SCP E118: Smart Mobility Lessons from Mexico City, with Pablo Lazo

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In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast, I had a great conversation on location in Mexico City with architect and city planner Pablo Lazo. I recorded this while I was away on my Churchill Fellowship visit to Mexico in March and I really enjoyed this conversation.

If you want to hear my reflections on my visit to Mexico City, as well as the other places I visited while I was away, you should subscribe to my exclusive podcast about my Churchill Fellowship. It’s exclusively for supporters on Pozible, so head to Pozible.com today, search for My Smart Community, and hit support. There’s several episodes there already for you to get stuck into and hear about the various people, places and platforms I investigated as part of her Churchill Fellowship.

In this episode, Pablo and I discuss his passion for cities and his interest in Smart Mobility. We really focus in on Mexico City and the opportunities and challenges the city is facing in terms of transport, urban sprawl, population and employment opportunities. We talk about the relationship between place, mobility and public health and how we can use data to better understand this relationship and provide better solutions for our communities.

Pablo and I also discuss Smart Streets, and how we need to be proactive about reducing conflict between different users on our roads, plus the emerging trends of both autonomous vehicles and walkability. As always I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

Listen here:

What we cover in this episode:

  • Pablo’s background in architecture and planning, and his passion for cities
  • What sparked Pablo’s interest in Smart Cities and Communities
  • How Mexico City is embracing Smart Concepts
  • The opportunities and challenges facing Mexico City in terms of transport, urban sprawl, population and employment opportunities
  • The pros and cons of the public transport options available right now in Mexico City
  • Pablo’s perspective on making micro-mobility work within a broader mobility context
  • The relationship between place, mobility, public health
  • Smart Streets, and the importance of reducing conflict between different users on our roads
  • How data can help governments understand how people move and make more places organically walkable
  • The importance of having some baseline information or baseline effective data
  • The emerging trends of autonomous vehicles and walkability in cities

Quotes:

“I have always been passionate about cities and the built environment, from different angles [like] smaller scale issues such as architecture, but also large scale issues related to urbanism in general, and aspects that are now common ground for urbanism such as mobility, transportation, ecology, sustainability and urban resilience.”

“On one hand, [Mexico City] needs to move around people, but on the other hand the problem lies exactly on that aspect of the system.”

“If the place has options for better urban mobility or different alternatives to move around, you also address issues such as public health or economic value of that particular area of the city. So people in the local government have started to realise they are not only ticking the box in terms of public transportation, but they are addressing things that are equally important to the population such as… aspects that are related to public health.”

“Obviously the problem with congestion in Mexico City has a direct implication on sustainability because of the air pollution and noise pollution. The city has been working during the last 10 years on addressing how to reduce emissions that are coming from congestion.”

Connect:

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 E117 Nurturing Smart Regional Hubs, with Sofie Pringle

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In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast, I had a brilliant conversation with Sofie Pringle, a designer with a passion for creating cities and urban places that increase people’s happiness and mental well-being. She is currently completing a doctorate in urban planning and design at Queensland University of Technology, focusing on the positive and negative effects that design and planning features have on user happiness and well-being. In this episode Sofie tells us about her PhD and what sparked her interest in this space, as well as why she believes there is a gap in the Smart Community conversation around the concept of happiness in the city. We also discuss sustainable urbanisation and the compact city fallacy, and why nurturing our Smart Regional Hubs is so crucial. We finish the chat discussing the emerging trend of the neuroscience research into the impact urban environments have on human brains, and how we’re just not talking about that enough. As always, I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

Listen here:

 

What we cover in this episode:

  • Sofie’s background in design and her passion for making cities more mentally healthy
  • What sparked her interest in the Smart Community space
  • What a Smart Community is to Sofie and why it’s so important
  • The gap in the Smart City conversation around the happiness of the city
  • Projects Sofie is currently working on, including her PhD studying the impact of urban environments on human happiness
  • How Sofie perceives Australia currently embracing Smart concepts
  • The importance of nurturing Smart Regional hubs
  • The Compact City Fallacy and sustainable urbanisation
  • Why we should think about technology projects as being community projects
  • The power of a culture of trust and collaboration in organisations
  • The opportunities and challenges of integrating across disciplines, industries, governments and academia
  • Disconnecting government initiatives and policies from 4-year political terms and an individual candidate’s political career
  • The emerging trend of the neuroscience research into the impact urban environments have on human brains

 

Quotes:

“It takes a whole team, and sometimes a whole community, a whole neighbourhood and even a whole country to move society forward in leaps and bounds. It’s not going to be just one particular person, it’s going to be an iterative and a community and collaborative approach that’s really going to start to change what we see in the future.”

“The concept of liveability exists and wellbeing is a well-known term, but I think the understanding of people’s wellbeing in relation to particular urban environment designs and planning features, is a bit of a gap in understanding at the moment.”

“It could be a great idea to have a … board that’s off to the left of the government so that the really important policies and issues that Australia faces are not just governed by an [individual party’s] political term.”

“Where you choose to live will have an impact and an effect on your mental health. Some are more susceptible to it than others of course, but having a general public education about that is important because [we need to understand and unpack people’s motivation to move to the city.]”

 

Connect:

Connect with Sofie via LinkedIn or Twitter @sofie_pringle

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 116 Where to next for Smart Cities and Communities? (Part 1)

Zoe is back behind the mic after her Churchill Fellowship world tour so you’ll start hearing her voice again at the start of the regular podcast episodes. In this episode we’re doing things a little differently. Throughout this year, Zoe has asked each guests an extra question which was edited out of the regular interview: “Where to next for Smart Cities and Communities?” In this episode you are going to hear an amalgamation of a few of the answers from this year’s guests.

The loose theme of this episode is around the need for decision making and action on climate change: you’ll hear from Don McLean from episode 102, Mark Thomas from episode 111, Lisa McLean from episode 105, Ricardo Van Leunen from episode104 And finally Chunga Cha from episode 110.

All the guests agree that we need some urgent action and we need to think not just about what’s happening now, but more about the long term. We need to make decisions now that may not benefit people now, but will be beneficial in the long term. As always, we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it!

Listen here:

 

Previous guests featured in this episode: 

Connect:

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

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook @smartcommpod