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Smart Urbanism: Utopian vision or false dawn?

December 06, 2016 by Simon Marvinrés Luque-Ayala, Colin McFarlane

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Smart Urbanism (SU) – the rebuilding of cities through the integration of digital technologies with buildings, neighbourhoods, networked infrastructures and people – is being represented as a unique emerging ‘solution’ to the majority of problems faced by cities today. SU discourses, enacted by technology companies, national governments and supranational agencies alike, claim a supremacy of urban digital technologies for managing and controlling infrastructures, achieving greater effectiveness in managing service demand and reducing carbon emissions, developing greater social interaction and community networks, providing new services around health and social care etc. Smart urbanism is being represented as the response to almost every facet of the contemporary urban question.