Muncie, Indiana thrived during a time in which industry was king. It has since suffered economically through a period of deindustrialization. In losing its strong industrial power, it also lost sight of its identity and vision. Therefore, could developing a smart city initiative be the answer to Muncie’s crisis of vision?
Muncie is poised for a rebirth, or a renaissance, centered around an information economy. As a society we have moved into an era where data and information are now king. There are other cities worldwide with a a dilemma similar to Muncie. They are faced with the question do we innovate or further push our city into economic turmoil?
It is clear that across the globe there are daunting challenges of all types. For example:
Over the period up to 2050 the demand for energy is expected to increase by 80%, for water by 50%, and for agricultural land by 10%.By 2050 85% of all energy is expected to be generated using fossil fuels, leading to a 70% increase in CO2 emissions(Ding, Graafland, & Lu, 2015).
Through the use of technology, and the movement of information, we have the opportunity to anticipate and reduce the problems facing cities in the 21st century. Specifically, it is through the utilization of data analytics or Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Information and Communication Technology (ICT), which enable the development of more efficient urban development and management.
Cities who utilize analytics and implement IoT and ICT initiatives are referred to as smart cities. Yet, the power of smart cities is held by the people who build them. It is the coalitions that form to support these initiatives who truly have the power to drive change (Ding, Graafland, & Lu, 2015, Pg. 367). Smart cities might be metropoles where data flourishes, but it takes humans to give meaning to data in the form of information and knowledge.
We have entered an era of Information Renaissance and Muncie now has a choice to make. Will they continue to wait for the industry of a past era to return? Or will they seize this opportunity to become a leader in innovation and information?
Ding, W., Graafland, A., & Lu, A. (2015). Cities in Transition: Power, Environment, Society. Rotterdam: NAI010.