Finding a Smarter Approach to “Smart Cities”

Posted by  Jeffrey Riecke on THE CITY FIX All the ‘techno’ interest in cities survival, as well as its skeptics and its detractors:

Dehli, India, one of twenty-four cities awarded development grants through IBM's Smarter Cities Challenge.  Photo via seier+seier.

Rio de Janeiro was one of 24 cities awarded development grants through IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge. Photo via seier+seier.

Consistent with its long-established reputation of exploring the forefronts of technological development,IBM, the technology firm, displayed interest in “smart city” technology with the grand gesture of creating The Smarter Cities Challenge. This competitive challenge awards 100 cities around the world $50 million in grants for technology and services. On March 9, IBM announced the 24 winning cities for 2011, which include Guadalajara, Mexico; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Delhi, India; Antofagasta, Chile; Boulder, Co.; and Glasgow, Scotland. “The cities had to be prepared to match IBM’s investment with their own commitment of time and resources,” the challenge website reads. “Proposals articulating pressing urban concerns that could be addressed by implementing ’smarter’ technologies and processes rose to the top of the list.” IBM is not alone. Cisco has its Smart+Connected Communities initiative. The Economist recently held its “Intelligent Infrastructure“ conference. And the National Resources Defense Council runs a Smarter Citiesproject. With interest in “smart cities” growing—among business, governments, media and nonprofits—urban planners and technology corporations debate this type of approach to urban development.
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