Cities are difficult things. Building the infrastructure needed to support ever-increasing numbers of human beings in limited space, but with a growing quality of life, is a challenge. We've been through iterations of this over the centuries, from the introduction of police forces, to street lighting, to sewers and public transport.
Is an open data system the next big infrastructure requirement? And can our public bodies rise to the challenge?
That's the base argument of a fascinating post by Greg Hadfield about the future of our cities:
It is lack of data that will limit our ambitions. It is a dearth of data that risks keeping our cities in the slow lane to the future.
In a post-digital era – when the differentiation between analogue and digital, between “real” and “virtual”, will finally be blurred beyond relevance – we will live in the age of data.
Even now, data is everywhere, all the time. It defines, describes and determines the world we live in.
The more data that is released – without strings attached, in machine-readable and non-proprietary “open” formats – the more likely it is that businesses and developers will use it to build the applications and services that world-class cities need.