Living in a digital world changes the meaning of the word “security.” Fifty years ago, security breaches were exclusively physical, evoking images of men in masks scaling the walls and picking locks. The most important security guards were the ones standing in the building. Today, one man at a computer halfway around the globe can cause more damage than armed thugs looking for a safe.

Companies know this, especially since several of them have had well-publicized and embarrassing security failures. And what about municipal governments? How to handle security in an era of automated everything and big data collection is still very much an open question for our cities.

This week, in addition to other smart city news, we’ll look at an Austrian perspective on cyber security. We’ll also check in with guerrilla gardening, car-sharing showdowns and the "New York of Africa."

— Emily Liedel


Any smart city must be a safe city, and cyber security is an ever bigger part of that equation. But there are no established security standards when it comes to smart city technology — unlike for servers, personal computers and more established network technology, Futurezone reports (German). It’s not a totally hypothetical problem: In November, 2013, some 1,000 riders on the Bay Area Rapid Transit in San Francisco were stuck in the trains for several hours because of a software glitch. Those examples were simple bugs, but what about when a smart city is hacked? Futurezone reports that unlike major companies, cities are still not allocating even a basic budget to cyber security.
“We have already been testing applications for citizens to participate virtually. This will be a means for Uruguayans who reside in Argentina to continue participating in life in Montevideo. I truly believe that even though we are separated by a small distance, we can continue working together, because a smart city needs one fundamental component: the intelligence of its people,” Daniel Martinez, a candidate for mayor of Montevideo, said last weekend as he campaigned on bicycle around the city, La Republica reports (Spanish).

After two years of incubation, the Casablanca Smart City Cluster officially launched last month. The Smart City Cluster will help the city develop the kind of smart city technology that is already common in Europe, including using technology to manage energy, lighting, water and transportation more efficiently, Medias 24 reports (French). Among the plans for the near future are free WiFi for everyone at hotspots around town, and an app that will inform drivers in the Moroccan city of the location of the nearest empty parking spot.

At the moment, only 5% of the energy consumed in Barcelona is produced inside the city limits, but that’s something the city government would like to change. Within 30 years, the government expects to generate at least 60% of its own energy, La Vanguardia reports (Spanish). The city doesn’t want to stop there, either. In the same announcement, the city said its real goal was eventually to become completely energy self-sufficient.

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