Anthony Townsend, research director at the Institute for the Future, gives a short, but discerning interview about the ‘Smart City’ concept and market to Prof. Paddy Miller from IESE Business School, Barcelona.
He demystifies the Smart City idea. At present, he notes, the smart cities vision is mostly driven by companies, which try to sell ‘smart’ solutions for major urban problems; this trend is based on embedding information technologies at the urban environment. However, he stresses, we really need to take advantage of the vibrant ‘grassroots of innovation’, which flourish thanks to the creativity of the population. In this context, governments should play the role of a mediator, who will bring companies and the creative class to work in concert.