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Natalie Kunstadter

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Monday, June 20, 2016 - 7:57pm

Can we build equitable smart cities?

Certainly there are instances in which specific interventions directly improve life for low-income communities (the Metrocable and escalators in Medellin come to mind), but too often, smart city policy skews towards idealism.

Escalators in Medellin connect poor neighborhoods to the rest of the city, making it easier for residents to get to work and school.
Escalators in Medellin connect poor neighborhoods to the rest of the city, 
making it easier for residents to get to work and school.


Mexico City, for example, is often named one of the top smart cities in Latin America. But some of its smart city initiatives — building technology meant to counteract smog, for example — are slow to reach the sprawling neighborhoods outside of the city center. These are disadvantaged communities in which small changes like clean water and better transit could mean big benefits.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016 - 3:10pm

If you guessed that most New Yorkers spent the blizzard weekend watching Netflix and overeating, you're right. But we still saw some interesting data.

Snow in New York City elicits a very particular pattern of emotions.

First, doubt.

We’ve seen our fair share of weather; we’re not denying that it can happen. But we’ve also heard too many boys who cried snow. Seen a few too many forecasts falsely predicting "The Storm Of The Century". We hold out a bit of hope that it will actually happen, but we bury that hope in skepticism. We don’t raid the supermarket, but we do grab beer from the bodega.

Next, rapture.

It's actually snowing! And it’s sticking! We wrap ourselves up like burritos in our blankets, we watch the snow, and we watch Netflix. We make food and we eat food. We eat more food. If we’re up for it (or if we have kids), we bundle up and go out into the snow. We make sure to Instagram that carless avenue.

Then, dread.

The snowplows build parapets at every intersection, and we can’t tell whether that gray patch is street or knee-deep slush. We can't see our car. We have to get to work.

Winter Storm Jonas dumped over two feet of snow on New York City. We at Placemeter were curious, how did the blizzard affect foot traffic? Did the doubt-rapture-dread cycle have any effect? How would the snow affect retailers? Transportation hubs? Parks?

We took to our dashboard to have a look at 8 locations around the city.

Natalie uses her background in GIS and urban architecture to tell stories of cities. She is the Content Marketing Manager at Placemeter, an urban intelligence platform.