Episode Archive

SCP E282 Putting the Tools in the Hands of the Community, with Greg Lindsay 

Hi #smartcommunity friends! In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast I have a fascinating conversation with Greg Lindsay. Greg is a journalist, urbanist, futurist and speaker and senior fellow for Applied Research and Foresight in New Cities in Montreal, Canada. In this episode Greg begins by telling us about his background in journalism and covering the dot com bubble 20 years ago, how he dates the beginning of Smart Cities and shares with us his journey to working in the Smart Cities space. Greg then shares with us what a Smart Community is to him, we discuss in length some of the common and most effective Smart Community themes we find help build better communities, and Greg then shares with us a bit about some of the projects he has been working on. We finish our chat discussing the emerging trends of augmented reality and what this can potentially mean for our communities. As always, we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it!

Listen here: 

What we cover in this episode:

  • Greg’s background in journalism and covering the dot com bubble 20 years ago 
  • How Greg dates the beginning of Smart Cities 
  • His journey to working in the Smart Cities space and his love for cities 
  • What a Smart Community means to Greg 
  • The common Smart Community threads that help build better communities 
  • The need to make Smart Cities and Communities more mainstream and built into everything we are doing  
  • How data can be used better to shape the decision making for people in more powerful ways   
  • A bit about some of the projects Greg is working on 
  • The emerging trends of augmented reality and what this can potentially mean for our communities


“I’ve been covering Smart Cities since the beginning. And I would date the beginning to the speech that the CEO of IBM gave to the Council on Foreign Relations in the fall of 2008, where they unveiled Smarter Planet. And that was the moment where the big tech companies went from like smart homes and figuring out who are we going to sell the stuff to, let’s sell it to governments instead, on the eve of the financial crisis. So that’s where I got into this.”

“City is where globalisation is made flesh. All of the systems; financialization, logistics, transport, they are made literally concrete in the form of cities. And so therefore, it’s the perfect site to understand everything, how we live, climate change, all this sort of discussion.”

“We could look at the co-op movement, the municipalist movement, all these sort of like, you know, bottom up burbling things, how do we create a tech layer that enables them to activate community resources and attention?”

“How does government and working with communities create these new tools to administer the public realm and create new kinds of institutions to do so? Whether that’s community groups or otherwise. So I think of those two trends, all these companies that are mining the public realm, and we haven’t really developed the tools to figure out how to stop them from doing so in a way that assuages privacy and other things that we hold dear.”

“The entire logic of startups is scale and disrupt or disrupt and scale, and try to get oligopoly like profits. We’ve got to break free of that mould otherwise, this Smart Cities paradigms continue to bind us.”

“The agenda I’m interested in from a Smart Community standpoint is, how do you create better and democratic decision making tools?”

“There’s a whole project to be done there about building public climate models and public Smart Cities and warning systems to help people understand what those risks are as well. So I think that should be on our agenda, that Smart Communities should be ones that are resilient and safer and where people understand those risks.”


Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next by Greg Lindsay 

Greg Lindsay’s Website 

Smarter Planet 

Door Dash 

Ghost Road by Anthony Townsend 

Sidewalk Toronto 

MIT’s Future Urban Collectives Lab 



Find the full show notes at: www.mysmart.community 

Connect with Greg via LinkedIn  or Twitter 

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community  

Connect with My Smart Community via LinkedIn or Twitter and watch on YouTube

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Perk Digital


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