Two visions of smart cities


A Review of Smart Cities: Big data, civic hackers, and the quest for a new utopia by Anthony M. Townsend and my own book The New Science of Cities by Michael Batty, by Tim Smedley in New Scientist Magazine issue 2946, December 9th 2013. Tim Smedlay has done us both proud with a review of both our books that is positive and forward looking, in my view following the various themes that we develop in our respective books. I noted Anthony Townsend’s book in a previous blog post when it was published a couple of months ago and my own book is detailed on my other blog to which the reader is referred.

I particularly warm to Tim’s summary of my point of view when he says ‘Overall, The New Science of Cities is an ambitious and laudable undertaking, one that Batty admits cannot be comprehensive,….. Those wanting an “integrated science that is nicely packaged and available to apply immediately”, Batty writes, “will be disappointed. No such package exists, and it probably never will. Like physics, it might seem as though the field should aspire to an integrated theory… but as in physics too, this is a mirage.”’

This is the battle cry of a new science of cities that weaves seamlessy and consistently into other versions of this science of which there are many. We should applaud this rather than consider multiple viewpoints to imply inconsistency. After all cities are where people come together, where diversity thrives, and where conflict and dissent are resolved.