Cities Security & Privacy

Google’s Person Finder Launched Moments After Boston Explosions

Google Person Finder

Within moments of the explosions at the finish line of the Boson Marathon today, Google put its Person Finder into action to help friends and family locate loved ones who might have been affected and were unreachable by cell phone. At 7:00 pm, the app was tracking about 3,000 records.   More

Cities Global Tech

Alibaba, Baidu Invest in Chinese Taxi Apps

Shanghai taxi image via Shutterstock

The rapid rise of location-based services (LBS) on the Internet is spawning a new generation of start-up companies, with taxi finders one of the latest to join the trend. Such apps use GPS technology to create services that rely on a person’s location, such as helping that person to find nearby restaurants or shops. Just this week a friend was telling me about one such new LBS to help frustrated consumers find taxis, and now we’re reading about two other companies that are moving onto the investor radar with their own new tie-ups.   More

Cities

How Government Helped Turn Portland Entrepreneurial

View of Portland via Shutterstock

In 1973, Oregon Governor Tom McCall established growth management legislation that has profoundly affected the evolution of Portland, its largest city. Now Portland is a boiling pot of collaboration, innovation, and entrepreneurship, nestled in a backdrop of lush green. This picture could have looked much different if the city’s urban renewal and economic development agency, Portland Development Commission (PDC), hadn’t pushed entrepreneurialism. After Portland adopted plans to contain urban sprawl, the government used taxpayer dollars to make existing infrastructure more efficient, livable, and business friendly.   More

Cities Global Tech

Shanghai Street View: Toilet Technology

Shanghai's Nanjing Road (image via Shutterstock)

China’s economic miracle has captured global headlines for much of the last 30 years, but a much quieter revolution has also taken place in that time at the nation’s toilets. As China’s leading commercial center, Shanghai has been at the edge of this quieter revolution, which has just flushed past another milestone with the announcement of a new mobile app to help people locate the nearest public toilet. The new app uses GPS technology to locate the nearest of 8,000 public toilets now operating in Shanghai for users who feel the call of nature while walking around or driving outside.   More

Cities

Venture for America Cultivates Detroit’s Innovation Greenfield

(Image via Shutterstock)

Following our first Techonomy Detroit conference last fall, we profiled Venture for America, a program that places young tech entrepreneurs at start-ups throughout the country, targeting cities like Detroit, New Orleans, and Las Vegas that are still grappling with economic recovery. We also profiled an innovative Detroit startup called Are You a Human, which offers a secure and entertaining alternative to CAPTCHA authentication technology, designed to verify that someone using a website is a real persona and not a robot with bad intentions. Max Nussenbaum, a Venture for America fellow who was placed by the program at Are You a Human, was among several VfA fellows who attended Techonomy Detroit. In his Huffington Post blog about his experiences in Detroit, Nussenbaum argues that the city is a greenfield for innovation and experimentation.   More

Cities Opinion

Shanghai Street View: Garbage Disposal

(Image via Shutterstock)

What started as local news of hundreds of dead pigs found floating in Shanghai's Huangpu River has suddenly morphed into a major story, captivating global audiences with its graphic images and air of mystery about where the corpses came from. The news has now traveled to much of the world, including the U.S. city of Denver, prompting even my brother to take notice and send me an email warning not to drink the Shanghai tap water.   More

Detroit 12 Cities Video

Why I Believe in Detroit

Four Detroiters share perspectives on life and work in their city, and where Detroit may be in 10 years. Full transcript below. Riley: How are you doing? I don’t know if you know this about Detroit, but if somebody asks how you’re doing or they ask how your mama is, you have to be a […]   More

Cities

A SimCity for Analyzing Urban Efficiency

(Image via Shutterstock)

New York University's new Center for Urban Science and Progress is launching an initiative to develop sensor and data-crunching technologies aimed at creating a smarter, more efficient city. With partners including I.B.M., Cisco, Xerox, and the New York City government, the center will research and deploy the kind of smart-city technologies already being implemented in cities like Stockhom and Singapore to better manage urban infrastructure, with an emphasis on quality-of-life improvements like noise reduction and traffic abatement.   More

Cities Jobs

Big Data Could Mean Big Jobs for Cleveland Area

Cleveland's harbor district at twilight (image via Shutterstock)

Last year, Techonomy held a one-day conference in Detroit to tackle the issues of jobs, urban revival, and U.S. competitiveness in the global economy. While Detroit continues its road to recovery, thanks in part to a burgeoning tech startup scene nurtured by investors like Detroit Venture Partners and entrepreneurship accelerators like Bizdom, another Midwestern city afflicted by the loss of manufacturing jobs is also mounting a tech-enabled recovery. In Cleveland, Ohio, companies like Explorys, which helps healthcare systems manage and analyze their data, are helping to put the city on the map as a locus for quality jobs in the tech sector.   More

Cities Startup Culture

Portland’s Startup Renaissance

Le_Portland Startups

People have come and gone from Portland, Ore., but in the past decade more have come and stayed. Today, Portland is seeing a startup renaissance, made more apparent by this month’s Portland Digital eXperience and XOXO Conference. The city has become a forum where people share ideas they hope could redefine the local economy in the next 5-10 years.   More

Business Cities

Friedman vs. Florida, or How to Thrive in a World Both Flat and Spiky

iStock_000015310583Small

The regional effect of technological advancement and globalization is a widely studied and hotly contested topic. Thomas Friedman’s renowned book, The World is Flat, argues that globalization and technological advancement have leveled the playing field in terms of commerce—that location is less and less important. These technologies, Friedman writes, have contributed to the meteoric rise of the Indian and Chinese middle class and will continue to decrease barriers to international flows of goods and knowledge.   More

Cities

Reimagining Detroit

Where most of us see abandoned lots and vacant buildings, Jerry Paffendorf sees a blank canvas. Paffendorf drove me around Detroit when I was there last week for the Techonomy conference. In the video above (shot and edited on my iPad, thank you very much), he takes me on a tour of Detroit, land use, and Chia houses. During this tour, he explains how he thinks the Internet, data, and crowdfunding can help not just reimagine Detroit, but redevelop it.   More

Cities

Ghosts Of Detroit

What draws creative types to Detroit? It's all the possibilities. I got a tour of the city yesterday from Jerry Paffendorf, a local resident and entrepreneur I met on Twitter. Paffendorf is the co-founder of Loveland Technologies, a startup with grand ambitions to help citizens reclaim their neighborhoods and redevelop plots of land. In the video above, he explains why he left New York City and Silicon Valley for Detroit.   More

Business Cities

Why Techonomy Detroit?

Kirkpatrick_Why Detroit2

People keep asking, "Why are you doing a Techonomy conference in Detroit?" We're known for our invite-only annual retreat in the desert near Tucson. So why, you may wonder, is our first one-day event in a gritty, depressed, financially-troubled city that seems well past its glory?   More

Cities

Is Detroit the Next Berlin?

Fox_Berlin2

After the fall of the Wall in 1989, Berlin had very cheap housing and industrial space, some in spectacularly grand old buildings. Years of division—with repressive communist rule on one side of town and isolation and economic stagnation on the other—had left the city depressed and underpopulated. Reunification initially only made things worse, as uncompetitive Eastern-side state-owned factories closed en masse.   More

Cities

Fast Company Names Detroit an Underrated Hotbed of Innovation

Here’s another reason to be excited for Techonomy’s Detroit conference next Wednesday, Sept. 12. Fast Company has included Detroit in its list of “10 Underrated Hotbeds of American Innovation,” highlighting the “gonzo spirit” of Detroit Labs, a startup that builds mobile applications for big clients like Chevrolet. Fast Company already wrote about Detroit Labs in August, pinpointing its success on a policy that allows employees to “futz around,” devoting one day a week to personal projects.   More

Cities

Will Tech Save the First Western Post-Industrial City?

"If Detroit is on the brink of a revival, it’s technology that is proving to be the leading driver of job creation and economic growth," writes Detroit-based marketing exec Alex Southern for GrowDetroit. Southern's "if" acknowledges the pessimism some or his readers expressed last year in a survey about their hometown's prospects for recovery.   More

Cities

Space Counts: Why Physical Flows Matter in an Increasingly Virtual World

The world is changing faster than ever and sometimes it feels as though the only way to keep pace is to remain glued to our computer screens. Twitter and Facebook have become our go-to source for breaking news, more often than not beating traditional media to the story. Teleconferencing and social software have enabled a truly 24-hour workday, helping us collaborate with team members around the world without ever leaving the home office. And as our virtual lives have shrunk to fit neatly into our pockets, we remain online regardless of where we go.   More