6uwu8KfUTSHc6sHH8HJkCPgZV4w Digital City Briefs - 30 Global Cities: A Brief History of Digital Cities Initiatives

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Brief History of Digital Cities Initiatives

The idea of digital cities was approached from either socio-technical or virtual-physical dimension in its early days. These approaches have gradually been interwoven. With a tradition of community based, privately managed, grass roots organizations in the United States, the Cleveland Free-Net was established in 1986, followed by the Blacksburg Electronic Village in 1991 and the Seattle Community Network in 1991. President Clinton’s National Information Infrastructure initiative formalized the information network and ushered in a new era in 1993. “It specified concrete target values for six items like universal access and scientific and technological research. Targeted research areas included economy, medicine, life-long education, and administrative services.”

The European experiment with digital cities known as TeleCities began with an alliance of 100 cities in 20 countries in 1993. They focused on sharing best practices, project plans and success stories. Amsterdam’s De Digitale Stad (DDS) in 1994 and the high-speed metropolitan network in Helsinki in 1995 offer other approaches.

Asia began its digital cities effort with the Singapore IT2000 Master Plan in 1992. Singapore launched Singapore One: One Network for Everyone in 1996 to develop a broadband communications infrastructure.  Korea and Malaysia followed up with their own versions. Koala Network was born in Japan with the assistance of a local prefecture. It set up an information center in 1985, connected to the Web in 1994 and promoted community networks in 2000. Kyoto digital city project was initiated in 1998 to develop a social information infrastructure for everyday urban life.

The distinct socio-technical and virtual-physical characteristics of early digital cities have often disappeared in current digital information spaces. It is hard to categorize modern digital cities as either technology test-beds or community spaces. They have evolved according to functional demands of their local communities.”

Reference: Mika Yasuoka, Toru Ishida and Alessandro Aurigi, The Advancement of World Digital Cities, Handbook of Ambient Intelligence and Smart Environments. ISBN 978-0-387-93807-3. Springer-Verlag US, 2010.
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