A smart city strengthens liveability and centralizes the citizen

We are on the threshold of a new era. The increasing influence of technology and digitization means that we have to rethink about which city we want. Just like during the industrial revolution. We have to do that now, because this is the moment when the effects of that development can still be folded.

The core of planning, spatial planning, urban design and landscape architecture is making spatial choices. All those choices together determine what our villages, towns, provinces and our country look like. Especially in the Netherlands.

Like recently, in the middle of the nineteenth century when we adapted the spatial layout to the requirements and possibilities of that time. In the short time of fifty years, The Netherlands changed radically. The construction of new infrastructure and communication networks changed the way cities and villages function and their position concerning each other were given a new meaning. Sometimes planned with the best intentions, sometimes opportunistic, sometimes driven by circumstances and sometimes coincidentally by a combination of circumstances. And contrary to what is often thought, the Dutch were then fully aware of the changing times and the new world that emerged.

We are currently at such a point in history again. Just like during the nineteenth century, the Netherlands is being reinvented, and we like to be in control of this new age. The rapidly emerging digitization, data-driven work and the internet have had a major influence on almost all facets of economic, social and private life. The writers of this book do not want to be dragged along by that development. We are pleading for a stance in which politicians and policymakers, planners and designers consciously manage to steer the rapidly digitizing world in the right direction. And determine where we put the speck on our horizon.

Considering how the internet has matured over time and already made such an impact that we have to ask ourselves how we deal with the positive and negative consequences of the digital age for space and society. To determine together which village, which city, which region, which Netherlands, which Europe and which world we want. What role cities and villages play in it and what we don’t want. This chapter is about that.

This is a pre-publication of the book “A smart city, this is how you do it – Connected, flexible and meaningful: make the real future city”. With theory in the form of essays. And few practical examples of how our regions, cities and villages have already changed. Want to read more? Go to this page to order the book for free.

The original version of the book is in Dutch, click here to order the original edition. From this book is made an English summary. In the English version, we focus on trends.