Smart Cities and Artificial Intelligence
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Smart Cities and Artificial Intelligence

Convergent Systems for Planning, Design, and Operations

Christopher Grant Kirwan, Fu Zhiyong

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eBook - ePub

Smart Cities and Artificial Intelligence

Convergent Systems for Planning, Design, and Operations

Christopher Grant Kirwan, Fu Zhiyong

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About This Book

Smart Cities and Artificial Intelligence offers a comprehensive view of how cities are evolving as smart ecosystems through the convergence of technologies incorporating machine learning and neural network capabilities, geospatial intelligence, data analytics and visualization, sensors, and smart connected objects. These recent advances in AI move us closer to developing urban operating systems that simulate human, machine, and environmental patterns from transportation infrastructure to communication networks. Exploring cities as real-time, living, dynamic systems, and providing tools and formats including generative design and living lab models that support cities to become self-regulating, this book provides readers with a conceptual and practical knowledge base to grasp and apply the key principles required in the planning, design, and operations of smart cities.

Smart Cities and Artificial Intelligence brings a multidisciplinary, integrated approach, examining how the digital and physical worlds are converging, and how a new combination of human and machine intelligence is transforming the experience of the urban environment. It presents a fresh holistic understanding of smart cities through an interconnected stream of theory, planning and design methodologies, system architecture, and the application of smart city functions, with the ultimate purpose of making cities more liveable, sustainable, and self-sufficient.

  • Explores concepts in smart city design and development and the transformation of cities through the convergence of human, machine, and natural systems enabled by Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Includes numerous diagrams to illustrate and explain complex smart city systems and solutions
  • Features diverse smart city examples and initiatives from around the globe

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Chapter 1

Evolution of cities/technologies


Cities around the world each have their unique historical, geographic and socio-economic profile. This combination, referred to as city DNA, influences how each city will evolve from both an urbanistic and technological point of view. The ability for a city to adopt technology depends on the initial state or Net Present Potential of the city based on its DNA. To explain the Net Present Potential, the concept of the “initial value problem,” also called a Cauchy problem as borrowed from physics, is applied to the evolution of technologies for the purpose of developing benchmarks to understand how each city will evolve over time. In this regard, each city must fully understand and leverage its unique resources and characteristics to develop the appropriate strategies and solutions, from Leapfrog to Acceleration, for how technology will enable the city to achieve an optimal state. For nature, the optimal state is homeostasis, or balance, for humankind it is actualization or well-being and for technology it is efficiency or optimization. Convergence theory is introduced to underline the process of how cities are transforming as a human-biological-technological amalgamation and that this is occurring at different rates and different qualities of cities around the world. The ultimate convergence is the fusion of human and machine intelligence to establish a higher collective intelligence that self-operates the sustainable smart city.


Smart City; Artificial Intelligence; Convergence; Evolution of Cities; City DNA; Integration; Adaptation; Leapfrog; Accelerationism; Bio-technical Determinism; Convergence Evolution

1.1. Overview of smart city concept and context

“Smart city” is now the popular concept driving cities around the world to a new level of technology innovation and quality of life enhancement while simultaneously a term being co-opted for the purpose of attracting investment and stimulating new economic opportunities. This latter purpose is a critical part of the establishment of a sustainable business ecosystem that can support the requirements of the development of a smart city and the next generation of urban growth. Investment is a necessary, but not sufficient, precondition for establishing a smart city. The determination of what is required to make a city smart originates in the unique characteristics of each individual city: its geographic location, physical composition, inhabitants, workforce, government structure and policies. The term “city DNA” is used in this book to express this complex composition specific to each city.
Over the last several years as the definition of smart city has emerged, numerous research initiatives, technical studies and reports have been published to create a coherent etymological framework and taxonomy of smart cities. The book Understanding Smart Cities: A Tool for Smart Government or an Industrial Trick? ( Anthopoulos, 2017 ) explains the evolution of the concepts and terminology of smart cities, beginning with the earliest references to digital cities beginning in the 1990s. Since then, multiple interpretations of smart cities are fashioned based on the stages of technological advancements including the Internet of things (IoT), smartphones and various tech fads that are codependent in the sense of establishing a new language representing market-driven innovation. “Smart city” discourse initiated around the requirements of ICT to address urban conditions and adapt to local needs, and has been continuously evolving and converging into more complex schematic representations.
In tracing the etymology of the term smart cities through different incarnations, we see that the way we use language to shape and style our social reality obscures the more significant reality of the merging of the physical and digital realms, the convergence of technology and everything else as an evolutionary process. It may be right under our noses, but the scent is elusive. Some true aspect of smart cities is masked by our linguistic comprehension of it. In defining things, much perspective is gained but something is lost in translation; this is akin to the concept of leaky abstractions in programming. This book points to the process of convergence (beyond words) as the key to understanding the evolution of smart cities and paths to adoption.
The importance of understanding the evolutionary process of how cities adopt and integrate technologies to transform the nature of the city is critical within the context of determining how and why technology is best utilized to achieve the goals and requirements of each city to remain competitive and cooperative within the global landscape. As introduced in the previous chapter, the convergence theory applied to society in the context of smart cities describes the nature of all systems to develop parallel or similar traits when provided the same resources, opportunities and industrial or technological systems. This deterministic view of the evolution of cities and societies reinforces the hypothesis that all cities will arrive at a similar stage of technological development if presented with the same technological advancements, leading to the lessening of the disparity between smart cities versus those that are less developed. However, this theory presupposes that cities are similar in terms of their initial starting point, which we elaborate further in this chapter and define as the Net Present Potential.
To determine the potential for cities to achieve being defined as a smart city, a major consideration is the historic context of development. It is this criterion that differentiates the unique smart city strategy and implementation plan that is required to achieve the goals of what is “smart.” Around the world, the diverse types of cities and their stage of development, from historical cities to new planned cities, influence which direction the smart city development will take its course. This diversity has made it challenging for professionals and those leading the development of smart cities to agree upon an established language and approach. To solve this issue, initiatives are taking place internationally by diverse stakeholders and professionals to develop a universal language including the establishment of ISO standards and best practices that will eventually govern the development of smart cities.
Technology is evolving in teleonomic (undirected) and teleological (directed) ways and converging on AI-driven, autonomous, self-regulating systems. Likewise, our societies and cities evolve in similar ways and by definition are “self-organizing” given that no one person is omniscient. The ultimate goal is for Artificial Intelligence (AI) to assist in the self-regulation of cities as living systems. If we think of traditional forms of city governance like the process of triage, then self-regulating smart cities use AI and machine learning to monitor systems in real time and anticipate problems, thereby saving everyone with fewer resources. Technology has had a clear “automation” function since the industrial revolution and the assembly line was born. In the 21st century, automation is eliminating the final sectors of physical labor and human work is increasingly abstract. The autonomization of smart cities therefore recognizes the imperative to serve the needs of the people who make it up.
“A city is a system of systems with a unique history and set in a specific environmental and societal context. In order for it to flourish, all the key city actors need to work together, utilizing all of their resources, to overcome the challenges and grasp the opportunities that the city faces. The “smartness” of a city describes its ability to bring together all its resources, to effectively and seamlessly achieve the goals and fulfil the purposes it has set itself.”
ISO/IEC 2015.
As cities developed over many centuries, the physical, socioeconomic configuration has transformed in some cases drastically, while in others the form of cities has expanded in a linear progression that has reflected the organic growth of the city as a direct response to population increase and the need for expanded land areas. In the recent TV documentary series Ancient Invisible Cities (BBC Two, 2018), Istanbul is explored for its reconfigurations over the past 2000 years from Roman outpost, to the seat of the Ottoman Turk empire, from Pagan to Roman to Christian to Islamic to today's more secular multicultural city. As explained through digital models and 3D visualization, including Virtual Reality (VR), these massive transformations, as a result of shifts of empires, wars and conquests, are expressed in the complex strata of urban archeology architects define as palimpsest. Meaning the layers of architectural formal language written over time, in this case representing the physical manifestation of Istanbul's evolution from ancient to modern times as a gateway between the East and the West.
In Section 1.3 we develop our concept of six dimensions of the city, which are both layered on top of and throughout each other, culminating in a seamless continuum. These dimensions are based on the fact that the “first distinctive characteristic of smart cities is the central role of te...

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