Order and disorder in the cities

Umberto Pagano


In recent years a paradigm has emerged for which urban liveability coincides with the existence of conditions of order, rationality, predictability and safety. If we combine this with the enormous technological progress applied to the management of urban ecosystems and the strongly transitional nature of our age (digital transition, climate change, ecological transition ...), we understand why in the last twenty years the concept of “Smart City” has been one of the most successful. But exactly what are we talking about when we talk about Smart City? In reality, the process of smartification does not only concern the urban dimension but, in some way, seems to apply to so many aspects of life. What kind of rationality is hidden in the dynamics of smartification? Are there dark sides of the Smart Cities? Are there alternatives to the Order based on standardization, digital surveillance, massive use of increasingly invasive technologies? These are categories whose application is generally argued with the need to generate “sustainable” ways of life but to what extent are these categories sustainable themselves? Martin Heidegger warned that the fact that “everything works” is exactly the problem and not the solution. Is humanity generating an increasingly irrational rationality?

The provocation launched by some Authors (above all Richard Sennett) is that there is the possibility of an antagonism to this process, designing cities as something open, never concluded, dis-organized. But what exactly does this disorder consist of? Is it a mere utopia or is it really possible to develop concrete categories and urban planning practices consistent with it?


Sociology, Urban Planning, Architecture, Smart City, Transition.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.23756/sp.v10i2.943


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