To date, much of the progress in the socio-economic domain has focussed on models of financial-market dynamics and the potential for creating “smart cities”. A smart city is an urban area that uses extensive information and communication technologies to collect data from its citizens, buildings, roads and other infrastructure to monitor and optimise the management of a wide range of public services, systems and resources. Increasingly, ‘digital urban twins’ are being developed to model, among others, the effect of climate change on the urban environment and test policies and actions to cool cities.
Modelling citizens’ socioeconomic behaviour, and the evolving nature of the urban areas themselves, will also support initiatives to increase regional self-sufficiency (including in food supply and energy generation), boost the circular economy and optimise local traffic and mobility systems. Smart coordination is increasingly important — and possible — when so many people live in close proximity.