In this episode of The Smart City Podcast, I had a fantastic conversation with minimalist, writer, podcast host, blogger, speaker and full time traveller Colin Wright. We discussed the linkages between minimalism and Smart Cities and how people-scale cities make for happier places and reduce under-utilised time. We also discussed a number of different technologies and dive deep into using science fiction as a means to think about the possible societal impacts some technologies. This was a supposed to be a bit of a different episode for you, mixing it up because Smart Cities really touches on so many aspects so I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

Listen Here:


“what people are trying to do when we talk about Smart Cities…and that type of forward thinking urban development, really what we are looking at is building things more intentionally as opposed to building things in the ways we’ve always built them just because”

“what I am hoping will happen [with Smart Cities] is that we’ll see a whole lot more people-scale spaces as opposed to car-scale spaces…spaces that allow far more types of work to be done, far more efficiently and effectively and hopefully too, ways that are more beneficial for people’s health”

“if we can set up cities in such a way that elevate a lot of those health related issues, happiness-draining issues that we associated with work, more of us can do either work that we enjoy or at a bare minimum work that we don’t feel terrible about”

“you can go in a lot of crazy directions [with autonomous vehicles], you can look at it from the lens of the current paradigm where cars are things that get us from building to building, place to place, and just say well it will be that but much more efficient on multiple levels, or you could say that the very structure of society would change”

“my policy for [new technology] is get excited, geek out, allow yourself to do the research and get excited about the potential, but then self-reflect. The more excited you are about it means that you should require more proof, you should be all the more sceptical about it because you will be seeing things through the lens of that enthusiasm and that doesn’t give it a fair shake”

“Being able to show the human impact and the way society might change…for better and for the worse with each of these technology is great because we don’t want to build a dystopian society, we don’t want to accidentally build a tyrant-led panopticon”

What we covered:

  • The relationship between Smart Cities and minimalism
  • A deeper dive into minimalism and Colin’s lifestyle
  • People-scale places, reducing wasted time and feeling good about work
  • The differences in the cities that were either built for the human or built the car
  • Electric and autonomous vehicles and their potential to change the structure of society
  • Life cycle tracking and consuming more intentionally
  • Blockchain, cryptocurrency and some ideas about what’s missing
  • Geeking out and being sceptical about new technologies
  • Colin’s interest in 3D manufacturing and e-waste recycling
  • Using science fiction novels and TV shows to think about the human ramifications of current and future technologies


Colin Wright’s website and Blog

Podcast: Let’s Know Things

The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson

Black Mirror on Netflix


Connect with Colin via email or Twitter, Instagram, Facebook @colinismyname

You can connect with me on Twitter and Facebook @smartcitypod and email:

The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

My Smart Community

My Smart Community offers consulting and media services with a focus on making our communities more accessible, liveable and sustainable for all. We have a focus on Smart Mobility, Smart project management, Smart technology in regional communities, dealing with disruption and facilitating genuine collaboration. As well as podcast production, communication and media advisory and engagement, keynote speaking, moderating, master of ceremonies and workshop design and facilitation.

The Smart Community Podcast

The Smart Community Podcast is a hub where smart and exciting people from all around the world come to discuss all things Smart City, Smart Town, Smart Region - anything that makes a place more liveable. Together we can create our own Smart Communities.


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