Unlike most areas of the country, Washington D.C. is experiencing a booming economy due to the massive growth of government, which is enriching a well-connected portion of the District’s employees. As cited by Gene Healy in his Washington Examiner article, Take Me Down to the Parasite City:
According to a Bloomberg report this is due in part to “massive defense contracts, ‘federal employees whose compensation averages more than $126,000,’ and ‘the nation’s greatest concentration of lawyers,’ with ‘record-high lobbying expenditures.'”
As a result the city is set to get a $1.5 billion luxury facelift:
An upscale 50,000-square-foot grocery store is on the way.
Next up is a project called the Wharf, slated for 27 acres east of the 14th Street Bridge along Maine Avenue SW and Water Street near the Fish Market. Groundbreaking for the first phase is planned for spring; the ultimate aim is millions of square feet of buildings, 20 restaurants, three hotels, 500 boat slips, a concert hall and festival grounds. (Source)
While New York City has become famous as the test site of a militarized total surveillance city known as The Ring of Steel, Washington D.C. offers a prelude to the next level by announcing that police commanders will be part of designing architecture with a goal that crime reduction and behavior management is built into the very fabric of the construction itself.
As the Washington Post points out, police recommendations to developers are nothing new, and many builders rightly incorporate security designs — bright exterior lighting, for example. However, this is the first open joint effort between developers and police where it is being discussed from the outset “that the way things are built can influence the behaviors of criminals and potential victims, much as speed bumps can slow cars.” (Nice analogy: cars = humans; and presumably social engineers are the speed bumps that keep us under control.)
Curiously, few specific details of the project are given in the Post article, and most of them that are given seem rather innocuous, as they focus on what most people would believe to be strictly common sense measures: wider sidewalks, door designs for optimal traffic flow, etc. But a discussion between developer Monty Hoffman and D.C. Police Commander Daniel P. Hickson toward the end of the article reveals the input that police are giving, as well as the direction that policing is headed in general:
And Hickson urged Hoffman to study Gallery Place — not for its public safety defects, such as the sidewalks, but for its internal security procedures and extensive network of surveillance cameras, which he said were effective.
The idea, Hickson explained, is to devise ways to police an area that go beyond simply sending more officers in.
‘It’s not all crime numbers,’ he said. ‘It’s us trying to look at what’s happening in neighborhoods, and that may influence what we do and how we do it . . . Policing has evolved, like any business, and we’ve realized that we can be predictive rather than totally reactionary.’ (emphasis added)
While the article doesn’t allude to the exact security matrix that will be employed for the D.C. project(s), this language echoes Mayor Bloomberg’s announced cooperation with Microsoft to implement pre-crime software for detecting potential criminal or terrorist acts by utilizing smart cameras and license plate readers. There is also mention of the ability to “identify whether a radiation alarm was set off by actual radiation, a weapon, or a harmless medical isotope.” That indicates that the placement of sensors is also likely.
We know from military field testing with programs such as SensorNet, spearheaded by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, that research has been conducted to fully integrate sensors and computing into one overall Internet-like matrix of real-time detection and surveillance. The Department of Defense has a projected budget into the billions being allocated over the long term.
Oak Ridge announced in 2004 plans to use Tennessee as a test bed, and in 2006 stated that Fort Bragg military base would be turned into a prototype for America’s future cities with comprehensive systems including nanotechnology “to integrate safety and security measures . . . into the transportation system,” which includes concerns surrounding transportation and commerce in the “political, economic, or environmental” arenas. (Source)
IntelliStreets, which even the Huffington Post calls A Digital Scaffolding For ‘Smart Cities’ has gone live in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Huffington Post contributor, W. David Stephenson, downplays the surveillance and data collection applications, while he highlights the standard propaganda of energy savings and disaster detection and prevention that we hear from all Agenda 21-linked programs such as The National Nanotechnology Initiative. 25 Federal agencies are signed on to cooperate toward full-scale management of health, safety, and the environment.
I would find it very unlikely that a massive development project like the Wharf, within the stronghold of government employees, agents, military defense contractors and power brokers would not consider implementing all of the tech goodies that have been funded in comprehensive plans such as the ITS Strategic Research Plan 2010-2014. And the Wharf is merely one of five major projects slated for the coming few years.
If Farmington Hills, Michigan has intelligent street lights that were “’born in the parks of Disney and Universal,’ where ‘imagineers’ sought better ways to guide huge crowds of happy people — and to keep them safe if anything dangerous happened'” (source), imagine what is likely to be implemented on the streets of an upscale section of Washington, D.C.
The announcement that police are looking to openly collaborate on behavioral architecture should at least make us wonder how much longer before we see the implementation of the full spectrum of military sci-tech that is no longer content to modify existing cities, but will be built from the ground up in a comprehensive matrix of urban centers under complete surveillance and central management.
For full details about what can be expected, and the tech corporations involved, please see the “Smartworld” series by Julie Beal HERE.
Main source for this article:
MIT’s work on “smart city” concepts: http://cities.media.mit.edu/research/overview
IBM’s vision: http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/smarter_cities/overview/index.html
IBM’s work on “predictive policing” http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/public_safety/ideas/index.html
Top 10 Smart Cities on their way to full implementation: http://www.fastcoexist.com/1679127/the-top-10-smart-cities-on-the-planet
Smart Cities Industry Summit September 22-25, 2012: http://smartcitiesindustrysummit.com
Microsoft’s post about its Domain Awareness System: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/Press/2012/Aug12/08-08NYPDPR.aspx
Read other articles by Nicholas West HERE.