If you read this, that probably means 3 things:

1) you’re not napping on some faraway beach, but 2) the weekend is almost here and 3) we’ve got a new selection of civic tech must-reads ready for you! If you just got back from your faraway beach, check out our previous selections on the blog. If not: ready for some brain food?

“Leveraging AI And IoT For Citizen Security In Smart Cities” by Forbes

Smart cities are (or should be) flawlessly connected when it comes to transportation and communication, and should overall cater to our convenience as technology continues to evolve. But sometimes, we seem to forget that smart cities can also offer a response to more core issues concerning basic human necessities, such as safety or security.

How can IoT and AI guarantee our physical safety in the places where we live and work? This article explores a few possibilities. Monitoring large crowds, controlling access to high-security areas or calling in the help of robotic patrols or security drones, all of those things could make large-scale differences on our sense of security and well-being. A must-read for those who are bitten by the robot bug, worried about their own safety, or interested in what the future might look like.

2. “Solving India’s ancient mysteries—with the help of citizen scientists” by National Geographic

Archaeology once seemed to be as dead and dusty as the dinosaurs, but with the help of new technologies, we can now all feel like Indiana Jones.

For over a decade, National Geogrpahic scientist Parcak has been working with satellite images to spot and study archaic sites all over the world. Her project Global Xplorer is a platform that crowdsources the initial assessment of satellite images for signs of ancient cultures. The platform, first used in Peru, “attracted more than 80,000 participants from a hundred countries. The volunteers have viewed more than 15 million images, covering some 100,000 square miles, and have identified 19,000 sites that were not in Peru’s database of archaeological ruins.”

Now, a renewed platform will direct its attention to India. Like before, volunteers will be able to share discoveries and comments with the Global Xplorer community. A must-read for everyone who was secretly jealous of either Dora or Indiana Jones, or just enjoys citizen participation being taken to the next level.

3. “5 Lessons from Cities On Affordable Housing” by Politico

Across the United States, affordable housing is a pressing problem. Cities find it hard to keep up with the enormous demand for new housing, and are forced to be creative with policy-making. This article lists 5 lessons from American cities, but most of these can definitely inspire solutions in a non-American context, as well. Could tiny homes or 3D-printing be part of the solution? And what does race have to do with it? A must-read for cities struggling to solve this universal problem.

4. “Citizens speak out about corruption in Africa” by Transparency International

Corruption has been a lingering problem on the African continent for a long time. It hinders economic, political and social development, and is a major barrier to economic growth, good governance and basic freedoms. According to new research quoted in this article, more than half of all African citizens feel like “corruption is getting worse in their country, and that their government is doing a bad job in tackling (it).” 130 million citizens in the 35 countries surveyed, or 1 in 4, stated that they had paid a bribe to access public services in the last year.

The article also offers some tips to African governments to help tackle corruption, and one of those tips is to collect citizen complaints. A must-read for everyone who’s interested in power relations, corruption, or ways for governments to better themselves across the world.

5. “The internet is drowning” by National Geographic

When the internet is down, modern life comes to a sputtering halt. Frankly, it’s overwhelming to think how much relies on fragile infrastructure, a large part of which is located in the path of the rising seas. Uh oh.

“Within 15 years, thousands of miles of fibre optic cable—and hundreds of pieces of other key infrastructure—are likely to be swamped by the encroaching ocean. And while some of that infrastructure may be water resistant, little of it was designed to live fully underwater (…) So much of the infrastructure that’s been deployed is right next to the coast, so it doesn’t take much more than a few inches or a foot of sea level rise for it to be underwater,” quotes the article, bringing an extremely important matter to the surface.

How will we protect the internet? And how will we adapt to an environment that is rapidly changing? Finding a solution to these questions is rather urgent, because there’s really no going back to the disconnected days of yore. A must-read for anyone who can’t go a day without their fix of cute kitten videos.

That was it for today! If you’re looking for more, download our comprehensive e-guides on participatory budgeting or inclusion in e-democracy, or contact our experts to get started with digital participation in your city!

There are currently no comments.