In Part One, we took a look at one of the major challenges of today’s reigning approach to designing Smart Cities: That the discussion and development veers towards surface level technology opportunities, rather than deeper, more systemic urban challenges, like the social determinants of health (SDOH). When left under-addressed, SDOH reinforce the so-called “urban health penalty,” which winds up costing us more in the short term, and reinforcing the intergenerational inequities that undermine our collective prosperity over time.
hile Amazon and Apple have captured most of the public interest in the “big tech company enters healthcare” race this year, perhaps the more important development of the year happened without nearly as much fanfare. Sidewalk Labs, the urban innovation arm of Alphabet (aka Google) quietly spun its healthcare project into a new startup called CityBlock.
CityBlock aspires to be a socially integrated direct primary care-style model for underserved urban Medicaid populations, starting in New York City. At the simplest level, they’re betting they can build a partnership-enabled, utility-style approach to care delivery that will break even.