Smart City Advantages Key elements of smart cities—sensors,

cameras, data analytics and powerful net- works that capture and relay vital informa- tion—help them become more energy-ef- ficient or quicker to respond to environ- mental and residential issues. Such products highlighted the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas. Reducing traffic can also contribute to safer highways and shorter commutes with decreased greenhouse gas emissions. “Citizens are using apps to monitor

issues and alert city managers, improving the livability of their communities,” explains Steve Koenig, senior director of market research with the Consumer Technology Association. In Boston, the app BOS:311 allows

residents to instantaneously notify govern- ment departments of pollution concerns, like blocked drains and other environ- mental or community needs, feeding the information directly into the city’s work order system via their mobile phone. Tis real-time collaboration results in a cleaner, safer and healthier city. Te Envision Charlotte project encom-

passes interactive kiosks in 64 businesses and government buildings citywide, gathering energy usage data for office buildings to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. So far, energy consumption has dropped 19 percent, saving companies about $26 million. Te program has strengthened economic competitiveness and environmental sustainability.

Nature in the City Some cities have focused on the natural environment for improving local livability while mitigating contributions to climate change. Forested open spaces, wetlands and protected watersheds improve air quality, protect drinking water and buffer intense storms. Such areas also connect more people with nature and engage them in communal and healthy outdoor recreation. Portland, Oregon, boasts more than

10,000 acres of parks, plus an innovative Biketown sharing program that has facilitated 160,000 bike trips since its launch in 2016. Te city’s Bike Bill requires all new streets to accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians by design. Portland also embraces urban gar- dens and allows residents to raise chickens,

bees, goats or rabbits in their backyards. No one wants to live where pollution runs

unchecked or water is unsafe to drink. Phil- adelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters program works to keep stormwater out of sewers and reduce rainwater runoff through decentral- ized soil-based and plant-based systems, including pervious pavement, green roofs and rain gardens. Begun in 2011, its goal is to reduce rainwater runoff by 85 percent by 2036. Rainwater has become a valuable community resource. Te program is just one of many ways

that the City of Brotherly Love is trans- forming itself into one of the greenest in the United States. Overseen by the city’s Office of Sustainability, Greenworks Philadelphia devises long-term sustainability strategies that encompass eight facets, including clean and efficient energy, carbon-neutrality and zero waste. Preparations are already under- way to cope with a hotter, wetter future.

Preserving a Sense of Place Making communities livable goes beyond infrastructure. Actions usually involve preserving, protecting and enhancing what appeals to residents. Santa Fe, New Mexico, is one example of many where livability priorities are guided by the values of its residents and its sense of place. “From our historic public square and

marketplaces to outdoor cafes, farmers’ markets and community festivals; from human-scale architecture and balanced transportation to pedestrian and bicycle networks, this place represents shared val- ues,” says Mayor Javier M. Gonzales. “Santa Fe is also full of public art. Te city is designed to be safe, creative and inspiring for young and old, families of all kinds and everyone else that comes to see us.”

Good Life as Kids See It Ultimately, making cities move livable for children can make them highly livable for all. “Children need the same things from a city that we all need, but their needs are greater than ours,” says Lennard. “Te environment a child grows up in shapes their health and their mental and social development for the rest of their lives. Our modern, unwalkable suburban environments are contributing to childhood obesity, which has been widely

linked to chronic diseases that in the past were only associated with old age.” She notes, “Children need the exercise

of walking or biking to school. Tey need safe streets so they can become indepen- dent and explore their neighborhoods; sidewalks and other outdoor areaswhere they can play, meet friends and interact with adults in the community; easy access to nature; beauty in their environment; and intriguing architecture, works of art and other places to stimulate their affection and imagination. As they become teenag- ers, they need access by foot or bike to a wide variety of resources to broaden their horizons. Don’t we all need these things?”

John D. Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist, co-authors of ECOpreneuring, operate the Inn Serendip- ity, wholly powered by renewable energy, in Browntown, WI.



International Making Cities Livable

hosts conferences in the U.S. and Europe.

Consumer Technology Association’s

Smart Cities, an overview of the latest technology in making cities more smart and livable.

AARP Livable Communities fact

sheets, helpful for communities looking to become more livable.

AARP Livability Index, a livability

rating of U.S. localities according to housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement and opportunity.

Toward Sustainable Communities:

Solutions for Citizens and Teir Govern- ments, byMark Roseland. Te fourth edition offers a comprehensive guide- book for creating vibrant, healthy, equi- table and economically viable places.

June 2018 29

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