Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 30


Meeting of the Minds


Selected blog posts CityMinded.org Volume 3

Seven Factors Behind the Rise

of the Smart City Era
Pg. 5

Cities Power the

Sharing Economy
Pg. 9

Can Bus Rapid Transit

Work in Boston?
Pg. 3
Meeting of the Minds Letter from the Editor
Founder As the editor of the CityMinded.org blog, my favorite time of year has to be
Gordon Feller the annual group blogging event, and this year was no exception. The premise
of a group blogging event is this: a prompt question and an event date are
Executive Director chosen by Meeting of the Minds and our organizing partners. Then, on the
Jessie F. Hahn event date, participating bloggers publish their responses to the prompt on a
website of their choosing.
Director of Communications
Dave Hahn This year’s prompt asked participants to pretend as if they were in 2050 and
to write a letter back in time to the citizens of their city in 2015. Tell them
Program Manager what the future was like, and give them advice on the next 35 years.
Caroline Firman
The responses were playful, creative and—more than anything—revealing.
Event Planner To me, it was almost more revealing to see what people think will happen in
Kristi Audette the future than to hear about what they are doing today.

Website Two of the event responses, from Anthony Flint and Richard Mitchell, are
CityMinded.org included on pages 25 and 27. I encourage you to sift through the full list of
participating bloggers on our website. Visit CityMinded.org/cal/dear-2015 to


Dave Hahn

Spotlighting innovations in
urban sustainability & connected technology
Table of Contents

Boston is as a Crossroads. Can Bus Rapid Transit Work Here?

Mary Skelton Roberts................................................................................................. 3

Seven Factors Behind the Rise of the Smart City Era

Rick Azer................................................................................................................. 5

Feel that Funky Beat: The Sound of Converting Dreams of

Community into Reality
Blair A. Ruble.......................................................................................................... 7

Cities Power the Sharing Economy

Nicole DuPuis and Brooks Rainwater....................................................................... 9

Reinventing Energy
John Addison ......................................................................................................... 11

The Alternative on Hand: Why Isn’t Propane a More Prominent Part

of our Alternative Fuels Conversation?
Hannah Greinetz................................................................................................... 13

The Coin to the Kingdom: Re-THNKing Capitalism as a Key to the

Housing Crisis
Kaz Brecher........................................................................................................... 15

Artist Workspace Prototype Rolls Down Market Street

Krista Canellakis.................................................................................................... 17

A Call to Action for City Leaders: Create a Food System Resilient to

Local Disruptions
Kim Zeuli and Austin Nijhuis................................................................................ 19

The Berkeley Global Campus: Vision and Partnership in Richmond

Nils Gilman........................................................................................................... 21

Dear 2015: A Letter to the Past

Richard Mitchell.................................................................................................... 25

To the People of Boston of 2015

Anthony Flint........................................................................................................ 27
Boston is at a Crossroads.
Can Bus Rapid Transit Work Here?
By Mary Skelton Roberts

T his past winter, the worst snows-

torms in Boston’s recorded history
hammered the city, crippling our trans-
BRT is more than skeptics
perceive it to be
BRT projects don’t backslide on what
they promise.

portation system for weeks, and driving Bus Rapid Transit is becoming more BRT can work here, even in a
home what many of us knew on some common globally, with ITDP finding crazy city like Boston
level about Boston transit—the status that BRT has nearly quadrupled in the
quo is not an option. past 10 years. But this is less the case in One of the biggest challenges for us,
The winter underscored the fact that the United States, where the corridors and sources of skepticism we worked
much of our public transit, as proud of we do have tend to be less advanced through during the study period, is
it as we are, is woefully outdated, over- than the best in Latin America, Europe, Boston’s one-of-a-kind cityscape.
loaded, and in need of billions of dollars and Asia. Boston is very small and compact com-
worth of backlogged repairs. Add the As a result, members of the public, pared to Mexico City and other places
fact that Boston is experiencing record even city officials, have a limited unders- well known for their vast BRT systems.
growth, and it’s clear we need to do tanding of BRT’s potential. In meetings Our city streets, especially downtown,
better. with stakeholders, I’ve often come across often make up a tangle of narrow
Back in late 2012, the Barr Foundation people who think of BRT as painted pathways.
first convened a study group of diverse bus lanes or conventional service with We also have some rocky history with
stakeholders from across Greater modest improvements. Sadly, buses also BRT projects, including one that only
Boston to examine bus rapid transit carry a stigma in this country as a lesser partially succeeded as BRT, and another
(BRT) as a possible solution for the city, transit option, and BRT gets lumped that fell through in the planning stages.
motivated by these issues and the need into that prejudice. But when the Barr Foundation set out
to dramatically cut greenhouse gas As part of the study group’s analysis, to assess BRT for Boston, nobody had
emissions. But the so-called “snowma- we made a trip to Mexico City in 2013 ever taken a citywide look at whether
geddon” of 2015 punctuated just how to tour its Metrobus system, which has and where it might even be a good
important this moment is for the city. revolutionized public transit in the option for us.
So when the study group released a metropolis of 9 million. Seeing well- We found more potential than we
final report on its findings this past July, executed BRT in person is sort of a anticipated. Working with ITDP to
we were excited to share that they found surreal experience. Physically separated compare ridership data, congestion, wait
BRT holds significant potential for transit lanes carve through busy streets, times, and future growth, we found 12
modernizing transit in the city and and level boarding platforms, enclosed potential corridors, then narrowed down
surrounding region. stations, and prepaid fare vastly improve to five, that could benefit from Gold
The group’s analysis, with technical waiting and boarding. We also saw how Standard BRT. The process went so far
support from the Institute for the Metrobus system seamlessly inte- as to draft how the vehicles and stations
Transportation and Development grates with pedestrian walkways and might fit into existing roads and
Policy, found that BRT—a form of bike lanes, even using the same payment neighborhoods.
rapid transit marked by physically sepa- method for its bikeshare system. BRT could cut trip times here by as
rated lanes, off-board payment, and This collection of seemingly small much as 45 percent. It could also serve
enclosed stations—not only could work features combine to create a beautiful a diverse cross-section of Greater
in Boston, it could cut travel times, experience, which led the Boston study Boston, including developing university
relieve congestion, and improve rider group to embrace the BRT Standard, and medical areas, burgeoning housing
experience. a bronze-silver-gold rating system used developments, and lower-wealth com-
BRT is not a silver bullet for Boston’s internationally to assess the quality of munities looking to spur economic
problems, nor will it be for most cities. BRT corridors. One of the pitfalls of development.
But we’re encouraging communities BRT is how easy it is to plan a corridor Other U.S. cities are steadily coming
here to pursue it, and we think some of and have it turn out like “just another to similar conclusions, as one by one
the lessons from the process will be bus,” fueling skepticism. they recognize potential benefits. Varied
useful for other cities. Here’s some of In our report, we strongly encourage cities such as Los Angeles, Eugene, OR,
what we learned: using this standard to ensure future and Las Vegas have improved transit

for their residents. The stateside poster and neighborhood cultural and political to the system.
child has been Cleveland, which dynamics, we recognize that success is But the key to all of this, as the study
leveraged its HealthLine BRT corridor entirely dependent on whether a com- group and I learned in the past couple
into $6 billion in private investment. munity demands the service and is of years, is that BRT must be viewed as
willing to make the tradeoffs. a component of a multifaceted trans-
Communities need to make portation system.
courageous choices for BRT to It’s time to give BRT equal footing The last thing we want to come out
succeed alongside rail of this report is a local feud between
light rail advocates and bus rapid transit
Over the course of this process, the With a substantial body of data about advocates. Instead, we need to be collec-
study group, myself included, developed its advantages and feasibility, it’s time tively thinking of how to move more
a real enthusiasm for the possibility of to stop thinking of BRT as a second-tier people in the fastest, most comfortable,
BRT in Boston. But none of us are naive mode of transit. and most exciting way possible, using
about what is required to make it work, The fact that BRT generally costs multiple modes of transit. BRT should
especially at a high standard. much less than light rail is clear, with be one of them.
There would be hard fought tradeoffs. ITDP’s analysis finding that in the BRT is not a cure-all to Boston’s
Some of the scenarios in our analysis United States, it can be up to seven transit woes, nor will it happen over-
involve devoting narrow stretches of times less expensive. But that doesn’t night. But like so many other cities with
road entirely to BRT and pedestrian mean it’s “transit on the cheap.” BRT aging infrastructures, growing popula-
traffic. Often, corridors would absorb a can be comparable in speed and capacity tions, and tight budgets, we’re at a cros-
lane or two of car traffic, or on-street to light rail. And we’ve witnessed BRT sroads. It’s time to break out of the old
parking, a precious commodity here. corridors where cost savings were inves- paradigms and take courageous steps
Such sacrifices require a strong vision, ted in superior infrastructure, rider that use all the tools at our disposal. <
and a community that values smart experience, design, and interactive
development, reduced GHG emissions, features.
and a de-emphasis on car travel. There’s also a flexibility and resilience
I’ve come to believe the benefits out- that adding BRT to a transit system Mary Skelton Roberts is a Senior
weigh the sacrifices. But a major take- can provide. During the 2015 winter Program Officer for Climate at the
home point of this analysis is that the storms, our rail system struggled, with Barr Foundation, where she focuses on
communities involved need to drive busy lines locking down and sending transportation and land use. Mary’s
these decisions. A past effort at a BRT more cars out into nightmarish street grant making aims to maintain
corridor in Boston failed to materialize, traffic. BRT corridors can be easily and modernize our transit systems
largely because the community felt offi- plowed and used by multiple bus lines, and to help communities transform
cials foisted it upon them. and even emergency vehicles, providing themselves into more walkable,
Given past skepticism around BRT a pressure release valve during shocks connected places.

Seven Factors Behind the Rise
of the Smart City Era
By Rick Azer

T he future urban infrastructure is

intelligent, connected, and aware.
Today’s wireless networks and data
6. Access to vast data streams enabling
potential for rich analytics.
no additional network expense. These
two factors, cheap data plans and per-
vasive wireless coverage, help push the
platforms play an ever-increasing role 7. Extensive improvements in applica- idea that everything that can be con-
in the integrated infrastructure lands- tion development and visual display nected will be connected—a basic tenant
cape and provide momentum to the rise capabilities. of the Internet of Everything. The evo-
of the Smart City Era. Several familiar lutionary upgrade of device addressing
factors are converging to produce effec- Coverage, Coverage Everywhere! from IPv4 to IPv6 also generates
tive operations of decentralized infras- Internet growth by vastly increasing the
tructure and provide new opportunities Public carriers spend billions of number of connected hosts and the
for efficiency, control, and situational dollars each year to expand and improve amount of data traffic transmitted.
awareness. While each factor has been their network coverage. Until recently, Advanced features like quality of service
around for some time, the combination the cost and complexity of connecting and auto-configuration make it even
of these factors is enabling rapid change end devices via point-to-point links or easier to add wireless endpoints into a
to smart city infrastructure and services. SCADA connections limited the num- network.
This swift transformation is extending ber of connected devices. Most cities
the edge of the industrial network, crea- now have 4G LTE system upgrades Big Processing in Small Packages
ting new terrain for engineering and IT optimized for high speed data. This
companies. The industrial network is extensive public carrier coverage provi- Today’s wireless device platforms, like
adapting beyond its traditional boun- des a backbone of transport for sensors Qualcomm’s Gobi, offer multi-radio
daries of transport. As these new layers and control elements and vastly reduces communication modules and high-
become accessible, engineers are deri- the cost of establishing a data link bet- speed processing within a single chipset.
ving value and intelligence from pro- ween a remote device, its data deposi- Processors continue to shrink in size
ducts and services related to implemen- tory and its control source. Optimized, and increase in capacity, and many are
tation of edge devices, and the collection pervasive wireless coverage means more designed specifically for power efficiency
and interpretation of endpoint data. people will have smarter field devices, that remote sensors and other battery
These seven factors interweave to which vastly expands the opportunity powered equipment require. The minia-
form a communication fabric that is for rich awareness of field conditions. turization of these modules allows their
transforming our cities: integration directly into edge devices.
Expanding the Internet of Moreover, the processors already within
1. Pervasive wireless coverage. Everything these chips render those devices inte-
lligent for a fraction of the cost of tra-
2. Transformation of public carrier busi- Public carriers realize that sensors ditional system integration. The inte-
ness plans to accommodate the and other machine-to-machine (M2M) grated communication module
Internet of Everything. wireless endpoints are a unique class of facilitates rapid expansion of the
devices that should be distinguished Internet of Everything, as the cost of
3. Miniaturization of processors and the from other types of data plans. Carriers connected, intelligent devices becomes
integration of communication are embracing the idea that cheaper marginal. Toasters, refrigerators, pres-
modules into intelligent devices. data plans enable more M2M devices. sure relief valves, streetlights and par-
While these devices are network-con- king meters can be network-connected
4. Abundant cheap data storage and nected most of the time, they generally without a separately powered commu-
processing power. transmit only small amounts of data at nications device. Today’s M2M chipsets
any given time, which adds negligible can process, store and transmit data
5. Rise of cloud computing and edge marginal traffic to the network. As a independent of additional computing
computing. result, carriers earn more revenue with hardware, and independent battery

Rick Azer is Director of Development for Black & Veatch’s Smart Integrated
Infrastructure Group. Rick’s role is to identify new trends, establish solution
architecture, support ecosystem development, and system integration capability
to successfully bring these programs to market.

powered sensor devices can now be through more efficient data processing. lopment opportunities will evolve even
configured to transmit data for a period They pave the way for alternate business further. Our smart devices have mor-
of years. models such as Software as a Service phed into a combination remote
and the rise of artificial intelligence. control-information display-social
Cheap Bytes media communicator. With applications
Vast Data Streams and Rivers of like the traffic navigator WAYZ, users
Each year storage and processing Rich Analytics help gather near-real-time traffic infor-
becomes cheaper and more abundant. mation, layering dynamic situational
Consumers can purchase an external Supported by pervasive wireless cove- awareness on top of static sensors. In
hard drive with two terabytes of storage rage and robust processing power, the some cities, citizens can use their smart
for a fraction of historical storage costs, number of devices and frequency at devices to photograph and report
and online products, like Dropbox and which they collect data is ever-increa- potholes and other street maintenance
iCloud, provide cheap storage in the sing. The time slices of information are issues directly to municipal operations
cloud. Commercial versions of these becoming narrower. With edge proces- for repair.
devices and online services can store sing, when certain conditions are met,
massive amounts of data facilitating devices can be instructed to collect and Smart Integrated Infrastructure
greater degrees of processing and transmit data in a timescale closer to
analytics. Products like OSIsoft’s Pi real-time, allowing for greater awareness These seven factors converge to
system serve as depositories and data and situational understanding of field become part of a smart integrated
historians for archived data received conditions. This capability can greatly infrastructure that is more distributed,
from the field. reduce operational costs by eliminating connected and intelligent. This infras-
truck rolls to understand a remote issue. tructure allows access into new network
Computing on the Edge…and in A wider set of data with more granular terrain where previously inaccessible
the Cloud information allows analytic engines like endpoint data can now be captured from
Black & Veatch’s Asset360™ platform the network edge. Engineering compa-
As data usage explodes exponentially, to create operational intelligence and nies can derive greater value from this
cloud computing grows as well. Today, facilitate adaptive planning to maximize widespread connectivity and can be
everyone with a smart phone or tablet system operations. Analysis of perfor- involved with application layer systems
uses cloud computing when they open mance data can reveal operational trends that ride across the network.
apps as they surf the net. Large amounts that can reduce the likelihood of equi- Engineering and IT companies can
of data are securely transmitted and pment failure. provide richer service offerings and
stored at remote data centers, allowing greater operational insight for custo-
cheap, widespread use of information. There’s an App for That (and for mers who want to improve performance
Many companies cannot keep up with THAT, too!) or sustainability. Cities and utilities
this big data explosion and look to auto- want to capitalize on emerging analytics
mation guided by established rules to Smart phones, tablets, conventional to become more aware, linked, efficient
manage the blasts of data. The proces- laptops and work stations are sources and resilient—capstones of the Smart
sing power now embedded within sen- for interface, display and control. At City revolution. As the infrastructure
sors and devices allows rules to be home, people use them to access a wide evolves, so must approaches to design,
delegated downstream; data that meets array of services and information from engineer and operate this infrastructure
conditions can be edge-processed loca- fitness devices to alarm systems. The operate this infrastructure to gain full
lly, greatly reducing the amount of data application development process has benefit that these converged capabilities
that needs to be transmitted back. Both become simplified, and visual display and emerging technologies provide. <
edge and cloud computing allow for capabilities have improved. With the
exponential growth of field devices advent of HTML5, application deve-
Feel that Funky Beat
The Sound of Converting Dreams of Community into Reality

Photo by AJ Glover

By Blair A. Ruble
S aturday, May 2, 2015 dawned beau-
tifully in Washington, D.C.; warm
but not hot, breezes gentle not strong,
African American Washington, to catch
musicians ranging from school kids to
veteran celebrities strut their stuff on
skies azure blue not cloudy or gray. The eight performance areas throughout the
Blair Ruble is the Woodrow dozens of businesses, artists and neigh- neighborhood. When cocktail hour
Wilson Center’s Vice President for borhood groups behind the city’s arrived, hundreds—including Mayor
Programs and Director of its Urban Second Annual Funk Parade could not Muriel E. Bowser—gathered in front
Sustainability Laboratory. His most have asked for a more perfect day for of the historic Howard Theater to fall
recent book, Washington’s U Street: A
their celebration of community in D.C. in behind the Batala D.C. all-female
Biography, examines the challenges of
An estimated 50,000 Washingtonians drumming ensemble, the Eastern High
gentrification in Washington, D.C.
agreed, seizing on the opportunity to School marching band, skateboarders,
enjoy local musicians and each other’s and an impromptu platoon of children
company. in robot costumes and paraded their
Washingtonians of all ages, sizes, way to the iconic corner of 14th and U
shapes, colors, genders—both native Streets.
and newcomer—descended on U Street As afternoon turned into evening,
NW, the venerable main street for the magic of community embrace

Community, like a parade, is a process, not
an object; a verb, not a noun.

encompassed the heart of Washington, census tracks surrounding U Street were that the event already had become a
a city perhaps better known for division, 77% African American, they were just D.C. tradition.
tension, and distrust. Meanwhile, a 22% African American two decades The Funk Parade and the positive
couple dozen miles up I-95, neighbo- later. In light of the startling earnings shared emotions it engenders did not
ring Baltimore struggled to find calm gap between D.C. African Americans happen by chance. They are the result
following an ugly outburst of civic and whites (the median income of the of the hard work of community resi-
unrest in the wake of the death of city’s black residents is between a quar- dents, business owners, civic and reli-
Freddie Gray while under police cus- ter and a third that of whites), this gious leaders, and politicians to create
tody a few days before. extreme makeover exacerbated long a moment encouraging everyone in the
The Funk Parade did not just happen. festering tensions. city to transcend the travails of daily
The celebration is the product of deter- The vision of Funk Parade came in a life in a long divided city. “The Funk
mined community organizing and dream to U Street resident Justin Rood, Parade—free your mind and your city
collaboration among local businesses, a D.C. native who had observed the will follow,” read the original flyer which
clubs, arts and neighborhood organi- growing tension in his neighborhood Rood and Naoum distributed to orga-
zations in and around Washington’s U with concern. With local music advocate nize local businesses and community
Street and the surrounding Shaw neigh- Chris Naoum, the two reached out to groups behind the event. By
borhood. The proud center of African neighbors, local business and civic lea- strengthening shared community iden-
American Washington during decades ders to collaboratively produce an event tity, the Funk Parade promotes the deep
of Jim Crow racial segregation, the area in which all Washingtonians could social capital that expands community
entered into a long period of decline create together a celebration of “the resilience.
starting in the 1950s. spirit of funk,” U Street, and the city of Community, like a parade, is a pro-
In April 1968, civic unrest following D.C. cess, not an object; a verb, not a noun.
the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Funk turned out to be a remarkable Uneasy relations still mark Washington’s
Martin Luther King, Jr. devastated the vehicle for bringing Washingtonians sharp urban edges as the city grows and
area. Over the course of three days of together. It’s hard not to dance and feel changes. Tensions run deep among
destruction followed by nearly two good when you hear it: the genre is old-timers and new comers, between
weeks of military intervention, the city intensely rhythmic, mixing elements of African Americans, African immi-
suffered twelve deaths, 7,600 arrests, soul, jazz, rhythm and blues surrounding grants, Latinos, Asians and whites, and
more than 1,000 fires, nearly 700 a powerful electric bass grove that came between rich and poor. Parading
destroyed businesses leading to the together in African American commu- together, dancing to the same rhythm,
permanent loss of 5,000 jobs and the nities during the 1960s. With its deep making music on a pleasant Spring
destruction of nearly 700 apartments musical history and strong Black cul- afternoon cannot heal decades of con-
and homes. Much of the carnage— ture, Washington emerged as a major flict. Sustained work is required, which
estimated to cost the city and its resi- center for Funk, eventually producing helps to explain why Rood has quit his
dents over $27 million—occurred along its own distinctive sound originated by job and is forming All One City, an
and around U Street. By the time the local music legend Chuck Brown that organization which will use public art
metro system expanded into the area became known as “Go Go.” and collaboration to build resilience in
in 1991, the streets around U Street had The First Annual D.C. Funk Parade D.C. and beyond.
become among the poorest and most on May 3, 2014 attracted an estimated But a parade on a lovely afternoon
crime ridden in the city. 25,000 participants. With a city admi- can begin to create bonds between
With the opening of several metro nistration more concerned about traffic neighbors through music and a shared
stations in May 1991, the U Street area control than community amity, the love of place. Such connections are a
began to attract new investment and procession were forced to march from key ingredient in making city culture
residents, leading to dramatic changes the historic Howard Theater through sustainable through upheaval and
throughout the neighborhood. Over small streets ending in an alley behind change. In the words of Parliament
time, this once proud center of African the Lincoln Theater and Ben’s Chili Funkadelic’s George Clinton,
American culture in Washington was Bowl several blocks away. A year later, everybody’s got a little light under the
no longer predominantly African a new mayor relented to allow marchers sun.<
American. If, in 1990, residents in the to move along U Street, recognizing

Cities Power the Sharing Economy
By Nicole DuPuis and Brooks Rainwater

S o much of the news we read these

days is peppered with the words
Uber, Lyft, or Airbnb. With the swift-
line, embracing change and innovation
while simultaneously prioritizing safety
and market fairness. As they grapple
has or is undertaking legislative or regu-
latory action to address these new
ness of their rise in cities nationwide with this, they find that there is no best Every city is different, have different
and globally, city leaders and policy- practice or one-size-fits-all solution, needs, a different culture, and different
makers are scrambling to find out how but rather an opportunity to experiment, existing economic conditions, and they
to best approach this new economic to find a unique, context-sensitive all subsequently address the sharing
model—the sharing economy. At some answer that works for their economy in different ways. Even given
point in the last five years the word community. the wide variety of responses to sharing,
‘Uber’ transitioned from a catchy com- When it comes to cities and the sha- most of the cities in our sample are
pany name to a household verb, and the ring economy the legislative and regu- working toward accommodating or
sharing economy became a game latory system has been most affected by adjusting to the operation of ridesharing
changer. ridesharing and homesharing, and or homesharing companies.
People think of a lot things when emerging models for how to incorporate Looking specifically to the 30 cities
they hear the term “sharing economy.” these services are developing, but the analyzed we found 9 cities that showed
The rapid diffusion and evolution of newness of this issue still precludes overall positive sentiment and 21 that
this new economic model has left people long-term tested best practices. had mixed sentiment to homesharing
with a variety of feelings, most of which Additionally, there is no one-size-fits-all and ridesharing. Additionally, we found
fall somewhere in the realm of ambi- regulatory solution, because one of the that 15 of the 30 cities experienced
guity and utter confusion. And that’s true innovations in cities is always the regulatory action or other intervention
reasonable, given the warp speed at ability to experiment and come up with from state policymakers. Our analysis
which the sharing economy thrust itself solutions that work best for the local also found that states are playing a big
into our everyday lives, becoming context. role in this discussion. State level inter-
common­place in cities large and small At the National League of Cities, we ventions ranged from legislation to
around the world. conducted a study to measure the sen- regulatory rulings to state legal action.
Furthermore, the vast difference in timent and direction of the sharing Most mixed and negative sentiment
types of sharing economy platforms can economy in the 30 largest cities in for the sharing economy is based on
be mind-boggling and often times poli- America. concerns over safety (provider and con-
cymakers are solely aware of what is Findings are based on a content sumer), fair business practices (equal
happening with ridesharing or ride- analysis of media sources covering: application of regulations or “leveling
hailing and homesharing, not realizing the playing field”), or lost tax revenue
the vast array of goods and services that •• the subject of sharing-economy (uncollected hotel taxes). Overall, cities
can be shared from food to ones time services are finding that there is a way to strike
to tools and even municipalities sharing a balance between promoting innova-
heavy equipment. •• the introduction of sharing-economy tion, ensuring consumer safety and
The common theme within this space services in cities addressing existing industries.
is that cities make the sharing economy Within the study we highlighted
work. With the unanticipated surge in •• the overall sentiment pertaining to more in-depth what is happening with
sharing or collaborative consumption sharing-economy services the sharing economy in a number of
companies, there has been what is com- US cities, including Denver and
monly referred to as ‘disruption’ of exis- •• policies and regulation on sharing- Portland. Denver is an interesting city
ting systems. Traditional industries are economy services for further exploration, because it is one
being upended with the growth of of the cities that have seen intervention
innovative sharing economy models Because of the sheer expansiveness from state lawmakers. Colorado was the
that do not neatly fit into existing local of the sharing economy, NLC refined first state in the union to pass legislation
regulatory environments. this study’s scope to focus only on rides- authorizing ridesharing statewide.
Residents both expect on-demand haring and homesharing services. Part While this legislation received
services and crave collaborative oppor- of measuring the sentiment, also inclu- pushba­ck from some traditional indus-
tunities. City leaders must walk a fine ded an exploration of whether each city tries, Governor John Hickenlooper

celebrated the state’s move toward work “with Portland’s lawmakers, continue to see more new companies,
embracing innovation. While the state w­ o rking to create a regulatory more disruption, and more social and
legislature made a bold move in legali- fr­amework that works for everyone, not political interplay between existing and
zing ridesharing outright, the policy just us. Not just the taxi cabs. Not just new actors. Cities will continue to serve
still underscores the importance of the city officials. Everyone.” as the laboratories for these ever-chan-
safety with provisions that require insu- City ordinances that govern more ging technologies and business models.
rance and background checks. In traditional fields of commerce took The best thing that city policymakers
October of 2014, the Denver City decades to develop, and while the sha- can do is keep an open mind about how
Council convened a special task force ring economy is wildly popular and the new economy might be fruitful with
to explore the city’s sharing economy, nimble, we cannot expect things to the right regulatory framework in place.
with an initial goal of understanding change overnight. Cities are meeting Sharing is here to stay.<
the social and economic effects of the these changes with open arms, though,
city’s homesharing market. and committing to addressing them
Portland, Oregon has definitely dis- responsibly, with the best interests of
played mixed sentiment toward the residents in mind. The National League
sharing economy. Homesharing has of Cities (NLC) is helping them navi- Nicole DuPuis is the Senior Associate
been legalized, and the city partnered gate and prepare for this new environ- for Infrastructure in the City
with Airbnb to launch its Shared City ment with resources and the develop- Solutions and Applied Research
Initiative. Part of this will include efforts ment of a Sharing Economy Advisory Center at the National League of
to assist Airbnb hosts collect hotel taxes Network. Cities. Her areas of expertise include
on the city’s behalf. Ridesharing has Because this is a rapidly changing transportation, telecommunications,
posed a different challenge for the city, environment our findings represent a public works, and urban innovation.
as existing city codes prohibit the prac- snapshot in time. In addition to reflec-
tice. Portland Mayor Charlie Hales ting what we could see at the time of Brooks Rainwater is the Director
initiated a new task force to explore the our data collection and analysis, howe- of the City Solutions and Applied
possibilities of a regulatory framework ver, our findings indicate the presence Research Center at the National
that might accommodate everyone. of some trends in the sharing economy. League of Cities. As a strong advocate
In the meantime, Uber has agreed to Overall, city policymakers are trying to for vibrant and successful cities,
temporarily halt operations in the Rose strike a balance between promoting Brooks frequently speaks and writes
City, and is working with city officials innovation, ensuring consumer safety, on the subject, and has published
to reach an agreement. An official sta- and respecting existing industries. numerous research reports and
tement from the city in December This is only the beginning of the sha- articles on the creation of innovative,
expressed optimism, and willingness to ring economy, and we will undoubtedly sustainable, and livable communities.

Reinventing Energy
By John Addison

O ver the next 40 years, we will pro-

gress to a better and different
approach to generating, transmitting,
Forty years ago, if you forecasted
today’s mobile and cloud technology,
you would have been greeted with scep-
disasters, and coal miners dying from
lung cancer. Future energy will keep our
lights on and elevators running after
and using energy. In some ways, the ticism and laughter. Yet, the transfor- superstorms. Future energy will be
transition resembles the transformation mation happened. Now, it is understan- generated within our zero net energy
of information technology during the dable when people are sceptical of a buildings, communities, and cities.
last 40 years. Through the mid-seventies, future of smart cities powered with
over 90 percent of computing was done renewable energy. Yet, it will happen. Distributed Generation and
on centralized mainframe computers Until recently, most electricity was Microgrids
accessed by dumb terminals. Then mini- generated in central power plants, fueled
computers brought a variety of added by coal, natural gas, and nuclear. Now, Today, central power plants still
capabilities closer to those working with seven U.S. states provide over 80 percent dominate, yet old ones are being shut
the information. Software dramatically of their energy from a mix of renewable down as distributed generation proves
expanded what could be accomplished. sources: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, superior. A good example is how two
Personal computers with local networks Nevada, South Dakota, Iowa, and nuclear power plants were shut down
rendered obsolete most central main- Maine. Solar capacity has grown 20 fold in Southern California, with their gene-
frames. Now we hold in our hands since President Obama took office. ration more than matched by distribu-
computers more powerful than those Cities, states, and nations are racing to ted solar power coupled with innovative
ancient mainframes and access a wealth be one hundred percent renewable. battery storage.
of information and applications in the Future energy will be free of toxic At the same time that we are more
cloud. spills into our drinking water, nuclear efficient in capturing wind power and

John Addison is the author of two books - Save Gas, Save the Planet that details
the future of transportation and Revenue Rocket about technology partner
strategy. Prior to being a writer and speaker, he was in partner and sales
management for technology companies such as Sun Microsystems.

from pumped hydro to thermal storage signals from utilities to downcycle air
to advanced batteries. conditioning and postpone operations
Our aging electric grid is designed until off-peak pricing can be used.
for a one-way flow of electricity from I toured a National Renewable
central power stations to commercial, Energy Lab (NREL) zero-net-energy
industrial, and personal customers. building for over 1,000 employees. The
Major storms have knocked out these building generates as much power as it
customers for days. Generation and consumes. Energy management and the
distribution are poorly designed for real Internet of Things (IoT) use natural
time price signals. The aging grid is daylight and ventilation, and turns off
slowly being upgraded to an intelligent, lights and other energy use when people
resilient, two-way network of grids. are not present. Solar, wind, and
A new GTM report details 124 ope- geothermal energy use is optimized.
rational and 92 planned microgrids in We are progressing from hundreds
the U.S. The 2,800 people in Borrego of zero-net-energy (ZNE) buildings,
Springs, California, use a microgrid that to ZNE apartment complexes, univer-
can connect or disconnect from utility sity campuses, military bases, commu-
SDG&E’s grid service. The 2,800 use nities and soon ZNE cities.
26 MW of solar energy. The University Some of the companies that shaped
of California San Diego meets over 80 the information revolution are now
percent of its power needs within its reshaping our energy future. IBM,
own microgrid that connects onsite Oracle, Google, and Microsoft are
solar, turbines, and fuel cells with power involved in many smart cities projects.
hungry labs and hundreds of buildings. Long time technology leaders like
In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Cisco, Texas Instruments, and
New Jersey Transit will keep its electric Qualcomm provide building blocks for
rail running with a transit microgrid the IoT. These experienced IT leaders
that includes standby generation, are joined by thousands of energy tech-
converting solar power, we are becoming renewables, and the ability to run even nology innovators.
efficient in energy use. There was a time if the utility grid fails. Uber disrupted transportation.
when a ten percent annual growth in AirBnB disrupted the lodging industry.
electricity use was met with new cen- Intelligent Energy Management Now, financial innovation disrupts elec-
tralized coal and gas plants. Now, in a and Zero Net Energy tric utilities, leading to energy that is
more efficient United States, electricity efficient, smart, and distributed. Major
demand is only growing one percent Energy management is moving faster banks, pension funds, and yieldcos are
annually and renewables meet this than the transformation of generation. investing billions to own wind farms,
incremental demand. Organizations often could not identify solar projects, and energy efficiency
New buildings cut energy require- major costs and sources of energy use. retrofits. They eliminate the barrier of
ments 50 to 80 percent with green roofs, Now GM saves over $20 million annua- upfront capital expenditures that for-
optimal insulation, smart windows, lly using Enernoc software, by having merly stopped building and home
efficient HVAC, and LED lighting. a single system that organizes its 1,700 owners, and offer monthly energy pay-
Software controlled networks of sensors energy bills from 29 countries. GM can ments that lower total bills.
and controls only use energy when and see where it achieves the fastest ROI Each day, our energy future becomes
where needed. with efficiency investments, by shifting more efficient, intelligent, distributed,
By 2020, globally solar and wind will demand, and by investing in its own mobile, and sustainable. Most likely you
generate the equivalent of one thousand energy generation. are one of the thought leaders and inno-
central power plants. Energy storage Early energy systems managed the vators that are moving us in the right
capacity will be the equivalent of hun- lighting and heat in buildings. Next direction. Thank you.<
dreds of power plants, using everything generation systems respond to price

The Alternative On-Hand
Why Isn’t Propane a More Prominent Part of Our Alternative Fuels Conversation?

By Hannah Greinetz
I n the US, we have over 190,000 miles
of pipeline devoted to the delivery of
liquid oil and gas for our energy needs.
industry, 42% for residential and com-
mercial purposes, 5% each for industry
and farming, and the remaining 3% is
Of that total, about 60,000 miles trans- used for transportation. It’s this last 3%
Hannah Greinetz is currently port crude oil, another 60,000 transport of propane used to run automobiles that
earning her MBA from Presidio refined petroleum, and the remaining deserves another look. According to the
Graduate School in San Francisco, 60,000 deliver natural gas liquids. US Alternative Fuels Data Center, cars
California. Her multi-disciplinary Natural gas liquids include propane, run on propane are emit less CO2, less
background and view of several butane, ethane, isobutane, and natural particulates and GHG’s, are less expen-
industries from the inside, including gasoline, and all are produced as a by- sive to fill up, and more generally, they’d
scrap metal and the non-profit product of natural gas processing and be running on a domestic fuel source.
world, informs her systems approach petroleum refining. Increased domestic They ran a lifecycle analysis on the emis-
to creating a sustainable society and oil production has created a flood of sions content of propane and found that,
urban environment. Hannah is supply in the US propane market; the “propane use reduced GHG emissions
passionate about businesses providing US is now producing a record high of by nearly 10%, and when derived as a
sustainable options, and creating a about 1.6 million barrels of propane per by-product of natural gas production,
sustainable water system. day; the Marcellus Shale has the poten- propane reduced petroleum use by 98%
tial to produce up to 1.8 billion gallons to 99%.” Propane is an inherently clea-
of propane per year by 2020. As a result ner burning fuel than gasoline, due to
of this growth, in 2012 the US became its lower carbon content.
a net exporter of propane for the first Roush CleanTech and Autogas for
time in history. America provide the following statistics
For a country focused on energy inde- for more perspective:
pendence as the US is, propane seems
to be an extremely viable transition fuel •• Propane autogas exhaust creates 60
to a cleaner economy and an economy to 70% less smog-producing hydro-
that relies on domestic energy sources. carbons than gasoline (Southwest
One industry leader posits that we are Research Institute).
sitting on 200 years of domestically
produced propane consumption. The •• Compared to gasoline, propane yields
US Department of Energy has also 12% less carbon dioxide, about 20%
done extensive research and released less nitrogen oxide, and as much as
their studies on the benefits of and com- 60% less carbon monoxide (World
parisons of propane to diesel, CNG, Liquid Propane Gas Association,
and gasoline; and has found, for several January 2003; California Energy
reasons, that propane is a top contender Commission, January 2003).
for the alternative fuel that we should
be using in our transition to a cleaner •• Propane autogas cuts emissions of
and domestically supported energy eco- toxins and carcinogens, like benzene
nomy. So my question is, why aren’t we and toluene, by up to 96% when com-
focused on building out the infrastruc- pared to gasoline (Southwest
ture that would support our use of pro- Research Institute).
pane as a transition fuel to this
economy? •• Propane is a low-carbon alternative
First, let’s get some facts straight fuel that produces significantly fewer
about propane. Of our total propane greenhouse gas emissions than diesel
consumption in the U.S., we use the and gasoline in a wide range of appli-
majority, 45%, in the petrochemical cations (Propane Education &

Research Council). 3 million cars on propane, Poland has conversion, so that the original gasoline
2.75 million, India runs about 2 million or diesel engine is outfitted to run either
•• Propane autogas has an octane rating out of their total estimated 60 million solely on propane autogas, or on pro-
of 106 (compared to premium grade vehicles, and Italy also runs about 2 pane as well as gasoline so that the
gasoline of 91 to 92), which allows million vehicles on propane out of their driver can extend the range of his vehi-
for a higher compression ratio in the total 40 million. cle. Propane is considered an alternative
engine and greater engine efficiency. The US Department of Energy sup- fuel under the Energy Policy Act of
This leads to significant reductions ports a program called Clean Cities, the 1992, and several federal grant programs
in exhaust emissions like carbon goal of which is to reduce petroleum have been put in place to support the
monoxide (Argonne National consumption in transportation through increase in number of cars on the road
Laboratory). local action. Clean Cities consists of a running on propane. Several coalitions
network of 100 coalitions across the in the Clean Cities program have recei-
The US currently runs about 150,000 country which can share best practices ved awards for their work in building
cars and buses on propane autogas; most and pool their resources to create bigger propane autogas infrastructure and in
of that number comes from fleet vehi- and better impact. The program sup- providing the resources for vehicle con-
cles and city buses; propane is also a ports propane infrastructure in a move versions: the Alabama coalition, Indiana,
common fuel source for heavy equip- away from petroleum, and has recogni- Ohio, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Virginia
ment like forklifts and lawnmowers. zed several cities and states for their Clean Cities.
The US is trailing many countries who transition to running fleets and school Falling oil prices have recently
have more widely adopted propane buses on propane, as well as for these dr­agged down the price of natural gas,
autogas for consumer vehicles, and have cities’ efforts to build out the infrastruc- and propane along with it. This makes
invested in the infrastructure for pro- ture for refueling stations. any alternative to gasoline less attractive,
pane autogas refueling stations. Turkey The most common way that this tran- since gas is the status quo, and the iner-
leads the world with the most cars run sition from petroleum to propane hap- tia goes something like, ‘if it’s there and
on propane, at 3.9 million. Russia runs pens for vehicles is through a vehicle it’s cheap, why fix it?’.<

housing market as a petri dish for discovery, Turning One Small Step into One
The Coin to the Kingdom
Re-THNKing Capitalism as a Key to the Housing Crisis asking “how might alternative and digital Giant Leap
currencies increase access to affordable low-
By Kaz Brecher carbon housing for those in need?”. The During the next several years, across
profound ripple effects from the current 6-month program cycles in Vancouver and
housing crisis are being felt well beyond Amsterdam, THNK is uniquely positioned
ccording to provocateur and THNK best from business schools and design
Vancouver, and the aim with all of our to continue convening diverse groups of
alumni Michell Zappa, “an industry- schools to create a greater sum: truly trans-
Innovation Challenge work is to use a local changemakers around examining, refra-
formational creative leadership to build
toppling, government-shifting, sector- context to drive global learnings. ming, and driving societal impact. But
disrupting revolution is underway. Think human-centered systems for a better future.
With teams that sound like they could impact is more likely when we join forces
Napster, but bigger.” You’ve probably felt Within this journey, the Challenge is a
have been the set-up to a bad joke (an with exceptional Innovation Partners to
the undercurrents. Yet as economic waves 6-month effort that takes a humble, curious,
accountant, a restaurateur, and a creative drive new thinking around how we can
rock the boat of capitalism, many are unpre- and forward-looking cohort, a global net-
director walk into a leadership school…), become positive participants in the mar-
pared for what’s next. Excitement and fear work with a shared intention for impact,
the cohort examined the needs of varied ketplace by harnessing the technological
mix as so-called sharing economies, shifts and trains them in a structured approach
demographics, from vulnerable populations and complex dynamic cultural forces sha-
in philanthropy and alternative currencies to human-centered creativity using a topic
to mid-to-low income families. They inte- ping these systems. While growing dispa-
emerge, balancing possibilities with the of deep societal relevance.
rrogated data around perceptions of “green” rities in income and access cause global
untested nature of new models. Capitalism housing options, changing patterns of
as we know it, even money itself, is one of upheaval and strife, we see the renewed
Envisioning a Better Future and ownership and engagement with living focus on our interdependent financial future
the most complex systems mankind has spaces—from co-housing to nomadic
Orchestrating Creative Teams as a massive opportunity for those bold
ever created. And part of the problem we living—and the impact these shifts are
face, as our world is bending and breaking, enough to dive in. As encouraged as I am
We begin by co-creating a moonshot having on property development. by the team triumphs, concepts and
is how to describe the relationships between Participants from around the globe tore
systems—they are nested, intertwined, vision to align our efforts and help us deter- momentum, this is but a first milestone in
mine some of the most promising areas for apart existing financial vehicles tied to ear- service of a much larger vision—catalyzing
interdependent, and deeply emergent. From ning equity in housing, models of develo-
a cultural and emotional perspective, we exploration. We tap into a diverse ecosys- this kind of change requires commitment,
tem, inviting subject matter experts, rabble ping and recouping energy upgrades, and support, and evangelists. We and our
sense the inadequacy of our financial sys- assumptions underpinning ideas of com-
tems but often feel powerless to change rousers, and master practitioners to roll up Partners and Participants are in for the
their sleeves—an incredible group rallied munity development—from the potential long-haul, and we hope you’ll join us! <
something that feels monstrous and uns- of smart multi-generational housing blocks
hakable, yet everywhere we turn our atten- around the Future of Capitalism, out of
which emerged our Innovation Partners to how community assets are often under-
tion to we can find signs of change. valued. The outcomes of this process are a
So, in my role as the Director of the on this initial challenge cycle: the City of
Vancouver and the Digital Finance first step towards driving breakthrough As the daughter of two rocket scientists,
Challenge track at THNK’s newly launched change and fashioning a future of capitalism Kaz founded Curious Catalyst to marry
Vancouver campus, I couldn’t wait to dive Institute. These partners bring a rich depth
of knowledge, broad networks that can be predicated on the belief that “we’re all better investigation with action, bringing
into examining the Future of Capital(ism). off when we’re all better off,” as THNK disruptive agile approaches to urban
THNK School of Creative Leadership is harnessed, and platforms for rolling out
concepts with promise. They collaborated Forum Guest, Eric Liu, so plainly challenges and a new take on the business
a C School that combines venture design remarked. of social impact through her experience
and innovation leadership and focuses on on shaping the brief and, after much deli-
with lateral thinking, rapid prototyping,
action and implementation. We take the beration, we decided to use the Vancouver
and human-centered design.

Artist Workspace Prototype Rolls
Down Market Street
By Krista Canellakis

Meeting of the Minds is working with the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of carriage LED lights.
Civic Innovation (MOCI) to bring you the Civic Innovation Spotlight, The Studio is a mobile LIZ, sited at
a monthly feature that shares the stories of cutting-edge and innovative NEMA and Mechanics Plaza during
civic projects in San Francisco. This series shares the untold stories of the summer of 2015. The project is one
of several structures Szlasa has built for
government innovation and inspiration related to accessibility, educa-
artists and creative people in response
tion, health, energy, and public services in San Francisco. to the need for alternative models for
artist work space in growing economies
For more articles in the Civic Innovation Spotlight, visit: like the Bay Area.
According to the creator, David
CityMinded.org/category/civic-innovation-spotlight Szlasa “Studio 1 is a prototype for a
scalable, sustainable solution for art

M eet Studio 1, San Francisco’s 2nd

Living Innovation Zone and
mobile art studio. Studio 1 is a 65 square
for our City’s families, keeping our
community-oriented arts organizations
in the neighborhood and activating the
spaces in under-resourced areas.”
For a week at a time from June 17th
to July 25th, artists curated by Szlasa
foot “off the grid” solar powered studio, street with initiatives like Living and the San Francisco Arts Commission
public art project, and micro-residency Innovation Zones,” said Mayor Edwin are occupying the Studio. Each artist-
center designed and constructed by M. Lee. “This Living Innovation Zone in-residence represents a mix of disci-
David Szlasa. Studio 1 brings artists to is a forward-thinking prototype that plines and will develop programming
the streets to interact with the public— creates affordable space for artists to schedules to complement the natural
allowing the community to be part of engage directly with the public on one traffic patterns of the location, schedu-
the design and exhibition process. “It of our City’s busiest thoroughfares and ling open studio hours and exhibitions
was the most exposure I’ve ever gotten ensures our local art community and on a regular basis. More information
as far as my artwork.” said Andrea everyone in our City prospers from our on the day-to-day programming can be
Bergen, the first artist taking residency successful City.” found here.
in Studio 1. Built on the back of a flatbed trailer, The project was celebrated on June
“In the past few years, the City has the Studio is made primarily of reclai- 25th at an event that brought together
worked with the community to revita- med and salvage materials with features all of the champions who made this
lize Market Street by attracting new including an integrated video projection project possible, including, David Szlasa,
jobs to the area, building more housing screen and motion activated under­ San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Civic
Innovation, the Planning Department,
San Francisco Arts Commission, Rainin
Foundation, Yerba Buena Center for
the Arts, and of course, all the artists
who are bringing the Studio to life week
by week.<

Krista Canellakis is Deputy

Innovation Officer in San Francisco’s
Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation.
She aims to build an open innovation
program to make San Francisco more
inclusive, diverse and responsive to
citizen needs. Canellakis is building
a community of civic entrepreneurs
both inside and outside of government
to catalyze new forms of creating
solutions to civic challenges.

A new online course available at Udemy.com/urban-innovation

This course is an introduction to various innovators Optional multiple choice quiz questions follow the
and initiatives at the bleeding edge of urban sus- lectures for those students wishing to test their
tainability and connected technology. It focuses new knowledge or obtain a course completion
on real world examples within two key themes— certificate. No commitment is required to do the
smart cities and transportation—as a way to look entire course. Students can proceed at their own
at the challenges and practical responses related pace and may view as many - or as few - of the
to urban sustainability. lectures as they choose.
Course material is based on case studies, semi- This course was developed with support from
nars, and conference sessions from the Meeting Cubic Transportation Systems, a leading integrator
of the Minds international network and annual of payment and information solutions and related
summit. Lectures are presented by topic experts services for intelligent travel applications.
and presentation slides and other helpful resources
are included.
A Call to Action for City Leaders
Create a Food System Resilient to Local Disruptions
By Kim Zeuli and Austin Nijhuis

I n recent years, cities and regions have

been looking to build resilient food
systems in the face of climate change.
Resilient Cities Network, and the City
recently hired a Chief Resilience Officer
to lead this initiative. Boston also took
One motivation for expanding local and a major step in becoming a leader in
regional food systems, including in- food resilience planning. It is the first
creasing urban agricultural production, city of its size to complete an assessment
is the fear that global climate change of the resilience of its food system to a
will disrupt reliable supplies of food natural disaster. The wisdom of this
from other regions and countries. A effort was underscored by the unprece-
New England Food Vision, for example, dented blizzards Boston experienced
explores what would be needed to pro- last winter.
duce at least 50 percent of the region’s Resilient Food Systems, Resilient
food supply in New England by 2060. Cities: Recommendations for the City
But the impact of Hurricane Sandy of Boston* highlights the findings from
on New York City, and its near miss in this one-year study. Led by ICIC, the
Boston, begs a different perspective: An research was commissioned by the City
expanded local and regional food system of Boston’s Office of Food Initiatives,
could create new vulnerabilities to natu- Office of Emergency Management,
ral disasters. For example, if a hurricane Office of Environment, Energy and
hit Boston, it would disrupt production Open Space, and Boston’s Transportation
at 12 milk processing plants that supply Department.
the majority of Boston’s milk. City offi- One key takeaway from our study is
cials are beginning to realize that they that if the City of Boston wants to
do not have sufficient data on the state strengthen its food system, it should
of their food systems in normal circum- focus more on improving local trans-
stances, let alone in the event of a disas- portation infrastructure than on expan- A second important finding we
ter. As reported in City Lab in 2013, ding local food production. Ninety-four highlight is that food availability in
“When Superstorm Sandy pummeled percent of Boston’s food arrives by truck. inner city neighborhoods will be dis-
New York last fall, it revealed the terri- A storm surge of the same size as that proportionately impacted by a natural
fying potential for sudden food created by Hurricane Sandy (7.5 feet) disaster. Overall, Boston has a robust
shortages.” could flood most of the major North- mix of food retail outlets that include
A resilient food system—the produc- South interstate in Boston and create large national, regional, and local gro-
tion, processing and distribution of significant barriers to the transportation cery stores as well as many corner stores.
food—would have the ability to adapt of food into the city. However, the distribution of retail out-
to changing conditions, withstand dis- As we learned last winter, a major lets differs by neighborhood. A few
ruptions such as natural disasters, and blizzard will obstruct the distribution inner city neighborhoods will face a
return to normal operations in a relati- of food within the city because the snow higher likelihood of store closures and
vely short time period. It would prevent impedes truck access on already narrow diminished food supply in the event of
food shortages in the immediate after- secondary roads. As one food industry a natural disaster because of their greater
math of a disaster and ensure that food expert that we interviewed explained, reliance on corner stores and a higher
supplies and distribution are restored “It’s all about logistics. The analogy I share of retail outlets in flood prone
to all neighborhoods. As such, resilient would give is air traffic control, getting locations.
food systems require flexibility, diversity, something from point A to point B. Say Across Boston, nine grocery stores
redundancy, and adaptability, as well as there’s a huge storm. How do you get and 59 corner stores are at risk of being
individuals and organizations with the the trucks to a distribution center, then flooded by a seven and a half foot storm
capacity to monitor and manage risks. trucks from a distribution center to the surge. Seven of these flood prone gro-
Last year, Boston was selected as one retailer? Food may already be at the cery stores and 33 of the flood prone
of 35 cities from around the world to distribution center or en route. It’s like corner stores are in inner city neighbor-
join Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 planes jamming up.” hoods. In addition to offering fewer

*Read ICIC’s report, Resilient Food Systems, Resilient Cities:
Recommendations for the City of Boston. The study was funded by the Henry
P. Kendall Foundation and the Local Sustainability Matching Fund, a
project of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Cities and
the Urban Sustainability Directors Network.

See: www.icic.org/research-and-analysis/resilient-food-systems

food choices to consumers in normal sufficient capacity or storage to meet ders, our study includes a framework
circumstances, corner stores and smaller normal demand, and the number of that other cities can use to assess vul-
grocery stores may face even more res- food insecure residents would likely nerabilities in their food systems.
tricted supplies and longer periods of increase after a natural disaster. In a Additional research is needed to identify
closure after a natural disaster because survey of New York City’s food pantries the optimal mix of local, regional, and
they do not have access to a corporate and soup kitchens one year after Sandy, national food production to strengthen
network to help them tap into alterna- a majority responded that they were the resilience of urban food systems to
tive supply chains and other feeding more people and that this was natural disasters. As cities across the
resources. due at least in part to Sandy. All agencies U.S. work to build resilient food systems,
We also find that expanding and in Staten Island, one of the areas hardest while simultaneously expanding local
strengthening the resilience of food hit by Sandy, reported feeding more production, we believe this type of
banks should be an important priority people. analysis is imperative. By focusing on
for food system resilience planning. In It would be a significant challenge the resilience of their food systems,
normal circumstances, food banks play for the GBFB and food pantries in cities can help to ensure that all resi-
a vital role in feeding food insecure Boston to meet a similar increase in dents have access to safe and healthy
households through their food pantry demand. The location of the food bank food in the event of a major
network. During natural disasters they in Boston also presents critical trans- disaster.<
also support nonprofit organizations portation issues. During the 2015 win-
such as the American Red Cross with ter storms, for example, snow buildup
emergency provisions. The Greater on the narrow access roads made it Kim Zeuli is Senior Vice President
Boston Food Bank (GBFB) has over difficult for food delivery trucks and and Director of Research at the
500 member agencies that serve 500,000 member agencies to get to GBFB. Initiative for a Competitive Inner
people annually across Eastern In addition to our findings and City (ICIC). Austin Nijhuis is a
Massachusetts. GBFB does not have recommendations for Boston’s city lea- Senior Research Analyst at ICIC.

The Berkeley Global Campus
Vision and Partnership in Richmond
By Nils Gilman

I n October 2014, UC Berkeley

Chancellor Nicholas Dirks presented
his plans for the Berkeley Global
Campus at Richmond Bay (BGC) to
the Academic Senate. His vision has
been described as “unabashedly bold”:
to create a global campus and “living
laboratory” in partnership with other
great universities from around the
world, as well as with private industry
and the local Richmond community.
Building on University of California,
Berkeley’s international reputation;
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s
groundbreaking research; the region’s
entrepreneurial spirit; the unique phy-
sical setting; and key partnerships in
Richmond, the new Berkeley Global
Campus will be a focal point for an
international coalition of leading aca-
demic institutions and private sector
and community partners. BGC will
bring a global community of researchers
and industry innovators to Richmond.
Through a transformational model
for global research integration, as well
as through the expansion of educational
activities, BGC will maintain and
expand deep ties to the main campus
and to the local community through a
variety of educational, public health,
community outreach, labor, and trans-
portation partnerships. These partner-
ships will collaborate on research and
academic initiatives addressing complex
global challenges the world faces in the need a 21st century infrastructure to mate control and fire preparedness—it
21st century, including: climate change, support it. Seeking a cutting edge infras- turns out that the hot water used to
energy development and storage, big tructure solution, we tapped the exper- keep buildings comfortable during the
data, precision medicine, global health, tise of Integral Group, an engineering winter is just as good at dousing fires
as well as associated commercialization firm that specializes in the design of as cold water.
opportunities with the private sector. simple, elegant, cost-effective systems We also plan to take advantage of the
We are currently in advanced talks for high-performance buildings—their natural assets at the site. We will con-
with a number of potential partner tagline is “deep green engineering.” tinue to protect the prairie grasslands
Universities, and hope to be able to Highlights from the resulting and marshes that we have spent decades
announce these soon. Infrastructure Master Plan include (and millions of dollars) to rehabilitate
recycling water on the campus, which and preserve. And in exchange, these
Assets on the Ground will help to avoid stressing the city’s unique features of our local ecosystem
aging infrastructure. The water will not will not only offer habitat to local birds
Of course, a 21st century campus will only be used for irrigation, but for cli- and other wildlife, but also provide

Associate Chancellor Nils Gilman is a strategic advisor to the UC Berkeley
Chancellor, responsible for the effective administrative organization of the
Office of the Chancellor.

research opportunities for our faculty surrounding streets. nectivity plan), the site is already well
and students, add to a breathtaking served by the 580 freeway, the San
tableau for the whole community to About the location Francisco/Richmond Bay Trail and two
enjoy, and offer protection against tidal BART stations.
surges and other issues associated with The BGC site, which has been known The site is also one of the largest
climate change. as the Richmond Field Station for deca- developable waterfront properties left
Other highlights of the master plan des, is owned by the University of in the Bay Area. And, frankly, the views,
and illustrative design work include: California and operated by UC Berkeley. the marshes, and the entire campus is
distinct walkable neighborhoods; a It is minutes from the main Berkeley just beautiful. Preserving that beauty
layout that deflects wind off the Bay campus and in close proximity to San while making it more accessible to a
and creates sheltered spaces; east-west Francisco and Silicon Valley. While vibrant working community will be one
solar building orientation; diversity of transport connectivity to the BGC site of the main payoffs of this project. Over
open edges and public access points; can stand improvement (the city of time—think 30 to 40 years—130 Bay
and a multi-modal grid connected to Richmond is developing an area con- front acres will be transformed into a

Left: An aerial photograph of the Richmond Field Station. Right: An artist’s rendering of the Global Berkeley Campus.

5.4 million square foot global campus to operationalize its ground-breaking, For years, Richmond residents, com-
that is open to the community and health equity-focused General Plan, munity and city leaders have consis-
home to academic and industry partners and the City is increasingly home to tently participated in the development
from around the world. socially and environmentally conscious of the global campus. Hundreds parti-
companies like Nutiva. cipated in community meetings to learn
Civic Transformation and But Lindsay is the first to admit, that more about UC Berkeley and the
Innovation this is not a one-man show. The success Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s
of innovative policies and the successful research focus areas and to provide
Meanwhile, the City of Richmond is programs in Richmond are the result feedback on the Environmental Impact
experiencing a transformation of its years of work by community groups as Review and Long Range Development
own. well as City Hall, the school district and Plan. More recently, representatives
Richmond has long been one of the philanthropy, labor and business groups, from across Richmond are deeply enga-
most diverse communities in the Bay and many other stakeholders, all hard ged with UC Berkeley and Lab staff in
Area, with cultural amenities that are at work in a complicated array of part- a planning process to develop a package
easily accessible by car, BART, and bike. nerships and collaborative initiatives. of community benefits.
Richmond can proudly claim such his- These partnerships draw from the expe- The Community Working Group,
torical gems as the Rosie the Riveter rience and expertise of institutional established by the Chancellor and the
WWII Home Front National Historical partners, a wide cross-section of com- Director of the Lawrence Berkeley Lab,
Park, 32 miles of publicly accessible munity members, high school and uni- is comprised of 24 representatives from
shoreline, and is consistently at the versity students, as well as area experts a broad cross-section of constituencies
forefront of innovative city policy to inform policy making and improve- including faith-based organizations,
making in the area of public health. ments to the built environment. nonprofit sector, education, the city
Despite this, the city has struggled aga- Resulting innovation policies at the city manager’s office, labor, local business,
inst a reputation as a low-income, high- level include the Health in All Policies neighborhood associations, and philan-
crime, post-industrial suburb, stuck in strategy, the city’s early drafts of a thropy. The Community Working
the shadow of one of the country’s Climate Action Plan, the Community Group is empowered to develop pro-
largest refineries. Though this image Health and Wellness Element of the posals, including recommendations for
might have been justified in the past, General Plan and more. At the school legally binding agreements on commu-
the changes the City is undergoing are district, a full-service community school nity benefits, in the areas of education,
creating an entirely new reality for the initiative benefited from these partner- local employment, procurement, and
City and its residents. Richmond is ships. And I could go on. workforce training, as well as housing.
increasingly recognized as a City that This focus on partnerships as well as The Community Working Group
is successfully pioneering a healthy, the university’s deep history in the City, kicked off in September 2014. Since
sustainable, and economically vibrant and an emphasis on innovation in public then it has met nearly monthly, deve-
future. health and sustainability all make loped a charter, launched subcommit-
Much of the credit for Richmond’s Richmond a great partner in the deve- tees to explore promising practices and
“renaissance” goes to City Manager Bill lopment of the Berkeley Global recommendations, added a community
Lindsay. Crime is down, unemployment Campus. co-chair, and new seats to represent
has fallen from 18.5 percent in 2010 to nearby neighbors as well as a housing
5.8 percent in March 2015, the City The Chancellor’s Commitment to expertise seat.
adopted a Health in All Policies strategy Partnering with Richmond Meetings are open to the public, held

at the site of BGC. And they are vibrant. An illustration of the Global Berkeley Campus Master Plan
More than 50 community members as
well as elected officials and staff atten- waiting. In June 2012, the City of tation options, and opportunities for
ded the August 2015 meeting—during Richmond was awarded a Priority entertainment and recreation.
which a robust debate about the defi- Development Area Planning Grant Projections include 6.5m SF of com-
nition of “local” underscored the impor- from the Metropolitan Transportation mercial, 750,000 SF of retail and 3,000
tance of a transparent and representative Commission and Association of Bay new housing units, with the intent to
process. Area Governments to develop the “transform this currently underutilized
If all goes according to plan, the Richmond Bay Specific Plan. The City industrial waterfront area into a revita-
CWG will present community benefit has held a number of community mee- lized, pedestrian-oriented district that
recommendations to the Chancellor tings, solicited feedback on draft plans would integrate a mixture of high-
and the Director of the Lab before the and continues to involve area experts in intensity research and development and
end of the year. this process. commercial uses with new medium-
The Specific Plan facilitates the density housing options anchored by
The City is Not Sitting Idle: implementation of Richmond's new the Berkeley Global Campus.”
Planning for the South Shoreline General Plan by establishing specific All told, the collaboration between
planning policies, regulations, and urban UC Berkeley and the City of Richmond
Much of what will make BGC a suc- design guidelines for an approximately promises to become, as Pastor T. Mark
cess, both in the short and long term, 220-acre area located in the southern Gandy recently commented, “the most
will be the result of parallel planning section of Richmond, adjacent to the important single development in
efforts that bring together diverse stake- global campus. The Specific Plan focuses Richmond since the World War II shi-
holders working to ensure a broad dis- on ways Richmond can take advantage pyards.” We look forward to collabora-
tribution of benefits associated with the of the global campus, future ferry service ting closely for years to come with the
global campus. (expected in 2017), and other area assets citizens and City of Richmond in bring-
As you might have guessed, our part- to create a sustainable shoreline district, ing this vision to reality.<
ners at the City are not sitting back and which provides jobs, housing, transpor-

Dear 2015: A Letter to the Past
By Richard Mitchell

Dear people of 2015,

can’t do real justice to any conversa-
tion about how your world of 2015
influenced my world of 2050. Just as
you may have learned by looking back
to 1980 from your vantage point, I have
pros and cons of ‘ride sharing’. You
would be pleased to learn that these
ideas took root and changed the lands-
cape of our cities by ending the tyranny
of the automobile. Today there are a lot
fewer personal cars. Electric driverless
and remotely piloted vehicles are always
available. The end of automobile domi-
nance freed thousands of acres of valua-
ble urban land that had been dedicated
to “parking”. Old parking lots have been
replaced with orchards, vineyards, gar-
discovered that it was not the grand shuttles take us everywhere. Personal dens, plazas and apartments.
‘megatrends’ that changed the paradigm, vehicles remain popular in the distant You will also be pleased to know that
instead, it was the convergence of suburban areas, however; even there, the wheel chair is gone. Robotics and
c­ountless ‘micro-trends’ riding the magic driverless technology allows seniors to exoskeleton technology liberated cou-
carpet that you once called ‘the age in place because driverless vehicles ntless numbers of people by giving them
internet’. provide safe mobility that was not pos- independent mobility. Thank you for
In an effort to acquaint myself with sible in earlier times. Today, I can con- enthusiastically funding and supporting
your time, I referenced your period from nect with the transportation system the development of this technology.
my information source….our 2050 ver- whenever I need it and the self-guided We continue to reap the benefits of
sion of your ‘Ipads and tablets’. We don’t
use devices like that anymore because
we receive our communications and
information through systems and tech-
nologies that you could not have ima-
gined. The network is always there and
I connect with it at will. I cannot image
how life could possibly work without
the network.
Through my study of your time, I have
learned that you were faced with nume-
rous challenges and uncertainties; an
extended drought threatened water
supplies in California and your scientists
were warning of sea level rise. Wealth
and class stratification were rapidly
eroding opportunity and much of the
infrastructure that supported establis-
hment of the North American economy
was descending into ruin.
In reading your media, I was amazed
to learn that your national debate focu-
sed on non-essential ideological issues
that should have been left to personal
choice, while very little appeared on gun
regulation, planning for a borderless
multicultural economy or building an
education system that could have pre-
pared your children for new possibilities.
I am amazed and thankful that you
began to realize the need to change and
did so before it was too late.
I read that in 2015 you were testing
driverless automobiles and debating the

This article is a response to the Dear 2015 group blogging event prompt:
The year is 2050. Write a letter to the people of 2015 describing what your city is like, and give
them advice on the next 35 years.
For more responses, see the Dear 2015 event page at CityMinded.org/cal/dear-2015

your early commitment to the expansion

of solar energy. This technology is now
used to power desalinization plants that
are providing fresh water using our vast
ocean resources. Solar has allowed the
dismantling of many dams and restora-
ability, and your recognition of the need
to design and build complete commu-
nities that accommodate people at all
stages of life. We realize how difficult
it was to achieve this, given the anti-
quated system of financing that consis-
tinue to improve and others will conti-
nue to threaten our existence. Because
we are so focused on determining where
we are going, we often forget to acknow-
ledge how far we have come. I hope that
my descendants will make better deci-
tion of river ecosystems. We are less tently under produced housing. It took sions and continue the assent to a better
dependent on the “oil shortage business” a great deal of determination and crea- human condition. Thank you for your
that bled so much wealth during your tively to restructure the financing system struggle and contribution. I will do my
era. The air is cleaner and the rate of to help build affordable, human scaled best to “pay it forward”.<
global warming has slowed because so communities that serve multiple
much of our energy is coming from the generations.
sun. Just as you pondered the future in Richard Mitchell is the Director of
We applaud your early commitment 2015, I ponder the future in 2050. I Planning & Building Services for the
to the concepts of livability and sustain- know that some conditions will con- city of Richmond, CA.

To the People of Boston of 2015
By Anthony Flint

To the People of Boston of 2015:

’m just coming back from a press
conference for another tech start-up
in Somerville—makers of a super
powerful handheld solar collector and
battery, yet another contribution by the
region that will help complete the tran-
sition from fossil fuels and help US
cities hit the climate emissions reduc-
tions all the world’s nations so sensibly
agreed to. The business is in a makers-
space incubator re-using an abandoned
building from the industrial era at the
turn of the last century. The place is
beautiful, and not only zero-energy but
another nice example of regenerative
design, which has become the building
industry standard around here. The
transition from making shoes and candy
and textiles to the innovation economy
is long since complete. And the best
part is, the economic activity is marbled
throughout Greater Boston, thanks to
the decision to start acting like a region
instead of having individual municipa-
lities compete against each other—
abandoning, for example, the practice
of offering the biggest tax breaks for
business location. Not only Boston,
Cambridge, and Somerville, but once-
struggling legacy cities such as Brockton
and Lawrence are fully part of the
renaissance. Regional collaboration has
been aided by the use of technological
tools for scenario planning, allowing
communities large and small to envision
the future by means of full citizen
I made the trip with ease on the
Green Line extension from Lechmere value for landowners and private de- was fully engaged in this transformation
to Medford, the no-brainer addition to velopers. Massachusetts wisely looked at the front end, realizing the win-win
the MBTA system that was almost at the use of these tools for equitable benefits that were in store. The T is now
abandoned because of the cost. urban development being deployed in on sound financial footing, and the
Thankfully the region established a Latin America. The new stations along Commonwealth can continue funding
policy of land-based financing including the Green Line extension are humming its Fix it First policy, so spans such as
value capture, a recognition of the way with transit-oriented development, the Longfellow Bridge didn’t collapse
public investments in infrastructure, another standard practice that makes into the Charles.
and government action such as rezo- us wonder how metropolitan regions Cities here and in the rest of the
ning, prompts large increases in property grew any other way. The private sector coun­try backed away from the brink of

This article is a response to the Dear 2015 group blogging event prompt:
The year is 2050. Write a letter to the people of 2015 describing what your city is like, and give
them advice on the next 35 years.
For more responses, see the Dear 2015 event page at CityMinded.org/cal/dear-2015

around here, but the growth of the

region is more balanced and equitable
than it otherwise would be, through the
universal embrace of inclusionary hou-
sing, and the establishment of more
permanently affordable housing in com-
munity land trusts and other shared-
equity housing models. The federal
government helped by getting behind
loans for CLTs.
We couldn’t solve every problem—
like halting climate change and sea level
rise. But we got busy adapting for a
wetter future, by building canals and
otherwise working with water, taking
our cues from the Dutch. We also lear-
ned from disasters like Superstorm
Sandy, focusing not only on short-term
recovery but building back stronger and
smarter. Resilience became part and
parcel of city-building. This, too, took a
regional approach and the cooperation
of all levels of government, local, state,
and federal.
I’ve got to run—off to a hands-on
summit to promote better planning and
balanced growth in the burgeoning cities
of the developing world. After all, two-
thirds of the planet’s population of 9
billion lives in cities. It’s been gratifying
that metropolitan regions have had such
a robust exchange of ideas and innova-
tion, and continue to learn from each
other. Around here, all it took was a
retooling of urban policies and a little
political will. Boston, well done.<

insolvency by promoting municipal other, and started doing multi-year

fiscal health, and fixing the structural budgeting, long-range capital budget Anthony Flint is a fellow and director
problems in local public finance. They planning, all the while maintaining of public affairs at the Lincoln
made the property tax work, as a basic private-sector financial standards and Institute of Land Policy. He is a
covenant for the provision of services— transparency. A fiscal scorecard for every regular contributor to The Atlantic
a system so foundational it was adopted city is now standard operating proce- Monthly’s The Atlantic Cities, as well
for the fast-growing cities of China. The dure, so there are fewer surprises and as Citiwire, The Next American City,
federal government stopped imposing municipalities don’t find themselves Planning magazine, Planetizen,
unfunded mandates; planners and those thrown suddenly into fiscal crisis. Architecture Boston, and many other
in public finance starting talking to each There are a lot of wealthy people publications.