img(height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=2939831959404383&ev=PageView&noscript=1")

Changing the way cities perform

Words:
Rick Robinson

The objectives of Smart Cities initiatives often include highly desirable efficiency, resilience, growth and vitality. But a more fundamental objective underlies all of these: fairness


Rick Robinson is speaking at our Digital Thinking, Smart Building conference on 4th November. 

Click here to read the programme, view our 60 speakers and book your place.


The Smart Cities movement will only be viewed as a success by the wider world if it contributes to the critical objective of fairness.

In his landmark work, Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered, the economist EF Schumacher wrote extensively about how fairness might be achieved through our efforts to encourage the world's development, and asked:

'What is that we really require from the scientists and technologists? I should answer:

We need methods and equipment which are:

Cheap enough so that they are accessible to virtually everyone;

Suitable for small-scale application; and

Compatible with man’s need for creativity.'

I can’t think of a more powerful set of tools that reflect these characteristics than the digital technologies that have emerged over the past decade, such as social media, smartphones, cloud computing and Open Data. They provide a digital infrastructure of 'appropriate' technologies that are accessible to everyone, but that can connect with the large scale city infrastructures that support millions of urban lives; and they can give citizens, communities and businesses the ability to adapt city infrastructures to their own needs.

These digital technologies can be tools of smart urbanism in the same way that the physical materials of urban design are; and they are emerging to provide common ground between the technologists of the Smart Cities movement and the many other professions that have shaped our cities for much longer.


Read more from Rick Robinson here

Rick Robinson is speaking at our Digital Thinking, Smart Building conference on 4th November.  

Click here to read the programme, view our 60 speakers and book your place.


 

Latest

Western modernism came to colonial West Africa and India, but with independence they made it their own. Tropical Modernism: Architecture and Independence follows the story

Locals made ‘progressive, optimistic’ style their own

Bid to be one of six to join a new four-year Somerset and Wiltshire framework, revitalise an historic East of England city centre or help tell the tale of Cornwall. These are some of the latest architecture contracts and competitions from across the industry

Latest: £6m West Country architectural services agreement

Will Burges’ self-build family home in suburban south London is inhabited and looks finished, but this flexible, future-looking house is intended to be a work in progress

It looks complete, but Will Burges’ house is intended never to be truly finished

London calling: why Mexican Fernando Sordo Madaleno de Haro, partner at Sordo Madaleno, crossed the pond to set up a UK office

How and why Mexico’s Sordo Madaleno is setting up up an office in the UK capital

Pen, pencil, computer or even AI –whatever your medium, our drawing competition is open for submissions

How do you see the world around you?