LLGA | Cities Pilot the Future

Enabling New Lifestyles in Cities - A debate at LLGA | Cities Summit

During the Parallel Session, Enabling New Lifestyles, participants gathered to talk about the changing face of public health issues in cities today, and what new solutions are emerging. The panelists drew on their experience working with STD screening, technology for aging in place, and accelerating community health outcomes. In all cases, technology is playing a critical role in public health concerns and solutions, alike. During the session, a few key characteristics of such technologies emerged:

LLGA2013 15.5.213 Parallel Session D

 (1) Provide in-the-moment interventions

  Participants saw plenty of ways in which mobile technology, advanced sensors, digital displays, and other digital tools have   provided a new opportunity for on-the-spot interventions.

For example, Alexander Börve, an orthopaedic surgeon and creator of iPhone app iDoc24, discussed the proliferation of “hookup” apps that help connect users for casual sex purposes. In high-density urban centers, individuals can publish and browse profiles through a variety of mobile apps — Tinder, Grindr, BangWithFriends, among others — to connect with instant dates, outside of traditional spaces, such as bars and clubs. The shift has interrupted many public health programs ability to provide safe-sex education and intervention, he noted, by removing a specific location where information and access can be provided at the point of contact between potential partners.

Instead of viewing such apps as a problem, however, the group saw opportunities to leverage the popularity and pervasiveness of these apps for encouraging positive behaviors such as STD and HIV testing, providing information about safe sex, and perhaps—in the case of infections such as chlamydia, for which public health officials try to notify partners of infected individuals—improving anonymous data collection and outreach.

Esther Dyson, of EDVenture and HICCUP, discussed the promise of a coordinated public health campaign, that could attempt to provide dozens of interventions into the average community member’s day. Among other ideas, technology tools could be used to provide on-the-spot feedback to program participants and community members about various behaviors — encouraging walking and biking, discouraging elevator use, etc. — through mobile apps, informational displays, and more.

(2) Leverage on-the-ground, non-digital relationships

Technology tools can provide a certain amount of access to community members, helping provide information at just the right moment. But that information needs to be actionable, too.

Participants discussed the need for technology tools to tap into existing networks of physical-world providers and infrastructure—health clinics, transit systems, bike lanes, emergency care, food service providers, property managers, and schools—to ensure that when information is given, it’s connected to programs with funding, resources, and expert knowledge that can provide an intervention that promotes or protect’s the user’s health.

Laura Mitchell, of GrandCare Systems, spoke about the way in which her company’s technology links senior’s personalized care needs, determined by doctors and overseen by medical professionals, with off-the-shelf technology to help seniors age in place. The technology is a critical piece of the puzzle. It helps alert family and providers when something unusual or unexpected happens. But those family and providers are needed to help put real-world plans into action when something is wrong.

(3) Use technology to reduce cost of care

Across the board, many participants were optimistic about the opportunity of technology to provide an inexpensive baseline of care for more people, helping reduce baseline costs and reserving more costly, expert-necessary care of those who actually need it.

For example, Dyson, whose HICCUP campaign doesn’t provide funding to partners, suggested that coordination of existing funding and programs could be tied together. How might that work?

Börve, whose STD Triage app allows users to have a photograph of their genitalia evaluated by experts for possible infections, noted that 69 percent of their users do not have an STD. Despite the high number of infections — 20 million new std infections in the U.S. each year— there is also a large amount of overscreening. At one university health clinic, only 40 of 1,500 students who were screened tested positive. There is a cost for paying for screening services, and the benefits of screening extend beyond just the individual who is treated for a positive result. By using low-cost interventions, like the screening app, clinics and public health officials can focus spending on patients with known cases and on preventive measures.

Similar advantages also exist for elder care, where regular, remote monitoring can help flag potential issues before they become untreatable, and reduce unnecessary doctor visits for routine checkups and screenings.

(4) Address the digital divide

As technology becomes an increasingly important tool for cities to help manage and address public health, it will also be important to ensure that all residents have access to those tools.

Participants discussed some strategies for ensuring fair access for to these new tools, from public WiFi, to text-message based alerts, to encouraging pay-as-you-go  packages for Internet access from mainstream providers (which would allow low-use customers, such as seniors and many other potential customers, to access inexpensive important services without subsidizing heavy-bandwidth users).

Several of the participants also discussed the importance of working on age-appropriate interfaces, designed to make technology accessible to users with limited sight or familiarity with technology, when such services are aimed at seniors.

Celeste LeCompte is an independent researcher and journalist, focused on innovation and the environment, based in San Francisco and Guangzhou, China.

Urban Systems & Services - A debate at LLGA | Cities Summit

The Urban Systems & Services Parallel Session was moderated by Barbara Hale, the Assistant General Manager of SFPUC. Barbara focused the session on how cities are becoming massive interconnected systems and how to use technology as a tool to improve the quality of life of citizens. Parallel Session C

Speaker 1: Modupe Ajibola, CEO, OTG Playa

First up to speak was Modupe Ajibola of OTG Playa whose presentation centered on the role of technology in Africa and how it is slowly moving from a luxury to necessity. For example, there are already over 140 million cell phones in Nigeria making it one of the world’s largest mobile telecom markets. These devices had a multiplier effect creating many new jobs and services that were not available before. The problem is that many in the educated workforce are content in taking these newly created middle class jobs when they should be working in the white collar sector. For example, many of the electrical engineers end up working in call centers because it creates a life much better than they had growing up. While the progress is noble, it should be taken a bit further. These engineers should be working in R&D creating products for Africans by Africans. People in Africa want iPhones and iPads, but they don't want to pay a premium price. They end up buying Chinese knockoffs that break a few months later. Perhaps Africa could copy the U.S. and move to the subsidy model for mobile phones? By encouraging these engineers to start developing products and services for Africa and the rest of the world, the needs and wants of the people can be addressed while keeping the money inside the continent.

Speaker 2: Gianni Minetti, President & CEO, Paradox Engineering

Gianni Minetti followed by focusing on the open standards needed to network all the infrastructure for our cities. The shift from rural to urban is only accelerating, and he presented several facts to back this up. For one, 1.3 million people are moving to cities every week. This means that there are now 21 cities with over 10 million people. Paradox Engineering wants to put lighting, pollution monitoring, and power all together in one open system. While this may seem like something obvious to do, the problem is that many cities have separate systems for each infrastructure component. Not only is it expensive to build redundant infrastructure, it creates a spectrum crunch. By building an urban multi-utility network, we can make technology a tool, not a hurdle. By using open standards we can future proof the networks ensuring ROI protection for cities.

Speaker 3: Bill Oates, Chief Information Officer, Boston

Bill Oates spoke about how the city of Boston was using technology to solve its problems. The smartphone application, Citizen's Connect, has proven immensely popular, which isn't all that surprising considering 35% of the city's population is between 20 and 34. With the application, citizens can report potholes, streetlight outages, graffiti, and other problems. After seeing how much citizens loved using the app, city workers got their own version allowing the city to more efficiently dispatch workers and catalog repairs. Version 4.0 of the app, slated to be released by the end of the year, will allow citizens to be notified when the problem they reported is fixed. Embracing the recent trend of gamification, the new version of the app will allow citizens to thank the workers who fixed their problem. The app has allowed citizens of Boston to interact with government in ways previously not possible. Taking the application a step further, the city of Boston unveiled Street Bump, which uses a smartphone's accelerometer to passively detect potholes. Interestingly enough only 10% of the bumps reported were potholes; the other 90% were the 307,000 utility castings in the city. Using technology is essential for cities that wish to thrive in the 21st century. Bill Oats highlighted the point that if you stay at the status quo, you're falling behind. Historically, government has been very risk averse, but technology doesn't have to be risky. Those that avoid it completely will be left in the dust.

Speaker 4: Philip Playfair, CEO, Lowfoot

Last to present, Philip Playfair explained how his company pays people to use less energy when consumption (and thus prices) is peaking. The main purpose is to encourage consumers to shift power consumption from peak to off peak. His company has contracted with 6 companies with over 5,000 smart meters. In a way, the software can act as a virtual peaker plant. When demand exceeds supply, energy usage can automatically be reduced. The consumers are compensated for this inconvenience via monthly payments. Additionally, the software measures carbon savings to show consumers how shifting their energy usage benefits the environment. In order to increase engagement Lowfoot has added gamification aspects to the product. For example, users get badges for saving energy and can brag to their friends over Twitter or Facebook. While solutions like Lowfoot can marginally reduce power consumption, the main problem is that energy is too cheap to motivate people’s decision making. In order for huge shifts in consumer behavior, energy prices need to go up.


Whether it’s using mobile applications to encourage engagement or unifying infrastructure communication systems, technology is changing how cities operate. While governments have been traditionally viewed as slow and cumbersome, in order to keep up with the ever evolving world, cities need to speed up deployments of innovative solutions. The problem is that government procurement has been very slow and risk averse. In order to help solve this problem, cities need to adapt new processes to accept technology with open (but vigilant) arms.

Reported by Chris Mojaher

Civic Engagement, Community Development, Inclusion and Sharing - A debate at LLGA | Cities Summit

By Fedor Ovchinnikov and Ruth Doyle

20+ delegates interested in civic engagement, community development, inclusion and sharing took the opportunity to enjoy five inspiring presentations from speakers representing the UK, India, Argentina, the US, and Brazil. The presenters talked about resilience building at the city level, engaging the residents of a city yet to be built, co-creation as the ultimate goal of decentralization and participation, democratization of city space using the concept of pop-ups, and development of social intelligence through online civic engagement platforms.

Session moderator Allison Arieff (Editor + Content strategist, SPUR) opened the session by introducing the topic. According to Allison, civic engagement with city authorities is too much focused on complaints, so cities spend massive amounts of time and resources reacting to these complaints. In order to save time and resources, and to solve problems more successfully, cities need to move from adversarial to cooperative engagements based on action, innovation and citizen empowerment. Engaging the public in solution development cannot just be left up to high-technology or smart phone based solutions: simple low-tech measures are often capable of improving city services. Allison finished by calling for a “declaration of interdependence” to form the paradigm for reinvention of public participation in the 21st century and to make citizens feel that they have agency and are inspired to contribute to city development.

LLGA2013 15.5.13 Parallel Session A

James Togut (Founder, The Good Life for All) talked about resilience in Brighton & Hove, the first city worldwide to formally embed the “One Planet Living Framework” and concept of “resilience” within its city action plan (“One Brighton”). The core of resilience is the ability to transform and adapt to one planet living whilst providing good lives for all. Resilience implies fostering resourcefulness in material terms - meaning waste (“just a resource that is in the wrong place”) and in human terms – implying the cultivation of imagination, inventiveness, and enterprise. Cat Fletcher (Materials Coordinator for Brighton Waste House) introduced Brighton Freegle Group – an “online dating for stuff” which helps people to become personally resilient in their own lives by developing a peer to peer, and cross-sectoral sharing market place. This platform has 1.4 million users and contributes annual economic value of 120k. Drawing upon the concept of City Makers, Cat & James talked about the need to nurture passionate individuals (change makers and visionaries) within each sector – public, private and voluntary – who are not afraid of disrupting the norm. Cat suggested that City Councils should make dedicated efforts to identify, support and empower these people who are well connected on the ground and have catalytic qualities.

Scott Wrighton (City Manager, City of Lavasa) discussed his experience of building a new city from nothing. The City of Lavasa is the foremost lifestyle development project in India and represents part of the rural-urban migratory shift taking place where it is estimated that 350 million people will move to urban areas in the next 30 years. Lavasa is a private city that creates profit, sells real estate and invests in joint ventures with the private sector to enable the provision of city services. Interestingly, the biggest challenge that confronts this epic endeavor is not infrastructure or money, but acquiring land and dealing with poor governance systems that are not conducive to new ways of city management and public engagement and reduce autonomy for public private partnerships.

The assumption that most people want to engage with their government does not ring true worldwide. Scott suggested that dealing with government can be very off-putting in India where local governments are micro-managed by state government. In this case he stated that there is a desperate need for a change in paradigm to make new inhabitants of Lavasa eager to engage with the city to build organizations that they hope will evolve sustainably and extend citizen engagement. So how do you engage the residents of a city yet to be built? Who should decide and design the mechanisms? Scott noted that after starting with a paternalistic approach where the provision of infrastructure prevailed, the next challenge is to look at the invisible social fabric so that civic engagement mechanisms are in place.

Daniella Rosario (Technical Coordinator, Ministry of Public Utilities and the Environment, Municipality of Rosario) introduced the efforts of the Municipality of Rosario, Argentina to shift to embed sustainability within its city governance and shift to a more decentralized and participatory governance model. Introducing two successful projects – Rosario Mas Limpia (Cleaner Rosario Campaign) and the Green Homes Network Program – Daniella emphasized the need to move beyond government as service provider to paradigms of co-creation with citizens.

Mariella and Pete Watman (Co-Founders of Pop-Up Brands) talked about how pop-ups create a multitude of economic and personal opportunities.. Pop-Up Brands addresses the problem of underutilized and poor listing of available city spaces by providing a marketplace for short term commercial space of all kinds. This approach gives entrepreneurs and artists an opportunity to prototype their ideas in spaces they could not previously afford. Pop-ups can create vibrancy in vacant neighborhoods and regenerate the area. Some pop-ups become permanent while others recycle and evolve thus contributing to the resilience of the area. The growth of the Pop-Up Movement is linked with the trend for the democratization of space – championed by the “Noisebridge Group” – the makers space in San Francisco, focused on citizen empowerment and action over deliberation, through their paradigm of “Do-ocracy”.

The session concluded with a presentation from Brazilian entrepreneur, Daniel Bittencourt (Co-Founder, Lung) who introduced an engagement system called Wikicity. Wikicity is a collaborative platform where, through use of mapping systems, residents highlight city problems as well as projects that may be developed by communities themselves. Each point on the map turns into a lively discussion on the Internet, through the debates promoted on Facebook. The ideas are then sent to local governments who help to create and implement these concepts. In Brazil, the initiative mobilized over 15,000 citizens in PortoAlegre.cc, and a growing number of cities around the globe are starting to use this innovative solution to become better places to live!

You Never Forget Your First One: Winning LLGA2011 for San Francisco catapults SOCRATA

Not every day does an early-stage startup get an opportunity to shine on the world stage. In early 2011, Socrata then a 12-person software startup in Seattle with about 15 customers, was nominated for a Living Labs Global Award in Stockholm, by the City of San Francisco.

The Living Labs Global award recognizes innovation in cities, creating a highly visible global forum to reward cities and their technology partners for daring to try bold new approaches to solving problems. A perfect opportunity for a startup.

Socrata was fortunate to have partnered with one the world’s most innovative cities. Years before Open Data became mainstream, San Francisco realized that its data was a strategic, but idle asset, with vast untapped potential to increase the city’s service capacity and transform its relationship with residents.

San Francisco started opening up and releasing its data years ago. As the initiative gained momentum, however, San Francisco realized that it needed a scalable platform that can support the entire data-to-information continuum, from capture and collection to distribution and consumption, in the most cost-effective way possible.

In May 2011, San Francisco and Socrata won the Living Labs Global Award for their innovative plan to migrate the city’s Open Data to a new cloud-based Socrata-powered platform. On March 9th, 2012, Mayor Edwin Lee affirmed City’s ongoing commitment to Open Data through the manifestation of this plan, aptly named data.sfgov.org. The website puts City data online in a way that makes it useful to citizens, businesses, developers and even city employees.

Jay Nath, the City’s Chief Information Officer told The San Francisco Chronicle, “We had all this raw data, and you had to be an uber geek to figure it all out. This platform makes it easier.”

The new Socrata-powered San Francisco Open Data Cloud offers a wide variety of feature, architecture, and performance enhancements, including:

  • Simple, easy-to-use, citizen interfaces that allow non-technical users to interactively explore data, visualize it, and share contextually-relevant information with others, on the site, across the web, and on social networks.
  • Automatic full-text indexing of every data set’s content to facilitate online search, in addition to the ability to download the data in multiple, open, machine-readable formats.
  • Automatic API access to every data set, via the Socrata Open Data API (SODA) and access to technical support and online developer resources, which will lower the access barrier for civic developers.

Mayor Lee told TechCrunch, “Making City data more accessible to the public secures San Francisco’s future as the world’s first 2.0 City. It’s only natural that we move our Open Data platform to the cloud and adopt modern open interfaces to facilitate the flow of information and develop better tools to enhance City services.”

Jay Nath adds, “Two years ago, when we launched DataSF.org, Open Data was a visionary experiment in reinventing the government of the future. Today, with increasing worldwide adoption, we view Open Data as part of our new cloud infrastructure to deliver citizen, social, and programmatic interfaces to government services, in a much more cost-effective and agile model.”

San Francisco will continue to be one of the nation’s trailblazers in data as a platform for innovation. Socrata, now boasting over 50 of the world’s top public sector organizations like New York City, the World Bank and the United Nations, has grown by leaps and bounds since then and is now the recognized market leader in Open Data. The people of Socrata will always remember fondly the first award that recognized their work with one of the best cities anywhere in the world!



Connecting people to their environment with contactless tags

Last week we announced the winning showcases for 21 participating cities in the Living Labs Global Award (LLGA) 2012 competition. Of those awarded, one company left the Rio Conference as the selected solution for not just one, but for four different cities in this year's awards. That company, Connecthings, was chosen for its showcase "Contactless tags to bridge real and physical worlds". Barcelona, Derry-Londonderry, Hamburg, and Rio de Janeiro all selected Connecthings' project for a pilot release within their cities over the next year.

Contactless tags codify information into a unique pattern, often not much bigger than the size of a postal stamp, which can be attached to any surface. NFC and QR codes are two examples of contactless tags. A smartphone can be used to scan these tags and instantly pull up the associated data in a web browser, giving the user a simple and convenient method of accessing information. Contactless tags can also be coded to instantly send an SMS to the user's phone, or to automatically dial a phone number. Connecthings' idea is to use this medium to better connect people to real-time travel data, cultural and historic information, and other tourist and city service information.

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/40392751 w=400&h=300]

The key advantage of contactless tags is the instantaneous connection to the exact information that a user needs. Rather than having to navigate a web site that may have hundreds of different pages, or needing to search for a specific app to find tourist or travel information, contactless tags remove the intermediary step of searching for information. This makes them a user-friendly option for anyone who has a smartphone or other contactless reader device. They also have the benefit of being inexpensive to produce, program, and install, which makes them an effective option for cities looking for low-cost, high-impact solutions for making information more accessible to the public.

Derry-Londonderry, Hamburg, and Barcelona all intend to implement Connecthings' solution to better connect tourists to the cultural, historical, and social offerings of their cities. Contactless tags can be placed on monuments, historical markers, museum signs, directional markers, transit stops, and other visible, high-traffic locations to deliver information directly to users.

Rio de Janeiro aims to use the technology for a slightly different purpose; its LLGA challenge was to find a solution to create a "Knowledge Square" in the city, empowering disadvantaged communities with better access to information  and a more efficient way to share resources. Rio hopes to implement contactless tags in the city in a way that increases access to new technologies, promotes a technology-literate population, and provides a fun, interesting way for people to connect within and outside of their communities.

Contactless tags have the potential to change how people interact with the urban environment, whether as a citizen or a tourist. With four pilot projects soon to be underway, Connecthings' contactless tags solution will be one to watch in the next year.

~ Allison Bullock

21 world cities reveal the winning solutions to improve lives of 110 million citizens

Twenty-one cities from Asia, Africa, Europe, North and Latin America have announced the winners of the Living Labs Global Award 2012 (LLGA 2012) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Award presented major urban challenges faced by cities such as Barcelona, San Francisco, Cape Town, Mexico City, Birmingham, Rio de Janeiro or Lagos, to which 555 companies from 50 countries responded by presenting their innovative solutions. Cities spend EUR 3.5 Trillion annually in public procurement, and technologies promise major efficiency, accessibility and service quality gains.

During the first world meeting in Latin America on the smart use of technologies and services, public leaders from 21 global cities have revealed the winning innovative solutions that best meet strategic challenges like Affordable Housing Units for Lagos (Nigeria), Data to Help Fight Obesity in Eindhoven (The Netherlands), Changing Private Car Use in Lavasa (India), Wireless Control of Urban Systems in San Francisco (USA), a Knowledge Square to enhance digital inclusion in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Participation in Service Design and Delivery in Sant Cugat (Spain), Digital Public Transport in Mexico City (Mexico) and Engaging Visitors Experience in Barcelona (Spain). Winning solutions of the LLGA 2012 will now be piloted in the 21 participating cities over the next 12 months, to evaluate their impact to meet the pressing challenges.

 The winning solutions are:

 City of Barcelona (Spain): Contactless tags to bridge real and physical worlds, by Connecthings

City of Birmingham (UK): Composting on-site in Green Communities, by Susteco AB

City of Cáceres (Spain): Sustainable Cities. Motion is Energy, by OTEM2000 - Green Solutions & Management S.L.

City of Cape Town (South Africa):  Cape GeniUS!, by SCY

City of Coventry (UK): HLG SYSTEM, by GLASS COVER Europe S.L.

City of Derry~Londonderry (UK): Contactless tags to bridge real and physical worlds, by Connecthings

City of Eindhoven (The Netherlands): The App that gets teenagers moving, by GGD Brabant-Zuidoost

City of Fukuoka (Japan): Smart PathFinder, by Where 2 Get It, Inc.

City of Glasgow (UK): SmartCity Málaga, by Endesa

City of Guadalajara (Mexico): Guadalajara: Keeping Road Surfaces in Top Condition, by Falcon Road Maintenance Equipment

City of Hamburg (Germany): Contactless tags to bridge real and physical worlds, by Connecthings

City of Kristiansand (Norway): City Direct, by Innovation Center Iceland

City of Lagos (Nigeria): Lagos state Housing Solution, by TEMPOHOUSING NIGERIA LIMITED

City of Lavasa (India): SKYBUS, by Skybus

Mexico City (Mexico): Modern Urban Transport Information, by Clever Devices

City of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil): Contactless tags to bridge real and physical worlds, by Connecthings

Rome - Lazio Region (Italy): Get on board and play with bUS, by Placemaking srl

City of San Francisco (USA): From Street Lighting Management to Advanced Smart City Services, by Paradox Engineering

City of Sant Cugat (Spain): MindMixer, by MindMixer.com

City of Santiago de Chile (Chile): SFpark - A New way of managing parking, by San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

City of Terrassa (Spain): CityWalking, by UPC BarcelonaTech

In a unique global effort, 555 technology solutions from about 50 countries submitted to the Living Labs Global Award 2012 in February, while 109 were shortlisted in March. Winners have been selected after an international two-round jury process involving 147 jurors, under the auspices of Living Labs Global, a non-profit association based in Copenhagen and Barcelona working with 50 cities and 1,000 companies around the world to promote service innovation in cities. The Living Labs Global Award is a unique global process providing full accountability in the evaluation through independent experts. The LLGA 2012 was promoted by 21 global cities in partnership with Living Labs Global, Citymart.com, Oracle and The Climate Group.

The LLGA 2012 Ceremony of 2 May was attended by 200 participants from 22 countries in Rio de Janeiro as part of the Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities.


 “Today we have witnessed a major commitment towards meeting some of the world’s pressing urban challenges, with the goal of improving the lives of more than 50% of the world’s population by using clean technologies, smart services and better accessibility. The winners will now have the opportunity to implement their solutions in real-life, and work together with stakeholders in the 21 partner cities to prove their impact,” said Sascha Haselmayer, Co-Founder of Living Labs Global.

 The Living Labs Global Award 2012 has been an important event for the City of Rio de Janeiro, which will soon host the Football World Cup and the Olympic Games. We thrive upon knowledge and innovation and this Summit exchanges experience and cutting-edge solutions. It has been a very successful event. Through the Living Labs Global Award 2012 we received 109 solutions that will help us to develop our Knowledge Square, which is being implemented in 6 areas of the city and aims to enhance digital inclusion across Rio de Janeiro,” said Franklin Coelho, Secretary of Science and Technology of the City of Rio de Janeiro, host city and partner of the LLGA 2012.

The cities will be considered at the cutting edge of innovation and progress, as contactless technologies and associated mobile services are about to revolutionize mobile usages. They will also enjoy a new two-channel interactive communication tool, visible and accessible to everyone which is particularly important for an emerging global city. Connecthings will be glad to benefit from such prestigious international references and to demonstrate that its solutions are flexible and adaptable to cities’ diverse challenges,” said Damaris Homo, Business Development Manager at Connecthings, winner of four LLGA 2012, including the categories of Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona.

With initiatives like the Living Labs Global Award 2012 we are transforming Barcelona into a platform for innovation. We would like to see successful projects in the city being replicated in others, such as Rio de Janeiro or Paris, to name a few. The city of Rio as the host of the next Football World Cup and the Olympic Games must also think about their legacy and how the infrastructure will bring benefits to its citizens in the future, said Josep M. Piqué, Strategic Sectors Director, 22@ Barcelona, partner city of the LLGA 2012.

“Over 50% of the world population lives in cities and only by having them on our side will we win the battle against pollution and build a better world. We have to disseminate the Clean Revolution to city leaders, said Molly Webb, Head of Smart Technologies, The Climate Group, partner of the LLGA 2012.

On the second day of the meeting, May 3, during the Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities, 200 delegates from 22 countries, including public leaders from 30 international cities and pioneering entrepreneurs driving social and technological innovation are engaging in matchmaking activities to foster partnerships and dialogues on the investment priorities of participating cities: Urban Systems & Services, Health & Wellbeing, Open Government & Accessibility, Clean and Green Cities, Tourism & Mobility.

On May 4, delegates join LLGA 2012 local immersion programme to experience some of the ground-breaking projects, such as the Change through Digital Inclusion (CDI) programme in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, now adopted by 717 communities in 14 countries.

About Citymart.com

Citymart.coml is a non-profit association based in Copenhagen (Denmark) and Barcelona (Spain), working with 50 cities and 1,000 companies and research centres in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas with a mission to open the market for service innovation in cities and overcoming key technology, organisation and trade barriers. The Living Labs Global Award is an annual process over 8 months in which cities present their challenges and provide guidance to the business and technology community on future investment plans and needs. Solution providers respond by submitting existing technologies as entries for evaluation by an international jury.

Previous LLGA winners

Some of the winners of LLGA since 2010 include SOCRATA, whose solution has been implemented by San Francisco to power the city’s new cloud-based Open Data site, URBIOTICA’s intelligent waste management sensors for recycling containers and WORRLDSENSING’s cutting-edge urban smart parking solution.


More than 557,000 local governments provide services to more than 50% of the world’s population with an annual spending of 3.5 Trillion Euros per year. New technologies can radically improve transport and mobility, urban systems and services, open government, health and wellbeing and other key areas of urban life.

More information on www.llga.org

Follow us on Twitter (@LLGACities), Facebook.com/citymartcom and Linkedin

LLGA2012: A Journey in Numbers to Improve Millions of Lives

As we are nearing our Award Ceremony on May 2 in Rio de Janeiro, when all eyes will be on the 21 winners that have been selected by 21 global cities - such as Barcelona, San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, Kristiansand, Eindhoven, Lagos, Cape Town, Rome and Fukuoka - we take a minute to recall the journey that took us here.

LLGA2012 in Numbers

21 Cities

110 Million Citizens

21 Challenges

3,500 Existing Solutions Found

555 Validated Entries from...

50+ Countries

147 Jurors

109 Shortlisted Solutions

7,500 Evaluations

45,000 Evaluation Data-Points will be published to providers

21 Winners

21 Pilots in next 12 months

Three years ago, we had an idea. What if cities called for solutions to their pressing challenges? Why was there no place where cities, soon home to 70% of the world's population, could share their challenges?

LLGA - the Living Labs Global Award - was born as a simple and quick experiment. In just 3 months we mobilized 12 cities to present their challenges and share an evaluation method to identify the best solutions. The results led to improved waste management in Barcelona, and to Eindhoven adopting a new process to involve citizens in their evaluation methodology,

In November 2011 we launched LLGA2012, in partnership with 21 global cities with 110 Million citizens in Europe, Asia, the Americas and Africa. Each city presented a challenge to which our wonderful research team of 10 in Barcelona found 3,500 existing solutions around the world.


After a validation, we received 555 entries from more than 50 countries, which were reviewed by 147 international jurors appointed by the cities to 21 juries evaluate the impact of the solutions for each category. This generated 7,500 evaluations and some 45,000 evaluation data-points providing valuable feedback on May 3 to participating solution providers via the Showcases on Citymart.com.

On March 5th, the cities and their juries presented 109 nominated solutions that entered a second round of evaluation. On May 2, we will present 21 winners - selected by the cities as the most promising solutions to improve the lives of 110 Million citizens.

In the coming 12 months, these winners will implement 21 pilot projects, to show the real impact of their solutions and allow citizens, government agencies, business partners and the partner cities to experience change.

Bitcarrier, winner of a LLGA2011 Award saw their Citysolver solution launched their pilot just 3 months after winning, and signed a contract within another 3 months. Not only did they save $320,000 in acquisition costs and went to market 4x faster than usual - but the citizens of Barcelona spent less time in traffic as a result. Every single day. And that is just one winner...

Stay tuned! #LLGA

Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities

The Living Labs Global Awards has been a months-long process that all comes down to a series of announcements and awards ceremonies next week in Rio de Janeiro. Innovators from across the globe will join representatives from 21 participating cities to share ideas on how to turn urban challenges into opportunity. Spanning 5 continents, over the next year these cities will each host an LLGA pilot project selected by a panel of city leaders and experts. As of now, over 90 nominated showcases are in competition for the awards, many of which have been featured here over the past several weeks. Each stands a chance to leave the Rio Summit with big plans to move forward with their proposed projects.

The summit begins next Wednesday, May 2, at the Associação Comercial do Rio de Janeiro. Awards for the participant cities will be announced throughout the day at the conclusion of each City Dialogue. The City Dialogues are mediated conversations held between city officials, business leaders, local experts, and peers of multiple cities to invite an exchange of ideas and discussion of trends taking place in a variety of contexts.

The second day of the conference, Thursday, May 3, involves an all-day Matchmaking Summit that is designed to connect city leaders with dozens of urban solution innovators. Activities throughout the day will revolve around networking, showcases, and interactive sessions to acquaint attendees with a wealth of new ideas, technologies, and business models being shared. The day will also include visioning workshops for all 21 cities, in which participants will collaborate on developing new urban concepts and strategies for cities to pursue in the future.

The final day of the event on Friday, May 4th, will involve turning from inward discussion of urban trends to outward interaction with the summit's host city. Tours and visits will take summit attendees to view recently completed and upcoming urban projects throughout Rio de Janeiro. This will be a chance for visitors to see on-the-ground solutions in action and also to identify future opportunities for Rio to continue to develop as a player in the global innovation market.

May 2nd promises to be an exciting day for all of those involved in the LLGA process. Keep an eye out next week on the LLGA website and here at our blog, where we'll be announcing the winners of the 2012 awards.

~ Allison Bullock

Modular microhousing for Lagos

Last year, I came across this article about an open source project to design and develop low-cost versions of 50 industrial machines essential to modern civilization. Dubbed the "Global Village Construction Set", these tools provide all of the equipment necessary to build a village and maintain a small-scale economy almost anywhere in the world. The project's founder, Marcin Jakubowski, came up with the idea to make major industrial tools more affordable and accessible by developing and sharing simple, modular designs online for free. If you haven't seen his Ted Talk about the Open Source Ecology project, check it out here:


Now the Open Source Ecology project is using its knowledge of low-cost manufacturing and construction to break down barriers to affordable housing. Nominated in the 2012 Living Labs Global Awards, the OSE has submitted a microhouse design for the competition to produce mass smart and low-cost housing units for Lagos, Nigeria.

Tools from OSE's Global Village Construction Set can be used to construct compact, low-cost, easy-to-build houses using locally available raw materials. Starting with a footprint of 45 square meters (484 square feet), the houses are modular by design, allowing them to be connected to produce multifamily units or to be added on to later for larger single-family homes.

With an estimated housing shortage of 5 million homes, Lagos is in need of innovative housing solutions. OSE's modular microhouse provides a promising option with a basic design that can be mass produced at a low cost. The project also hopes that the use of its open source industrial machinery could help to empower residents to build and maintain their own communities while also creating jobs that stimulate the local economy.

~ Allison Bullock

Making travel information accessible in Fukuoka

Fukuoka, Japan, has a dense and well-connected bus system. With a population of roughly 1.5 million, Japan's 7th largest city is familiar with the challenges of city mobility and has taken major steps to promote public transit throughout the region. Fukuoka currently has real-time bus tracking available and has set up applications to connect residents to the route and schedule information that they need. This year, Fukuoka joined as a partner in the Living Labs Global Award (LLGA) to improve the accessibility of local travel information even further. The city's main concern is that while bus information is readily available and understandable to residents, the current interface is difficult for visitors to interpret, particularly those from abroad. Fukuoka hopes to develop a platform for local travel and tourist destinations that can be easily interpreted by visitors who are not familiar with the city or its transit system. Here are some of the features that Fukuoka would like to see included in its new system:

  • A mobile bus information system (MBIS) that is accessible to users via web browser, smartphone app, and/or other mobile display
  • Trip routing capabilities that help users identify the best route to take from origin to destination
  • Routing to tourist destinations throughout the city, including travel information for self-guided city tours
  • Easy to read bus schedules, routing, and real-time information on an interactive display
  • Advanced map interface to provide a visual of travel information and options

In the shortlist round for this year's LLGA, Fukuoka chose five showcases as nominees for the opportunity to market and launch their proposals as a pilot project within the city. One of the nominees, Eyestop, has also been chosen as a nominee for Mexico City and was featured in a post last month.

Two other shortlisted proposals, BLUEPASS and Excursion, take advantage of mobile accessibility in different ways. BLUEPASS uses Bluetooth technology to allow users to interact with transportation signage, vehicles, and stations to receive up-to-date travel information on their mobile devices. Excursion operates as a mobile app that provides the user with a listing of all possible routes and arrival times from a selected stop, or can provide a listing of routes based on the desired destination. The app is designed to be visually intuitive and uses colors and symbols to communicate information so that it can be universally understood.

Another showcase, City Screen & Media Networks by EuMediaNet, focuses on making travel information accessible through a variety of displays, from personal mobile devices to web browsers to large public display screens. Their model would allow information to be displayed in locations throughout the city so that those without a mobile device can still take advantage of Fukuoka's travel and tourist information.

Lastly, the Smart Pathfinder solution uses a mobile app interface to organize travel information by transit stop and neighborhood. In addition to the real-time bus information already offered in Fukuoka, Smart Pathfinder offers directions to a destination based on a user's preference to minimize time, cost, and/or bus transfers; has an interactive map to view a stop's surroundings or routes throughout the city; the option to plan a trip with certain sights or destinations highlighted along the way; and a rush hour alert to help users avoid heavy traffic.

What's your favorite solution for Fukuoka?

~ Allison Bullock

Good Gym: Moving towards healthier living

People are increasingly making connections between the built environment and the impacts that it has on our health, both physically and mentally. While public health has been less of a focus of concern for cities in the past, more urban areas today are taking notice of the important linkages between health and the quality of the urban environment. Around the world, city officials are beginning to incorporate public health experts and entrepreneurs into discussions of how to take action to promote healthy urban populations. In fact, 3 of the 21 cities participating in the 2012 LLGA put forth challenges that center around health and physical activity issues. Clearly the state of health in cities is gaining greater recognition as a key urban concern, one that is as worthy of attention as other major urban problems such as transportation, energy, and the economy. And like any urban issue, health problems do not occur in isolation. Providing solutions to promote healthy populations in cities can benefit other aspects of city life, and vice versa.

With many cities facing public health challenges such as air quality, poor nutrition, and lack of physical activity, there are plentiful opportunities to develop solutions that would enable cities to promote rather than compromise good health. An article posted earlier this week discussed the potential that public spaces have to encourage physical activity. By creating installations that engage passers-by and inspire movement and play, cities can influence the activity levels of their citizens.

Another idea to encourage mobility and active living comes from the nominees' list for Eindhoven, The Netherlands, in this year's LLGA. Dubbed the "Good Gym", this project couples exercise with social assistance for the elderly. Runners and walkers can use the Good Gym to find a list of errand runs needed nearby, such as picking up groceries or making a delivery, that benefit elderly people within the community who are unable to make these trips themselves.

By connecting those who want to exercise with those with limited mobility, the Good Gym harnesses the social good potential of physical activity. Elderly people of the community benefit from reduced cost of care and greater social interaction with runners, while runners are connected to an inexpensive way to simultaneously exercise and volunteer their time to those who need it.

~ Allison Bullock

21 cidades mundiais premiarão projetos inovadores de tecnologias e serviços, no Rio de Janeiro

O Rio de Janeiro receberá a primeira conferência mundial na América do Sul sobre Tecnologias e Serviços Inovadores para Melhorar a Qualidade de Vida nas Cidades, organizada anualmente pela associação internacional Living Labs Global. O prefeito do Rio, Eduardo Paes, participará desta iniciativa que este ano tem o apoio da cidade do Rio de Janeiro, a parceria de Barcelona e outras 19 cidades globais, a Oracle e o The Climate Group, que realizarão encontros com provedores e especialistas internacionais, nos dias 2 e 3 de maio, na Associação Comercial do Rio de Janeiro. "A cidade do Rio de Janeiro orgulha-se de ser a Cidade-anfitriã do importante prêmio Living Labs Global Award e de dar as boas-vindas às nossas 20 cidades globais parceiras para intercambiar soluções e inovações, para melhoria da qualidade de vida dos nossos 110 milhões de cidadãos. Sentimo-nos honrados de compartilhar nossas experiências no Rio de Janeiro e receber inspiração durante o nosso encontro com os líderes das cidades da Ásia, África, Europa, América do Norte e América Latina”, disse o prefeito do Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes.

No dia 2 de maio, prefeitos e outros líderes das 21 cidades globais, como São Francisco, Cidade do México, Barcelona, Cidade do Cabo, Rio de Janeiro e Fukuoka, entregarão o prêmio Living Labs Global Award 2012 a cada um dos projetos internacionais que escolheram (dentre 555 soluções inscritas de 50 países) para atender um desafio urbano estratégico em seu município, relacionado com a mobilidade, segurança, saúde, gestão pública, acessibilidade, emissão de carbono e turismo.

Eduardo Paes anunciará o projeto que vencerá o desafio da cidade do Rio de Janeiro, a “Praça do Conhecimento”, que tem o objetivo de gerar interesse e aproximar as comunidades com a utilização de dispositivos e conteúdos baseados em web 4.0, ajudando no combate à desigualdade social e a exclusão digital. (Projetos finalistas: http://llga.org/nominated).

Dando continuidade ao encontro, no dia 3 de Maio, 200 participantes, representando estas mesmas cidades, empresas e especialistas Brasileiros e internacionais se reunirão para a Conferência do Rio sobre Serviços Inovadores nas Cidades, em atividades de interação que potenciam debates e parcerias em torno de soluções para desafios locais e globais por meio do uso inteligente da tecnologia e serviços inovadores. A conferência estará dividida em cinco áreas prioritárias de investimento público: Sistemas Urbanos e Serviços, Saúde e Bem-estar, Governo Aberto e Acessibilidade, Cidades Sustentáveis, Turismo e Mobilidade.

A delegação da cidade de Barcelona, que contará com a vice-prefeita, Sònia Recasens, e o diretor geral de Economia, Finanças e Emprego, Jordi Joly, apresentarão as oportunidades de parcerias do programa Mobile World Capital e iniciativas locais inovadoras de transparência, confiança e interação com a comunidade empresarial.

No dia 4 de maio, os participantes do evento poderão conhecer alguns dos projetos inovadores do Rio de Janeiro, como o CDI (Change through Digital Inclusion), um programa nas favelas do Rio de Janeiro, que foi também adotado em 717 comunidades de 14 países.

Sobre o Living Labs Global

O Living Labs Global é uma organização sem fins lucrativos com sede em Barcelona e Copenhague, que promove o uso inteligente das novas tecnologias e serviços que possam melhorar a qualidade de vida de municípios de qualquer continente. O Living Labs Global Award é o concurso mundial de soluções tecnológicas para cidades inteligentes que organiza pelo terceiro ano consecutivo, e no qual participam empresas, organizações sociais e indivíduos que desenvolvam aplicativos, softwares ou empreendimentos inovadores que possam ajudar os municípios. Cada uma das 21 cidades parceiras da edição 2012 do concurso escolheu um desafio estratégico a ser atendido em seu município, por exemplo, Habitação Acessível na cidade de Lagos, Prevenção da Obesidade na cidade de Eindhoven, Informação Digital no Transporte e Mobilidade na Cidade do México, Acesso à Sociedade da Informação no Rio de Janeiro, Governo Inclusivo em Sant Cugat ou Gestão Eletrônica Inteligente de Resíduos Orgânicos em Birmingham. Entre Fevereiro e Abril, cada cidade selecionou um grupo de projetos finalistas, dentre 555 soluções inscritas de 50 países. As propostas vencedoras serão transformadas em projetos pilotos a serem testadas e melhoradas nas 21 cidades.

Vendedores anteriores

Algumas das propostas vencedoras do concurso mundial “Living Labs Global Award” em anos anteriores incluíram uma solução de estacionamento inteligente em Estocolmo, uma plataforma de dados abertos de participação dos cidadãos em São Francisco e sensores para a monitoração da capacidade dos contentores de resíduos recicláveis da cidade de Barcelona.

A Conferência do Rio sobre Serviços Inovadores para Cidades tem a parceria das 21 cidades do Prêmio Living Labs Global 2012: Barcelona, Birmingham, Cidade do Cabo, Cidade do México, Coventry, Derry~Londonderry, Eindhoven, Fukuoka, Glasgow, Guadalajara, Hamburgo, Kristiansand, Lagos, Lavasa, Rio de Janeiro, Região Roma-Lazio, São Francisco, Sant Cugat, Santiago do Chile e Terrassa.

A inscrição nos dois dias do evento poderá ser feita no site do Living Labs Global: http://llga.org/summit2012_registration.php.

Para mais informações, visite www.llga.org, siga-nos no Twitter (twitter.com/livinglabsaward) e no facebook (www.facebook.com/llga2012)

Email: m.carvalho@livinglabs-global.com

Tel.: 0034 93 1855110 (Barcelona)

www.livinglabs-global.com / www.llga.org

Power of the People: Harnessing pedestrian energy in Caceres

For every step you take -- walking along the sidewalk, taking the stairs, or going for a run to get some exercise -- your body is using and transferring energy. Most of the time, this energy ends with us. You take a step forward, and the energy of that motion is absorbed by the pavement, the soil, or whatever surface you may be walking on.When you consider how many steps we each take in our daily lives of commuting, working, recreating, and running errands, there is a huge amount of energy from our motions that is spent every day and goes unharnessed. Multiply the kinetic energy produced by a single person by a city's total population, and you have a considerable energy source that has not yet been tapped. The idea of harnessing kinetic energy produced from people's movements is one that has caught the attention of city officials in Caceres, Spain. One of the 21 member cities participating in the 2012 Living Labs Global Awards, Caceres envisions a future in which the ambient energy produced by the movement of people can be harnessed and used to help power our cities. Sound like science fiction? In fact, a number of companies are on the cutting edge of energy harvesting technologies and are leading the way in making the idea of kinetic energy capture a reality.

In this year's awards, Caceres has selected five showcases as nominees to present their ideas for capturing energy from sports facilities. All five present a similar type of technology as the backbone of their proposed projects -- smart floors. These surfaces are able to absorb and convert the energy from foot traffic into electrical energy that can be used to power any number of city services and systems. Smart floors can also be used to convert other types of wasted energy to electricity, such as the vibrations produced by vehicular traffic on roads.

Although the electrical energy produced from pedestrian power and transport vibrations could not power a city all on its own, it provides one more type of clean, sustainable energy that cities can add into their energy portfolios. And it's reliable -- as long as people keep moving, kinetic energy will continue to be a potential energy source. Caceres is currently focusing its challenge on the power potential of sports facilities in particular, but there are seemingly endless possibilities for how smart floor technologies could be applied in our cities. From playgrounds to roads to sidewalks to staircases, the places where people move and live could soon provide their own energy source.

~ Allison Bullock


Hamburg seeks ideas to increase tourism

Hamburg, Germany -- one of the 21 cities participating in the 2012 LLGA -- has an interesting tourism challenge for this year's award participants. As the second largest port in Europe, Hamburg is a popular origin and destination city for cruise lines. About 300,000 cruise passengers arrive in Hamburg each year at some point along their trip, and yet few seem to stay long to tour Germany's second-largest city. In fact, Hamburg officials estimate that only one-third of cruise tourists spend a night or more in the city before or after their journey. Even for those who do prolong their visit, the average stay is just 2.1 nights. There is huge potential for Hamburg to capture a larger share of cruise line tourism, yet for some reason many passengers seem to view Hamburg more as a transport hub than as a destination in itself. And that's where this year's showcase challenge comes in. The city has asked participants to submit solutions that help to connect cruise passengers to the vast array of tourism opportunities that Hamburg has to offer. Since it already has a variety of tourist-friendly locations and events and has already succeeded in drawing tourists to the city, the challenge is in helping tourists to seamlessly integrate with Hamburg and its sights. City officials hope that through the use of interactive mobile and web-based technologies, cruise passengers can learn of Hamburg's many offerings and will be inspired to linger a few days more.

One of the showcases that rose to Hamburg's challenge and is among the five selected nominees is Sightsplanner, an interactive suggestion engine that instantly produces a customized tour itinerary based on your preferences and schedule needs. A tourist can access the engine via web browser or mobile phone, enter their preferences, and receive a step-by-step schedule of places to visit nearby. The user can enter details on time of day, how long they would like the tour to last, whether they are traveling by foot or by car, and preferences for certain types of attractions as part of their detailed itinerary. The program categorizes sights and events into museums & arts, architecture & city, eating out, shopping, sports & outdoor, and bars & nightlife so that tourists can easily find the places and activities that interest them the most. Sightplanner's ability to adjust to users' unique preferences makes it a much more dynamic sightseeing guide than the standard tourism books or brochures.

As an already popular tourist destination, Hamburg's local economy could benefit greatly by providing a simpler, more convenient way for visitors to interact with and explore the city. Tools like Sightsplanner help tourists see not just what a city has to offer, but when and how they can get there, taking much of the difficulty out of planning a tour. Widespread use of such a user-friendly system could transform the way that tourists view Hamburg and motivate them to prolong their stay.

~ Allison Bullock

LLGA shortlist released

Congratulations to the nominees for the 2012 Living Labs Global Awards! Of the 700-plus entries submitted this year, 109 were selected for the next round. You can view the full list of nominees here, or select a city to see which showcases made the shortlist for a specific challenge. All 21 cities participating in this year’s awards selected a handful of projects that best address the unique urban challenges put forward this year. Below is the shortlist of showcases selected for Mexico City, which sought proposals for technologies that can capture and share real-time public transit data.

EyeStop: An adaptive bus stop that uses touch-sensitive technologies and screens, EyeStop allows transit users to interact with street furniture. The design provides access to the internet, an interactive map for looking up bus routes and schedule times, and a digital bulletin board for posting ads or other information.

MovIn Mexico City: The idea behind MovIn Mexico City is to provide a single, integrated information system to help people get around the city. All available modes of public transportation are incorporated into the system to provide one source of information for a city’s multimodal transport network. Transit users can use the system’s mobile app or website to direct them to their destination using real-time location data.

Modern Urban Transportation Information: Intelligent Transport System (ITS) solutions by Clever Devices benefit both public transit operators and passengers alike. In addition to real-time bus location information, ITS technologies allow a transit agency to monitor on-time performance, ridership, and maintenance needs for its vehicles. These systems can help fleet operators identify issues in routing and scheduling that could be improved to maximize agency resources.

Real Time Passenger Information: Vix Technology’s BusNet Real Time Information System offers real-time travel information displays at stops and stations, fleet management technologies, and smart card fare collection to allow for more efficient transit operation.

SLT-Flow: Self-Learning Traffic Flow Sensing, or SLT-Flow, is designed to detect vehicles on the road to provide cities with real-time information on traffic conditions. What’s unique about this technology is the high degree of accuracy that it can provide across several lanes of traffic, detecting accidents, traffic congestion, and vehicle flow, serving as an ideal support system for traffic management needs.

Check out these and more than 100 other exciting showcases on the LLGA 2012 nominees’ page.

~ Allison Bullock

Smart Lighting in San Francisco

For this year’s Living Labs Global Awards, San Francisco requested showcases that would help the city develop an integrated wireless network for its streetlights and other urban services. The idea is to find a way to remotely control and manage the city’s lighting system to save energy, mitigate light pollution, and allow for flexible adjustments to lighting depending on the season and time of day. A wireless energy management system would allow San Francisco to reduce its operating costs while also helping the city take a major step towards its goal for a zero-emissions electric system by 2030. Several showcases were submitted this year to respond to San Francisco’s challenge. One of these is Intelligent Streetlights, submitted by energy technologies company Petra Solar. Their solution would involve a smart grid communications network that could be used for centralized, citywide management of not just streetlights, but also electric vehicle charging stations, parking monitoring, and meter pricing.

Petra Solar’s project would involve retrofitting over 18,000 existing streetlights throughout the city. The system would maximize the use of solar energy through high-efficiency solar panels mounted to streetlights, all of which would be integrated into the wireless communications network.

Even in a city with world-famous fog, the system is expected to significantly reduce energy and operations costs, saving an estimated $6 million USD over 10 years – not to mention the benefits of reduced emissions and cleaner air. With an investment in intelligent energy technologies, San Francisco stands to gain unprecedented flexibility and control over its urban systems while reinforcing its status as one of the most sustainable cities in the U.S.

~ Allison Bullock

Improving walkability with a web-app, a street, and two feet

If you could give your street a grade for walkability, how would it rate? How about the streets for the rest of your neighborhood, where you work, or where you shop? Creating a walk-friendly place where people feel comfortable on the street is a key part of developing vibrant communities, and the folks at Walkonomics are working hard to help people find and share how their streets rate.

Through the collective power of open data, crowdsourcing, and social media, Walkonomics has generated over 600,000 ratings for streets throughout the UK and New York City. The web-app provides a zero to five star walkability rating for city streets based on eight characteristics: road safety, ease of crossing, presence and quality of pavements or sidewalks, hilliness, ease of navigation, fear of crime, cleanliness and appearance, and quality of life. Public street data is evaluated using these eight categories to generate an overall rating of walkability for the street, which is then displayed on an interactive map using color-coded markers. You can search for a street, view its rating and those for surrounding roads, see a detailed breakdown of the rating, check out a first-person perspective using street view, and view other users’ comments about a street's condition, all in one interface.

My favorite feature of the app is how it allows users to add their own ratings for streets, which factor into the overall rating average. The app allows anyone to voice their praises or complaints and offers an interactive space for people to discuss conditions and post suggestions for improvement. There is huge potential for city governments to get involved here by sharing data and receiving feedback from citizens on where changes are needed most. City planners especially could use this information to identify areas where pedestrian improvement projects would have the greatest impact. Interactive apps like Walkonomics are offering exciting new opportunities for helping cities create lively, walk-friendly spaces.

~ Allison Bullock

LLGA Shortlist – Coming March 5th

The submission deadline for the Living Labs Global Award 2012 has come and gone, and showcase evaluations are heating up. Solutions to a host of city challenges have been submitted and are being reviewed for this year’s round of awards. 717 innovative ideas were submitted for consideration this year, from ways to harness kinetic energy from sports facilities to ideas for collecting real-time data on public transit systems. 21 cities in 14 countries are taking part in this year’s awards selection. A jury panel of local and international experts from each city will review the submissions and select those that best address their city’s challenge for innovative technological solutions. The awards are designed to benefit both the partner cities and the solution providers; cities have the opportunity to learn more about cutting-edge ideas that can help them solve their most pressing problems, and winning solution providers get to test their prototypes or pilot projects in a real-world market before launching a full-scale campaign.

This year’s partner cities have put forth a diverse group of challenges. Lavasa, India is seeking proposals that will help encourage residents and visitors to use public transit and non-motorized transportation for the majority of their trips in the city. Barcelona, Spain wants ideas on how to better integrate tourists and visitors into city life and culture during their stay. And hundreds of companies, NGOs, and research institutes have responded to the challenges put forward this year.

The LLGA shortlist for each city challenge will be presented in two weeks on March 5th. Projects chosen from the nominees' shortlist will be announced this May at the Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities. Until then, you can check out the diverse selection of submitted showcases on CityMart.

 ~ Allison Bullock

A smart low-cost housing ecosystem for the city of Lagos - submit your solution

Lagos (Nigeria) is seeking to develop communities by creating a service-based, low-cost housing ecosystem based on innovative design, technology and services to fill the housing gap of 5m units. The capital city of Nigeria is inviting companies worldwide to submit their solutions before 17th February to the Living Labs Global Award 2012.

Submissions to the Award are free of charge and the winner of the Lagos category will be invited to pilot the solution in the city, with full support from local stakeholders to evaluate the solution before a full-scale roll-out.

Last year, by winning the Living Labs Global Award, company Urbiotica managed to see a pilot implementation of its Smart Waste Sensors in Barcelona after winning the Living Labs Global Award 2010.

This year, Lagos - the most populated city in Africa and one of the world’s 10 largest megacities - has joined the 2012 edition of the Living Labs Global Award seeking mass smart and low-cost housing units to tackle some of the most strategic and imperative issues of this sector (more information here).

How to submit:

Entries can be submitted online on www.llga.org until 17th February.

International juries will evaluate the entries and provide a shortlist of the top 100 showcases on 5th March. Winners will be announced on 2nd May 2012 at the Award Ceremony during the networking Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities, for which all participants are invited.

About the Living Labs Global Award 2012:

Living Labs Global, a non-profit association promoting innovative solutions in cities around the world, is organising the 2012 edition of the Living Labs Global Award in cooperation with the cities of Barcelona, Birmingham, Caceres, Cape Town, Coventry, Derry~Londonderry, Eindhoven, Fukuoka, Glasgow, Guadalajara, Hamburg, Lagos, Lavasa, Kristiansand, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Rome-Lazio, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Santiago de Chile and Terrassa.

Together with these 21 cities, the Living Labs Global Award 2012 aims to provide a market opportunity to innovative solutions with the aim of helping over 110 million citizens in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe.

For more information:

Email: media@livinglabs-global.com

Tel.: +34 93 1855110

www.llga.org Twitter: @LivingLabsAward Facebook: www.facebook.com/llga2012

Propose your intelligent on-road parking solutions to improve sustainability in Santiago de Chile

Santiago de Chile seeks new solutions to make its on-road parking more intelligent, unlocking environmental, traffic, security and user experience benefits and is inviting companies worldwide to submit their solutions before 17th February to the Living Labs Global Award 2012.

Submissions to the Award are free of charge and the winner of the Santiago de Chile category will be invited to pilot the solution in the city, with full support from local stakeholders to evaluate the solution before a full-scale roll-out.

Last year, by winning the Living Labs Global Award, company Urbiotica managed to see a pilot implementation of its Smart Waste Sensors in Barcelona after winning the Living Labs Global Award 2010.

The city of Santiago the Chlie has joined the 2012 edition of the award aiming at solutions that may use different technologies such as the TAG system to optimize the on-road parking system to improve the urban mobility of the metropolitan region. By improving on-road parking, it is hoped that beneficial impacts like the reduction of emissions and particle contamination; improved traffic flow with shorter search-times for parking, increased capacity, access control to restricted urban areas, improved security and real-time information can be achieved. (more information here).

How to submit:

Entries can be submitted online on www.llga.org until 17th February.

International juries will evaluate the entries and provide a shortlist of the top 100 showcases on 5th March. Winners will be announced on 2nd May 2012 at the Award Ceremony during the networking Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities, for which all participants are invited.

About the Living Labs Global Award 2012:

Living Labs Global, a non-profit association promoting innovative solutions in cities around the world, is organising the 2012 edition of the Living Labs Global Award in cooperation with the cities of Barcelona, Birmingham, Caceres, Cape Town, Coventry, Derry~Londonderry, Eindhoven, Fukuoka, Glasgow, Guadalajara, Hamburg, Lagos, Lavasa, Kristiansand, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Rome-Lazio, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Santiago de Chile and Terrassa.

Together with these 21 cities, the Living Labs Global Award 2012 aims to provide a market opportunity to innovative solutions with the aim of helping over 110 million citizens in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe.

For more information:

Email: media@livinglabs-global.com

Tel.: +34 93 1855110

www.llga.org Twitter: @LivingLabsAward Facebook: www.facebook.com/llga2012