In the face of continuing challenges for HR in the wake of the pandemic, it’s tempting to look for solutions in the waves of fads that are continually promoted at conferences, in books and on LinkedIn. This would be a serious error, argues organisational psychology professor Rob Briner.
I guess we’ve all had this experience. Perhaps it happens when we’re flicking through a HR magazine or wandering around the commercial exhibition of a large HR conference. Maybe when we’re checking out the best-selling management books on Amazon or skimming the posts popping up on our LinkedIn feed.
What is this experience? It’s the feeling that almost everywhere we look the HR world is dominated by the latest thing, the brand new approach, the cutting-edge technique. These fads are presented in a way that implies all the things we’re doing right now – which were of themselves the latest thing not so long ago – are next to useless. What we must do immediately is ditch what we’re doing now and instead jump aboard the next fad bandwagon.
Those of us who’ve been around for even a little bit know from experience that it’s highly likely that fairly soon we’ll be leaping off that particular fad bandwagon and onto the next.
Perhaps you’re thinking “but you’ve got to try new things, right?” or “doesn’t this just go to show that HR as a function is learning, innovating and experimenting?” or even “where’s the harm?”.
Such thoughts make perfect sense if, every time we adopt a new practice or technique we are using data and evidence to carefully analyse our specific organisational issues and then doing the same to choose, after weighing up the evidence, the particular practice or technique which is most likely to be effective.
But, of course, in the world of HR fads this is exactly what never ever happens.
You may already be anxiously wondering if any of the things you and your team are doing right now are superficial passing fads or something more serious and sustainable. Sometimes I’m asked to provide a list of what I consider to be current HR fads. But, rather than relying on someone else’s opinion, I think it’s much more helpful if we work out for ourselves whether the thing we’re doing or planning to do is likely to turn out to be a fad.
So are there any red flags for fads? Indicators that might warn us possible danger? Luckily there are quite a few.
First, fads are usually attractive. And I mean really attractive. It seems that sometimes we even fall a little bit in love with them and, as a consequence, we can’t bear to hear anything said against them. But HR practices are not supposed to be attractive or desirable or objects of desire. They are practical steps we can take to help the organisation achieve its goals. How we personally feel about them should not play a role.
Typically, fads are adopted in the absence of any clear diagnosis of a problem”
A second tell-tale sign that something is probably a fad is when there is no convincing answer to the question: “For what problem is this the solution?” Typically, fads are adopted in the absence of any clear diagnosis of a problem and, through a process called “solutioneering”, the “problem” becomes defined as the absence of the solution or potential fad. For example, “the problem is we don’t have a leadership development programme” or “the problem is we need an employee wellness app”.
A related way of identifying whether any particular practice is a solution in search of a problem rather than real solution to a real problem is to ask “what would happen if we stopped doing this tomorrow?”. And, again, if there is no convincing answer then it’s likely that the practice was adopted quickly with little analysis or evidence.
In addition to these red flags, Danny Miller and Jon Hartwick in a 2002 article in Harvard Business Review suggested that management fads are:
It should be clear by now that adopting fads limits the HR function’s contribution to the organisation because they are unlikely to be effective and worse, may even cause harm because they may have negative side effects and prevent the adoption of practices that actually do help the organisation.
In addition to paying attention to red flags for fads described above, another way of ensuring we don’t fall for fads is by practicing in a more evidence-based way. latest research from the Corporate Research Forum examines the profession’s understanding and use of Evidence-Based HR and explores how its principles can be applied.
It should be clear by now that adopting fads limits the HR function’s contribution to the organisation”
But what are the principles of evidence-based HR?
We apply these principles first to gathering evidence about the specific business-relevant HR issues we face and, when clearly understood, applying exactly these same principles to gathering evidence to make a decision about a likely solution or intervention.
By following this process and sticking to the principles it is more likely that HR will avoid fads and instead identify important business-relevant issues and implement only those practices which are most likely to help.
Submitted by Ericsson
Originally published by Ericsson
By Pernilla Bergmark Principal Researcher and Gustav Wikström Research leader, Networks
At Ericsson we foresee many new use cases for future wireless networks, including advanced highly-demanding digital services such as immersive communication and massive digital twinning, but also use cases that can help us overcome the digital divide and enable reduced resource consumption.
We are already preparing for this today, and have laid down our vision for future wireless possibilities in our 6G white paper, as well as in other cross-sectoral initiatives such as Hexa-X. The UN’s ITU-R technological trends also present a good overall synopsis of the capabilities required to deliver this journey.
But technology doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s critical we consider how our technology impacts the development of society and how we can amplify the positive effects while mitigating any adverse effects already from first steps of technology design.
When moving towards 6G, our industry must recognize the great responsibility we have to help address societal challenges, and our focus should not only be to achieve excellent performance, but also a positive impact on sustainability.
What does sustainability mean to 6G?
Sustainability, or sustainable development, can be defined as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
In 2009, the Stockholm Resilience Centre identified nine planetary boundaries which would allow the earth system’s processes to continue to regulate a stable planet where society can thrive, a framework that was updated and republished recently.
Instead of compromising on our future, from a technology development perspective, sustainability is to a high degree about respecting these boundaries and providing the conditions that support decent livelihood conditions. This equation is not a simple one and will lead to a compromise on different targets and costs, and above one that brings new considerations to technology development.
As a central part of future digital infrastructure, 6G networks will be closely linked to the sustainable development of society, across environmental, social and economic aspects in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Sustainable development frameworks: What are they?
The most widely adopted framework for sustainable development is composed by the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that outline the actions needed to achieve long-term sustainability.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the UN SDGs aim to strengthen the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development and bring a common understanding of what needs to be done by nations and businesses alike. Beyond these global objectives there are many regional and national targets, such as the European Green Deal, which sets a target for the EU to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
At Ericsson, we are committed to supporting this development and have dedicated one of our technology journeys ‘connected sustainable world’ as a sustainable framing of technology development.
It is important to consider both sides of this journey: sustainable 6G (reducing 6G´s impacts across the entire life cycle) and 6G for sustainability (enabling use cases that create sustainable value).
6G networks need to minimize any negative impact on sustainability. This objective means that the direct lifecycle impact from building and running networks should be minimized across environmental, social, and economic sustainability domains. Resource consumption is the focus here in terms of energy and material, but also any other impact from production processes and from using the systems and services. It must be clear that this is not just an ambition, but demands a real commitment to optimize networks for reduced negative impact beyond fulfilling regulatory requirements. Moreover, technology must be anchored in society to be socially sustainable, meaning that the use of resources is well motivated and explained.
6G for sustainability
6G networks should contribute to an overall sustainable development in society by enabling the transformation of other sectors than just ICT. This objective means that 6G networks should be designed to support existing or novel activities to enable a positive sustainability impact to produce benefits when scaled across society. Equally important would be to avoid any usage with adverse effects. Here it’s important to consider that there may even be a need to move away from certain use cases if they are identified to have a negative impact on society.
From an environmental perspective, reducing the negative impact of the entire lifecycle of goods, networks and services is the primary responsibility of the 6G industry. Irrespective of use cases, it is vitally important that all aspects of producing, operating, and recycling the 6G system will have a minimal negative environmental impact.
The importance of sustainability during technology development
We believe that 6G needs to embed a wide set of values.
First, a 6G system need to be developed with as low an environmental footprint as possible. Already the technology design needs to consider how it will impact the physical implementation and the environmental impacts across the life cycle, including such as the use of materials, emissions during production and impacts from activities such as sales, distribution, and installation of the system.
Until now, network power consumption has typically been the main source of greenhouse gas emissions. As communication service providers (CSPs) switch to low-carbon electricity, we already start to see that the focus of environmental targets is moving more towards material use and pre-use lifecycle stages. For example, there is an increased focus on circularity, and that hardware should be both reusable and energy-optimized. Moreover, with an expected increase in IoT and sensor usage, circularity becomes increasingly important to avoid increasing e-waste streams. Already during the technology development phase of 6G, resource optimization must be a key design consideration, including architecture, split of functionality, modularity, processing distribution, the impact of performance requirements on material choices , and tailored and flexible signaling protocols to enable circularity and more.
Then there are other social and economic considerations that also need attention. For example, anyone operating a 6G system should be able to make sure that human rights are protected, that it is possible to claim liability and accountability, and that access to network services are affordable.
The earlier in the evolution of a new generation the above aspects are considered, the easier it will be to propagate for example resource-lean principles, privacy aspects and cost optimizations through the complete system.
One example area is architecture. When specifying a system architecture, modularization possibilities and distribution of functionality are already being fixed. If aspects relating to minimized energy and material consumption are not considered before that (at the stage of technology development) there is a risk that necessary functionalities are distributed in a way that makes this difficult to address this but incrementally later on.
A more specific example is broadcast information. When information is determined on broadcast, it may be possible to optimize this to minimize the broadcast instances and maybe even turn off broadcasting functionality and thereby save energy. This is possible if multi-purposed signals are avoided, for example.
For privacy aspects, security mechanisms also need to be considered from a very early technology design stage.
Energy consumption of 6G networks
To achieve the lowest possible energy consumption of 6G networks, we need to continue to Boost the performance of our radio and baseband, but we also need to introduce new use cases that take energy consumption into consideration from the start. This includes optimizing the energy cost of transmissions for applications that will likely be more demanding than enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB ).
Beyond communication services, 6G is also likely to bring new network services that will be applied in various use cases together with connectivity. Distributed compute (supporting lightweight devices with processing) is one such example, as well as the provision of sensing and positioning information. These services will also consume energy and it is vital that the lowest possible energy profile is attached to such services.
From an energy performance perspective, it is important to turn to a zero (or a very low) energy consumption state whenever there are no processing demands on the hardware. AI-based energy saving improvements will largely depend on there being a high load dependence to energy cost, and this will only be achieved if low traffic states can also translate into low energy states on the hardware. To achieve this, aspects associated to the measuring and observation of the network will be important. However, such observability tasks will also come with an energy cost and this must also be part of the balance sheet of AI-driven optimizations, for example.
The network usage stage also includes considerations on how the network can interact with and adapt to the availability of (renewable) energy. Some deployments may be largely based on renewables that vary in availability, and as more industries become electrified there will likely be an increase in overall demand. From this perspective, functionality for adapting the network performance and consumption to availability will be key going forward. With the growing emergence of low-carbon electricity supply, the environmental impact of operating networks will decline. However, from a cost and affordability perspective, energy efficiency aspects will remain important.
Building a low-cost, inclusive 6G system
Economic sustainability is about the economic development of society itself linking sustainable development to areas such as job markets, productivity, infrastructure access and innovation. From this perspective, end-user cost is important to ensure inclusive and affordable systems. However, to contribute to economic sustainability, businesses also need to be economically sound and sustainable themselves. The value of 6G networks and subsequent use cases need to translate to a monetary value that can carry the provisioning ecosystem of end-users, vendors, CSPs, suppliers, system integrators and all other necessary stakeholders. Necessary investments need to be justified to support an increased use of current use cases and new services. Pricing equations need to consider the cost of deployments for very high performance, and the possibility to charge for quality of service need to be there, or the evolution of performance-demanding use cases may be at risk.
Making sure that 6G can carry its weight from the perspective of economic development, is both about the sustaining the business, as well as providing a net positive from a social and environmental and economic sustainability perspective. From the perspective of involved businesses, if the profitability is not there, it will not materialize. However, equally important, from a digital inclusion perspective, equally important is to consider the end user cost.
From the social perspective, methodologies to assess systems exist but have so far only been put to use to a limited extent. Compared to environmental or economic impacts, assessing social aspects across the lifecycle of systems is an area that has not been explored in as much depth and identifying potential impacts must be an important consideration of technology development moving forward.
Ethical AI, on the other hand, is perhaps the most well-studied area from a societal perspective. Many other perspectives such as working protection are traditionally rather considered to be addressable in a production and deployment stage. Social sustainability is closely linked to aspects of human rights where learnings from 5G would play an important role in understanding these aspects from a 6G perspective.
6G for sustainability
Developing a general-purpose technology, we also need to be mindful about both opportunities and potential adverse effects across the three sustainability pillars. 6G must address use cases that both promote and enable a more sustainable society.
6G should make it easier to be sustainable across many business sectors and societal functions, such as education, city management, manufacturing and logistics, and the re-circulation of products and materials.
As a key component of this, we believe that key 6G technologies such as more immersive communication and data-based optimizations e.g. massive digital twinning, could be designed to play a prominent role in creating that sustainable value. It may be that such use cases will not drive the extreme performance requirements, but through a desired high penetration and use, a new generation may become more sustainable than a previous one.
New services will complement the communication service and network-provided information such as sensing information will enable use cases that were previously not possible. A new network compute fabric which embeds processing within the network itself could allow for simpler and less power-hungry devices, enabling an even wider range of use cases.
During 6G development we will also assess how new use cases will open new value chains, with new stakeholders, new possibilities, new customers, and new partnerships that can be beneficial and profitable for all parties. For example, it’s expected that states and governments will be increasingly interested in certain use case areas to reach their sustainability goals, while schools, healthcare and other institutions or agencies may also show an increased interest. For these stakeholders, economic restrictions will be essential too, but sometimes also offer new opportunities.
6G from an economic perspective
Economic sustainability will be tightly coupled with development, evolution, and deployments of 6G services in two distinct ways.
Firstly, services built on 6G could drive productivity across societies, following the pattern of mobile broadband. This macro-economic aspect could provide associated benefits on infrastructure and job markets. However, the perspective of economic sustainability is broader and is linked also to the inclusion and distribution of welfare – another aspect that 6G use cases should consider.
Secondly, as for the 6G system itself, there is a business-value aspect of the use cases we work with and any use case must present a strong business case to enable scale and continued evolution. If the use cases cannot evolve, the enablement of all the potential positive impact of 6G networks may also be at risk, meaning that we ultimately fail to explore the sustainability potential of 6G fully.
The opportunities of immersive technologies
As VR and AR will continue to evolve, advances in device technology and applications, both for personal and professional use, will fuel the connectivity industry and provide opportunities to also offer other services associated to connectivity. One such example could be sensing information. The merge of the physical and digital world could offer new opportunities in education and for professionals. Today, the gaming industry is already increasingly exploring this physical-digital fusion that we call merged reality.
The opportunities of massive twinning
Massive twinning i.e. of IoT devices is another area where connectivity will be key. The concept of digital twins exists already today, for purposes of modeling objects, places or processes. However, during the 6G timeframe, with the expected breakthrough of trillions of zero-energy devices with low embedded processing capabilities to open new possibilities for massive twinning use cases.
Such twinning services will also depend on additional network services such as sensing and positioning data, compute and AI services. The twinning objects themselves can come from any industry segment or could even comprise entire cities and environmental ecosystems.
The opportunities of situational awareness technologies
The situational awareness area is an aggregate term for supporting moving objects, vehicles and devices. In the 2030-2040 timeframe, we expect there are many more drones, moving service robots, autonomous vehicles such as taxis or delivery trucks and all of these moving objects need to navigate, mitigate accidents and be aware of their surroundings and each other’s intent in a very general sense. For this, connectivity, sensing, positioning data and network processing, the latter in particular for simple vehicles, will certainly be needed. From an environmental perspective the sharing and use optimization of these will be important to keep down impacts.
The families above represent categories rather than being specific use cases or applications. It is also possible to envision combinations, e.g., an autonomously navigating exoskeleton, partly human-controlled, where the pilot experience the environment in an AR-enhanced-manner moving around in a physical/digital map created by massive amounts of sensors. The potential of the possibilities can only be limited by our imagination.
6G sustainable use case families
While the above are technology-centric use case areas, in our 2030-2040 timeline, there is also emphasis on providing value from a sustainability perspective. First, sustainability impacts of the technology-centric use cases need to consider sustainability both from a benefit and any adverse effect perspective. Moreover, there will be several use case families used for the technology development that are organized by their potential value rather than from the perspective of their technology area.
We believe food production and health are two such important areas. Under these use case areas, it is possible to envision farming that reduce resource need as drones survey fields and also microsensors distributed over fields (bringing situational awareness to enable resource optimization) . Image recognition can also support farmers with AR-supported information in viewing surroundings (leveraging merged reality). While the applications comprise different technologies, from a value perspective they could all contribute to the same value by reducing the surplus use of resources.
A similar reasoning goes for e-health. While e-health is perhaps often discussed as being one of the drivers for global mobile broadband (e.g. through global access to video consultations with a physician) it can also enable more advanced examinations or monitoring.
Even though all of the above use cases and use case areas may indeed make benefit of new services from the 6G network or new capabilities or higher quality of service levels, it’s also important to remember that the regular eMBB services will continue to develop and more and more challenges, whether professional or personal, can be solved through applications using eMBB. Thus, making eMBB globally available, more resource efficient and keeping control of the cost of eMBB will also be key for 6G. This may not be a specific 6G use case of its own, but it is indeed a specific capability set required from 6G and we include it among the 6G use cases to emphasize this.
From the sustainability perspective, 6G development is unique in comparison with earlier generations of mobile telecommunication from the perspective of integrating sustainability considerations other than energy performance already in the pre-standardization phase. If managed well, this opens new opportunities to integrate sustainability in the technology design from the start, allowing for deeper optimization, while at a later stage only incremental enhancements may be realistic. Another perspective is the increased digital maturity which could allow more advanced sustainability-related services to scale. When improvements are identified for 6G, we should incorporate them also in 5G whenever possible.
Addressing the risks of general-purpose technology
Unfortunately, it is rare that technologies – even when developed with the best intentions – are only ever used for good purposes. When it comes to general-purpose technologies, enabling something good usually also mean enabling something bad.
Most technologies can be misused or have unforeseen negative effects. For this reason, when developing new features, services, and technologies for 6G, our industry must make sure that the all adverse effects and risks are identified and addressed.
Late security awakenings can be expensive and have devastating consequences. When technology capabilities increase, risk awareness, and risk mitigation need to increase with it. This is part of developing a responsible and sustainable 6G.
In particular, when introducing possibly paradigm-shifting technologies such as AI, both to optimize 6G performance and as a service, it is important to consider related risks and build a trustworthy AI solution from start. From another perspective, building awareness of risks and hurdles in other sectors of societies could also be expected to bring new opportunities for innovation where 6G-based services could help mitigate those and build a more resilient society.
Sustainability focus in ongoing projects
To make sustainability an integrated perspective in 6G technology development demands collaborative effort to embed the sustainability perspective into all different ongoing activities across the world, and to sustain and amplify efforts over time. For this reason, Ericsson has engaged in several of the main ongoing 6G activities.
Hexa-X and Hexa-X-II
Hexa-X and Hexa-X-II are two main EU research projects on 6G evolution. Hexa-X ends mid-2023 and has successfully been studying and included many of the sustainability aspects and integrated them as considerations when researching 6G technologies. Deliverables on values and use cases have been identified, for example D1.3 and D1.4. The notion of a ‘key value’ has been introduced and key value indicators, or KVI’s, are defined as an emerging concept and an approach towards monitoring sustainability values.
In Hexa-X-II, we would like to continue to study sustainability aspects in the three different categories, environmental, social and economic in the light of use cases and requirements. The project will run from 2023-2025 with first deliverables surfacing already during the summer 2023.
In the 6G Industry Association (6G-IA), the European ICT ecosystem comes together to define the R&D roadmap and impact the research projects funded within the Horizon Europe program. Here, Ericsson is leading a group looking at societal challenges and how they should be taken into account in 6G development. This work has led to the formulation of KVIs as a means to measure impact on societal values, and the view that value-driven development should complement performance-driven development. Read their white paper: What societal values will 6G address?
Next G Alliance
The mission of the Next G Alliance Green G working group (view their webinar: the path to sustainable 6G) is to position North America as the global leader in environmental sustainability by creating a sustainable 6G ecosystem and enabling other industries to reduce greenhouse gases and energy consumption, limit land and water use, and move towards a more circular economy. The Green G aims to aggregate information from across the ICT sector and beyond to educate our industry, other industries, and consumers. It also wants to enable other industries to become more sustainable through wireless technology.
After its launch in early 2021, the Green G Working Group issued its first white paper [Green G: The Path Toward Sustainable 6G] that examines the status of sustainability in ICT, identifies gaps, and proposes research initiatives. A second white paper was released in March 2023 [6G Sustainability KPI Assessment Introduction and Gap Analysis] that provides an overview of available KPIs for the ICT industry and their applicability to 6G ecosystem components.
NGMN activities on 6G use case and requirements, and in particular the NGMN paper on requirements and design considerations list essential needs, digital inclusion, energy efficiency, addressing environmental impact and trustworthiness to name a few.
In NGMN, sustainability has been addressed separate from the 6G specific activities but creates a clear view of the NGMN sustainability focus, as reflected in the deliverables that have been published so far. latest NGMN deliverables on sustainability covers such as telco supply chain sustainability of green future networks as well as KPIs and target values for green network assessment.
For the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN body for telecommunication and ICT, the sustainability perspective is important and part of its strategic plans. ITU consists of three branches, ITU-R handling spectrum, ITU-D focused on development and ITU-T handles standardization.
Sustainability, beyond energy performance has not always been on top of the agenda for ITU-R in the past but for 6G this is changing: ITU-R recently released its technological trends report in which the first trend stated the following:
Networks will support enabling services that help to steer communities and countries towards reaching the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)
The trend paper from ITU-R touches upon societal goals being drivers and where these goals include contribution to UN SDG goals. Sustainability is represented both as a key trend and a key driver. The ITU-R work on IMT-2030 now continues with a vision framework (to be released later in 2023) and next year with technical performance requirements. It is expected that various aspects of sustainability will be further addressed in these coming steps too, and we have seen many stakeholders who have a strong interest in this topic.
From a standardization perspective, ITU-T has been working on standards for how to assess the environmental impacts of ITU (sometimes in collaboration with ETSI and other organizations) for more than ten years. As such it provides the methodological foundation for assessing direct and indirect environmental effects of 6G. However, standards are not yet taking the perspective of assessing the impacts of future technologies which remains to be specified. From this perspective there is an opportunity for 6G to work closely with ITU to see how future technologies could be assessed, qualitatively or quantitatively.
In addition to the assessment standards, ITU-T has also developed the ICT sector’s Net Zero definition and its decarbonization trajectory which has been developed jointly with GSMA, GESI and SBTi, setting a climate ambition for any ICT technology to consider. You can learn more about what is required for ICT companies to become Net Zero from the ITU’s guidance and criteria for ICT organizations on setting Net Zero targets and strategies.
Milestones on the journey to 6G
The development of a new wireless technology generation consists of many steps and phases and is spread out over as much as a decade. During the development, several different perspectives and aspects will be highlighted and scrutinized by the involved parties at different stages. Challenging ambitions defined early on may need to be off-set against other benefits, and obviously the outlook differs depending on stakeholders.
From a sustainability perspective it is key not to lose sight of the long-term goals, and make sure to consider these goals in existing well-defined ways of working and processes. Being proactive in this area will be key since we know that business as usual will not ensure a sustainable development.
We can see the 6G development as divided into three phases; a research phase at lower TRL (1-3); a development phase of mid TRL (4-6), and a more mature deployment phase of high TRL (7-9). In these respective phases it is important to consider and achieve the following:
Development and standardization phase
Deployment and market introduction phase
Our collective journey has begun
In the coming 6G development, there are many occasions when the industry should and can take actions in a sustainable direction. It is important to see the possibilities and responsibilities at every stage of the development, and to integrate the sustainable development perspective into the technical work of technology development.
These considerations should not be a separate thing but should be present in the process when we design, build, and run 6G networks. To really make a change, we need to involve all relevant stakeholders and make them see their role in sustainable development and what they can impact.
The authors want to thank Christofer Lindheimer, a former colleague at Ericsson, for substantial input to this article.
Follow the journey to 6G with Ericsson Research
Read our 6G white paper
Learn more about journey to a connected and sustainable world
Imagine Possible Perspectives: Explore the limitless possibilities of zero-energy devices
Blog post: Here are nine important takeaways from early 6G research
Blog post: Unpacking the multifaceted climate impact of ICT – rebound and other effects
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THOUGH SALIMA BOUFELFEL and Roberto Cowan are known in the fashion world as the owners of the influential vintage clothing boutique Desert Vintage, they’re historians at heart. Tucson natives, they met as college students while working at an outpost of the used clothing chain Buffalo Exchange across the street from the University of Arizona. Boufelfel, 36, grew up in a family of artists and academics and developed an affinity for styling while costuming school plays; Cowan, 33, comes from a long line of seamstresses and taught himself to sew around age 13. Both knew early on that they wanted to work with historical fashion so, in 2012, after the owner of a Tucson vintage boutique that Boufelfel frequented put the business up for sale, they took it over, keeping the name and stocking it with pieces not only obscure (Jean Varon and Michael Vollbracht evening gowns; an ’80s jumpsuit from a label called Workers for Freedom) but also rare (Fortuny Delphos dresses, a Victorian-era matador jacket). Eleven years later, their collection of some 5,000 items — spanning Edwardian London to Y2K Tokyo — has drawn a global following of designers and stylists, who turn to Desert Vintage both to inform their work and to fill their personal wardrobes.
Yet even as they’ve traveled the world to source stock from dealers, archives and private collectors — they opened a second storefront on New York’s Lower East Side last year — Boufelfel and Cowan have remained in their hometown. For many years, they were romantically involved but are now best friends, professional partners and housemates, sharing an 1860s Territorial Style adobe-brick bungalow built using millenniums-old techniques. Situated just south of downtown Tucson in Barrio Viejo, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, the two-bedroom structure functions as a source of inspiration for the pair. “It’s like living inside a piece of folk art,” Boufelfel says.
The two have rented the 2,000-square-foot house for the past five years from friends, the interior designers Gary Patch and Darren Clark, who bought and restored the place in the 1990s. It sits just a few blocks away from a similar home that had been owned, until 2011, by Cowan’s grandfather’s family since the late 1800s. Developed in the latter half of the 19th century, Barrio Viejo has been home to successive waves of new Americans — working-class Mexicans, Chinese railway workers and European farmers and craftspeople. But in the years since Boufelfel and Cowan moved in, the neighborhood has seen an influx of gentrifiers. Even though Cowan didn’t grow up in Barrio Viejo himself, he felt it was important to remain there in the face of rising prices and a proliferation of Airbnbs. “I’m holding it down for my family,” he says.
When it came to furnishing the single-story house, Boufelfel and Cowan took a restrained approach. The 14-foot-tall ceilings are traversed by rough pine structural beams called vigas, which were likely harvested from nearby Madera Canyon and then overlaid with tightly packed rows of unfinished latillas, dried saguaro cactus ribs with variegated textures. (The adobe-specific technique dates back to an era before railroads, which enabled the import of cheaper materials.) Instead of decorations, there are richly patinated plaster-coated walls, original molded fireplaces and inset display niches that they often fill with simple beeswax candles.
THE HOUSE’S FLOOR plan unfolds in a spiral pattern, with a series of spaces arranged around a central pathway paved with herringbone brick. Boufelfel likens the layout to a meditation labyrinth. “To be able to just walk through the house in a circular way is really important, energy-wise,” she says. The smaller of the two bedrooms is walled off from the main living space by a series of raw pine shelves filled with books. On the other side of that room, an interior window opens onto the dining area, a vestige of the original footprint; large bundles of olive and eucalyptus branches gathered from the property serve as a natural curtain.
The living and dining areas and the mottled yellow plaster-walled primary bedroom are outfitted sparingly with mostly 20th-century and contemporary furniture, including a ’70s Milo Baughman shearling sofa and a simple, wood-framed daybed made by a friend. Many of the artworks and textiles were gifts or trades, such as tapestries by Boufelfel’s sibling Kam’s label, Community Handweaving, and a patchwork bunny made by their friend Emily Adams Bode Aujla, the designer of the upcycled fashion brand Bode. Throughout the house are antique objects that double as found sculptures: A 13-foot-tall, tufted spire leaning in a living room corner is actually an old Mexican cobweb duster, while the rough-hewn iron cones arranged in a vignette on the dining-area mantel are antique Laotian rice-farming tools.
The house’s lone bathroom was carved out of the original kitchen by the owners, with small, eye-shaped windows and a shower floor covered with Mexican beach pebbles. (“They massage your feet,” Cowan says.) The claw-foot tub was relegated to the large cactus garden out back, where it sits beneath a chinaberry tree. During the milder months, Boufelfel and Cowan often work and host alfresco dinner parties there, accompanied by their cat, Cléo, and, until two years ago, a pet tortoise, Flora, who came with the place. (She moved in with another tortoise across town.) When the heat gets too intense, Boufelfel and Cowan retreat to the narrow study, where art and design books are stacked on a 1920s burl wood table, and inspirational garments, such as a smocked silk dress and a caftan embroidered with Venetian glass beads, hang overhead like mobiles. It was there that they dreamed up their recently launched clothing collection, Ténéré, a series of seasonless, everyday pieces inspired by beloved early 20th-century favorites in their own wardrobes, including an Edwardian sailor blouse and a slouchy 1920s silk suit.
For all its visual appeal, though, the most notable feature of the house is the way it feels: The two-foot-thick mud walls keep the air cool, while providing a rare, almost churchlike silence. “People stay here and say, ‘I had the best night of sleep of my life,’” Boufelfel says. Hushed and still, the house, she adds, “is like an extension of us and how we live our lives, in a quieter way.”
If thou want thine hair cut in west county, it would be wise to consider Bernie Thy Barber.
No, the longtime west county resident doesn’t pretend to be from Elizabethan times, but Bernie Jungle is an artist with the shears.
For Jungle, 62, barbering is a third, or fourth, career that enables him to use his hands and special tools to create something unique every time. He said he likes the job because of this artistry, and because it enables him to have genuine and heartfelt connections with a vast range of people, multiple times every day.
“All my life I’ve created something, and with haircuts I’m still creating something,” said Jungle, who also did custom woodworking for 34 years. “Between that and talking to people, this is a great job for me.”
Jungle has spent most of his professional and personal life working with his hands.
After growing up in Pennsylvania, one of his first work gigs was as an ironworker, building bridges and skyscrapers in downtown Pittsburgh. From there, Jungle became a welder, fabricator, and woodworker, spending years using power tools to create various objects big and small.
Over the same period, Jungle played music — guitar mostly, but also drums. He was a part of numerous rock bands, including one that opened for Meat Loaf at one point. He still plays occasionally with a few.
He moved to Occidental in 2008, following stints in Oakland and San Francisco.
In 2016, Jungle started thinking it was time for a change. He’d always loved the experience of getting his hair cut, and thought barbering seemed fun. He discussed this epiphany with his partner, and decided he would give barber school a try. The following year, the couple moved to Minneapolis, and Jungle followed his dream of barber school. He was the oldest person in the class, by nearly 30 years.
“I can now say I’m the only licensed barber in California and Minnesota without a tattoo,” he quipped.
Originally the plan was for Jungle and his partner to stay in Minnesota. After two winters, however, they returned to Occidental. Jungle signed a lease on his current space in early 2020 — just weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic. He spent that initial shutdown fixing up the space.
He also chose a formal name for his business, settling on “Bernie Thy Barber” mostly because the website for “Bernie The Barber” was already taken.
As pandemic restrictions eased, he began offering haircuts on the sidewalk outside, building his business by word of mouth. By the summer of 2021, he was able to move his operation back inside, and began to cultivate the vibe that exists today.
Walking into Jungle’s barber shop is like stepping into a dimension where time slows to a crawl.
The space is about the size of a large walk-in closet — no more than 200 square feet. Everything inside is antique — a metal barber chair that formerly belonged to a barber in San Jose, a giant mirror, a wooden hutch for shelving, an old couch stuffed with wood fibers and horsehair. There’s even a circa-1956 rotating barber pole, affixed to the inside of the window.
Notably, there’s no television, which means that everyone in the chair gets to engage in old-fashioned entertainment by engaging with Jungle himself. This is exactly how he likes it.
“I like people, I like having conversations, I consider myself an unlicensed therapist,” he said. “After spending all those years behind a table saw, I think I realized that what really gets me motivated and excited is just talking to people, connecting with them, getting to know all about what’s important to them.”
Haircuts themselves play out the way they do just about anywhere — Jungle greets guests by asking them how they usually wear their hair, how they’d like their hair this time, and whether they have any additional requests. He works methodically, snipping and buzzing and trimming with precision.
Jungle also offers eyebrow services and straight-razor shaves. His Latherizer, which makes shaving cream, also is an antique.
Many of Jungle’s customers are regulars at this point, and most, though not all, of them are men. The customer base is an even split between locals to the western part of Sonoma County and visitors to Occidental, Sebastopol and the Russian River Valley.
He said he doesn’t advertise much, and noted that word of mouth is still what brings in the bulk of his business. This, in turn, affords him the opportunity to be picky about his schedule, and only work when he wants. Jungle said he tries to keep regular hours in the barbershop four days a week, and often will log as many as eight to 10 haircuts in a day.
BEIJING, Aug. 23, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- WiMi Hologram Cloud Inc. (NASDAQ: WIMI) ("WiMi" or the "Company"), a leading global Hologram Augmented Reality ("AR") Technology provider, today announced that a new image classification method is developed to automatically extract features from images using a hierarchical structure inspired by the animal visual system. The method combines bionic pattern recognition (BPR) with CNN, which can fully utilize the geometric structure of the high-dimensional feature space to achieve better classification performance and therefore overcome some of the drawbacks of traditional pattern recognition. The method has been validated in several experiments and, in most cases, achieves higher classification performance than traditional methods.
Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) is a deep learning model specialized for processing images. It can automatically extract features from an image through convolution and pooling operations and perform classification using fully connected layers. Convolutional operations involve applying a convolutional kernel (also known as a filter) to each position on the image and outputting the result as a feature map. Pooling operation means down-sampling the feature map to reduce the amount of computation and risk of overfitting.
In traditional CNN image recognition classification models, the softmax function is used for classification. softmax function converts a set of scores into a probability distribution, where each score represents the confidence score that the image belongs to a certain category. Traditional pattern recognition methods usually use hyperplanes in the feature space to segment categories. However, this approach has some downsides, such as the need to manually select features and the difficulty in handling nonlinear data. On the contrary, BPR can overcome these problems by performing class recognition through geometric cover sets that are concatenated in a high-dimensional feature space.
BPR is a bionic-based pattern recognition method, the basic idea of which is to simulate the processing of sensory information using biological systems, and to view the pattern recognition process as taking place in a high-dimensional feature space. In this high-dimensional space, each sample point is regarded as an object rather than a point. Therefore, different classes of samples are distributed in different regions of the high-dimensional feature space, and these regions are called geometric coverage sets. Each geometric covering set consists of a set of geometric objects, which are called geometric primitives, e.g., spheres, cones, polyhedra, etc. By appropriate combinations of geometric primitives, coverage sets with high classification performance can be constructed to enable the recognition of categories.
WiMi combines BPR with CNN to achieve better image classification results. Specifically, CNN image classification based on BPR can map CNN features into a high-dimensional feature space and construct a geometric coverage set in that space, and then display new samples in that space and determine the class they belong to.
WiMi BPR-based CNN image classification uses a mapping function to display CNN features in a high-dimensional feature space. This function can be a simple nonlinear transform such as a polynomial transform or a radial basis function (RBF) transform. It is also possible to learn this mapping function using some more complex functions such as a neural network or a support vector machine (SVM) to transform the CNN features into a form that is easier to classify in the high-dimensional feature space.
This image classification technique has been shown to have high classification performance in high-dimensional feature spaces with geometric primitives, such as spheres, cones or polyhedra, to construct geometric coverage sets. Optimization algorithms, such as genetic algorithms or particle swarm optimization algorithms, can be used to search for the optimal combination of geometric primitives to construct the best geometric coverage set. Finally, a classifier, such as a K-nearest neighbor algorithm or an SVM, is used to identify the class to which the new sample belongs.
The specific way to realize the image classification that combines BPR with CNN is as follows:
Preparation of training and test dataset: a dataset containing images of many different categories needs to be collected. This dataset should contain two parts: the training dataset and the test dataset. The training dataset is used to train the CNN model and the test dataset is used to test the performance of the classifier.
Training CNN model and extracting image features: a CNN model is trained using the training dataset and the features of each image are extracted using the model. These features will be used to construct a geometric coverage set in a high-dimensional feature space.
Mapping CNN features into high-dimensional feature space: a mapping function needs to be used to map the CNN features into the high-dimensional feature space. This mapping function can be learned using some nonlinear transforms such as polynomial transforms or RBF transforms, or using more complex functions such as neural networks or SVMs.
Constructing geometric coverage sets: geometric coverage sets are constructed using some geometric primitives that have been shown to have high classification performance in high-dimensional feature spaces, such as spheres, cones, or polyhedra. Then, we can use some optimization algorithms, such as genetic algorithms or particle swarm optimization algorithms, to search for the optimal combination of geometric primitives to construct the best geometric coverage set.
Classifying new samples: a classifier, such as a K-nearest neighbor algorithm or SVM, is used to identify the category to which the new sample belongs. We can map the features of the new sample into a high-dimensional feature space, then find the nearest geometric cover set in that space, and finally classify the new sample into the category represented by the cover set.
This image classification technique is characterized by combining CNN and BPR to classify images by constructing geometric cover sets in a high-dimensional feature space. Compared to the current traditional CNN model using the softmax function for classification, the softmax function has limited capacity and cannot well handle complex classification problems, such as image classification. In addition, the CNN model cannot fully utilize the geometric structure of the high-dimensional feature space, and thus cannot achieve optimal classification performance. As well, traditional pattern recognition methods usually require manual selection of features and classifiers, which requires a lot of labor and time costs. By combining BPR and CNN, this technique can overcome some of the shortcomings of traditional pattern recognition, Boost the performance of image classification, and can handle complex image classification problems. This method in image classification can overcome some of the current shortcomings of traditional pattern recognition as well as in most cases, higher classification performance than traditional methods. And it can deal with complex image classification problems, such as image recognition, target detection and image segmentation.
At present, the image classification technology based on CNN has been widely used in many fields, and the method of WiMi combined with BPR can overcome the limitations of traditional pattern recognition methods and Boost the accuracy and reliability of image classification. It is believed that with the continuous development and progress of technology, this technology will have wider applications and more outstanding performance in the future.
About WIMI Hologram Cloud
WIMI Hologram Cloud, Inc. (NASDAQ:WIMI) is a holographic cloud comprehensive technical solution provider that focuses on professional areas including holographic AR automotive HUD software, 3D holographic pulse LiDAR, head-mounted light field holographic equipment, holographic semiconductor, holographic cloud software, holographic car navigation and others. Its services and holographic AR technologies include holographic AR automotive application, 3D holographic pulse LiDAR technology, holographic vision semiconductor technology, holographic software development, holographic AR advertising technology, holographic AR entertainment technology, holographic ARSDK payment, interactive holographic communication and other holographic AR technologies.
Safe Harbor Statements
This press release contains "forward-looking statements" within the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as "will," "expects," "anticipates," "future," "intends," "plans," "believes," "estimates," and similar statements. Statements that are not historical facts, including statements about the Company's beliefs and expectations, are forward-looking statements. Among other things, the business outlook and quotations from management in this press release and the Company's strategic and operational plans contain forward−looking statements. The Company may also make written or oral forward−looking statements in its periodic reports to the US Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") on Forms 20−F and 6−K, in its annual report to shareholders, in press releases, and other written materials, and in oral statements made by its officers, directors or employees to third parties. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Several factors could cause genuine results to differ materially from those contained in any forward−looking statement, including but not limited to the following: the Company's goals and strategies; the Company's future business development, financial condition, and results of operations; the expected growth of the AR holographic industry; and the Company's expectations regarding demand for and market acceptance of its products and services.
Further information regarding these and other risks is included in the Company's annual report on Form 20-F and the current report on Form 6-K and other documents filed with the SEC. All information provided in this press release is as of the date of this press release. The Company does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement except as required under applicable laws.
This isn’t anti-car propaganda but vehicles have wreaked havoc on the environment and communities.
This is an adapted excerpt from “Inclusive Transportation: A Manifesto for Repairing Divided Communities ” by Veronica Davis.
On April 27, 1996, I got my first driver’s license. It is a milestone date in my life I will always remember. In my 17-year-old brain (do not do the math), it was my ticket to true independence. For my mom, it meant not having to figure out how to get me to my sports practices or dance classes after a long day of work. One month after I got my license, my dad bought me my first car, which was a 1996 Dodge Neon because he saw the ad that said “Hi.” I will admit, the car did look like it was smiling. The Neon and I had many adventures and misadventures, like the time I spun out on the highway because I was driving too fast.
Cars are as American as apple pie. More importantly, they are a symbol of freedom. If I own a car, I can go wherever I want, whenever I want, and as fast as I want, assuming there is no law enforcement around. People in the United States have a love affair with cars. It is part of our culture. Cars are a status symbol. The car you drive allows others to assess what they think is your wealth. It allows people to discern whether you are “one of us” or you are “not from around these parts.” Car company ads market to us a lifestyle.
That, my friends, is the problem. Cars. I am not anti-car, and yes, cars are the problem. Prioritizing cars creates traffic congestion. Whether I love or hate cars, the fact remains that they are not efficient ways to move people. Think about it this way: 50 people driving alone will take up more roadway space than 50 people on a bus, on bicycles, or on the sidewalk. Traffic-related deaths and serious injuries are caused by people driving cars, and the fact is that the existing transportation system is overbuilt, trying to alleviate congestion during commute periods so people can have the freedom to drive to work in their cars by themselves. As a result of this effort to alleviate traffic congestion during commute periods, the near-empty roads during non-peak times enable people to drive at unsafe speeds — thus, fatalities in motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death in the United States.Additional problems are caused by the transportation industry, such as poor air quality and the societal cost of motor vehicle crashes. The transportation sector accounts for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions, which impact climate change. What about the fact that 43% of the roadway system is in poor or mediocre condition? At the root of the root, it is still cars causing problems. Transportation dollars are spent by state and local departments of transportation for expanding highways and roadways to alleviate congestion for people in cars, with minimal dollars available for maintenance of roads destroyed by cars.
While we are on the subject of cars, surface parking lots — which I realize are not in the public right-of-way — and on-street parking are some of the biggest wastes of space. Parking lots are generally large seas of asphalt that contribute to stormwater runoff and the heat island effect, and they are almost always empty. The pandemic showed us that on-street parking spaces provided more economic benefit as outdoor restaurant seating than as all-day storage for cars.
Not to oversimplify the problems of transportation, but all roads lead back to cars, no pun intended.
Before the introduction of the motor vehicle, most downtowns in the United States were thriving metropolises because people lived, worked, and played downtown. Even cities that today we say are car-centric, such as Los Angeles and Detroit, were designed around moving people efficiently. As a matter of fact, in the 1920s, Los Angeles had one of the most robust streetcar networks. If you examine historical photos of downtowns, you will see horse-drawn buggies, dense streetcar networks, and wide sidewalks. More importantly, you will see people. Today, some downtowns die around six o’clock in the evening as commuters make their escape to the suburbs.
The urban renewal of the 1950s through 1960s was probably one of the most destructive times in the history of American cities. Entire neighborhoods, including vibrant downtowns, were leveled to create something “new.” Our predecessors designed and built a car-centric transportation system. The car, the status symbol, could carry you to your new suburban home. Well, if you were white. To accommodate the traffic, neighborhoods, mostly Black, low income, or both, were bulldozed by federal, state, and local governments to build wide roads.
Designing around the car has been detrimental to people and the environment. Roads that once had wide sidewalks are today hostile to people walking, in order to accommodate more cars. These same roads often lack sidewalks and curb ramps that would make them accessible for people using a wheelchair or pushing a stroller. How we built the environment is why transportation systems are one of the social determinants of health. For example, a lack of sidewalks is a barrier to active transportation, which researchers have linked to childhood obesity. Back in the day, children walked to school, playgrounds, and other destinations, like libraries, because there was little risk of being struck by a car. The inverse is also true. If people use motor vehicles less, it can Boost health outcomes.
Most engineers first encounter the term “level of service” (LOS) in the junior year of their undergraduate program. Planners may or may not hear about it until graduate school. People in policy, politics, and journalism understand it insofar as a grade of A is good and F is bad.
LOS at its most basic is a measure of the volume of vehicles on a roadway versus the capacity of the roadway. When the volume exceeds the capacity, the vehicles are stuck in gridlock. It gets a grade of F, meaning it fails, and someone stuck in that gridlock is sending their elected official an angry email or posting on social media. When the volume is significantly below the capacity, people can drive unimpeded. This gets a grade of A, which is misinterpreted to mean it is what we should achieve. When people can drive unimpeded, what do they do? They speed.
Basically, the LOS grading system is a clear way to communicate but has the unintended side effect of making it seem that the whole goal is to achieve an A for this one metric. Decision-makers get it in their mind that any traffic flow that gets worse is unacceptable, even if it means adding a bus-only lane or a protected bicycle lane, which can move more people. And a lot of negative side effects come with seeing road expansion as your only option to reduce congestion.
Our predecessors designed roads for the worst six or so hours of the day — and the business as usual approach continues this practice even now. During the other 18 or so hours, however, the roads have excess capacity, which leads to people speeding, which in turn leads to a high number of crashes. It is dangerous, and wasteful, similar to how big-box retailers build surface parking lots for Black Friday shopping, and for the rest of the year these lots are virtually empty.
This A–F approach leaves transportation planners and engineers with two options: decrease the volume of vehicles, or increase the capacity of the roadway
For decades, the solution to congestion has been to add more lanes to the roadway, which increases capacity and allows a higher volume of cars to move. The outcome is wide highways and roads that are dangerous from safety and public health perspectives. Some state departments of transportation have repurposed general travel lanes for high-occupancy (HOV) lanes, high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes, and managed lanes. The goals of these are to encourage people to carpool to reduce the number of cars on the highway, which is a good thing.
However, even with HOV lanes, toll lanes, and congestion pricing, which allows the toll price to fluctuate with traffic, and as we have become more enlightened regarding other modes of transportation that move more people efficiently, the state departments of transportation are spending billions nationwide to widen roadways. For example, the State of Louisiana is proposing to invest $1.1 billion to widen the same Interstate 10 that destroyed my family’s neighborhood in Baton Rouge. In February 2021, through the environmental review process established by the National Environmental Policy Act, the state received a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) despite the need to acquire 27 residential and five commercial structures, of which 64% are in environmental justice communities, defined as communities made up mostly of people of color and low income. Depending on your point of view, you may or may not agree with the assessment that acquiring 27 residential properties is not significant.
However, how much should a community have to endure? Especially when the $1.1 billion could have gone toward $15 billion in deferred maintenance. For nonengineers, this would be equivalent to adding another room to a house while ignoring a leaking roof. They are building more roads even though they have miles of roads that are aging and in need of repair. While federal money has certain restrictions, as a country we continue to fund expansion at the expense of maintenance. My cynical side says that one explanation is that there are no ribbon cuttings and photo opportunities for a newly repaved road.
No, highways and roadways are not racists. Highways are inanimate objects. However, historically, the transportation industry lacked diversity at the decision-making levels. In the 1950s and 1960s, when the highway system was planned, designed, and constructed, racism was embedded in the process.
The invention of the automobile, along with government housing loans for white veterans, eventually led to the creation of suburban housing, creating white flight to those suburbs to achieve the American Dream of a house with a yard and a garage for the car. The sprawling growth of the suburban and exurban areas for living — while people still needed to commute downtown for work — led to the perceived need for more roads.
In those days, the people making decisions regarding highways were white men. Engineers and planners intentionally designed the national highway system to go through Black, Brown, and low-income neighborhoods. There were some attempts to build them through white neighborhoods, but these were often met with resistance from those communities. Putting the highways through Black, Brown, and low-income neighborhoods was the path of least resistance. Not because people in those communities did not care — but because they had the least power. Black people did not have the right to vote until 1965, so technically they were not a political threat.
I will not go too deeply into history that is documented by others, but I do want to make sure one thing is clear. Racism shaped the urban and suburban areas, where even today we see the residual effects. For the United States, this period was during the Jim Crow era and the beginnings of the civil rights movement. In the land use context, restrictions were imposed on who could live in what community via deed restrictions, protective covenants, redlining, and, more subtly, marketing by real estate agents. Deed restrictions were explicit to Black people and others deemed non-white, which during that time included people who were Irish, Italian, and Jewish. (Even though these restrictions are not legally enforceable, they still show up on deeds.)
In transportation, this shows up in disproportionate impacts on communities today. Across the United States, Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities are overrepresented in pedestrian fatalities, asthma, heart disease, and obesity. There are plenty of “get out and move” campaigns, but how does one get out and move when there are no sidewalks or paths, no trees to provide shade, and no places to sit when one gets tired? Even active transportation falls flat when there are no safe places to bike to grocery stores, jobs, places of worship, and schools, or places to lock your bike once you arrive. Improving health outcomes in many of these communities will require more than encouraging behavioral changes. It will require acknowledging and correcting the systemic racism that has shaped the physical infrastructure.
While the industry has improved since the 1960s, it continues to lack diversity at the decision-making levels in transportation agencies and consultant teams. This means people making the decisions may have never personally lived with the impacts of past harm caused by transportation — and that makes a real difference in how you think about the problem. Without a focused effort to put resources into the areas with the highest needs, those communities will continue to experience higher traffic-related fatalities and poor health outcomes.
It is easy to critique our predecessors because we have the benefit of knowing the outcome, regardless of whether or not it was the intended outcome. However, this point in time is an opportunity to look inward as we chart this new path forward. My challenge to you is to push beyond the minimum standards. The inequities in communities require us to think of solutions with a restorative lens. For the communities overburdened by roadway infrastructure, what would Boost the lives of the people living there?
To get a different outcome, we need a different way of thinking. To address healing the damage done by cars, we need to reframe our thinking from moving vehicles to moving people as well as bring focus to the off-peak times. To address the disparate impacts of historical racism, we need to address the underlying metrics and policies. These are currently barely represented in transportation project planning and implementation. We have work to do.
Copyright © 2023 by Veronica Davis. Reproduced by permission of Island Press, Washington, D.C.
Veronica O. Davis is Director of Transportation & Drainage Operations for Houston, Texas, leading the team responsible for maintaining and improving the infrastructure that spans Houston’s 671 square miles. Veronica has nearly 20 years of experience in engineering and transportation planning. She is an Entrepreneur and Civil Engineer, co-founding Nspiregreen, LLC., which manages Community, Multimodal Transportation, and Environmental planning and consulting. While at Nspiregreen, she led the Vision Zero Action Plans for Washington, DC and the City of Alexandria. She co-founded Black Women Bike, an organization and movement which builds a community and interest in biking among black women through education, advocacy and recreation. Veronica was recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House in 2012 for her professional accomplishments and advocacy.
Professor Emily Hilder, interim head of the ADF’s new $3.4 billion Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator (ASCA), says innovation is key in achieving asymmetric effects.
“Our focus is to bring new and better capabilities to our military and accelerate the development and delivery of the ADF’s capabilities through innovation.”
ASCA’s formation is part of the federal government’s pre-election commitment to establish an advanced strategic research agency, similar to the US’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is part of the US Department of Defense. The US research and development agency is charged with developing emerging military technologies for the nation. ASCA differs from the US agency in that it is an accelerator, rather than a research agency, which is an important distinction.
Hilder says the accelerator’s initial priority is to identify clearly defined problems the ADF needs to solve. “It means when we bring people from industry in to work with ASCA, they know they are working on a problem we really need a solution for, from the start.”
“The key here is linking innovation through to the acquisition [of technologies], through to capability and ultimately through to export opportunities for Australian businesses. It’s a coordinated and centralised approach.”
QuantX is another emerging business in the defence sector that’s already having significant influence on Australia’s capabilities. It has developed a precision clock, known as the Cryoclock that is 10,000 times more precise than other technology. The tech is being applied to Australia’s over the horizon radars that monitor the top of Australia for unidentified sea and air threats.
With its partner BAE Systems, QuantX has been commissioned to develop and manufacture the Cryoclock technology as part of the upgrade of the Jindalee Over the Horizon Radar, allowing the radar network to see smaller objects with higher clarity.
“The Cryoclock is world-leading technology being installed onto Australia’s surveillance system, which is already envied by the world,” says executive director and general manager Martin O’Connor.
The Cryoclock technology has recently reached product design acceptance, which has been the result of four years of development.
QuantX Labs is also developing new quantum clock technology to be launched into space to provide navigation and timing signals as an alternative to GPS technology.
Turning to new technologies with the potential to be used in the field, ecoJet Engineering is developing micro turbines for power generation. Its devices provide up to 27 kilowatts of continuous electrical power.
“There’s more and more demand for reliable electricity in the field. What we make complements or replaces existing diesel generators, but is quieter and more efficient. They are also fuel flexible, so they can run on diesel, petrol, kerosene or even hydrogen. You can also use multiple units to build a scalable grid in a matter of minutes,” says director of engineering and products, James Kim.
It’s still early days for the business, but the devices are designed to be used as a versatile power generation solution in the army and broader ADF.
Local emerging defence tech firms are also engaging with defence forces around the world. AeroATLAS, for example, has technology that calculates an aircraft’s weight and centre of gravity, to support the ongoing stability and safety of a flight.
“In civil aviation, this is integrated into airport checking systems and teams of ground handlers provide that information to the pilot,” says Gennaro DeMarco, aerospace engineer at defence professional services firm Ascent and the brains behind AeroATLAS.
Conversely, in military aviation, pre-flight tasks and calculations are done on portable electronic devices, which is a complicated, time-consuming and hazardous process.
“Planes are taking on fuel mid-flight and dropping weapons. Plus crew are moving up and down the airframe and people are jumping off the back of the plane. So weight and balance considerations become a lot more complicated,” says DeMarco.
Simply adapting civilian tools to a military context isn’t always the best solution, because they can’t account for what happens on military planes without costly modifications to the civilian software.
AeroATLAS’s technology is understood to be a first-of-its-kind technology. Ascent is in discussions to sell it to the US and Italian defence forces, among others.
Interoperability is the challenge at the moment – how to make the tech defence-force agnostic. So no matter which plane or military uses it, it will work as soon as it’s switched on.
It’s likely more up-and-coming local defence businesses will emerge as the DSR’s recommendations are put in place.