The secret to building a smart city that’s anti-racist

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Instead of simply extracting data from residents, make sure communities get involved in deciding how technology is deployed. In the face of COVID-19, the smart city movement has increasingly gained momentum. Drones, autonomous freights, and AI-based remote temperature sensing are among some of the new technologies that companies have partnered with cities to deploy in recent months. Smart city advocates insist that the crisis provides a key opportunity to digitally transform urban spaces for good. As the Silicon Valley “innovation firm” Strategy of Things notes, “The adoption of innovative smart city technologies such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and 5G, offers the potential for cities to respond to the pandemic more effectively and will be crucial in both curbing the spread of the virus and restarting our economy.” Read Full Story

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How prepared is your city for COVID-19? This impact tool measures readiness at the local level

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Is your city or town ready for an influx of COVID-19 hospitalizations? A new impact planning tool from Esri might give you an idea. In New York City and other areas heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, hospitals and healthcare systems are already becoming overwhelmed , and that scenario is likely to play out in cities and towns across the country as COVID-19 spreads. Read Full Story

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Could 13,000 smart thermometers keep Nebraska COVID-19-free?

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As classrooms reopen, cities and towns across the country are leveraging new tools to keep students, teachers, and their families safe from COVID-19 and other illnesses. The vast majority of Nebraska is composed of rural territory: wide swaths of land occupied by pockets of roughly 2,500 people. Despite the state’s diffuse populous, it, like others, has struggled to contain the spread of COVID-19 over the past year. Read Full Story

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100 apartments in 8 months: How Toronto built housing for the homeless at breakneck speed

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The city used modular architecture to respond to a dire need for housing during a deadly pandemic. The project could be a model for other cities—during COVID-19 and beyond. In the face of overlapping crises, the city of Toronto has created a fast track to house people experiencing homelessness. As the impacts of the pandemic quickly hit this community harder than others, the city accelerated its efforts to build permanent supportive housing, using modular architecture. Just a few months after the project was launched, the city will have 100 new apartments. Read Full Story

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The quarantined reader: 10 brilliant nonfiction pandemic books

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A list of good, smart works about society grappling with pandemics . . . and how they’ve shaped every part of our world. There are lots of books you could be reading right now, but none are as topical as those on this list. So if you’re looking to get your mind off of COVID-19, pandemics, and the effects of illness on societal structure, maybe these aren’t for you. But if you’re looking for smart, academic takes on the viruses and diseases that changed our world before COVID-19—and where we can go from here—you can’t go wrong with any of these 10 books. Read Full Story

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Pandemics have destroyed cities before. Could they do it again?

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Charles Kenny, author of a forthcoming book on pandemics, is cautiously optimistic that cities will prevail in the era of COVID-19. Here, he talks to Richard Florida about how infectious diseases have shaped cities throughout history, how COVID-19 could impact urbanization, and why preparedness is everything. The COVID-19 pandemic has woken us up to the way viruses attack and spread through cities, but the reality is that infectious diseases have long ravaged cities and urban areas. Charles Kenny has thought a lot about the connection between cities and disease. A senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and former World Bank economist, Kenny is the author of several books including The War on Death and The Upside of Down: Why the Rise of the Rest is Good for the West . He recently tweeted about his latest book, Winning the War on Death: Humanity, Infection and the Fight for …

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