ASU

Smart Region: The Rise Of The Activist University

Arizona State University is not a state agency nor a representative of surrounding cities, but it is instrumental in creating a regional scheme to force smart city tech on 4.2 million people and 22 cities in Arizona. ⁃ TN Editor

ASU is a founding member of a new “smart region initiative” to bring cities and towns together in the Phoenix area together to collaboratively solve challenges and problems using technology.

As part of this initiative, ASU partnered with the Maricopa Association of Governmentsthe Greater Phoenix Economic Council and the Institute for Digital Progress to form The Connective, a consortium to help provide the greater Phoenix area with the tools necessary to create a smart city.

The city of Phoenix is one of the fastest growing cities in the country, but according to Diana Bowman, the associate dean for international engagement in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, the metropolitan region is not up to date in terms of becoming a smart city.

“The greater Phoenix area is well behind the ball,” Bowman said.

But the goal of creating The Connective was to solve that issue by bringing the cities together. The partnership is meant to advance the technologies necessary to create a smart region by involving community and industry leaders.

According to Forbes, smart cities “bring together infrastructure and technology to improve the quality of citizens and enhance their interactions with the urban environment.”

Bowman said that the goal of The Connective is to “improve quality of life” in the greater Phoenix area.

“It’s not about the technology, it’s about the … individual,” Bowman said.

In 2020, members of The Connective have started working with different towns and cities in the greater Phoenix region to get an understanding of what issues they are facing.

The Connective will be working with partners in both the public and private sectors to combat those challenges, whether it be parking, water, transportation or other issues.

The 22 partners that make up The Connective, include Dell, Cox, Sprint and The Salt River Project.

Bowman said ASU’s role in the partnership will be accelerating the development of necessary technology by using its campuses to test and research in a sort of “sandbox” environment.

“ASU is really critical in terms of the idea of co-creating and testing technology, and the technology partners are already on board to help refine and drive it into the market,” Bowman said.

Dominic Papa, vice president for smart state initiatives at the Arizona Commerce Authority, said that the problem prior to The Connective was that cities were never really great at working together.

Papa said cities tend to focus on helping themselves and ultimately don’t have the time or resources to do more, causing various urban problems like pedestrian fatalities and a lack of mobility.

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The Connective

‘The Connective’: Arizona Pioneers ‘Smart Region’ Concept

National and global buzz is increasing over the Smart Region concept dreamed up by Arizona State University where smart city technology will bypass individual cities by imposing regional policies directly.

Many think this is a great idea, but there are just a couple of problems with it. First, it strips sovereignty from individual cities and second, any regional form of governance is patently unconstitutional. ⁃ TN Editor

During the ASU Smart Region Summit in November, the formation of the statewide collaborative, The Connective, was announced at the State of the Smart Region Gala. The Connective’s vision is that through a community-driven applied research model and intentional, unprecedented collaboration, the consortium of public, private, university, and community partners will empower Greater Phoenix communities to build the nation’s largest, most connected smart region, developing and deploying technology-scalable solutions rooted in connectivity, mobility, equity, and sustainability. This constitutes a big bold new vision for Arizona!

“This is the first major regional effort in the United States to engage communities across such a broad range of municipalities in co-designing and co-investing in our smart and connected futures,” says Lev Gonick, chief information officer at Arizona State University (ASU).

While ASU is planning its own smart city project, they’re also uniting with the Arizona Institute for Digital Progress (AZiDP), Arizona Commerce AuthorityMaricopa Association of GovernmentsGreater Phoenix Economic Council, and 22 Greater Phoenix cities and towns to create and build The Connective.

“Creating a smarter, safer, more vibrant city is at the heart of this effort. ASU is proud to partner with industry and municipalities to advance this initiative for our city, our region, and the state,” says Cynthia Sagers, vice president for research at ASU.

A day-long summit closed the SRS focusing on surfacing the big ideas and highlighting the strategic partnerships that will bring our cities and regions into the future.

Several companies have announced partnerships with The Connective, including Cox, Dell, Sprint, and SRP. Cox and ASU recently announced their plan to launch the Cox Connected Environments Collaboratory at ASU, an incubation space that will cultivate a smart region ecosystem while addressing the need for a consistent, powerful network on campus and beyond to really capitalize on the promise of these smart region initiatives. Students, faculty, and staff will develop Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to problems facing the optimization of buildings for sustainability and new way for us to interact with our evolving environment, providing new learning experiences in virtual and augmented reality, infrastructure modeling, privacy and security, sustainability, and more.

Sprint recently announced a significant collaboration to bring 5G, the Curiosity IoT Network to fruition, a whole new university degree program for IoT development.

Further, Alteryx and ASU are teaming up to use the former’s data analytics platform to effectively use data to solve smart region challenges. This partnership will give students, faculty and staff members an edge on tackling real-world business issues and driving social impact.

All of these announcements signal a substantial industry commitment to public private partnerships and improving the experience of ASU community members while broadly sharing their discoveries and forward pathways.

Bill Gates, Microsoft’s co-founder, had invested in the purchase of 25,000 acres west of the White Tank Mountains for a planned new smart city known as Belmont, and has now also invested in another 2,800 acres in Buckeye.

Belmont’s partners consider the greenfield community to be a “blank slate of opportunity” for developing advanced communication, energy, and transportation infrastructure designed for innovation and delivering an improved quality of life.

In the meantime, Microsoft Corporation has acquired three land parcels in the West Valley for enormous data center builds.

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Private Cities: ‘Priority Is Not The Needs Of Citizens’

Private Cities are the beginning of neo-Feudalism where citizens exist for the pleasure and convenience of the land barons. If the ‘owners’ don’t like you, you can be summarily expelled with no recourse. ⁃ TN Editor

I was walking beneath the tightly packed, identical high-rise towers of Danga Bay, a new 20,000-person mixed-use development built entirely on reclaimed land in Johor Bahru, in the south of Malaysia, with my camera drawn. I had been writing about new cities and developments like this all over Asia for many years, and doing informal visits where I could get a feel for the place, chatting with home buyers and people running local businesses, was part of my standard operating procedure.

But something happened here that I hadn’t experienced before: I was approached by a security agent and was sternly told that I couldn’t use my camera—that cameras were not allowed in Danga Bay.

I questioned him: “So in a development where 20,000 people are supposed to live, nobody is allowed to have a camera?”

He said that was correct.

Of course, that wasn’t true, but there was nothing that I could do: I was in a small city-sized development that was 100% privately-owned and operated by the Chinese developer Country Garden. The word of the company was law.

Private cities, generally marketed as being “better, cheaper and freer than existing state models” have become the new trend in the 21st century urban development. They are mixed-use developments where people live, work and play that are presided over by a CEO rather than a mayor—a company rather than a government. In some ways, private cities are viewed as a “win-win” type of shortcut, as governments can get their new developments built for them via private capital rather than tax dollars and still take a cut of the earnings, while private firms can profit at each stage of the urbanization process.

Private cities, kind of like special economic zones, often have their own sets of rules which often run perpendicular to the laws of the nations they are geographically located within. They are essentially legal wild cards—a swath of land purchased by a private company that can be run as that company sees fit. They are wild cards where the conventions of the broader country don’t apply, where new labor regulations, tax codes, financial laws, business and property registration systems, and education models can be implemented and tested. The ideas behind many private cities tend to be very libertarian: get government out of the way and let the people prosper.

According to Moser, there are well over 15 new private cities and dozens more new urban areas being developed on public-private partnerships throughout the world today. Songdo, a 130,000-person new city owned and operated by Gale International and POSCO in South Korea is one of the dominant models of this movement. Forest City, a nascent $100 billion 700,000-person new city being built on reclaimed land just up the coast from Danga Bay by China’s Country Garden is another. As is Springfield, Australia, a private city that was built from scratch on 7,000 acres of bush by Australia’s 39th richest man that now houses 40,000 residents. Google even recently received approval to build a private “smart” city in a Toronto suburb.

“Private cities are appealing to many governments who want instant urban and economic development and believe that outsourcing to the private sector is efficient and lucrative,” Moser notes. “Real estate development companies and technology companies are attracted by the profits that stand to be made in new city projects and governments around the world are willing to cede land, utilities and control in the hopes of attracting Amazon or some other tech giant.”

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Governor Martin O'Malley

Former Governor O’Malley Preaches Virtues Of Technocrat Governance

The former Governor of Maryland and Mayor of Baltimore believes that Smart City technology is the wave of future ‘evidence-based’ governance. In short, cities should better model themselves after Silicon Valley ‘entrepreneurs’ and ‘innovators.’ ⁃ TN Editor

Western democracies have some catching up to do with consumer expectations. According to a 2015 study completed by the Pew Research Center, 65% of Americans go online to find information they need about their government — but only 11% report finding the government effective at sharing data.

If Amazon, Uber, and a host of other companies can provide better service thanks to the new technologies of the Information Age, why can’t our governments? If the GPS system in my car can navigate me to the quickest route through traffic congestion and fender benders, why can’t my government use these same technologies to better anticipate these routine accidents?

Technology isn’t the problem. The technology is proven. Nor is cost a barrier; the availability of these new technologies is widespread and relatively inexpensive. The problem is the great human variable of leadership.

Old habits die hard. And over the course of time, public administration has developed a very slow, cautious, and risk-averse approach to embracing new technologies — the tyranny of “the way we have always done it” in public service.

In Silicon Valley, people who keep trying new things — even though they sometimes fail — are called innovators and entrepreneurs. The operative myth in government, however, is that people who try new things and fail are fired or voted out of office. What many people remember most vividly about the implementation of Obamacare was not its successful passage, but in many states, its failed launch.

But a new way of leading and governing is emerging. And it is rising up from cities.

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ASU School of Sustainability

ASU Leads Nation In Unconstitutional ‘Smart Region’ Scheme

Regional governance is the arch-enemy and destroyer of a “republican form of government” as guaranteed to the states by the U.S. Constitution. ASU started the “Smart Region Initiative” that will impose Smart City policies throughout the region.

The president of Arizona State University, Dr. Michael Crow, is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the CIA’s private venture capital firm, In-Q-Tel. SRI is essentially modeled after In-Q-Tel to provide tech ‘incubators’ and ‘sandboxes’ to advance experimental Smart City technology and policies throughout the Phoenix region. SRI is also partnered with the Maricopa Association of Governments to help impose its policies upon 22 cities and 4.2 million people while bypassing duly elected city councils.

To say that SRI is a swarm of unelected and unaccountable Technocrats is an understatement. Furthermore, SRI is attracting other Technocrat companies from all over the world. ⁃ TN Editor

 

Arizona State University (ASU) and Alteryx (NYSE: AYX), revolutionizing business through data science and analytics, today announced a collaboration to accelerate Smart City program development in the Phoenix Metro area via advanced analytic solutions. Dean Stoecker, CEO of Alteryx, discussed the partnership during his keynote address at the ASU Smart Region Summit, hosted today in Phoenix.

“Higher education institutions are at the forefront of technical innovation and have an immense responsibility to empower the success of our future workforce,” said Stoecker. “Today’s summit and the university’s Smart City Cloud Innovation Center are indicative of ASU’s leadership in both areas. Alteryx has a proven track record of enabling Smart City solutions across the globe and we are proud to partner with an organization equally dedicated to driving remarkable social outcomes. Together, we are putting our powerful analytics platform in the hands of those capable of creating the cities and economies of tomorrow with data science and analytics.”

ASU, recognized by U.S. News and World Report as the most innovative university for the fifth consecutive year, opened the Smart City Cloud Innovation Center (CIC) in March 2019, designed to improve digital experiences for smart city designers, expand technology alternatives and spur economic development. As part of the CIC (pronounced “kick”), ASU faculty and students can leverage the Alteryx Platform to solve submitted challenges that will help enable smarter communities in Phoenix, preparing students to solve real-world business issues and driving social impact.

“It is rare to find industry-leading companies like Alteryx who are passionate about aiding higher education institutes like ASU in our mission of social embeddedness,” said Lev Gonick, chief information officer at ASU. “Through this collaboration, our students will gain access to a modern, end-to-end data analytics platform that will not only allow them to discover and implement smart city solutions, but will also set them up for success as they graduate college and enter the workforce. We’re excited to explore additional possibilities with Alteryx as we partner across the private and public sectors to accelerate innovation and drive social good.”

Alteryx is helping ASU further accelerate data literacy and development of the future workforce via the Alteryx for Good (AFG) university program, which allows educators to incorporate data science and analytics into curricula and engage students in predictive, statistical and spatial analytics. Learn more about the AFG program and higher education opportunities here.

About Arizona State University
Arizona State University has developed a new model for the American Research University, creating an institution that is committed to access, excellence and impact. ASU measures itself by those it includes, not by those it excludes. As the prototype for a New American University, ASU pursues research that contributes to the public good, and ASU assumes major responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of the communities that surround it.

About Alteryx
Revolutionizing business through data science and analytics, Alteryx offers an end-to-end analytics platform that empowers data analysts and scientists alike to break data barriers, deliver insights and experience the thrill of getting to the answer faster. Organizations all over the world rely on Alteryx daily to deliver actionable insights. For more information visit https://www.alteryx.com.

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WEF

WEF: Future Cities Must Be Sustainable To Be ‘Smart’

The elitist World Economic Forum is 100% behind Sustainable Development, aka Technocracy, claiming that the future Smart City should be ‘first and foremost a sustainable city to minimize its environmental impact.’ ⁃ TN Editor

And since biodiversity is a reasonable indicator of the overall health of an ecosystem, we should try to optimize it. In consequence we might improve the health of the inhabitants and liveability of urban environments.

How can cities of the future transform themselves to be more sustainable, healthier and biodiverse? Here are a few ideas.

A proposal for tomorrow’s cities

The goal of cities of the future should be to create a variety of undisturbed land-based and aquatic biotopes within urban environments, connected by corridors for animals to migrate and for seeds to spread. Green roofs, conventional parks, private gardens and green facades could create additional space for animals and plants to thrive.

Toronto is one example of a city that adapted development regulations according to this model, by passing the Green Roof Bylaw, which requires a certain ratio of green roofing for new developments above a certain size.

Toronto also offers subsidies for building owners willing to create green roofs with their Eco-Roof Incentive Program, something other cities should mimic; and some already do. While not all municipalities can create a costly incentive program like Toronto, they could, for example, reduce the mowing of public grasslands, sidewalks and other areas, which would improve living conditions for bees and other species. An even eco-friendlier policy might be to use animals for grazing these grasslands, providing natural fertilization and means of local food production. In Munich, one of Germany’s largest cities, a flock of sheep is using Englischer Garten, one of the largest urban public parks, as pasture, which could be model for other public parks.

Municipalities could also declare a certain part of their forests as protected areas or plant biodiverse forests with native trees, creating new biotopes. The same should be considered for certain ponds, lakes and creeks that should be situated in a perimeter prohibiting conventional agriculture, fostering eutrophication of close-by aquatic environments.

Such environmental strategies for future city development should be embedded into a strategic report accessible by all city stakeholders, providing explanations, guidelines and contact information for further help. One model for other cities is Vancouver, which is currently implementing its Greenest City Action Plan, comprised of local food production, strategic tree planting in public and private spaces, improving microclimate, food security and biodiversity. Governments could provide additional incentives, like free access to endemic seeds via community seedbanks, garden design assistance and subsidies or property tax reductions for those making positive contributions to the environment on their private propery.

Technology is key to quantifying biodiversity and understanding the evolution of urban ecosystems. Drone overflights feeding data into a wildlife-recognition model combined with geotagging could help us understand the evolution of the urban ecosystem. Sensors could analyse soil humidity, temperature and composition and monitor wildlife, informing strategic planning.

All cities should join together to create an open database so researchers across the globe can access data and provide insights to local communities. Based on this knowledge, cities could enhance their urban farming and gardening programs, increasing local organic food production and further improving the health of inhabitants. Such community food gardens also educate and inspire more sustainable behavior while providing many other benefits.

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Woven City

Woven City: Toyota’s Futuristic City Centers Around Not Driving

Toyota is the latest entry into concept cities, called Woven City, will be built from scratch to test Smart City technology. Limited to around 2,000 residents, it will certainly not be affordable to the average citizen in Japan. ⁃ TN Editor

Toyota is apparently no longer content making Corollas, Hilux pickups and loads of money, as it’s now planning to build an entire town of its own. Seriously.

Today at CES in Las Vegas, the automaker announced its ambitious new construction project, called the Woven City. Located near Mount Fuji in Japan, this brand-new municipality will occupy the location of a defunct manufacturing plant. The automaker has reclaimed a 175-acre plot of land that, over the next few years, will be transformed into a city of the future.

The goal of this prototype conurbation is to create a living laboratory for the development of future technologies. This encompasses things like self-driving vehicles, robotics, smart homes, personal mobility and more.

Woven City

Image by Toyota

Speaking at a roundtable discussion following the Woven City’s announcement, James Kuffner, CEO of the Toyota Research Institute Advanced Development said, “The cities of today have been shaped by cars.” But with this project, the automaker is exploring a world of new technological possibilities. Woven City could be the perfect testbed for this.

Residents, yes, normal people will be able to live there, as well as buildings, infrastructure and vehicles will all be interconnected, powered by a city-wide digital operating system. Toyota will also invite its business partners to work there as well as academics and scientists from around the world, all with the goal of fostering the creation of new technologies. Connected, autonomous, emissions-free and shared mobility are a few of the buzzwords used to describe the project.

This planned city is designed to be fully sustainable, powered by Toyota hydrogen-fuel cell technology and rooftop-mounted photovoltaic panels. Accordingly, it should not be connected to the conventional power grid. Buildings will be made largely of wood, incorporating traditional Japanese joinery in their construction. If the renderings of this town and its structures are accurate, it should be a swanky place to reside.

The Woven City’s streets will be divided into three sections, none of which will support human-driven vehicles. One will be dedicated to faster-moving self-driving transportation, another will handle slower, personal-mobility vehicles as well as pedestrians, and the final one will be park-like promenades dedicated exclusively to people.

Those differing infrastructure elements will weave together, something that helped inspire the project’s name. This is also a nod to Toyota’s heritage, as the automaker actually got its start making looms for weaving fabric.

The Woven City’s carefully planned environment should make it easier to create and develop future transportation technology. Greening things up, native vegetation and hydroponics will be sprinkled throughout.

Major infrastructure elements will be housed underground. This should include things like hydrogen storage and plumbing. Topside, residents’ lives will likely be made easier thanks to in-home robots and sensor-based artificial intelligence. In a perfect world, the trash will automatically get taken out and refrigerators seamlessly restocked with tasty vittles.

Giving some style to match its functionality, the Woven City is being designed by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. His firm, the Bjarke Ingels Group, has created many iconic buildings around the world, including several for Google as well as 2 World Trade Center in New York.

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Geospatial

‘I Am Geospatial’ And I Will Track You Forever…

A key element to total surveillance is geospatial tracking (GeoInt) and monitoring of everything that moves. GeoInt was originally developed by the military for the military, but now it will power Smart Cities around the globe.

The embedded videos are critical for you to watch and contemplate. Take them to all of your locally elected officials and show them WHY they should reject Smart City makeover. ⁃ TN Editor

As the world gets smarter and more connected, 5G and geospatial will together be powering cities of the future.

Half of the world’s population lives in cities, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. As our urban ecosystems grow ever larger, technology has the potential to dramatically improve the lives of those living in them. With the onset of digitalization and the Fourth Industrial Revolution radically changing how we live work and interact, the biggest impact will be felt on our cities.

As challenges like population pressure, deforestation, traffic congestion, deteriorating infrastructure, crime and resource crunch impact cities the world over, smart city innovations couldn’t have come at a better time. Smart cities may save the world as much as $22 trillion by 2050, according to the Global Commission on Economy & Climate.

Accurate geospatial information helps governments design better cities, improve public services and engage with citizens. Urbanization of the future will be driven by geospatial data and location would be a crucial component in digitalization of cities. And as cities get smarter, much of this location data has to be in real time. This is where geospatial and 5G converge. 5G and geospatial will together be powering cities of the future.

“5G will act as the connective tissue of tomorrow’s digital economy, linking everything from smartphones to wireless sensors to industrial robots and self-driving cars,” says Malcolm Johnson, Deputy Secretary General, International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Together they are the critical link for a smart, interconnected world, bringing the next level of connectivity to industries and society that helps in shaping digital cities.

Besides powering data at unbelievably fast rates, the coverage density of 5G is a hundred times greater than current standards. 5G can connect up to 1 million devices per sq km; its low latency and incredible speed and bandwidth will bring in the ubiquitous connectivity required by the smart city ecosystem.

What is 5G?

5G is the short form for ‘fifth generation mobile network’ and is quite unlike any of the previous generations in a way that it is unlikely to be defined by any single technology. Often referred to as “the network of networks” because of the way it will bind together multiple existing and future standards, including the current LTE 4G networks, 5G will be way more fast and reliable with greater carrying capacity.

5G will accelerate the move towards digital as a transformative ecosystem that combines Big Data and Cloud, virtualization and augmentation, automation and intelligent machines, distributed computing and artificial intelligence, to derive insights from data that is generated by billions of connected devices.

Of course, 5G doesn’t exist alone and will be majorly driven by the ongoing sensor revolution and the move towards a connected world. According to Jeff Glueck, CEO, Foursquare, “For 5G we need a multi-sensor approach. It is important to add the human element on the physical element for innovation.”

As sensors get smaller, they are getting more and more ubiquitous. From smartphones to cameras, wearable devices to platforms like social media, crowd sensing technologies are increasing at an incredible pace. The number of connected devices worldwide is forecast to grow to almost 31 billion by 2020, according to Statista. The total installed base of Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices is projected to amount to 75.44 billion worldwide by 2025, a fivefold increase in 10 years.

“Multiple sensors are adding to more dynamic data coming from all quarters, drowning the whole world in a pool of data. You need more dynamic technologies to handle this data,” underlines Christopher De Preter, Chief Sales Officer, Hexagon Geospatial.

“5G will make networks several times faster, increase network capacity, open possibilities to cover not only dense built-up territories in cities but suburbs and villages, and will really unlock the potential of IoT and smart cities development, connecting all people and all things,” says Dr. Volodymyr Kolinko, CEO, Visicom, a Ukraine-based geodata provider company.

Geospatial and 5G

“Geospatial insight is key to planning for 5G network for unprecedented speed. It will expedite the process of site selection, design and asset management, providing immersive, overlay and point cloud view for decision making,” explains Frank Paulie, CEO, Cyclomedia.

5G’s higher frequencies — which is needed to carry huge amounts of data — have a very short range which can be impacted by smallest of the obstructions. The signal is so sensitive that it can be blocked by the palm of your hand, or even a raindrop. 5G will also require denser telecom network — more towers placed selectively and strategically. Therefore, accurate, authoritative geospatial data is fundamental here to plan network towers.

Further, because of the sensitivity of radio waves, it is necessary to have detailed maps — buildings with roof features, pipes, air conditioners, spires, sloping roofs, and even vegetation which also can affect signal propagation.

5G wireless promises higher capacity, more reliability, lower latency and improved coverage, thus bringing greater accuracy in positioning services, since telecom-based positioning technologies require telecom towers to be synchronized to nanoseconds relative to each other.

5G will also usher in new technology trends that will significantly impact the overall mobile network architecture, thus influencing the traditional positioning concepts as well. With location becoming fundamental to governance and all business process, the value of location-based services for industries such as advertising and marketing, transportation, retail, will only increase, since the 5G rollout and its subsequent expansion will enable more mobile interaction opportunities.

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Updated: Seven Major Smart City Trends For 2020

The standout trend is #6, “Mobility hubs and car-free zones”, discussed in several articles on TN. Banning cars from city centers and forcing people onto foot, bicycle, scooter or mass transit will be huge in 2020. This meme was originally hatched in the Agenda 21 program in 1992, but is now becoming a reality.

The editor of Smart Cities Dive contacted me that she is taking exception to the amount of text from their website included in this article. Even though I have the right, according to ‘fair use’ statutes, to include text that I review and make comment on, I am choosing to remove the bulk of their article, and thus you will have to go to their website to read it.

This is only the second time in TN’s history that anyone has raised a copyright dispute. Considering that I have posted and commented on over 3,600 stories relating to Technocracy, it demonstrates that TN is well within the operating boundaries of fair use and copyright law.

The editors of Smart Cities Dive (and the other Dive series such as Industry Dive) are obviously upset that TN would lift the cover off of their dedication to Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development, aka Technocracy.

Lastly, since the length of my text exceeds theirs now, I am reverting authorship back to myself. ⁃ TN Editor

It’s the turn of a new decade, and following a wild year of transformation in 2019, the 2020s are bound to face more innovation, speculation and security risks than ever before.

To help start the year off right, Smart Cities Dive has gathered insights from industry leaders to identify the trends that are expected to influence the smart city space in 2020.

Read full story here…




Day 9: Technocracy And Smart Cities

The concept of “smart growth” was a brilliant marketing strategy that was introduced in the early 1990s as an alternative phrase for Agenda 21. Americans don’t like to be included in “agendas” they did not create or approve, but they instantly warmed up to the idea of being “smart”. After all, who wants to be “dumb”?

The concept of Smart Growth has spawned a plethora of derivatives such as Smart City, smart phone, smart network, smart home, smart streets, smart cars, smart grid, smart appliances, etc. Essentially, the inclusion of “smart” has come to mean anything saturated with technology designed to control the object of its focus. 

The Big Tech companies of Silicon Valley and similar tech centers fancy themselves to be urban planners, but that is a misnomer. Traditional urban planners seek to build functional cities that work for people, whereas Smart City planners build functional cities focused on controlling people. 

As you will remember from other essays in this series, one main object of Technocracy, aka Sustainable Development, is to transfer resources from the hands and ownership of people and their representative institutions into the hands of a global common trust operated by the global elite. When David Rockefeller founded the Trilateral Commission in 1973 to create a “New International Economic Order”, grabbing resources became the master plan and Sustainable Development, aka Technocracy, became the means to that end. 

Cities don’t have physical resources like farming, minerals, timber, etc. Rather, it is the rural areas of the world where such resources are found and developed. So, to prepare for taking over large swaths of rural areas, Technocrats developed two coordinated strategies: First, move people from rural to urban settings and second, keep them there.

The United States contains 2.27 billion acres of land. The federal government owns some 650 million acres, representing over 28% of our total land mass. Most federal land is in the western states, which are rich with natural resources. The U.S. Constitution does not provide for broad federal land ownership, but that has not stopped the government from ever-expanding its portfolio. Apologists for federal ownership use the justification that the American people actually own those acres, but in fact much of the federal property is completely inaccessible to the public. 

In China, where Technocracy reigns, land grab policies are more direct. For instance, China unveiled a plan in 2014 to summarily move 250 million farmers off their land by 2026 and into megacities that had already been constructed but sat vacant. The vacated farm land is being combined into giant factory farms to be operated by advanced technology such as agricultural robots and automated tractors. Ostensibly, the farmers who refuse to leave will be helped along with the barrel of a gun. 

Once relocated into cities of the government’s choosing, these farmers will fall into a social engineering machine that will continuously surveil them, track them, assign social credit scores to limit their access to privileges, etc. They will never regain enough resources or mobility to leave their assigned cities. In other words, they will be trapped. 

Smart City Development

Around the world, there are several Smart City commonalities which can be easily observed in practice and in literature:

  1. Surveillance. Monitor people using biometric facial scanning, geo-spatial tracking, financial data, social media, etc. A population that is surveilled can be easily controlled.
  2. Transportation. Force people out of private vehicles into shared public transportation such as scooters, bicycles, buses, light rail, etc. Without private transportation, they are locked into the city and out of the rural area.
  3. Data. Collect real-time data from the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is an expansion of the Internet of Things concept to include people as well. 
  4. Control. Social engineering is always leading the thought process of Smart City development. However, unlike elected political representatives, the social engineers are always self-appointed Technocrats who decide what citizens should or should not do, where citizens should or should not go, with whom citizens should or should not associate with, etc. 

All of this fits the original definition of Technocracy, as seen in The Technocrat magazine in 1939:

Technocracy is the science of social engineering, the scientific operation of the entire social mechanism to produce and distribute goods and services to the entire population.

Original Technocrats viewed people as nothing more than resources on the same level as animals and natural resources on the planet. Their goal was – and still is – to apply “science” to the efficient balancing of resources by controlling production of goods and services as well as their consumption. The objects of this social engineering would have no more control over their own lives than the cattle in a feedlot. 

Smart Cities and Regionalization 

In the United States, Smart City policies are increasingly being imposed by regionalization. 

The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) is a non-governmental organization that “serves as the national voice for regions by advocating for regional cooperation as the most effective way to address a variety of community planning and development opportunities and issues.” According to its website, there are over 500 regional councils in all 50 states serving population areas ranging from less than 50,000 to more than 19 million. 

These regional entities, known as Councils of Governments (COGs) or Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), impose Sustainable Development policies on all targeted communities, cities and counties within their supposed jurisdiction, bypassing the officially elected representatives. The NARC literature is very clear regarding its purpose. NARC supports:

  • Federal consultation of local governments in formulating environment, energy and land use policies
  • community resilience planning to mitigate the impacts of extreme weather events
  • expand[ing] Federal incentives to reduce energy dependence and promote renewable energy use
  • multi-jurisdictional solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • empowering regions to utilize the opportunities created by technology and data, included automated and connected vehicles
  • public and private investments that provide regions with the tools they need to create economically vibrant and sustainable communities. 

In 2019, a new regionalization scheme was launched in Arizona called the Smart Region Initiative (SRI). It will create implementation policies for Smart City technology throughout a given region of cities and counties. As I wrote in February 2019, 

The Phoenix area Smart Region Initiative is a pilot program to see how much sovereignty can be stripped from member cities without a mass uprising by disenfranchised citizens. With no elected officials, SRI seeks domination over 22 cities and 4.2 million people to dictate uniform implementation of Smart City policies and technology.

If this pilot is successful, it will be rolled out across the nation for the rapid installation of Smart City tech, including 5G small cell towers, smart street lights with cameras, sensors, and listening devices, smart street technology for autonomous vehicles, data collection technology, and so on. 

Conclusion

Where I grew up on a farm in northern California, crops like tomatoes and melons required lots manual labor to pick the fruit during the harvest season. Thousands of workers from Mexico would be granted “green cards” to temporarily enter the U.S. and then would return to their own country when the work was done.

While they moved from farm to farm, they would be housed in dormitory-style facilities known as “labor camps”. These allowed for sleeping and eating, and some facilities were barely better than tents, but the work got done and the workers returned home with their paychecks in hand.

I am reminded of these work camps when I look at today’s modern concept of the Smart City, where captive labor resources are plentiful, accessible and trainable. Is this really the purpose of city life in the 21st century? It would appear so. 

For urban dwellers, what happened to all the physical resources throughout the vast expanse of rural America? Well, that’s none of your business anymore. After all, you are “smart” now.