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

From Beijing to Boston, cities are deploying smart technology—sensors embedded in streets and subways, Wi-Fi broadcast at airports and green spaces—to address the basic challenges faced by massive, interconnected metropolitan centers. Anthony M. Townsend documents this emerging futuristic landscape while considering the motivations, aspirations, and shortcomings of the key actors—entrepreneurs, mayors, philanthropists, and software developers—at work in shaping the new urban frontier.

The Book That Galvanized A Movement

Critical acclaim for SMART CITIES...

  • "[A] timely and necessary guide to this age of the Franken-city."

    The New York Times Book Review Daniel Brook
  • "Townsend has collected fascinating stories of urban renewal and innovation from around the globe and packaged them into lessons that are neat and digestible."

    Slate Sarah Rothbard
  • "[A]n "authoritative, information-packed must-read for urban policymakers."

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Buy, Read, Listen

SMART CITIES (original English edition) can be purchased in hardcover, paperback  and ebook editions from the following fine booksellers: AmazonAudible • Barnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreIndieBound  • Powell’sW.W. Norton. Also available in Chinese, Estonian, Korean, Russian and Taiwanese translations.

Read free excerpts. A number of free excerpts are published around the web. The Introduction is available at or as a Kindle free sample. Chapter 6 at Stanford Social Innovation Review on the smart phone as the world computer and at Planetizen on slum mapping in Kenya. Chapter 9 looks at the risks of smart cities,  bugs and brittle systems in smart cities (Design Observer) and  smart cities and urban surveillance (Salon).

An Interview With the Author

From the streets of New York City’s Meatpacking District beneath The High Line, Anthony Townsend speaks with a reporter from the Berlin-based magazine smart to define the key elements of smart cities.

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