Smart Cities is a concept that encompasses the integration of digital and sensing technologies within a city with an increasing social and entrepreneurial capital or knowledge. This is what distinguishes it from a more technology only laden city scape. A smart city tries to use technology to deliver and help solve peoples problems within a city through the addition of the intelligence of the inhabitants of the city itself.
Anthony Townsendof the Institute for the Futurespoke at the SEGD 2013 XLab workshop in New York about the development of Smart Cities and was interviewedby SEGD. He argues that mobile communications will transform the city in the same way that electricity did at the turn of the 20th century and that by the time it has happened we will not recognize what it means to be urban anymore. That is big change coming your cities way.
People are looking for that one big thing that will change our cities into smart cities, but he argues that the reality is that it is not one big technology that will do it, but rather the integration of many existing technologies from big data to interactivity to new materials such as Corning's Willow Glass that will enable us to wrap the environment in digital interfaces to mobile technology and the tagging of individual objects and spaces with beacons to effectively digitize the physical world.
Smart Cities are a strategic concept to help people understand the broad collection of possibilities that will become available to urban dwellers in the next decade or two can be more directly translated into the creation of interfaces between users, data and city spaces and places will be the new design activity for Experiential Graphic Design (XGD) for the next few decades. There are many prototype cities being developed such as this one in Santander, Spain.
Forbestakes a look at the market potential for Smart Cities and concludes that it is a $1.5 Trillion opportunity. In the shorter term it is felt that Asia, Africa and the Middle East will win the race for smart cities and that the market for them will be worth $1.3 billion by 2019.
Here is a 2014 list of Smart City Initiatives:
5. Dubai1000 Government Services in 3 years!
10. Kansas City
11. San Diego
12. Santander, Spain
14. Vienna, Austria