One of the biggest ironies of living in large cities is the common complaint from a large number of people that urban life is lonely and impersonal. Many people feel uninvolved and can’t seem to find meaningful activities. This is leading many experts in a variety of fields including architecture, design, and information technology to ask whether or not innovative technology can provide solutions to enhance urban living.
Designing Smart Cities to Tackle a Range of Technical & Societal Challenges
Information and Communication Technology (ICT), or Information Technology (IT), is moving rapidly toward unified communications and the integration of telecommunications and computers for the express purpose of creating smart cities. Some of the important components of ICT include audiovisual technology, enterprise software, middleware, storage, and more. In the same way that smartphones and other mobile technologies are changing the ways humans live and interact, ICT networked cities of the future will do the same.
Because of the huge tidal wave of large and super large cities coming over the next 50 years, the question of how networks can improve the life of people in urban settings is being widely studied. For example, the City Index measures major cities with respect to the maturity of their communication networks in terms of the quality of information and communications technologies. The purpose is to determine baselines and then influence socioeconomic and environmental policy to improve communications one city at a time.
Designing Hyperlocal Social Networks
Researchers at the Animal Design Studio have discussed creating “hyperlocal social networks” in urban settings to help shape people’s lives through making sure they are connected to people who live around them. The idea is to find and/or develop Humanscale on the local level so that people don’t feel overwhelmed by living in large cities.
The following video from TEDx Talks Vienna by Andreas Forster explains “Designing Neighborly Interactions in the Networked City.”