“If the history of city building in the last century tells us anything, it is that the unintended consequences of new technologies often dwarf their intended design. Motorization promised to save city dwellers from the piles of horse manure that clogged nineteenth-century streets and deliver us from a shroud of factory smoke back to nature. Instead, it scarred the countryside with sprawl and rendered us sedentary and obese. If we don’t think critically now about the technology we put in place for the next century of cities, we can only look forward to all the unpleasant surprises they hold in store for us.
But that’s only if we continue doing business as usual. We can stack the deck and improve the odds, but we need to completely rethink our approach to the opportunities and challenges of building smart cities. We need to question the confidence of tech-industry giants, and organize the local innovation that’s blossoming at the grassroots into a truly global movement. We need to push our civic leaders to think more about long-term survival and less about short-term gain, more about cooperation than competition. Most importantly, we need to take the wheel back from the engineers, and let people and communities decide where we should steer.”
Excerpt From: Anthony M. Townsend. “Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia.”