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Smart cities, design fiction



Visions of future cityscapes pervade the discourse and development of computing and media technologies. This paper addresses the growth of what has been called ‘design fiction’ in relation to the smart cities agenda. Designers and researchers formulate speculative worlds around the applications and systems they propose and design. In turn, these ‘worlds’ become a descriptive language and grammar for the articulation of both agendas and technical systems in the present. In this way, futures are apparently brought into the present. A technological imaginary for future urban life might therefore be foreclosed by glossy corporate imagery. A wealth of ‘design fictions’ for smart cities have been offered by large technology companies. However, with the growth in availability of the means of video production, alternative design fictions are being offered online. This paper discusses the role of ‘design fiction’ in the propagation of the future oriented discourses of smart cities. In conclusion, I argue we can accordingly chart a politics of anticipation in the speculative practices that significantly aid in the construction of ‘smart city’ discourses.
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