Handbooks of Research Methods and Applications series
Edited by Luigino Bruni and Pier Luigi Porta
Chapter 6: Quality of life and smart cities
In the vision of the smart city, squares and plazas become intelligent spaces of meeting and citizen participation. Garbage, properly tagged of course, relays precious information back to city officials about how it can best be disposed of. Household appliances auto-detect and display the amount of water and energy they are consuming in real time and can be controlled remotely by handheld devices. It is possible to harness energy produced from bicycles and move around without negatively impacting the environment. It is not difficult to comprehend the attraction of ever more quickly advancing technology on our daily lives. It proposes solutions that can improve social interaction, solve practical problems such as mobility and our aging population, and enhance the quality of our living spaces (at home and in the public sphere). Nor is it difficult to understand why the term ‘smart city’ has, in just a few years, received such a warm embrace, and not just among urban professionals but also among laypeople, who are both reassured and seduced by its grand promises. The discourse of smart cities includes a combination of terms to express everything that a city ought to be: highly technological and sustainable, competitive and inclusive, creative and business friendly, technologically efficient and open to citizen participation. In short, a perfect synthesis of what economics, sociology, urbanism and design have long dreamed the city of the future to be.
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