New Article on Smart Cities: Moving Beyond Urban Cybernetics

In August, an article I wrote about smart cities was published in the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society. In it, I critique the existing corporate-led smart city discourse, and discuss why smart city technologies do not eliminate the need for other types of technologies to improve cities. Here’s the title and abstract:

Smart cities: moving beyond urban cybernetics to tackle wicked problems

This article makes three related arguments. First, that although many definitions of the smart city have been proposed, corporate promoters say a smart city uses information technology to pursue efficient systems through real-time monitoring and control. Second, this definition is not new and equivalent to the idea of urban cybernetics debated in the 1970s. Third, drawing on a discussion of Rio de Janeiro’s Operations Center, I argue that viewing urban problems as wicked problems allows for more fundamental solutions than urban cybernetics, but requires local innovation and stakeholder participation. Therefore the last section describes institutions for municipal innovation and IT-enabled collaborative planning.

Author: Rob Goodspeed