5 cities, 5 smart ideas: NYC, Malang, Salt Lake City, Newton, Portland

Fri, 2015-08-28 06:00 -- Liz Enbysk

Rolling computer labs offer high-speed Internet in NYC
Taking aim at the digital divide, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) sends Digital Vans – computer labs on wheels -- to areas of the city with limited or no access to high-speed Internet services. The set-up gives NYCHA residents and community members an opportunity to go online to search for jobs, polish resumes, etc. It's a free service.

Trading medical care for trash in Malang, Indonesia
In his hometown of Malang in Indonesia, a young doctor managed to raise money to open his first clinic. Patients get two free visits to Dr. Gamal Albinsaid a month. In return, they collect trash and take it to the clinic. His thinking was people may not have money for health care, but they do have access to garbage. A post about the "trash doctor" on Council Associate Partner Veolia's site suggests the clinic tackles two problems -- providing health care for those who can't afford it and reducing urban pollution.

Building owners accept the Salt Lake City's energy efficiency challenge
The first winners were recently announced in a multi-year competition challenging building owners across Salt Lake City to proactively meet -- and exceed -- air quality and energy-saving targets and reduce citywide building energy use by 15% by 2020. “Salt Lake City is committed to ensuring that our community is a vibrant, healthy and prosperous municipality,” said Mayor Ralph Becker. “To do this, we must address unhealthy air pollutants, and our buildings can play a significant role in doing so by reducing energy waste. I applaud the leading organizations being recognized -- as well as the 20 participants in this first year of competition -- for helping to lead the city in reducing energy use and pollution while working to save local taxpayers money and create quality local jobs.”

How Newton, MA is using technology to transform town hall meetings
Is there a better way to gather citizen sentiment, evaluate their needs and improve engagement? The city of Newton, Massachusetts is using technology to connect between a variety of mediums to better connect with its constituents. Using cloud technologies from Council Lead Partner Microsoft and the AvePoint Podium solution, the city  can reach more citizens, encourage more engagement and increase transparency.

PDX makes "a huge statement" about electric vehicles
The Port of Portland is claiming the largest installation of commercial electric vehicle chargers at a U.S. airport with the 42 recently installed at Portland International Airport (PDX). "We are excited to support our travelers and employees with these new EV charging stations," said Vince Granato, the port's COO. "The installation of EV charging stations is one of our many environmental initiatives, which are central to how we do business and serve as good community stewards. Bill Williams of Telefonix, the company that developed the PowerPost stations installed at PDX, suggested it's a huge statement by the port, -- an acknowledgement that the EV movement is gaining steam. "Given that customers parking for four hours or more represent over 85% of all occupied spaces at an airport and the fact that airports often have sustainability initiatives in place, it's a perfect fit," Williams added.

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