Watch A Fascinating Short Film On How Cities Will Drive Global Change

Cities are the future, and innovations to make them better, smarter, and faster are happening every day. Take a beautiful tour of some of the most interesting urban projects and thinking going on today.

"There’s an enormous realization of the importance of cities. That is true for business, it’s true for government, it’s true for civil society." So says one of the speakers in Thinking Cities (made by Ericsson as part of their Networked Society series), which you can watch above. As Geoffrey West, a scientist who studies cities, notes in the film, cities are the cause of many of the world’s problems, but are also hubs of innovation that are going to drive the solutions.

Thinking Cities features thought leaders like West, a physicist and professor at Santa Fe Institute; Mathieu Lefevre of New Cities Foundation; and Carlo Ratti, Director of MIT’s Senseable City Lab speaking on what the city means for the future while we take a tour of some of the most innovative smart city projects—from tracking trash to tagging potholes—that are going on in the world today.

Take a look. As one city evangelist says: "The city’s role is to make as easy as possible for people … to live in a smart and sustainable way." They also tend to make their residents happier. For these and countless other reasons enumerated in the video, cities are the living area of the future. Now it’s time to make them worth the hype.

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  • Drsafadi

    Great video as we are introducing the same concepts in the GCC smarter living above and below ground. We are looking at smart applications, predictive systems, systems that can be accessed from anywhere any time to inform the consumer / user of his or her choices coupled with smarter decision-making options. The focus is less energy spent with life that is more energetic. Some of the intelligence we are evaluating is managing incident ahead of time, predictive decision in all aspect of daily life, Traffic, city and municipality element management of pump health checks, motor life expectancy and much more. While information gathering is rather critical, usage of this information is essential for intelligent actions.

  • RickH301

    Ah, more socialist porn! Give up your spacious yard, your privacy, your freedom from onerous regulation, and your personalty safety, not to mention the right to own firearms to defend yourself, and join utopia with the rest! Oh, and don't worry about the crime, the rapid spread of communicable disease, the rudeness, and the risk of terrorism. 

    But wait! We're going to make you "live with even less" energy and resources! Ah, the promise of the socialist utopia is here. Ooh, then can you tell me why, given all this wonder and creativity, there are huge areas of Los Angeles where the yuppies flee their jobs at 5PM because the gangs take over the street at dark? Or why major parts of New York City are off limits if you "aren't from here?" 
    It's a shame that, even with horrible tax burdens, New York City had to declare bankruptcy. Oh wait - they say - look at how many patents are produced in these cities! Alas, it's a huge lie - the corporate headquarters of these corporations are in major cities. Look at the pioneering work in computers by Cray Research - done in the hinterlands of Minnesota. Or IBM - done in bucolic upstate New York and the suburbs of Florida. 

    Cities only make sense if you're young and stupid, as I was once. Grow up, get a life, and quit stealing highway funds from the 95% of America that is not covered by stagnant concrete wastelands. Oh, didn't you know that the reason America's highways are in disrepair is that the funds have been used to prop up aging, inefficient subway networks with ever-increasing rates. 
    Let's start a discussion - this'll be fun! Let's bring taxes into the mix. I've been waiting for this :) 

    PS - Mayors want "more effective governance" without "long bureaucratic processes." People used to have that in Europe. It's called Kingdoms, Monarchies, Socialist/Progressive Government - you get the drift. The government wants more freedom to regulate you for your own good. 

  • Marty

    Cities are not a good idea - they are a reaction to over population.  We live in cities because we have to - agrarian (or better yet - hunter gatherer) lifestyles become impossible with >7billion walking apes on the planet.  Look at Google Earth - look anywhere on the planet at random and you will see artificial environments designed to feed cities. Most peoples role in cities is to enable others to fulfill on their roles.  It is self perpetuating and parasitic and denies our place as 1 of 1 million species on the planet. 
    We have become willing to accept shrinking freedoms.  Never mind political views or what "they" are trying to "do to" you. You are sitting in traffic, you can overhear your neighbours, you have to book in advance for a restaurant, you have allocated seating at the movies. Water has to be desalinated because there isn't enough. Tourist sites (to look at non-city environments!) are full of the people you were trying to leave behind. Any break in a city's supply chain and the system fails the occupants (e.g. New Orleans after Katrina).  We are against battery hens and high intensity animal husbandry, but we are selling the same level of living to ourselves. You can tech it up and put it on a smart phone to feel like we are in control, but what choice is there really.

  • rhkennerly

    Ah ha, Rick would have people driven of cities to work in the rural parts of the country they'd fled. Certainly worked for......the communists.

  • HeadPack

    Now how on earth did someone like you get on this site? Welcome anyway, to a place where you can learn something new, like discussing an issue without approaching it dogmatically.

  • whatbagley

    Looks like another person confusing socialism with communism. There, there; it will be OK. No one is trying to take your "freedoms." You stroke that pistol and go right back to bed, you!

  • RickH301

    In regards to "Everything is progressive/socialist" - there is a bit of truth to your statement. It came from exposure to people who fled the Soviet Union; they are very sensitive to any situation that denies them choice or freedom. Is my statement filled with hyperbole? Probably, and yet the only way cities can exist is by denying choices to their citizens. If you think it's a better lifestyle for you - great. I object to my tax dollars being used to force me into a large urban center, as the Governor of Maryland is trying to do now. Call it what you will, someone else is determining the lifestyle that's right for me. 

    In regards to the person who is giving the comment "You're an idiot" - I must refuse your kind gift, and return it to you in the spirit it was given. 

    Marinjsa, thank you for a positive response.

  • BoogerDude

    Hey! It's the guy who thinks everything is Socialist. What a depressing read after watching that video.

  • Marinjsa

     Thanks, Rick. Frankly, I do not want government regulating for my own good. I can do that just fine for myself!