Great summary of “smart city” approaches

In March the Future Everything Summit was held in Manchester. The event pulled together some excellent thinkers who understand the complexities of urban environments, and the website Sustain has an excellent summary of the conversations.  It’s worth reading the whole article (caveat – it’s long) but here’s some of the paragraphs that stood out:

Catherine Mulligan of Imperial College London says the reverential tones with which some smart-city speculators talk about technology is worrying: “They say these systems and computers can now make better decisions than human beings. But if you take the human beings out, it’s just a bunch of buildings talking to each other… and that’s not a city. The city is what it is because of the people.”

“What’s clear from the institutional point of view is that the Government now has competition in terms of organising and deciding – citizens can now do an awful lot themselves using new tools which they just couldn’t do before effectively,” says Dan Hill. “But we have to be careful when we talk about bottom-up networks, because we could get sidetracked whilst there are big decisions being made about light rail or major public buildings going through the traditional institutional approach. So my plea is to bind those together – active citizens and active government. We can’t just do bottom-up; we can learn a lot from the way that it works, but we can’t do it alone.

Read the full article here.

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