Smart Cities for a Bright Sustainable Future - A Global Perspective
Ancient Rome and Athens were once considered by every indication, great cities! European cities have endured a number of long wars that nearly destroyed them permanently. In the U.S., the City of San Francisco was nearly wiped out by the earthquake of 1906 and in 1871 the City of Chicago was nearly destroyed by fire. In nearly every case, these major cities were able to recover, rebuild, transform, making them stronger and more resilient. Today the so-called “smart cities” movement is based in part on the confluence of new technologies, economic growth, a re-evaluation of quality of life factors, as well as the resurgence of interest in cities across the globe. For example, only recently have we witnessed the trend towards urban growth in American cities. Today the outward migration has reversed itself after decades of residents moving to the suburbs or further out to rural parts of the country. Now, people are returning to our cities, or have decided not to leave as their forefathers had before them. This reinforces the need to re-think and to act differently when it comes to urban planning and maintaining sustainable cities. Even the smartest of cities can not rest on their past success. Smart cities require a constant process of vision, execution, and renewal, which makes it more a journey than a destination. There are many elements that comprise a smart or intelligent city. This book was created to further explore those elements and the pathways towards becoming and maintaining a smart city. This book is a collection of works from thought-leaders across the globe, with authors currently residing in no less than 10 countries including France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, South Africa, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Russia, in addition to the United States. The twenty-seven chapters reveal that there is far more in common than not, as each author shares their research and insights, all aimed at helping the reader better understand and appreciate the contemporary smart city movement. As the smart cities movement gains attention, some have been critical - going as far to say that this is only a passing fad or a relabeling of current events. Whether this is a fad or not, one thing is crystal clear, cities are growing and are here to stay. It is an undeniable fact that growing populations place an enormous strain on our cities in terms of transportation, infrastructure, public safety, health, education, and the quality of natural resources such as water and air. Finally there is the issue of energy and sustainability from an environmental perspective. The fall of ancient Rome may not have happened in a day, but its decline and those of other, once great, cities provide both lessons and warnings that are instructive. These lessons remind us that in the end cities are a profound collection of citizens, and without their meaningful engagement we may be left with cities that are no longer smart.