Too-smart cities? Why these visions of utopia need an urgent reality check

Too-smart cities? Why these visions of utopia need an urgent reality check
Masdar City, under development in Abu Dhabi, is seen as meeting needs of businesses and designers rather than people / Photo: Foster & Partners

Responsive urban technology sounds enticing but citizens must not be disconnected from plans drawn up on their behalf

I recently attended a government meeting about future cities and found that all the discussion related to branding, bio-tech innovation, hi-tech transport infrastructure and opportunities for universities.

I pointed out that at least half the population doesn’t engage with such things directly, if at all. Most people are more concerned with how to get by, and even how to survive in an increasingly hostile city. One civil servant replied, “Oh, you mean the dark underbelly …” This, it seems to me, is exactly how elevated mandarins in London see normal people who live in inner-city communities.

Over the past decade we’ve watched young people become increasingly immersed in social media. But while these technologies promise to allow us to connect with more people without geographical boundaries, the reality could be more a kind of digital enslavement. So as we develop our cities of the future, we need to think about who makes the decisions.

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
TITLE | Founder of Architecture Lab
About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

Leave a Comment