Blueprint Columbus: Near South - Morrill / Ann Area

The City of Columbus has a complex sewer system made up of three types of sewers:

  • Combined Sewers - these carry both sewage and rain water to treatment plants, where both are treated then released into a river

  • Separate Sewers - these are separated sanitary (for sewage) and storm sewers

  • Storm Sewers - located on curbs or in drainage ditches, these sewers empty rain water (and anything carried with it) directly back into rivers.

Many cities, including Columbus, are experiencing issues with their combined and separated sanitary sewer systems, because they are often overloaded during heavy rain events. This causes combined sewers to overflow into rivers (see image below), which causes public health and ecological problems.

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Growth and Infrastructure in Columbus

Columbus, Ohio is well known for its college football team, the Ohio State Buckeyes, but also holds many other titles and accolades. Recently the SmartAsset report ranked Columbus as the 2nd best city for new college graduates due to its jobs, cost of living, entertainment and dining options. The report also noted that approximately 20% of people living in Columbus are in their 20s making it desirable for recent graduates and deemed it an “Indie Art City”. Among this praise, Forbes also named it the 11th best place (in the US) for businesses and careers. Other honors and awards the city has gotten over the year include the: Intelligent Community of the Year in 2015, US Department of Transportation Smart City Challenge winner, one of the best zoos in the US, the 2010 Library of the Year Award, Best Science Center, and many more.

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How Do Smart Cities Use Data and Technology?

How many apps do you have on your phone? How often do you check them? Would you ever think of using an app to improve public utilities? Smart Cities are!  

In Amsterdam the app Mobypark lets you rent out your parking space, which generates data about parking demand and traffic flow. Additionally, this cuts down on the time that cars are idling while looking for a parking space, which takes an average of 20 minutes, so apps like these can help reduce CO2 emissions. With increased data collection and smart traffic monitoring, the city can also provide information about traffic and best routes to take – which reduces travel time for individuals and car emissions. Other functions of apps include Street Bump in Boston which alerts the city if you hit a pothole.

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What are Smart Cities?

Infrastructure, often intimately connected with civil engineering, provides the backbone and structure that serves various spaces, such as cities or countries. It provides roads and sidewalks for transportation, a water supply for people to drink, sewers to deal with waste, and much more. In the past, infrastructure design and construction has been reactive. It was a response to an event, like a natural disaster, or a local issue such as flooding or fires. Now we are looking for infrastructure to be proactive and work to solve multiple problems with dynamic solutions, like Smart Cities.

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