SCP E111 Smart Community Thinking Solving Wicked Problems, with Mark Thomas

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In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast, Zoe chats with Mark Thomas, the Managing Director of Serviceworks group, an international Smart City Consultancy. Zoe and Mark discuss how council amalgamations sparked Mark’s interest in the Smart City space and led to a stint in local politics, as well as how he sees New Zealand currently embracing the Smart Community concepts. Mark shares numerous great examples of how Smart Community thinking can be used to solve wicked problems and engage and empower citizens at the same time. Zoe and Mark also discuss Smart Stadiums, what we can learn from Singapore’s approach to integration, and the emerging trends of Digital Twins, AI and blockchain being used in cities. As always, we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it.

 

Listen here:

 

What we cover in this episode:

  • Mark’s background in the commercial, community and political spheres and his passion for helping people
  • How council amalgamations sparked Mark’s interest in the Smart City space and led to a stint in local politics
  • What Smart Community means to Mark and why the concepts are so important
  • How Mark sees New Zealand currently embracing Smart concept
  • Solving wicked problems using Smart Community thinking and tools that engage and empower citizens
  • Projects Mark is currently working on, including a MaaS platform in Southern China and some speaking engagements in Asia
  • The opportunities and challenges of designing Smart Stadiums
  • What we can learn from Singapore about better integration between disciplines, government and industry
  • The need for Smart concepts to have a home and leadership in central government in order to drive change
  • The emerging trends of Digital Twins, AI and blockchain being used in cities

Quotes:

[On the local council amalgamation that sparked his interest in Smart Cities]“[The amalgamation] was pretty unpopular on the ground, it was being imposed. All of the reports had been done, there was a lot of rationale, but people were concerned that they were going to lose what they liked, even though what they liked didn’t work that well…I could see that there was an opportunity to help make quicker progress on some of our city problems by using technology in a Smarter way.”

“I’m much more interested and what I talk about most is the tools that exist now to help communities own more of their information, have access to their data and play a greater role in solving the problems.”

“No city government has the money to spend fixing all the transport problems…maybe there’s less of a need to spend those billions [on upgrading the city transport systems] now when you can use the existing infrastructure you’ve got, better.”

“Digital twins are…creating an alternative city, it’s representing the physical environment in digital form, and what that means from a planning point of view is trying to avoid making mistakes.”

“Where there’s a trust relationship and where there are transactions…blockchain can have a role in terms of making things work more efficiently, but also building this sharing inclusive idea.”

“This alternative reality that’s being created [in a digital twin] is based off real things, real temperatures and wind speeds, even citizen direct inputs…and it’s a way for us to do a much better job of understanding what we’re intending to build or to plan and also living with it for a while before we go into the execution phase.”

“These legacy assets we struggle with in cities that cost us so much to maintain, so much to improve, and that we could get a much better handle on both the prioritisation and the solution by a more digital approach.”

 

Links:

The Fourth Age by Byron Reese

Virginia Storm Surge App

VanConnect

Smart Cities Congress Mumbai

Singapore’s Smart Nation Office

Barcelona Expo in October 2018

Virtual Singapore

 

Connect:

Find the full show notes at: www.mysmart.community

Connect with Mark on LinkedIn and on Twitter @markthomasnz or email him at Mark@serviceworks.co.nz

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook @smartcommpod

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP E110 Smarter and greener without over investing, with Chungha Cha

In this epsiode of the Smart Communtiy Podcast, Zoe has a fascinting conversation with Chungha Cha, the Co-founder and Chair of the Re-Imagining Cities Foundation. Zoe and Cha discuss his background in finance and how he became passionate about Smart Communities, plus some of the organisations he works with around the world. Cha tells us how he thinks Korea is currently embracing Smart concepts, projects he’s currently working on, and why accelerating Smart Communities is the most effective way to positively influence whole cities and regions. They discuss the gaps and the greenwashing that can exist between different disciplines, and some ideas for better integration. Zoe and Cha finish their chat discussing the emerging trend of overwhelm in the face of the urgent climate crisis, and why we need financial arguments, not just people- or planted-focused arguments, in order to achieve true sustainable solutions. As always, we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it.

Listen here:

 

What we cover in this episode:

  • Cha’s background in finance and how he became passionate about Smart Cities
  • Some of the companies Cha works with around the world
  • What a Smart City is to Cha and why it’s so important
  • The 3 global challenges that Cha’s work focuses on
  • How Korea is currently embracing the Smart Community concept
  • Zoe’s experiences and thoughts on Korea’s opportunities and challenges with regards to Smart Cities, Smart Mobility and Sustainability
  • Why accelerating Smart Communities is the most effective way to positively influence whole cities and regions
  • The gaps and green washing that can exist between different disciplines in Smart City and sustainability collaborations
  • Projects Cha is working on right now, including Lakeview Village in Toronto
  • Cha’s work with Switch Automation to increase profitability, drive down greenhouse gases and make a healthier environment inside the building for the people
  • The emerging trend of overwhelm in the face of the urgent climate crisis
  • The need for the financial arguments (not just the people- or planet-focused) for sustainable solutions

 

Quotes:

“What are cities going to do about all the energy…all the water they’re going to be needing, a lot of waste that they’re going to be creating, traffic, pollution, affordable housing, education? These are all the challenge that cities face today because of this phenomenon of [rapid urbanisation].”

“There are places in the world like Copenhagen who are demonstrating that economic growth can continue its increase while their greenhouse gases are decreasing, so they’ve been successful in decoupling economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions. We should try to apply that to all places in the world, right?”

“I think Korea is behind if we look at many places in Europe, the United States and even in Asia. Korea is a laggard in the Smart City space… [But] Korean companies do have a good chance of catching up in the race very quickly. We’re trying.”

“As soon as you’re monitoring these things [like levels of C02, BOCs], then you become aware and then you say ‘this is not acceptable, let’s do something about it’.”

“We have to integrate across disciplines, but we’re not doing that effectively. You need to have government and the private sector, and within the private sector you need some disciplines like architects, engineers and finance. They have the money, the know how and the skill sets.”

“We can’t [integrate] all over the world all at the same time…but we can create these little communities of better integrated platforms.”

 

Links:

Smart Cities Council based in Washington DC https://smartcitiescouncil.com/ 

Smart Cities Council ANZ https://anz.smartcitiescouncil.com/ 

GRESB Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark https://gresb.com/

Architecture 2030 https://architecture2030.org/

Switch Automation https://www.switchautomation.com/

MIPIM real estate conference https://www.mipim.com/ 

 

Connect:

Connect with Cha on LinkedInor via the Reminagining Cities Website

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook @smartcommpod

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

 

SCP E109 Evidence-based, adaptable and iterative approaches to planning and design, with Prugya Maini

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In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast, Zoe has a great chat with Prugya Maini, an urban ist with a background in planning and design. Prugya tells us how evidence-based planning frameworks, or lack thereof, sparked her interest in the Smart City space, and why we need more adaptability and iterative approaches. Zoe and Prugya discuss how Australia is embracing Smart concepts, as well as the need for upskilling and knowledge sharing to address the current skills gaps. Prugya shares how important it is to speak with and actually listen to people from other disciplines, as well as the power of open mindedness and high trust, high respect environments for sparking innovation and creating integration. They finish their conversation discussing trends of accountability, adaptability and the relationship between failure and innovation. As always, we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it.

Listen here:

What we cover in this episode:

  • Prugya’s background in planning and design, and her passion for how the built environment shapes people’s lives
  • How evidence-based planning frameworks sparked her interest in the Smart City space
  • What a Smart City is to Prugya and why it’s so important
  • Why we need more iterative approaches to planning and how we can be more adaptive
  • The ways Australia is embracing the Smart Community concept and how the conversation has progressed in recent times
  • How secondments across Councils could help share knowledge and address the shortage of Smart skills
  • The need for up-skilling to continue throughout a career, not only to remain relevant but also to help with collaboration and cooperating with others’ expertise
  • Why we should all be talking to people in different disciplines and listening to experts in other fields
  • The power of open mindedness and high trust, high respect environments for sparking innovation and fostering integration
  • The trends of accountability, adaptability and the relationship between failure and innovation

Quotes:

“My passion is the impact of our built environment on people and the way that our built environment shapes people’s lives for the better or worse, and provides them with opportunities to thrive.”

“Everyone has their own cards to bring to the table…[There’s a] wealth of knowledge that individuals bring from their own siloed background, but if we’re all at the same table, projects progress phenomenally in such a short amount of time once we’re all having that discussion.”

“If you don’t understand the opportunities at present then you’re always going to reject a proposal that goes beyond your scope of understanding.”

“I do think that the best integration that I’ve seen has come from clients that are open minded and are willing to listen to their consultants”

“How do you encourage innovation and experimentation without an openness to fail? At a small scale yes, but fail to some degree.”

“While I would like to see more accountability from the public sector, in terms fo adaptability I would also like to see more accountability from the private sector…and until you have those requirements sometimes things just don’t progress.”

Connect:

Connect with Prugya on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/prugya-maini-6a840393

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook @smartcommpod

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP E108 Urban mining and the value of citizen thinking, with Abel Immaraj

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In this episode of the Smart Community podcast, Zoe has a fascinating conversation with Abel Immaraj, a consultant and hydraulic engineer with a background in natural resource management and national, state and local water reforms. In this episode, Zoe and Abel discuss the value of citizen thinking and the unintended consequences of individuals adopting technology without thinking of it as a community issue, as well as how he sees Australia embracing the Smart Community concepts. Abel tells us about the concept of urban mining and why the circular economy should always be in the same conversation as Smart Communities, as well as why the nexus of water, energy, waste and the land is so important. Zoe and Abel finish their conversation discussing the emerging trends of information poverty, the increasing complexity of the world, the bundling of service providers and how brokers are now becoming more common to help us navigate the increasing choices we have. As always, we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it.

 

Listen now:

What we cover in this episode:

  • Abel’s background in hydraulic engineering, natural resource management and advisory work
  • His passion for water and his interest in what makes communities sustainable
  • Why Smart Communities and citizen thinking is so important
  • The unintended consequences of individuals adopting Smart technology without thinking of it as a community issue
  • How Abel sees Australia is currently embracing the Smart Community concept
  • Why the Circular Economy should always be in the same conversation as the Smart Community
  • How important it is for us to understand how we’re connected through water and water enabled cycles
  • The nexus of water, energy, waste and the land
  • The capability we now have to create simulations and games to engage the community in questions around transitioning to new solutions
  • The way catalysts can foster integration and collaboration
  • The concept of urban mining and why it’s an opportunity
  • The emerging trend of information poverty and the increasing complexity of the world
  • The negative consequences of innovations and disruptions
  • The bundling of service providers and how brokers have emerged to help us navigate the increasing number of choices we have

 

Quotes:

“All the systems on this planet function because of the water cycle. So it’s the host to life and it also connects us from the past well into the future…I’m passionate about learning about water but also how water changes life, how it makes it liveable on this planet.”

“Smart Community now globally has at its foundation the nexus between water, energy and land. That nexus is so important because the water inputs and outputs and the energy inputs and outputs, are somewhat interchangeable…This nexus between these three things is the most important thing that Smart Community needs to be thinking about. “

“More and more people now have communities that are global. They’re part of tribes that are planetary and global, rather than just thinking about that neighbour who is right next door.”

“A Smart Community is not just about today, but it’s also about tomorrow. If we go in for better technology today, have we thought about the end of life issues with batteries? That’s the sort of question that makes it really interesting.”

“Done well, using logistics and Smart Technology, Brisbane should be seen as an urban mine, where companies know where to go for [paper, plastics, aluminium]…We should be able to have a circular economy with that.”

“It’s really good when schools get involved in these sorts of projects [like Containers for Change] because these kids in Year 7 now, in 10 years time they’re going to be the movers and shakers. And when they get these foundational skills…we’re able to keep that transition planning going.”

“We need to be conscious that in a technology-driven solution, we have the ability to check for the unintended consequences.”

 

Links:

The “Cash for Cans” or Containers for Change initiative in Brisbane

The Circular Experiment is the initiative on the Sunshine Coast run by the Morris sisters. Zoe interviewed Ashleigh Morris in Episode 55 of the Smart Community Podcast

 

Connect:

Connect with Abel via LinkedIn

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook @smartcommpod

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP E107 Considering the impacts of emerging technologies on all members of a Smart Community, with Samson Williams

In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast, Zoe has an interesting chat with Samson Williams, Principal Consultant at Axes and Eggs, a thinktank and digital advisor on emerging technologies. Samson shares a bit about his work at Axes and Eggs, and why his background in anthropology sparked his interest in Smart Communities. He also has a really interesting perspective on how the US is embracing Smart concepts, and shares about the problem of food deserts, financial deserts, and 3G being a luxury. Zoe and Samson finish their conversation discussing the emerging trends of the millennial generation becoming policy and decision makers, and the negative health impacts of technology making life more convenient.

You will hear that this episode was recorded before Zoe left on her Churchill Fellowship, and she is talking about her trip to the US in the future, but it’s now actually in the past, and you can hear Zoe’s wrap up of each stage of her trip on her special podcast about her Churchill Fellowship. It’s available exclusively to people who support the Smart Community Podcast on Pozible. Zoe’s trip is still ongoing, but you can hear about Zoe’s visits to Orlando and Denver, among other places, by going to Pozible.com searching for My Smart Community and hit Support.

Now, on with the episode, and as always, we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it!

Listen here:

What we cover in this episode:

  • Samson’s work at Axes and Eggs, and why he’s passionate about the intersection of emerging technology with culture and community
  • Why wifi is becoming a human right
  • How Samson’s background in Anthropology sparked his interest in the concept of Smart Cities and Smart Communities
  • Why Smart concepts are so important as we face the impacts of climate change
  • How the US is embracing Smart concepts, and the problem of food, financial and wifi deserts
  • Three projects Axes and Eggs is currently working on
  • What’s needed to better integrate across disciplines, governments and industries
  • The emerging trends of data privacy, the millennial generation becoming policy and decision makers and the negative health impacts of technology making life more convenient

Quotes:

“As your government transitions to everything digital you can create at risk and marginalised communities if they can’t access your government services because they’ve gone digital. So wifi becomes a human right.”

“Civilisation is cities, so when we talk about how people will interact and build cities of the future we look at historically…how people came together to build their cities, because it’s basically how do we want to collaborate to live in close proximity to each other? That’s always very interesting, and technology is just going to change the way we do it.”

“A Smart City is one that’s connected, easily walkable, that’s accessible to everyone, not just people who can’t afford it. Because your city’s not that Smart if it just creates new barriers to accessing basic government services as well as quality of life.”

“All integration starts with a conversation. We don’t have the diplomats or the ambassadors as we used ot have, that are just cross functionally sharing ideas, lessons learned…we just need to have those frank and honest conversations.”

[On Leapfrogging into Obesity]

“Whenever there’s a digital transformation you also get a waist-size transformation because when you leapfrog with technology, the technology brings a level of sedentary lifestyle, and with that new sedentary lifestyle people just get fatter.”

Connect:

Connect with Samson on LinkedIn or on other social media @hustlefundbaby or find Axes and Eggs on socials @axesandeggs

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook @smartcommpod

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP E106 Hype, Substance, Technology and Humanity, with Vitor Pereira

In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast, Zoe speaks with Vitor Pereira, the cofounder and Director of Zoom Smart Cities. Zoe and Vitor discuss his background in journalism and in interest in technology, and how being involved in tourism and events sparked his interest in the Smart Community space. Vitor explains why the ability to reflect and receive criticism is crucial for any Smart City, and gives the example of Amsterdam’s rebrand over the last 10 years. He goes on to tell us how Portugal is embracing Smart concepts and some of the projects he’s involved in, including Zoom Global Smart City Association. Vitor and Zoe then discuss the need to cut through the hype and find the substance in a noisy, saturated Smart City market as well as why we need to break down silos and foster integration in order to tackle the urgent and important decisions humanity is facing right now. They finish their conversation discussing the emerging trends of ethics and transparency when it comes to technology, as well as getting back to the heart and soul of a city, which is humans. Now, a quick warning, there are a few audio glitches in this episode but it’s very listenable overall. As always, we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it!

Listen here:

What we cover in this episode:

  • Vitor’s background in journalism and his interest in technology
  • How being involved in tourism and events sparked his interest in the Smart Community space
  • Why the ability to reflect and receive criticism is crucial for any Smart City, and why the concept is so important
  • How Amsterdam rebranded themselves over the last 10 years
  • Cutting through the hype and finding the substance in a noisy, saturated Smart City market
  • Projects Vitor is involved in, including Zoom Smart Cities
  • How Portugal is embracing Smart concepts
  • Breaking down silos and fostering integration so we can make the urgent and important decisions facing humanity
  • The emerging trends of ethics and transparency when it comes to technology
  • The importance of getting back to the heart and soul of a city, which is humans

Quotes:

“Normally a technology-driven mentality only sees the bits, zeroes and codes, and it takes away the values like human values, like people being in love, friendship etc. They strip off the sentimental part of the process.”

“Any city can be smart or stupid simultaneously. And the definition for one or another, I believe, comes from a variety of sources with different interests.”

“Sometimes it’s hard to compete in this world where image, empty words or staging [become] so powerful for marketing. It doesn’t work, it doesn’t fit very well for the real results that we need for our future, and that we need for our cities.”

“I believe one of the things that is missing in Cities and Communities is leadership: leaderships and courage [to make the hard] decisions that need to be taken right now to tackle climate change, to tackle poverty, to tackle affordable housing, to tackle unemployment… It will take courage to take these decisions.”

Contact:

Connect with Vitor on social media @vitorpereira or via email vitor@zoomsmartcities.com

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook @smartcommpod

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.