January 2018

January’s RBCDisruptors event, Sidewalk Toronto: The city of the future [password: Sidewalk], is now taking registrations. On the morning of January 17th at the Waterpark Place auditorium, Dan Doctoro , the CEO of Sidewalk Labs, will sit down to talk about how cities can incorporate the immense amount of data citizens generate daily into urban design.

Sidewalk Labs partnered with Waterfront Toronto in 2017 to create Sidewalk Toronto — a living lab for the smart city technologies of the future. Before taking the reigns of Sidewalk Labs, Dan was President and Chief Executive O cer of Bloomberg L.P. until December 2014, and prior to that, served as Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding for the City of New York.

Chicago has launched a new optional identi cation card that serves as a valid ID while also working as a library and transit card – with some extra bene ts related to participating merchants and sports teams still to be announced.

The CityKey — presented through the Once of the City Clerk — was conceived as a way to “reduce barriers to those who have difficulty accessing government-issued identification.” The vision expanded to provide benefits to every citizen through partnerships with cultural and commercial organizations. The number of partnerships is expected to expand through January, a new list announced in February.

Chicago is just the latest in a string of cities to create such a program, including San Francisco, New York, Detroit, and Milwaukee.


Last summer, the Chicago police announced a 39% year-over-year drop in shootings and a 33% reduction in murders in their 7th district for the period between January and July. A large part of the credit, according to police, goes to the use of predictive analytics that enabled law enforcement to anticipate where and when crime would occur and deploy resources and preventive measures accordingly. Other Chicago districts using the algorithms recorded similar declines.

This technology is the subject of a new book, The Rise of Big Data Policing by Columbia Professor of Law, Andrew Guthrie Ferguson. The book examines “how new technologies will alter the who, where, when and how we police. These new technologies also o er data-driven methods to improve police accountability and to remedy the underlying socio-economic risk factors that encourage crime.”

Check out a thorough review of The Rise of Big Data Policing in the LA Review of Books.

Just before the holidays, a blog post from security company FireEye reported a cyber-attack on a “critical infrastructure organization” in an unnamed Middle Eastern city. The Malware used – named TRITON (as it targets the Triconex safety instrumented system) – sought to remotely control industrial safety systems and gain the ability to completely shut down operations. Even more dramatically, FireEye says they believe “the activity is consistent with a nation state preparing for an attack.” A full analysis of the attack and a set of recommendations to prevent the compromise of critical infrastructure can be found in the FireEye report and a separate report by industrial cyber-security rm Dragos.

For a more in-depth look at the security issues the new year brings, check out the 2018 security predictions by 18 of the world’s top security product and service companies.

Next up from the Trump White House is the President’s promised $1 trillion infrastructure plan, expected to be a January release. But cities might not be getting as much as they think.

Trump made news over the holidays by halting the $13 billion Gateway tunnel financing to link New Jersey to Penn Station. It seems the White House didn’t like the proposed fty- fty split the Obama administration was o ering to build the mega-project.

The $1-trillion Trump infrastructure plan is expected to put up $200 billion in federal funds, and seek the other $800 Billion from states, cities and private sector partners. The approach was described earlier as a proposed 20-80 federal to local split, to ensure communities have skin in the game.

For another angle regarding what the plan might mean for cities, check out The Atlantic’s take on how “it might stretch local governments’ already-stretched budgets.”