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How Much Does “SMART” Cost? [OPINION]

Mark Pope
Mark Pope photo created by KPEL

 

 

      “Smart cities” is a new buzz term for the 21st Century.  What exactly is a smart city, and how much does it cost.  There are multiple definitions of smart cities, written by a bevy of academics and theorists.

A U.S. architect, M.A. Moser, specializes in smart cities.  “Technological interconnectivity” is a common theme in defining smart cities, which Moser calls “technical propagation.”  The term assumes that all aspects of life are to be designed to attain smart cities/growth here in the U.S.

Moser’s definition states that “ smart growth is essential in what the partnership between citizens and institutional organizations try to do, which is a reaction to worsen-

ing trends in daily things; like for instance, traffic congestion, school overcrowding, and

air pollution.  However, it is important to note that technological propagation is not an end in itself, but only a means to reinventing cities for a new economy and society.” 

Smart growth/cities includes everything from smart governance, smart energy, smart building & infrastructure, smart healthcare, etc.  It’s all based on the assumption that humans are destroying the earth, and drastic remedial actions are required.  I’m not saying that all smart growth is bad – some can be beneficial – but . . .

What are the costs to “save the world”?  Incidentally, saving the world is largely feel-good measures, which produce paltry results.

The U.S. government has subsidized electric cars to the tune of tens of billions of dollars.  The U.S. government has also subsidized “renewable energy” – primarily solar and wind – costing American taxpayers over $30 billion per year since 2008.

The state of Louisiana recently had to come up with $15 million to pay off citizens who had purchased home solar panels, after they had applied for the program, and all the subsidy money ran out.  One north Louisiana resident stated unequivocally that without the state and federal subsidies, he would not have purchased the solar panels for his home.

Lafayette Consolidated Government (LCG) participated in the government largesse when it accepted $4 million to $5 million from the Obama Administration to:  (1) convert  gasoline cars to compressed natural gas; (2) put an energy efficient roof on the Heymann Performing Arts Center; (3) convert several buildings to “automatic on-off” light switches; and (4) convert traffic lights from incandescent lights to LED lights.

They were so proud.  “It didn’t cost us anything,” they said.  To which I thought: where are you from . . . Czechoslovakia . . . of course it cost the U.S. taxpayers.

And earlier this year, an LCG official gleefully said about receiving a $40,000 federal grant to purchase air quality meters:  “this shows that we are now a smart city.”

It’s easy to spend the U.S. government’s money and drive our country further into debt . . . it’s just not what common-sense folks would call smart.

-Mark Pope

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