This week, I started a new six-week Future Learn course on Smart Cities. It focuses on developing infrastructure, technologies and projects that make cities better connected and future-proofed in a fast-changing world. I think I’ve made my thoughts on futuristic utopias pretty clear in the past (I love them) and I’m also interested in community projects, also it sounded interesting. I’ve written up a few notes and thoughts so far.
Smart city Week One Notes
‘Smart cities’ is a term used to describe the use of smart technologies and data as the means to solve cities’ sustainability challenges.
There are many ways of implementing this, obviously many cities need to build this into their existing ways of operating, but in some parts in the world esp Asia and the Middle East, entirely new cities are being built with smart technology incorporated at the start.
Smart technology in cities can be spread in two ways, basically from the top via local/government authority, or from the bottom through citizens developing apps, networks etc. at a grassroots level to solve issues and connect.
On the very basic level, it seems like the top down governing model would work well for new cities, where it can be easily integrated into every level of infrastructure, and the grassroots level would be better suited to established cities, where local people can identity and work together to solve existing problems. However, this is a massive generalisation and wouldn’t apply to everywhere – it could be argued, for example, that having grassroots smart networks in a new city would encourage better community links.
The central part of smart cities is data, which can be used to build technologies and solutions. However I would also argue that a central part is the city’s connections and how connected it is. Without those connections, data can’t be shared and assimilated for everyone, also for those who have better technology.