(Smart Cities, Open Cities).

In 1978, there were only three megacities of more than 10 million. Now, half of the world population lives in one of the twenty-four major cities of the world. In ten years, we probably will have over thirty mega-cities. The new ones will all be located in Asia and Africa.

Integration of services

The challenge is to manage the quality of life of citizens on a human scale, at the practical level of daily services. This means integrating different levels of services according to the different space-time-information dimensions (chapter 0, no. 1) :

  1. Transport services : the citizen on foot, by bicycle, by car, or by metro.
  2. Public services : sewers, aqueduct, lighting. Electricity, gas, etc.
  3. Communication services : telephone, Internet, participatory Web, Wi-Fi, crisis monitoring (police and firefighter), administrative calendars, etc.
  4. Digital citizenship services : geo-referenced databases and interactive personalized administrative links.
  5. Animation services : pedestrian streets, interactive urban furniture, urban agriculture, facade media, festivals and commemorative ceremonies, etc.

The largest cities are
(Pocket World in Figures, The Economist, 2014) :

Tokyo 38 millions Mexico 23 millions
Delhi 29 “ New York 22 “
Shanghai 26 “ Sao Paulo 22 “
Mumbai 23 “ Beijing 20 “

Cities whose population will explode by 2015-2020
(The Economist)

Ouagadougou (Bu) x 6.73% Dar es Salaam (Ta) x 5.12%
Niamey (Ni) x 5.74% Antanarive (Ma) x 4.94%
Kampala (Or) x 5.68% Mogadishiu (So) x 4.71%
Adden (Ye) x 5.14% Lusaka (Za) x 4.77%


For millennia, humans have developed trade relations (trade in pieces of amber dates from 10 000 BC). One of the first smart city projects was probably the Tower of Babel :

Pieter Bruegel

It was followed by the Silk Road and the international trade in spices and the tea. These trade routes developed around the first city-states. Today, all world trade is organized around a network of megacities. The global network of information flows and economic flows now uses cities as its nerve centers.

The planet is now divided into three main zones of economic influence, with Tokyo, London and New York as the centers. The planet’s economic activities operate without stop 365/7/24 :

Jean-Christophe Victor, Underneath the maps, 2005

Another (American) analysis reaches the same conclusions :

The technical features of a smart city

  • With high-speed broadband network : a city’s nervous system is based on a new form of electrification similar to but more interactive than that which took place at the beginning of the last century.
  • Management of electricity requires a smart grid and optical fiber that reaches the home or workplace.
  • Networks for mobile devices provide everybody with Web access and Wi-Fi.
  • A multimodal transport system.
  • The use of smart cards and geolocation to provide people with a wide range of digital services, with growing access to contactless payments (chapter 4, no 11).
  • A municipal control room for the integration of services (police, fire, ambulance, hydro, health, etc.)

The operations and implementation center of the RIO municipality :

Consult the theses of Richard Florida that rely on the three Ts :
Technology, Talent and Tolerance.

See also the annual Smart Cities Conference, as well as presentations of large commercial enterprises in this field. For example, the American Group (Anatomy of a Smart City), thinks there are six smart areas :

  • Smart living : culture and education ;
  • Smart environment : resource management ;
  • Smart government : citizen participation ;
  • Smart people : accountability ;
  • Smart mobility : transportation and ICT ;
  • Smart economy : entrepreneurship.

A smart city as public space :