MIT Technocrats Propose Basing Urban Planning and Housing on Social Behavior

Researchers from MIT want to change urban planning and local zoning laws, throwing out rules in favor of a technology-based system that uses algorithms and blockchain, and assigns ‘tokens’ or points for the desired social behavior. They propose a sliding scale for housing, to make neighborhoods “vibrant,” instead of allowing people to live where they choose. [The points system is reliant on invasive data collection and can be used to modify behavior, like China’s social credit score program.]

Zoning codes are a century old, and the lifeblood of all major U.S. cities (except arguably Houston), determining what can be built where and what activities can take place in a neighborhood. Yet as their complexity has risen, academics are increasingly exploring whether their rule-based systems for rationalizing urban space could be replaced with dynamic systems based on blockchains, machine learning algorithms, and spatial data, potentially revolutionizing urban planning and development for the next one hundred years.

These visions of the future were inspired by my recent chats with Kent Larson and John Clippinger, a dynamic urban thinking duo who have made improving cities and urban governance their current career focus. Larson is a principal research scientist at the MIT Media Lab, where he directs the City Science Group, and Clippinger is a visiting researcher at the Human Dynamics Lab (also part of the Media Lab), as well as the founder of non-profit ID3.

One of the toughest challenges facing major U.S. cities is the price of housing, which has skyrocketed over the past few decades, placing incredible strain on the budget of young and old, singles and families alike. The average one-bedroom apartment is $3,400 in San Francisco, and $3,350 in New York City, making these meccas of innovation increasingly out-of-reach of even well-funded startup founders let alone artists or educators.

Housing is not enough to satiate the modern knowledge economy worker though. There is an expectation that any neighborhood is going to have a laundry list of amenities, from nice and cheap restaurants, open spaces, and cultural institutions to critical human services like grocery stores, dry cleaners, and hair salons.

Today, a zoning board would simply try to demand that various developments include the necessary amenities as part of the permitting process, leading to food deserts and the curious soullessness of some urban neighborhoods. In Larson and Clippinger’s world though, rules-based models would be thrown out for “dynamic, self-regulating systems” based around what might agnostically be called tokens.

Every neighborhood is made up of different types of people with different life goals. Larson explained that “We can model these different scenarios of who we want working here, and what kind of amenities we want, then that can be delineated mathematically as algorithms, and the incentives can be dynamic based on real-time data feeds.”

The idea is to first take datasets like mobility times, unit economics, amenities scores, and health outcomes, among many others and feed that into a machine learning model that is trying to maximize local resident happiness. Tokens would then be a currency to provide signals to the market of what things should be added to the community or removed to improve happiness.

A luxury apartment developer might have to pay tokens, particularly if the building didn’t offer any critical amenities, while another developer who converts their property to open space might be completely subsidized by tokens that had been previously paid into the system. “You don’t have to collapse the signals into a single price mechanism,” Clippinger said. Instead, with “feedback loops, you know that there are dynamic ranges you are trying to keep.”

Compare that systems-based approach to the complexity we have today. As architectural and urban planning tastes have changed and developers have discovered loopholes, city councils have updated the codes, and then updated the updates. New York City’s official zoning book is now 4,257 pages long (warning: 83MB PDF file), the point of which is to rationalize what a beautiful, functional city should look like. That complexity has bred a massive influence and lobbying industry as well as startups like Envelope which try to make sense of it all.

A systems-based approach would throw out the rules while still seeking positive end results. Larson and Clippinger want to go one step further though and integrate tokens into everything in a local neighborhood economy, including the acquisition of an apartment itself. In such a model, “you have a participation right,” Clippinger said. So for instance, a local public school teacher or a popular baker might have access to an apartment unit in a neighborhood without paying the same amount as a banker who doesn’t engage as much with neighbors.

Read full article here…




Teacher Sarah Lerner Encouraged Students at Florida Memorial to Go to Anti-Gun Rally

John Cardillo attended the memorial for the Florida shooting victims and said that a teacher, Sarah Lerner, was text messaging students on their personal cell phones, encouraging them to attend an anti-gun rally. He says that some of the students who he spoke with were upset that the event is being politicized and many support the Second Amendment.

Former NY police officer and Rebel Media reporter, John Cardillo attended the Parkland shooting memorial this week.

Cardillo said he witnessed media malpractice from CNN especially; CNN was shoving cameras in people’s faces who were mourning the hardest.

John Cardillo also said a teacher named Sarah Lerner was text messaging students on their personal cell phones encouraging them to attend an anti-gun rally in Coral Springs, FL hosted by ‘Every Town for Gun Safety’, a radical, left-wing organization funded by Michael Bloomberg.

Many students also told Cardillo that they are pro-second amendment, however; the media (CNN) is only focusing on gun control and students who are against the second amendment.

Read full article here…




Feds Ordered to Give Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn ALL Exculpatory Evidence

Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents. The new judge in his case has taken the extraordinary measure of ordering the feds to turn over all exculpatory evidence that can help him before he is sentenced.  This indicates that Judge Sullivan may suspect that Flynn pleaded guilty for some reason other than guilt, such as undue financial burden.

Fox News legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said it’s possible former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is innocent and was forced to plead guilty to lying to federal agents for reasons other than guilt.

“I’ve never heard of this. So Mike Flynn pleads guilty to lying to the FBI in December. The judge before whom he pleads guilty takes himself off the case. Why? Because that judge is also on the FISA court. And he may, he may very well have authorized the wiretap that surveilled Mike Flynn when he was talking to then Ambassador Kislyak, which is the alleged lie that he told the FBI about,” Napaolitano said Tuesday on “Fox & Friends.” “So Mike Flynn pleads guilty. A new judge comes in. It’s time for sentencing. Bob Mueller says we don’t want to sentence him until May. That’s normal.”

“Then the judge on his own, not in response to any application from General Flynn’s lawyers says, ‘By the way, I want all exculpatory evidence, evidence that could help Flynn or hurt the government turned over,’” Napolitano continued. “Why would he we want that after General Flynn has already pleaded guilty? That is unheard of. He must suspect a defect in the guilty plea. Meaning, he must have reason to believe that General Flynn pleaded guilty for some reason other than guilt. Do people plead guilty for a reason other than guilt?”

Napolitano said it’s common for defendants to feel suffocated by the legal and financial restraints of a trial, causing them to make deals with the government to bring the case to a close.
Read full article here…




Columbine School Shooting Survivor Introduces Law to Arm Teachers

Republican Colorado State Representative Patrick Neville, who survived the Columbine gun attack in 1999, is introducing legislation to allow teachers to carry guns in order to thwart school shootings.  He identifies “gun-free zones” as the common denominator in mass shootings.  He has introduced this legislation every year since 2014, and is hoping that this time it will pass.

Columbine attack survivor and Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-45) is a strong proponent of arming teachers for self-defense.

Neville was first elected to office in 2014 and has introduced his bill each year since that time without success. He hopes this year will be different because of the increased attention paid to the defenseless posture of unarmed teachers and staff.

The Washington Times reports Neville’s contention that more Columbine students would have survived the April 20, 1999, Columbine attack if faculty and/or staff had been armed to take out the attackers. And he believes arming teachers now will protect future students from evil men who are planning attacks.

He described his legislation: “This act would allow every law-abiding citizens who holds a concealed carry permit, issued from their chief law-enforcement officer, the right to carry concealed in order to defend themselves and most importantly our children from the worst-case scenarios.”

Read full article here…