The visit included a tour of city Hall, a discussion with city staff on Resilient City Initiatives, another meeting with city Chief Technology Architect on vision of a Smart City. We also got a chance to visit city traffic control center and to talk to a senior traffic engineer. In the end we had a short meeting with Mayor Pro Tem.
It was a sunny Friday when we visited the Dallas city hall. It was my first time there even though I have been to downtown many times before. The city hall is a big 7 story complex with a beautiful pool in its front courtyard, and a view of the gorgeous downtown skylines.
|walking toward the entrance of city hall|
|Courtyard of City and Downtown Skyline|
|City Hall Guides Kevin and Yolanda|
|Atrium of the City Hall|
|Trinity River Project Model|
The more interesting part of this visit was to have meetings with city staff about major city initiatives. We first met Katy from office of resilient city initiatives. Resilient City Initiatives are sponsored by Rockefeller Foundation, Dallas was one of the 100 cities around the world to be chosen. The foundation sponsored two positions in city hall to champion the resilient city initiatives - the chief resilient officer and an executive assistant. The resilient city office worked with existing agencies to asses city's current status, areas to work on and developed a comprehensive plan to address issues to make the city more resilient. It was a lively meeting - while she presented her materials, we had many questions for her, including quite a few from myself. Their work was really impressive and inspiring.
A second meeting was on smart city initiatives, which was conducted by city chief technology architect Girish. His two page overview charts led to 20 minutes back and forth questions, answers and comments. I asked him about what a smart environment entails - he used the LED sensors in parking lots as an example. The sensors inform drivers if a parking lot is full or not, if not where the open parking spot is. This information will reduce the time driver drives around to find parking spot, and consequently reduce CO2 emission from vehicles. The question was that sensors and information system cost energy as well and the energy consuption can be big since those sensors are on all the time, we need a net reduction in CO2 emission to claim that the sensors equipped parking lot is really smart. He had the answer ready - in the parking lot example he gave, it was calculated that CO2 emission from cars running around would be 40K ton for a year, and CO2 emission per LED operation is less than 10% of the amount. Since I only considered the convenience of sensors and IoT before and this discussion enabled me to see the same issue and solutions from different angles and viewpoints - it is enlightening!!
|Smart City Presentation|
This visit to city hall is much more than a tour, it included informative presentations and stimulating exchange of ideas. It gave me a glimpse of how the government works, I was pleased from what I saw and heard on this day.