Blockchain Oracles and The Future of Cities

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The Future Curators of Neighborhoods

What if you could empower your in-real-life community with a digital upvote? Could the future of neighborhoods be curated by the digital action we take within the public spaces we love?

The Steem blockchain highlights digital content and rewards impactful ideas, writing, images, video, and code through a regenerating rewards pool fostered by the blockchain itself. Instead of users tipping other users (like most cryptocurrency networks today) Steemians are able to direct a % of the daily rewards pool simply through the action of an upvote. The more Steem tokens a user is able to accumulate, the more influence they are able to wield across the network.

Instead of social media influencers – what if that model was replaced with physical places? Influencers could become popular parks, plazas, events or event public artwork. This could be a groundbreaking new approach with respect to allocating municipal resources towards public projects, while being fairly integrated with the voice (or upvotes) of the broader public.

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Neighborhood “Oracles”

Oracles could become a protective layer for real neighborhoods around the world, not just digital ones. With the upcoming Smart Media Tokenprotocol, real communities will be able to create their own tokens and possibly even airdrop influence according to geography. Built into the math of the Steem blockchain, these Oracles would be able to lay the groundwork for “rules” (like residency or geospatial data) and liaison the distribution of tokens according to who is actually a “user” within a real life neighborhood. Just as Steem tokens allow influencers to wield influence in their social networks, an SMT token would allow neighborhood leaders to have both a voice and equity in the built fabric surrounding them. Finding ways to distribute tokens to locals could drive more responsible decision-making when it comes to neighborhood preservation, health of public spaces, local programs and development.

How would a network of up-votable spaces and places influence the way you interact with your own neighborhood? Would it challenge you to be more engaged with your community? Perhaps incentivize you to discover new places, uncover lost histories or support more local initiatives?

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A Small Test with a Focus on Big Answers

Last year, Steem Park offered a modest glimpse into what might one day become a new normal. This was a park installation funded 100% through upvotes, generated purely through the attention economy surrounding the park history, story and process of the project. The installation in Brooklyn served as a landmark for a digital community (global) and an asset for a neighborhood in need (local).

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Towards a More Resilient Urban Fabric

So what if each park or plaza in New York City adopted a variation of the same Steem-Powered token? Could a token network powered by Steem help to mediate not just healthy growth and preservation of our cities’ most prized public spaces, but also save them from disaster?

In 2013 (and the years that followed) Superstorm Sandy cost the East Coast approximately $65 billion dollars in damages. New York City accounted for $19 billion of those damages. Some of NYC’s largest parks are along the coast line and represent the first line of defense when it comes to hurricanes and other storms that threaten the city. With Superstorm Sandy much of the parks in low lying and coastal areas were damaged (or totaled) but parks further north or at higher inland elevations remained untouched.

Brooklyn after Superstorm Sandy – source / Map of Park Accessibility – source.

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Using Oracles to Delegate Resources

Another benefit of the Steem blockchain is a featured called delegation.With this feature, Steem holders can actually lend their accumulated influence to others. That same functionality applies for SMTs. In the event of a natural disaster, Oracles (the rule moderators) could determine which evacuation zones were hit the hardest and delegate support from “safe” neighborhoods, to neighborhoods in need.

In this case; what if the Central Park Conservancy (a park that would likely carry the largest number of these tokens) delegated 2-years of support to the Battery Park Conservancy to help them assign resources to aid restoration efforts. The same strategy could go for the smaller parks without conservancies or non-profits to protect them. This smart park network wouldn’t need to wait for the slow and politicized responses of our Federal Government. Resources could be allocated immediately to both prepare and act to restore the park network to normal.

Looking ahead, the chemistry of a blockchain like Steem could be used for much more than online media, but for empowering the real-life fabric of our cities.

Upvote Your Neighborhood in 2020

The physical and digital worlds are overdue for a new stage of interaction. The pairing of cryptocurrency with social media is a catalyst that has an opportunity to bridge the gap between how we live digitally and physically. While there are risks and uncertainties there are also massive opportunities. We are heading towards an exciting future alongside a more collaborative built-environment.

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