Back in Feb, Shannon Mattern argued that A City Is Not a Computer. The essay, in part a reaction to Y Combinator’s move last year into urbanism, problematizes ‘smart cities’ and tech’s Californian Ideology.
To wit –
“Were he alive today, Mumford would reject the creeping notion that the city is simply the internet writ large. He would remind us that the processes of city-making are more complicated than writing parameters for rapid spatial optimization. He would inject history and happenstance. The city is not a computer. This seems an obvious truth, but it is being challenged now (again) by technologists (and political actors) who speak as if they could reduce urban planning to algorithms. 20“
Further, references to “nonsemantic information“, “the longue duré“, “geologic insight” and “urban epistemologies”.
Evoking the proverbial tire, Shannon Mattern, references the indomitable Ada Louise Huxtable and asks“Kicked a smart city lately?”
In it she seems to argue for a UX of transparency
“Rather than making the city’s services and networks appear seamlesslyintegrated, rather than disappearing the interfaces between the deep levels of the urban protocol stack, our interfaces could highlight the seams — in our infrastructural networks, between various layers of the urban stack, and even within the social fabric — thereby helping us to better understand how our cities function, and how we can develop the necessary tools to monitor and modify their operation“
She provides more specifically, “a rubric for how we might evaluate our urban interfaces“