Cities in general are more than a pure concentration of dwellings or workplaces. Cities have economies of scale. Positive parameters, such as wages, patients and hospitals, scale at a ratio of 1.5 for a doubling of city size. Negative parameters such as crime and some diseases also tend to follow the same rule – if the infrastructure of the city can manage the scale.
Historically, cities have had three important characteristics that set them apart from other forms of human dwelling:
- Places of trade – built around businesses and/or industries,
with a social and commercial centre. Location plays a strong role.
- Resilient – many cities have survived and even regenerated after war and disaster. Again, the role of physical location is very important.
- Evolutionary – cities adopt and adapt to social and technological changes, sometimes over thousands of years. Technologies (and the companies who provide solutions) have tiny lifespans in comparison.
A Smart Sustainable City is a city that:
“Meets the needs of its present inhabitants without compromising the ability for other people or future generations to meet their needs, and does not exceed local or planetary environmental limitations and where this is supported by ICT”