Adam Greenfield on the Dangers of Smart Cities

What are smart cities anyways? Where are they? For whom are they intended? By whom were they developed?

Adam Greenfield challenges the popular concept of “smart cities”, warning against the danger it posses of strictly central planning. While smart cities are often designed to be about consumption, convenience, and security but Adams think that such a state will exist only for few, for the rest it will be a permanent state of exception. He argues that as a discourse, smart cities have nothing to do with cities, treating our urban environments as a market commodity. He believes that in setting out to design the technologized cities of the 21st century, wherever the public generates data, it also has meaningful access to and ownership of that data. Adams’ lecture offers food for thought for all of us who never got to consider the possible negative sides of smart cities and how they could come to consider democracy as a disruption of the functional city.

Adam Greenfield is an American writer and urbanist that has written and consulted widely on issues at the intersection of design, technology, and culture, with an increasing focus on how these things interact in (and condition our experience of) cities over the last two decades. He is also the author of several titles including “Against the Smart City” and “Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life”. He has co-taught graduate-level courses at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program and the Urban Design program at the Bartlett School of Architecture (with Usman Haque). He is currently working toward a Ph.D. in the Cities Programme of the Sociology Department at the London School of Economics.

Adam spoke at reSITE 2014:  Cities and Landscapes of the New Economy.

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