Our colleague Federico Caprotti has a new project article out today in Urban Studies, available on open access here.
The article explores the significance of two prominent sites in the UK where the smart city is made visible: Glasgow’s Operations Centre and Bristol’s Data Dome. Such ‘flagship’ spaces play particular roles in defining and justifying smart urbanism, but also mediate particular forms of elite networked power.
Smart urbanism is a currently popular and widespread way of conceptualising the future city. At the same time, the smart city is critiqued by several scholars as difficult to define, and as being almost invisible to the naked eye. The article explores two urban spaces through which the smart city is rendered visible, in two UK cities that are prominent sites for smart urban experimentation and development. Bristol’s Data Dome and Glasgow’s Operations Centre are analysed in light of their iconic nature. The article develops a conceptual understanding of these flagship spaces of the actually existing smart cities through three interrelated conceptual lenses. Firstly, they are understood as a videological type of Leibniz’s concept of the windowless monad. Secondly, they are conceptualised as examples of banal and serialised architecture. Thirdly, these spaces and their attendant buildings are understood as totemic assemblages that point to newly emergent forms of elite urban power.
Caprotti, F. (2018). Spaces of visibility in the smart city: Flagship urban spaces and the smart urban imaginary. Urban Studies. Advance online version. DOI: 10.1177/0042098018798597