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.

Will universities be responsible for the success of cities?

According to researchers around the world, there is increasing momentum from some of the world’s most innovative universities to align curriculum, research and overall mission to city development that specifically focuses on technology-based systems and services. In other words, progressive higher education is linking itself more than ever to the Internet of Everything.


The United States is in the midst of a generation-long structural shift in labor, productivity, jobs, and pay. This shift began in the 1980s and is set to accelerate with the increasing adoption of advanced robotics and machine learning technologies. We are experiencing the most important changes in the nature of work since the Industrial Revolution, changes that affect nearly everything, from crime to electoral outcomes to national competitiveness.

IoT And Big Data At Caterpillar: How Predictive Maintenance Saves Millions Of Dollars

When it comes to big data and Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives most companies are still in the design or early adoption phases which make it hard to get a solid return on investment (ROI) figures.  So it’s refreshing to share a story of an organization delivering real-world ROI for their customers by vastly ramping up their data collection and predictive maintenance analytics.