putting people first

by experientia
by experientia
20 May 2013

The too-smart city

Be the first to share
putting people first
by experientia

We’re already building the metropolis of the future—green, wired, even helpful. Now critics are starting to ask whether we’ll really want to live there. Courtney Humphries reports for the Boston Globe.

“As political leaders, engineers, and environmentalists join the smart-city bandwagon, a growing chorus of thinkers from social sciences, architecture, urban planning, and design are starting to sound a note of caution. […]

Behind the alluring vision, they argue, lurk a number of troubling questions. A city tracking its citizens, even for helpful reasons, encroaches on the personal liberty we count on in public spaces. The crucial software systems and networks that underlie city services will likely lie in private hands. And the more successful smart-city programs become, the more they risk diverting resources into the problems that can be solved with technology, rather than grappling with difficult issues that can’t be easily fixed with an app. […]

The orderly, manageable city is a vision with enduring appeal, from Plato’s Republic to Songdo, an entirely new smart city constructed near Seoul. But there’s an equally compelling vision of the city as a chaotic and dynamic whirl of activity, an emergent system, an urban jungle at once hostile and full of possibility—a place to lose oneself. [Dan] Hill points out that efficiency isn’t the reason we like to live in cities, and it’s not the reason we visit them. Tourists come to Boston for the bustling charm of the North End, not the sterile landscape of Government Center. In a city where everything can be sensed, measured, analyzed, and controlled, we risk losing the overlooked benefits of inconvenience. It’s as if cities are one of the last wild places, and one that we’re still trying to tame.”

Be the first to share
Related Article
3 December 2014
The politics of the sharing economy
Trebor Scholz, Associate Professor for Culture and Media at The New School in New York, writes that he "support[s] peer production and sharing practices but [he is] vexed by attempts to subsume them into the …
Related Article
3 December 2014
Ericsson’s new ConsumerLab report about the smart citizen
Last month, Ericsson published its latest ConsumerLab report, entitled "Smart Citizens: How the internet facilitates smart choices in city life." The study covers 9 cities worldwide-Beijing, Delhi, London, New York, Paris, Rome, São Paulo, Stockholm and …
Related Article
21 November 2014
Everyday rituals and digital tech in the families of mobile workers
Quotidian Ritual and Work-Life Balance: An Ethnography of Not Being There Jo-Anne Richard and Paulina Yurman (Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Royal College of Art) David Kirk and David Chatting (Culture Lab, Newcastle University) Paper presented at the …
Related Article
19 November 2014
Why wearables should be free
Companies shouldn't just give out wearables for free; they should pay users for data, argues Hans Neubert, frog's chief creative officer. "Owners of wearable technology, like the upcoming Apple Watch or Microsoft Band, are the most …
Related Article
2 November 2014
A constructionist approach to behaviour change and the Internet of Things
Dan Lockton just posted an essay on how to enable social and environmental behaviour change by using IoT-type technologies for practical co-creation and constructionist public engagement. It got him immediately some Sunday morning Twitter commentary …
Related Article
30 October 2014
Graphic novel explains our role in the world of Big Data
Big Data powers the modern world. What do we gain from Big Data? What do we lose? Al Jazeera America examines the role of technology and the implications of sharing personal information in the network’s …
Related Article
26 October 2014
Creating user-friendlier environments
MIT News describes how Federico Casalegno of the MIT Mobile Experience Lab designs technology environments that keep human experience at the center of user experience. "The director of the MIT Mobile Experience Lab looks to innovate …
Related Article
25 October 2014
Report outlines future of UK social design research
Social Design Futures: HEI Research and the AHRC By Armstrong, Leah, Jocelyn Bailey, Guy Julier, Lucy Kimbell University of Brighton and Victoria and Albert Museum October 2014, 84 pages The UK's Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) has …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

27 November 2014
Why the world needs anthropologists – an update

Why the world needs anthropologists – Coming out of the ivory tower Location: Padua, Italy, Centro Culturale Altinate/San Gaetano Date and time: Friday, 5 December 2014, 13:00 – 18:00 Padua, Italy, 5 December 2014 – The second edition of the international symposium of applied anthropologists attempts to erase the boundary between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, […]

30 October 2014
The BancoSmart ATM by Experientia for UniCredit selected for ADI Design Index

Last year Experientia designed the interface of an ATM of UniCredit, a major Italian bank. The interface is now rolled out across the bank’s ATMs in Italy, to great satisfaction of the bank and the customers alike, since interaction speed is much faster and error rates went down dramatically. Last year UniCredit and Experientia also […]

29 October 2014
Experientia at EPIC: UX transforming a financial institution

In September 2014 Experientia gave a presentation on working as UX professionals with financial institutions at the EPIC conference in New York. The paper is now available on the EPIC site in HTML and PDF versions (free registration req’d). Abstract Application of a user-centered approach rooted in ethnographic methodologies facilitates a major European bank’s transition […]

25 October 2014
Experientia president to speak at User Friendly 2014 in China

Experientia president Michele Visciola is one of the keynote speakers at User Friendly 2014, the annual user experience conference of UXPA China, to be held in Wuxi, China, 13 to 16 November. The theme of the 11th conference is the “new era of the experience economy,” thus underlining the importance of transferring UX concepts and […]

See all articles