A colleague recently sent me a Guardian article entitled The smartest cities rely on citizen cunning and unglamorous technology by written Adam Greenfield as a part of the "Resilient Cities" project. It's a great read, and although it it would have been great fodder for my New Media, Conflict, and Control class this semester, I will certainly put it on the reading list next time around.
The examples are great, and the argument falls squarely in line with what many who study technology and society already know: that fetishizing the newest technologies will be more likely to reproduce than rectify social inequalities. Furthermore, techno-utopian logics are far too aligned with the interests of Silicon Valley capitalists than of average citizens. We would be much better off building things--whether they be spaces, devices, communication systems, or even social policies, for that matter--with an eye toward accessibility and inclusivity. The more I think about it, a true democratic ethos would be less “if you build it, they will come” and more “give people space, allow them access to resources, and you will see the true meaning of a ‘smart city’”…or something like that.