16:15 - 16:45
Sex, Lies and Smart Cities

Short thesis

If the idea of the future city is, and always has been abstract and generic, then what does it look like when we decompose it into its constituent parts?


The future city, like the future home looks much the same as it always did. The idea is not only abstract and generic but also old. A key feature of futurism is nostalgia and current futurism is nostalgic for the 1950s, a period when potentially unlimited opportunities – in employment, education, public life and private life – opened up for women and were simultaneously shut down. By highlighting the regressive re-sexing of otherwise sterile and egalitarian environments I draw attention to, and expose a number of other false or questionable claims concerning: artificial intelligence; transparency; openness; efficiency; security; autonomy and sustainability. To what extent is the technology of the future all about comfort, care and convenience – and whose comfort, care and convenience are we talking about? Finally, what are the opportunities for intervention when smart means dumb, sterile is sexist and openness is a form of enclosure?