Definitions of the smart city tend to share an interest in transforming urban life through networked electronics and data collection at all scales: from materials that self-repair, to buildings “managed” by computers to minimize their energy footprint or maximize their productivity, to the urban scale of a new grid layered with sensors, and to material and information flows “optimized” by so-called artificial intelligence.
Through smart cities, some see an opportunity to totally reinvent human settlements, and today there are experiments that test out this vision. We can reconsider these prototypes. In the same way that a highway can be blocked by a protest or transformed by a ban on vehicles, a rooftop can be turned into a farm, and a parking garage converted into an apartment building—what could we do with appropriated smart city infrastructure?
In 2009, the CCA investigated the potential for urban DIY with the exhibition Actions: What You Can Do With The City. In 2018, we invite critics, urban historians, hackers, artists, and architects to submit proposals and identify opportunities for bottom-up action in the emerging space of the “smart” city.
Project financed in the framework of the Montreal Cultural Development grant awarded by the City of Montreal and the Quebec Ministry of Culture and Communications.
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