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Book Reviews – Building Smart Cities

Book Reviews - Building Smart Cities

The term “smart city” defines the new urban environment, one that is designed for performance through information and communication technologies. Given that the majority of people across the world will live in urban environments within the next few decades, it’s not surprising that massive effort and investment is being placed into efforts to develop strategies and plans for achieving “smart” urban growth. Building Smart Cities: Analytics, ICT, and Design Thinking explains the technology and a methodology known as design thinking for building smart cities.

Information and communications technologies form the backbone of smart cities. A comprehensive and robust data analytics program enables the right choices to be made in building these cities. Design thinking helps to create smart cities that are both livable and able to evolve. This book examines all of these components in the context of smart city development and shows how to use them in an integrated manner.

Using the principles of design thinking to reframe the problems of the smart city and capture the real needs of people living in a highly efficient urban environment, the book helps city planners and technologists through the following:

Presentation of the relevant technologies required for coordinated, efficient cities

Exploration of the latent needs of community stakeholders in a culturally appropriate context

Discussion of the tested approaches to ideation, design, prototyping, and building or retrofitting smart cities

Proposal of a model for a viable smart city project

The smart city vision that we can create an optimized society through technology is hypothetical at best and reflects the failed repetition through the ages of equating scientific progress with positive social change. Up until now, despite our best hopes and efforts, technology has yet to bring an end to scarcity or suffering. Technical innovation, instead, can and should be directed in the service of our shared cultural values, especially within the rapidly growing urban milieu.

In Building Smart Cities: Analytics, ICT, and Design Thinking, the author discusses the need to focus on creating human-centered approaches to our cities that integrate our human needs and technology to meet our economic, environmental, and existential needs. The book shows how this approach can lead to innovative, livable urban environments that are realizable, practical, and economically and environmentally sustainable.

Chapter One: The Imperative for Smart Cities 3
1.1 A New Vision 4
1.2 What Is Smart? 6
1.3 A Sensitive Relationship 8
1.3.1 We Can’t Turn Back Now 11
1.4 What Do We Really Want from the Smart City? 13
1.5 Managing the Shift 14
1.6 Designing for People 15
Chapter Two: Technology, Innovation, and the Problem with People 17
2.1 Chapter Goal 18
2.2 Are We Really Ready for Technology Advancement? 18
2.2.1 A Better Vision 19
2.2.2 The Era of the Posthuman? 21
2.3 People and Technology: Collision or Cooperation? 23
2.4 Sensors to Services 25
2.4.1 What If My World Goes Down? 27
2.5 The Surprisingly Familiar Sensor 27
2.6 The Internet of Things 29
2.6.1 The Smart City as Mediator 30
Chapter Three: A New Perspective on Smart Cities 33
3.1 Chapter Goal 34
3.2 The Position for Moving Forward 34
3.3 What’s the Holdup? 37
3.3.1 The Efficient, Effective, and Optimal City? 38
3.4 Smart City Design Goals 39
3.4.1 Engineering New Models for Investing in the Smart City 40
3.4.2 Context-Sensitive Technology Services 42
3.4.3 What About the Start-Up? 44
3.5 A Usable World 44
3.5.1 Livability 46
Chapter Four: Why Design Thinking? 49
4.1 Chapter Goal 50
4.2 Thinking About Thinking 50
4.2.1 How Does This Working Definition Work? 52
4.2.2 How the Best Technology Fails and Where the Better Solution Wins 56
4.2.3 Briefly on the Brief 58
4.2.4 Developing Empathy 60
4.2.5 Ideation 60
4.2.6 Rational Implementation 62
4.3 So, What About Merging? 63
Chapter Five: Design Thinking Applied 65
5.1 Chapter Goal 66
5.2 A Method, Not Magic 66
5.3 Ways That Design Thinking Has Been Used in Cities 68
5.3.1 Designing Out Crime 69
5.3.2 Collaborative Consumption 72
5.4 When Urban Design Rises Above Imposition 74
5.4.1 Creative Capetonians 76
5.5 Assessing the Usefulness of Design Thinking 77
5.5.1 Measuring Success 78

Book Reviews – Building Smart Cities


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