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Patrick Geddes Concepts of Community and Space in Smart Cities, Article Critique Example

Pages: 7

Words: 1812

Article Critique

Geddes’ logics pertaining to actualization, i.e. modelling, demarcation and realization, embody a form of ethical space where there is a self-regulating civic life existence. Geddes proposed a more organized and empathetic abstract social thought when it comes to space (Osborne & Rose, 2004). In his book Cities in Evolution, he highlights the inherent fact that residents of cities had all but forgotten the history of their own city. Geddes believed that the only way inhabitants can understand the complexities of their city as an organism, they would have to understand its history. He believed that space is a crucial element of the city as an organism and its use is critical to the health of the organism.

At the time Geddes was writing his book in the 19th Century, most cities had been ravaged by the effects of economic development, particularly technological development. Motorization had brought considerable prospects during its discovery. However, it has become the source of some of the major problems plaguing the modern-day city.  However, Geddes believed that technology reaches a point where when it achieves a given level of complexity, it becomes an autonomous variable, growing and expanding into all aspects of life with little precincts (Braham, Hale, & Sadar, 2007, p. 53).

Geddes believed that a city is an organism as opposed to a mechanical system (Geddes, Ferreira, & Jha, 1976). An organism is made of complex and intricate processes that keep it alive. Geddes also believed that a city is alive as a result of the people living within the cities, and only when people develop a communal mindset can they appreciate the value of their city. Through his actions, he inspired and mobilized his neighbors in James Court towards communal action. Community cohesion is an integral aspect of the sustainable and modern city. The absence of such cohesion develops social problems that hinder significant progress.

Space in Smart Cities

Smart cities are essentially developed on the foundation of sustainable growth and development. Smart cities aim to effectively utilize space in a manner that ensures the whole system (organism, as per Geddes) is sustained in the long run. Efficiencies in smart cities is generated from the planning process. Smart cities employ extensive strategic planning in the placement of structures and land use to ensure an efficient and sustainable system.

Community in Smart Cities

Smart cities emphasize on the importance of community to guarantee sustainability in the ling-run. Smart cities are founded on the concept of a global community with a global culture. This global culture is necessary for communal cohesion, a factor that Geddes highlights as integral to sustainability of cities. Community in smart cities are developed to enhance security of residents by creating synergies in the metropolitan demographic of most Smart Cities (Christensen & Levinson, 2007). Smart cities take into consideration the aspect of culture and its

Technology in Smart Cities

Technology in smart cities is currently moving towards the internet of things. As cities move towards a global market and culture, technology has be directed towards the automation of every aspect of human life. This includes the automation key elements of human social life such as transport, communication and even trade. One of the most significant aspects of technology in smart cities is the use of intelligent automated infrastructure (Siemens, 2015). Technology is smart cities spans from intelligent security solutions, to building automation systems and transport management systems. Owing to the fact that Smart cities are developed with sustainability as the core pillar, sustainable energy and efficient energy use is critical longevity and efficiencies of cities.

Problematic Aspects of Smart Cities

Smart cities, while they offer a wide variety of services and amenities, they have become characterized by a number of problems and issues that are related to the concepts of space, community and technology as postulated by Geddes (Wilken, 2011). These three areas specifically affect planning, regulating, and managing city infrastructure, flows, and disasters.

Aging Infrastructure

One of the biggest problems facing smart cities is the aspect of infrastructure. Smart cities are founded on the concept of modernizing infrastructure to sustain the needs of the modern population. One critical challenge facing Smart Cities is the existence of old and outdated structures that are considerably costly to redevelop or rebuild. With the increasing density of urban population, the digitization of urban structures, moving towards the internet of things, is critical to efficiency in the next decade.

Old structures lacking smart city technology in their architecture and development continue to prove to be a challenge to smart cities (Rassia & Pardalos, 2014). Geddes depicted this in his James Court project. After purchasing a row of houses in this slum area, he employed the conservative surgery as opposed to the gridiron plan, he opted to weed out the compromised structures and only retain the good structures, and remodel them.

Transportation Flow

The transportation system is an integral and essential part for the success, growth and development of any given economy. Nevertheless, transport accounts for high pollution and energy consumption, with energy consumption within this sector being the highest in many developing nations (Birkeland, 2012). In addition, the improvement, development and management of transport infrastructure is usually realized at a great cost to the environment. With the increasing densities effective planning and development of transportation systems is a considerable challenge. Smart cities heavily rely on the transportation system to allow for the flow of traffic between different areas of the cities. As such, they have to employ numerous transportation modes to realize full efficiency. Synchronizing this different means of transport (road, rail, air and water) is a considerable challenge. Cities have to develop systems that ensure traffic flow is nearly seamless in and out of its borders.

Regulation

Smart cities remain sustainable and functional based on theory ability to regulate almost all aspects of its being and existence. This includes the human activity that takes place within its borders. One of the challenges is the regulation of construction and activities within its borders. Many cities and metropolitan areas try to attract the attention of prospective companies through the information conveyed on their websites and synergies with the private sector (Townsend, 2013). Smart cities are faced with the challenge of attracting the right kind of investors. This poses a potential problem as far as planning is concerned. In order to effectively plan a smart city, city managers have to take into consideration the aspect of land use.

Disaster Preparedness

Natural disasters are part of day-to-day life. Unlike human generated disasters or hazards, natural disasters cannot be avoided as they are driven by forces of nature. Smart cities are increasingly facing the challenge to remain disaster prepared. It is therefore the mandate of city management to issue a mandate to carry out different types of safety drills that are specific to a given threat, be it physical security, fire, explosion or natural disaster. These drills will entail specific evacuation procedures that are to be adhered to so as to mitigate the number of injuries and/or fatalities in the case general security is compromised. Shelter-in-place and institution-wide evacuation drills should be conducted at least four times in a year. This should be done on two platforms; (1) in adherence to the Occupation Health and Safety standards, and (2) as part of developing a corporate city culture that upholds security.

City management has to consider and determine the building design features that may either be helpful or dangerous at the event of a shooting or bombing at the downtown campus. The age of the building. Features such as power supplies and emergency lighting would be an advantage in the case of a man-made disasters such as a shooting and/or bombing. The modern-day smart city is exposed to a new threat that is characteristics of the 21st century, terrorism. This threat influences and affects all aspects of operations. As such this has to be integrated into the planning process. The ever looming threat of terrorism necessitates the development of surveillance strategies and tools.

Patrick Geddes’ Concepts in Modern Planning

One of the core principles in Patrick Geddes’ planning of cities is the concept of garden cities. This principle is based on the idea that cities require green open spaces to ensure sustainability of the processes and functions of the different aspects of the city (Geddes, Ferreira, & Jha, 1976). This concept of green spaces can be effectively employed in the management of human traffic flow, creating spaces for social interaction.

Patrick Geddes employed an interdisciplinary approach towards solving the issue of planning modern efficient cities. This interdisciplinary approach can be useful in the planning, regulating and managing infrastructure and flows. Smart cities employ knowledge from agriculture, geology, art, economics and other sciences to develop the most ideal structure and plan. Smart city projects have to employ ethics in their design, plan and execution. The interdisciplinary approach is also useful in the planning and management of disasters when they occur.

Conclusions

In conclusion, Geddes’ logics pertaining to actualization, i.e. modelling, demarcation and realization, embody a form of ethical space where there is a self-regulating civic life existence. This ideology is in line with most of the foundational aspects of smart cities. The comparison between Geddesian ideology and smart cities depict that the foundations of smart cities largely originates from the influence of Geddes’ urban city planning concepts. Smart cities embody all the aspects of Geddesian ideology. Geddesian ideology is founded on the optimal and effective use of space, the integration of community and use of technology to enhance the functional aspects of the modern-day city.

References

Birkeland, J. (2012). Design for sustainability : a sourcebook of integrated, eco-logical solutions. Sterling: Earthscan Publications.

Braham, W. W., Hale, J. A., & Sadar, J. S. (2007). Rethinking Technology: a Reader in Architectural Theory. New York: Routledge.

Christensen, K., & Levinson, D. (2007). Encyclopedia of community : from the village to the virtual world.Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Cisco; Smart Citie Council;. (2014). Smart City Readiness: Understand the Issues to Accelerate the Journey. San Jose: Cisco. Retrieved July 4, 2015, from http://www.cisco.com/web/strategy/docs/smart-city-wp-732985.pdf

Dameri, R., & Rosenthal-Sabroux, C. (2014). Smart city : how to create public and economic value with high technology in urban space. Cham: Springer.

Ercoskun, O. Y. (2012). Green and ecological technologies for urban planning : creating smart cities. Hershey: Information Science Reference.

Geddes, P., Ferreira, J. V., & Jha, S. S. (1976). The Outlook tower : essays on urbanization in memory of Patrick Geddes. Bombay: Popular Prakashan.

Osborne, T., & Rose, N. (2004). Spatial phenomenotechnics: making space with Charles Booth. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 22, 209-228. Retrieved July 4, 2015, from http://www.envplan.com/fulltext_temp/0/d325t.pdf

Rassia, S. T., & Pardalos, P. M. (2014). Cities for smart environmental and energy futures : impacts on architecture and technology. Heildeberg: Springer.

Siemens. (2015, March 20). Smart city – through intelligent automated infrastructure. Retrieved July 4, 2015, from Siemens.com: http://www.siemens.com/digitalization/smart-city.html

SmartAmerica. (2015, January 10). Smart Cities USA. Retrieved July 4, 2015, from SmartAmerica.org: http://smartamerica.org/teams/smart-cities-usa/

Townsend, A. M. (2013). Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia. New York: Norton & Company.

Wilken, R. (2011). Teletechnologies, Place, and Community. Hoboken: Taylor & Francis.

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