Top 10 Urban Innovations of 2015


The Sharing City: Unleashing Spare Capacity – ‘Take, make, consume and dispose’ is out; caring and sharing is in. With Airbnb already helping reduce wasted capacity in cities, and car-sharing clubs doing the same with transportation, we’re increasingly seeing sharing of facilities and even co-locations.

Mobility-on-Demand: A Menu of Personal Mobility – Congestion carries a price tag of $60 billion a year in the US alone, but the proliferation of real time data on traffic flows is enabling new ways of managing this by routing drivers via less crowded thoroughfares. When driverless cars hit the roads, the line between public and private will be blurred further, as cars take on numerous journeys rather than sitting idle in the car park all day.

Medellin Revisited: Infrastructure for Social Integration – Progressive architecture and urban planning have transformed this Colombian city in little more than a decade. The introduction of an elevated cable car is emblematic of this revival, providing not just transport infrastructure but a vital link between the wealthy commercial and some of the town’s poorest neighbourhoods.

Smart Array: Intelligent Street Poles as a Platform for Urban Sensing – Switching to LED is just a start of the Lamp Post Revolution: next generation designs will be able to monitor crime, available parking and even air pollution.

Urban Farming: Vertical Vegetables – If 45% of vegetables are spoiled before they reach the farm in Europe alone (the figure is much higher in other parts of the world), why not move the farm to the city? Advances in LED lighting mean that food can now be grown in old cargo containers. And the beauty is they can be stacked, giving farmers 100 times more yield than traditional farms.

“Cities have always been repositories of innovation. Now, innovation itself is turning its focus on cities. Experimenting with urban space is the subject of the latest batch of successful start ups across the world. As a result, cities are not just containers of innovation – but also content,” said Prof. Carlo Ratti, Director, MIT Senseable City Laboratory and a member of the Council.

“It will be not one, but a gestalt of innovations, taken together and delivered via an intelligent network, that will have the greatest impact on cities,” said Anil Menon, Deputy Chief Globalization Officer, Cisco and Vice Chair of the Council.

The Co-Chairs of the Summit on the Global Agenda 2015 are Sultan Bin Saeed AlMansoori, Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates and Ali Majed Al Mansoori, Chairman, Department of Economic Development, Abu Dhabi.


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