SCP EP20: Using the Resources of Today to Build a Better Future Tomorrow, with Roxann Griffith

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In this episode of the Smart City Podcast, I interviewed Roxann Griffith. Roxann loves to help people which makes her perfect for her role as the Regional Veterans’ Employment Coordinator with the US Department of Labor. Roxann talks passionately about the apprenticeship program she is involved in and how it fits into the smart city space. We also talk about the importance of workforce diversity and the future of work. Roxann presented at the IEEE GreenTech conference in early April so we talk a bit about that as well. It was really great to talk to Roxann as it she brought a difference perspective to the Smart Cities space.

Listen Here:

 

Quotes:

“it’s my mission to educate the cities and the industries out there, so that they can utilise the services and resources we have today to build a better future tomorrow”

“the apprenticeship program shows guaranteed growth…and so with the movement to have Smart Cities, I believe that tying the two together would provide the training that’s needed to have the personnel to build out the Smart Cities or operate the technology required to run a Smart City”

“if you target big cities in the different parts of the US…it’s going to have one of those ripple out effects, where it’s going to ripple inward into the country and eventually meet in the middle”

“there’s so much that we can do with Smart Technology to help bridge that gap between those jobs that people consider to be too much work…if we start building out Smart Cities, we are going to work smarter not harder”

“the younger generation has the power right now to do it and if we get them motivated and get them behind [the Smart City] mission, they can move it forward very very quickly”

What we covered:

  • Roxann’s background which includes the US AirForce and her current role in strategic outreach and coordination for veteran employment
  • Roxann’s mission to educate the cities and industries for the future
  • US Department of Labor’s apprenticeship program and how that fits into the Smart City space
  • How the apprenticeship program works, who is involved and training Smart City personnel
  • America’s changing thoughts on technology
  • An overview of Roxann’s presentation at the IEEE GreenTech Conference and conference overall
  •  Target bigger cities to be effective leaders in Smart Cities and the ripple out effects
  • Educating the masses and using social media
  • America becoming leaders and how Roxann is helping bridge the gap
  • Sustainable farms and how to get more young people involved
  • Working smarter not harder and learning from the younger generation

Links:

US Department of Labor – Veterans https://veterans.gov

Connect:

You can connect with Roxann via LinkedIn and on email Griffith.Roxann.S@dol.gov

Connect with me via email: zoe@thesmartcitypodcast.com

Connect via Twitter and Facebook @smartcitypod

The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP E19: Designing for the Socio-Technical, with Laura Forlano

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In this episode of The Smart City Podcast, I interviewed social scientist and design researcher Laura Forlano. Laura and I had a really great discussion about the socio-technical aspects of design and how humans and machines come together. Laura talks about a number of her projects ranging from driverless technology to reimagining work and going back in history to think about technology. She is also very passionate about the active engagement of citizens and rethinking that way we do this engagement through design. We also discuss about the differences in the imagined futures of technology verses the reality.

Listen here:

Quotes:

“technology itself is a product of human creativity…ethics, values and responsibilities are embedded into the technologies that we design”

“what’s interesting is really the ways in which discussions around Smart Cities are often being shaped by many different forces and that includes major technology companies and governments but also includes civic technology organisations and activists…rather than a broad application of the same technology around the world…I think you do really have a lot of local geographies that are appropriating and shaping some of these Smart City technologies in ways that are unique in their cities”

“I’m really interested in the ways we might use design to create prototypes and experiments that can engage people in a more visceral and experiential way in what it might be like to live with that technology and then be able to solicit feedback perspectives based on the experiences”

“it’s really important to bring together not only the technical expertise about all of those technologies but also the social expertise from fields like design, sociology and anthropology to understand how people use [and understand] those technologies”

What we covered:

  • Laura’s background in communications and NYC Wireless
  • Socio-technical, human and machines coming together
  • Driverless City Project and highlighting important questions we should be asking before adopting technologies
  • Made in Chicago Project and bottom up approaches
  • Reimagining work and going back in history to think about technology
  • The Smart Cities discussion being shaped by many different forces
  • Improving engagement of citizens in Smart City projects through experiments and piloting Smart Technology
  • How we design technologies for particular communities – the imagined and reality
  • Laura’s book Invisible Algorithms and Invisible Politics
  • Glimpses of potential futures and the importance of getting involved

Links:

Laura’s website https://lauraforlano.org and her work https://criticalfutureslab.org

Driverless City Project https://www.id.iit.edu/driverlesscity/

Made in Chicago Project http://www.madeinchicago.org

Re-imagining Work with Megan Halpern https://lauraforlano.org/2014/09/29/work-reimagined/

Alphabet’s Side Walk Labs Project https://sidewalklabs.com

Big Belly http://bigbelly.com

Laura’s Book: Invisible Algorithms and Invisible Politics http://www.publicbooks.org/invisible-algorithms-invisible-politics/

 

Connect:

Connect with Laura via her website http://lauraforano.org/ or Twitter @laura4lano

Connect with me via email: zoe@thesmartcitypodcast.com

Connect via Twitter and Facebook @smartcitypod

The Smart City Podcast is Produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

 

SCP EP18: Building Responsive Cities, with Julia Hamilton

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In the episode of the Smart City Podcast, I interviewed the New Zealand Co-ordinator of SCCei and community focused advocate Julia Hamilton. Julia is a Strategic Projects Advisor for Wellington City Council in NZ and is doing some really exciting stuff. I’ll start by saying that everything we discuss is personal opinion only and does not represent the companies we work for or is not associated with the companies in any way. Julia is particularly interested in using technology to support and enhance social outcomes. She talks about some of the projects she is working on and how Smart City tech can be used in planning non-ticketed events and is being used to in emergency response situation to achieve better outcomes. NZ is part of the Digital 5 (I think now is the Digital 7) which is a network of leading digital governments focused on improving the digital economy. Julia also shares insight into the value of collaboration, responsive cities and breaking down accessibility barrier to allow citizens to bring in new information for decision making.

Listen Here:

Quotes:

“[traditionally] we plan cities for people but we don’t really understand how the people interact with the places that we make for them”

“we can use [data] to inform us where people go during an emergency, in real-time to understand where people are, and then also for future planning to understand how did people respond to the stress event and is there things we can put in place”

“A real benefit for Wellington is that we already had these existing collaborations and connections with partners and the technology is really just supporting and enhancing those relationships…rather than saying here’s a cool piece of technology what can we do with it? We are saying here’s a problem, is technology a tool that can help us address this problem?”

“it’s incredible that most of us have never met face-to face but we’ve been able to pull this concept together. [SCCei] is really showing the power of technology and breaking down those barriers”

“providing easy and common access to a way to collaborate, even if that’s through data, is really powerful…now we can always see in real-time what everyone is working on and our meetings are a lot more meaningful”

“I think within the Smart City space there’s a really strong focus around sharing the work that you are doing so we’re not duplicating it and how can we co-benefit from these types of processes”

What we covered:

  • Julia’s background and current role
  • Evidence based decision making for social outcomes
  • Living Lab project and 3D modelling
  • Pedestrian mobility, using sensors and integrating data
  • Our City Tomorrow Project and using data in emergency situations
  • The scale of Smart City Projects in Wellington and the innovation culture
  • How Julia became involved in Smart Cities Council Emerging Innovators
  • NZ’s forward thinking, government led approach and the Digital 5 Nations
  • Access to collaboration and interest-based discussions
  • NZ’s leadership in the Smart City Space and the importance of sharing
  • Responsive cities and using citizens ideas in planning and decisions

Links:

Wellington City Council https://wellington.govt.nz

Partnership with NEC https://www.nec.com/en/global/onlinetv/en/society/wellington.html

Living Lab project https://www.nec.com/en/case/wellington/index.html

Our City Tomorrow project https://wellington.govt.nz/your-council/projects/our-city-tomorrow

Digital 5 Nations https://www.ict.govt.nz/governance-and-leadership/international-leadership/d5-wellington-2018/

Connect:

Connect with Julia via LinkedIn or email julia.hamilton@wcc.govt.nz

You can connect with me on Twitter and Facebook @smartcitypod and email: zoe@thesmartcitypodcast.com

The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP EP17: Changing the structure of society, with Colin Wright

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In this episode of The Smart City Podcast, I had a fantastic conversation with minimalist, writer, podcast host, blogger, speaker and full time traveller Colin Wright. We discussed the linkages between minimalism and Smart Cities and how people-scale cities make for happier places and reduce under-utilised time. We also discussed a number of different technologies and dive deep into using science fiction as a means to think about the possible societal impacts some technologies. This was a supposed to be a bit of a different episode for you, mixing it up because Smart Cities really touches on so many aspects so I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

Listen Here:

Quotes:

“what people are trying to do when we talk about Smart Cities…and that type of forward thinking urban development, really what we are looking at is building things more intentionally as opposed to building things in the ways we’ve always built them just because”

“what I am hoping will happen [with Smart Cities] is that we’ll see a whole lot more people-scale spaces as opposed to car-scale spaces…spaces that allow far more types of work to be done, far more efficiently and effectively and hopefully too, ways that are more beneficial for people’s health”

“if we can set up cities in such a way that elevate a lot of those health related issues, happiness-draining issues that we associated with work, more of us can do either work that we enjoy or at a bare minimum work that we don’t feel terrible about”

“you can go in a lot of crazy directions [with autonomous vehicles], you can look at it from the lens of the current paradigm where cars are things that get us from building to building, place to place, and just say well it will be that but much more efficient on multiple levels, or you could say that the very structure of society would change”

“my policy for [new technology] is get excited, geek out, allow yourself to do the research and get excited about the potential, but then self-reflect. The more excited you are about it means that you should require more proof, you should be all the more sceptical about it because you will be seeing things through the lens of that enthusiasm and that doesn’t give it a fair shake”

“Being able to show the human impact and the way society might change…for better and for the worse with each of these technology is great because we don’t want to build a dystopian society, we don’t want to accidentally build a tyrant-led panopticon”

What we covered:

  • The relationship between Smart Cities and minimalism
  • A deeper dive into minimalism and Colin’s lifestyle
  • People-scale places, reducing wasted time and feeling good about work
  • The differences in the cities that were either built for the human or built the car
  • Electric and autonomous vehicles and their potential to change the structure of society
  • Life cycle tracking and consuming more intentionally
  • Blockchain, cryptocurrency and some ideas about what’s missing
  • Geeking out and being sceptical about new technologies
  • Colin’s interest in 3D manufacturing and e-waste recycling
  • Using science fiction novels and TV shows to think about the human ramifications of current and future technologies

Links:

Colin Wright’s website http://colin.io and Blog http://exilelifestyle.com

Podcast: Let’s Know Things http://letsknowthings.com

The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson

Black Mirror on Netflix

Connect:

Connect with Colin via email or Twitter, Instagram, Facebook @colinismyname

You can connect with me on Twitter and Facebook @smartcitypod and email: zoe@thesmartcitypodcast.com

The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP EP16: Breaking down traditional ways of thinking, with Marika Svikis

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In this episode of The Smart City Podcast, I interviewed NSW coordinator of the Smart Cities Council Emerging Innovators (SCCei) and people focused planner Marika Svikis. I’ll start by saying that everything we discuss is personal opinion only and does not represent the companies we work for or is not associated with the companies in any way. Marika is very interested in harnessing big data to better inform design and using how people feel in a city as a metric of success. For example how happy people feel rather than just how efficiently things are running.  We also discussed how the SCCei came to be and the importance of getting young professionals involved. Marika believes that leadership in this space starts with education and that we can’t keep using traditional ways of thinking and working to deliver effective smart cities. She flips the emerging trends questions around on me so you’ll get to hear what I think.

Listen Here:

Quotes:

“I’m interested in how we can harness big data to better inform design…and the way we plan and how we can use people as a metric for the success of a smart city project”

“[Australia’s popultion] is a bit of limitation but we could view it as an opportunity so if we get things right now, or start to get things right in the next few years, as the population grows we won’t have to backtrack”

“A Smart City is done best when the people and the human-centric approach is innately linked with data”

“SCCei is going to be a platform where we are taken seriously and the input that we have will be respected and listened to”

“all these disruptions that are happening in silo…ultimately come together in a Smart City…so a Smart City should be accommodating to all these disruptions which is a huge task”

“[forming SCCei] has definitely opened my eyes to what’s possible when you genuinely want to do something or create something…it just takes that mindset shift and motivation”

What we covered:

  • Marika’s background in architecture and a love for the city
  • Using people as a metric of success for Smart Cities
  • Some of the projects Marika is currently working on
  • How the Smart Cities Council Emerging Innovators (SCCei) group was founded and what’s coming up
  • Opportunities and limitation for Australia in the Smart City Space
  • Linking data with a human-centric approach
  • Using data to measure success and make for better design
  • Getting young people involved in the Smart City Space
  • Smart Cities Week Conference in Sydney in October 2018
  • The importance of changing our thinking and cross disciplinary collaboration
  • How Australia can become leaders through education
  • My thoughts on the emerging trend we aren’t talking about
  • Disruption, changing work environments and breaking down traditional ways of thinking to deliver Smart Cities

Links:

Planning Institute of Australia https://www.planning.org.au

SCCei  https://anz.smartcitiescouncil.com/article/smart-cities-council-emerging-innovators

Twitter or Instagram @SCC_Innovators

Smart Cities Week Conference in October https://www.smartcitiesweek.com/2018-australia/

Connect:

You can connect with Marika on LinkedIn or via email marikasvikis@gmail.com

You can connect with me on Twitter and Facebook @smartcitypod and email: zoe@thesmartcitypodcast.com

The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP EP15: The Human Smart Cities Movement, with Kylie Legge

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In this episode of The Smart City Podcast, I had a great chat with Place Maker Kylie Legge. Kylie is the founder of Place Score, we discuss how Place Score aims to positively change the way engagement with the community happens and change the way data is collected and stored in order to be used effectively used across multiple projects. Kylie and I discuss the need to think more holistically about assets and sharing the space we have, as well as how young people show up in the data and the smart city space. Kylie offers some great insights into thinking about how smart cities should focus on health and wellbeing and a systems approach to community making. We also touch on the importance of awareness into the impacts technology can have on a place so we can shape the outcomes positively.

Listen here:

What we cover in this episode:

  • Kylie’s background and Kylie’s current role as Place Maker
  • Why Kylie is interested in Smart Cities
  • Kylie’s focus on the making the city better for human beings by using data to make evidence based decisions
  • Smart Cities Council ANZ’s Built Environment Task Force
  • The opportunity to share resources and the need to think holistically
  • Kylie’s company Place Score and how they are changing the way community engagement happens
  • How “access” can affect the workplace experience
  • The current under-respresention of data for young people and Place Score’s focus on the engagement on “lost” demographics
  • Kylie’s book Future City Solutions
  • Putting mental health and the forefront and using Smart Cities to improve wellbeing
  • Becoming leaders in Smart City thinking, systems and governance
  • The impact of technology on social interaction and the places where people come together

Quotes:

“I was a little bit worried that with this new big trend and interest in Smart Cities we were going to forgot about the human beings. It would be all exciting about… Smart this and Smart that… but actually were we going to make cities better for people?”

“We need to start thinking much more holistically about where we invest, so those investments have the best return for whole community not just a single segment of the community”

“High care factor, low performance equals high priority. So we are aiming to be able to provide a transparent process for the community and a rigorous evidence-based dataset to the government to guide more effective investment in our urban environments”

“Nationally trending at the moment, particularly for younger people, is access to fresh air and natural light [at work] so when we understand what it is that people really value we can be talking to our built environment professionals saying “how do we get we get more of this?” because this is what actually makes people happy”

“fundamentally…the single biggest challenge we are facing as a country and as citizens is that our communities are getting sicker and sadder..if we can put [this] at the lead of [what] we are all going to work towards, that would allow us to integrate better as it would give us a common purpose”

“there is a real need for systematic change, rather than just focussing on the tech…as governance is going to be one of the biggest challenges”

“if we don’t have a knowledge economy, if we don’t have interesting jobs for the human being…we are going to run into big troubles because nobody wants to be treated like a robot and no-one wants to act like one”

Links:

Place Score http://www.placescore.org

Smart Cities Council ANZ Built Environment Taskforce https://anz.smartcitiescouncil.com/article/built-environment-task-force

Austrade Future Cities Jam https://www.austrade.gov.au/

Connect:

You can connect with Kylie Legge on LinkedIn and Twitter @place_score or via email kylie@placescore.org

You can connect with me on Twitter and Facebook @smartcitypod and email: zoe@thesmartcitypodcast.com

The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP E14: Addressing energy inequality in remote communities, with Nick Kamols

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In this episode of the Smart City Podcast, I interviewed Town Planner and Smart City Entrepreneur, Nick Kamols.  Nick was calling up from Indonesia, where he spent a month with his startup, PowerWells. PowerWells aim is to provide basic access to electricity to remote areas in Indonesia, and is using e-waste to set up small-scale energy supply systems. Thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, PowerWells will be able to install 120 of these units in a sustainable way. Nick is a fellow member of the Smart Cities Council Emerging Innovators, and is doing some really cool stuff in this space. In this episode, we also talk a little bit about drones and powering on with innovation.

Disclaimer: Everything discussed is personal opinion only and does not represent the companies we work for or associated in any way with these companies.

Listen Here:

What we cover in this episode:

  • Nick’s background in town planning and how he became interested in Smart Cities
  • What Nick’s doing in the social enterprise startup space with his start up PowerWells
  • How Nick and his team came up with the plan to use e-waste to address energy inequality
  • The power of mobile phone technology to connect the world
  • The community consultation plan Nick has to address stakeholder engagement from the bottom up
  • What Nick and his team are doing during their 4 – 5 week trip to Indonesia
  • The next steps for Nick in the Smart City space and his involvement in the Smart Cities Council Emerging Innovators
  • Where Nick thinks Australia ranks and why we have certain luxuries in how we can approach Smart City solutions
  • The reason Australia is well set up for leading in the drone technology space
  • The possibilities for mass drone aerial displays to take over the night-time crowd entertainment space
  • Why Nick believes Brisbane is a great place to pilot Smart City technology, and why Indonesia has been a good place too
  • The importance of getting involved with and starting projects where you are
  • The interplay between government and innovation
  • Why we need to talk about the impact of emerging trends on people’s lives, not just the emerging trends themselves
  • How you can be involved in the Smart Cities Council, whether you’re an emerging innovator or not

Quotes:

“My interest in Smart Cities came from a keen interest in the future of cities. I believe that Smart Cities is enabling the sort of futures that we want to have…I really see it as using upcoming technologies and connectivity, and just good town planning in general. It’s tools to be able to deliver better outcomes for the people that are living in cities and other sort of settlements.”

“We came up with a plan that uses electronic waste to try an address energy inequality overseas in remote communities that…don’t really have access to electricity…We’re creating little micro-systems of solar power and battery storage that just provide a basic reliable energy supply [that can charge] 40 mobile phones per day and 6 hours of light for a medium-sized communal space each night.”

“There’s definitely strong ethical issues that I’m pondering. What I really love about [PowerWells] is that we’re not doing too much. We’re not going in with some amazing solution, we’re not even introducing mobile phones. People already have them, they have good service coverage, but…you’re not getting the most out of your phone if it takes you two days to charge it.”

“Mobile phones are good, making it easier to charge would be good, and light and electricity is good. With the Smart Cities background, my mind started racing to all these connectivity type things—IOT, value add, linking them up in some kind of network—and then we just went, no, let’s go over there and see what is actually going to benefit the people.”

“I feel that we [Australia] have the luxury to pick and choose what to get involved with. A lot of nation states have pressures that really need Smart Cities [solutions] to be solving their problems right now. We have the luxury to be able to sit back…A lot of the things aren’t a necessity, we’ll be quite fine without them, but we’ll just be a lot better if we do start doing things [in the Smart City space.]”

“I think the best place [to pilot Smart City technology] is whatever city someone is in. Just go out and do it! Move fast, break things. If anyone wants to get involved in stuff, just start doing it right now.”

“Government should never really catch up with innovation. Innovation should always be pushing ahead and Government should always be scrambling to keep up. Because sort of by definition, if governments do catch up, innovation has started to stall.”

Links:

Connect:

You can connect with Nick via email: nick@kamols.com

You can connect with the Smart Cities Council Emerging Innovators on Twitter @scc_innovators or via email: sccinnovators@gmail.com

Connect with me via email: zoe@thesmartcitypodcast.com

Connect via Twitter and Facebook @smartcitypod

 

Podcast production by Ellen Ronalds Keene.