Rio de Janeiro as a smart city

The New York Times has a longish article portraying the Operations Center of the City of Rio that has been build by IBM’s smarter cities unit. In the article both the city of Rio de Janeiro and IBM portray the operations center as some kind of magic wand that enables the benevolent city government to steer the daily life of the city’s population using video feeds and text messages: City employees in white jumpsuits work quietly in front of a giant wall of screens — a sort of virtual Rio, rendere…

Penguins in Rio - update

When i was in Argentinean Patagonia in January our host at the Estancia Monte Leon (by the way one of the most gorgeous places i have ever stayed in my life, totally worth the hefty price tag) told us that the penguins who hang out at the beach there in order to raise their kids would go all the way up to Rio in the (southern hemisphere) winter as they find patagonia to cold during that time of the year. While i can see that Patagonia might be a little bit too cold in July i could not really pic…

Shrinking cities

I am in Rio right now, which is anything else than a shrinking city. I have no figures ready but i guess there is a table which shows Rio’s growth in the last decades somewhere in Mike Davis’ excellent ‘Planet of Slums‘ which i finished reading just before coming here. Now the lonely planet for Rio mentions that in Rio gas stations are one of the favorite places for party-goers to hang out as they sell beer all-through the night. This particular bit of travelers advice reminded me of one of the…

A2K make it happen

One of the strange things here at the iSummit 2006 in Rio de Janeiro are the excessive amounts of hotel staff that seem to have no other function than to stand around and smile. seems like that after 2 days of conference somebody finally found something more useful for them to do and made them attach ‘a2k – make it happen’ stickers to their dresses: Aren’t they looking absolutely fabulous like this?…