Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Future Cities Are Smart Cities

In the midst of rapid technological innovation, our cities are becoming “smarter.” We may have passed the first part of the digital revolution, but the fact stands that technology is now an inseparable part of our lives. Smart cities around the globe are adopting new digitally based infrastructure and introducing new services in this arena to maintain global competitiveness.

Recognizing this trend, the European Union has founded the European Commission for Smart Cities and Communities. Realizing that cities are key to future sustainable development, the commission seeks to address crisis-era problems of an aging population, unemployment, and the ailing commercial-industrial sector. Milan is one such example, maintaining an active website dedicated to tracking public hearings, progress, and resources regarding the initiative.


The main objective of the smart city is to promote an ICT (Information & Communications Technology) led development in several key areas including economy, mobility, environment, and quality of life. Programs involve funding for hi-tech startups, hybrid and environmentally friendly transportation, smart grid implementation and energy efficiency, as well as improved educational and health systems.

ICT education is also an important part of this development. Pablo Chillon defined the term digizens, educated digital citizens who are both comfortable and capable of effectively using these resources. Because the public is at the heart of this endeavor, participation is imperative for success. These proposals give us the opportunity to create an inclusive economy that combats spatial exclusion, provides sustainable housing solutions, and reinvigorates urban cores.


Cities should ideally implement a systemic digital plan into their long range vision; this strategy can be a useful method for promoting the participatory process that is essential in finding community consensus. This also has potential to influence new models of urban planning, which will undoubtedly change in regard to future communication and interaction patterns.

What policies or actions do you think are necessary for your smart city?

Credits: Photographs by Maxwell Vidaver. Data linked to sources.