Anthony Townsend
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Planning

 

Dr. Anthony Townsend is Research Director at the Institute for the Future, an independent research organization which conducts long-range technology forecasts. His research focus is on the impact of new technology on cities and public institutions, and the role of technology in economic development. Recent projects he has directed recently address several inter-related topics: the impact of urban data on the poor, national innovation strategy for a major emerging economy, technology and restructuring of large public organizations, and the role of science and technology parks in economic development. Anthony is actively involved in policymaking and economic development organizations around the world. He testified at a United States Senate hearing on "Research Parks and Job Creation" on December 9, 2009, and serves on the advisory board of the International Association of Science Parks (www.iasp.ws). He has served on mayoral municipal broadband advisory boards in both New York City and San Francisco, and advises CIOs and economic development organizations in several global cities. Anthony holds a Ph.D. in urban and regional planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a master's in urban planning from New York University, and a B.A. in urban studies with a minor in physics from Rutgers University.

 

Semester Course
Spring 2014 URPL-GP.4611.001 Intelligent Cities: Technology, Policy and Planning

Global urbanization is driving demand for an estimated $40 trillion in infrastructure over the next two decades, and information technology spreading off the desktop and out of offices and homes into everyday objects. As these two trends collide, a broad range of stakeholders - the information technology industry, real estate developers, technology startups, citizens and civic leaders – are all looking for new opportunities to address both existing and emerging urban problems using “intelligent” systems. This course will cut through the thick hype around intelligent cities by discussing - what are intelligent cities really? Where, why and by whom are they being built? What are the intended and unintended potential consequences? What is the role of urban policy and planning in shaping their evolution? Students are expected to have some basic knowledge of fundamentals of urban planning. This is not a technology or engineering course – technical concepts will be explored during the lectures as needed to explain their significance in urban affairs.


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Spring 2014 URPL-GP.4611.001 Intelligent Cities: Technology, Policy and Planning

Global urbanization is driving demand for an estimated $40 trillion in infrastructure over the next two decades, and information technology spreading off the desktop and out of offices and homes into everyday objects. As these two trends collide, a broad range of stakeholders - the information technology industry, real estate developers, technology startups, citizens and civic leaders – are all looking for new opportunities to address both existing and emerging urban problems using “intelligent” systems. This course will cut through the thick hype around intelligent cities by discussing - what are intelligent cities really? Where, why and by whom are they being built? What are the intended and unintended potential consequences? What is the role of urban policy and planning in shaping their evolution? Students are expected to have some basic knowledge of fundamentals of urban planning. This is not a technology or engineering course – technical concepts will be explored during the lectures as needed to explain their significance in urban affairs.


Download Syllabus
Date Publication/Paper
2013

Anthony M. Townsend 2013. Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia W. W. Norton & Company
Abstract

An unflinching look at the aspiring city-builders of our smart, mobile, connected future.

We live in a world defined by urbanization and digital ubiquity, where mobile broadband connections outnumber fixed ones, machines dominate a new "internet of things," and more people live in cities than in the countryside. In Smart Cities, urbanist and technology expert Anthony Townsend takes a broad historical look at the forces that have shaped the planning and design of cities and information technologies from the rise of the great industrial cities of the nineteenth century to the present. A century ago, the telegraph and the mechanical tabulator were used to tame cities of millions. Today, cellular networks and cloud computing tie together the complex choreography of mega-regions of tens of millions of people.

In response, cities worldwide are deploying technology to address both the timeless challenges of government and the mounting problems posed by human settlements of previously unimaginable size and complexity. In Chicago, GPS sensors on snow plows feed a real-time "plow tracker" map that everyone can access. In Zaragoza, Spain, a "citizen card" can get you on the free city-wide Wi-Fi network, unlock a bike share, check a book out of the library, and pay for your bus ride home. In New York, a guerrilla group of citizen-scientists installed sensors in local sewers to alert you when stormwater runoff overwhelms the system, dumping waste into local waterways.

As technology barons, entrepreneurs, mayors, and an emerging vanguard of civic hackers are trying to shape this new frontier, Smart Cities considers the motivations, aspirations, and shortcomings of them all while offering a new civics to guide our efforts as we build the future together, one click at a time.

In the Press

02/19/2014
Big Data, Big Questions
Metropolis Magazine
01/13/2014
The Rise and Fall and Eventual Rise Again of the 'Smart City'
The Atlantic Cities
01/03/2014
Sunday Book Review: Smart Cities
The New York Times
12/19/2013
Are Smart Cities Empty Hype?
The Wall Street Journal
11/25/2013
Quest for a New Utopia
The Cairo Review of Global Affairs
11/06/2013
New York Nerds Sift Citi Bike Data to Solve Availability
Bloomberg
04/17/2013
The Shame of Boston's Wireless Woes [Commentary]
The Atlantic Cities
11/28/2012
Three new state commissions to overhaul NY State's emergency preparedness
Examiner
09/18/2012
Transportation and Tech Intersect as UN General Assembly Gridlock Hits NYC
WNYC Transportation Nation