For as long as I can remember, I dreamed of flying to faraway places, and exploring the unknown. As the decades slipped by, I scaled my ambitions from astronaut to pilot. Commercial drone pilot that is. Passing the FAA’s exam was just the start. My interest in drones started when I built my first drone. I was in typical problem solving mode, I wanted to film some of the arts events I was producing, from a high vantage point. It was 2014, and the ready-made drones with cameras were still marketed for enterprise use. So one afternoon, I hustled down to the local makers’ lab, and joined a group of men eager to build a drone. The hardware was relatively straightforward to assemble. I am
In 2017 I headed down to Philly again to participate in a Smart City hackathon. I’m probably dating myself, but heading to a city filled with colleges and universities to be part of a hackathon is kind of like heading to a public basketball court on a nice day in a big city and hoping to get into a game. We came in second. Here’s a photo of our winning team.
The pace of technology adoption has never been faster, which is why we are seeing reports about the new features of autonomous driving introduced by car manufacturers. The policy implications from a land use and development standpoint are significant. Before you scoff at the idea of how driverless cars will change anything, consider this: legislators rushed to enact laws against distracted driving not because of CB-radios, DVD-players or the proliferation of drive-thru coffee accidents. It was the insurance industry demonstrating the link between auto accidents and mobile phone usage in cars. We are inundated with the message to stop texting and driving. Yet today’s cars are being sold as mobile entertainment. Short Term: 5 years from now. The sensors and data expected in the cockpit of
Last week I was thrilled to be part of a Smart City Hackathon hosted by @Comcast and @TechnicallyPHL. Civic tech is at the forefront of my interests in building creative places in cities, and I was curious about LoRa. As part of a long and convoluted Connecticut Innovation initiative, I’ll be leading a GIG WiFi project in Stamford, amongst a few other things. But the real challenge facing most cities start with simple quality of life issues; or the infamous potholes, trash and snow removal, and traffic. So figuring out better ways of addressing quality of life issues through civic tech projects is one way to look at it. LoRa has one hugely important advantage over most of the civic tech infrastructure projects that I look
Running a blog circa 2006-2010 was an exhausting but rewarding endeavor. I miss the daily grind of posting about all things irksome and awesome, although it’s taken me several years to get to that feeling. Of course, the media landscape has changed, and aggregators like Medium, social media like Twitter and Facebook and the image-laden snapchat and Instagram have morphed with the times. Soundbites have more audience than the occasional longish read about stuff. So I’ve got a couple of startups percolating, ChipEnz and Armchair Expeditions. I’ve got two day gigs, Norwalk 2.o and the Stamford Partneship, with a series of projects and events associated with both, such at DiscoverStamford and DiscoverNorwalk, and the thing that drove me to ruminate on stuff today, the INSIDE/OUT
I was quite surprised to see that my public art project was still hanging on McLevy Hall in Bridgeport. The install was in March of 2015, so I am fortunate to have had the “Buy Bridgeport” WPA-esque installation up for over a year. Other art installations have not been so fortunate.
The Norwalk 2.0 trip to CT Main Streets workshop resulted in this bit of news: In Norwalk, the folks from Norwalk 2.0 are the grassroots movers and shakers behind creative public spaces where people gather and connect. Using inexpensive strategies including a mural art trail, storefront dance, “fence art” and colorful adirondack chairs, Maribeth Becker and Jackie Lightfield have transformed places like littered, overgrown public parks to vibrant gathering places.
Spring of 2015, I drove down to Philly and found myself signing up for a hackathon bridging civic tech and media. What’s not to like? We tackled property taxes and leveraged the open-source data that the City of Philadelphia supplied. The goal was to link expenditures by GIS location to property taxes paid by GIS location. Aggregating tax lots was one hurdle. Breaking down expenditures by location was almost impossible. The thing is, that this is a great problem to solve for municipalities to at least understand how they are allocating resources. I’ve sat through so many public works meetings over the years that routinely talk about miles of roads paved, but no breakdown over where the frequency of potholes, or repairs are located. It
Explore your city As part of the FACES of Norwalk project, we wanted to create a walking tour from City Hall to the library to celebrate the rich history of our original downtown and develop a plan to place public art murals in the area. While we did commission two brilliant artworks as part of that project, we couldn’t gain access to actual buildings. Instead, we commissioned Duvian Montoya and Jahmane, who not only created vibrant paintings of their reflections of growing up in Norwalk but were thrilled to loan these works to the Norwalk Public Library. Be sure to check them out. But there was still that niggling detail of encouraging pedestrian activity. So we installed Fence Art, essentially telling the story of Norwalk