Saturday, March 23 2019, the second community gardening session of the Urban Clinic EDU LabGov has taken place in Luiss community garden #ortoLuiss. This appointment, as the first one, was dedicated to the “self-construction” Lab. Labgovers used this appointment in Luiss University to keep on developing and building their prototypes. This is how they are declining Sustainable innovation in the urban context.
Labgovers have improved and developed their initial ideas. They are designing and creating three prototypes of the next generation of digital urban and commons gardens. Through the structure that they are building they will put big data in the hands of the urban farmers and the urban gardeners.
Their work has been facilitated by two experts: arch. Silvia Berardinelli and Marco Falasca, architecture student part of two groups developing innovative structures in the cities. They gave the students the basis and their know-how to build these three prototypes and to make them stable and safe.
Labgovers have almost finished to build those three prototypes: one is for studying, the other is dedicated to chill and have a break and the third is made for work. They are all dedicated to the strengthening of a community, and to raise awareness about themes that are relevant for the individual and collective wellness such as sustainable agriculture, nutrition, diet, sport, tech justice, and many more.
Labgovers have still something to do: they will have to finish their work and to apply tech tools to the prototypes. At the same time they are designing and developing the digital platform that will be linked to the structures.
The LabGov Harlem project is focused on improving access to fast, high quality digital resources, notably including broadband internet, to neighborhoods in Harlem where such access remains lacking. The project will be an example of a constructed commons, bringing together residents and other local stakeholders in an iterative process to design and develop a co-governed, community-based high speed network. Formally entitled, “A Novel Architecture for Secure Energy Efficient Community-Edge-Clouds with Application in Harlem (SEEC Harlem)”, the Harlem project has secured a National Science Foundation grant and is in the early stages of development. A combination of private and public actors, as well as community members and scholars, are collaborating together to bring about the project’s goal of ending the digital divide in Harlem. Those involved include Silicon Harlem and researchers from the Universities of Arizona and Virginia, Georgetown, and Fordham. The project is supported in various ways by the City of New York and internet service providers such as Microsoft and Cisco.
This project takes a holistic approach to address the technical, legal, and
social challenges facing underserved urban communities experiencing a growing
digital divide. A novel community-owned edge cloud computing architecture is
investigated that disaggregates the edge equipment for lower cost, improved
energy efficiency, simplified management and intrinsically stronger security.
The project targets a community within Harlem for initial concept exploration.
Indeed, the Harlem community like many diverse urban communities is facing
obstacles that extend beyond broadband access and include the entire home,
office and IoT/smart city technology eco-system. Beyond the edge cloud, the
project will include development of low-cost KVM (Keyboard, Video, and Mouse)
systems that will be used by a diverse set of community members to establish
proof of concept and performance metrics for the edge cloud, and identify
system usability by community especially as it relates to closing the digital
Prototype hardware and software will be developed to study this architecture in both a lab environment, user trials, and in participatory technology assessments by users in the community. Optimal design rules will be derived based on experimental performance data and incorporating user constraints and use cases within the Harlem community. Community ownership and governance will be investigated as a means to overcome longstanding legal and social challenges. The project will provide a new dimension to and understanding of edge clouds and community network ownership that can be widely applied in smart city environments elsewhere. Disaggregated devices open up the potential for a new breed of consumer interfaces with dramatically lower cost and energy use – as well as simple software and hardware management and security. By virtualizing these technologies within the edge cloud, potentially transformative benefits can be realized. Such technology would provide a powerful tool in combating growing digital divides.
Community engagement is a key part of the SEEC Harlem project. Community representatives and actors work closely with the technology experts, scholars, and other private and public actors involved in the project and are key to its implementation.
Each of the 5 actors from the “quintuple helix” are actively
engaged as the project moves through the co-city process. These include
public authorities and representatives from the Manhattan Borough President and
Mayor’s Office of Technology, community business leaders and small business
owners, civic organizations such as church leaders and local nonprofits,
university researchers, and the local social innovator Silicon Harlem.
Community Network + Edge Cloud
SEEC Harlem seeks to create low cost, secure user devices, which are governed
by a shared, centralized IT management team that oversees a high performance
edge cloud accessible to everyone in the community.
A community network is viewed as a digitally constructed commons resource. Internet resources are co-governed; the benefits are shared equitably and are transferable; and the community is not only given access to the new resource, but opportunities to be trained and educated about how to best utilize the new resource.
Participatory Technology Assessments
Another key part of the Harlem project will be ensuring that assessments
are performed along the way to ensure its operability and functionality. This
will be a further way in which the community will be involved in bringing about
the project’s success, as community members, as the primary users of the new
technology, will report back on their experiences with the new
The Harlem Project’s Goals
This project will provide a new dimension to and understanding of edge
clouds and community network ownership that can be widely applied in smart city
environments elsewhere. Disaggregated devices open up the potential for a new
breed of consumer interfaces with dramatically lower cost and energy use – as
well as simple software and hardware management and security. By virtualizing
these technologies within the edge cloud, potentially transformative benefits
can be realized. Such technology would provide a powerful tool in combating
growing digital divides.
Project Leaders and Collaborators
A variety of individual are working collaboratively on the SEEC Harlem
project; these include: Dan Kilper (Lead, University of AZ), Clayton Banks
(Silicon Harlem), Bryan Carter (University of AZ), Rider Foley (University of
VA), Sheila Foster (Georgetown University), Bruce Lincoln (Silicon Harlem),
Olivier Sylvain (Fordham University), Malathi Veeraraghavan (University of VA),
and Ron Williams (University of VA).
Private and nonprofit actors assisting with the project include: Microsoft, Cisco, and Silicon Harlem.