Countermapping the smart city

Dan McQuillan


The smart city is an activity of map making, using the traces of our pasts, presents and predicted futures. Like many of its forebears this map serves the purposes of power and, as the sensors of the smart city see more deeply in to our lives, they colonise the new spaces that they find. The algorithms behind these sensors are constructing predictions from data that bring forth an urban space splintered by states of exception. While bottom-up participation is proposed by many as a remedy to the negatives of the smart city, I argue that this is not sufficient. The smart city is hegemonic, and this paper proposes that it be contested through the explicitly anti-hegemomic method of counter mapping. Drawing on critical cartography, this would enroll sensors and algorithms as machines who's mapping could instead extend the commonality.

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