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Communicating the City

Meanings, Practices, Interactions


Edited By Giorgia Aiello, Matteo Tarantino and Kate Oakley

How human meanings, practices and interactions produce and are produced by urban space is the focus of this timely and exciting addition to the study of urban communication.

Challenging notions of the ‘urban’ as physically, economically or technologically determined, this book explores key intersections of discourse, materiality, technology, mobility, identity and inequality in acts of communication across urban and urbanizing contexts. From leisure and media consumption among Chinese migrant workers in a Guangdong village to the diverse networks and communication infrastructures of global cities like London and Los Angeles, this collection combines a range of perspectives to ask fundamental questions about the significance and status of cities in times of intensified mediation and connectivity.

With case studies from Italy, Britain, Ireland, Russia, the United States and China, this international collection demonstrates that both empirical and critical knowledge on the relationship between communication and urban life has become vital across the humanities and social sciences.

Communicating the City will be essential reading for all scholars and students who desire to gain an in-depth understanding of the multiple roles that media and communication have in lived experiences of the city.

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Chapter Two: Questioning the smart city: From techno-entrepreneurial to intelligence-enabling (Davide Lampugnani)


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Questioning THE smart city

From techno-entrepreneurial to intelligence-enabling



Over the past few years, the term “smart city” has increasingly acquired global significance as a new urban development model strictly related to the pervasive adoption of technological innovations or forms of entrepreneurial urbanism. As of 2013, the market for smart cities was expected to be valued at US$ 1.565 trillion by 2020 (Vidyasekar, 2013). Moreover, related initiatives led by national and local governments, international corporations, and academic institutions are becoming widespread. In Europe, for example, 240 of the 468 cities in the 28 EU countries with at least 100,000 inhabitants have undertaken a minimum of one smart city project (Manville et al., 2014) and will continue to engage in similar developments in the foreseeable future.

Within this framework, the concept of smart city represents a new point of reference for the problem of urban development. On the one hand, it can be seen as a new “label” that can be circulated in the context of urban policy mobility (McCann, 2011), similar to previous urban narrations such as “global city” (Sassen, 1991) or “creative city” (Landry, 2000; Florida, 2002). On the other hand, it pushes forward the debate on the relationship between technology and the city. Terms such as “wired city” (Dutton et al., 1987), “informational city” (Castells, 1989), and “digital city” (Ishida & Ibster, 2000), in this sense,...

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