The integration of technology in cities and the ways that it will influence urban development has become topic that comes up a lot lately. With every hot topic, there also comes the seemingly requisite assortment of new buzzwords. ‘Smart Cities’, ‘Locative Media’, ‘Embedded Technologies’, ‘Interactive Architecture’, etc. I suppose they’re meant to catch attention, but appear to primarily create confusion.
While its easy to scoff at all of this as ‘trend’, its hard to ignore the range of ideas being explored across multiple disciplines that has brought together diverse groups of people from code programmers, artists, engineers and sociologists to interaction designers, historians, geographers, and the list goes on. All of these people are beginning to think about cities and urban spaces in new ways. As many of them were not formally educated in urban design or architecture, their unique perspectives are informed by the knowledge base of their particular background merged with that of their collaborators. Their collective work has brought about a new awareness of the city and a great opportunity for architects and urban designers to see their field in a new light and form new collaborations.
Most anything related to new technology seems to be fertile ground for the proliferation of buzzwords, but if you go beyond the hype and misinformation to look for the substance within, I think there are some interesting ideas that are worth the effort of sifting out the nonsense to discover.