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Venture Accelerators Build Smart Cities from Scratch

创业孵化器从零开始建立智能城市 “We want to buld cities,” wrote Adora Cheung and Sam Altman of Y Combinator in their recent press release. The startup accelerator that nurtured AirBnB and Dropbox is embarking on a new project – building a city for humans.

The accelerator’s nonprofit arm, YC research, aims to produce a prototype city, while planning everything – from a 90 percent reduction in housing expenses to a simplification of the municipal code of laws. The project, currently collecting applications, would become a showcase for new urban policy ideas.

In this rather interesting endeavor, YC follows a path paved by Alphabet (formerly Google, Inc.) a mere two months ago, when it announced that it plans to acquire lands inside cities and establish futuristic municipalities. While not starting a city totally from scratch, Sidewalk, an Alphabet subsidiary, will demand full autonomy from city regulations, in its venture to construct a smart city.

On June 23, Columbus, OH was announced as the winner of the Smart City Challenge, conducted by the US Department of Transportation. Planning to become America’s first Smart City, Columbus will use $140 million dollars raised from USDOT, Sidewalk, Vulcan Inc. and other private sources to reshape its transportation system, integrating self-driving cars, connected vehicles and smart sensors by Mobileye in every public bus.

Smart cities are a key focus of the CIV City Venture research strand. In a recently published first call for papers, we invite policymakers, scholars and other city venture mavens to submit proposals for papers on the interface between a city and the ventures within it. Successful proposals will receive a paper development honorarium of $3,000 each.

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