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10 Lessons From 'Un-Smart' Cities

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Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
11/28/2013 1:15:20 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Smartening up!
It's Thanksgiving here in the US, and a great time for gratitude. But it is heartening to see that a lack of infrastructure is being overcome by many developing nations thanks to advances in mobility.

We're going to see a lot more mobile applications in cities worldwide, and perhaps we'll see some developing areas leading the way in things such as mobile payment.

richheap
richheap  
11/28/2013 11:14:50 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Smartening up!
Thanks Susan. I also feel these cities demonstrate that it doesn't really matter if a city isn't the perfect "smart" city, whatever that means. It shows that technology offers opportunities for all. It also makes me feel very lucky to live where I live.

Susan Leach
Susan Leach  
11/28/2013 9:37:36 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Smartening up!
Very cool article, Rich. I have to agree with Mary, the Jakarta kids and the smart meters in Mumbai are striking examples of tech at its best: sustainable, affordable and benefitting all concerned. 

It could enable these cities to leapfrog many of the growing pains that more developed cities have endured over their evolution. Not that these developing cities don't have a slew of problems of their own. But the beauty of so many of these tech solutions is their simplicity -- and economy. It feels like win-win all around.

richheap
richheap  
11/27/2013 4:12:46 AM
User Rank Staff
Different problems, novel solutions
Thanks for your comments so far. This also goes to show that cities can take ideas from other cities, but they will also have very specific problems that they need to solve. Different problems need different solutions. Those that run these cities may be aware of the problems but they also need to see that technology can be part of the solution.

Venks
Venks  
11/26/2013 9:23:39 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Un-smart cities
Thank you for a great article, Rich. I thought the smartcard system for kids in Jakarta was a great initiative. Its a terrfic approach and many other developing countries can learn from it and encourage young kids to atleast get the basic level of education.

I liked the Mumbai's smart water initiative. Many other cities in India are in favour of installing such water meters to save huge chunks of water everyday. Itron now is installing, or has contracts to install, meters in the suburb of Navi Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore. The company has reported similar water savings in Africa.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
11/26/2013 12:07:44 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Smartening up!
Yes, indeed, it's no accident that  mobile tech has taken off in places that lack wired infrastructure. Mobility offers tremendous momentum and power where there has been a lack of telecoms; and we can see all kinds of trend setting apps, such as mobile banking, moving into place in developing cities that formerly lagged behind the rest of the world. Terrific to see.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
11/26/2013 11:56:38 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Smartening up!
Must agree... those really excited me as well. It's great to see the power of mobile technology at work in the developing world.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
11/26/2013 11:55:13 AM
User Rank Staff
Fantastic
Well done, Rich. This is really great. So often the "smart cities" discussion just ignores the fact that most cities aren't equipped to be "smart," and yet, as these cities have demonstrated, even the least savvy cities can put tech to work for them. Great and inspiring!

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
11/26/2013 10:36:33 AM
User Rank Staff
Smartening up!
Rich, many thanks for this terrific look at the smartness of some "un-smart" cities. My favorites would have to be the Karachi gay app; Mumbai's smart meters for water leak prevention; and smart cards for kids in Jakarta. Bravo to everyone who's made these applications possible.

kq4ym
kq4ym  
11/26/2013 8:57:03 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
GPS And Carjacking
Using GPS, and mandating it's use seems maybe a bit overkill. But, then again, maybe in certain loalities where auto crime is a huge problem maybe not so much. With costs of hardware and software negligible perhaps the savings in law enforcement investigations and the deterrent effect of preventing car theft and associated crime outweights by many times the cost of implementing the systems?

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