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Thu July 11, 2013

Join The Twitter Roundtable: What Makes A City 'Smart'?

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 2:10 pm

This year, the NPR Cities Project is covering the concept of "smart cities": how cities worldwide are experimenting with technology to solve all sorts of urban problems. Please join us as we tackle the issue of smart cities with a live Twitter chat on Thursday, July 11, from 11 a.m. to 12 noon EDT.

Policymakers hope implementing technological solutions to urban issues will help cities become more efficient, more user-friendly and more environmentally sustainable.

But are these cities smart? The creation and implementation of a new digital urban infrastructure also raises lots of questions. A smartphone may offer new opportunities for civic engagement, but will people who can't afford one be left behind? While camera networks may aid police in fighting crime, do they compromise individual privacy? Will the troves of social media and mobile phone data really reveal enough information about human behavior to help cities address global climate change?

In short, is the drive toward a new kind of "technopolis" a boondoggle or a boon for cities?

@NPRCities will host the Twitter chat, with NPR Cities Project editor Franklyn Cater (@franklyncater) moderating. Follow the hashtag #nprcities.

Four experts in the field will join us:

  • Alec Appelbaum (@alecappelbaum), freelance writer and visiting assistant professor at the Pratt Institute's Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development
  • Abhi Nemani (@abhinemani), co-director of Code for America, which has created fellowships for information technologists in cities around the country
  • John Tolva (@ChicagoCTO), chief technology officer for the City of Chicago and former director of citizenship and technology for IBM
  • Anthony Townsend (@anthonymobile), research director, Institute For The Future, research fellow at NYU's Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management and author of Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers and the Quest for a New Utopia
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