For urban growth, solutions to providing optimized experiences in all facets of living can be provided through the use of networking. The world is increasingly becoming more networked, and there is inherent value in connecting the unconnected.
A network can scale by definition. Communities of all sizes will be able to utilize the advantages of having access to the data that tells the narrative of the interactions between people and their environments.
Cisco, an international (naturally) networking company, has been brainstorming how they can contribute to Smart and Connected Societies and has released a few PDFs discussing the revitalization of cities, the development of smart cities, and ideas on next generation services to offer in the urban landscape.
City development must undergo transformations in the inherent infrastructure of buildings and city planning. New faces of technology can be used to bring cities into harmony by connecting and optimizing the usage of materials in manufacturing, energy usage, and everyday errands.
Despite the huge advantages of networking, it is not the singular solution to solving all the problems. Most importantly we must be asking the question "What is it that we are connecting?"
A network merely is a description of objects communicating with each other, and if those objects (or nodes) of a network are still unsustainable in and of themselves, then it will not matter how much we build an interconnected society.
Will we use these abilities to attempt to continue along a status quo?
Will industries change the inherent defects in the 'heat, beat, treat' manufacturing process and learn to take advice from nature?
Will we learn to derive our energy from present sources instead of relying on ancient and finite sources?
We live in a time of transition, and with the development of new ideas to solve the problems of today, we must remember that old paradigms will not work to create a new paradigm of living. The context in which we use these gifts will ultimately be the mirror that will reveal the image we are creating.