Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent
August, 11th 2009

The race to host the Olympics is shaping up to be a race to the smartest city. In order to catch the eye of the Olympic committee cities have to become smarter – more efficient, greener and more sustainable. This series explores different initiatives proposed by various cities vying for the 2016 Olympic bid. Be sure to look for upcoming posts on Tokyo, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro.

As one of the cities bidding for this honor, Chicago has unveiled its Blue-Green Games concept. This idea is based around five themes for improvement, which include water management, clean energy, recycling, greenspace and sustainability. The goal is to create conditions that allow the athletes to compete at the highest levels while reducing the carbon footprint the Games would leave on the city.



If the 2016 Olympic games do come to Chicago, there will be a great demand for energy. To help support the goal of producing reusable, clean energy, a modular tile flooring system will be implemented. A unique sub-floor system will use blocks that depress and slip when stepped on. The moving blocks create electricity to power a variety of lights, machinery and signage. This floor system will be used in high-volume areas, such as the sporting venues and transportation hubs. The goal is to have all electricity for the Games operations come from renewable-energy sources.

Another goal is to ensure that wildlife is not negatively impacted by the games. For the Olympic tennis venue, the existing parking lot would be located further away from the Jarvis Bird Sanctuary, so the disruption to the birds is minimal. Also, many new green spaces would be established, ranging from rooftop gardens to parks to urban community gardens.

Facilities such as stadiums will be needed to house the games, and that


requires creating seats. Rather than build seating that will be thrown out after the event, temporary seating will be converted into wheelchairs. These will be donated to individuals in need in developing countries. This will reduce waste and allow thousands of wheelchairs to be donated. The Blue-Green Games initiative would not only make Chicago green and sustainable, but also a socially responsible citizen of the world. It’s a bold plan and if all goes accordingly it should greatly improve the quality of life in the city. Then again without enough backing and contribution the initiative could fall flat on its face.

So hey Chicagoans, what do you think? Will these plans catch the eye of the Olympic committee? Are you from another city that is competing against Chicago for the Olympic bid? Let us know how your city will be smarter than Chicago.

For more information check out the Chicago 2016 website.

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The idea of temporary seating and converting these seats to wheelchairs for donation is a novel and noble idea. Yes, why not? I am sure the Olympic committee will find this awesome. May the future Olympic be hosted in Chicago!

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Posted by: panna
August 4, 2010
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As one of the cities bidding for this honor, Chicago has unveiled its Blue-Green Games concept.

Posted by: San Diego Roofing
August 24, 2009
1:57 am

I like the idea of piezoelectric floor tiles. I would concentrate them to locations that are natural bottlenecks – cafeteria waiting lines, outside restroom entrance, both sides of entry and exits, etc.

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Posted by: Benjamin Taheny
August 14, 2009
10:18 am

I think there’s some irony there in BK using piezo systems to conserve energy while wait in line to consume 2,000 calorie meals.

Posted by: Adam Christensen
August 13, 2009
7:50 am

I have no data on it either. Long term people will instinctively eat more food if they’re handling more effort but I don’t know about short term correlation between increased effort and food consumption.

I believe BK is using piezoelectric systems in parking spaces in some fast food restaurants. They’re used to power the drive through systems and lighting.

Posted by: Zee
August 12, 2009
11:18 pm

Zee – interesting points. The electricity-generating walking tiles seems a bit gimmicky, but innovative nonetheless. I wonder how much electricity they expect to actually generate? Are you aware of these piezoelectricity systems being used in public spaces? (it would be a total trip to build a dance floor with these tiles)

About how exerting a little more human energy = more food. Perhaps, though I don’t know that it’s a linear correlation . Say a someone is walking from point a to point b and has to exert a little more energy doing it. If they are going to eat anyhow, does that necessarily mean they’ll order a second sandwich? Maybe some people will buy another snack or supersize their fries, but most will probably eat the same amount, no? So maybe it will mean a few more burned calories?

I have no data or experience with it, so I’m just thinking out loud…

Posted by: Adam Christensen
August 12, 2009
12:09 pm

This is anything but green. This makes walking harder (only a bit but it adds up) and in turn causes people to eat more food. More food=waaaaay more carbon footprint than just generating it. I love the irony that going to the olympics is exercise in itself but the implementantion isn’t green at all.

If you want to implement piezo recovering systems like these then use them for speedbumps or other stuff that’s meant to shed excess kinetic energy.

Posted by: Zee
August 11, 2009
5:56 pm

I totally agree…we love the Olympics, but wild-life and our nature needs to be preserved and not overtaken by our love for sports…keep nature alive and well, Please, our life dependes on it…

Posted by: henry young
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August 19, 2009
2:53 pm

[...] bid. Be sure to look for upcoming posts on Madrid and Rio de Janeiro. Be sure to check out Part 1: Chicago’s Blue and Green Games. Source: [...]

Posted by: Smarter Cities and the Olympics, Part 2: Big Change is coming to Tokyo | A Smarter Planet
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