viernes, 13 de noviembre de 2015

India Under Construction (IUC): Smart Society

A finales de mes estaré en Nueva Delhi. Con algo de vértigo, porque India queda demasiado lejos y lo poco que he podido seguir de cómo se ha subido el país a la ola de la modernización tecnológica me sobrepasa por sus dimensiones. Haber leído a Ayona Datta desde hace tiempo me sirve de asidero para afrontar una conferencia con el riesgo de no tener perspectiva. En realidad, el planteamiento de conjunto del evento es razonable y el marco de contenidos es equilibrado. La nota de presentación de su curadora, Sarita Vijayan (más abajo) es, de hecho, a lo que puedo acogerme para pensar que la conferencia puede tocar algo de realidad.

India Under Construction (IUC): Smart Society (Nov 28th, New Delhi)

Theme 2015: Curator’s note
In his seminal address “Urban chaos or Indian ethos”, mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik urged planners and designers to have an understanding and acceptance of the Indian society construct as being unique to its people and its culture. He presented example after example to elucidate that what fits the world may render itself unfit in India as “Made in India”, he argued, had very distinct connotations. He exhorted the builders of India to be empathetic of that implication.

There has never been a more urgent time to insist on that empathy.

A mostly clueless but ambitious Indian government and enthusiastic industry have ensured that urban India has reached its tipping point. Growth, as most predict, will be unprecedented and irreversible. The latest catalyst to hasten this change is the government’s announcement of creating 98 smart cities in India.

Hailed to be the magic wand that will decimate the average urbanites woes, the promise of cities that provide a range of economic activities and employment opportunities, ostensibly to all classes of people and provide them with “a very high quality of life (comparable with any developed European city)” in the guise of a smart city is as admirable as it is ludicrous.

The fact is that current discourse mostly addresses the implementation of new technologies in our cities and really feels no need to justify how the techno-smart city utopia would improve quality of life, or how it could beneficial to citizens in tangible terms.

As such, the technophile justifications pushed by the multinationals simply, but not openly, disregard the internationally accepted premises and ignores the fact that technology, for it’s own sake, goes against the principles of sustainability and contributes little towards the construction of the knowledge society, other than generating some of its infrastructure.

Smart Society aims to veer the conversation more to ‘society’ and less to ‘smart’; or at least the popular definition of smart. It aims to give voice to practices and professionals who are intensely engaged in making the urban experience meaningful, responsible, sustainable and inclusive.

It aims to probe if smart is the new stupid or stupid, the new smart.

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