Urban IQ Test

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This event is part of the Home and Away lecture series at the Daniels Faculty.  Supported by: KEYNOTE EVENT (SEPARATE REGISTRATION) Friday, January 18, 6:30 – 8:00 pm Orit Halpern, Concordia UniversityJesse LeCavalier, DanielsJesse Shapins, Sidewalk LabsMichael Sorkin, Michael Sorkin Studio, City College, NYC–moderator, Richard Sommer, Daniels The concept of the smart city has become ubiquitous in contemporary agendas related to urban planning, governance, and design, and within technological industries wishing to plan, build, and manage cities on a global scale. Yet despite its widespread use, the concept remains fuzzy in definition, changing depending on the disciplinary, ideological, and geopolitical context in which it is being used. In both the theories and emerging practices that are propelling the development of a smart urbanism, there is an unresolved tension between the newer, faster, digital, data-driven, “soft” economies and technologies transforming communication and social life, and the more established, and slower, hardware that characterizes the construction of the built environment.

Against this background, and with a specific focus on the implications of “intelligent” technologies for architecture and urban design, Urban IQ Test will take a deep dive into some of the contemporary rhetorics, histories and politics of the smart city phenomenon. URBAN IQ TEST SYMPOSIUMSaturday, January 19, 9:30 am – 4:30 pm 9:30 am |  IntroductionDean Richard Sommer, Daniels 9:45 am -11:15 am | Panel OneRHETORICS AND METRICS OF URBAN INTELLIGENCE: CASE STUDIES Marshall Brown, Princeton, Director CAUIDavid Benjamin, Columbia, The LivingMichael Piper, DanielsSarah Williams, MIT, Director, Civic Data Design Labothers, tbd-moderator, Jesse LeCavalier, Daniels The programs and projects that occur at the intersection between architecture and smart technologies are diffuse and diverse in genre, scale, and sophistication.

This panel will present a series of snapshots of contemporary case studies that will help establish a context and material basis for the more historical and politically oriented discussions that will follow. 11:30 am -1:00 pm | Panel TwoPREHISTORIES OF THE SMART CITY Sara Stevens, UBCDavid Smiley, ColumbiaOrit Halpern, Concordia–moderator, John Harwood, Daniels This panel will explore varied histories of the smart city. Perhaps because the smart city is positioned as inextricably tied to digital technology and data collection protocols less than a generation old, and is the manifestation of a planning and commercial ethos that is future-focused, missing from current debates are the varied historical phenomena and discourses which have shaped our understanding of what constitutes “smart.” Definitions change depending on the disciplinary, ideological, commercial, and geopolitical contexts in which the term is used.

Prefacing “intelligent,” “digital,” “green,” “sustainable,” or "smarter" to “city” legitimizes particular actions and actors in the changing global landscape. Such terms indicate the often-ambiguous meanings and goals of the smart city movement, and this panel offers a window into the ways different historical trajectories reveal other motives, concerns, and assumptions about what the so-called Smart City might accomplish. 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm | Break 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm | Panel ThreeINTELLIGENCES OF THE MULTITUDE: THE POLITICS OF SMART URBANISM Shannon Mattern, The New SchoolAnthony Acciavatti, Yale & ColumbiaGökçe Günel, University of Arizona–moderator, Michael Sorkin, Michael Sorkin Studio, City College, NYC This panel will explore the politics of the smart city concept and movement.

The smart city is typically presented as a highly integrated hardware and software platform of technological tools meant to facilitate faster, more responsive and efficient forms of urban communication, provision of human services, and resource management, i.e., a universally adaptable, politically-neutral solution with the potential to improve quality-of-life across all social sectors in an increasingly urbanizing globe. Yet there is a different historical evolution, and in the political structures and economies of production that govern the “hardware” of the city — constructed landscapes and resources, including water, energy, transit infrastructure, buildings (and the logistics of delivering them) — and the “software” of the city — social policies/engagement/inclusion, commerce, education, health services, etc.

Not only do the rates of innovation in, and integration of smart technology differ across “hard” and “soft” realms, but there are radical differences in the way individuals and groups might gain access to a smarter city within “hard” and “soft” aspects of the world’s regions, nations, and cities. The political agency of citizens and citizenry in conceptualizing and harnessing the benefits of the smart city, and correspondingly, who builds, controls and profits from it, raises the thorny question of whose lives the smart city promises to improve, and in what ways. 3:30 pm - pm 4:30 | Closing Remarks For biographies, schedule and full details see the Daniels website.

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