The urban future will play an important role in making the world more sustainable
Cities in developing countries have to cope with rapid urbanization and city growth. Major challenges will be shortages of infrastructure, energy and water – and the provision of food, work, healthcare and education.
Urban performance of existing cities – mostly in the West – will depend not only on the city’s endowment of hard infrastructure (‘physical capital’), but also, and increasingly so, on the availability and quality of knowledge communication and social infrastructure (‘intellectual and social capital’).
The concept of the ‘smart city’ has been introduced as a strategic device to encompass urban development in a common framework and to highlight the growing importance of ICT, social and environmental capital. Without an infrastructure enhanced by digital technology it will be very hard to provide existing cities and the world’s newly urbanized population with enough food, transport, electricity and water.