open data

Citymart teams with Barcelona City Council to break the public procurement mould

Citymart and Barcelona City Council have partnered to launch a trailblazing public procurement initiative. BCN|Open Challenge turns urban challenges into opportunities by opening them up to local and international innovators, with the aim of promoting economic growth while transforming public services to improve the lives of Barcelona’s citizens.

For the first time, companies – especially SMEs & start-ups – are directly linked into the public procurement process. Barcelona City Council has further committed to acquire and support the winning solutions with a comprehensive development package to ensure their fruitful implementation.

Barcelona City Council in partnership with Citymart launches BCN|Open Challenge, an international call for innovative businesses and entrepreneurs to propose pioneering solutions to six challenges carefully designed to address key issues that affect the citizens of Barcelona in their daily lives.

Companies have until 16 June 2014 to present solutions to the six challenges. Finalists will be announced in late July, while the winning proposals for each challenge will be contracted by the end of the year.

Rather than prescriptively defining the solutions they are looking for, Barcelona publishes six urban and social challenges they are facing and asks for new solutions. Companies with new technologies and innovative approaches stand to gain from this simultaneously inclusive and disruptive model.

Backed by a 1M EUR innovation fund, BCN|Open Challenge will welcome the winning companies with a comprehensive business development package including dedicated landing space as well as financial and human resource training.

Using public procurement as a vehicle to stimulate development and attract new talent, BCN|Open Challenge offers a model that will catalyze innovation and accelerate business growth and job creation in the city. In line with the Barcelona Growth initiative, which designs the economic strategy of the city, this programme enables Barcelona City Council to strengthen its position as a leading global city for innovation and entrepreneurship.

The six challenges are:

1. Reducing bicycle thefts in the city 2. Empowering support systems to reduce social isolation 3. Monitoring pedestrian flows in the city 4. Tools for digitisation of museum and archive collections 5. Automatic detection and alerts of damaged road surfaces 6. Empowering local retail through technology

BCN|Open Challenge

“Citymart is proud to partner with Barcelona to pave the way towards a more open, entrepreneurial and innovative city government” remarks Citymart CEO Sascha Haselmayer. “This is a unique and bold step to improve the lives of citizens, and an unprecedented commitment to support the global innovation community.”

The Deputy Mayor for Economy, Business and Employment, Sonia Recasens, highlighted this pioneering initiative as one that will “accelerate efficiency and transparency in public procurement so that it becomes a powerful tool to strengthen the Barcelona brand, attract investment to the city and establish synergies with local companies.”

BCN|Open Challenge sets a new standard for accountability and transparency within Barcelona’s regulatory and procurement decisions. Through this programme, Haselmayer says, “Barcelona is positioning itself as a leading global city for innovation and entrepreneurship by opening up and inviting entrepreneurs to transform the city.”

For Recasens, the benefits for the city of Barcelona are similarly apparent: “The proposals arising from this international call will enable us to build a more innovative, competitive and global Barcelona at the hand of local and international companies. It will also encourage foreign investment projects that will undoubtedly strengthen the role of the city as an economic and knowledge hub.”

Together, Citymart and the Barcelona City Council are proving that even in times of austerity and budget cuts, it is indeed possible to shift the public procurement landscape to enable business-led innovation to transform the lives of citizens in a more direct and transparent way.

To learn more about BCN|Open Challenge, visit bcnopenchallenge.org.

About Citymart Citymart supports cities in transforming their communities by strengthening their innovation capacity and sharing inspiring solutions & methods to address urban and social challenges. The company provides tools and methods adopted by 52 cities to-date – such as London, Paris, Barcelona, Boston, Fukuoka, Cape Town and Mexico City – to leverage entrepreneurship and markets early-on in the public procurement and regulation processes. As a result, cities invest less public resources to greater societal effect, and create more sustainable, resilient and responsive communities.

Over the last 5 years SMEs from around the world have won 98% of the Calls published on Citymart.com. By opening procurement and finding new approaches, cities stand to save between 5-10% of operating budgets, according to a study by McKinsey Global Research. More competition reduces costs, creates local jobs and increases entrepreneurship. The role of Citymart is to bring such city-innovator partnerships into being.

For more information, visit citymart.com, follow us @CitymartTeam or on facebook.com/Citymartcom

About Barcelona Growth Barcelona Growth is an initiative led by the City Council of Barcelona that brings together public and private representatives from various fields to guarantee the conditions for economic growth. It was born after the City Council called the main economic agents of the city together and invited them to work jointly on researching specific measures to restart the local economy. Barcelona Growth is at the centre of a package of policies and measures aimed at promoting the economic development of the city of Barcelona over the next few years. With this programme, the City Council aims to be practical, work in a network, alongside the actors and in a fast way, taking into account the situation, with the clear aim of achieving growth and acting as a motor for the country.

To find about more about Barcelona Growth, visit http://w42.bcn.cat/barcelonabusiness/en/.

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!

http://blog.sfgate.com/cityinsider/2012/03/12/hello-cloud-its-us-san-francisco/#comments

http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/09/san-francisco-open-data/

Niagra Open Data

niagraI had written myself a note to check out Niagra Falls’ new website and Open Data Catalogue.  I’m not sure where I heard about it, but something about the small-town-with-big-ideas caught my eye. Niagra Falls, Ontario is a small city of about 80,000.  About a year ago, they set out to redefine their city website, which gets about as many visitors a month as the city has residents.  It launched last month with a few local news sources picking up the story. I visited the site today to look around.  The homepage is overwhelming, with lots of images organized in an unclear way.  At first, I really didn’t like it.  I don’t think it works, visually.  I’m just not sure where they want me to go when I land there.  This is a common feeling I have when looking at municipal websites, but I digress.

What is amazing about the site is the plethora of information available.  It takes a little digging, but the GIS data is really quite incredible.  You can do a genealogy search for a particular name and find out exactly where that person is buried, with a GIS-based map display.  You can see live data on calls to the fire department.  You can even “go to a park” – it’ll identify for you which parks suit your needs whether you need an arena or just track.

The point here is that Niagra Falls has joined the movement towards transparency and open government.  It isn’t elegant, but first trys rarely are.  If they can do it, so can other small cities.  It’s one small step in the right direction.

- Terra Curtis

 

Niagra Open Data

niagraI had written myself a note to check out Niagra Falls’ new website and Open Data Catalogue.  I’m not sure where I heard about it, but something about the small-town-with-big-ideas caught my eye. Niagra Falls, Ontario is a small city of about 80,000.  About a year ago, they set out to redefine their city website, which gets about as many visitors a month as the city has residents.  It launched last month with a few local news sources picking up the story. I visited the site today to look around.  The homepage is overwhelming, with lots of images organized in an unclear way.  At first, I really didn’t like it.  I don’t think it works, visually.  I’m just not sure where they want me to go when I land there.  This is a common feeling I have when looking at municipal websites, but I digress.

What is amazing about the site is the plethora of information available.  It takes a little digging, but the GIS data is really quite incredible.  You can do a genealogy search for a particular name and find out exactly where that person is buried, with a GIS-based map display.  You can see live data on calls to the fire department.  You can even “go to a park” – it’ll identify for you which parks suit your needs whether you need an arena or just track.

The point here is that Niagra Falls has joined the movement towards transparency and open government.  It isn’t elegant, but first trys rarely are.  If they can do it, so can other small cities.  It’s one small step in the right direction.

- Terra Curtis

 

Iterative Planning

For good reason, planners are forced to consider decision for long periods of time.  Access to capital takes time, and because it is scarce, funders need to be sure investments are well-vetted and that many benefits will result. While I not only understand this necessity, but also appreciate such a forward-looking and long-term field, still I look to the tech world in envy for its rapid prototyping, iteration, and satisfaction with back-of-the-envelope calculations to justify experimentation.  Look at the speed of innovation in that field.  With the UK internet industry alone worth £100 billion, one could argue that more is at stake in their field than in ours (in the US, the last federal transportation bill set aside just $470 million annually). A balance is being sought between the two philosophies – slow, methodical decision-making vs. quick but data-backed experimentation – on San Francisco’s streets.  The city has found flexibility in pilot programs such as forcing private vehicles off Market Street, the pavement-to-parks program and newly-implemented mobile parklets.

However, what is still lacking in planning is data.  That’s one reason why technologists are so able to implement, test, change, and move on productively and efficiently.  There are clear performance measures and clear evidence when targets are not met.

This post is as much a statement of frustration as it is a plea for more focus on data in planning.  A recent post shared a video of mayoral candidates’ views of Gov 2.0 and open data, and highlighted the spectrum of perspectives on and understanding of the subject.  With the right person in office, the movement could become institutionalized, and planners should be verbal and enthusiastic about that prospect.  Planners need to be data-savvy and data-hungry.  We need to build programs like these into our plans today, where data is not only open to the public but open and accessible interdepartmentally, so planning can become more nimble.  Only then will we approach efficiency, more efficiently.

- Terra Curtis

 

Iterative Planning

For good reason, planners are forced to consider decision for long periods of time.  Access to capital takes time, and because it is scarce, funders need to be sure investments are well-vetted and that many benefits will result. While I not only understand this necessity, but also appreciate such a forward-looking and long-term field, still I look to the tech world in envy for its rapid prototyping, iteration, and satisfaction with back-of-the-envelope calculations to justify experimentation.  Look at the speed of innovation in that field.  With the UK internet industry alone worth £100 billion, one could argue that more is at stake in their field than in ours (in the US, the last federal transportation bill set aside just $470 million annually). A balance is being sought between the two philosophies – slow, methodical decision-making vs. quick but data-backed experimentation – on San Francisco’s streets.  The city has found flexibility in pilot programs such as forcing private vehicles off Market Street, the pavement-to-parks program and newly-implemented mobile parklets.

However, what is still lacking in planning is data.  That’s one reason why technologists are so able to implement, test, change, and move on productively and efficiently.  There are clear performance measures and clear evidence when targets are not met.

This post is as much a statement of frustration as it is a plea for more focus on data in planning.  A recent post shared a video of mayoral candidates’ views of Gov 2.0 and open data, and highlighted the spectrum of perspectives on and understanding of the subject.  With the right person in office, the movement could become institutionalized, and planners should be verbal and enthusiastic about that prospect.  Planners need to be data-savvy and data-hungry.  We need to build programs like these into our plans today, where data is not only open to the public but open and accessible interdepartmentally, so planning can become more nimble.  Only then will we approach efficiency, more efficiently.

- Terra Curtis

 

TIME Magazine on Intelligent Cities

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/18928155 w=400&h=225]

Intelligent Cities: Bill Saporito from National Building Museum on Vimeo.

TIME Magazine recently has been running a series focusing on intelligent cities, a topic we've covered several times here on The Global Mobility Report.  As a global news source with 25 million international readers, TIME attempts to capture breaking news but also large trends in culture and ways of life around the globe.  Therefore, the focus on intelligent cities serves as an indicator of the topic's growing audience and appeal.

The issue's articles focus a lot on particular examples -- places where elements of intelligent cities have already been implemented.  These places include the efficient and affordable transportation system of CuritibaStockholm's smart grid, and Kansas City as a laboratory for Google-provided high speed internet.  Bill Saporito, TIME's assistant managing editor (see video), also highlights some of the higher-level thoughts about intelligent cities: that they will be places rich in information, where all people have access to this information, and where information is separated from raw data systematically, avoiding the inefficiencies of "noise".

One of the most interesting things Saporito mentioned in the interview was his idea of why intelligent cities are so important: they provide the ability to plan ahead.  I hadn't thought of it in this way before, but what intelligent cities will do, if successful, is provide information to citizens (e.g. when is the next bus coming, when my water bill will reach $50 this month, how quickly will I burn through this tank of gas) that enables them to change their current behavior based on the future.  Intelligent cities will sort of institutionalize behavior change -- a subject policy makers, planners, elected officials and many others spend lifetimes trying to influence.

TIME has done a nice job aggregating the information on and examples of intelligent cities and I recommend checking it out.

- Terra Curtis

Municipal Data Integration: Breaking Down the Silos and Sharing Information

A commenter on a recent post I wrote highlighted the distinction between open data and actual information.  Raw data are valuable, but the information synthesized from the data is golden.  My experiences this summer continue to highlight the need not only for better data, but also for better information. I’ve come across several barriers to better planning related to the sharing of information – or lack thereof.  There is a need to coordinate plans and funding schedules across departments (both for practical reasons but sometimes by mandate).  There is an issue of outdated information when data are shared ad-hoc and not systematically.  There is a need for collaboration to increase efficiencies and avoid duplicate work.  But the problem is that cities exist as disparate departments that collaborate on limited special projects at best.  Information owned by one department is not accessible by others without special requests, which causes information quickly to go stale and become not only not useful but also misleading.

In thinking about this problem, I’ve come across a few examples where government entities have tried to bridge the information gap.  At the Federal level, USA Spending aggregates federal spending information and packages it into a query-able (but not so clear) website.  Challenge.gov encourages the public to help solve problems within government by sharing deeper information about those problems – often requests to distill a lot of information and put it into one easy-to-understand package.

In Fairfax County, VA, they organize website information by “constituent interest” rather than by department.

In Chapel Hill, they’ve started a new online permit center, which seeks to streamline the development permitting process by removing the barrier of dealing with multiple city departments; all information regarding the status of the request will be made available online.  This new online tool will, they predict, actually better coordinate offline interactions between city departments.

Lastly, I came across Edgesoft, a software company who has developed a solution called Enterprise Land Management Solution, which I think gets at the heart of the problem of open data and interdepartmental sharing of information.  It does this by linking this information based on location data; their theory, which I’ve found to be quite true so far, is that a lot of this city information is location-based, and therefore can be organized by this parameter rather than by the department to which it belongs.  From a simple Google search, it appears several cities are already using this solution including Beverly Hills, Burbank, and Glendale, CA, Kyle, TX, and Salt Lake City, UT.

While some cities are making strides and others are at least making steps, a significant and/or comprehensive solution to interdepartmental data and information sharing has yet to be found.  Who leads the charge?  A colleague claims the federal government has started the push by establishing the E-Government Fund and adopting the 1996 Clinger-Cohen Act that established a CIO within every Federal agency and requires each to develop an IT plan.  It doesn’t seem likely that individual municipalities will be able to establish their own e-gov funds, but perhaps the federal fund grows to make grants to localities.  In San Francisco, our CIO says we need 3 things for successful municipal information sharing:

  • We need to have a vision
  • We need to be willing to do the actual, physical work required to re-integrate systems
  • We need to inspire other agencies to participate

Check out his other insights in the video below.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvbIj37X9C8&w=439&h=250]

- Terra Curtis

Google Live Transit

According to a new colleague of mine, research recently done at the California Center for Innovative Transportation (a research institute at UC Berkeley) revealed that while Google Transit’s uniform data is great for users, it presents a challenge for most small transit agencies.  Time, manpower, and technical prowess are often in short supply in such organizations.  And, despite Google’s trademark ability to make things simple, transforming one’s transit data in to GTFS (or General Transit Feed Specification) and managing the system over time is no small feat. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FW3ubvjG0PU&w=440&h=280]

In searching to find out more information about the topic, I came upon this report written by consultants NelsonNygaard and Trillium Solutions in conjunction with the California State Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the Shasta RTPA (a northern California regional transportation planning agency).  The study finds that the 8 rural agencies that make up this region desire to leverage Google Transit as a customer information tool, but that they face budget constraints in paying for technology and consultants, staff constraints for maintaining the system over time, and political constraints – it must provide an obvious value to customers and the agency.  None of these 8 agencies currently have automated vehicle locator (AVL) technology and only half have their transit data in a GIS.

While the report lays out 9 important implementation and next steps, I found it to lack critical convincing arguments to get agencies interested in this solution in the first place.  It does a good job of estimating costs for particular next steps and outlining important parties the agency would have to partner with to fully implement Google Transit, which are both helpful pieces of information, however they’re only relevant to agencies who already have the internal impetus to get something off the ground.

Interestingly, I think skimming this study made me realize the true value of research in-and-of itself more than the value of Google Transit for rural agencies.  This study involved 8 agencies, 5 of which piloted the Google Transit trip planner.  The simple act of contacting and involving these small agencies enabled them to get a solution up and running.  It serves as an example, and it also alerts other important stakeholders (most importantly, Google) to the various challenges faced by small transit agencies.

While reaching out through research is not a scalable solution, it is one important piece of the puzzle in spreading technological innovation.  As a bright-eyed and somewhat naïve student planner, I sometimes forget this.  I’m anxious to identify problems, find solutions, and implement them quickly.  I hope the study inspires enough additional writing (like this one, this one, or this one) to spread the idea that small agencies can also reap rewards of new technologies; even if it happens slowly, I’ll be glad to see it happen.

- Terra Curtis

 

Eight Cities Announce Winners to Solve Major Urban Challenges at LLGA2011

The cities of Barcelona, Cape Town, Eindhoven, Lagos, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Stockholm and Taipei announce the winners of the Living Labs Global Award 2011.

The Award presented the major challenges faced by these cities in the coming years, to which 245 companies from 30 countries responded by presenting their solutions. With rapidly growing populations, budget pressures due to the financial crisis and increasing international competition for investment, talent and tourists cities are looking for innovative approaches to remain competitive. Cities represent a major, yet complex market, spending an annual EUR 3.5 trillion in public procurement alone

The cities of Barcelona, Cape Town, Eindhoven, Lagos, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Stockholm and Taipei have announced eight winning solutions that were selected by 45 international users out of 245 submissions from 30 countries. Winning solutions will now be piloted in the participating cities, to evaluate their impact to meet the challenges.

In a unique global effort, eight cities joined forces with Living Labs Global to present their pressing challenges to the global business and technology community.

Challenges put forward by cities include the need to provide more efficient and sustainable urban services such as lighting using latest LED technologies; to rethink city services in the light of open data and apps developed by interest groups; to overcome media piracy undermining native film industries through digital distribution systems; or the need to provide financing and support to social entrepreneurs in African cities. The winning solutions are:

City of Barcelona: Citysolver, by Bitcarrier

City of Cape Town:  Venture Capital Cultivator Fund, by PoweredbyVC

City of Eindhoven: Integral Solution for Urban Infrastructures (SIIUR), by bdigital

City of Lagos: Eggup | Sell your films while preventing piracy, by Eggup.com

City of San Francisco: Open Data as a Platform for Citizen Service Delivery, by Socrata Inc.

City of Sant Cugat: Smart Parking for Smart Urban Living, by Worldsensing

City of Stockholm: Spotscout, by Spotscout Inc.

City of Taipei: A+ Care: Smart Autonomous TeleHealth Care Service, by Netown

Winners were announced after an international two-round jury process under auspices of Living Labs Global, a non-profit association based in Copenhagen working with 40 cities and 450 companies around the world to promote service innovation in cities.

The Award Ceremony was attended by 200 participants from 20 countries in Stockholm as part of the Stockholm Summit for Service Innovation in Cities.

The Living Labs Global Award 2011 is a unique global process providing full accountability in the evaluation through independent experts. The Award was carried out in partnership with Oracle Corporation, Farglory and supporting organisations from around the world.

About the Living Labs Global Award

Living Labs Global is a non-profit association based in Copenhagen (Denmark), working with 40 cities and 450 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.

Follow results and the upcoming Living Labs Global Award 2012 on Twitter. Facts: 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 systems, access to finance, media distribution, social services and other key areas of urban life.

Eight Cities Announce Winners to Solve Major Urban Challenges at LLGA2011

The cities of Barcelona, Cape Town, Eindhoven, Lagos, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Stockholm and Taipei announce the winners of the Living Labs Global Award 2011.

The Award presented the major challenges faced by these cities in the coming years, to which 245 companies from 30 countries responded by presenting their solutions. With rapidly growing populations, budget pressures due to the financial crisis and increasing international competition for investment, talent and tourists cities are looking for innovative approaches to remain competitive. Cities represent a major, yet complex market, spending an annual EUR 3.5 trillion in public procurement alone

The cities of Barcelona, Cape Town, Eindhoven, Lagos, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Stockholm and Taipei have announced eight winning solutions that were selected by 45 international users out of 245 submissions from 30 countries. Winning solutions will now be piloted in the participating cities, to evaluate their impact to meet the challenges.

In a unique global effort, eight cities joined forces with Living Labs Global to present their pressing challenges to the global business and technology community.

Challenges put forward by cities include the need to provide more efficient and sustainable urban services such as lighting using latest LED technologies; to rethink city services in the light of open data and apps developed by interest groups; to overcome media piracy undermining native film industries through digital distribution systems; or the need to provide financing and support to social entrepreneurs in African cities. The winning solutions are:

City of Barcelona: Citysolver, by Bitcarrier

City of Cape Town:  Venture Capital Cultivator Fund, by PoweredbyVC

City of Eindhoven: Integral Solution for Urban Infrastructures (SIIUR), by bdigital

City of Lagos: Eggup | Sell your films while preventing piracy, by Eggup.com

City of San Francisco: Open Data as a Platform for Citizen Service Delivery, by Socrata Inc.

City of Sant Cugat: Smart Parking for Smart Urban Living, by Worldsensing

City of Stockholm: Spotscout, by Spotscout Inc.

City of Taipei: A+ Care: Smart Autonomous TeleHealth Care Service, by Netown

Winners were announced after an international two-round jury process under auspices of Living Labs Global, a non-profit association based in Copenhagen working with 40 cities and 450 companies around the world to promote service innovation in cities.

The Award Ceremony was attended by 200 participants from 20 countries in Stockholm as part of the Stockholm Summit for Service Innovation in Cities.

The Living Labs Global Award 2011 is a unique global process providing full accountability in the evaluation through independent experts. The Award was carried out in partnership with Oracle Corporation, Farglory and supporting organisations from around the world.

About the Living Labs Global Award

Living Labs Global is a non-profit association based in Copenhagen (Denmark), working with 40 cities and 450 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.

Follow results and the upcoming Living Labs Global Award 2012 on Twitter. Facts: 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 systems, access to finance, media distribution, social services and other key areas of urban life.

SFpark Launch

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/22610428 w=440]If you're having trouble with the video, see this link.

Almost a year ago, I wrote about several “parking 2.0” solutions around the world.  One of those solutions is SFpark, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) dynamic- and data-driven parking management system.  It is intended not only to improve drivers’ experiences while trying to find a spot to park, but also sets such laudable goals as improving congestion, speeding transit, and improving bicycle and pedestrian travel.

The theory behind these benefits stems largely from the research of Donald Shoup, an economist, UCLA professor of urban planning, and venerable expert of parking who has promoted the idea that free parking is the bane of urban environments.  His theory has extended into practice in other areas as well, including Arlington, Virgina and Petaluma and Old Pasadena, California.  Pasadena has served as the prime example – creating and sustaining a vibrant commercial area, funded in part by the higher parking fees that arise due to high demand.

Back to San Francisco, the Federally-funded pilot project is a further statement of the City’s commitment to open data and government 2.0.  They’ve launched an iPhone app (with Android coming soon), displayed parking rates on sfpark.org, and opened the data stream to private app developers (here).

Some early adopters have been critical, citing the app’s strange “extreme memory warning” and the need to better understand why people are avoiding certain parking areas (crime?) rather than pricing these spaces to encourage their use.  My own criticism is of the map itself; “high” and “low” are labeled on the map, but it unclear whether this represents high availability or high prices.  The two should not be confused as they are actually inverses of each other (when availability is high, prices should be low to encourage parking there and alleviate parking in the low availability areas).  This is further confused by the pricing chart to the right of the map, which, correct me if I’m wrong, but appears to display the scheme incorrectly.  Low availability means higher prices, right Shoup?

Despite this nit-picking, I think the program is very forward-thinking and stands to set the example for other cities in the US and abroad.  For the initial pilot (running now until the summer of 2012), 7,000 of San Francisco’s 28,000 metered-parking spaces and 12,250 garage spaces will be covered with the potential to expand in the future based on the results of the pilot.

-Terra Curtis

 

Code for America

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkceyKlYrJo&w=440&h=278] I was surprised when I realized I hadn’t yet blogged about Code for America.  I mentioned it in a post last week about the future of technology and planning, and then came across it again reading Arc User: The Magazine for ESRI Software Users. For those unfamiliar, ESRI is the company that produces the most widely-used GIS software – ArcMAP.  Turns out they’re also advising the Code for America program.

So, what is Code for America (CfA)?  They’re a new non-profit that teams with cities, figures out a challenge the city is facing that could be solved most cost-effectively with a tech/web 2.0 solution, and recruits technologist fellows to spend about 10 months working out the solutions.  The result is that cities get their problems solved cheaper (and faster) than doing it on their own and the technologists get to do good while doing what they love.

This round, CfA has partnered with Boston, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Washington DC.  The intent is that they’ll solve each city’s challenge in an open and transferable way, creating solutions that apply to any municipality in the US.  Boston has challenged the fellows to improve high school education through an engaging web platform; Seattle is looking for a mechanism to enable more fluid collaboration between and among communities and public safety officials; Washington DC is expanding upon its own Apps for Democracy project, creating a manual to assist other governments in their open data programs; and, Philadelphia has asked for a solution to allow citizen collaboration on neighborhood services.

CfA is currently in full swing, with all fellows working together out of San Francisco.  We should expect the first round of solutions in September with a hand-off to cities in October and November.  In the meantime, they’re already recruiting for the next team of technologist.  Act fast because the early deadline has already passed!

-Terra Curtis

 

On Location: APA 2011, Boston

http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf “Revolutions in science are preceded by revolutions in measurement.” – Benjamin de la Pena

Technology Infrastructure and Planning Session

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve spent the last few days in Boston at the American Planning Association’s annual conference.  I wanted to write one post focused on a session I attended on Monday, entitled Technology Infrastructure and Planning.

With speakers from IBM, CISCO, and the Rockefeller Foundation, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, given that this is a planning conference.  However, as readers of this blog will know, I am very interested in the nexus of urban planning and technology, and to my pleasant surprise, this session did not disappoint.  It was probably the most thought-provoking session I attended all weekend.  Readers may want to refer to a previous blog post on “corporate planning” to learn about the planning-related initiatives of CISCO, IBM, and others. Gordon Feller of CISCO emphasized that as technology progresses and infiltrates city management further and further, we will experience a profound shift in the role of planners specifically and of government in general.  All of the speakers mentioned the concept of ERP – enterprise resource planning.  These are technology systems currently in place and used heavily by large corporations to manage and track their operations.  The speakers posited that soon we will have ERP for cities (both IBM and CISCO are currently working on it).

The implication of this is that planners will need to be extremely data savvy.  In the near term, planners could have access to extremely rich and structured data in real-time – strong evidence to defend or refute particular stakeholders’ beliefs.  In the long term, the possibilities are both amazing and frightening.  There will be a need for stronger public-private partnerships, with private companies providing and constructing the physical infrastructure (fiber optic cables, monitoring devices, etc.) and the public sector managing the data and leveraging it for decision making in ways we have yet to imagine.

That said, several early examples already do exist.  CISCO is actually constructing its own smart city in Korea – Songdo.  This is similar to Masdar City, which we previously covered.  Barcelona has designated a sector of the city as an innovation lab (22@Barcelona), where smart city concepts are tested in real time.  In 2005, Bill Clinton challenged cities to minimize their carbon footprint by making planning an integral aspect of the solution.  CISCO conducted pilots in three worldwide cities as part of its associated Connected Urban Development program: Seoul, Amsterdam, and San Francisco.  Urban Ecomap was one of the products of that program.  Blaise Aguera of Microsoft Bing demonstrates in this TEDx talk how his company is producing augmented reality maps, which have many applications for planning including data collection, community engagement, and visualization.

John Tolva, the speaker from IBM, took a reverse approach and highlighted examples of how technologists could learn from the experiences of planners and the built environment.  He emphasized a few key learnings: throughput is not connectivity; it’s easy to confuse the use of a system with the need for a system; data alone is not sufficient for problem solving, but combined with an involved community it just may be.

Benjamin de la Pena of the Rockefeller Foundation also gave an extremely insightful presentation, closing out with some cautionary notes.  I will name a few.  The reliance on data and technology may undermine our own best interests – it can be systematically exclusionary as was exemplified as far back as Athens, Greece in its democratization process.  Some of our most ambitious feats have also turned out to be great failures on certain dimensions – he cited our highway system as connecting our country but dividing our neighborhoods.  Red lining was also data driven, hardly something to be proud of.  Data literacy and transparency will be of the utmost importance: citizens must be able to trust that city managers have their best interest in mind, providing information that is not purposefully hiding misleading but rather empowering.

As a graduate student in planning, I’ll be paying heightened attention to the progress in technology infrastructure in cities and the public-private relationships that will result.  It has great implications for my, and our, future.

-Terra Curtis

Further resources:

 

On Location: APA 2011, Boston

http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf “Revolutions in science are preceded by revolutions in measurement.” – Benjamin de la Pena

Technology Infrastructure and Planning Session

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve spent the last few days in Boston at the American Planning Association’s annual conference.  I wanted to write one post focused on a session I attended on Monday, entitled Technology Infrastructure and Planning.

With speakers from IBM, CISCO, and the Rockefeller Foundation, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, given that this is a planning conference.  However, as readers of this blog will know, I am very interested in the nexus of urban planning and technology, and to my pleasant surprise, this session did not disappoint.  It was probably the most thought-provoking session I attended all weekend.  Readers may want to refer to a previous blog post on “corporate planning” to learn about the planning-related initiatives of CISCO, IBM, and others. Gordon Feller of CISCO emphasized that as technology progresses and infiltrates city management further and further, we will experience a profound shift in the role of planners specifically and of government in general.  All of the speakers mentioned the concept of ERP – enterprise resource planning.  These are technology systems currently in place and used heavily by large corporations to manage and track their operations.  The speakers posited that soon we will have ERP for cities (both IBM and CISCO are currently working on it).

The implication of this is that planners will need to be extremely data savvy.  In the near term, planners could have access to extremely rich and structured data in real-time – strong evidence to defend or refute particular stakeholders’ beliefs.  In the long term, the possibilities are both amazing and frightening.  There will be a need for stronger public-private partnerships, with private companies providing and constructing the physical infrastructure (fiber optic cables, monitoring devices, etc.) and the public sector managing the data and leveraging it for decision making in ways we have yet to imagine.

That said, several early examples already do exist.  CISCO is actually constructing its own smart city in Korea – Songdo.  This is similar to Masdar City, which we previously covered.  Barcelona has designated a sector of the city as an innovation lab (22@Barcelona), where smart city concepts are tested in real time.  In 2005, Bill Clinton challenged cities to minimize their carbon footprint by making planning an integral aspect of the solution.  CISCO conducted pilots in three worldwide cities as part of its associated Connected Urban Development program: Seoul, Amsterdam, and San Francisco.  Urban Ecomap was one of the products of that program.  Blaise Aguera of Microsoft Bing demonstrates in this TEDx talk how his company is producing augmented reality maps, which have many applications for planning including data collection, community engagement, and visualization.

John Tolva, the speaker from IBM, took a reverse approach and highlighted examples of how technologists could learn from the experiences of planners and the built environment.  He emphasized a few key learnings: throughput is not connectivity; it’s easy to confuse the use of a system with the need for a system; data alone is not sufficient for problem solving, but combined with an involved community it just may be.

Benjamin de la Pena of the Rockefeller Foundation also gave an extremely insightful presentation, closing out with some cautionary notes.  I will name a few.  The reliance on data and technology may undermine our own best interests – it can be systematically exclusionary as was exemplified as far back as Athens, Greece in its democratization process.  Some of our most ambitious feats have also turned out to be great failures on certain dimensions – he cited our highway system as connecting our country but dividing our neighborhoods.  Red lining was also data driven, hardly something to be proud of.  Data literacy and transparency will be of the utmost importance: citizens must be able to trust that city managers have their best interest in mind, providing information that is not purposefully hiding misleading but rather empowering.

As a graduate student in planning, I’ll be paying heightened attention to the progress in technology infrastructure in cities and the public-private relationships that will result.  It has great implications for my, and our, future.

-Terra Curtis

Further resources:

 

Brussels flexes its Data Muscles

Special thanks to John Van Parys of Where’s My Villo? who stumbled upon our bike share data blog posts and wrote to us concerning his open data project in Brussels.  In Brussels, the bike share system exists because of a public-private partnership between the City of Brussels and JCDecaux who is allowed to advertise on the system in return for managing its use.  JCDecaux makes system data available on its servers, which Where’s My Villo? exploits, to allow users to see where bikes are available. Where’s My Villo? is an advocate for better bike sharing.  Mr. Van Parys and his friends are Villo! users who are somewhat frustrated with its management and want improvements.  So, they built a website to publish live data (updated every 5 minutes), reporting the worst stations for finding or locking a bike every day.  They’ve also created functionality for users to report their own issues.

It appears that their service has received a fair amount of attention.  The City of Brussels is even using it to monitor their partner’s performance. They’ve also been successful: according to Van Parys, JCDecaux reports they will be allocating more resources to reshuffling the bikes.

What is meant to be highlighted here is the power of open data to bring about transparency and change.  As we noted before, there are several websites now leveraging bike share data (for example, see London, Paris, and this other site from Brussels).  Imagine if this type of transparency were brought to other types of public-private partnerships, particularly in health and transport.

-Terra Curtis

My war on regional digitized road and transport data in Stockholm

During the years 2006 – 2009 when working in the regional public transport I found an lucky opportunity to fill one of my companies most frustrating data black holes with ones and zeros. But you can’t win them all! Listen to my story. You are one year old when you learn to walk, you are five or six when you learn to ride a bike and at least 16 when learning to drive. All of us have as a primary means of traveling - walking (and here I include all in wheelchairs) and even motorists are occasionally forced to leave their car - at least to be able to refuel the car.

Although, since the modern era began, cities has focused on the car's traction, and to be frank , we have built cities such as displacing pedestrians as second-class citizens. When Sweden a few years ago legislated that motorists have an obligation to give way to pedestrians intending to cross the street - then motorists raged and state that this is a traffic hazard!

In wintertime all municipalities in Sweden are carefully plowing the roads. Although, in many of these municipalities leaders has decided that the property owners shall be responsible for clearing snow from sidewalks. How many property owners do you think it is along a normal Swedish roadside - and how likely do you make it a pedestrian is offered a safe and pleasant journey? And bike lanes often proves to be a perfect place for the snow brigade to put aside the snow.

In Sweden, the public exercise of power is highly decentralized and we have a very comprehensive municipal planning monopoly. But there is also very important to have a coherent national road infrastructure. Sweden therefore decided very early that it was important to establish a national database of road network. Yes, that is, the motorist road network, administrated by the National Swedish Road Administration. First on the runway by filling it with content was in fact the forest industry. They used this excellent almost free of charge resource to post their temporary forest roads so that their forest machines and trucks could find their way to all the remote and well hidden places where harvesting is currently underway. See there - an excellent commercial application of one of the society offered national data infrastructures!

In this decentralized Sweden, the municipalities are also responsible for the local road network. Therefore, also the digitization of the local road network has been a local affair and the Swedish Road Administration has therefore never been able to force any municipality neither to gather the data, nor to deliver it anywhere. Of course, the local politicians has limited budgets and if he / she has to choose among local public opinions, the one that demands for digitized road networks has never been particularly vociferous. In fact, even after 14 years of operation, this database NVDB has not yet signed contracts with all Swedish municipalities.

In fact, when NVDB established in 1996, bike lanes were not even on the horizon. Today as the National Traffic Administration offers the possibility after many years of nagging (not the least from me) quite many municipalities have supplied data, but there is still no one offering municipalities an opportunity to store a digitized pedestrian lane database.

I used to work in SL, the Stockholm County Public Transportation Authority, and there I was responsible for the development of Internet and mobile services. Such a core service is the travel planner. SL's network is an integrated intermodal network that spans 26 municipalities and, yes, you already understand the problem. All the county has actually delivered the digitized road network and that means that all players, especially yellow pages business and Garmin and TomTom etc have been able to develop great services. But in public transport you are totally dependent on that the footpaths are digitized - for all public transport passengers must get to and from stations and bus stops. For SL, the lack of an across municipal boundaries associated digitized pedestrian network the travel planner becoming increasingly a problem as customers always expect better and more advanced services.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw78Pwtg38w&w=425&h=350]

A few years ago when Stockholm won the opportunity to host the ITS World Congress, I saw an opportunity to change this. I put on the top of my (read SL) wish list a coherent and digitized route network for walking and biking. I quite easily in these collaborative surrounding of the National Swedish Road Administration, the National Swedish Rail Administration, The National Swedish Transport Administration, the City of Stockholm, the National Swedish Railway Company and many, many other stakeholders found friends of the mission, realizing the importance of this. Mobility services for people with impairments, police and rescue services must be found to the door even on local private pedestrian areas in closed yards, the postal service must even find doors in the z-axis, so this should be a easy piece, I thought. I built relations with ALL, and all agreed on the importance of access to such data - but no one was willing to either take responsibility or to share responsibility, this includes my former employer.

In despair I went to one of the largest commercial global players in GIS. They had a great interest - to map the inner city of Stockholm on the basis of the business traveler's perspective ... but could not see any profit to make in the mapping of walking paths in the Stockholm archipelago. No luck again.

Finally I found one guy with the same burning fire inside for the same thing as me, he ran the exact same question from one of the largest and leading infrastructure consultancy firms, actually he was the CEO of a large subsidiary specializing in GIS.

Today he is no longer there and still today you cannot find a coherent pedestrian and bicycle road network in this county.

This, ladies and gentlemen, this is my biggest carrier failure. And I indeed take it very personal.

- Åke Lindström, Market Director Kista Science City

My war on regional digitized road and transport data in Stockholm

During the years 2006 – 2009 when working in the regional public transport I found an lucky opportunity to fill one of my companies most frustrating data black holes with ones and zeros. But you can’t win them all! Listen to my story. You are one year old when you learn to walk, you are five or six when you learn to ride a bike and at least 16 when learning to drive. All of us have as a primary means of traveling - walking (and here I include all in wheelchairs) and even motorists are occasionally forced to leave their car - at least to be able to refuel the car.

Although, since the modern era began, cities has focused on the car's traction, and to be frank , we have built cities such as displacing pedestrians as second-class citizens. When Sweden a few years ago legislated that motorists have an obligation to give way to pedestrians intending to cross the street - then motorists raged and state that this is a traffic hazard!

In wintertime all municipalities in Sweden are carefully plowing the roads. Although, in many of these municipalities leaders has decided that the property owners shall be responsible for clearing snow from sidewalks. How many property owners do you think it is along a normal Swedish roadside - and how likely do you make it a pedestrian is offered a safe and pleasant journey? And bike lanes often proves to be a perfect place for the snow brigade to put aside the snow.

In Sweden, the public exercise of power is highly decentralized and we have a very comprehensive municipal planning monopoly. But there is also very important to have a coherent national road infrastructure. Sweden therefore decided very early that it was important to establish a national database of road network. Yes, that is, the motorist road network, administrated by the National Swedish Road Administration. First on the runway by filling it with content was in fact the forest industry. They used this excellent almost free of charge resource to post their temporary forest roads so that their forest machines and trucks could find their way to all the remote and well hidden places where harvesting is currently underway. See there - an excellent commercial application of one of the society offered national data infrastructures!

In this decentralized Sweden, the municipalities are also responsible for the local road network. Therefore, also the digitization of the local road network has been a local affair and the Swedish Road Administration has therefore never been able to force any municipality neither to gather the data, nor to deliver it anywhere. Of course, the local politicians has limited budgets and if he / she has to choose among local public opinions, the one that demands for digitized road networks has never been particularly vociferous. In fact, even after 14 years of operation, this database NVDB has not yet signed contracts with all Swedish municipalities.

In fact, when NVDB established in 1996, bike lanes were not even on the horizon. Today as the National Traffic Administration offers the possibility after many years of nagging (not the least from me) quite many municipalities have supplied data, but there is still no one offering municipalities an opportunity to store a digitized pedestrian lane database.

I used to work in SL, the Stockholm County Public Transportation Authority, and there I was responsible for the development of Internet and mobile services. Such a core service is the travel planner. SL's network is an integrated intermodal network that spans 26 municipalities and, yes, you already understand the problem. All the county has actually delivered the digitized road network and that means that all players, especially yellow pages business and Garmin and TomTom etc have been able to develop great services. But in public transport you are totally dependent on that the footpaths are digitized - for all public transport passengers must get to and from stations and bus stops. For SL, the lack of an across municipal boundaries associated digitized pedestrian network the travel planner becoming increasingly a problem as customers always expect better and more advanced services.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw78Pwtg38w&w=425&h=350]

A few years ago when Stockholm won the opportunity to host the ITS World Congress, I saw an opportunity to change this. I put on the top of my (read SL) wish list a coherent and digitized route network for walking and biking. I quite easily in these collaborative surrounding of the National Swedish Road Administration, the National Swedish Rail Administration, The National Swedish Transport Administration, the City of Stockholm, the National Swedish Railway Company and many, many other stakeholders found friends of the mission, realizing the importance of this. Mobility services for people with impairments, police and rescue services must be found to the door even on local private pedestrian areas in closed yards, the postal service must even find doors in the z-axis, so this should be a easy piece, I thought. I built relations with ALL, and all agreed on the importance of access to such data - but no one was willing to either take responsibility or to share responsibility, this includes my former employer.

In despair I went to one of the largest commercial global players in GIS. They had a great interest - to map the inner city of Stockholm on the basis of the business traveler's perspective ... but could not see any profit to make in the mapping of walking paths in the Stockholm archipelago. No luck again.

Finally I found one guy with the same burning fire inside for the same thing as me, he ran the exact same question from one of the largest and leading infrastructure consultancy firms, actually he was the CEO of a large subsidiary specializing in GIS.

Today he is no longer there and still today you cannot find a coherent pedestrian and bicycle road network in this county.

This, ladies and gentlemen, this is my biggest carrier failure. And I indeed take it very personal.

- Åke Lindström, Market Director Kista Science City

The Vector Project Visioning Workshop.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsDLzqWGrQk&w=425&h=350] At our Summit on Service Innovation last week in Copenhagen we ran 9 parallel Visioning Workshops, such as the one facilitated by Neil Clavin and Maya Wiseman on their Vector Project Showcase. The above video was edited by Viktorija Prak, a very talented student supporting Neil and Maya in the workshop, in which business leaders, strategists, researchers and cities invented new urban technologies to redefine the role of bikes in our cities.

Mapnificent

[vimeo 16362921 w=400 h=250]

Mapnificent from Stefan Wehrmeyer on Vimeo.

A new tool developed by Stefan Wehrmeyer beautifully displays mobility and access for a given point in a city.  Mapnificent so far contains data for 20 cities, most of which are in the US but others include Berlin, London, and Auckland. The site allows you to set a point in your chosen city and a map will display the entire area over which you could travel by public transit in a given amount of time.  It also allows you to see an area that is both 15 minutes away from yourself and 15 minutes away from a friend by transit, and since it is integrated with Google Maps, allows you to search destinations within that specified area.

Mobility and access are two important facets of a transportation system.  Mobility essentially measures the speed with which one can travel from one point to another; access measures how many destinations are located nearby or within a given travel time.  New York City has low mobility (for automobiles) but high accessibility; rural areas have high mobility but low accessibility.  What I like most about Mapnificent is its demonstration of both concepts together.  Transportation planning has relied heavily on improving mobility, without (in my opinion) enough focus on accessibility.  Perhaps Mapnificent is useful beyond just as a beautiful data display but as a comparison and evaluation tool for transit providers.

-Terra Curtis