Another City is Possible: Alternatives to the Smart City | November 6


The smart phone in your pocket, the countdown clocks in the subway, cameras monitoring street activity, maps showing traffic jams in real time, the CitiBike app pointing you to an empty rack down the street: these are just a few of the ways in which networked information technology already informs our use and experience of the city. So what does the future hold for our increasingly “smart city” and who decides how this technology is used, and for whose benefit and in whose interests?

The notion that our cities are being transformed by information technology enjoys considerable intellectual currency at the moment, in conversations in architecture, urban planning and local government as well as in popular media. Much of this dialogue hinges on an understanding of the future networked city as an environment more efficient and more attuned to our needs through advanced collection and deployment of data — a definition writer and urbanist Adam Greenfield finds reductive and problematic.

On November 6th, to mark the launch of his new pamphlet “Against the smart city,” Greenfield will present a lecture at the New Museum, co-hosted by Urban Omnibus/The Architectural League and IDEAS CITY. In this talk, Greenfield will argue that this limited narrative of the smart city, as it is currently articulated, gives rise to a potentially authoritarian vision of cities under centralized, computational surveillance and control: overplanned, overdetermined, and driven by the needs of enterprise. But he also believes that an alternative exists, and will explore some practical, concrete ways we might use the networked information technologies we already have to advance and support an urban experience that responds to our needs, demands, and desires. How might we inscribe a robust conception of the right to the city in these systems that will do so much to define the urban experience in the twenty-first century?

Another City is Possible: Alternatives to the Smart City
Adam Greenfield
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
New Museum Theater
The New Museum
235 Bowery
Tickets are free for Architectural League and New Museum members; $8 for non-members. Architectural League members may reserve a ticket by e-mailing New Museum members may reserve tickets through the museum’s ticket page. Non-members may purchase tickets here.
This lecture is now SOLD OUT.

“Against the smart city” (available for purchase here) is the first part of Greenfield’s forthcoming book The City is Here for You to Use, which will explore the intersection of emerging networked information technologies with urban place. He is also the author of Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing, as well as the UO features “A Diagram of Occupy Sandy” and “Frameworks for Citizen Responsiveness: Towards a Read/Write Urbanism,” and “Urban Computing and Its Discontents,” a pamphlet co-authored with Mark Shepard for The Architectural League’s Situated Technologies series.