Future-proof: How close are we to having smart cities?

As semiconductors and data continue to reshape our lives, smart infrastructure, where tech meets the material world, is rebuilding our environment - Jason Walsh asks what comes next?

“Smart technology isn’t an end in itself,” says Jeff Colley, editor of sustainable construction magazine Passive House Plus. “People get very obsessed with high-tech solutions as an easy solution and one that sounds great,” he said.Picture: Getty

When the computer revolution really started to pick up steam in the 1970s it was quite common to hear predictions of how central processing units (CPUs) would revolutionise and re-shape everything around us, from factories to buildings, and even the towns and cities that we lived in. The predictions were not quite wrong – robotics certainly transformed manufacturing, for example – but the time scale was slightly off.

The reality for most of us over ...