by Jodi Summers

Smart cities are not one size fits all. Sure, the smart-cities movement could benefit from frameworks that allow a common language to develop amongst citizens, city staff, mayors, and the private sector, but at the moment, our CalGreen is as wide sweeping a municipal code.

But, we know what we’re doing. Here 3 examples of other world cities with smart plans.


Bravo to Copenhagen’s efforts to promote and prioritize bicycling. In 1981, the city developed its first cycling plan and it has been evolving its cycling and mixed-modal goals since 2002.

But the Danes were already ahead of the curve on transportation smart thought. Copenhagen has been measuring cycling and mixed modal use for decades. Now the city has a target indicator: to achieve 50% of all trips to work or school by bike by 2015. The city has been making significant progress towards this goal, having already achieved 37% in 2009. Copenhagen collaborated with MIT to create the Copenhagen Wheel. Though it looks like an ordinary bicycle wheel with an oversized center, the hybrid’s bright red hub is a veritable Swiss army knife’s worth of electronic gadgets and novel real-time functions. This revolutionary new bicycle wheel not only boosts power, but has sensors that can keep track of friends, fitness, smog and traffic in real time.


Vancouver Mayor Robertson and his Greenest City Action Team engaged 30,000+ citizens in a process designed to establish a 2020 goal for the city. The city used “social media and digital technologies to spark citizen-led public-engagement activities like kitchen table discussions at private homes, online discussion forums and workshops at community centers,” according to The result is the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan, which has set a clear goal for the city to become the greenest in the world by 2020. (Isn’t that Santa Monica’ goal too?)


Toronto recently announced a pilot charging station program at a cost of $65,000 to the city. Councilor Mike Layton recognizes the benefits of this small-scale action: “We all know that this is the direction that singular vehicle transport is going in,” said Layton in the National Post. “Why we wouldn’t at least try out something at very limited cost to the city, to get ready for the revolution that is going to happen, is beyond me.”


Join the conversation! 6 Comments

  1. The premium associated with a green label is highest in areas with hotter climates, indicating that residents value green labels as a signal of energy efficiency especially in regions where it tends to cost more energy to keep a home cool;

  2. We found that, holding other factors constant, a green label provides a market premium of 9 percent compared to a similar home without the label. Considering that the average sales price of a home in California is $400,000, the price premium for a certified green home translates into some $34,800 more than the value of a comparable home nearby.

  3. The green roof on a LEED-Platinum University of California dormitory in San Diego is the first of its kind for the state’s university system and one of just a few commercial installations in the entire state.

    Home to more than 4,000 drought-tolerant succulents, flowering plants and low-spreading shrubs, the green roof reduces heating and cooling costs for the 158,000-square-foot, 500-bed building. It also serves as a wildlife habitat and a pedestrian walkway between several of the towers.

    The roof captures stormwater, which irrigates the gardens and is funneled into an on-site water reclamation facility – where all of the site’s water is collected and reused in the laundry, sinks and showers.

  4. On March 22, Hines will celebrate the topping out of LPL Financial at La Jolla Commons. Property management VP Brian Plymell tells us the 415k SF, 13-story project will be the nation’s largest net-zero-energy office building in the country. It’s designed to generate 5M kilowatt hours of electricity annually—enough to power 1,000 San Diego homes—while consuming roughly 4M kilowatt hours. The energy will be produced by biogas-fueled fuel cells (the back-up generator will be a couple of politicians).

  5. After being replaced by Honolulu for a year, Los Angeles once again earned the title of the most congested metro area in the country. In 2012, on a Friday at 5 p.m., the average driver wasted more than 28 minutes in traffic. Four of the 10 most congested corridors last year were in the Los Angeles area. The worst is an eight-mile stretch on Interstate 405. Los Angeles also had the second highest population density of any metro area in 2010, behind only New York, at 2,646 people per square mile. Only these two metro areas exceeded 2,000 people per square mile that year. However, in Los Angeles, commuters were far less likely to get to work via public transportation. In 2011, just 6.2% of area workers took public transit to work, versus 31.1% in the New York area.

  6. Good day

    i am so interested about the smart city wheel. it is really indicating new view for cities, but how can planner choose the smart people to live in the smart city. actually, planners try to create smart city to reserve environment. then, the impact of the smart city should be reflected in producing smart people.

    any way the wheel is very nice.

    i am trying to make a research about new housing projects in Kurdistan. my objective is to increase the sense of smart cities in my region, since the tremendous number of housing projects are delivered regardless to what is going on gust next to our region.

    i am an architect that’s why i my have different view for the smart city. it is simply for me is efficient compact aesthetic mix-use with up to date technology. as a urban planner it is livable and workable

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