BERLIN, Sept 19 (Reuters) – Climate Change made the heavy rainfall that led to deadly floods in Libya up to 50 times more likely, scientists said on Tuesday.
The powerful Sept. 10 storm caused two dams to break, inundating Libya’s eastern city of Derna and killing thousands of people. Residential blocks built along a typically dry riverbank toppled, as the swollen river undermined foundations.
Building in flood plains, poor dam conditions, long-lasting armed conflict and other local factors played a role in the disaster.
But climate change caused up to 50% more rain during that period, according to scientists with World Weather Attribution, an international research collaboration that works to determine how much climate change plays a role in specific weather events.
The scientists warned that as climate change pushes weather to new extremes, it would remain risky to build homes on flood plains or to use substandard materials.
“The interaction of these factors, and the very heavy rain that was worsened by climate change, created the extreme destruction [in Libya]”, the scientists wrote in a statement.
They used climate and computer simulations to compare weather events today with what they might have been if the climate had not already warmed by 1.2 degrees Celsius above the average preindustrial temperature.
Rainfall can increase or become more erratic with climate change, as a warmer atmosphere can hold more water vapour – allowing more moisture to build up before clouds finally break.
The “extremely unusual” storm event delivered 50% more rain than it would have if there was no global warming, according to the scientists’ research. Such an event can be expected once every 300-600 years in the current climate, they said.
Meanwhile, climate change also caused up to a 40% increase in the amount of rain that fell in early September across the Mediterranean, causing floods that killed dozens in Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey.
“The Mediterranean is a hotspot of climate change-fueled hazards,” said Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment, citing heatwaves and wildfires in the region over summer.
Reuters – Reporting by Riham Alkousaa Editing by Alexandra Hudson
Oman unveils plans for 100,000-person ‘smart’ city
Oman has unveiled ambitious plans for a new 100,000-person “smart” city outside its capital, Muscat.
Set across 14.8 square kilometers (5.7 square miles), Sultan Haitham City will be roughly equivalent in size to Beverly Hills — but with almost three times as many residents.
The plan, which was shared exclusively with CNN by the US architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), includes 20,000 homes, as well as a university, schools, health facilities and mosques. It is due to be built on a largely undeveloped site in Al-Seeb, several kilometers west of Muscat.
Dubbed Sultan Haitham City, the new district will eventually provide 20,000 new homes.
Work on the project is set to begin next year and will be completed in four stages. The first phase, which runs until 2030, will develop the 5-square-kilometer (1.9-square-mile) city center and six of the development’s 19 planned neighborhoods. The final phase is not scheduled to be completed until 2045.
In a press release, SOM said that the project will offer “vibrant public space, high-quality and affordable housing and smart urban mobility.”
‘Biophilic’ skyscraper bursting with 80,000 plants opens in Singapore
While there is no universally accepted definition of a “smart city,” the term usually describes the use of sensors, cameras and internet-enabled devices — the so-called “internet of things” — to gather and use data from the built environment. While critics have raised privacy concerns, many urban planners believe big data can help cities deliver more effective and efficient public services, from traffic management to environmental monitoring.
Set across 14.8 square kilometers (5.7 square miles), the district will be roughly equivalent in size to Beverly Hills.
In a statement, one of SOM’s senior associate principals, Bernhard Rettig, said that Sultan Haitham City’s “smart infrastructure” would be used to “monitor environmental factors such as air quality and water management.”
Plans also include a traffic management system that will use “real-time … data from cameras and speed sensors” to reroute vehicles and control traffic flow, the firm added.
Weaning off oil
The new development is part of Oman Vision 2040, a state-led initiative aimed at — among other things — increasing the use of renewables and reducing the country’s dependence on oil, which currently accounts for more than half of government revenues.
SOM said its master plan was designed to “minimize” the district’s “ecological footprint,” citing solar energy facilities, wastewater recycling, electric vehicle infrastructure and waste-to-energy plants. The architects could not specify how much of the district’s power would be generated by renewables, but pointed to Oman’s nationwide target of producing 30% of its electricity from green sources by 2030.
Toyota is building a ‘smart’ city to test AI, robots and self-driving cars
SOM said its design responds to high temperatures and humidity in Muscat, where temperatures have been known to exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Newly released digital renderings of the project depict shady streets flanked by structures that appear to be made from brick and timber. Roads and buildings will be orientated to maximize shade and encourage natural ventilation, the firm said.
The development is also set to offer retail facilities, as well as a university, schools, health facilities and mosques.
Elsewhere, a park will sit at the heart of the neighborhood, complete with plazas and “an interconnected network of open spaces.” The park will be created along a 7.5-kilometer-long stretch of dry river, which the architects say will be used to contain and capture floodwater in a coastal region prone to seasonal flooding.
In a statement, Oman’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning described the development as “an urban expansion” of Muscat. The new district is set to be connected to the Omani capital, which is located on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula, via a mass transit system.
SOM is known for buildings including Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper, though it has also designed urban master plans at sites including London’s Canary Wharf and the Millennium Park in Chicago, where the firm is headquartered.
Housing is a key component for achieving social and economic development. As such, adequate, safe, and affordable housing is at the core of Goal 11 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (i.e., attaining Sustainable Cities and Communities). Moreover, housing related activities and investment are major economic drivers, serving as an important contributor to economic activity and job creation.
The role of the housing and built environment in attending to the challenges of climate change
At the same time, it is widely acknowledged that climate change will affect the socioeconomic development trajectory of Africa, threatening the region’s attainment of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and the objectives of the Africa Union’s Agenda 2063.
However, a less acknowledged fact is that climate change cannot be solved without delivering climate resilient housing and tackling building emissions, as buildings account for 19 percent of the world’s Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report, by 2030, all new buildings must be zero net carbon, and existing buildings must be zero net carbon by 2050.
Climate change cannot be solved without delivering climate resilient housing and tackling building emissions, as buildings account for 19 percent of the world’s Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.
What is climate-resilient housing?
Resilient housing can be described as housing that can resist, recover, and adapt to adverse effects of climate change or natural disasters. It is the capacity of human settlements to cope with shocks (environmental, economic, and social) and respond to these shocks over time. Thereby, resilient houses are required to be planned, designed, built, operated, and maintained to reduce vulnerability to these indicated threats.
Recent developments in climate change initiatives in the construction industry in select African countries
Fortunately, progress is being made by city managers and other related stakeholders to tackle the challenge of climate change in the housing industry in Africa.
Kenya considers climate change a cross-cutting theme that is being mainstreamed in the medium-term plans of the County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPs), which in turn inform the country’s development blueprint—Vision 2030. Under these plans, the Government has mandated that all affordable housing projects be aligned with Global Green Certification requirements. Elsewhere, Nigeria recently promulgated the 2021 Climate Change Act, which is the first standalone climate change legislation in West Africa. The act encapsulates critical components of the country’s climate change policies, most of which were adopted in 2021. These include the revised National Climate Change Policy; National Climate Change Programmes; the 2050 Long-Term Low Emission Vision; and the first Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).
Additionally, it is worth noting that over the past few years, there have been notable cases of resilient housing initiatives in Africa. An example of these is the climate resilient housing initiative at Mozambique, which was delivered through the Coastal City Adaption Project (CCAP).
Mozambique has been severely impacted by the effects of climate change, where an estimated 60 percent of the country’s 28 million people live in low-lying coastal areas, where sea-level rise and frequent intense storms cause flooding, erosion, and landslides, threatening communities, homes, and economic activities.
The CCAP programme was aimed at supporting local governments and communities in the cities of Pemba and Quelimane to develop affordable and resilient solutions and techniques for building.
The key design, construction elements, and techniques adopted in this initiative include low vulnerability site selection, which reduces potential impact of hazards (i.e., avoiding areas with high exposure to flooding and strong winds); raised foundation (i.e., elevated platform above the maximum level of flooding); reinforced wall (i.e., construction done with durable materials, such as coconut or bamboo wood) and secure roof with rainwater harvesting capacity (i.e., roofing design with an adequate slope to withstand strong winds and also facilitate rain harvesting system).
Another example of resilient housing technology is in Malawi, where Durabric is increasingly being used as a more sustainable alternative to traditional burnt clay bricks for housing construction. The compressed earth stabilised block is made using a combination of locally sourced materials, comprising of earth, sand, cement, and water. Durabric has proved to be an affordable alternative for resilient housing delivery, with resultant impacts in terms of curbing deforestation and carbon emissions, in addition to building local capacity in the industry.
Way forward and conclusion
While there have been moderate achievements in developing legislation, tools, and policies to enhance climate-resilient housing and urban development in select African countries, these initiatives have relied on global templates and standards, which may be difficult and expensive to replicate at scale in the African context.
Moreover, advocacy and awareness among stakeholders on climate change acts and standards are required. Public and private entities need to be proactively engaged, to understand the implication of these standards and laws on their activities, as well as their respective obligations.
Most importantly, housing delivery and built environment stakeholders should take advantage of the recently introduced climate-change policies and their incentives, to introduce technological innovations that can mitigate the impact of climate change in the industry.
In conclusion, as Africa continues to experience unprecedented rates of urbanization coupled with increasing climate related incidences, it is pertinent for stakeholders to put in more effort in making housing safe and resilient to climate change related impacts. This in turn can help protect lives and livelihoods from disasters and build sustainable communities.
The concept of smart cities is to use advanced technologies to minimize traffic congestion, manage waste better, and improve the quality of life for people. Data science will play a critical role in managing intelligent cities. It will help avail insights to help city managers make data-driven decisions. Big data will offer a unique opportunity for running sustainable and livable cities.
City dwellers will benefit from minimum energy use, less pollution, and better air quality. The development of the cities faces different challenges such as competition of resources and data privacy issues. Urban managers and dwellers will use various AI-driven techniques, systems, and processes to get real-time analysis and reports to understand actual happenings.
Image Credit – Pexels
How data science will help intelligent cities become smarter and more efficient
Advancing data analytics will offer unprecedented chances for urban environments to increase sustainability, resilience, and livability. Leveraging data-based insights will be critical when making informed decisions. City management authorities will rely on data to improve traffic flow, manage energy distribution and use, waste, and make plans for smarter infrastructure.
Data analytics in smart cities will provide quick and dependable ways for analyzing raw data to help understand the real-time dynamics of cities. It will be useful in enabling planning and developing new adaptations for challenges. Efficiency is important in advanced cities. Big data will help minimize pollution to the environment and increase the quality of air. Urban management will effectively supply the right amount of energy required to keep systems running and buildings livable.
As smart cities develop more, society needs to address a variety of data privacy and security risks. Resolving them in a smart security environment needs a holistic approach. WIFI connection will play a major role in intelligent cities but various WIFI security issues might arise. One of them is that this network is blocking encrypted DNS traffic, especially when a user gets a new WIFI connection. This is a common issue that affects network security on Mac.
If you fail to resolve privacy warning in Mac you could compromise your data and privacy. One of the ways to resolve this network blocking encrypted DNS traffic is to restart your gadget, reconnect your WIFI, or update your gadget. DNS blocking happens when a company tries to prevent DNS encryption so that it can snoop on your data. That is when your gadget’s OS displays the message network is blocking encrypted DNS traffic. You might want to use a VPN, reconnect your internet, or change your connection password to resolve this issue.
Image Credit- Pexels
Benefits of using data science in smart cities
The effects of climate change are impacting every sector of society. Globally, societies are experiencing challenges such as:
● Hotter temperatures
● Poorer food production
● Diminishing human, animal, and plant health
● More species going extinct
● Increasing poverty, droughts, and live threatening storms
One of the aims of developing intelligent cities is to find solutions to these challenges. Scientists are finding ways to minimize the production of CO2 and improve human life. The aim of data-driven smart cities is not only to minimize CO2 emissions but also to provide a variety of benefits to urban dwellers.
Produce more energy and use less. Smart city technologies aim to save more energy in a wide variety of ways.
Ensure there is cleaner air for urban dwellers. Smart urban planning authorities will use technologies to measure air quality and understand sources of pollution.
Enhanced transportation. City data analysis and systems in smart cities aim to optimize mobility in urban places. Data will help pinpoint challenges in transportation systems, minimize congestion, and provide real-time traffic updates.
Enhanced waste management. AI-driven city management will help gather data across ecosystems for waste recycling, repair, and reuse. Big data will help reduce waste production and management of waste delivery channels.
Enhanced public safety and quality of life. Data privacy in smart cities will help security teams keep an eye on real-time happenings across streets and buildings using AI-driven cameras.
Image Credit – Pexels
Challenges that cities face in implementing data-driven solutions
Terabytes of data can be generated daily which is important for improving efficiency in smart cities. However, big data poses a major storage challenge to both City management and dwellers. The data generation, processing, and storage systems are prone to cyberattacks.
International and local policies for data privacy and sharing keep changing which poses a major challenge to companies, governments, and individuals. As urban technology improves, legislation needs to change. The current laws are full of loopholes that hinder the swift implementation of smart city policies. There needs to be greater connectivity and efficiency but intelligent use of big data is currently lacking.
The realization of smart cities is approaching fast as societies become more intertwined with urban technology. Big data is playing a major role in speeding up the pace and improving efficiency, and quality of life. Still, there are several drawbacks that the current generation has to deal with. They have to address issues of cybersecurity, data privacy, CO2 emissions, legislation, and economic improvements of the people.
Exploring the Future of Smart Cities: The Role and Impact of AI Edge Computing on Urban Infrastructure
As we stand on the precipice of a new era in urban development, the future of smart cities is being shaped by the rapid advancements in technology. One of the most transformative technologies is Artificial Intelligence (AI) Edge Computing, which is poised to have a profound impact on urban infrastructure.
AI Edge Computing is a paradigm that brings computation and data storage closer to the location where it’s needed, to improve response times and save bandwidth. This technology is a game-changer for smart cities, as it allows for real-time data processing, enabling cities to become more efficient, sustainable, and livable.
The integration of AI Edge Computing into urban infrastructure is already underway, with cities around the world beginning to harness its potential. For instance, in the realm of traffic management, AI Edge Computing can analyze data from traffic cameras in real-time to optimize traffic light sequences, reducing congestion and improving road safety. This technology can also predict traffic patterns, allowing city planners to make informed decisions about infrastructure development.
In the context of public safety, AI Edge Computing can be used to enhance surveillance systems. By processing data on the edge, these systems can identify potential threats or criminal activity in real-time, enabling quicker response times from law enforcement agencies. Moreover, AI algorithms can learn and adapt over time, improving their accuracy and effectiveness.
The impact of AI Edge Computing extends to environmental sustainability as well. Smart sensors placed throughout a city can monitor air quality, noise levels, and waste management in real-time. This data can then be processed on the edge, providing city officials with actionable insights to address environmental issues promptly and efficiently.
Furthermore, AI Edge Computing can revolutionize the way cities manage their energy consumption. Smart grids powered by this technology can monitor and analyze energy usage in real-time, optimizing the distribution of energy and reducing waste. This not only leads to significant cost savings but also contributes to a city’s sustainability goals.
However, the implementation of AI Edge Computing in urban infrastructure is not without its challenges. Data privacy and security are major concerns, as the technology involves the collection and processing of vast amounts of data. Cities must ensure robust data protection measures are in place to safeguard citizens’ privacy. Additionally, the deployment of AI Edge Computing requires substantial investment in infrastructure and skills training, which may be a hurdle for cities with limited resources.
Despite these challenges, the potential benefits of AI Edge Computing for smart cities are immense. As cities continue to grow and evolve, this technology will play a pivotal role in shaping urban infrastructure, making cities smarter, safer, and more sustainable.
In conclusion, the future of smart cities is intrinsically linked with the advancement of AI Edge Computing. This technology is set to redefine urban infrastructure, transforming the way cities function and improving the quality of life for their residents. As we move forward into this exciting new era of urban development, the possibilities for what our cities could become are truly limitless.
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Earth has been used as a building material for at least the last 12,000 years. Ethnographic research into earth being used as an element of Aboriginal architecture in Australia suggests its use probably goes back much further.
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