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Smart Cities

Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia

Anthony M. Townsend (Author, New York University)


An unflinching look at the aspiring city-builders of our smart, mobile, connected future.

From Beijing to Boston, cities are deploying smart technology—sensors embedded in streets and subways, Wi-Fi broadcast airports and green spaces—to address the basic challenges faced by massive, interconnected metropolitan centers. In Smart Cities, Anthony M. Townsend documents this emerging futuristic landscape while considering the motivations, aspirations, and shortcomings of the key actors—entrepreneurs, mayors, philanthropists, and software developers—at work in shaping the new urban frontier.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • October 2014
  • ISBN 978-0-393-34978-8
  • 5.5 × 8.3 in / 416 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“Townsend has collected fascinating stories of urban renewal and innovation from around the globe and packaged them into lessons that are neat and digestible” — Sarah Rothbard, Slate

“[A] timely and necessary guide to this age of the Franken-city.” — Daniel Brook, New York Times Book Review

“An ambitiously wide-ranging, admirably clear-eyed, and ultimately humanistic guidebook to the connected city.” — Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic and You May Also Like

“Today, it's not the height of the skyscrapers, but the depth of the code that drives the modern city. Anthony Townsend brilliantly frames the new forces shaping tomorrow's metropolises. Read Smart Cities and you’ll never look at a skyline or walk down a city block the same way again.” — Andrew Zolli, author of Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back

“Our cities are in the first act of an unprecedented technodrama. At stake is nothing less than the survival of our urban species. Combining technological sophistication, deep humanity, and an urban planner's sensitivity to the nuances of places, Smart Cities is an essential guide to understanding the technologies changing urban life.” — Andrew Blum, author of Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet

“[Smart Cities] will engage both advanced geeks and cyber-dolts.” — Catherine Tumber, Nation

“An entertaining history of urban planning’s visionaries and villains, the technological breakthroughs and the spectacular failures that brought us to this crossroads.” — Tim Smedley, New Scientist 

“Compelling…Townsend begins a conversation.” — Melanie Moses, Nature

“Anthony Townsend’s terrific book looks at the historic relationship of urban and industrial development to new technologies.” — Architecture Today 

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