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Reframing technologically enhanced urban scenarios: A design research model towards human centered smart cities

Stefano Andreani, Matteo Kalchschmidt, Roberto Pinto and Allen Sayegh

Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 2019, vol. 142, issue C, 15-25

Abstract: Smart city initiatives can be seen as a powerful driver for exploring future scenarios of contemporary cities through the lens of emerging technologies. Yet, the translation of those visions into actual urban implementations often fails to place the citizen experience at the forefront for the sake of the efficiency and optimization of urban processes and systems. Looking at the future as a design opportunity, this paper offers an alternative perspective to the technocentric and universalist approach on smart cities through a design-driven and human-centric approach. The article draws on a research initiative focused on mid-sized European cities, attempting to bridge the gap between strategic visions and innovative interventions towards a socio-technological hybridization of the city. Selected projects from this initiative present urban scenarios of adaptive street environments, responsive urban safety, and dynamic retail spaces developed through smart city tactics. Resulting from an inductive approach, a threefold design research model is then outlined: (1) grounded vision, addressing the ideation of alternative futures that stem from specific needs or local opportunities; (2) embraced technology, elaborating on the role played by urban technologies in augmenting the inner intelligence of places; and (3) urban co-evolution, fostering a mutually-constructive interaction between the urban players (citizens, researchers and designers, and stakeholders) for collaborative innovation. This framework may ultimately be employed in smart city projects to reveal latent future scenarios and eventually support the design of an environment and infrastructure where various parties can experiment, develop and test ideas, services and technologies in participatory ‘living labs’.

Keywords: Smart cities; Urban technologies; Design research; Responsive environments; Human-centered innovation; Urban scenarios; Smart living (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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