Highspeed, always-on Internet access, connecting every inhabitant to larger communities of thinkers, doers, and dreamers. Smart appliances, anticipating our needs and desires, linking together to make our homes and workplaces operate more efficiently, without us even noticing. A “balanced network of things connected by information flows” smoothly running behind the scenes, pinging our smartphones when we’re almost out of milk, prepping our coffee and toast at just the right moment, running the loaded laundry machine when the electricity rates are at their low point for the day, and discreetly alerting us when it’s time to leave for an important meeting given current traffic conditions. No more excuses for tardiness or arriving at work in a decaffeinated state.
Is the smart city already here? Or is it an impossibility, given how messy human existence really is? What does the ideal smart city look like? Are they planned, or organically grown from the ground up? Anthony M. Townsend’s Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia dives headlong into these questions.
With seven billion people populating the planet, and half of us living in cities, the pace of urbanization is speeding up. The nature of the grid of connectivity is changing just as fast as people are moving into cities. Since 2007, when the first iPhone was launched, mobile data traffic worldwide has doubled every year. It’s not a question of laying down the right kind of power lines anymore. We must now consider the coming growth in these wireless networks, and anticipate the future capacity that will be required to quench our thirst for constant connectivity.
Read the rest of my review at PopMatters.com: "Where R U? 'Smart Cities' Addresses Our Desire to Connect".