A Community-Owned Map Accessed via Mesh Networks

Posted by An Xiao Mina in CORE77

Only accessible via a local wifi mesh network, the Red Hook version of Tide Pools lets community members access information and report trouble spots.

Tide Pools is a mapping-system-cum-mesh-network that’s focused on local communities. Billed as “‘Ushahidi’ meets ‘The Sims’ API hub for local needs and culture,” Baldwin’s system differs substantially from global mapping sites like Google: maps can only be accessed when you’re hooked into the local mesh network.

“The original intention came out of working with community in Red Hook,” Baldwin noted in an interview with Core77. “The original piece of investigation was around where mesh networks exist. What kinds of local incentives can be conveyed on a mesh interface to convey the idea of a local network?”

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Softwalks Transforms Streetside Scaffolding Into Urban Parklets

This is part of a series highlighting notable entries in fastcodesign’s 2012 Innovation By Design Awards.–Ed.
 

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Slowing down, much less stopping, will likely get you trampled on the ever-bustling streets of New York, but Bland Hoke and Howard Chambers envision a metropolis punctuated with impromptu social spaces surrounding some of the city’s biggest eyesores.The pair met as students in the Transdisciplinary Design MFA program at Parsons and, taking cues from the prominent pedestrian plazas popping up all over Manhattan, created Softwalks–a kit of parts that includes chair, planter, counter, light, and screen that can be easily attached to the scaffolding, or “sidewalk sheds,” that obscure the front of so many urban structures.
 

 
“We were inspired by the concept of ‘the city as lab’ as well as the work of Jane Jacobs and Jan Gehl, who recognized the positive aspects of social interaction within urban spaces,” Hoke tells Co.Design. Extensive testing was done to ensure the set-ups didn’t cause unwanted congestion–in fact, groups milling about were actually a boon for some businesses, as “people attract people,” Hoke says.

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‘Walk Score’ Is Great, But it Still Doesn’t Capture ‘Walk Appeal’

BY SARAH GOODYEAR, THE ATLANTIC CITIES.COM

Walk Score is a terrific tool, as far as it goes. But we need other ways of quantifying walkability on our nation’s streets. The architect and urbanist Steve Mouzon is working on just such a measurement. He calls it Walk Appeal, and the idea behind it is something that we all know but don’t often acknowledge: A mile in an American suburb is a lot longer than a mile in Rome.

Walk Appeal promises to be a major new tool for understanding and building walkable places, and it explains several things that were heretofore either contradictory or mysterious. It begins with the assertion that the quarter-mile radius (or 5-minute walk,) which has been held up for a century as the distance Americans will walk before driving, is actually a myth….

As we all know, if you’re at Best Buy and need to pick something up at Old Navy, there’s no way you’re walking from one store to another. Instead, you get in your car and drive as close as possible to the Old Navy front door. You’ll even wait for a parking space to open up instead of driving to an open space just a few spaces away… not because you’re lazy, but because it’s such a terrible walking experience.

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The amazing heart of a Smarter City: the innovation boundary

BY RICK ROBINSON, THE URBAN TECHNOLOGIST.COM

We now have a greater purpose that demands innovation: the need to make our cities and communities more sustainable, vibrant and equal in the face of the severe economic, environmental and demographic pressures that we face; and that are well described in the Royal Society’s “People and the Planet” report.

We have already seen those pressures create threats to food and energy security; and in recent months I’ve spoken to city leaders who are increasingly concerned with the difference in life expectancy between the most affluent and most deprived areas of their cities – it can be 10 years or more. There are much worse inequalities on a global scale, of course. But this is a striking local difference in the basic opportunity of people to live.

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Make Way for Public Space for People

FROM ARCHITECTS NEWSPAPER

Chicago says four-part plan to expand the pedestrian realm will boost local economy, prompt physical activity.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel will likely say he’s continuing to make good on commitments to public health and expanded outdoor space if a four-part plan to tackle both becomes a reality. Emanuel introduced an ordinance this month backing the Chicago Department of Transportation’s “Make Way for People” program, which is made up of four initiatives that the city and its partners claim will spark neighborhood economies and increase physical activity, citywide.

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Smart Citizen: Building the smart city through Crowdfunding

Smart Citizen – citizens Sensors: Become a smart sensor of the city, creating and sharing open data on actual air pollution, noise and many more!

What are the actual levels of air pollution around your home or business? What about noise? What about humidity?

Now imagine that you could meet, share and instantly compare with other parts of the city, in real time … How could this information help to improve life in our environment?
From Smart Citizen ( http://www.smartcitizen.me/ ) we are already making the answers to these questions and many more, in the form of sensors, and now you can be one of the network through your support for this project. But we will not stop here … What more could we share a city setting to get really smart?

WHAT IS SMART CITIZEN: Citizen Smart is a platform for building participatory processes of people in cities. Connecting data, people and knowledge, the objective of the platform is to serve as a node for generating productive open indicators and distributed tools, and thereafter the collective construction of the city by its own inhabitants.

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$60 million poured into revitalizing bike paths

BY MICHELLE LALONDE, THE GAZETTE.

MONTREAL – Provincial, regional and municipal governments will pour $60-million into a 120-kilometre bike and pedestrian path across the Greater Montreal region, linking Oka in the west to Mont. St. Hilaire in the east.

About 78 kilometres of the path will be brand new, officials said Thursday, but improvements such as widening and new signage will be carried out along existing segments of the route. The new and improved Oka-Mont St. Hilaire Path, to be completed by the summer of 2014, will be integrated into the province’s existing “Route Verte”, a 5,351-kilometre bicycle-friendly route which criss-crosses the province.

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NICE: Mediterranean’s Epicenter of Energy, Environment and Economic Development?

From Fleming Europe: 3RD ANNUAL SMART GRIDS SMART CITIES FORUM 2012

The city of Nice and it’s game changing Eco Vallée project have become Europe’s epicenter of ‘Smart’ development. Uniting innovative practices in urbanism and mobility as well as eco-compatible technical and agricultural production with incentives for advanced R&D, Nice is rapidly becoming ‘the’ metropol for Green business tourism.

Nice is banking on the fact that the valley will provide an unequaled model for leadership and practice with regard to aligning its development strategy to align with the European Commission’s 20/2020 goals. But how far can this valley project its smart & green credentials? Aren’t valley’s by definition, isolated micro-environments?

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The Grave Health Risks of Unwalkable Communities

BY RICHARD J. JACKSON AND MICHAEL MEHAFFY.

America is facing an alarming epidemic. In 1960, fewer than one in 10 American children were overweight or obese, but today, that number is one in four. Formerly very rare (and very serious) childhood diseases like Type 2 diabetes have become increasingly common.

It’s not just kids who are being affected: a quarter of adults are now obese, way up from one in 10 in 1990. That’s contributing to soaring health costs – over $190 billion a year, or 20 percent of all health care spending, according to a recent Cornell University study.

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Is Natural Gas the Key to the Future of Trucking?

Energy executive T. Boone Pickens will be the keynote speaker at American Trucking Associations’ Natural Gas in Trucking Summit in November, ATA said Wednesday.

Pickens, Chairman and CEO of BP Capital, which operates energy-focused commodity and equity funds, will discuss the future of natural gas in a session called “The Transformation of America’s Energy Future.”

Pickens has been a proponent of expanded use of natural gas for the trucking industry.

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