ARTICLE FOR CHINESE BUSINESS GAZETTE
CREATING KNOWLEDGE LED CITIES OF THE FUTURE
I grew up inBritainin the 1960s. A time when technological advances and growing prosperity seemed to promise a world of ever increasing progress and happiness. If we compare our lives now and the technological changes over the last 50 years then have we fulfilled this optimism inBritain? Are our cities safer, cleaner, more environmentally friendly, more equal and wealthier places? And are the citizens happier and healthier? I think the answer in general is yes. But there is still much more to do.
What role will technology take in the future? For instance, will owning and driving a car become a quaint habit of the past? Will we rid our city streets of parked cars and no longer have to reserve our precious city spaces for car parks? No more road accidents? Driverless vehicles will simply appear when summoned and whisk us safely to our destination. The technology already exists. Connecting our devices (not just cars but all devices) together in an intelligent network to make city living better.
This is the technology that, over time, has the potential to transform daily life as radically as electricity transformed society over 100 years ago. The changes will impact, not only on transport, but every aspect of our lives.
But will the new technology create smart cities? And what are smart cities anyway?
A smart city is a place that learns, understands and reasons. It is a place where knowledge is available to everyone and leads all the decisions in the city. Digital technology is merely the tool to access and use that knowledge to improve the quality of life in an environmentally sustainable way. And it is the quality of life of everyone: well off, poor, young, old, disabled, long time citizen, or newly arrived worker.
The technology provides new opportunities for municipal authorities to communicate and to share knowledge, both with and also from citizens, to ensure that the best possible decisions are made and to make sure that resulting changes support and enhance the liveability of our cities.
A high level delegation fromWuhanCityrecently visitedCambridge. It is very interesting to share ideas about the future of cities inChinawith cities in theUK. Lessons can be learned from both countries. But there is a common agenda. An agenda that should be shared not only by cities but also by business and the citizens. It is, in my view, about how we can use and develop smart technology to make further improvements in the quality of life of the places where people live and the central role of sharing knowledge between cities and sharing ideas within cities.
Lambsquay Consulting of Cambridge Limited
6 September 2016