BGC and McKinley Hill, as the most modern places in the Philippines, have the potential to be great in terms of becoming pioneering communities that adopt inventions that address major urban ills. For now, the list of inventions shown below is just a dream list, but if enough people want them hard enough, maybe they can become a reality.
TreeWifi for reducing air pollution
TreeWiFi is a device conceptualized by a non profit organization. Each unit houses a nitrogen-dioxide sensor that allows the device manager to get accurate insights on air pollution. A series of LEDs light up green to indicate clean air. If it’s clean, TreeWiFi will offer you free internet. When polluted air is detected the birdhouse will turn red. While production date of this device is unknown, this is an exciting idea, as it introduces a reward system for people to pay attention to air quality.
When a problem can be quantified and visualized, it becomes more urgent. Something will then be more likely done, such as reducing fossil fuel usage in buildings and vehicles.
Soapstand for reducing waste from packaging
Soapstand is a startup that makes vending machines for products that are frequently consumed, such as detergents, shampoo, hand wash liquid. A lot of trash that a city has to deal with comes from consumer products' packaging. Reducing the packaging of frequently used products will be a great way to reduce trash, which is known to cause sea and earth pollution that harms human beings and animals.
Before we get a Soapstand in BGC, maybe we should buy from shops like Ritual in Makati, which refills household cleaning agents as well as coffee, rice, tea and other products.
Last mile mobility sharing scheme
Photo above: Source: www.stuff.co.nz. Over a quarter of Christchurch's population have used Lime scooters since they were introduced on a trial basis in October 2018
Getting in and out of BGC is a pain. Some people just wanted to go to Makati city center, or an MRT station along EDSA, yet the traffic at rush hour is so bad that people have to wait for an hour or more just to get to EDSA.
Lime, Bird, now Uber, Lyft are already providing e-scooter sharing services in major cities in USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. We just need someone to bring it to the Fort, but adjust it to fit the circumstances here. For example, it would not be smart to allow users to leave the escooter at any place they like. Even though the scooter can be tracked by GPS, it can be stolen for selling as scrap or as conventional kick scooters by those who cannot afford such toys.
If you want to know how kickscooter morphed from a kid's toy to mobility device for all ages, read this. To read about how a shared escooter scheme is implemented in New Zealand and local authorities regulate its use, read this.
Urban Veggie Farms
Oh how we wish that there were a network of rooftop farms in the Fort from which residents can buy fresh veggies, and an app or website that shows the availability of veggies in real time, to allow us to order them easily. But while urban farms have been around for a while, making it financially sustainable is still a challenge, unless some novel ways are used to reduce costs. Suggestions have been made to use organic waste from buildings to make compost and fertilizers, and collect rain water for irrigation to cut the bills.
The local government of Taguig operates an “integrated urban farm” which sells organic produce as well as serves as an agricultural learning center located along the shores of Laguna de Bay in Barangay Lower Bicutan.
The first two urban farms in the city were opened at Tipas Elementary School in October 2014 and at Eusebio C. Santos Elementary School in August 2017.
While these efforts are worth lauding, these farms still require a large land space per veggie, so to speak, something that is hard to come by in the city.
A BGC based startup, called Urban Greens, is selling a tower garden system that allows cultivation on hydroponics in a condo setting. That is another way to help us eat healthy at home.
Effective city-wide communication system
Don't you wish there is an easy way:
For residents to report a problem or incident to the authorities; and
For authorities to broadcast an announcement in emergency situations?
A technology company in India has built an app for local governments to streamline the entire process of reporting, inspecting and managing tasks, and enabling citizens to report non-emergency issues without any hassle. The Pakistan government also has a portal for citizens to submit their complaints: "Pakistan Citizen Portal is an integrated citizens grievance redressal system connecting all government organizations both at federal and provincial levels. The system will serve as carrier of complaints to their respective offices across all over Pakistan. Eventually, the citizen feedback will be linked to an officer’s performance and promotion."
The technological aspect of this app is actually simple. We at iOpenhub Incorporated can design and develop an app like this one in a few months. Our app can even help authorities manage complaints better by building a framework needed for the authorities to prioritize tasks or decide on the appropriate response.
The difficulty is to manage the expectation of the citizens, since the app itself cannot take action for the authorities, while some people may expect their problems solved by a click of a button. Getting the authorities to embrace this kind of app is the second key to its success. It can help them perform better for the citizens, but it will involve some expenses and staff time.
Do you also want to have these inventions in BGC and McKinley Hill? Let us know.