The next great smart city will be in... Siberia?

Wed, 2013-08-14 06:10 -- Jesse Berst

As you may know, the Smart Cities Council is preparing Version 1.0 of its Readiness Guide for launch in fall 2013. In that handbook, we warn cities that technology is not an end in itself. Rather, technology should be in service to a city's larger goals.

So far, so good... except that most cities haven't decided what they want to be when they grow up. Few cities have a comprehensive vision of where they want to be in 20 or 30 years. Of those that have a long-term plan, many consist merely of traffic and land-use forecasts prepared in the backroom by city staffers.

In the race to be globally competitive, we think victory will go to those cities that create an inspiring long-term vision with input from all major stakeholders. That's why we wanted you to see the vision crafted for Krasnoyarsk. If they can envision a compelling urban future in the middle of Siberia, what's holding the rest of us back? -- Jesse Berst


A report in The Siberian Times comes right out with the Western stereotype of Siberia -- bone-cracking cold, Gulag prison camps, oil flares visible from space, bleak industrial cities and the most exotic train ride in the world.

Then it talks about how it has thrown off many of those old shackles and is gearing up for even more change thanks to a new generation of Siberians who envision a very different future, in particular for the city is Krasnoyarsk.

They have highlighted what they hope to accomplish in a new 96-page blueprint called 'Krasnoyarsk Foresight: Images of the Future 2030.'

According to the Times report, "The ambitious document sees Krasnoyarsk as 'a gateway for world investment and new technologies. It opens Siberia to the world, and the world to Siberia'. If exile was a past reality, connecting to the world is the future."

The blueprint suggests 'Krasnoyarsk will become a center of development and introduction of new technologies and practices, related to the life and work in harsh climatic conditions.  It further states: "The city should support the establishment of technology parks and prototyping complexes, R&D centers of large companies. It needs to develop science and education."

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Jesse Berst is the founding Chairman of the Smart Cities Council. Click to subscribe to SmartCitiesNow, the weekly newsletter highlighting smart city trends, technologies and techniques.