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TitleSmart Cities: A Spatialised Intelligence
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Table of Contents
                            Smart Cities
Introduction: A New Urban Ideal
	Spatialised Intelligence
	Technology, Space and Politics
1 The Advent of the Smart City, from Flow Management to Event Control
	Defining the Smart City
	Self-Fulfilling Fictions
	The Sentient and Sensory City
	Massive Quantities of Data
	What Happens
2 A Tale of Two Cities
	Neocybernetic Temptation
	The Cyborg-City Hypothesis
	Spontaneous City, Collaborative City
	The Digital Individual
3 Urban Intelligence, Space and Maps
	Augmented Reality and Geolocation
	Towards Three-Dimensional Urbanism
	A New Relationship to Infrastructure
	The Stakes of Representation
	A New Aesthetic
	Laboratories of Public Life in the Digital Age
Conclusion: The Challenges of Intelligence
	The Limits of All-Digital Solutions
	The Necessary Diversification of Scenarios
	From Event to History
Picture Credits
Document Text Contents
Page 1


A Spatialised



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Antoine Picon 083 Chapter 2 A Tale of Two Cities

urban realm, or even to a reduction of politics to sound administration of
not just things, as the French political and economic theorist Henri de Saint-
Simon and his followers suggested at the dawn of the 19th century, but
also events: of what happens.31

Spontaneous City, Collaborative City

Technology rarely constitutes an inevitable factor that weighs down on the
course of history in the way that natural constraints do. To be convinced
of this, we need only bear in mind the fact that the mobilisation of vast
hydraulic resources does not necessarily lead to the type of oriental despotism
that the German-American historian Karl August Wittfogel associated with
it when he applied the examples of Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt on
a general level.32 The case of Holland, with its dams, dykes and polders,
speaks out against this type of generalisation. In reality, technology displays
a significant degree of social and political indeterminacy. In the case of the
smart city, this indeterminacy is expressed through the existence of another
model than that of the technocratically managed cyborg-city. In contrast to

Flash mob dancing at
Sergels Torg for Gay Pride,
Stockholm, 3 August 2012
Flash mobs are emblematic
of another type of smart city
in which digital technology
would serve as a platform
enabling urban spontaneity.

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neocybernetic temptation are the desires and experiences of spontaneity and
collaboration that are just as present in the contemporary urban landscape.

Even if they are prepared in advance, the success encountered by smart
mobs – sudden gatherings in public spaces that are made possible by the
mobilisation of participants through social networks and mobile phones –
bears witness to a desire for spontaneous expression that cannot be satisfied
within the usual frameworks of public speaking and collective action.33 The
latter seems related to the festive ambitions of the Situationists and Henri
Lefebvre. And what if the right to the city were also, fundamentally, a right
to collective demonstration and celebration? In opposition to the city that is
programmed like a well-oiled machine stands the city that gives priority back
to the creative mobilisation of its citizens.

With smart mobs and their more artistically inclined counterparts, flash
mobs, we may well ask ourselves whether the preparation of the event falls
more into the realm of programming rather than being rooted in authentic
spontaneity. However, the role played by the social networks, led by Twitter,
in a whole series of political and social movements, notably in the uprisings
of the Arab Spring between 2010 and 2014, incites us to get over this sort of
objection.34 These examples demonstrate that the digital realm can serve as
a basis for real events, in the fullest sense of the term. The close association
between mobilisation through information and communications technology

Opposition supporters
talk near graffiti referring
to the social networking
site Twitter in Tahrir
Square in Cairo, 5
February 2011
A photograph that conveys
the role played by social
media in recent political and
social uprisings such as the
Arab Spring.

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courtesy IBM; p 50 © Map produced by Joan Serras with James Cheshire, UCL

Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis. Data: National Public Transport Repository

(NPDR) and ITN from Digimap; p 51 © Jay Forrester; p 53 © Direction des routes

Ile-de-France (DiRIF),; p 55 © Pool Merillon/Ribeiro/Gamma-

Rapho/Getty Images; p 56 © Christophe Lehenaff/Photononstop/Corbis; p 57

© Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images; p 58 © Factory Fifteen; p 59 © The MITRE

Corporation. Published with permission; p 60 © Everett Collection/Rex; p 61 ©

Ubisoft; p 69 © John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; p 70 © REX/Snap Stills; p 71 In the public

domain, courtesy, Wikimedia Commons; pp 72 & 73 Courtesy of John Wiley &

Sons Ltd; p 74 © With permission of Gui Bonsiepe; p 75 © Courtesy of IBM; p 76

© Electronic Arts Inc. Source:;

p 81 © Yoshikazu Tsuno/Getty Images; p 83 © Michael Kazarnowicz, http://; p 84 © STEVE CRISP/Reuters/Corbis; p 85 © Jonathan

Rashad; p 86 © Image by Eric Fischer, using data © OpenStreetMap contributors,

ODbL; p 87 OpenStreetMap. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0:; p 88 (t) © mySociety and; p 88 (b) © Courtesy of Waze; p 89 © Chris Obrist, FabLab

Lucerne; p 90 © Marcel Beiner; p 92 © Franck Boston/Shutterstock; p 93 ©

24Novembers/Shutterstock; p 94 © Daniel Becerril/Reuters/Corbis; p 95 Courtesy

of the National Park Service; p 96 © Stephan Gerhard and Patric Hagmann; p 97

© Kimo Quaintance; p 98 © Gary Sheppard/Getty Images; p 107 © CityBridge;

p 108 © Jean-François Coulais; p 109 © Spatial Information Design Lab, GSAPP,

Columbia University; p 110 © Daniel Belasco Rogers; p 111 ©;

p 112 © Sol-Logic Ltd; p 113 © Foster + Partners; p 114 © Gale International; p

115 © Photo by Seth Engel; p 116 © Antoine Picon; p 117 © Antoine Picon; pp

118 & 119 © JDS Architects; p 120 © Tom Chance Creative Commons Attribution

2.0 Generic Licence:; p 121

©; p 122 © Photo by Caseyjonz; p 123 ©

Ludovic Mauduit; p 124 © Katherine Taylor/NT/Redux/eyevine; p 126 (t) © City

of Rock Hill; p 126 (b) © Courtesy of Senseable City Lab, MIT; p 127 © Cityzenith

2015; p 128 © Courtesy Institute of Applied Autonomy; pp 129 & 130 © Spatial

Information Design Lab, GSAPP, Columbia University; p 131 © Collection Frac

Centre, Orléans, Photographie François Lauginie; p 132 © Christian Nold; p

133 © Repérage Urbain; p 134 © Ville de Rennes; p 136 © Kris Henning and A

Skinner (2015, Street Robbery in Portland, Oregona, 2009–2013.

crime-data; p 137 © City of Reykjavík / Icelandic Road and Costal Administration;

p 139 © Keiichi Matsuda; p 146 © 2008 CERN; p 147 © Marlenenapoli. Creative

Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication: http://creativecommons.

org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/deed.en; p 149 © Songquan Deng/Shutterstock; p 150

© Elisabeth Ascher; p 151 © B+H; p 152 © Judith van der Werf; p 154 © Photo

by Lasvegaslover. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence: http://; p 155 © Fondazione Aldo Rossi.

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