05 Nerves

Director/Producer/Composer: Tom COZENS
Executive Producers: Professor Chris WEBSTER & Dr. Eric SCHULDENFREI
Assistant Producer: Alex TAIT
Production Assistant: Winnie YEUNG
Editor: Nick BRIER

Academic contributors: Minjung MAING, Dr. Jianxiang HUANG, Anqi ZHANG, Dr. Mengdi GUO
Actress: Yi SUN
Actor: Dr. Guibo SUN, Daniel CHAN

Acceleration of wireless and sensing technologies such as 5G means that cities can be wired up and automated like factories began to be half a century ago. What efficiencies will ‘smart city’ technologies achieve? Many current claims are trivial or even undesirable (who wants a micro-climate-sensing computer to select your clothes in the morning?). For the first 50 years after the steam engine was invented, labour productivity and wages remained flat or increased very slowly. The same has been true of the first 50 years of the silicon revolution. The efficiency dividend of new technology, be it labour-replacing or labour-enhancing, takes a long time. Will smart city tech turn out to be a bottle-neck technology, the arrival of which will help release the long-awaited productivity and social benefits of the silicon age? Or will the smart city turn out to be something no one really wanted or needed? Will it become something more sinister?


Sustainable High Density Cities:


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Chen K, Lu W, Xue F, Tang P & Li LH (2018). Automatic building information model reconstruction in high-density urban areas: Augmenting multi-source data with architectural knowledge. Automation in Construction, 93, 22-34. Link: