The Smart Cities concept is great for joining up systems. The companies that promote the Smart Cities concept are also selling their technology. Nothing wrong with that but important to keep in mind. Efficiency matters. Cities need to save money and find better ways to serve their citizens. But as I watched the troubles in Baltimore recently I felt a distinct disconnect between Smart Cities and the reality of cities struggling with underemployment, poverty, and the enlarging chasm between haves and have nots. Not only US cities but clearly cities internationally are trying to cope. The overwhelming challenge of migrants seeking a better life all over the world is immediately – not at some point in the distant future – knocking city leaders sideways. So we have on one side all kinds of conferences on Smart Cities, promising great things for the future seemingly washed clean of the messiness going on in the streets, and on the other, the grim reality of life as it is now.