In the past, several urban visions were proposed by historians, academic and practicing planners, geographers, environmentalists, preservationists, public policy makers, communities and other stakeholders interested in urban processes, and some of these visions were planned, built and can be experienced today as best practice examples of resilient urbanism. For example, Ebenezer Howard’s ‘garden’ cities, i.e. a network of urban settlements combining city and country characteristics in order to manage social and economic change, has proven to be one of the most enduring and transferable of these visions, influencing urban planning in Europe and worldwide (Ward 2016; TCPA 2015, 2014, 2011; Dunn, Cureton and Pollastri 2014; Stern, Fishman and Tilove 2013; Ross and Cabannes 2012; Hall and Ward 1998; Hall 1988; Howard 1898). Nowadays, the world’s population is projected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, and up to 9.7 billion people by the year 2050, of whom 70% will be living in cities (UN 2015; WHO 2010). This pervasive densification of urban populations will increase strains on the built environment, public and green infrastructures, and other urban and natural systems of the planet. On the other hand, static and mobile computing technologies are embedded in all aspects of our daily life, and particularly in today’s cities. Moreover, information and communication technologies (ICT) are currently being developed worldwide by major transnational corporations, in order to envision, plan, monitor, and manage ‘smart’ cities from a top-down perspective (Kitchin 2015, 2014; Boulos and Al-Shorbaji 2014; Henriques 2014; Manville et al. 2014). It could be argued that the association of both trends, i.e. urbanisation and digitisation, which has been leading to the production of previously unimaginable quantities of data (Dragland 2013), has the potential to inform urban processes and places, but there is a need for evidence that it can also support civic and social networks for resilient local communities. Could the worldwide proliferation of corporate ICT infrastructures in smart cities be seen as a new form of extraction urbanism? Could successful lessons from the garden cities movement be transferable to contemporary civic and social movements in smart cities? In this paper, recent developments in European smart cities are identified, and comparisons are drawn between these and the established planning history and legacy of the garden cities’ vision, around the world. If data is acknowledged as the new gold, oil or soil, the global development of tangible and intangible ICT infrastructures in smart cities could be regarded as a potential new form of extraction urbanism. Within European smart cities, opportunistic and participatory data mining conducted by corporations and local communities (e.g. responding to recent extreme weather events) is compared with the planning history and legacy of the garden city movement. The usability of transferable lessons between ‘smart’ and ‘garden’ visions in Europe is discussed, in order to support new bottom-up perspectives on civic and social international networks to address climate change.
|Publication status||Published - 17 Jul 2016|
|Event||17th IPHS Conference - History, Urbanism, Resilience - Delft, Netherlands|
Duration: 17 Jul 2016 → …
|Conference||17th IPHS Conference - History, Urbanism, Resilience|
|Period||17/07/16 → …|