September 09 2011

How Cities are Getting “Smart”

“Smart” is a Cyber Buzz Word

Hawking & Einstein would have trouble keeping up with this term’s branding umbrella. “Smart” is a swirling universe of interlocking cyberstrings: system, network, knowledge, power, self-regulation, transparency, efficiency, sustainability, individuality, comprehensiveness, inclusivity. Smart cities draw on all of these.

“Smart” is Open

The cat is out of the bag – never again will local governments hand down decisions like tablets brought down from the mountain. Web access has forever changed the parameters of citizen participation and the character of community governance.

Access to the process of governing is exploding onto the e-waves as cities around the world make information available online. Chicago is one example of a city using social media to expand government access.

And where governments do not open willingly, the people are forcing the door. The  Arab Spring is a radical example of electronic resources facilitating stakeholder participation. The E-volution is a revolution as big as the printing press.

“Smart” is Value-Driven

Whether it’s municipal, corporate, or  non-profit , “smartness” reflects the users’ values.

•  The National Resource Defense Council’s Smart Cities project is a multimedia web initiative aimed at helping cities become  ”‘smarter’ – more efficient, sustainable, equitable and livable;”

•  In its Smarter Cities initiative, IBM offers to use its business goals (to sell systems) for the benefit of a citizen-centric ”evolution to e-government ;”

•  Corporations such as Smart City and Smart Villages Company are marketing business-park urban development: intelligent infrastructure facilitating a hassle-free business experience.

“Smart” is Efficient

Smart grids network services for efficiency. Smart City Amsterdam is a web portal that coordinates information on sustainable living, working, and spaces.

When is Smart Too Smart?

The paradox of smart technologies is that by opening systems and networks – government, business, social, or otherwise – to a new magnitude of individual participation, it also subjects them to unilateral control. What makes smart networks efficient also makes them more susceptible to natural disaster and sabotage.

Remember HAL and VIKI?  Do you think we are headed that way?

This entry was posted on Friday, September 9th, 2011 at 8:26 am and is filed under Content, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


Leave a Reply

+ six = 12


Follow US