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Since Cambridge, MA is the home of MIT, the city serves as a test bed for many new technologies, for good or ill.  As Cambridge is also a famously active political and environmental community, the citizens also start their own initiatives.  Here are some of the projects that I know of, an incomplete list I am sure:

solar map of every roof in the city -

thermal scans of every building -
Another complete thermal scanning of all the buildings in Cambridge was done by MIT’s Sanjay Sarma

energy analysis of many of the city’s buildings by GreenAnalytix -
"Minimal Input Data:  Our algorithms require just three easily obtained inputs: GIS, climate, and monthly utility bill data.
"Cloud-Based Energy Modeling:  Our cloud-based platform can perform thermal efficiency simulations for millions of buildings in just a few hours.
"Targeting and Scenario Planning:  We provide recommendations of buildings to prioritize and which upgrade options are most cost-effective.”

upcoming inventory of all natural gas leaks in Cambridge and Somerville - you can learn more and contribute to this project at

extensive online air quality monitoring of MIT’s campus -

mapping of street greenery, bike accidents, and coffee shops - Media Lab “You Are Here” project
This project has mapped 11 other cities (NYC has the most different data sets)

Originally posted to gmoke on Sun May 11, 2014 at 11:34 AM PDT.

Also republished by The KETI Program.


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Comment Preferences

  •  One place I'd love to see a thermal image of... (7+ / 0-) the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology on a cold night.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Sun May 11, 2014 at 11:42:24 AM PDT

  •  keep on trucking, gmoke. (6+ / 0-)

    I used to live in Cambridge.  I remember buying one of those funny maps at the MIT bookstore which depicted  it as the center of the world. It shows, the Ice Cream place, Central Sq., The Charles River etc, Harvard Sq in the center,  and some things up to the 128 beltway then thing  started to recede on the distant horizon.

    Just past the 128 beltway, a little sliver of California included Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Stanford, the Golden Gate bridge and San Francisco, the Pacific Ocean  and then Japan and China, and England.

    This was meant to be a humorous self-deprecating admission of a certain excess amount of self-centeredness and "self-confidence" that some felt may have bordered on arrogance by some on the campus.

    And, I have to admit, living halfway between Harvard and MIT, often I did feel as if I might have been the only person in Cambridge who was "normal" and not tinged by a fair amount  of narcissism. (humor alert.)      

    Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

    by HoundDog on Sun May 11, 2014 at 11:53:24 AM PDT

    •  Cambridge self-importance turned me into a (4+ / 0-)

      very lazy liberal. When I first moved there from the midwest in 1995, I remember thinking how ludicrous that self-importance was. I thought, 'Cambridge is a nice place but these people need to get a grip on reality. It's not the center of the universe.' But when I moved to Minneapolis 15 years later, I realized that, at some point during my time in Cambridge, I had bought into it. I had stopped being active in politics and causes because I guess I had come to believe that living in Cambridge was sufficient to make me a good liberal. I like Cambridge a lot. It's a great place to live. But it's not the center of the universe.

      Since moving to Minneapolis, I have been very inspired by Keith Ellison's energy and activism. He has reawakened the liberal in me.

      •  What? Cambridge not the center of the universe? (4+ / 0-)

        I don't follow you Anita what are you trying to say?


        Just teasing. (Humor alert, humor alert!)

        I agree with you, ergo the whole real point of my comment, story, and self-deprecating joke. It is self-inflated pomposity, but it is a common thing there that seems to catch nearly everyone up in a self-propagating wave.

        Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

        by HoundDog on Sun May 11, 2014 at 01:20:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Re: Cambridge Self-Importance (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        oldpotsmuggler, AnitaMaria

        Yeah, Cambridge is a swamp and prone to think it is the Hub of the Universe (although that's actually Boston, which looks down on the city across the Charles).  Cambridge is also very much like Berkeley and many other college towns across the country.

        The things happening here are also happening in other towns, college or otherwise.  The concentration of experimental activity, though, is amped up by the concentration of academic institutions around.  There are close to 70 in the greater Boston area.

        I publish a weekly that looks at the Energy (and Other) Events  around town at

        This is something that other cities and towns could and are doing that amplifies the information and can build local networks.

  •  Cambridge is such a cool city. (5+ / 0-)

    Both my mother and my eldest nephew are native Cantabridgians, and proud of it!


    by commonmass on Sun May 11, 2014 at 12:50:19 PM PDT

  •  Wow, that is way cool, gmoke, thanks! I didn't (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gmoke, oldpotsmuggler

    have time to explore all the links, but these projects seem like an approach that could and should be adopted for all major urban areas.  Is such a thing happening or in the works?  I suspect not or we would have heard someone trumpeting it already.  I would think that there would be some Federal Agency that would be interested in scaling this up nationwide in some comprehensive fashion.  Very low-hanging fruit there that would provide big bangs for the bucks spent.  Actually i'm kind of surprised that such an initiative hasn't been done already, now that i ponder it.  Seems like a no-brainer to me.

    Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

    by lehman scott on Sun May 11, 2014 at 02:42:56 PM PDT

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