Two New Project Publications


We have a new journal article and a book to announce. The article, on the ‘Smart City as Anti-Planning in the UK’, was co-authored by Rob Cowley and Federico Caprotti, and was published online today in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. The book, on Eco-Development in China, was written by Ali Cheshmehzangi and his colleague Wu Deng, in the Palgrave Asia and Pacific Studies series.  Details below:


Cowley, R. & Caprotti, F. (2018). Smart City as Anti-Planning in the UK. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. Advance online version. DOI: 10.1177/0263775818787506


Critical commentaries have often treated the smart city as a potentially problematic ‘top down’ tendency within policy-making and urban planning, which appears to serve the interests of already powerful corporate and political actors. This article, however, positions the smart city as significant in its implicit rejection of the strong normativity of traditional technologies of planning, in favour of an ontology of efficiency and emergence. It explores a series of prominent UK smart city initiatives (in Bristol, Manchester and Milton Keynes) as bundles of experimental local practices, drawing on the literature pointing to a growing valorisation of the ‘experimental’ over strong policy commitments in urban governance. It departs from this literature, however, by reading contemporary ‘smart experiments’ through Shapin and Schafer’s work on the emergence of 17th-century science, to advance a transhistorical understanding of experimentation as oriented towards societal reordering. From this perspective, the UK smart city merits attention primarily as an indicator of a wider set of shifts in approaches to governance. Its pragmatic orientation sits uneasily alongside ambitions to ‘standardise’ smart and sustainable urban development; and raises questions about the conscious overlap between the stated practical ambitions of smart city initiatives and pre-existing environmental and social policies.


Deng, W. & Cheshmehzangi, A. (2018). Eco-development in China: Cities, Communities and Buildings. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan.  ISBN 978-981-10-8344-0


This book explores China’s eco-development strategies and practices from a multi-scalar perspective, discussing the importance of interplay between multi spatial levels of the built environment, as well as the stakeholders who are key players for China’s eco-development. Based on a selection of eco-development Chinese case studies – eco-city, eco-community and eco-building – it highlights how specific eco initiatives and green features are applied and practiced, offering a guide to China’s strategy directions and design and planning trends. The book identifies gaps and strategies and solutions for future eco-development expected to take place in China in the coming decades, as well as useful references for eco-development in other countries, and provides a useful resource for studies in the fields of urbanism, sustainable development and eco-design.


To see a full list of our project outputs to date, please visit our publications page.

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