Shaun Abrahamson, Dharmishta Rood, Clara Brenner – Startupfest 2014

Urban chaos, urban utopia: can tech fix the population crunch?

We’re in the middle of a great inversion, where the world’s populations move from rural to urban settings. Society is feeling the crunch, from packed cities around pushing infrastructure to the breaking point. Everything from transportation, to sanitation, to education, to government, is stressed by the influx of people.

Can technology help? As every citizen is armed with a mobile device that’s both sensor and communicator, cities that go digital can make better use of their resources. Startups like Lyft, AirBnB, Venuespot, Uber, and so on are quickly turning a city’s assets into a liquid, shareable resource. Many of them face legislative obstacles, despite the efficiency they introduce. But will tomorrow’s cities continue to frown on such innovations and their urban impact—or will they embrace them? How do startups that improve city living work with their hosts to find customers, partners, and funding?