The Technology for a Dialogue Between Citizens and Cities

Technology must be harnessed in cities to allow citizens to "talk back" to cities and enable more user-driven change, according to this op-ed from economist Saskia Sassen.

Sassen argues against the current trend of creating "intelligent cities" that leave no room for dialogue with citizens.

"We can think of the multiple ways in which the city talks back as a type of open-source urbanism: the city as partly made through a myriad of interventions and little changes from the ground up. Each of these multiple small interventions may not look like much, but together they give added meaning to the notion of the incompleteness of cities and that this incompleteness gives cities their long lives, thereby outlasting other more powerful entities.

In sharp contrast, I think that the model of "intelligent cities" as propounded by and the telepresence efforts of Cisco Systems misses this opportunity to urbanize the technologies they mobilize, and futilely seeks to eliminate incompleteness. The planners of intelligent cities, notably Songdo in South Korea actually make these technologies invisible, and hence put them in command rather than in dialogue with users. One effect is that intelligent cities represent closed systems, and that is a pity. It will cut their lives short. They will become obsolete sooner."

Full Story: Open Source Urbanism

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