Future Cities Digest #23 (01/05/2014)

by Diana Phiri-Witty

#mapping #jobs #transport #Conveyal

Which neighbourhoods are best suited for those who work in finance? If you are a designer, architect or artist, how many jobs are available within a half hour of your house? These are noteworthy questions that software development firm Conveyal is asking. They have created software that collates information such as census data, industry location, job statistics, public transit feeds and open source mapping. This information is then used to produce maps that detail how accessible various jobs are, and by which modes of transport, and from which areas. This type of data could further be used to explore the best areas for building new houses, determine how cycle paths or bus routes could improve job access, and inform where companies could set up their offices in order to attract employees in their industry.

 #urban #crowdfunding #projects #Guardian

Last week Guardian Cities collated and shared an interesting selection of 13 urban crowdfunding projects. Case studies include a proposition to redesign a rundown area around a road flyover in Liverpool and turn it into an urban park so as to connect pedestrians and cyclists with the heritage quarter of the city. Another venture is located in Memphis, where a crowdfunding project is aimed at raising money for a Civic Solar plant that is expected to provide solar capability for 30 different municipal building across the city. There is also an interesting project in Wales, where a group of local activists managed to crowdfund over £750 000 to create “a multi-purpose community centre to host a conference suite for local businesses and community groups, an IT centre to host workshops and facilities for young people”.

 #sunlight #cities #solar #planning

One article that has received great media interest this week explores the historical and current discussions surrounding the right to sunlight in cities. Writer Henry Grabar studies ideas of how Greek and Roman cities of the past, to modern day American cities have considered sun patterns in their planning. It is intriguing to traverse through time and see how the issue of access to sunlight has evolved from being considered as essential to the quality of life of citizens; to it’s potential of being a source of economic empowerment through urban solar panels. Graber explains how a Tokyo court in the 1970s ruled that ‘Sunshine is essential to a comfortable life, and therefore a citizen’s right to enjoy sunshine at his home should be duly protected by law,’ and we also see a case in 2008 where one neighbour was sued because their trees were casting a shadow on their neighbours solar panels.

 #mobile #transformations #Nokia #Microsoft

This week Microsoft has completed the acquisition of the devices and services wing of Nokia. The Finish company through 150 years of its history transitioned from making paper, tyres, generators, mobile phones – and is now focusing on three core technologies: network infrastructure, maps and location-based services and licensing and development capabilities. The $7.2bln deal implies that 25,000 Nokia employees are now expected to move to Microsoft and the software maker will morph into a heavy-weigh contender in the hardware industry. With its capacity of shipping more than 200 million handsets a year, Microsoft is joining the stage with Samsung, Apple, Huawei and Lenovo, in the international smartphone industry.

 Recent hot releases: 

“This book broadens the public and policy discourse on the importance of well-being by examining psychological, social, environmental, economic, organizational, institutional and political determinants of individual well-being. This book will be of interest to individuals following the current public and policy debates about well-being, as well as to policy makers in fields of social and health care, environmental planning, urban development, and innovation, industrial and economic policy.”

“As different as the origins of St. Petersburg, Mumbai, Shanghai, and Dubai are, they share a characteristic as historical outposts of Western trade, architecture, and culture. Brook explores the ramifications in chronicles of each city, prominent among which are tensions between the modernizing influences of these cities and the traditional customs of the countries in which they are situated.”

 ‘…innovative architect and urban designer CJ Lim explores the issue of urban transformation and how the creation, storage and distribution of food has been and can again become a construct for the practice of everyday life. Food City investigates the reinstatement of food at the core of national and local governance — how it can be a driver to restructure employment, education, transport, tax, health, culture, communities, and the justice system, re-evaluating how the city functions as a spatial and political entity.’

This week’s artefact from the future:
inFORM (MIT Media Lab)
inFORM is a Dynamic Shape Display that can render 3D content physically, so users can interact with digital information in a tangible way. inFORM can also interact with the physical world around it, for example moving objects on the table’s surface. Remote participants in a video conference can be displayed physically, allowing for a strong sense of presence and the ability to interact physically at a distance.