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For the past three decades, digital technologies and systems – such as city operating systems, centralized control rooms, digitally-mediated surveillance, intelligent transport systems, predictive policing, coordinated emergency response, bikeshare, sensor networks, smart lighting, building management systems and civic apps – have become ever more important for the management and economy of cities. Collectively these systems are sold and used on the promise of creating a smart city; a city that uses real-time data and computation to create more efficient, effective, productive, competitive, safer, and sustainable urban life. This module will explore how smart cities are being produced around the world, the logic and drivers underpinning the smart city movement, the critique being levelled against state- and corporate-led visions of the smart city, and the merits of alternative citizen-centric visions. Along with an extensive discussion of core ideas and concepts, the module will provide plenty of illustrative case material relating to specific technologies and places.
The course will provide a detailed analysis:
(1) of smart cities and its key ideas, rationale, and technologies;
(2) how the smart city serves the state, businesses and citizens;
(3) the key critiques of the drive to create smart cities;
(4) an assessment of the present state of play and how smart cities might be alternatively realised.