Popular literature and many high-tech corporations tout “intelligent” and “smart” cities, referring to the wizardry of pervasive electronic connections. Yet wired cities are only the trappings of smartness; they sometimes amount merely to dressing a pauper in prince’s clothing. To achieve the real promise of smart cities – that is to create the conditions of continuous learning and innovation that have led cities like Seattle, Ahmedabad and Curitiba to keep pace with global challenges – we need to understand what is beneath the surface of smart and connected places. “Clouds of trust” (civic connections of confidence) turn out to be an important key. So does “tissue of remembering” (institutional memory). Both are forms of social capital that cities build up as they go about learning from one another, as they are doing by the thousands around the globe.
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