Teaching Kids How to Build Smart Cities

SMARTstudents2_920_609_80 (1)Some New York middle-schoolers spent their summer vacation building models of smart cities, complete with futuristic cars and clean energy infrastructure. The NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering Science of Smart Cities program held its fourth annual expo, where the children showed off their designs. During their four-week training with NYU engineering students, participants learned about engineering aspects of sustainable and resilient cities.

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Importance of Sustainable Communities in Smart Cities

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As there is a great number of people living in cities it is important to keep improving the places they live. The issues in most cities today are protection of clean air and water, energy independence, affordable housing, transportation choices and job growth. This can all be achieved if cities would focus more on sustainable community growth.

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In USA there’s a Partnership for Sustainable Communities which allows Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Department of Transportation to work together while improving access to affordable housing, increasing transportation options and lowering transportation costs while having a focus on environment. Talking about cities, San Francisco has the Precautionary Principle. This principle is like a framework which helps while making laws to make the city healthier and more just.  The Precautionary Principle also gives more power to the communities as the companies have to prove to them that their actions are harmless and not the other way around.

The demand for this type of communities’ right not is higher than the supply and that is why it is important to keep improving it. These communities can help provide economic momentum and help cities compete for jobs as they become more attractive for businesses to locate there or for people to move to. If the business is located in areas where people live it helps reducing transportation cost and promoting other healthier ways of commuting to work – such as walking or using a bike. Walkable neighborhoods are the most interesting for two biggest generations: baby boomers and millennials, as these areas not only offer access to work but also have different housing and transportation choices, leisure and cultural variety.

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These communities can help the government while planning, and giving grants for economic development, housing, transportation choices or community planning. Communities are efficient as they reduce resource consumption and pollution per person. By making neighborhoods livable and efficient, it is possible to protect natural systems and improve quality of life. In these communities it is important that different people would get the benefits equally: such as common shared public spaces, most of places can be reached within a 20 minute walk or transit ride. To ensure health there might even be public fruit garden for everyone to pick their fruit.

There are two important key factors in sustainable communities: good health and high quality of life. The neighborhoods that are sustainable are walkable, have choices for housing and transportation, provide access to different areas like shops, schools, parks and more. Such issues like economic, environmental and social are worked out together so that all citizens could get higher quality of life.