Chapter 10: Cybernetic cities: designing and controlling adaptive and robust urban systems
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Cities are changing constantly. All urban systems face different conditions from day to day. Even when averaged regularities can be found, urban systems will be more efficient if they can adapt to changes at the same temporal scales at which these occur. Still, the functionality of urban systems must be robust to changes, either caused by adaptation or by other factors. Technology can assist humans in designing and regulating this adaptation and robustness. For this purpose, we propose a description of cities as cybernetic systems. We identify three main components: information, algorithms, and agents, which we illustrate with current and future examples. The implications of cybernetic cities are manifold, with direct impacts on mobility, sustainability, resilience, governance, and society. Still, the potential of a cybernetic perspective on cities will not depend so much on technology as on how we use it.

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