“In 2009, for the first time in history, the earth’s population of urban inhabitants overtook its rural population. Between 2011 and 2050, world population is expected to increase by 2.3 billion, passing from 7.0 billion to 9.3 billion (United Nations, 2011). Population growth is also becoming largely an urban phenomenon with cities projected to gain 2.6 billion inhabitants, passing from 3.6 billion in 2011 to 6.3 billion 2050, concentrated in the developing world. Asia and Africa are expected to make up 80% of this urban growth, with Asian urban residents projected to increase by 1.4 billion. Cities, although vibrant, exciting, and promising, face a series of challenges that require increasingly sophisticated tools and solutions, especially in a global atmosphere of increased scarcity. Indeed, it is becoming difficult for City administrations to provide even the most basic services to a good share of their populations.”
This paragraph, taken from The European Network of Living Labs’ Citizen-Driven Innovation Guidebook, really hammered it home to me just how important the work being done on smart cities really is. There are only finite resources and space for the number of people on the planet, so there will have to be way news of living developed in order to accommodate them. At the moment, much of the work being done isn’t necessarily changing people’s lives right away, but collecting the data and information to figure out what cities need and how those needs can be met.
Manchester has a number of interesting smart city projects already happening, so at the moment I’m trying to think about what might be missing from them and would be a good theoretical project for me to work on for this course. I’m interested in hard-to-reach communities, and how you would monitor which parts of the city might be missed out or sidelined when consulting on projects. I’ve read up on some advice on community outreach, and trying to work out what technologies would work in that situation.