On 6th October our Property Group held a truly enlightening event discussing ‘Smart Cities’ at the London campus of Liverpool University.
Addressing first the question of what actually a smart city is, we then had a series of rapid-fire presentations from experienced speakers on different aspects of the concept.
Smart cities essentially refer to the use of technological solutions to ongoing urban planning questions. During the discussion we covered everything from internet-connected rubbish bins for public marketing research to drone technology for traffic management in expanding cities.
Crucially, we addressed the question of whether we actually want smart cities as a society. Security fears were raised over the vulnerabilities of an internet-of-things driven urban area, but we were also provided with reams of positive examples of how the use of smart-city technology can reduce crime, increase drinking water efficiency, manage journeys, ease congestion and provide a whole host of other practical solutions to age-old urban challenges.
Our speakers included Susan Emmett, Director, Residential Research from Savills, Julie McCann, Professor of Computer Systems at Imperial College London, Marianne Fredericks of the Planning and Transportation Committee at the City of London Corporation and Professor Joseph Spencer from the Electrical Engineering & Electronics department of Liverpool University.
After the presentations we had a questions and answers session, followed by drinks and networking. It was generally agreed that the concept of ‘smart cities’ is a positive one, that London is leading the way on, but that there remain obstacles and potential vulnerabilities that need to be carefully assessed at the same time.
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