Information Technology

June 12, 2012, 5am PDT
Sarah Goodyear looks at how smart phones and augmented reality applications may hold the key to enriching urban exploration and getting Americans off their sofas and out exploring their environments.
The Atlantic Cities
July 19, 2011, 5am PDT
A new project at the National Building Museum is collecting information to better understand the built environment. <em>Next American City</em> talks with the program's curator, Susan Piedmont-Palladino.
Next American City
March 1, 2011, 11am PST
A hub of information and communications technology known as Kista Science City in Stockholm, Sweden, has focused on intelligent transportation to fuel its success.
Next American City
November 18, 2010, 2pm PST
Government Technology and the Center for Digital Government announced the top-ranked municipalities from their 2010 Digital Cities Survey, which quantifies the impacts of cities' IT efforts.
Government Technology
Blog post
October 6, 2009, 11am PDT
This morning, Mayor Mike Bloomberg unveiled New York City's long-awaited Big Apps contest. Big Apps seeks to promote the Internet industry in the Big Apple (it's sponsored by the New York City Economic Development Corporation) and make local government more transparent.

I've been following the evolution of open data initiatives at the municipal level for about a year now, and was really hoping that New York was going to set the bar for future efforts across the country. It doesn't. In fact it's hard to understand why some notable local tech superstars like investors Fred Wilson and John Borthwick would sign on to such a lame effort.

Anthony Townsend
May 22, 2009, 12pm PDT
MIT's SENSEable City Lab is featuring a prototype of a futuristic bus stop, complete with real-time route mapping, e-ink surfaces, and estimates of your exposure to pollutants along the way.
MIT's SENSEable City Lab
Blog post
October 28, 2008, 6am PDT

Here in New York City, there is an incredibly popular burger stand in Madison Square Park called The Shake Shack. It's one of the touchpoints for Silicon Alley, and a great meet-up spot. The problem is that its usually insanely crowded, with an hour-long line stretching well across the park.

Not to be defeated, Silicon Alley geeks created the Shake Shack Twitter Bot, which serves as a sort of chat room for people to report wait times at the Shake Shack. It's a few dozen lines of code that leverages Web 2.0 technology to make the city smarter, more efficient, and more fun.

Anthony Townsend
Blog post
February 23, 2007, 12pm PST

About two years ago, after teaching a course at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program on "Digitally Mediated Urban Space", I wrote an article for the architectural design journal Praxis that sought to do do two things: 1) make sense of the wide array of digital technologies that are being deployed in urban space, and 2) present a couple of places that I thought exemplified good and bad "design" of digital public spaces.

Recently, my research on context-aware computing - computing based on sensors and artificial intelligence - has led me to revisit this piece. Around the same time, I got a call from Lucas Graves, a friend who writes for Wired, and was doing a piece on technologies that are "perpetually around the corner". Lucas was mainly interested in things like videophones, but it coincided with a turn in my research to the applications side of context-awareness: smart cities, smart places, smart homes, and smart objects. As an urban planner, I immediately gravitated to thinking about smart cities and smart places, but wondered in the back of my mind - is this something that is really happening, or just another one of those technologies that are perpetually around the corner?

Anthony Townsend