miércoles, 28 de noviembre de 2012

Book. From intelligent to smart cities

Mark Deakin and Husam Al Waer have edited a compilation (From intelligent to smart cities) of five papers drawing upon the experiences of cities in the USA, Canada and Europe on the transition to smart cities from a critical point of view, resulting in a well balanced resource on the implications of new technologies for urban planning, architecture, engineering and sustainability. It is clear that, considering the widespread discourse promoted by transnational corporations which dominate the smart cities landscape, academia should be able to raise a voice and claim their role on this debate if we want to have a clear understanding of the social and political implications of deploying urban technologies. The too-often self-congratulatory use of smart cities as a predominant paradigm in urban shift for the next decades lacks a wider perspective on how cities work, how cities evolve and how cities are used, enjoyed, governed, developed,...

From Intelligent to Smart Cities

The starting point of the discussion is set by the must-read article, Will the real smart city please stand up, by Robert Hollands, who, in 2008, provided with an insightful and provocative overview of the then emerging topic of smart cities. Throughout the years, the same question still needs to be answered and the article serves both riders to address in the first article, From intelligent to smart cities, the need for cities to forget about the anxiety of renovating their branding needs (or marketing needs from corporations) and understand methodological issues, the role of social innovation and collaborative platforms to broaden the intelligence of cities.

Following this particular topic, Krassimira Paskaleva (The smart city: a nexus for open innovation) shares a comprehensive outlook on key European Union programmes, projects and activities directly linked to the idea of smart cities,. Therefore, it serves as a complete review, for those interested in the institutional framework EU has been building around this topic, of how open innovation has been weakly incorporated into the EU Smart City Agenda so far but how some projects (Peripheria, FIREBALL, EPIC or PEOPLE) are using the experience gained by the extensive background of Living Labs as a suitable approach for smart city innovation to address the need for social interaction as a common ground to encompass technology deployment and urban change. Nicos Komninos, in Intelligent cities: variable geometries of spatial intelligence adds some more elements to the equation by explaining different cases of urban innovation ecosystems. His work underlines the idea of the different paths that can emerge in the use of information communication technologies depending on different institutional frameworks and different spatial approaches.

Mark Deakin (The embedded intelligence of smart cities) also brings to the table a conceptual challenge on the assumptions of one of the most revealing and influential works on this topic, William Mitchell´s e-topia and the thesis on the embedded intelligence of smart cities, resulting in a constructive confrontation of this compelling vision with the problems of digital inclusivity. On the contrary, the last article, by David Walters, Smart cities, smart places, smart democracy: form-based codes electronic governance and the role of place in making smart cities, represents a more optimistic view on the pervasive and sentient technologies utopia, as it sets new promises to democratize place making in the context of an emerging localism in which smart stands also for a new understanding of place for community development.

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