How to Build a Smart City in Twenty Steps

Elizabeth Borneman


Fancy your own city? In the real world it’s not quite so simple as to find a bit of land and start construction, and yet municipalities are popping up around the world quicker than ever. How are these cities being built, and will they find the interest to populate them? The Guardian has summarized findings from reviewing urban planning projects around the world which have been summarized into a short, 20-step do-it-yourself guide to building a city.

How to Build A City Per the Guardian

Obviously finding a superb location for your new metropolis is ideal. Unfortunately, many of the most prime real estate spots are already taken, meaning you may have to settle for a desert or deserted island. Water is the second and perhaps most important step to building your own city- without water a city won’t be able to function. Thirdly, money is needed. Without a sustainable monetary flow throughout the building process you could end up with half a city and nowhere to go from there.

Songdo is a new South Korean "smart city" build from scratch on 1,500 acres of reclaimed land. Map from Songdo IBD.
Songdo is a new South Korean “smart city” build from scratch on 1,500 acres of reclaimed land. Map from Songdo IBD.

New cities also have to ensure that there will be a continued amount of income for the people who will live there. Making sure the city has the capacity for a wide variety of economic opportunities is essential for success. Pro tip: don’t tick off the locals by building where you’re not wanted or excluding people from living there. Many new urban developments become havens for the elite who can afford the exorbitant prices it takes to live there- however, a successful city needs a socially diverse population. When building your city, partner with reputable local organizations and pay your employees fairly. While maintaining good employment practices, build quickly to keep up with urban demand! Do what you can to attract a diverse population full of potential.

A city being built in the age of smart technology (aka a Smart City) not only needs blueprints; more so it needs a big picture plan for buildings, city-wide systems, transportation routes, and more. You need to plan for innovation; too many existing cities didn’t leave room for expansion or innovation and are feeling the pressure from that. For instance, imagine a city with a transportation network that renders private cars unnecessary. Think of the space that could be freed up! Plan for additional Wi-Fi, fiber optic and wireless networks, too.

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A new city has the same old problem- where do you put the trash? New cities are utilizing clever ways of disposal including underground storage spaces and smart technology to detect when trash needs to be picked up.

Consider the environment by building sustainably- part of being green means keeping lots of lovely green spaces for people to enjoy in addition to using sustainable materials during building! Besides parks and open green spaces a variety of cultural attractions like museums and music venues should be added to your city. Basically, make your city attractive and cool. If it doesn’t look different, why would anyone move there? You’ll also want to decide on a few ground rules for the new city’s population as being on the same page is the key to a smooth transition.

And, finally, don’t forget to think of a great new name for your city!

For more visit: How to build a city from scratch: the handy step-by-step DIY guide

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About the author
Elizabeth Borneman
My name is Elizabeth Borneman and I am a freelance writer, reader, and coffee drinker. I live on a small island in Alaska, which gives me plenty of time to fish, hike, kayak, and be inspired by nature. I enjoy writing about the natural world and find lots of ways to flex my creative muscles on the beach, in the forest, or down at the local coffee shop.