Startups are re-imagining our cities. They are taking on age-old problems ranging from last mile mobility challenges to water management. On April 23rd, Smart City Startups will showcase 100 of the most promising startups at its annual festival in Miami. Here are 11 startups that are tackling problems in Mobility, Construction, and Urban Planning that should be on your radar if you're an architect or urban planner.
The most noticeable area impacted by startups is mobility. Changes in mobility were first led by firms like Zipcar and Car2go, and now by Waze, Tesla, Uber, and Lyft. Here are the startups to look out for in the rapidly changing urban mobility landscape.
OneWheel is a great way to get around the city without having to get stuck in traffic. This one-wheeled electric skateboard made headlines during this year’s CES in Las Vegas and it’s very fun.
Whill is an all-terrain wheelchair for people with disabilities that is minimalistic, functional, and stylish. The idea behind this product is to fundamentally change the attitudes of personal mobility users, as well as the general perceptions of personal mobility.
Dash turns any car into a “smart car.” This app connects your car to your smartphone enabling you to evaluate your driving efficiency and compare to your friends. You can also quickly diagnose warnings and find the best gas and service options.
Startups are not only focused on how we move around — they’re also making an impact on how we construct and operate the built environment. Nest Labs asked people to rethink a device they had been happily ignoring for decades. Here are startups to look for on construction sites and in retrofits.
The EPA estimates that as much as 50% of water used to water plants and lawns is wasted. Rachio replaces your existing controller with a controller that analyzes your location to determine just the right amount of water. They’re reducing water use by as much as 30%.
Radiator Labs brings steam heating systems into the 21st century. Their radiator covers conceal sensors and a fan that let them better control the room temperature and, in turn, better control building boilers, achieving as much as 40% reduction in energy use.
Lagoon helps you track your water usage using sensors that alert you when there is a leak. It not only helps you save money on water bills, but also ensures that water is not being wasted.
Skycatch can speed up construction without putting human lives in danger. These drones will automate the construction site, leaving humans to program the machines and then send them to work with the push of a button.
Perhaps the least visible startups are those helping to plan cities and impact public spaces. New tools are speeding analysis and easing interactions with government agencies and even rethinking public spaces.
This powerful data-driven transportation management tool was developed by Code for America fellows. Transitmix allows you to map your commute or a specific route with information from all public transportation methods and allows you to compare cost, time, scheduling, and distance.
This startup is like the Google Maps “Street View” feature, but instead of these images being captured by Google cars, they are crowdsourced by people that inhabit or visit the area. You can create your own street view by simply taking photos from wherever you may be and upload them to create and share your favorite biking trails, neighborhoods, secret shortcuts and more all on Mapillary’s site or app.
Coastal Risk Consulting
Coastal Risk Consulting helps communities, businesses, and governments get climate ready and storm safe in the face of rising sea levels and climate change. They bring together a wide variety of expertise and planning to help people understand their vulnerabilities like access to raw materials, location of facilities, availability of alternative energy and water supplies, logistics, shipping, and supply chains and compliance with future regulatory changes.
Civic Insight allows residents to clearly and easily access complicated processes like code enforcement and building permits. By creating a uniform level of transparency, it eliminates costly delays in permit approval processes by making timely information available when it’s most important.
Shaun Abrahamson is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, author, CEO, and co-founder of Urban.us, an investment fund investing in startups that make cities better. Urban.us produces Smart City Startups, an annual event that hosts 100 startups & the people that are helping them to transform our cities in the next decade, taking place April 23–24, 2015 in Miami, FL.