Let's Be Smart About Intelligent Cities

"Intelligent cities" is picking up steam as the new buzzword in planning and a potentially game-changing way of using data to drive decisions. But we need to be sure we don't lose the human intelligence in planning.
February 13, 2011, 11am PST | Rebecca Sanborn Stone
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Next American City's Julia Ramey Serazio points out that "Intelligent Cities" is the newest trend in new urbanism, and it has a lot of merit:

"'Intelligent cities,' the new darling lingo of planners, reflects the times. It captures the essence of 21st-century technology that can help track when and how many people cross a street, water and energy consumption and peak hours at every transit stop. It also will soon allow bidding on a parking space via cellphone (the space goes to the highest bidder)."

But there's a risk that planners will become too reliant on this technology. Serazio calls for moderation and a diversity of approaches, pointing out the dangers of moving too fast and too completely in the direction of Intelligent Cities - from losing the feedback of citizens without cellphones to increasing injustice and inefficiency in community decisions.

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Published on Wednesday, February 2, 2011 in Next American City
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