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Smart Cities Are About People

May 5, 2017

By: Joe Cortright

(City Lab) The growing appreciation of the importance of cities, especially by leaders in business and science, is much appreciated and long overdue. Many have embraced the Smart City banner. But it seems each observer defines "city" in the image of their own profession. CEOs of IT firms say that cities are "a system of systems," and visualize the city as an increasing and dense flow of information to be optimized. Physicists have modeled cities and observed relationships between city scale and activity, treating city residents as atoms and describing cities as conforming to "laws."

In part, these metaphors reflect reality: cities have information flows and physical systems. However, a city is more than those information flows and physical systems, and its citizens need to be viewed as something other than mindless atoms...


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