Small Communities, Big Ideas: The Evolution of Three Smart Villages
By Jon Glasco. Megacities like Paris, London and New York capture smart city headlines in recent years, mainly because they are centers of economic, technological and innovative power. While small communities and smart villages in peripheral areas receive less attention, they offer value through innovation in biodiversity, climate...
Beyond Innovation Districts: Why Peripheral Communities Matter
By Jon Glasco. How and where can cities accelerate innovation as an economic development strategy? In recent decades, many urban leaders attempted to answer this question through investments in innovation districts. “More than 80 innovation districts have been identified in cities across the globe,” according to Carla M. Kayanan, a...
Urban design and data: how energy micro-flows shape our cities
The continuous process of urban transformation, which has included multiple works and demolitions over the years, has been possible thanks to the energy flows that converge in the city. Now, we can guide urban decisions by “natural” criteria to make them more efficient. For this, it is key to observe and detect where there are flows rubbing against the territory with enough potential to create life around them. This is the true substratum of an organic urbanism.
Urbanism and energy
Urbanism can be understood as the set of processes that take advantage of the energy that reaches a city for its conversion into an urban structure. Thus, the configuration of the built space corresponds to possible states in which matter can be organized in a stable way (at least for a while).
Urbanism explained from entropy
How does a city acquire “order” (or, decrease its entropy) and increase its complexity? In the same way that a system of dunes, a plant, or any living being does, thanks to the contribution of energy and matter. From this perspective, the set of processes that deal with the use of that energy for the formation of a city structure is what we call urbanism.
Urbanism and thermodynamics. An Alternative Approach
If, the structure of natural ecosystems, organisms, and social organizations is formed and grows thanks to the energy flows that affect them, it does not seem unreasonable to think that in cities, social ecosystems formed by all kinds of organisms (including people), urbanism and thermodynamics are related through similar phenomena.
The collective mental map of urban mobility
Mobility in a city is the aggregate sum of millions of micro-decisions that its inhabitants make every day when going to work, shopping or meeting friends. Most of us are pedestrians, cyclists, drivers and users of public transport at the same time. Therefore, changing mobility in a city means that more and more micro-decisions go through sustainable means of transport.
We need a “Hubble” of cities
Scientific progress is coming from unexpected directions. Mathematics, biology, and astrophysics promise to bring new theoretical tools to advance in how cities work. Social networks, Internet of Things, and big data are sending much of the information about flows between humans and between humans and objects at local and distant scales. But, in screening the universe of cities, our observation artifacts are maybe too narrow and rudimentary.
Sharing big data: not there yet
Proposals of new data sharing platforms are still much guided by technologists. As a result, many of them were relying too much on the promises of technology, and some of them were underestimating the impact on digital rights of such systems, thinking in good faith that complying with the recently issued GDPR automatically placed citizens on the safe side.
The most influential texts on urban design
Jane Jacobs, Kevin Lynch… I share a very interesting list of the most influential texts on urban design, found in this good article by Hooman Foroughmand Araabi. The list has bee compiled from readings of more than thirty universities in the U.S., U.K. and Australia. The Image of the City Lynch, Kevin 1960 The Death …...