In their eagerness to create breakthrough technologies and disruptive platforms, innovators sometimes collide with an established (and perhaps ill-suited) regulatory and policy-making process. In a previous article on e-scooters, we reported that a strategy of "permissionless innovation" enabled app-activated e-scooter startups to gain a precarious foothold in urban mobility markets. However, these startups soon discovered that safety and regulatory issues - including the lack of regulations in most situations - led to controversial relations with cities and citizens. In this article, we cover recent experiences, lessons learned and thoughts on the need for collaborative solutions. For an overview of the e-scooter market and its dynamics, read our article E-Scooters: A Passing Fad or Smart Mobility?
Electric scooters appeal to those who want to move quickly and easily through urban streets at low cost while avoiding congestion and solving first mile / last mile mobility problems. However, menacing clouds - in the form of safety, regulatory and business model issues - linger above the nascent e-scooter sharing market, raising questions about its future. A key question is whether cities can find ways for this new micro-mobility service to add value to sustainable urban mobility. In this article, we explore the e-scooter market and competitive dynamics and offer a perspective on smart city challenges. To learn about the lessons learned from the city perspective regarding the introduction of e-scooter sharing, please read our article E-Scooters: A Collision Between Innovation And Controversy.
In 2018, Leading Cities, a global nonprofit for Smart City growth and collaboration, launched AcceliCITY - a global Smart City startup competition that provides potential capital from a network of investors as well as the tools and knowledge of how to do business with cities. In this year’s edition 50 semi-finalists were selected from more than 500 applications from 43 countries. An international panel of Smart City experts judged each semi-finalist to select the 14 finalists that will gather in Boston (Sept. 30 - Oct. 4) for AcceliCITY’s Smart City Boot Camp.
bee smart city partner Leading Cities is now accepting applications for its second edition of the AcceliCITY smart city startup accelerator. Last year’s inaugural edition of the contest worked with 27 semi-finalists selected from more than 550 applications from over 40 countries.
“The goal of the AcceliCITY program is to facilitate sustainable growth, resiliency and quality-of-life improvements for cities around the world by addressing the critical needs of Smart City startups,” says Michael Lake, President and CEO of Leading Cities. “These startups are developing the innovative solutions to municipal challenges in the 21st century.”.
AcceliCITY offers the chance for startups to secure what they need most - paid projects to build their portfolio and validate their solutions. This edition will focus on the challenges of smart water and smart mobility through pioneering partnerships with the cities of New Bedford, Massachusetts and Mount Pearl, Canada. In addition, all applicants will compete to be selected for fast-tracking to the Urban Resilience Challenge. Those selected will automatically advance to the semi-finalist stage and compete for a 1st Place prize of $75,000 and 2nd Place prize of $25,000.
If the science fiction writers of the 1950s had been right, most of us today would travel around in flying cars and pneumatic trains. We would commute to work on high-speed moving sidewalks and zip across town in horizontal elevators. For short hops, we would wear personal jet packs or anti-gravity belts. Well, here we are in the early 21st century and we’re still waiting for buses, stuck in traffic jams and trying to walk across busy streets without being hit by a cab. Transportation has changed, but not in the ways predicted by science fiction. Many of the most important changes have been invisible.
When it comes to public safety, smart city leaders recognize the importance of engaging with citizens and encouraging them to report safety problems. In this article, we present a perspective on public safety — and focus on Vizsafe, a U.S. startup firm which discovered opportunities to incentivize citizens and improve safety by creating a platform which connects the power of crowdsourcing and smartphone technologies with a blockchain-based rewards system.
Smart education is a key ingredient in smart city development. Strengths in basic education, advanced training and certification, universities and community colleges, e-learning infrastructure, lifelong learning and innovation in education technologies are all part of what defines a smart city. "For the citizens of a smart city to thrive, we must first place education at its center," according to Dr. I-Chang Tsai, Vice President and Director General of Digital Education, Institute for Information Industry in Taiwan. Smart cities recognize the need for "education programs producing graduates with modern knowledge, practical skills and collaborative attitudes."
When we think of smart cities, we tend to think in futuristic terms. We often use the language and iconography of futurism to express our visions of what a smart city should look like. But we should also look to the past for lessons and examples of how previous generations handled the challenges of planning and developing urban spaces.
Urban innovators with smart city aspirations rely on university knowledge and resources when addressing complex issues. Through access to research and thought leadership on urban challenges, smart cities benefit from partnerships with universities.
The Changing Face of Urban Innovation
When contemplating the need for urban improvement, cities once looked for efficiency gains, cost savings, and incremental, low-risk innovation to enhance local government operations. Today, urban residents demand much more from city leaders. Wicked urban problems such as homelessness, lack of affordable housing, pollution, congestion, inequality, social and digital exclusion, and environmental threats require bold thinking and a new paradigm in public sector innovation - made possible through collaboration with universities.
Urban mobility is described as the lifeblood of modern cities, a critical economic factor, and a facilitator of smart, sustainable development. Planning a smart city that delivers effective and equitable urban mobility solutions is one of the most pressing problems for cities throughout the world. In this article — the first in a planned series — we provide a perspective on urban mobility challenges and examples of smart urban mobility solutions.
At Smart City Expo World Congress, Barcelona City Council and the City of New York have issued a call for innovative technologies and tools to help make housing more affordable. This call now draws to an end: the extended deadline for submitting proposals is February 10, 2019. Take the last chance to apply!
Why an affordable housing challenge?
In cities around the world, affordable housing represents one of the biggest challenges that undermines social inclusion, equality, health and well-being, as well as sustainability.
Cities are both a key enabler of productivity and economic development, and essential to the social and political wellbeing of individuals and society, as the place that most people now call ‘home’.
However, there are many problems in cities that are inhibiting economic growth and social and environmental justice and equality. Traffic congestion is a huge problem worldwide and costs national economies billions of pounds each year. In the UK alone, traffic cost the economy £31bn in 2016. Poor housing conditions, leading to greater need for healthcare services, also put a huge strain not only on people’s lives but also on local and national healthcare systems. Growing populations and changing demographics - for example, an increasingly youthful population in many African cities, and an increasingly ageing population in much of Europe - is already beginning to put a lot of strain on public services and the built environment. The global housing crisis is just one expression of this.
The smart city concept is one reaction to the growing challenges that urban centers face - from environmental degradation, to increasing economic inequalities, to growing populations that overstrain and exhaust social and physical infrastructure - as it aims to improve the operational, service and energy efficiency of cities and render them better places to live for all.