Colin O’Donnell is the chief innovation officer of Intersection.
Cities are ready for this transformation. With digital infrastructure, automation, and machine learning comes the ability to predictively respond to demands and optimize outcomes for millions of people at once.
Today, we have a massive opportunity for city managers, social activists, and entrepreneurs to create new economic opportunities, reshape behaviours, and repurpose our resources to truly redefine the modern city. The infrastructure needed for this revolution is beginning to fall into place, but how do cities ultimately arrive at this final stage of responsiveness?
To pave the way for effective responsive cities, cities need to 😛 TAGEND
Partner on Resources, Access, and Outcomes
We need to toss out our preconceived notions of what’s possible in cities and start with the desired outcomes. City directors need to identify untapped resources or infrastructure in need of reinvention and then make it easy to partner and collaborate with the private sector. Public-private partnerships ought to be aligned on mutually beneficial outcomes, like universal access to resources for people of all abilities, and not fixate on a particular solution, or prescribed procurements.
Understand Groups of People and Influencing Their Behaviors
A responsive city are indicative of the humans in it. The internet has shown us a glimpse of what’s possible with personalization- recommending videos or products or friends to you. A single person. But city experiences are inherently one-to-many. 50 people look up at a sign, and they experience it together, with 50 different backgrounds and maybe as many individual objectives. This opens up an interesting field of study: understanding groups of people and how they respond to real-time changes in their environment.
Whether it’s something like dynamic road closures for on-demand pedestrian plazas, or directing people with different mobility needs to the fastest road for an event, or helping them discover a new business that just opened; balancing people’s requires with the city’s -in real time- will be an arousing new region for exploration, blending Urban Planning with User Experience Design and Behavioral Science.
Make it Real-Time
Becoming a responsive city isn’t a static objective, it’s a constantly moving target. We need to think past fixed, single-purpose infrastructure and focus on dynamic, real-time digital infrastructure that can change as people and cities change. The focus should be not only staying relevant over years as cities change on the macro scale, but staying relevant from moment to moment, from the morning commute to lunch.
The internet has changed everything we do- how we live, work, and play, all through access to information, and communication with each other. But it hasn’t always lived up to its transformative potential. We’ve considered it create isolation and siloed groups that breed intolerance.
And cities can be stale and inflexible- designed by people who died long before today’s inhabitants were even born, and where change is measured in decade planning exercises. Cities are rarely representative of the actual people use, working, and living in them.
But now, because the internet stimulates its way into cities, we have an opportunity to induce the internet more human, and cities more dynamic.
We can construct true community experiences where people of different cultures and backgrounds and abilities share digital interactions with one another as well as their city. We have the ability to shape our environment and share information in real time to better connect people with each other, and with resources. We have an opportunity to build an all-inclusive digital urban experience, and that starts with a responsive city.
Make sure to visit: CapGeneration.com
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