Portugal Plans the First "City with a Brain"

A new city, planned for 2015, will be riddled with sensors so it can make smart decisions about how it uses water, energy, and other resources.

What do you get when you design a city from the ground up so that all of its systems—water, energy, waste, and climate control—gather and share information? The first "city with a brain"

On the outskirts of Paredes, in northern Portugal, a start-up called LivingPlanIT, which has its roots in the tech industry, is working on a 150,000-person city that would use information technology in unprecedented new ways.

Every building in the city will have sensors that monitor occupancy, temperature, and energy use. That information, along with streams of data from solar and wind power generators and other city systems, will be fed into a central "nervous system" that can change how buildings are heated or powered based on real-time information.

LivingPlanIT is aiming for an ambitious completion date: 2015. But it has the support of the local government, which will help considerably. The Harvard Business Review also applauds the LivingPlanIT model (the companies supplying the technology for the city will be its first occupants). Our only reservation? The city's name: PlanIT Valley.