A city is really just made up of a myriad of micro-cities. To make an entire city smarter, you have to start on these smaller systems first.
The 2012 National Football League season is in full swing. And, each week flocks of fans head to stadiums around the country to cheer (or boo) for the home team—about 80,000 people per stadium.
The unique challenge of stadiums, which are practically cities unto themselves, is the management of intensely complex infrastructures that provide food, water, medical facilities, climate, and even traffic control. All this may require pinpointing exact locations or managing operations across tens, hundreds, or even thousands of miles.
By using information in new and creative ways, organizations can better manage these sprawling environments.
What’s becoming increasingly prevalent in the creation of these “mini-cities” is requiring innovative technology to make them a microcosm of a smarter city where information is used to deliver services effectively and efficiently. By using information in new and creative ways, organizations can better manage these sprawling environments, and teach us lessons about how to make our cities smarter.
Let’s put these organizations with massively complex facilities in context. Look at the top 25 most populated cities in the United States, and you’ll see Boston, Seattle and Nashville on the list. Yet, all of these cities are less populated and occupy fewer square miles of land than the Los Angeles Unified School District.
With 14,000 buildings that cover more than 710 square miles for its 700,000 students, the district is so vast, it mimics an actual city’s infrastructure considering their use of natural resources and the complexity of operations. To help manage this vast school system, the L.A. schools are empowering its “citizens”—the thousands of students, teachers and staff—to act as living sensors to identify faulty or dangerous infrastructure, such as broken windows, doors or railings, and then sending these images or text messages from their smartphones.