What Makes a City Smart?
September 15, 2014
Everyone wants to live in a smart place. But the magic mix that draws people in is composed of a lot of different dynamics coming together all at once, according to the National Geographic Channel’s Smart Cities program.
“A city needs a heart and soul—typically the center, where people congregate for work and leisure. Smart cities are well-connected locally and internationally, have a sustainable lifestyle, and are places where people come first,” says Ian MacFarlane, consultant for the program.
National Geographic’s Traveler magazine recently compiled a list of the 50 top attributes that make for a smart city, naming cities that exemplify each factor along the way. Of course, the authors were thinking of travel destinations when they put the list together, but many items on their list matched attributes that make for a top place to live, too. Here are a few that resonated with the U.S. real estate industry:
- Support for local artisans. Example: Paducah, Ky. was recently named a UNESCO City of Crafts and Folk Art for its promotion of its fiber arts assets and its attempts to attract creative types to its LowerTown Arts District.
- Dreamers who foster innovation. Example: San Francisco is a city that has more than its fair share of tech start-ups and their eager investors.
- Urban farming. Example: Manhattan was ahead of the curve when Bell Book & Candle started growing greens in aeroponic rooftop gardens many years ago.
- High-tech data streams. Example: Chattanooga, Tenn. got the nickname of “Gig City” for its lightning-fast Internet.
The magazine included 47 other examples from around the world of how cities are demonstrating the types of intelligence that delight travelers and residents alike in the upcoming issue.
Source: “The 2014 Traveler 50: World's Smartest Cities,” National Geographic’s Traveler magazine (October 2014 issue).
Updated: February 19, 2019