SMART city movement for Würzburg
Concept: SMART city – a side interest of Dandekar Group (group details) with the Bioinformatic idea to do something good for the environment and city development; we are actively collecting ideas and pointers but of course only time will tell how much we can really achieve here. (Deutsche Zusammenfassung – http://www.spektrum.de/alias/stadtplanung/die-smarte-stadt-der-zukunft/1142721)
Why? Our resources are consumed in such a way that even the whole world is not enough: In fact, we are consuming about 1.4 earth worth, that is how big the foot-print of mankind on the planet is (footprint calculator). Two alternative footprint calculators are accessible below. The first one is from BUND and fun to use, the second one has a more detailed questionaire and involves registration.
There are two articles recently appeared concerning this concept of Smartcity, one positive review “securing natural capital and expanding equity to rescale civilization” (Nature 486: 68-73, 07 June 2012) and one negative discussion “Approaching a state shift in Earth’s biosphere” (Nature 486: 52-58, 07 June 2012).
Measures: Currently all reasonable measures fail (Kyoto/Durban meetings):
Best would be to simply use less, less economic growth, less consumptions; furthermore reasonable measures against global warming (e.g. drive less or at least a smaller car, no cruises, use resources prudently etc.)
This is partly an in-build mistake in our economy and our society (in particular the believe in eternal growth to solve all economic and social quarrels), but also the typical tragedy-of-the-commons (for individuals or individual states it is advantageous to get a bigger piece of the cake even if this means that soon there will be no cake at all for all further years (“tragedy of the commons”).
A good example is overfishing and the difficult EU negotiations against this (http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/index_en.htm).
It may be possible that under drastic circumstances (“beyond the limits”, the sequel of the Club of Rome book) suddenly makind changes and becomes reasonable. “The great disruption” (Paul Gilding), becomes less materialistic, more interested in their genuine well-being, education and arts, social interactions, works less and is environmental friendly, but it is equally possible that nothing happens, prudent actions come too late and too slow.
Consequences of such a late action can be world economic crisis, growing unrest, failing states resulting war and failing states as well as global military escalation. Together with the stock-pile of nuclear weapons, the trespassing of several ecological tipping points this may lead to catastrophic consequences.
However, biology does not only teach and know how natural equilibrium in different ecosystems looks like, it can make also a number of recommendations how we can reshape technology, consumption and way of living so that both a growth in quality of life is further possible as well as the environment is better protected.
Here the key is resilience, adaptation and flexibility, self-organization and repair.
In this project we want to couple this perspective, quite strong in Würzburg both in biology as well as in the medical sciences, with the SMART city concept to get a Würzburg-specific route to a SMART city.
The SMART city movement comes originally from MIT and computer science and features first the idea to have the same freedom of programming as in software also for the hardware, for instance the idea of very flexible printers to construct at home small and flexible tools and things (in practice however often from plastic). However, various further developments of flexible printers are possible including printing of different cell types of artificial tissues (http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Die-Amateure-uebernehmen-den-Produktionsprozess-1361100.html).
Concrete measures include a Würzburg-specific mix of actions and technology developments with the aim to protect our environment and city including resources to have a resilient, self-organized and self-supported modern, sustainable city with intelligent (SMART) use of resources, traffic, heating but also with cutting edge, modern, self-repairing and flexible technologies.
Investigation: Is Würzburg in a way for a future smart city?
- Document in German.
A Nov 2012 report for the world bank from MPI Potsdam for climate research details why SMART solutions against climate change are dearly wanted:
- Document: http://climatechange.worldbank.org/sites/default/files/Turn_Down_the_heat_Why_a_4_degree_centrigrade_warmer_world_must_be_avoided.pdf