The project explored the intersection between two big trends: increasing global urbanization plus accelerating advancement and democratization of technology.  Clearly, there are extraordinary opportunities emerging from these trends for innovation, governance, urban resilience and civil safety. There are also potential challenges and risks with the rapid adoption of these technologies at scale. The project analyzed the burgeoning field of “urban informatics,” such as with Smart Cities, to better contextualize how it enables governance and impacts a city’s stability.  Further, given the wide variety of societal factors within a given city, and in different cities, one cannot assume that applications of similar technologies will have the same effect universally.  Hence, this paper analyzed city case studies from across diverse regions and urban typologies, focusing on Seoul, Aleppo, Gaziantep and Bucharest.  The analysis used a variety of metrics, and occurred against the backdrop of the ongoing crises from the wars in Ukraine and Syria.  The team considered models from the U.S. military, including the GENETICS/ACE model developed for the client by a SIPA Capstone team in Spring ’20.   

Recommendations include: 

  • Analyze the technology, but holistically consider the people, policy and technology (PPT) together in context to better understand the city and its relationship to technology. 
  • Develop the GENETICS/ACE model further to show factor intersections in cities. 
  • Include technology in existing frameworks and in strategic and operational analyses of cities. 
  • Additional city case studies, particularly of those cities dealing with significant migration, including refugee crises.