Of course I won’t name any dumb city. In general I think cities are already smart, in a way. In the end, cities are what they are because these are the places where we concentrate efforts, resources (well, not always!), flows, people, etc., to try and make the best of our time (ok, definitely not always!). Anyway, cities were created as agglomerations to help humans optimize the time to travel from point A to point B. And there is all the good things we get from unexpected encounters and from the mixture of differences.
This is changing quickly and the neoliberal city of the 21st century doesn’t like wasting of any kind. Smarter cities, as they’ve been called these days, are efficient systems where connections work to keep things working with no interruptions, no waste of time, no waste of resources, no clashes, no disputes, no questions… it’s supposed to be all about organisation, efficiency, effectiveness, precision and productivity. Smarter in this sense is also related to homogeneity and avoiding differences by steriotyping patterns and standards of behaviour, people, places and activities. I even wonder if soon we’ll cease being citizens and start being urban customers.
Not long ago, the star-architect Rem Koolhaas said that “by calling it smart, our city is condemned to being stupid”. So predictable, so boring, so stupid!… Got it?
Thus, what is the limit of smartness for cities? When do things stop doing things for us and let us be more spontaneous, different, alternative and unconstrained?