The Infrastructure the Next Generation of Cities Will Need

It will be technology that will enable “Cities 3.0” — the transformation of metropolitan centers into hubs of innovation and entrepreneurship.

by Bob Graves | July 28, 2014

Are we truly entering an era of “Cities 3.0”? Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is an advocate of that notion, and few elected officials are in a better position to look at cities from a broad, historical perspective than is Johnson, the new president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

He laid out that perspective in his inaugural speech as the conference’s president, describing how the first generation of cities was built around ports, rivers and transportation routes. Then came the Industrial Revolution and Cities 2.0. In addition to factory smokestacks, they had electricity, transportation systems and other modern services. In the new era of Cities 3.0, Johnson said, “the city is a hub of innovation, entrepreneurship and technology. It’s paperless, wireless and cashless.”

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Plenty of municipal leaders, of course, are working to make that vision a reality. This strategy, however, presents tremendous challenges from an infrastructure perspective because Cities 3.0 will be operating in the older centers of most metropolitan regions.

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