(I was recently asked to give evidence to the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development during the development of their report on Smart Cities and Infrastructure. This article is based on my presentation, which you can find here).
The goal of a Smart City is to invest in technology in order to create economic, social and environmental improvements. That is an economic and political challenge, not a technology trend; and it is an imperative challenge because of the nature and extent of the risks we face as a society today. Whilst the demands created by urbanisation and growth in the global population threaten to outstrip the resources available to us, those resources are under threat from man-made climate change; and we live in a world in which many think that access to resources is becoming dangerously unfair.
Phi Beta Iota: Rick Robinson is one a several deep thinkers (not to be confused with beltway think tank pundits) we follow. Along with Melissa Sterry (Bionic City) and Robert Steele (holistic analytics, true cost economics, open source everything engineering), he has isolated the three elements of a Smart City: smart infrastructure, smart citizens, and smart production. The latter is the short term for Robert Steele’s triad seeking to eliminate the 50% in documented waste across all domains, while creating cities that live up to Buckminster Fuller’s use of the word “ephemeralism” (doing more with less).