Track 5: Technology and Small Communities

Xiaohui Chen, China

Throughout history emerging technologies have driven major shifts in the way cities and their societies have been planned and functioned. Today, with the development of artificial intelligence, the internet, autonomous vehicles, virtual reality, and quantum computing, we find ourselves again on the brink of a new urban transition.

It is argued that the onset of high technology will dramatically transform our countryside landscape. The technology of highways and the internet of things are uniting the scattered small rural communities into a vast connected network, linking tightly to their adjacent urban areas. The vertical hierarchical agriculture marketing system is broken, shifted into a flat one of C2C, and the distant-oriented culture recognition of village being changed into character-oriented. So village communities of special recourses such as distinct features or agriculture productions will gain more opportunities than the past, when only those near big cities or important ports developing more. However, the hot spot of rural areas driven by high-tech getting more capital from cities are becoming landscape homogeneity and getting social dismembered. How to benefit the rural community members and preserve their culture heritage are urgent issues for urban planners.

It is therefore worthwhile taking a moment to ponder this immediate transition, considering exactly what kinds of shifts small communities are experiencing and how, unlike previous transitions, our urban and rural human settlements can collectively and individually ensure that the benefits are based upon and shared among all people. Under the umbrella topic of Smart Communities, this track of conference aims to facilitate a better understanding of the effects and challenges of the cumulative growth of contemporary urban technologies within the communities and planning sectors.

  1. Lighting up the Discovery Corridor – the Port of Ridgefield’s dark fiber optics infrastructure

The City of Ridgefield is one of the fastest growing cities in the state of Washington. However, Ridgefield is lacking a robust fiber-optic system. The Port of Ridgefield is proposing to invest in dark fiber-optic infrastructure to promote world-class, high performance economic development in southwest Washington’s Discovery Corridor.

  1. Smart Communities

With the help of science and technology, smart communities can not only improve the quality of our lives, but also bring new opportunities for the development of cities and rural areas as well. In this context, how to planning a more eco and liveable village in the traditional agriculture area? How to achieve smart placemaking by using innovative approach? How can we better use the applications and tools to plan smarter local communities? How to resolve rural-urban crisis by adopting the appropriate technology? What are the practical way do smart community benefit residents? To answer these questions, we need to look world widely, where the smart communities are bringing great opportunities to these places, so as to seek for some inspirations.

  1. Technology and society

New information and communication technologies are increasingly present in the functioning and management of cities. As a result, access to information and technology is becoming increasingly important for the communities. For rural area and poor communities, the lack of access to information and technology will be a huge disadvantage. Meanwhile, in urban areas, the establishment of spatial technological infrastructure is also crucial for urban planning. Furthermore, with the support of data analysis, quality of residential public space for social behaviour is providing an effective decision reference for increasing social interaction and community bonding.

  1. Online interactive mapping: Tips and tools for small communities

Many planners in the Portland region are aware of the City of Portland’s “map app”, an online interactive map developed as part of outreach for the City’s update to the Comprehensive Plan. But what options are available to a smaller jurisdiction without experienced programmers and advanced software licenses? And, beyond developing an online tool, what are the best ways to successfully integrate web-based maps and spatial information into a broader outreach program? This panel session will feature speakers from the City of Portland as well as smaller jurisdictions who have experience building and using online interactive maps to present and obtain information as part of a public outreach strategy.

5. Technology and small communities

Technology has boosted the emergence of new economy. We witnessed technology brings new opportunities for the development of small scale industries which effectively promoting the poverty reduction. We also witnessed the new entrepreneurial model is constantly derived at the community level. Technology reinforces the interactions among small communities, thereby exacerbating the interflow of information between urban and rural areas. Furthermore, technology has also effectively promoted the smart transformation of traditional housing and helped to achieve social integration in historical cities, which brought more possibilities to forming a modern neighbourhood.

  1. Technology and big data

Data is expanding our horizon. The advancement of technology and rising ration of big data usage is changing the data acquisition and analysis tools in urban planning, not only increasing the possibility of citizen engagement in decision making processes, but also offering the universal tools to plan for urban planning. With new information at the disposal of planners, how to make technology and big data become effective planning and analysis tools? How to use new technology approaches to obtain user friendly data in smart community and transportation planning? Furthermore, how does technology help in participatory planning, community engagement and public consultations?

  1. Improving multi-agency program transparency and accountability via a scalable, performance measure tracking web platform

The Lake Tahoe Environment Improvement Program(EIP)is a partnership of over 50 different federal, state and local agencies, private interests, and the Washoe Tribe. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency worked with Sitka Technology Group to build an online platform to coordinate data collection, increase transparency, and showcase progress success.


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