At the NPR Cities Project, we've spent much of the summer reading, breathing, reporting on urban innovation. From smartphone apps such as NextBus and StreetBump, to citywide surveillance camera networks, to 911 texting and NASA-style command and control centers for city agencies, we've been exploring how cities are using technology in the 21st century. It's a hot topic among urbanists everywhere.
There is no doubt that information technology is changing how we get around, how our governments work, and how we relate to the people in our neighborhoods. By 2050, the United Nations projects, almost 70 percent of people around the world will live in metropolitan areas. So lots of technologists are looking for solutions to urban puzzles with the hope that bigger, denser population centers of the future can also be more efficient and more pleasant places to live.
With these trends in mind, here is some of the year's big thinking about the intersection of our increasingly digitized and citified lives.