A smart city isn’t necessarily a city brimming with technology. This crucial (and, thankfully, growingly accepted) clarification was strongly emphasized by a panel of experts during the Smart City Expo in Barcelona. However, the piloted driving—which, in layman's terms means cars that drive themselves—that Audi has been testing and implementing is as high-tech, impressive and brimming with technology as one might expect. Beyond the “ooh and aah” factor of a car that needs no human driver, the spatial implications for our cities are undeniable, and the sooner architects can learn to work with and appreciate this technology, the better. In a city equipped with smart mobility solutions, we can expect technology to drive positive changes to social behavior and the affordability of the cities. But for this, we need visionary leaders.
Last week Audi showed their commitment to finding these visionary leaders in the field of architecture by announcing the implementation of three Urban Future Partnerships in Somerville/Boston and Mexico City. In the words of Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, the three pilot projects represent a key move for the car manufacturer: “The development of an investment logic for mobility infrastructure in cities will be an integral part of our company strategy.”