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Publisher's Summary

An unflinching look at the aspiring city-builders of our smart, mobile, connected future.

We live in a world defined by urbanization and digital ubiquity, where mobile broadband connections outnumber fixed ones, machines dominate a new "internet of things," and more people live in cities than in the countryside.

In Smart Cities, urbanist and technology expert Anthony Townsend takes a broad historical look at the forces that have shaped the planning and design of cities and information technologies from the rise of the great industrial cities of the nineteenth century to the present. A century ago, the telegraph and the mechanical tabulator were used to tame cities of millions. Today, cellular networks and cloud computing tie together the complex choreography of mega-regions of tens of millions of people.

In response, cities worldwide are deploying technology to address both the timeless challenges of government and the mounting problems posed by human settlements of previously unimaginable size and complexity. In Chicago, GPS sensors on snow plows feed a real-time "plow tracker" map that everyone can access. In Zaragoza, Spain, a "citizen card" can get you on the free city-wide Wi-Fi network, unlock a bike share, check a book out of the library, and pay for your bus ride home. In New York, a guerrilla group of citizen-scientists installed sensors in local sewers to alert you when storm water runoff overwhelms the system, dumping waste into local waterways.

As technology barons, entrepreneurs, mayors, and an emerging vanguard of civic hackers are trying to shape this new frontier, Smart Cities considers the motivations, aspirations, and shortcomings of them all while offering a new civics to guide our efforts as we build the future together, one click at a time.

©2013 Anthony M. Townsend (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A must read for city enthusiasts

If there is one book that people interested in urban development and urban issues must read, it is this. It goes beyond a discussion of the promise of smart cities and discusses the import an basis in it's past, the players who have studied it over the decades, and the organizations thinking about how to make it work for everyone. I loved this book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • G.
  • 02-19-17

Exhaustuve

Everything that has happened in the Smart City eco-system since the coining of the phrase (even earlier) can be found commented. Needs and update. May be I have to read (not listen - as the Audible Edition does not have it - Epilogue.

Commendable work both by the Author and Narrator.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Informative and intriguing

Most informative for me was chapter 3's overview of urban models' failures and minor successes since WWII.

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  • James
  • burleson, TX, United States
  • 03-31-14

Look around and see the future

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Less man is destroying the world and golly keepers we can all work together

How could the performance have been better?

It's basically a documentary. The narrator doesn't need to do anything but talk with one voice

Did Smart Cities inspire you to do anything?

Yes..I will use it for restarting civilization after the zombies have attacked !!!!

Any additional comments?

Overall it was a very interesting book. It showed the blue prints that are all around us everyday to make our modern world better. They show how cities have used new wireless tech to create needed subsystems for city services. They comment how one city was planned to be high tech and didn't work,but another that grew more organically and wasn't per planned ,becomes a great tech city. It's a very good book, like all documentary style it does bog down in places.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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I Tried Really Hard

The contents of this book are excellent, but the way in which it was presented was remarkably painful. The language by Townsend is flowery and disengaging. The use of metaphors, descriptors and many other unnecessary words makes the interesting content fall on deaf ears. I really wanted to love this book and I am still fascinated with the topics, but I just couldn't get through this one. Next!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful