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Germany

Smart Cities International: Vienna Data, Tahiti Tech, Berlin Bins

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

Garbage cans in Berlin
Garbage cans in Berlin
Emily Liedel

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Cities collect data about everything, from economic trends to pollution to the daily habits of their citizens. As our tools for collecting information become increasingly sophisticated, municipalities risk being flooded with data. The simple fact of having the information does not actually mean anything — big data without analysis adds up to nothing. Worse still, is when the mountains of data are manipulated or altered to fit political goals.

This week, in addition to other smart city news, we'll see how Vienna has been analyzing its data and how NGOs and volunteers are helping the Chinese government both collect and interpret environmental indicators.

— Emily Liedel

ANALYZING IN AUSTRIA

In 2013, Vienna became the first city to pilot Siemens' City Performance Tool, which offered more advanced ways to analyze available data the city was already collecting on climate, traffic, buildings and more than 300 other data points. The aim was to more clearly understand how the city is working, and better measure the environmental effects of different activities, OE Journalreports (German). Vienna also discovered that with the right investments, it can likely reach its environmental targets for 2030 five years ahead of time. Since Vienna started using the City Performance Tool, some 20 other cities worldwide have followed suit.

SMART CITY BRIDGE IN MOROCCO

Morocco's goals in developing smart cities capabilities sound familiar: reducing energy consumption, better managing traffic and taking advantage of the city's lighting system. But the kingdom is also paying special attention to maintaining the local urban culture and building style, reports Les Echos (French). As Morocco searches for its own path towards being a country of smart cities, it also hopes to become a bridge between Europe's smart city culture and the urban development happening throughout Africa.

VERBATIM

"A smart city starts with smart transportation, and smart transportation requires us — the citizens and the government — to work together," Igor Albin, the vice-Governor of St. Petersburg, Russia, said as he traveled by public transportation instead of his usual car on the international "car-free'" day last month.

ISLAND CONNECTIONS

ringing modern information technology to islands has always been challenging, but a group of foreign investors is building a fiber optic cable from China to South America that will pass through French Polynesia and give the islands a second connection to the mainland, reports Tahiti newspaper La Depeche de Tahiti (French). The new cable will also play a role in the development of the first smart city project in French Polynesia, in Arue, on the east coast of Tahiti.

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Green

Fading Flavor: Production Of Saffron Declines Sharply

Saffron is well-known for its flavor and its expense. But in Kashmir, one of the flew places it grows, cultivation has fallen dramatically thanks for climate change, industry, and farming methods.

Photo of women harvesting saffron in Kashmir

Harvesting of Saffron in Kashmir

Mubashir Naik

In northern India along the bustling Jammu-Srinagar national highway near Pampore — known as the saffron town of Kashmir —people are busy picking up saffron flowers to fill their wicker baskets.

During the autumn season, this is a common sight in the Valley as saffron harvesting is celebrated like a festival in Kashmir. The crop is harvested once a year from October 21 to mid-November.

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