Smart Cities

Dr. Anthony Townsend is the author of SMART CITIES: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for A New Utopia (W.W. Norton, 2013)

The book met critical acclaim. Kirkus gave it a much-coveted Starred Review calling the book an “authoritative, information-packed must-read for urban policymakers.” Over at Slate, Sarah Rothbard succinctly sums up what I set out to do, writing, “Townsend has collected fascinating stories of urban renewal and innovation from around the globe and packaged them into lessons that are neat and digestible.” The New York Times Book Review’s Daniel Brook called it “[A] timely and necessary guide to this age of the Franken-city.”

Read free excerpts. A number of free excerpts are published around the web. The Introduction is available at or as a Kindle free sample. Chapter 1, which talks about the past, present and future of automated buildings through examples from London, the US, and South Koreas is at Architizer. Chapter 5 on Foursquare, Christopher Alexander’s pattern language and urban lattices is at BoingBoing. Chapter 6 at Stanford Social Innovation Review on the smart phone as the world computer and at Planetizen on slum mapping in Kenya. Chapter 9 looks at the risks of smart cities,  bugs and brittle systems in smart cities (Design Observer) and  smart cities and urban surveillance (Salon).

SMART CITIES can be purchased in hardcover, paperback  and ebook editions from the following fine booksellers: AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreIndieBound  • Powell’sW.W. Norton. Also available in Chinese, Estonian, and Taiwanese translations.

A quick explanation. Here, I explained for SMART Magazine about the basic definition of smart cities and introduce the idea of digital master planning.

Looking for more information? Elsewhere on this site, you’ll find video interviews and talks where I discuss the issues and concerns in SMART CITIES. For more about my consulting work with government, industry, and social sector organizations head over to Bits and Atoms, my consultancy.