Keith Williams took the floor at the Emirates Stadium in London to address wider societal issues emerging from the concept of SMART cities as part of the 2015 Leaf International Conference.
Now in its 15th year, LEAF International takes place from 14-16th October and aims to bring together senior decision makers from leading international architectural practices, contractors, developers, engineers and supplier partners to learn about the latest industry developments.
In a concise but thought provoking address, he set out a broad critique of the present urban condition, dissecting the principle issues of urban typology.
He observed that “…… the best cities have always evolved and adapted over time through a range of complex human intervention serving the needs of the res publica – the commonwealth, which has historically resulted in cities of a specific character and difference. Our technology provides the veins and arteries of the city to help it work better but common accepted practice also tends to homogenise particularly in the global age where one city can appear and function rather like any other irrespective of location, cultural heritage and climate…..If the concept of a smart city can contribute to a greater diversity and intelligence then all to the good, but we have to remember that technology is the servant of humankind and it should never be an end in itself. We should plan accordingly!”
He went on to suggest ways in which we might achieve a better balance between the way in which we inhabit our cities and the integration of technology within them, before joining fellow panellists in the ensuing debate.