A smart city: It’s not just about technology

Diane Wang
Aug 11, 2016 · 6 min read
What a city entails (Source: IBM).
  1. Invent a new process. This comes with the baggage of education and implementation of a new process in a place where the legacy procedure, however decrepit and inefficient, has often become habit.

But first…

Before we get to the inventing, we need to decide what we’re optimising for. What is the ‘success’ of a city measured by? The happiness of its citizens? Its’ economic health? GDP? The average quality of life?

  • Energy
  • Connectivity
  • Population growth and density
  • Social inclusion or access (community)
  • A standard quality of life
Sustainability and environmental footprints are becoming larger concerns for our population.

Smart cities 3.0

Earth Overshoot Day fell on Aug 10 this year, and it’s only been creeping forwards ever since it was first developed. If we look at the chart below, it’s scary how many earths we’d need to keep living the way we do. No wonder that we’ve been heralding the sharing economy and collaborative consumption. On the surface, it seems to allow us to reduce our global footprints, and the general amount of ‘things’ in our lives. For example, the owning of a car, might possibly become a thing of the past.

We’re rapidly depleting the planet’s resources. (Source: Quartz)

Looking forwards

The question is not how we can live in the future, but how we should live. And most importantly, together. Smart city, automation, new technologies, while all good and great for raising living standards, are not always actively addressing important social issues. Even in ancient Greek times, Hippodamus, the first urban planner, also understood that beyond infrastructure planning, a town or city plan should also consider how to clarify social order. Our cities are built for people — they are where we congregate together, work together, play together and live together. What makes the city tick at the end of the day, is its population. And the alternative is a ghost town, without life.

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Diane Wang

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The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things...

Nest Ideas

Insights and musings from the Nest team around the world.