Journalist, editor and producer covering society, business, architecture, tourism, rural regeneration, conservation. I work/have worked for The Guardian, Telegraph, Times, Financial Times, Conde Nast Traveller, Business Life, Business Insider, Reader's Digest, Icon Films and the BBC. I also provide consultancy services to international brands.
All cities struggle to manage water, power, transport, waste and pollution, and urban populations are said to be growing at the rate of 10,000 people an hour. So the future lies with ‘smart’ cities that can use new technology to generate and process data, connecting infrastructure and people into an intelligent urban system.
By increasing efficiency and harnessing and managing every available resource, from solar energy to local entrepreneurs, smart cities can be the springboards to a bright, innovative future.
With 75 per cent of the world’s 9.6 billion people forecast to live in cities by 2050, tackling the problems of global urbanisation is becoming a growth industry. In the UK, more than 32,000 enterprises are already working in a sector worth £16bn. By 2020, the sector could be worth more than £250bn a year globally.
The keyword here is collaboration: people, like systems, work best when connected.
I’ll endeavour to put together a research trail for this article (for Business Life) which goes on to take a look at exciting and innovative work by some great thinkers in the fields of architecture, energy, agriculture and transport. Thanks to everyone who took time to share their insights, particularly Josef Hargrave at Arup who talked about buildings with brains. Almost everyone agrees that not only will more of us live in cities, we’ll live in cities within cities – vertical ecosystems of unprecedented height. That massive shift in how we live has been made possible by the invention of newer, stronger, lighter elevator rope which, unlike steel cables, is capable of hauling us up to heights of 1000m. The future’s no place for vertigo sufferers.