Drones are expected have big impacts on a range of industries, but also represent new security risks. In response, London Police are training eagles to handle this high-tech security headache, another example of the reapplication of ancient technology, while Michigan Tech created a robotic drone catcher. Conversely, the FDA recently loosened restrictions on “micro” drones, as Amazon moves full speed ahead with its own project. What creative ideas and/or concerns about the spreading drones do you have?
In the 50 years since the release of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs‘ work has been celebrated and critiqued in a diversity of ways. Best known for exuding the benefits of walkable, human-scale neighbourhoods, her introduction of the “web way of thinking” to urbanism is an under-appreciated contribution. Planetizen emphasizes this in a list of Jane Jacobs’ 10 most important (and misunderstood) lessons. City-making professions are taking steps towards holistic perspectives and diminished silos, but a half-century on, Jane’s work still has many lessons to offer.
Digital technology is becoming ever-more pervasive and the world is increasingly urban. The simultaneous rise of these trends find us at a unique intersection in space and time. In a reflective interview with Smart Circle that ranges from urban mobility and citizen participation to cyber terrorism and the future of sharing, Carlo Ratti, director of MIT’s Senseable City Lab aims to make sense of these changes. It’s a worthwhile read, particularly for those seeking to connect the “smart” city with it’s citizens.
No longer an emerging concept, the approach and application of the smart city is evolving rapidly. Over at Iambente, Boyd Cohen describes the three generations of smart cities that now exist. Beginning as an industry-led, technology-driven initiative, urban leaders quickly grasped specific applications for this approach, leading to the city-led, technology enabled smart city. In the past year, perhaps inspired by efforts in cities like Medellin, twinned with the sharing economy and pushed by slow economic growth, citizen co-creation has emerged as the third generation. Harnessing the potential of all residents will make cities even more innovative. The next generations of smart cities may be the most interesting and dynamic yet.
It is well-established that school design affects learning. Now, evidence is emerging that views and surrounding landscapes have big impacts too. The Dirt has a new article about a University of Illinois study that found green views led to better attentional functioning and stress recovery after short breaks from academic activities. For designers, architects and landscape architects, this suggests that designs and retrofits that maximize indoor views of trees and greenery enhance the learning environment and further support academic success.
Major advances in 3D printing have demonstrated the technology’s potential to transform the way we create and produce nearly any item. Now, this technology is being applied to our cities. As Guardian Cities writes, Winsun, a Chinese company is scaling up production on 3D printed buildings, while a Dutch firm is working on intricate bridges. The approach creates very little waste, and has great potential in poverty- and disater-stricken areas, but could have serious job and architecture implications as well. Will the city of the future be 3D printed?
As drones move from a rare novelty to ubiquitous tool, questions about their role in cities have steadily increased. While many concerns persist, according to New York magazine, the proliferation of drones could also help solve many challenges cities face today. Car-free delivery, infrastructure analysis and disaster relief or noise, chaos and crashes? The urban impact of drones could be widespread. The big question is whether they will be a good thing for cities.