A third factor is becoming increasingly important: the production of huge quantities of data by connected devices, including smartphones. These are densely concentrated in cities, because that is where the people, machines, buildings and infrastructures that carry and contain them are packed together. They are turning cities into vast data factories. “That kind of merger between physical and digital environments presents an opportunity for us to think about the city almost like a computer in the open air,” says Assaf Biderman of the SENSEable lab. As those data are collected and analysed, and the results are recycled into urban life, they may turn cities into even more productive and attractive places.
This sums up very nicely much of my work with the Web 3.0 Lab, but being the Economist the story has a 'opptomistic' outlook. This high connectivity also will make people in cities more vulnerable to crime and surveillance. The often discussed issues of identity and community problems that come from what one might call 'internet addiction' stand to be more significant and more re-enforced in cities.
But that said I have become convinced for some time the the city and the Internet are connected concepts: that more and more the logic of city life and the logic of Internet community are merging.