I am in the Netherlands this week, catching up the Leap engineering team which is based here in Utrecht, and attending an IoT conference that Helium will be at in Amsterdam. I have always loved it here, primarily because of the close relationship to the water. The Dutch have for centuries harnessed the water, both… Continue reading

Broadening Access

I spent the morning today at MTA headquarters, judging the “Accessibility” category of the NYC Transit Tech Lab competition, organized by the Partnership for NYC. Here is the view from the 20th floor of MTA HQ at Bowling Green: Ostensibly, the theme of the day was accessibility in the sense of things that could improve… Continue reading

The Octopus Card

I am in Hong Kong this week for Blockstack‘s Decentralizing the World Tour (more on that in a forthcoming post).   I arrived yesterday and have been exploring the city a bit. The first observation is how awful the air quality is.  Holy cow.  This report from Plume Labs (snapshot from the time when I took this… Continue reading

Internet meets world: rules go boom

Since 2006, I’ve been writing here about cities, the internet, and the ongoing collision between the two. Along the way, I’ve also loved using Tumblr to clip quotes off the web, building on the idea of “the slow hunch” (the title of this blog) and the “open commonplace book” as a tool for tracking the… Continue reading

Uber and Safer Cities

For some reason I have always liked talking to taxi drivers about their business.  Maybe it’s because my dad was a NYC taxi driver back in the 70s, or maybe it’s because driving a taxi is such a classic immigrant path to building a life here.  And it’s certainly because of the amount of tech… Continue reading

Why Casual & Natural Is So Awesome

Last week I was playing ping pong with Zander and the topic of conversation (naturally) turned to canal skating in Ottawa. You see, in Ottawa during the wintertime, the city’s canals freeze over and they turn into  temporary frozen streets.  As you can see above, Ottawans turn to using them for their daily activities, like… Continue reading

NYC Taxis and Regulation 2.0

This week, the NYC’s black car association (limos and car services) filed suit to block the e-hail pilot that was set to begin today.  The argument is that there has traditionally been a formal divide in NYC between taxis you hail on the street (yellow cabs) and cars you reserve in advance (black cars / limos… Continue reading

Making NYC Awesome

I am so inspired by Kid President.  If you haven’t seen the video, go watch it now, and get your pep talk on. So… with kid on our shoulder, let’s think about how to make NYC more awesome.  From a tech policy perspective :) A few weeks ago the (already awesome) NY Tech Meetup launched… Continue reading

Open, interoperable cities

The first CityCamp, in January 2010 was a memorable event for a bunch of reasons.  It simultaneously marked the birth of several civic technology initiatives — the CityCamp unconference series itself, which has grown like gangbusters since then, Code for America, which has since just finished its first year and is growing like mad, and of course Civic… Continue reading

Missed Connections

In her bathroom, a friend of mine has some really beautiful illustrations of posts from the Craigslist Missed Connections section.  If you’ve never looked at missed connections, you should — there are some really wonderful notes in there (also some sketchy ones).  Here’s a beautiful one from today: 7 train glances on monday – w4m… Continue reading

Talking transit tech @ the MTAdev conf

Next Wednesday, I’ll be on a panel at the MTA Developers Unconference.  I’m very much looking forward to the event, because among other things, one of my fellow panelists will be the new MTA Chief, Jay Walder.  Here, I’ll give an overview of what I’m hoping to discuss on the panel; any feedback would  be… Continue reading

Interview on the Engadget Show is live

A few months ago, I did a short interview for the Engadget Show on the state of real-time bus information here in NYC.  The interview was for a video segment which led into a live interview with the reporter I worked with, Rick Karr.  The whole episode is now available online.  Before our section is… Continue reading

Transit: uniter or divider?

Today’s post on Infrastructurist about the D-Train Murder had a line that caught my eye: Cramming the population of a city like New York into a maze of underground cars creates a forced melting pot that’s a perfect breeding ground for class and race divisions. There’s no question that the NYC subway is a forced… Continue reading

The secret life of the subway

In doing some photo hunting for a side project, I came across this gem of a photo on Flickr. Riding the subway all over the city, I often think about the fact that most great subway moments (and many great city moments, for that matter) go unrecorded. Perhaps this is part of the beauty of… Continue reading

Eyes on the Street: RUOK?

I came across this enigmatic construction sign yesterday on the side of the West Side Highway in Manhattan. I did a double-take, trying to determine if, perhaps, I was the only one who could see this message. What do you see? I honestly can’t think of a reasonable explanation… Continue reading

Coming soon… Pedestrian Power

I’ve heard this story in various forms over the past few years, but according to the London Times, pedestrian power is ready to be harnessed: Underfloor generators, powered by “heel strike” and designed by British engineers, may soon be installed in supermarkets and railway stations. The technology could use the footsteps of pedestrians to power… Continue reading

Big Ideas for a Small Planet: Transport

The opening keynote speaker at the Towards Carfree Cities conference is Mia Birk, from a bike/ped planning firm here in Portland called Alta Design. Check out the short episode of “Big Ideas for a Small Planet,” above, featuring Mia talking about the pedestrian & bicycle planning movement in Portland — she’s very eloquent and the… Continue reading

Taking the train to work

Last Tuesday, Aaron Naparstek and I took in the Yankee game and watched the impressive Cliff Lee throw a 7-inning shut out and drop his ERA to 0.81, in what some analysts were calling “the pitching matchup of the season” (5-0 Lee vs. 6-0 Wang). It turns out, had we been a little earlier, we… Continue reading