Building the Sensitive City of the Future

Collecting real-time information will be as essential to building the city 2.0 as coordinating the top-down integration of infrastructure systems. A new city in Portugal will use more than 100 million sensors to build its feedback loop.
June 11, 2012, 10am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Boyd Cohen describes how a new planned city for 225,000 inhabitants being developed in Portugal, called PlanIT Valley, intends to become "a living laboratory for new technologies" by establishing a robust feedback loop. According to Cohen, planners are expecting to install more than 100 million sensors in the city, or the equivalent of nearly 450 sensors per capita.

"The sensors will be used for a whole range of services, including smart transit and parking; emergency services dispatching; energy monitoring and management in smart buildings; and monitoring infrastructure condition and performance. Sensors in homes will be set up to identify water leaks and will be capable of autonomously notifying a plumber." 

With leading smart city technology companies such as Cisco, Microsoft, and Philips involved in the development of the city, Cohen notes that "It will be interesting to see what the future holds for these new cities and how existing cities can learn from these experiments."

"It will also be interesting to see how cities like PlanIT balance the power of one million sensors with citizens' privacy needs, while also embracing diversity and feeling alive--not just like robotic, high-tech laboratories."

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Published on Monday, June 4, 2012 in Fast Company Co.Exist
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