5 cities, 5 smart ideas

5 cities, 5 smart ideas

Rotterdam gets innovative with its flood-proofing

The low-lying port city in the Netherlands, like other coastal cities around the world, is actively pursuing a more climate-resilient future. One example is Rotterdam's Benthemplein Water Square the first of its kind in the world, according to C40 Cities. Sometimes referred to as a "sponge zone," the water square makes surplus rainwater part of the landscape to curb urban flooding and reduce strain on city sewer systems. And at the same time it serves as a public gathering space for instance during dry weather, the space is used for sports and recreation.

Nashville web app spotlights city's workforce diversity and pay equity

After a study from the city's Metro Human Relations Commission found African-Americans and Hispanics seriously under-represented in the city's workforce and a pay equity gap as well, Mayor Karl Dean created a task force to examine the issue and make recommendations. One outcome was a partnership between the Commission and the nonprofit group Code for Nashville to launch a web platform IncluCivics that renders human resources data into user-friendly charts and graphs and gives the public a way to measure the city's progress toward diversity and pay equity. "The app was not technically difficult to build, but it represents something quite revolutionary a way citizens can get together and be a part in holding government accountable for the things they say they are going to do," Jon Staples of Code for Nashville said in a GovTech.com article.

Auckland Transport finds a way to track its 200 construction projects

The New Zealand city expects to swell from 1.4 million residents today to 2.2 million by 2020 and they're going to need ways to get around. Auckland Transport, which is responsible for the city's public transportation system, has launched more than 200 capital projects to make that happen. That's according to Roger Jones, the agency's Chief Information Officer, in a blog post on Microsoft Lead Partner Microsoft's CityNext site. One of Auckland Transport's megaprojects is a new rail tunnel under the city center. To track and share project information like the complex property acquisitions involved in that effort, plus the quantity of construction, design and legal documents involved, Jones writes in a blog post that "we decided to approach all our infrastructure projects from a holistic, strategic perspective, which is where Microsoft SharePoint Server and our partner LeapThought come in." His agency adopted a custom digital solution called Fulcrum that LeapThought developed. Jones says it enables them to track, store and share every stage of the projects and realize a significant cost savings.

Kids really do power their future on Pediatorkope

Pediatorkope is a very poor, off-grid island in southeastern Ghana. But U.S.-based Empower Playgrounds, Inc. (EPI) is enriching the lives of children who attend primary school there. And the kids are doing their part, too. When they play on a specially adapted EPI merry-go-round in the school yard, they are producing energy that charges batteries. The batteries power LED lanterns that the kids take home at night so they can do their homework. According to EPI, which has its merry-go-rounds in 40-plus schools now, they are seeing improvement in the children's educational performance.

Mexico City improves safety at urban substations

"Fires in transformers can be highly dangerous and devastating to areas in close proximity to the substation," says Federico Ibarra, technical manager with Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE), Mexicos national utility company. "When a transformer fire occurs in indoor substations or densely populated areas, the impact can be amplified exponentially." CFL is implementing new, safer power transformers to help modernize electrical substations across Mexico City and its metropolitan area. Developed by Council Lead Partner GE, the new transformers utilize a less-flammable synthetic ester liquid instead of traditional mineral oil. "Not only will the units reduce the risk of significant fires at our electrical substations, they also will reduce our potential environmental impact and help to modernize our electrical infrastructure," Ibarra said.

Source: Smart Cities Council

Smart Grid Bulletin February 2019

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