Not very smart to let our towns and cities die a painful death

Ideas

Not very smart to let our towns and cities die a painful death

Before it builds its utopia, perhaps the ANC should give some thought to the dystopias SA’s existing cities have become

Columnist

With SA showing symptoms of joining the worldwide clamour to establish “smart cities”, where the public toilets flush in harmony with the traffic lights, is it impertinent to ask what will happen with the old, “dumb” cities we’ve already got? Will we be better off with smart cities, given that many of our cities and towns are as far from the urban utopias sketched by futurists, as Siyabuswa is from Singapore? Or will we get lucky and build cities so smart that they run themselves — in spite of the ANC?

Our ruling party, after a bout of introspection, has rediscovered its ambition. Talk in the corridors of Luthuli House is that the ANC is planning its own city, an “eastern seaboard development”. And, you’ve guessed it, it’s going to be a “smart city’’.  What else?

It’s been pencilled in on a map somewhere between Margate and Port St Johns, neither town being especially high up on the human development food chain. Smack bang in banana territory, too...

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