What we try to do at Living Labs is to solve problems. Well, we try to help you solve problems by giving you easy access to creative and innovative solutions. We have found companies that help you park your bike securely, companies that bring health care into the home, and companies to help people reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. Taken separately, these things are all very valuable, but imagine how valuable it would be to solve all these problems in coordination. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCepxs36pP4&fs=1&hl=en_US]
Living PlanIT is thinking about just that. They’ve likened cities to operating systems and construction companies to “original design manufacturers” (ODMs). It wants to create a system for efficient, sustainable, smart city management. It has already partnered with tech powerhouses Cisco and McLaren Electronic Systems and is planning to build PlanIT Valley in Portugal very soon. PlanIT Valley will be built on a Greenfield site and will showcase the ideal intelligent city.
So far, it’s unclear to me how this model will work for infill rather than Greenfield development. It would take a lot of retrofits to apply all the new smart technology in the physical environment, let alone to win over the cognitive management structure that is so slow to change in big city governments. But, I think the effort is well-intentioned and, even if only pieces of the new technology can be applied in existing cities, they, and the world as a whole, will be better off.