Another Smart Cities Perspective

On Tuesday, we posted a blog highlighting TIME Magazine’s series on intelligent cities.  In large part, this series promotes the idea by highlighting examples of its success and potential.  This post, found on the Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy blog, questions the movement highlighted by TIME and the National Building Museum’s Intelligent Cities Forum, suggesting that it’s merely a re-packaging of old ideas in new rhetoric. The blogger also highlights both the distinction between and the relationship among “intelligent cities” and “smart growth cities.”  Smart growth cities do not inherently rely on information technology, however to the extent that decision-makers would have more comprehensive, up-to-the-minute data available to them, our cities will grow smarter.

There are two main points made in the conclusion of the article: that all this talk about opportunity and new paradigms will mean nothing if implementation of the ideas never comes true (e.g. “having data should not be mistaken for taking action.”); and that democratization of the decision-making process is a key component of implementation.

TIME’s series will help educate the public about these new challenges and opportunities.  Traditional means of public outreach could do the same in conjunction with some of the new technologies themselves (e.g. MindMixer; GoodZuma).  The implementation of intelligent cities hinges more so than ever before on the public’s knowledge and support – in many cases, it is their input and participation that not only enables, but fully defines the instantiation of intelligent and smartly-grown cities.

- Terra Curtis