‘Too Smart Cities’?


An interesting article here from Gary Graham on the issue of ‘too smart’ cities. This is a nice way of expressing some of the concerns that I’ve had about smart lighting in an urban context as well – that changes to how cities are built, governed and ultimately lived could be driven in part by a form of technological fetishism, whereby inter-urban competition results in cities looking to out-smart each other with the latest technology, irrespective of whether or not it is beneficial. This isn’t an anti-technology claim – many of the opportunities offered by (for example) smart lighting in cities could save money, reduce energy use and light pollution. without a severe impact on the people who live and use a city.  But to achieve this interventions must be targeted, locally-oriented, and conducted with a full understanding of their impacts. As Graham suggests, many ‘smart city’ initiatives move forward without considering these needs and potential issues.

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