Wednesday, February 10th, 2010 at 12:07pm

Cisco plans to build smart cities

Posted by Jordan Erickson

Cisco, Inc. is planning on spearheading the idea of building “smart cities” from the ground up, centered around energy efficiency and high-tech citizen communication. With video phones built into walls in every building and home, traffic lights that talk universally to each other to help traffic flow, and smart water faucets, it will supposedly emit only 1/3 of the greenhouse gases as equivalent populated cities of around 300,000.

From the article: “When buildings, power lines, gas lines, roadways, cell phones, residential systems, and so on are able to talk to one another, that information can expose patterns of waste and ways to avoid it.”

This is a definite gaze into a possible future, given the idea turns into a practical reality and doesn’t manifest into mere vapor, especially after construction. It looks like Cisco is going full speed ahead with their idea, with their first city, named “New Songdo” set to finish in 2015.

There are concerns that Cisco would be a natural monopoly in that they get a small slice of every transaction that happens in the city. Kind of a “Cisco tax”, if you will.

From the article: “Utilities are often natural monopolies, profiting endlessly from captive markets. Smart cities hold a similar fascination for Cisco, as places where basic services such as water or power might be repackaged as value-added products, throwing off lucrative consulting contracts essentially forever.”

Cisco and Gale plan on standardizing everything possible in the city, and then using it as a template for cities they build in the future across the globe. Individuality would be put on the back burner, for the sake of convenience and standardization. In my very humble opinion, a society who is surrounded by template houses and template trees will rub off and create template people. If our collective sense of cultural individuality in the future is less than what it already is today, this project might just be a recipe for disaster. Human nature is being content knowing that you are different than the person next door. The balance of sense of self and community must be nurtured.

From the article: “It would be one thing if New Songdo were a one-off experiment, but Gale has assembled his dream team of architects and technologists with an eye toward cracking the code of urbanism itself. “There’s a pattern here, repeatable,” he tells me. He won’t be content until he can standardize and mass-produce his cities in half the time for China.”

http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/142/the-new-new-urbanism.html

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