Startup Digest

Smart Cities

March 10, 2017

Dear smart citizens and urban innovators,

Welcome to a new issue of #SmartCitiesDigest and thanks for subscribing!

Every week, we'll be sharing a new collection of resources covering innovations and developments in a wide range of topics like urban planning, e-government, connected things, open data, civic tech and sustainability.

I hope you enjoy the reading - if you do, please spread the love and share!

See you next week, cheers

Smart Cities Startup Digest is curated by:
Joan Torres

Joan Torres - @SmartUrbanite

Contact Joan Torres at

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A smart city is, because its people are


When governments decide on smart city projects, they necessarily choose whom those efforts will benefit – and whom they will neglect. City officials, business leaders and residents alike must keep a critical eye on smart city efforts in their communities. Projects must be both transparent and aimed at publicly desirable improvements in society. Technology cannot become the focal point, nor the end goal. Smart city innovation, like all urban development and redevelopment, is a very political process. Residents must hold city leaders accountable for their efforts and their implications – which must be to improve everyone’s lives, not just ease government functions.

The next-generation intersection helps all modes share the street

Willa Ng - Sidewalk Talk

Tech-enabled, adaptive traffic signals alone won’t solve the problems of road safety or traffic congestion in cities. Nor will they eliminate the need for sharp transportation policy, engineering analysis, or physical improvements. If anything they increase that need, since local communities set the priorities for traffic controls to follow. And there are still plenty of other challenges facing these systems: counting pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders at an intersection accurately with digital tools; securing all the data; and keeping the cost of such technologies within the reach of your average city government.

A digital ambassador is exactly what smart cities need right now!

Guillaume Renouard - Atelier

By creating a new diplomatic position dedicated to the digital world, Denmark is acknowledging the growing importance of the Internet giants in the political sphere and updating its diplomacy for the digital age. The appointee has not yet been named, but his/her role will essentially be to negotiate with the US web giants, in particular Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple.

Singapore may have designed the world's best bus stop

Mimi Kirk - CityLab

What if the humble bus stop could be a place you actually looked forward to frequenting? An architecture firm and the government collaborated on a bus stop that features ample seating, a rack of books geared for all ages, bicycle parking, a swing, artwork, and a rooftop garden.

Australian consortium launches world-first digital energy marketplace for rooftop solar

Bianca Nogrady - The Guardian

Australian homeowners could soon trade their electricity in a digital marketplace developed by a consortium of electricity providers, energy tech startups, energy retailers and energy agencies. The pilot program will allow homeowners to tap into a network of ‘virtual’ power stations made up of smart grids of rooftop solar and batteries.

8 steps to effective urban design

David Mousa - The Urban Developer

Strong urban design offers significant community benefits, better quality of life, safer and more secure cities and a greater ability to function as a society. It also provides each city with a unique sense of identity and establishes the framework for it to be more responsive to differing climatic, economic or social variables. Regardless of the size of a city or project, urban design is inclusive in achieving outcomes that holistically make for better built environments and in turn way of living.

Airbus reveals a modular, self-piloting flying car concept

Darrell Etherington - TechCrunch

Airbus has been talking about its Vahana flying autonomous vehicle project for a while now, but at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, it’s showing off a concept design created in partnership with Italdesign. The demonstration vehicle offers modular functionality, meaning it an operate both on the ground and in the air, and Airbus thinks it’s one potential answer to the growing problem of urban traffic congestion.

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