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Dream States: Smart Cities, Technology, and the Pursuit of Urban Utopias

Dream States: Smart Cities, Technology, and the Pursuit of Urban Utopias

Is the ‘smart city’ the utopia we’ve been waiting for?

The promise of the so-called smart city has been at the forefront of urban planning and development since the early 2010s, and the tech industry that supplies smart city software and hardware is now worth hundreds of billions a year.

But the ideas and approaches underpinning smart city tech raise tough and important questions about the future of urban communities, surveillance, automation, and public participation. The smart city era, moreover, belongs firmly in a longer historical narrative about cities ― one defined by utopian ideologies, architectural visions, and technological fantasies.

Smart streetlights, water and air quality tracking, autonomous vehicles: with examples from all over the world, including New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Portland, and Chicago, Dream States unpacks the world of smart city tech, but also situates this important shift in city-building into a broader story about why we still dream about perfect places.


The Technology of Cities

Chapter 1. Connections

Chapter 2. Engineering the City

Chapter 3. Water and Sewage: The Original Urban Networks

Chapter 4. City Lights

Chapter 5. Cities, Communications Technology, and the Feedback Dilemma

The Dream of the Smart City

Chapter 1. Smart City Tech: A Primer

Chapter 2. Smart Cities and the Origins of Utopian Urbanism

Chapter 3. Planning Smart Cities

Chapter 4. Smart Cities, Big Data, and a Question of Trust

Chapter 5. Smart City Tech and the Promise of Green Cities

Chapter 6. The Quagmire of Mobility Tech

Chapter 7. Function Creep and Surveillance

Chapter 8. The Special Case of AI and Big Data–Based Policing

Chapter 9. The Utopianism of Smart City Megaprojects

Chapter 10. The Politics of Smart Cities


Chapter 1. Science, Technology, and Pandemic Cities

Chapter 2. How Technology is Reshaping the Post-Pandemic City

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