In China’s Net City, Opportunity Comes at Uncertain Costs

January 12, 2021

The one thing the city of Shenzhen — whose nearly 13 million people comprise the industrial engine of China’s Guangdong province — seems unwilling to reimagine is its name. The name Shenzhen, which loosely translates to “irrigation ditch” or “drainage dump,” is the only piece of the...

Want to Build a Smart City?

April 27, 2019

Collaborative platforms, sustainability, public-private partnerships and data analytics are critical for developing smart and inclusive cities. The global smart-city movement, which has been around for more than two decades, has gone through three phases of evolution. It initially focused on...

No Silver Bullet: The New Urban Agenda and Smart Cities

March 13, 2018

Technological fixes such as smart cities make a system more complex, resulting in “wicked problems” that require ever more extensive technological remedies. In October 2016, at the World Urban Forum 8 in Quito, Ecuador, UN Habitat launched its third planning cycle with Habitat III, now known...

Defining Casablanca’s Modern City Brand

June 13, 2016

The economic powerhouse of Morocco's Casablanca is light years away from the image created in a Hollywood studio 70 years ago. Our story starts in 1942 with Europe in the midst of war. We find ourselves in the dusty North African outpost of Casablanca, where a motley assortment of refugees,...

Do We Need Big Data to Create Smart Cities?

January 21, 2016

Data collection and analysis have played an important role in smart cities, but should citizens’ privacy be used as a foundation? The real-time analysis of data procured over various electronic platforms has become integral to the development of infrastructure, planning and policy formulation...

Is There a Role for Citizens in India’s Smart Cities Challenge?

October 30, 2015

Technology is helping India overcome its wide range of urban problems. India faces a wide range of urban challenges—from serious air pollution and poor local governance, to badly planned cities and a lack of decent housing. India’s Smart Cities Challenge, which has now selected 98 of the 100...