If it's not smart, it's broken: Atlanta burns, other cities learn

In this feature series, the Smart Cities Dive team will take an occasional look at the practical, logical and down-right genius innovations that are transforming urban centers. Our aim is to ignite a thought or fire up a discussion that impacts the way you perform your job. We can't do this alone; pitch topics, talk to us and help us set the agenda. 

WEBINAR | The State of Cities: How Does Statewide Policy Affect Smart Cities?

State policy can have a profound impact on smart cities by influencing priorities, establishing advanced infrastructure, and emphasizing regional initiatives that cross municipal boundaries. In Indiana, the state’s Technology and Innovation Council has a pulse on innovation and believes that IoT could accelerate the state’s innovation economy over the coming years.

    How Small Scale Innovation Projects In Municipal Governments Make Sizeable Impacts

    While the concept of making a smart city from the top down is intriguing and sexy as a marketing story, the reality is that it is hard, if not impossible, to align all the necessary stakeholders to transform a city in one fell swoop. Often cities focus on strategic pilot projects, allowing action to be taken quickly and success and failure evaluated rapidly to be able to build on what works in a cost and time-effective manner.

    Q+A: Totem CEO Brian Lakamp on the Need for a Smart City Platform

    Smart energy startup Totem Power wants to change the way cities and residences function. In collaboration with cross-disciplinary design studio AE Superlab in Brooklyn, the Bedford, N.Y.–based company has created Totem, a multi-platform service that is able to provide uninterrupted power even during emergency conditions when electricity is sparse, or completely unavailable. The product's minimalist aesthetic is intended to accentuate urban landscapes, combining form and function in one elegant package. ARCHITECT spoke with Totem Power CEO Brian Lakamp via email about this platform, which is expected to go live in summer 2017.

    Smart Cities at the Crossroads: New Tensions in City Transformation

    The Smart Cities movement has produced a large number of projects and experiments around the world. To understand the primary ones, as well as their underlying tensions and the insights emerging from them, the editors of this special issue of the California Management Review enlisted a panel of experts, academics, and practitioners from different nationalities, backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. The panel focused its discussion on three main areas: new governance models for Smart Cities, how to spur growth and renewal, and the sharing economy—both commons and market based.

    Governing the City: Unleashing Value from the Business Ecosystem

    Governing a city is arguably one of the most complex management tasks facing organizational leaders. Based on an analysis of Vienna, London, and Chicago, this article demonstrates that city leaders treat cities as ecosystems, structured and governed either as “extended enterprises” where inputs from specialized organizations are coordinated and integrated into the final service or as “platform markets” where direct interactions between third-party service providers and citizens are facilitated by the city leaders. If cities are viewed as the “ecosystem of ecosystems,” then successful city governance requires an orchestration approach where leaders choose the appropriate structure and manage the ecosystem dynamically in a constantly changing environment.

    A Smart City Is a Collaborative Community: Lessons from Smart Aarhus

    Initiatives to redesign cities so that they are smarter and more sustainable are increasing worldwide. A smart city can be understood as a community in which citizens, business firms, knowledge institutions, and municipal agencies collaborate with one another to achieve systems integration and efficiency, citizen engagement, and a continually improving quality of life. This article presents an organizational framework for such collaboration and employs it to analyze Smart Aarhus, the smart-city initiative of Aarhus, Denmark. Based on the experiences of Smart Aarhus to date, it offers a set of lessons that can benefit the designers, leaders, and policymakers of other smart-city initiatives.

    The Making of the Urban Entrepreneur

    Pressures on infrastructure—due to growing urban populations, the ubiquity of new technologies, and collaborative business models—are fostering a new form of entrepreneurship focused on addressing quality of life in cities. Urban entrepreneurs are challenging the logic of formal market structures, forcing us to re-frame our thinking around the interactions between place, individuals, institutions, and the resulting innovative outcomes. Urban entrepreneurs—operating at the neighborhood, city, and global levels—are developing alternative forms of private-public-people partnerships and unique business strategies.

    The Open Kimono: Toward a General Framework for Open Data Initiatives in Cities

    The article presents a framework for exploring the drivers, structure, and dynamics of open data initiatives in the city context. Drawing on a case study of the city of Barcelona complemented with other cases, it develops a stepwise framework that can serve as a practical guide for both urban and private leaders to implement open data strategies. Following this model can enable managers to minimize risk and effectively harness the power of open data.

    Rise of the Startup City: The Changing Geography of the Venture Capital Financed Innovation

    The prevailing geographic model for high-technology industrial organization has been the “nerdistan,” a sprawling, car-oriented suburb organized around office parks. This seems to contradict a basic insight of urban theory, which associates dense urban centers with higher levels of innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity. This article examines the geography of recent venture capital finance startups across U.S. metros and within a subset of them by neighborhood. It concludes that the model is changing. The suburban model might have been a historical aberration, and innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship are realigning in the same urban centers that traditionally fostered them.

    How IoT Enables Transparency in the Farm-to-Table Revolution

    The Internet of Things (IoT) holds tremendous promise for creating greater levels of efficiency, productivity and safety. Illustrating this concept through the context of a smart home is relatively simple.  “Things” like refrigerators and thermostats are connected to the Internet and controlled by a mobile phone. Without any human interaction, your refrigerator can send an email or a text that certain supplies are low and even automatically integrate with a grocery delivery service. It’s all about leveraging technology to minimize inefficiency.