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Lecture: Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia

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The Princeton Mellon Forum for Research on the Urban Environment

Fall 2014 Lectures

Tuesday October 21 at 3 p.m.
Lewis Library 117

Anthony Townsend
Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia


Today, more people live in cities than in the countryside; mobile broadband connections outnumber fixed ones; and machines outnumber people on a new Internet of Things. In this era of mass urbanization and technological ubiquity, what happens when computers take over the city? Urban planning expert Anthony Townsend explores this question in Smart Cities, a broad look at the people and historical forces that have transformed the design of cities and information technologies. From the great industrial metropolises of the nineteenth century to today’s sprawling megacities, wave after wave of new technologies have been invented to address the proliferating challenges posed by human settlements of ever-greater size and complexity. As a new generation of technology barons, entrepreneurs, mayors, and civic coders try to shape our future, Smart Cities explores their motivations, aspirations, and shortcomings, offering a new civics for building communities: together, one click at a time.

Please join ENV 305 on October 21 at 3:00pm in Lewis 117 for a session of Meet the Author: Anthony Townsend. Townsend is the author of Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia (Norton: 2013). He is a Senior Research Scientist at NYU’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management. He has also been Research Director at the Institute for the Future, an independent futures and trend research group based in Silicon Valley. His current projects are Re-Programming Mobility, an effort to develop a set of alternative futures scenarios about the impacts of new information and communication technologies on mobility, land use, and transportation planning and Cities of Data, which tracks the flows of funding, talent, data, and ideas into the field of urban studies, and assesses their impact on local government and the role of citizens.

If you plan to attend, please email Deborah Popper at dpopper@princeton.edu.

For more information, visit the Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities website.