THE CITY OF THE FUTURE
Flying cars? Supersonic trains? Holographic technology? Robots? Imagine all of this, and much more, built-in your current city. How will all this be integrated together, how will it work, how will the futuristic city look like?
In our search for ‘cities of the future’, we came across a very interesting BBC report written about a year ago, outlining the main features of what the city of the future is likely to look like. And it seems this is what is exactly happening.
In ‘How will our future cities look?’, which you can read at http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-20770518, BBC Technology reporter Jane Wakefield talks about three core aspects that are to be at the center of the future, smart city, some of which are highly controversial.
The first and perhaps most logical one is a ‘greenification’ process. As population grows and global warming becomes more and more of an imminent issue, sustainability will be a key factor to consider for smarter cities. Bike-sharing schemes, electric vehicles, solar power, organic food, recycling and other efforts to channel and manage sustainability will be a core focus of smarter living.
The second component is crowd-sourcing. Carlo Ratti, MIT’s head of Sense-able Cities, says that ‘truly smart – and real – cities are not like an army regiment marching in lockstep to the commander’s orders. They are more like a shifting flock of birds or shoal of fish […]’. Utopist? Perhaps, but this is already happening. With the proliferation of social media tools, people are already able to voice their opinions not only to influential institutions, from governments to giant commercial corporations, but also to each other, directing local and global decision-making in a plethora of areas. So our future cities, if truly smart, will be the product of the will of its inhabitants.
The third, and most controversial one, is the presence of a central data hub, or what the article calls, a ‘nerve centre’. This hub will collect data from sensors placed just about everywhere around the city. It will act just like a nervous system able to track everything in its environment and give commands to smart objects around it in order for these to perform a range of different tasks. This means much more than the fortification and proliferation of the Internet of Things, which is really becoming more and more widespread around the world. Many tech companies like Siemens, IBM, Intel and Cisco believe that in order to be smarter, a central network needs to exist. Some have, in fact, already started working on projects to create such ‘nerve centers’. But is this what we want; a central system to keep track and control everything around us? Perhaps it is time to use the power of crowd-sourcing in order to speak our minds on which direction the smarter city needs to take, before it is too late…
For real-life examples of cities of the future, check our article on Songdo – a currently unraveling project in South Korea due to open next year, and stay tuned for our upcoming article on Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, as we visit the Emirates to find out more about their vision of the city of the future.