling the separatist region of Donetsk (Donbas) on May 17, 2022.

Volodymyr Horbulin and Valentin Badrak

-Analysis-

KYIV — For about a month, the front line has remained almost unchanged. Russian troops have gone as far as they can.

Obviously, this situation annoys the Kremlin, forcing it to look for new, rather unconventional ways to replenish human reserves and worn-out weapons. But Moscow is also playing for time, believing that the onset of cold weather will play into its hands, as an impending energy crisis spreads through Europe.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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Moreover, Putin needs time to restore the Russian army’s ability to fight. For this very reason, a day after Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced a deliberate slowdown in the military campaign in Ukraine, purportedly to reduce civilian casualties, Putin issued a decree to increase the size of the Russian army.

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Writing contest - My pandemic story
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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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