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A. Greenfield on smart cities vs. open-data

Adam Greenfield, director of the urban systems design practice ‘˜Urbanscale’ , was present at the Smart Cities Expo, which took place in Barcelona from 29 November to 2 December 2011. In his interview, he refers to the importance of open-data for the creation of knowledgeable and creative citizens. In his own words,

“The Smart City is just a dead-end discourse; we don’ t believe in ‘˜smart’ for that matter. We don’ t believe that cities can be smart, or should be smart. We believe that people can be wise, and equipped and empowered with the proper tools. We believe that wise, empowered people make better decisions and better places. It’s that simple.’

He presents the urban environment as a ‘˜stack’ of different layers, such as economic, political, social, cultural, technological and infrastructural; these layers evolve at a different speed. Infrastructure, for instance, evolves at a very low speed, as it requires both a long time span to change, and increased resources, too. However, Technology evolves much faster than Infrastructure; thus, it would be naive to concentrate all forces on embedding rapidly evolving Technology in a deeper layer of the urban stack, such as Infrastructure.

Instead, solutions should be open and people-oriented, and not focused solely on managing urban systems and urban places. After all, people are the ones that give value and meaning to a place. Cities should open up their municipal data to the public, and this data should be qualitative, up-to-date and reliable. This is the only way, for people to be enlightened and empowered to make better decisions and better places.

Event: Smart City Expo

Source: Ideas for Change on vimeo