Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent
July, 7th 2009

“People” is one of six key systems of a city we identified as part of our research for the recently published study titled ‘A vision of smarter cities – How cities can lead the way into a prosperous and sustainable future’. The people system describes how cities interact with their citizens and refers to the human and social networks a city provides. It also includes public safety, health and education, as well as quality of life. In speaking to other attendees at the recent and very exciting Smarter Cities conference in Berlin, it again and again became increasingly clear how central the people system is. Indeed, one could argue that the other five systems we identified – water. energy, transport, communication and business – in many ways only exist to support the people system.

Of course, this is not something new and has already been embraced by, for example, town planners like Jamie Lerner in principles like ‘people over cars’, and Michael O’Hare’s ‘cities for people’, but it is worthwhile remembering. The ultimate target of ‘smartness’ and smart technology are and will be people living happy, healthy, wealthy (in more ways than one) lives in cities that combine prosperity and wellbeing with sustainability. One of the ways cities can proceed on this path is by doing some benchmarking with a Smarter City Assessment tool, which was announced at the event in Berlin. How do you think your city fares?

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May 30, 2012
9:35 am

Thinking about past and present, do you think technological revolution has built up smarter planet or we are just exploiting our resources in the name of comfort.
We know that though our resources are abundant but they will end on one day, do you really think that we have built a smarter planet or we should have stuck with religious beliefs (life style) to worship mother earth

Posted by: health500
July 8, 2009
4:57 am

Hi Silvia, I think you raise a very interesting point and I fully agree that a good ecological footprint is one key ingredient to happiness. This is why the focus in our paper (and indeed implicitly the focus of Smarter Planet) is about ‘sustainable’ prosperity, i.e. achieving prosperity with minimum negative impact on the environment, or put differently, by minimising pollution and maximising resource utilisation via the use of instrumented, interconnected, intelligent technologies. This should, however, not mean going back to a lower developmental stage, as the HPI index seems to imply by the fact that the top 42 countries are all developing countries. The index also shows that life expectation and life satisfaction is generally higher in the middle tier of the HPI index countries,i.e. largely developed countries … many of which, I agree, as the index shows, need to urgently improve their ecological footprint in order to rank higher in terms of an overall ‘Happy Planet’ scenario. This is a lesson especially important to countries like the US and Luxembourg, where the index shows that even a high life expectancy and a high life satisfaction can no longer compensate for their particularly high ecological footprint.

Posted by: Susanne Dirks
July 8, 2009
3:03 am

nice post. however although I agree that a Smart City influences the quality of our life I don’t agree that this makes us happier. By checking this study I mentioned here I found out that, again, happy people are not those living in the cities with the best infrastructure or access to the most modern health system, but those living in good ecological environment and having a high life expectancy.

Of course given the fact that we can’t all move or pick a new place to live we must however make our cities smarter.But maybe we need to start by doing exactly this: rethinking what we assumed that would make people happier and giving it a more cultural, nature friendly edge.

Posted by: Silvia
July 7, 2009
2:49 pm

Speaking of smart cities and people living in them… My colleague showed me this article from BusinessWeek:

The idea of turning on streetlights with your cell phone would not work in big cities, but it can definitely save energy and cut costs in small towns.

Posted by: petra
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July 13, 2009
2:23 am

[...] the findings and ideas with the conversations we heard at the Berlin Smarter Cities summit and the recently published report from IBM’s Institute of Business Value, "A vision of smarter [...]

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