Unless you have been hibernating, you have heard about urbanization trends and have spent time reflecting on what this might hold for the future of communities, cities, nations, and the planet as a whole. The world’s total urban area is expected to triple between 2000 and 2030—urban populations are set to double to around 4.9 billion in the same period. The number of megacities is expected to double over the next decade, and many of these growing cities are far from resilient. The solution: frugal engineering and local knowledge. Read more
I will be delivering a plenary address at the 2013 Western Intergovernmental Audit Forum. The meeting will take place at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel in Arizona, Sept 12-13, 2013. My talk titled, Emerging Technologies and the Future of Governance, will explore how technological innovations are changing how we design, implement, and manage, our governance mechanisms and public institutions.
To what disruptions must cities be resilient? How can cities, as complex systems, be resilient? Building a capacity for resilience might be a daunting task when one considers the multitude of components, processes, and interactions that take place within and beyond a city’s physical, logical (e.g. legal), and virtual (cyberspace) boundaries. Planning for resilience to the impacts of stressors within cities requires an evaluation of the vulnerable components of cities, an understanding of the key processes, procedures, and interactions that organize these components and develop the capacity to address various structuring of components and their interactions with the ultimate goal of achieving resilience.
I have co-authored a paper with Trevor Flanery (Urban Affairs and Planning, College of Architecture and Urban Studies, Virginia Tech) that provides a deeper look at resilience in cities, proposes a conceptual resilience framework, and includes a discussion and analysis of the framework. We propose a framework that serves as a holistic approach to designing, planning, and managing for resilience by including an evaluation of cultural and process dynamics within cities as well as their physical elements.
Abstract: Within the past 24 months the concept of smart (and intelligent) cities has been become popular in the media. For instance, Scientific American ran a special issue on smart cities (September 2011). Industry players such as IBM and Siemens have specific programs and practices dedicated to advancing the cause of building smart cities. Despite its intuitive appeal, we have limited knowledge within the design, planning, and policy fields about the dimensions of the concept of smart cities, and limited practical experience regarding the barriers and potential opportunities. The term smart city is still new and appears to mean different things within different fields. In some ways the term is both complex and vague. Some experts use the term smart city to highlight advances in sustainability and greening of the city, while others use the term to portray infusion of information via technologies to better the lives of citizens. Even others consider the presence of high-level citizen engagement in the design and governance of the space as a key attribute of smarter cities. Therefore, no consensus exists within the academy on the characteristics of smart cities and how they fit within existing conceptual frameworks, such as sustainability and policy informatics. Although there is not yet consensus on a definition, I posit the following definition: A smart city is livable, resilient, sustainable, and designed through open and collaborative governance. The objective of this paper is to provide a preliminary conceptual framework for researchers, policymakers, and planners to apply in their design and development of smart cities. In light of the growing popular appeal of smart cities, I hope this essay will serve as a call to action for planners who must confront the day-to-day challenge of designing, developing, and retrofitting cities to make them smarter.
Project: Building Analytical Capabilities for Big Data in the Public Sector: From Paralysis to Analysis
The goal of this project is to arrive at an actionable framework for federal agencies to navigate the 'big' data management challenge. We will interview Chief Information Officers (CIOs) who are leading 'big' data projects at federal, state, and local agencies to understand the challenges they face and their attempts to navigate opportunities provided by 'big' and 'open' data. We will administer a survey to measures technical, processes, people, and organizational factors that impact an agency's readiness and experience with big data management. An actionable framework will be developed that outlines how public agencies should proceed to create a roadmap towards devising analytical capabilities for big data management.
To learn more about my prior project on Challenge.gov, please click here.