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Laura Forlano
Laura Forlano

Cornell Tech

Techno-Optimistic Smart City Imaginaries: A Patchwork of Four Urban Futures


This talk will describe four urban futures that are being imagined through and juxtaposed with techno-optimistic visions of the smart city. The City as Platform—defined by the integration of digital technologies such as WiFi terminals--is a streamlined version of city government in which many services are provided by third party companies rather than by the government itself. The City as a (New) Urban Manufacturer—defined by the integration of development of new businesses around design, digital fabrication and local manufacturing—is a rebirth of manufacturing for the purpose of economic growth. The City as Testbed—defined by the use of public roadways and simulations that are used for the testing of autonomous vehicles—is an experimental space for future technologies. And, lastly, the City as a Lab—defined by the measurement, control, tracking and surveillance of a wide range of urban processes—is a highly scientific and systematic management of urban life.


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