Smart Cities and Slowness

Christoph Lindner in Urban Pamphleteer 1 (2013): 14-16

slow waiting

It is difficult not to be in favor of smart cities when contemplating our global urban future. After all, who wants to live in the rhetorical alternative of a “dumb city”? And if we consider the extent to which smart city discourse is already entangled with two other dominant discourses within urban studies, policy, and planning – those of the sustainable city and the creative city – the centrality of smart cities to future urban living can seem like a fait accompli.

Yet, in the race to bring technological and engineering innovations into the heart of urban planning, architecture, and design, we too often skip over more fundamental discussions about what values should underpin and steer the development of smart (and smarter) cities. In other words, what kind of smartness do we want in tomorrow’s “intelligent” urban environments? And what social, political, and economic needs should that smartness serve?

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