Key literature on Smart Cities and Urban Metabolism

The study of urban metabolism and its applications to urban planning and design
Kennedy, C., et al.,Environmental Pollution 159 (2011) 1965-1973

Oke, T.R. 1978: Boundary Layer Climates. London: Methuen
This is a very comprehensive yet accessible book on climate systems near the earth’s surface – both natural and man modified. It deals with environmental physics, such as radiation, aerodynamics, moisture, energy and water balances.

Olgyay, V. 1963: Design with Climate: Bioclimatic Approach to Architectural Regionalism. New Jersey: Princeton University Press
A pioneering book on architectural and small scale urban design in harmony with the regional climate, making (re-)use of vernacular concepts.

Schön, D.A., The reflective practitioner, how professionals think in action, 1982, Basic Books, Inc., Perseus Books Group.
Social scientist and consultant Donald A. Schön (Ford Professor of Urban Studies and Education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) examines five professions – engineering, architecture, management, psychotherapy, and town planning – to show how professionals really go about solving problems.

The best professionals, Schön maintains, know more than they can put into words. To meet the challenges of their work, they rely less on formulas learned in graduate school than on the kind of improvisation learned in practice. This is an unarticulated, largely unexamined process. One of his conclusions (p.282):

“When a practitioner does not reflect on his own inquiry, he keeps his intuitive understandings tacit and is inattentive to the limits of his scope of reflective attention…..A practitioner might break into a circle of self-limiting reflection by attending to his role frame, his interpersonal theory-in-use, or the organizational learning system in which he functions. Whatever his starting point, however, he is unlikely to get very far unless he wants to extend and deepen his reflection-in-action, and unless others help him see what he has worked to avoid seeing.”

Winsemius, P. (1986), Be your own guest: thoughts on environmental policy development, (in Dutch: Gast in eigen huis), Samson H.D. Tjeenk Willink.
Trained as a physics scientist, and active as partner in the business consultancy firm McKinsey, Pieter Winsemius was Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (VROM) from 1982-1986. The policy life-cycle model for environmental problems, proposed in this book, is simple and straightforward: Initial reconnaissance / Recognition phase, Policy development phase, Implementation phase, Operational management phase. Although various authors questioned the linearity of the model (“environmental problems change in structure in the course of time, but this change is not necessarily from unstructured to structured and from conflict to consensus, as assumed in the Winsemius model”), this book is interesting to know about, since it opened up the discussion on the role of environmental policy and science.

Keywords : Resources, Dynamics of growth

The Limits to growth.
Meadows, D., Meadows, D., Randers, J., & Behrens, W. New York: Universe Books. (1972)
In the light of the exponential growth of the mid-20thc., the book proposes a set of computer simulations outlining the future development paths of our planet. Nonrenewable resource depletion, agricultural production, world population, industrialization and pollution were the five variables that, considered to grow exponentially, were fed into the simulation model. The authors draw attention to the fact that the earth’s resources cannot support the current rate of growth beyond 2100.

The Tragedy of the Commons
Garrett Hardin. Science, New Series, Vol. 162, No. 3859. (1968)
This article shows the importance of sustainability in an ever growing world. Hardin argues that unlimited growth in a limited world is impossible and cannot be solved solely with technological measures.

Keywords: Urban Ecosystem, Sustainability

Sustainable Urban Environments: An Ecosystem Approach
Van Bueren et al. (eds), Springer (2012)
After an introduction to the ecosystem approach for urban environments, the book consists of different expert articles on specific urban sub-systems and -flows. This includes the urban water system, energy system, material system, air quality, health, transport and liveability as well as urban form, design tools and governance aspects. The book thus combines technical and scientific details with aspects governance and implementation.

Sustainable Technology Development
Weaver et al. EET Program (2000)
First encompassing process vision on how to steer technology towards  SD: the book introduced backcasting to a wider public.

The spreading of disorder
Keizer, K., Lindenberg, S., Steg. L., Science 322, 1681 (2008)
This article shows the interaction between environmental design and behavior. Using the broken window theory, they show how neighbourhoods can deteriorate due to signs of disorder.

Aggression and violence in the inner city. Effects of environment via mental fatigue.
Kuo, F. E., Sullivan, W. C. Environment and Behavior, vol. 33 – no. 4 (2001)
This article shows the importance of the environment around the place of residence. They found that higher levels of nearby nature in the neighbourhood correspond with lower levels of aggression and violence.

Keywords: Natural and Human environment

Manifeste du tiers paysage
Clément, G.,  Editions Sujet/Objet (2003)
In contemporary cities a large amount of disused spaces in a suspended state, defined as “Third Landscape” can be seen as opportunities to create future ecological reconnection.

Design with Nature
Ian L. McHarg, (1969)
Design with Nature is a major reference book in the field of landscape architecture. Written in 1969 as a reaction to the environmental problems caused by urban development, the book proposes methods and techniques for layered land-use mapping that include both urban and natural systems in an integrated way. In time, McHarg’s approach has had a strong influence on the development of geodesign.

Keywords: Energy, technology

Networks of power: Electrification in Western Society, 1880-1930
Thomas Parke Hughes, The Johns Hopkins University Press (1983)
Rich history of electricity systems. In describing the emergence and growth of electricity networks, the book develops a theory of the dynamics of large technological systems.

Keywords: food cycle

The Hungry City
Carolyn Steel, Random house (2008)
The author describes how food supply and cities have influenced each other throughout history and illustrates the strong relation they still bear today. The book explains, how the first types of agriculture eventually evolved into todays global food system through the lens of the city (and vice versa). It reveals, how food is part of culture, economy, sustainability and urban planning and it manages to connect everyday aspects with a view on the larger system. Last but not least, Steels witty style of writing makes this book a real page-turner.

Hamburgers in Paradise: The story behind the food we eat
Louise Fresco, Princeton University Press, (2015)
Louise Fresco is the chairmen of Wageningen University and one of the leading experts in food science in the Netherlands and beyond. This book looks at the food system as a whole, with all of its aspects. Louise Fresco takes clear positions, some of which may be counter intuitive (packed vegetables in supermarket may be better than you think). What makes this book different from the abundance on publications on food today and in the future is the well-balanced, scientific perspective that it offers.

Keyword: creativity

Mental Leaps: Analogy in Creative Thought
Keith J.Holyoak and Paul Thagard, (1990)
Short recommendation: The authors provide us for an integrated clear representations of diverse creative cognitive operations and applications of creative mental tools.
If we understand correctly, deeply and fully what analogy, metaphor, simile, mimesis, aesthetical judgement and the like cognitive instruments are, we can only then learn how to use them in creative mental acts; like spatial design and analysis.

Similarity and Analogical Reasoning
Stella Vosniadou, Andrew Ortony , Cambridge University Press, (1989)
We all know that similarity and analogy are two of many fundamental creative mental acts in human cognition. Any proper understanding of similarity and analogy requires the integration of theory and data from diverse domains.
If one deeply understands this, then he/ she can become more skillful in what he/she is doing; for example: creative education, in spatial design and analysis like the other two books.

The Analogical Mind: Perspectives from Cognitive Science
Dedre Gentner, Keith J. Holyoak and Boicho N. Kokinov, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (2001)
If we know how to deal with analogy we can understand novel situations and problems in terms of familiar ones; like spatial precedents. This book offers a full range of disciplines concerned with analogy
The book has three parts. 1- describes computational models of analogy, 2-explains the role of analogy in a wide range of cognitive tasks,3- looks at the development of analogy in children and the possible use of analogy in nonhuman primates.

Keywords: Waste, reuse

Wasting Away
Kevin Lynch (1991)
As the natural and inescapable result of growth, evolution and urbanisation, waste represent the ‘dark side of change’. They usually hide new opportunities, and they can be considered as resources.

Alan Berger (2007)
Alan Berger made a significant attempt to deal with the problem of drosscape and brownfields, investigating new tools to work with, through the definition of ‘drosscapes’ as: “the productive integration and reuse of waste landscape throughout the urban world” (Berger, 2006). Berger saw the potential of the re-use of these in-between spaces, as a process to imagine new urban growth.

Keywords: Smart urbanism, big data, digital code, power, space

Beautiful Data: A History of Vision and Reason since 1945
Orit Halpern, Duke University Press (2014)
How did space become smart? Through a narrative about the way we have been seeing and thinking about data since the end of the WWII, this book problematizes some common assumptions about digital futures. The author shows that, rather than being a straightforward solution to contemporary problems, data mining is closely intertwined to vision, knowledge and power shifts throughout history. Examples such as the contemporary smart city of Songdo (Seoul, South Korea) offer us insights on how data is crafted and mined to seem valuable and beautiful.

Critical Theory and the Digital
David M. Berry, Bloomsbury Academic (2014)
This book submits digital technologies to a critical scrutiny, by using as tools some of the critical concepts of the Frankfurt School. It is a valuable introductory text book to the ones concerned with the social and political aspects of the digital.

The Cybernetic Brain: Sketches of Another Future
Andrew Pickering, The University of Chicago Press (2010)
By tracking cybernetics history through different entry points – psychiatry, engineering, politics, music, architecture, education, yoga and many others – Pickering offers insights on how it can work as a model for open experimentations in many fields.
Contagious Architecture: Computation, Aesthetics, and Space
Luciana Parisi, MIT Press (2013)
The central argument here is that algorithms are not simply a mathematical tool, but a mode of thought that lies beyond human cognition and control. Therefore, design-oriented software, like Autocad, shape the urban – physical and digital – in ways that we can barely conceive. Parisi also links her specific analysis to more abstract notions, such as the dynamics of power in a digital era.

Code/Space: Software and Everyday Life
Rob Kitchin, Martin Dodge, MIT Press (2011)
The authors draw attention of social scientists to the fact that software are not simply mediation tools but active components of the contemporary world. The book is an analysis of software from the perspective of the production of space, which is increasingly dependent on code. It offers both theoretical frameworks and analytical tools for the research about automated spaces.

Keywords: Smart urbanism, big data, digital code, power, space

Beautiful Data: A History of Vision and Reason since 1945

Beautiful Data is both a history of big data and interactivity, and a sophisticated meditation on ideas about vision and cognition in the second half of the twentieth century. Contending that our forms of attention, observation, and truth are contingent and contested, Orit Halpern historicizes the ways that we are trained, and train ourselves, to observe and analyze the world. Tracing the postwar impact of cybernetics and the communication sciences on the social and human sciences, design, arts, and urban planning, she finds a radical shift in attitudes toward recording and displaying information. These changed attitudes produced what she calls communicative objectivity: new forms of observation, rationality, and economy based on the management and analysis of data. Halpern complicates assumptions about the value of data and visualization, arguing that changes in how we manage and train perception, and define reason and intelligence, are also transformations in governmentality. She also challenges the paradoxical belief that we are experiencing a crisis of attention caused by digital media, a crisis that can be resolved only through intensified media consumption.”


Critical Theory and the Digital

“This Critical Theory and Contemporary Society volume offers an original analysis of the role of the digital in today’s society. It rearticulates critical theory by engaging it with the challenges of the digital revolution to show how the digital is changing the ways in which we lead our politics, societies, economies, media, and even private lives. In particular, the work examines how the enlightenment values embedded within the culture and materiality of digital technology can be used to explain the changes that are occurring across society.

Critical Theory and the Digital draws from the critical concepts developed by critical theorists to demonstrate how the digital needs to be understood within a dialectic of potentially democratizing and totalizing technical power. By relating critical theory to aspects of a code-based digital world and the political economy that it leads to, the book introduces the importance of the digital code in the contemporary world to researchers in the field of politics, sociology, globalization and media studies.”


The Cybernetic Brain: Sketches of Another Future

“Cybernetics is often thought of as a grim military or industrial science of control. But as Andrew Pickering reveals in this beguiling book, a much more lively and experimental strain of cybernetics can be traced from the 1940s to the present.

The Cybernetic Brain explores a largely forgotten group of British thinkers, including Grey Walter, Ross Ashby, Gregory Bateson, R. D. Laing, Stafford Beer, and Gordon Pask, and their singular work in a dazzling array of fields. Psychiatry, engineering, management, politics, music, architecture, education, tantric yoga, the Beats, and the sixties counterculture all come into play as Pickering follows the history of cybernetics’ impact on the world, from contemporary robotics and complexity theory to the Chilean economy under Salvador Allende. What underpins this fascinating history, Pickering contends, is a shared but unconventional vision of the world as ultimately unknowable, a place where genuine novelty is always emerging. And thus, Pickering avers, the history of cybernetics provides us with an imaginative model of open-ended experimentation in stark opposition to the modern urge to achieve domination over nature and each other.”


Contagious Architecture: Computation, Aesthetics, and Space

“In Contagious Architecture, Luciana Parisi offers a philosophical inquiry into the status of the algorithm in architectural and interaction design. Her thesis is that algorithmic computation is not simply an abstract mathematical tool but constitutes a mode of thought in its own right, in that its operation extends into forms of abstraction that lie beyond direct human cognition and control. These include modes of infinity, contingency, and indeterminacy, as well as incomputable quantities underlying the iterative process of algorithmic processing.

The main philosophical source for the project is Alfred North Whitehead, whose process philosophy is specifically designed to provide a vocabulary for “modes of thought” exhibiting various degrees of autonomy from human agency even as they are mobilized by it. Because algorithmic processing lies at the heart of the design practices now reshaping our world — from the physical spaces of our built environment to the networked spaces of digital culture — the nature of algorithmic thought is a topic of pressing importance that reraises questions of control and, ultimately, power. Contagious Architecture revisits cybernetic theories of control and information theory’s notion of the incomputable in light of this rethinking of the role of algorithmic thought. Informed by recent debates in political and cultural theory around the changing landscape of power, it links the nature of abstraction to a new theory of power adequate to the complexities of the digital world.”


Code/Space: Software and Everyday Life

“After little more than half a century since its initial development, computer code is extensively and intimately woven into the fabric of our everyday lives. From the digital alarm clock that wakes us to the air traffic control system that guides our plane in for a landing, software is shaping our world: it creates new ways of undertaking tasks, speeds up and automates existing practices, transforms social and economic relations, and offers new forms of cultural activity, personal empowerment, and modes of play. In Code/Space, Rob Kitchin and Martin Dodge examine software from a spatial perspective, analyzing the dyadic relationship of software and space. The production of space, they argue, is increasingly dependent on code, and code is written to produce space. Examples of code/space include airport check-in areas, networked offices, and cafes that are transformed into workspaces by laptops and wireless access. Kitchin and Dodge argue that software, through its ability to do work in the world, transduces space. Then Kitchin and Dodge develop a set of conceptual tools for identifying and understanding the interrelationship of software, space, and everyday life, and illustrate their arguments with rich empirical material. And, finally, they issue a manifesto, calling for critical scholarship into the production and workings of code rather than simply the technologies it enables — a new kind of social science focused on explaining the social, economic, and spatial contours of software.”