UN World Cities Day – October 31st

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Written by Emilie Vrain The UN has designated the 31st October as World Cities Day with the focus on ‘Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities’. The day is aimed at raising awareness and encouraging collaboration among countries to address challenges of urbanisation and create opportunities for sustainable urban development. The main event will be celebrated in […]

Recycling entire homes

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Written by Emilie Vrain   Many buildings are being left abandoned in the countryside as people migrate to the bright lights of the city. Danish project ‘The Resource Rows’ has been on a mission to re-use materials from such derelict structures, giving them a new life elsewhere, helping to reduce the CO2-impact of the construction […]

Participation in the sharing economy grows in the UK

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The sharing economy is a disruptive business model, in which people conduct sharing activities in the form of renting, lending, trading, bartering, and swapping of goods and services.  A recent report published by Warwick Business School estimates that 62% of the UK population have participated in the sharing economy in some form, and participation has increased by 60% […]

The sharing economy: beyond Uber and AirBnB

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The sharing economy is transforming the ways in which people access and use goods and services, and challenges traditional, ownership-based, business models.  This short article from the World Economic Forum explores how people in 5 cities across the world are embracing the concept of sharing economy, and highlights the scale and scope of goods and services being ‘shared’ today.  If […]

Charge your electric car on a strangers drive

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Zap-Map, a UK – based multi-platform map showing charging points for electric vehicles (EV), has launched 2 new peer–to–peer charging networks.  Zap-Home allows people who own an EV charge point to share their charge point with other EV users, possibly for a fee, which the owner determines.  Similarly, Zap-Work is targeted at businesses with charging points who can choose to share […]

The Dutch energy supplier keeping renewable energy in the community

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Can you imagine buying your electricity directly from the neighbour using their solar PV panels?  Or from the local farmer with wind turbines in their fields? The Dutch start–up Vandebron (meaning ‘from the source’) enables consumers to do just that.  By paying a monthly fee to Vandebron, the 100,000 current consumers can view the profiles of local renewable electricity producers with excess capacity and […]

Trade your solar power with your neighbours: the promise of peer–to peer energy trading networks

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Peer–to–peer energy trading networks, across which people can trade self–produced renewable energy, are generating much excitement and have been described as ‘game–changers’ to incumbent energy markets.  Among the numerous benefits for the so-called ‘prosumers’, actively trading energy in real time reduces the uncertainty associated with renewable energy generation and contributes to a sustainable balance of production and consumption […]

What does it mean to be a ‘smart citizen’?

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In their recent publication, de Waal and Dignum explore the role of citizens in various conceptions of ‘the smart city’.  While the dominant discourse surrounding smart cities has been notably ‘techno–centric and top-down’, there has recently been an observed shift towards a new paradigm of ‘bottom-up’ smart city initiatives, harnessing citizens to create and use smart services.  In particular, de […]

How your data can save you money and time, while benefiting your city

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Waze, the world’s largest navigation app, uses real time crowdsourced traffic data to calculate the most time, and fuel, efficient driving routes for its users.  But these data are now having a powerful impact on city infrastructure.  In her recent talk, Waze’s Thais Blumenthal de Moraes outlines the Waze Connected Citizens Program.  Currently over 250 cities worldwide partake in this free data exchange […]