How do we reconcile the virtues of Smart Cities and renewable energy sources such as solar power juxtaposed with lead poisoning in our cities? Solar power is set to grow by 94% in 2016. In the first quarter solar accounted for 64% of new electric capacity additions enough to power 5.7 million homes. Yet at the other end of the spectrum we are seeing lead poisoning proliferate in low income communities of Cleveland, Chicago, and of course Flint.
Forecasters predict there will be over 1.7 Billion connected things in use in our cities by 2018. The Internet of Things (IoT) allows everything from LED street lighting to your refrigerator to communicate and share data. In a move to be more efficient and leverage data municipalities are aggressively planning how to be more connected. The issue is what happens when the humans that are supposed to be benefiting by this technological advancement are left out of the information loop, disengaged and disconnected?
“Build Resilient Infrastructure” is Sustainable Development Goal number 9 out of 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for the world’s cities to achieve by 2032. Flint, Michigan and it’s water security crisis has is just one reason why cities need resilient infrastructure. Roads, bridges, LEED certified buildings are just some of infrastructure improvements that cities need to make in order to transition to smart cities. I believe one of the first improvements cities have to make is upgrading their high-pressure sodium lighting or mercury vapor lamp street lighting systems to more energy efficient LED lights.
In 2015 the United Nations held the Sustainable Development Summit with world leaders who adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. A set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030. The SDG’s help frame the world’s cities goals to build Smart Cities and provide greater connectivity via The Internet of Things (IoT). What cannot get lost in society is still wrestling archaic constructs of race and class. How do we build Smart Cities juxtaposed with systemic issues of police brutality, environmental and social justice?
What is the smart city movement and why is there such a push around the globe for “smart cities”? A smart city is one that has digital technology embedded across all city functions. This technology also utilizes the Internet of Things (IoT), which refers to the ever-growing network of physical objects that feature an IP address for internet connectivity, and the communication that occurs between these objects and other Internet-enabled devices and systems.
Earth Day 2016 , a celebration started in 1970 to bring attention to environmental stewardship and issues. Today the United Nations has over 170 Countries on board to sign the historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change. These negotiations took place last December in Paris at COP21. Yet today I have to ask do we have to consider an Exodus for the people of Flint?
“In Flint we can’t drink the water, we can’t drink the water and haven’t been able in two years” – Dr. Karen Weaver Mayor of Flint Michigan. This is outrageous when Flint is located near the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth, the “Great Lakes” containing 21% of the world’s surface fresh water. Nestle one of the largest bottled water companies is able to pump millions of gallons of water from the Great Lakes for free. Which in turn of course they sell as bottled water. Juxtapose Nestle getting access to clean water with the residents of flint who have been stuck with water bills of poisoned water they cannot drink or use. Charging consumers for contaminated water should be a violation of the Safe Drinking Water Protection Act (SDWA).
In this episode of Building Collaborative Communities we discuss the city of Flint, Michigan and the #FlintWaterCrisis. What are options and solutions for the citizens, can we do more than send bottled water? Who is going to get paid to rebuild the infrastructure in flint? Will the Governor be using “no-bid” contracts? How long will it take to replace the pipes throughout the city? Djuan Coleon, CEO of PURE answers these questions and more in this episode of “Building Sustainable Communities”
How did I get into Environmental / Climate Change? One reason unknown to me at the time is that I spent 7 years as site inspector and project manager in the City of Atlanta and Dekalb County on multi-million dollar projects. When Mayor Shirley Franklin had to comply with a consent decree to replace the Water and Sewer lines / pipes throughout the city, a $3 Billion Dollar project. So think about “costs” as you ponder the #FlintWaterCrisis.
The visceral reaction to the lead poisoning and the lack of clean water in Flint, Michigan is “How did this happen in America?” and “Who is going to be held responsible” and “We Need Clean Water Now”. I would suggest the question at the top of the list we should be asking is “Who is going to get paid?”. Let me explain why it is the more prescient question. We know now that the pipes that distribute the water throughout the city of Flint are contaminated with lead. Even if you attempt to put clean treated water through those pipes the result will be contaminated water on the other end that will flow out of the faucets of the citizens of Flint.