Smart Cities

Anthony Townsend

Published by

Norton & Company

ISBN

9780393082876

RRP

£22.00

Reviewed by

A P Sutcliffe PG Dip CCI, MBCS

Score

8 out of 10

For the majority of human existence, people lived primarily in small, mostly rural groups. But over time, they moved together to live in larger urbanised communities to take advantage of the concentrated skills and manpower that this brought.

However, there are many practical issues that are caused by so many people living close together, from dealing with waste to transporting people and goods throughout the urban environment. As the cities grew in size and complexity, these issues became more of a concern requiring more ingenious ideas to address the roots of the problems.

This book highlights some of the difficulties that the larger modern cities are currently facing - some of which are not too dissimilar to those that previous generations have had to deal with - such as mass transport, hygienic water supplies, food and energy provisions, and it identifies how newer technologies can offer some interesting solutions to some of these age-old problems. However, it also points out that some of these new ideas produce their own complications.

It discusses how technology can be used to capture data on numerous processes and functions and how this might be used to improve both the provision and supply of solutions to various activities. That same technology can make living in the city easier, more comfortable and more convenient than ever before.

The book offers a number of specific examples of the problems faced and how different cities have dealt with these, and highlights just how the newer technology makes such a key difference. Although there are examples from cities around the world, the book does have a major focus on what is happening in the USA; a shame as there are many noteworthy cases from other locations.

The book is primarily text based with fairly few breaks; some might find that this makes it a bit harder to read. However, I found it extremely fascinating with many valuable points to make. It gives some really interesting insight into a number of factors that are being considered by architects, planners, politicians and business, all of whom are working to make the cities of the future a better place to live and work.

It’s a really great read with a lot of relevant material for anyone that works within the field of technology.

Further information: Norton & Company

January 2014