What’s a Smart City?

There’s no simple answer to the question, “What’s a smart city?” That’s because “smart” applies to everything from high-tech innovations such as urban operating systems and autonomous people movers to low-tech solutions like wider sidewalks, bike sharing and increased vegetation.

A smart city can be a gleaming new metropolis built from scratch to maximize efficiency and sustainability, or an older one that updated its downtown with lush greenery and eco-friendly buildings.

At ReinventCities.com, we keep an open mind about what constitutes “smart” innovation. If an idea improves upon the status quo, then it’s smart, and if it’s low tech and inexpensive to implement, even better.

New Cities vs. Urban Makeovers

There’s a debate among urban visionaries over whether it’s better to build new, high-tech cities from scratch or upgrade the aging infrastructure of existing cities.

The general consensus: both are needed. New cities are in highest demand in countries such as China and India where a vast migration to densely populated, polluted and crumbling urban areas has placed legacy cities under tremendous strain.

A growing trend is the emergence of the aerotropolis — cities built around airport hubs.

In the West, where cities tend to be newer and the population more stable, the concept of smart growth — i.e., improving the existing infrastructure – is the preferred course of action.

  1 comment for “What’s a Smart City?

  1. January 17, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Please view http://www.wescapelife.co.za for a preview of a new African city which has just been given the go ahead by local authorities.

Leave a Reply