Smart, Smarter, Smartest: Redefining Our Cities
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The UK Government, like many national governments, has the creation of Smart Cities high on its agenda. This interest is triggered by the promise that as a significant part of its national armoury, smart cities can drive economic leverage and possibly even deliver economic salvation. This aspiration has fuelled a growing global competition to attract entrepreneurs, talented people, and investment. The race to create smart cities is on. This chapter will describe the components that make a city smart, and examine the emerging ‘need’ to create a smart London. While only governments can create policy that enables scale to be achieved, policy so often only follows where the green shoots have already emerged. This is the situation in the UK, in London, and currently policy is not keeping pace with the vibrancy of the initiatives. The evidence of so many successful initiatives and national achievements shows [e.g. the transformation of Singapore to an Intelligent Island (Beyond 2000: A Source Book for Major Projects. Major Projects Association, Templeton College Oxford.), the successful delivery of the London Olympic Games (Research by Prof Andrew Davies.), the aim of President Kennedy to put a man on the moon (http://history.nasa.gov/moondec.html)] that much is driven by vision as well as time, skills and funding. It is this lack of a clear vision that if addressed would help unlock new potential and reinvigorate many existing and older investments. Policy and initiatives could then work cohesively to help deliver what is currently so often only empty rhetoric. This chapter is a clarion call for a vision that focuses on delivery of pervasive integration so that peak congestion is removed from urban systems and the enhanced quality of life in cities can bring benefits to all. Lastly, it suggests ‘smartness’ may not come purely from technological solutions after all, but from the mechanisms used to engage and deliver a new kind of city.