You’ve heard of smartphones, smart appliances and smart TVs, and now you’re hearing about things getting “smart” on a much larger scale.
The smart city buzz has officially arrived. Governments and private investors alike are suddenly racing to turn their cities into connected, high-tech hubs.
But while we’re suddenly hearing so much about it, the basic concept behind smart cities is nothing new. As the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance website says, “Examples of cities, towns, and regions being intelligent about their growth, focused on quality of life, and their envisioned futures exist from 100, 500, even 1000 years ago.”
Investing in technology to improve the overall standard of living has been going on for arguably hundreds of years as well. And that, as one prominent Smart City scholar says, “is an economic and political challenge, not a technology trend.”
Yet something is happening now that somehow didn’t seem possible 200, 100 or even 20 years ago. Suddenly we’re beginning to understand how investing in technology and implementing it in the right ways can improve social and economic conditions for urban populations, improving the overall quality of life in the process.