"Smart Cities" of the Future Will Need More Than Big Data

When New York City started replacing 7,500 unused pay phones with high-tech kiosks emitting free wi-fi, the mayor's office was sending a message: out with the old and in with the new. The “LinkNYC” kiosks, which have USB ports for phone charging along with embedded tablets for access to city maps and services, are an effort to modernize the Big Apple—and ultimately, bring it into the future.

Yet, the buzz around LinkNYC has died down considerably since it was rolled out, in part, because of the way it was done. Residents concerns about privacy and security led some to question the kiosks' utility. One person described LinkNYC as a “sophisticated billboard.” If more input from the community had been sought out, policy experts think the kiosks would've been embraced more and been able to deploy its full capabilities, making New York City a little more “smart.”

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