Tuesday, 21 February 2012

'Thinking cities'

I came across this thought-provoking video, called 'Thinking Cities', on ReadWriteWeb - it provides a completely different but connected take on the last post about life in the East End of London in the first decades of the National Health Service.  It is the second in a series funded by Ericsson.  Here is the first:


The point made about City Mayors being the most important politicians, for better or worse, in terms of addressing most of the world's problems, echoes similar arguments made, from quite different perspectives, by commentators such as Ken Worpole and Umberto Eco: cities are likely to be the most important political entities of the future;  it seems clear that the 20th century trend towards ever-larger trans-national governmental entities, such as the UN or the EU, is slowing or even halting, not least as a result of the global banking crisis.  This situation creates both dangers and opportunities

The Stockholm 'connected' and energy-efficient housing project is interesting to me not because it embodies a particularly advanced set of technical specifications but because it is a project clearly led by the city council.  It's hard to see how a wholly or very largely privatised system of local governance would be likely to lead such a project, certainly not if it was aimed at anybody except the very rich.  You can't imagine Bovis making such a development in Mexico City or Nairobi, for example - it would be too risky for a company which after all, has no essential commitment to any particular local area.  Or am I being too cynical?

Interesting too that the 'thinking' projects that have produced these videos are sponsored by Ericsson.  Or perhaps not....

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