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The 15-Minute City: Nurturing Communities For Smarter Cities

By Joe Appleton on Jul 1, 2020 12:38:20 PM

The term “smart city” has a different meaning for different people. For most, it conjures up a vision of a technologically-advanced metropolis, where citizens rely on smart gadgets to go about their daily lives. For others, the smart city concept describes government initiatives based on big data, technology and intelligent processes that improve the quality of life of a city’s residents. These aren’t incorrect definitions, they’re just two sides of a multi-faceted approach to urban development.

Technology and data are essential building blocks for creating a smart city. But it’s the city’s residents that can help enact the biggest changes. By introducing projects that focus on improving the lives of individuals and communities, smart cities can begin to grow on their own.

One of the most talked-about methods of transforming a city into a smarter city is by introducing 15-minute neighborhoods. More commonly known as a 15-minute city, or even a 20-minute city, these strategies focus on improving the lives of residents by making the city more accessible to everyone.

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The Need to Redefine the Smart Home and its Link to Smart Cities

By Lily Maxwell on Jun 10, 2018 2:01:45 AM

If the smart city is one that is hyperconnected, energy and cost-efficient, and sustainable, aiming to improve the lives of all by leveraging existing resources and infrastructure, then the smart home should theoretically be a microcosm of this. Like many emerging concepts in the smart cities sector, including the very ‘smart city’ itself, most official definitions of the ‘smart home’ tend to center around new technologies:

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How to ensure that your smart city strategy is inclusive

By Lily Maxwell on May 15, 2018 3:54:12 PM

Many proponents of the smart city claim that it is by nature inclusive. However, like all other aspects of urban design and development, smart city initiatives frequently fail to fully prioritize inclusivity, often perpetuating the very issues that they aim to solve. As Gil Peñalosa, world-renowned urban designer, noted in a recent panel discussion on ‘The Invisible Smart City’: “we currently design our cities as though everyone is 30 and active”, leading to biased, inaccessible urban design that excludes what he calls the ‘silent majority’. Going one step further than this, Yves Raibaud, acclaimed sociologist and urban geographer, argues that cities are designed ‘by and for men’ (par et pour les hommes) - notably ‘western’, privileged men. This evidently leaves much to be desired in terms of diversity, and in turn inclusivity. Children, older people, women, ethnic minorities, the disabled, the mentally and physically ill, and people with low household incomes (and those who meet at the intersecting points between these groups) are frequently excluded by and from urban design, unable to fully enjoy or participate in civic urban life or the processes that shape it.

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The smart city as an inclusive city: seven steps to tackling digital exclusion

By Lily Maxwell on Apr 23, 2018 11:24:00 PM

Although the quantity of people using technology in their everyday lives is constantly rising, a relatively high percentage of the world’s population remains digitally disengaged or even technologically illiterate. In the European Union alone, nearly a third of people don’t use the internet on a daily basis; only half of all Europeans aged 16 - 74 use social networks or e-government services, and in some European countries up to 25% of people don’t have access to a computer from home.

As smart cities render our world more and more digital, and Information and Communications Technology (ICTs) play an increasingly important role in our daily lives, the ‘digital exclusion’ of certain population groups - notably those from low-income backgrounds, the elderly, and the disabled - is morphing into total societal exclusion.

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