Defining Smart(er) (as) Cities

I prefer the term “Smarter City” to “Smart City” even if it has already been claimed by IBM.

“Smarter City” suggests the city is already smart and technology can make it smarter, whereas “Smart City” can be misinterpreted as suggesting that the city is dumb and technology, like a White Knight, will ride to its rescue.

And in truth some cities are dumb – or have been made dumb by modern transport planning: choked with congestion in pursuit of car-based sprawl.

But not all cities are dumb. We have cities for a reason. They are fundamentally smart in the way they create intensification of opportunities for people to meet, interact and transact. In this sense, cities are a natural product of human evolution.

To be truly smart, cities need to recognise their fundamental smartness. Real cities – the places that resonate to the “urban buzz” – are already smart cities. Historic cities, unsullied by destructive modern planning, are smart cities. Low technology cities, if they are compact and people-focused, are already smart cities.

Future cities need to be as smart as great historic and low technology cities.

Smart City – good.

Smarter City – better.

Smart as Cities – best!

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