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What's a Smartphone City If You Don't Have a Smartphone?

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, April 20 2011

"The Future of Cities, Information, and Inclusion" map from the Institute for the Future.

Technology Review's Erica Naone warns that if the future of urban life is data-driven digital one, there's a risk that poor people get left behind:

In particular, [Institute for the Future research director Anthony] Townsend wants city planners to make sure that everyone can get access to devices that are being used to track conditions and that everyone understands and can use the information collected. To that end, he suggests that rather than using an iPhone app to collect data and deliver updates, cities could gather information from all mobile phones, including the simpler "feature" phones that are still more common. Most important, he notes, cities need to include disadvantaged people in the design of such data-collection efforts. Projects that attempt to impose themselves on the poor often fail, he observes, while those that are designed by or in coöperation with people from underprivileged communities are more likely to work.

(via Michael Slaby)