In the cityspace, IT will never be enough without good urban design
“To a classical economist, cities should not really exist at all. They represent disease, higher costs of goods, land, and labour, and in so many cases, congestion that leaves workers stuck behind the wheel rather than their more productive desks or factory lines.”
In a very interesting article for The Guardian, Emma Stewart talks about cities, the future, and the overall meaning of big hypes on city smartness such as Big Data analytic, sensors, and (intrusive) internet.
Without a real policy, a real political approach (which is what citizens ask for, more than any efficient but emotionally void technology) and without a good, innovative urban design, we are not going to have any advantage of the (ab)use of sensors monitoring of the cities, the consequent open data flow, and an advertised though difficult use of big data analysis.
Here the four, interesting points that Emma makes:
First, a pure Smart City is not something we would like to have, unless we want to transform our common space in a de-humanised, efficient but void place where we commute, watch ads, and exploit other’s natural resources.
Second, installing sensors to monitor efficiency failures is definitely good if we talk about house appliances, can be useful if we talk of cities built from scratch, but what we mostly deal with are public spaces that exist and grew and built their identity over dozens of years: how about that?
Third: Big Data. They are promising, but derive interesting – if any at all – information from them it’s going to be a long process. Do we have all this time, with climate change issues much closer along our way?
Four: open data. Administrators should be careful in which data of their citizens behavour in the common realm they bring on line. There’s hacking, there’s privacy, and at the end of the day we just do not want everything to be “open”. It’s a human feeling, I would add, nothing to be ashamed of.
The very interesting article that I summed up based on my personal interpretation, can be found in its original version here.