Four collaborators from Europe and the Americas, William J Nuttall, David V Gibson, Dariusz Trzmielak and Alejandro Ibarra-Yunez, consider their new book addressing energy and mobility in smart cities. 

A cup of tea with the authors of Energy and Mobility in Smart Cities
Tell us a bit about the book? 
Energy and Mobility in Smart Cities is an edited collection of chapters from a range of international experts addressing the future of cities. Emphasis is given to mobility and energy supply and use issues. The book introduces the evolving and somewhat contested concept of the 'smart city' and it stresses the importance of good governance to smart city development. The book combines sectoral considerations, with wider overviews of the changing landscape and is informed by detailed case studies.  

Where are the origins of the book?  
The book is an off-shoot of a long-standing conference series - The International Conferences on Technology Policy and Innovation. The 15th ICTPI conference was hosted by The Open University in Milton Keynes, UK, in June 2015. That conference started to consider several of the issues explored in the book and greatly helped the editors access a wider community of expert contributors.  

How do you know each other? 
We have known each other for many years through the ICTPI series of conferences. Indeed, we have each been the lead organiser of at least one ICTPI conference over the years. The ICTPI conferences have a long tradition of producing thought-provoking books. In that spirit, the recently published Energy and Mobility in Smart Cities is a free-standing exploration of timely issues, certainly not a conference proceedings book. We are pleased that the editors, the chapter authors, the project manager Dr Wendy Maples, and the publishing team at ICE Publishing all came together and worked especially hard to make it a reality. 

Why a book? 
It is very satisfying to have the chance to develop a substantial argument and to explore it in depth. A book brings a set of linked ideas together and the challenge is to help the reader understand and appreciate the issues in a coherent and logical way. As editors, part of our role was to establish the structure of the book and to make sure that all chapters contribute to an overarching whole. In this endeavour we had much good encouragement from our commissioning editor, Michael Fenton.  

How should engineers respond to all the talk about 'smart cities'? 
A key takeaway message from the book is that a smart city is as much a socio-political entity as it is a manifestation of technological innovation​. Engineering and technology are crucial to enabling the capabilities of a modern city, but social acceptance and inclusion in decision-making are also necessary if a true smart city is to emerge. As the erudite authors of one of chapters rightly observed, Shakespeare has the right idea.  
Coriolanus (Act 3, Scene 1)  
Sicinius: "What is the city but the people?"  
Citizens: "True, the people are the city."  

How do you take your tea?
A little milk, no sugar … please.


Find out more about Energy and Mobility in Smart Cities, edited by William J Nuttall, David V Gibson, Dariusz Trzmielak and Alejandro Ibarra-Yunez, available in print and as an eBook