16 March 2014

Why smart cities need an urgent reality check

Be the first to share
Media
Business
Services
Social Issues

Responsive urban technology sounds enticing but citizens must not be disconnected from plans drawn up on their behalf, argues Gary Graham in The Guardian.

“It’s not clear at the moment whether future cities are strategic experiments for [large companies such as IBM, Samsung, Cisco and Intel], or if they are genuinely catalysing the regeneration of inner cities. To investigate some of these visions, I went to MIT in Boston for three months last year. The aim was to find out how people would get their goods and services in the city of the future, and how we we get everyone to engage with city plans.

We decided to test out some ideas with the inner-city communities of Boston in a series of workshops. We essentially combined science fact and science fiction by presenting them with a Boston set in 2037, based on current technological trends projected forward through several imagined scenarios.

We combined the traditional science fiction ideas of utopia and dystopia with realistic technological trends such as artificial intelligence, 3D printing and big data and asked Bostonians to come up with fictional stories about their life in these environments.”

And the answers were quite to the point:

“Workshop participants felt smart cities were rather utopian concepts growing from a vision put forward by one group of businesses. There was general agreement that there were often many visions for the city, but “at the moment it’s the rich and powerful who determine that future vision.”

Many were troubled by the notion that people would live in a city purely because of its technology capabilities and thought there were lots of other important social and cultural reasons influencing people’s decisions to live or work somewhere. Just because these urban centres could offer us new ways of living in the future does not negate the importance of the natural environment, history and legacy.”

Be the first to share
4 April 2019
Old, online, and fed on lies: How an aging population will reshape the internet
Although many older Americans have, like the rest of us, embraced the tools and playthings of the technology industry, a growing body of research shows they have disproportionately fallen prey to the dangers of internet …
13 February 2019
Papers on behaviour, design and the circular economy
Consumer insights into the circular economy Report of stakeholder meeting, 25 October 2018, 14 pages The "Stakeholder Meeting: Consumer Insights into the Circular Economy" in Brussels on 25 October 2018, was co-organised by the Collaborating Centre on …
20 January 2019
[Book] The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for the Future at the New Frontier of Power Shoshana Zuboff Profile Books, 31 January 2019 704 pages The challenges to humanity posed by the digital future, the first detailed examination of …
22 December 2018
The tyranny of story
In this BBC Radio 4 series, British journalist John Harris examines the potency of narrative, both in the stories that define us as individuals and in those that shape our understanding of the public domain. Story …
22 December 2018
Intel anthropologist Dawn Nafus interview on the use of data and technology in medical contexts
In an age where we can collect and store (forEVER) every second of every day, how much do we truly need… to learn? To react? To do good deeds that benefit society? Assuming we champion that, …
27 November 2018
[Report] Hiding in Plain Sight: Impact Investing in the Creative Economy
In October 2018, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors published Hiding in Plain Sight: Impact Investing in the Creative Economy, a new report from RPA sponsored project Upstart Co-Lab. The report is the first analysis of the tremendous …
20 November 2018
[Book] Who can you trust?
Who can you trust? How Technology Brought Us Together and Why It Might Drive Us Apart by Rachel Botsman Public Affairs November 2017, 336 pages If you can’t trust those in charge, who can you trust? From government to business, …
19 November 2018
What are Europe’s rules for democratic artificial intelligence?
Vincenzo Tiani has written an excellent summary in Wired Italia of the recently published "Ethical Framework for a Good AI Society: Opportunities, Risks, Principles, and Recommendations", by AI4People, a task force of European experts. With the …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

19 March 2019
Interested in a career with us?

Then we are interested in hearing from you. We have several positions available for talented UX/UI and service designers who are passionate about creating world-class user experiences. Please see the job descriptions on our website for more information, and send us your CV with a cover letter statement about yourself, your experience, and what UX […]

22 December 2018
Our very best wishes for 2019! / Auguri da Experientia!
4 October 2018
Bringing​ ​patients into focus at the Roche Innovation Summit

Experientia is proud to have been a key participant at the Roche Innovation Summit, held at Roche headquarters in Basel Switzerland on 19 June 2018. Themed “​Transforming the Healthcare Experience Together​”, the summit aimed to galvanize the Roche community around the future transformation of healthcare and diagnostics. With 800 attendees from Roche and Genentech global […]

13 June 2018
Invito: DesAlps design thinking workshop per la tua startup

Hai una startup? Hai mai pensato ai benefici che potrebbe trarre dal Design Thinking? Questa è l’opportunità per scoprirlo! DesAlps Workshop #2: Il Design Thinking per la tua startup! Giovedì 28 giugno 2018 – dalle 9:30 alle 17:00 @ I3P | Corso Castelfidardo 30/a, Torino —– Nell’ambito del progetto europeo DesAlps, un team di esperti […]

3 May 2018
Invito: DesAlps innovation workshop per le PMI del territorio piemontese

Experientia è lieta di invitare le piccole e medie imprese del territorio piemontese al: DesAlps Workshop #1: Il Design Thinking per le PMI Venerdì 18 maggio 2018 – dalle 9.00 alle 17.30 @ Rinascimenti Sociali | via Maria Vittoria 38, Torino Scopri i vantaggi che il Design Thinking può portare al tuo business per prepararvi […]

27 April 2018
Impact through Design – Event in Turin, Italy

(Scroll down for English) Come può il design generare impatto? In continuità con il summit International Days of Deans and Experts: Impact Through Design (Barcellona, aprile 2018) Torino ospita il primo evento dedicato alla prospettiva italiana sull’impatto generato attraverso il design in riferimento ai Sustainable Development Goals definiti dalle Nazioni Unite. Attori dell’ecosistema territoriale ed […]

See all articles