- Hardcover 400 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (5 November 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393082873
- ISBN-13: 978-0393082876
- Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 3.6 x 24.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,14,951 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Smart Cities – Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia Hardcover – 5 Nov 2013
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Less a to-do list than a framework and sensibility, Smart Cities is a timely and necessary guide to this age of the Franken-city. — Daniel Brook (New York Times Book Review)
Anthony Townsend sifts through the hope and the hype of the latest system upgrade for our growing, and increasingly more elusively managed, metropolises — digital technology — emerging with an ambitiously wide-ranging, admirably clear-eyed, and ultimately humanistic guidebook to the connected city. — Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)
Today, it's not the height of the skyscrapers, but the depth of the code that drives the modern city. Anthony Townsend brilliantly frames the new forces shaping tomorrow's metropolises. Read Smart Cities and you’ll never look at a skyline or walk down a city block the same way again. — Andrew Zolli, author of Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back
Our cities are in the first act of an unprecedented technodrama. At stake is nothing less than the survival of our urban species. Combining technological sophistication, deep humanity, and an urban planner's sensitivity to the nuances of places, Smart Cities is an essential guide to understanding the technologies changing urban life. — Andrew Blum, author of Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet
Powerful, readable prose. — Franklyn Carter (NPR)
Of interest to urban planners and designers, tech leaders, and entrepreneurs, Townsend’s globe-hopping study examines the trend toward smart cities while addressing pros and cons, as top-down corporate models develop alongside communitarian and entrepreneurial initiatives….The autobiographical passages and close readings of other scrappy innovators are the most enjoyable part of this impressive survey, which tries to secure democratic impulses amid a new gold rush. — Publishers Weekly
Compelling. — Melanie Moses (Nature)
[Townsend] has written a generous book in clean prose, one that will engage both advanced geeks and cyber-dolts. — Catherine Tumber (The Nation)
About the Author
Anthony Townsend is an advisor to industry and government at the Silicon Valley–based Institute for the Future and directs urban research at New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation. He lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.
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Anthony Townsend takes his own time in revealing the message of the book. While we struggle to find the central theme, Anthony Townsend details the history and present state of technology meticulously. He succeeds in holding our attention even though we are wondering the end game constantly. Smart cities are not possible without the advances in the technology. Modern technology has aided in better city planning. The reducing price of electronics and the popularity of untethered network have helped in this process. As an example, Anthony Townsend provides the example of dontflush.me, a simple solution built using Arduino. Ideally, a city should be a rich web of overlapping connections which resembles a semilattice. But without information about what is available in the city, this interplay will not happen. Modern apps like Foursquare is helpful here. Using these apps, you uncover the new things in a city. All the above modern miracles are possible because of the ease at which we can connect to the internet. The popularity of untethered networks has driven this change dramatically.
Most of the instances quoted by Anthony Townsend have come to fruition because of determination of responsible hackers. This fact leads to another important question. Who will facilitate the shift to smart cities? Will local civic leaders initiate the change? Will responsible and driven citizens lead the pack? In the modern times, the local civil bodies have to rethink their old system of procurement. This old system has proved to be very costly for cash-strapped local civic bodies. Although some civic bodies have introduced competitions for writing best apps for the city, the results were not favorable. One of the main reason was the disconnect between the software developer (or the app writer) and their user base. Based on the undesirable outcomes, the app competitions have undergone a change. Now, the cities analyze the major problems they want to solve, and then they drive the competition based on these problems.
Finally, patriotism plays a major role. Many civic bodies are building solutions that are already available to their counterparts in another part of the country or another part of the world. The available solution is already in use and well tested. But the sentiment for building a local solution by a local provider has been detrimental to the progress. Because of the above sentiment, the various local bodies are reinventing the wheel. There is an open unanswered question about how to overcome this?
Anthony Townsend has provided a detailed account of where we stand on the subject of smart cities. He has provided a detailed history, countless examples and the present challenges. The book is an interesting read. After reading the book, you might take a couple of more days to digest the whole information and find the underlying message. Unfortunately, the message is not right on your face. As this phenomenon is touching our lives already and will transform our lives in the future, I recommend this book. As the narrative is replete with captivating stories from the past and present, the book keeps you entertained.