In focus: Smart cities

How do people, assets and information travel around our cities? The way in which urban landscapes are now designed, function and influence the behaviour of citizens has evolved greatly in recent years...

In this month’s In focus series we will assess the rise of ‘smart cities’ and how they are transforming the way we live, through a greater emphasis on inclusivity, sustainability and the use of data to inform decisions. A nimble breed of start-ups are offering alternatives in the world of transport, while the democratisation of urban planning – made possible by a host of new platforms – means that more people than ever before are able to exert influence over how our cities function.

In focus: The future of travel

If there are any issues in the world of travel that you'd like to see explored, let us know – you could choose our next area of focus. For now, welcome to the world of smart cities...

Will cities of the future have free public transport?

Nothing quite reduces Christmas cheer like a New Year’s price increase on public transport systems across the UK. But while fares increase in the UK, for some cities there will never be a fare increase because public transport is completely free. But will this become the trend of the future for cities around the world?

How Studio Roosegaarde is innovating architecture

Daan Roosegaarde has always sought to explore the connections between art, people, technology and space. Alongside his design studio, the team work avidly to create some of the world's most beautiful and innovative ideas in architecture and travel. Here's a look at some of our favourite of their creations...

Could the Mall of the World be the first indoor city?

We all love a good shopping spree, but the experience is about to be utterly transformed... Enter the Mall of the World – a shopping district so huge, it has the potential to be the first ever indoor city. 

How social media is enabling cities to adapt to climate change

Climate change has been a looming shadow for years, a challenge that many communities haven’t had the resources to fully address. But municipal governments are starting to find that with crowd-sourced data, the reach of social media, and a digitally-savvy population, it’s possible for cities to predict and respond to severe weather with much more agility. The times - and weather - are changing, and so are our responses...

Tackling the traffic: How Austin is innovating in the fight against congestion

In the past, big city planning methods for coping with increasing volumes of traffic have been something akin to the medical equivalent of applying a bandage to a haemorrhaging wound...

Phone home: Top 5 apps for getting around the city

For the Google generation, the way we navigate our towns has transformed. A click of a smartphone, and suddenly we find ourselves exactly where we want to be. How on earth did we ever live without them?  Here's five amazing apps that will make you feel superhuman when traveling around the city.

How crowdsourcing is making our cities more sustainable

Looking around at modern cities, it can be hard to tell whether they’ve embraced the need to for efficient, clean, and data-driven development, or whether we are all still at the beginning of a long road...

5 ways city driving is changing for good

In the UK, statistics keep on showing us that driving is still the most popular way to get around. Thankfully, since 1990, carbon emissions have significantly shot down; but there's still a long way to go. Here's how five major travel innovations are pulling up their socks and changing city driving for the better.

Ticketless transit: Getting around the city with just your phone

Forget paper money and plastic smartcards, the future of travel will see us rely on our smartphones to get around. So, how are the world's most forward thinking cities making this a reality?

How will big data impact the future of our cities?

As our cities look to become smarter and better serve those who inhabit them, there’s a growing movement towards the sharing data, acceleration of innovation and removal of barriers to change within metropolitan areas...

Is Google taking control of city living?

From wearable technology and directions to venues, to network technology for connected living spaces, it seems Google is taking on more and more aspects of city living...

Is car-sharing the future of London’s transport?

Our cities are congested and air pollution rates are the highest ever. Four of the top 25 most congested cities in Europe and North America are in the UK – namely Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester and London. The need for alternative transport is urgent and yet car ownership is still on the rise, with a third of households owining two cars. 

Through the looking glass: Could augmented reality reshape our cities?

With wearable technology such as Google Glass soaring to sky heights, it seems that our future generations may be seeing the world in a whole new light... 

Have smart phones rewritten the Green Cross Code?

There is rightly an increasing desire to ensure that our cities are accessible to all. For many simply travelling around a town center on foot can pose a multitude of problems...

On your bike: Five amazing cycling innovations

Cycling mania has experienced a renaissance over the past decade, with an average cycle mileage in the UK up by 20% over the last 15 years. (That's over five billion kms!). While all across the world cities are quickly becoming more cycling friendly and a raft of new technology is making it easier than ever to get around on two wheels...

Cities get inventive in the fight against over-population

With forecasts warning that by 2050 the earth could have a population nearing nine billion, there's an urgent need for us to become more self-sufficient. All over the world, cities are trying out new ways to fight back the inevitability of over-population...

How smart citizen data is being used to shape the future of our cities

A new breed of start-ups are enabling citizens to influence planning decisions made in their neighbourhoods, as smart cities look to more effectively cater for the needs of those who reside in them...

How a desire to go green influenced inner-city highways

As we strive to make the our cities greener, with innovations with solar panel technology andvertical gardens – one major apex in carbon emissions naturally, are our roadways. So how exactly can we revolutionise a system that has been in place since the era of the Romans? 

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