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What impact has technology had on urban development?

The cities of Amsterdam and Singapore provide contrasting models for how smart cities could be developed in the future

What role has technology played in urban development and the implications for real estate?

Professor Anupam Nanda, Director of the Centre for Intelligent Places, draws on the wider idea of ‘smart’ or ‘intelligent’ cities.

This has become a popular concept across the developed world and is a focus for both academic and professional research.

A paper by Hafedh Chourabi and others — ‘Understanding Smart Cities: An Integrative Framework’ — provides a framework for evaluating the success of smart city strategies.

They emphasise that an effective smart city strategy needs to be an integrative framework involving the application of new technology, organisational management and coherent policy.

Important roles in smart cities

Within this framework important roles are also played by:

  • Accountable and transparent governance
  • Involvement of people and communities
  • Economic competitiveness and productivity
  • Environmental sustainability
  • ICT infrastructure
Above: the red dot on the left map is the approx. location of Singapore; the red dot on the right map is the approx. location of Amsterdam.

Contrasting city models

Amsterdam and Singapore provide contrasting models for how smart cities could be developed in the future. Whilst they both have an ‘integrative framework’ of technology, management and policy, they tend to give different weight to the other factors listed above.

Singapore’s approach has been more ‘top-down’ than Amsterdam’s, with the government leading and organising many of the initiatives.

Amsterdam has placed more emphasis on community-based activity and ‘bottom-up’ initiatives.

You can see how each city has approached the development using Amsterdam Smart City website and Smart Nation Singapore website.

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