Essay über Google’s Smart City Aktivitäten

Harvard-Ökonom Edward Glaeser sagt Städte seien nur soziale Suchmaschinen, die dazu dienten, Menschen mit ähnlichen Interessen zusammenzubringen… :


Excellent docu on the buy out of cities
Excellent docu on ARTE discussing that ever larger parts of cities are transfered from public sector to privat hand. The result: Private companies develop public infrastructure (e.g. IKEA: refurbishes streets, public space, buildings in downtown surrounding their store in Hamburg); but also monitor and discipline citizens with private security staff – leading to an increasing resistance of citizenship to private developments. The docu discusses the Business Improvement Districts (BID) (e.g. London-Angel) that take over the municipal administration. Consequently the executive of BID in Angel takes over the role of a local mayor. The docu underpins the change of paradigm in the urban business environment and -conduct. Worth watching!!

Is Europe left behind in the SC discourse due to limited municipal autonomy?
The municipal autonomy to fund initiatives to improve themselves impacts the ability to deploy Smart City. projects. According to the British urbanist Rick Robinson ‘ UK cities have autonomy over only about 17% of their funding as compared to an average of 55% across countries represented by the OECD.’ This entails the danger of being left behind in attracting taxpayers. He argues that ‘local authorities in Europe, the United States and Asia have constructed more substantial, multi-million Euro / Dollar business cases to invest their own funds in platforms that combine static open data with realtime data from sensors and infrastructure, and which use social media and smartphones to improve engagement between citizens, communities, businesses and both public- and private-sector service providers.’
more details:

Where are the European Googles? (Mazzucato, TED, 2013)

A great TED talk and a highly interesting position on the role of governments!

Mazzucato is asking, why all the innovative new economy type companies come out of the USA. “Where are the European Googles?” and “What is the secret behind the Silicon Valley growth model? On the one hand side there are different market making mechanisms like a dynamic venture capital sector and different commercialization policies that allow companies to bring their products to market more easily. However, the crucial point is the funding of innovative technology by Government. Mazzucato uses the examples of the iPhone where all the innovative technologies that make the iPhone a cool device were funded by Government: the internet (funded by DARPA, Government of Defense), GPS (funded by military Navistar Program), the touchscreen display (funded by CIA and NSF), SIRI (funded by DARPA). Therfore the Government’s and public sector’s reputation of being a boring, complex, leviathan, bureaucratic and somehow annoying aparatus is unsuitable. According to Mazzucato there is a widely shared notion that the legitimation of a state is to fix market failures and to care for higher level problems like pollution. This notion is nurished by media when they discuss that ‘Governments should stick to the basics: better schools for a skilled work-force, clear rules and a level playing field for enterprises of all kinds’ (The Economist, April 21st 2012, The Third Industrial Revolution). This notion however, neglects that the state was rather creating the market (with reference to the previously mentioned examples) than fixing it. Mazzucato therefore appeals to stop depicting the state as a neccessary and boring part in the economic environment. She argues that it actually is the state who takes the risks and creates the markets without being rewarded. She therefore appeals to create an entrepreneurical state organisation where a the markets grant back gains from their business based on state funded innovation.

Live talk from Ezio Manzini at lunchtime today!!

Design When Everybody Designs, London – RSA

‘An increasingly interconnected world presents opportunities and incentives to learn, explore, collaborate and innovate. H​ow do we nurture conditions in which a diffuse creativity can flourish and evolve through collaborative organisations and, in so doing, realise meaningful steps towards a more resilient and sustainable society?’ RSA, n.d.)

An important topic in the context Smart City as it addresses the collaborative challenges of the various stakeholders involved.

The Town Management Company of Fujisawa SST shows that traditional roles of industry and municipality are about to terminate in the Smart City
Panasonic develops the town of Fujisawa, approx 30km south-west of Tokyo. It is planned to host 1,000 households and should be finished for Panasonics 100th birthday in 2018 and used as lighthouse project shown at the Olympics 2020 in Tokyo. Panasonic quote “We will actively promote smart town projects in Japan and other countries modeled on Fujisawa SST’. The intention is to build a new smart town based on lifestyles. not on technology. Focus of this development is on energy (create, store, safe, trade, manage – in buildings and in the connectivity of buildings), security (in houses, streets, streetlights), mobility (share concepts for e-cars, -scooters, -bikes), healthcare and community management. The “Town management Company will take residents views into consideration, incorporate new services and technologies and continuously support the sustainable evolution of the town.” So it is not the traditional municipality anymore, but a joint approach of public and private entities.

Google enters the Smart City business

Finally! This should bring the most skeptical to think: Google enters the Smart City market.
For me, just another proof that Smart City is a space for a paradigm shift and not only a continuation of our existing business in cities.
It would not be the first time, that Google rolls up the (business-)field from behind and leaves established players back in pure astonishment. Well, as Einstein said, “Insanity is when you always do the same thing but expect different results.” It seems, as if a significant number of industry players tries to apply what they always did and then wonder why Smart City for them is not working …