The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission's (USCC) request for submissions was revealing because it showed that, despite the hype, not much is known about the fruits of China's efforts to build such cities. Smart cities are highly digitally connected and use the latest technology to manage services.
About 500 of the roughly 1,000 smart cities being built worldwide are in China, according to Chinese state media, government figures and estimates from Deloitte. Under a five-year plan to the end of 2020, the Chinese government expects $74 billion of public and private investment in these cities.
Yet while scattered futuristic pilot examples can be found — from intelligent lighting and power grids to smart traffic management — there is little evidence that this grand vision is dramatically improving the lives of the masses.