How Do We Handle Urban Complexity?

I should not say this but I don’t remember much about writing the attached piece which is entitled ‘Technology and the Democratic Management of Urban Complexity’ but here it is: click here. Published by Acciona and from a book entitled S.M.A.R.T, it deals with a subject that I have not written much on as yet and maybe that is because it is so important that it is not easy to articulate and remember: this is the question of how we are to manage our new technologies that are increasingly underpinning how cities function in the short term – which doubtless after the smart city has been around for a bit – will turn into the long term.

The essence of the argument is that it is not technology that is significant – but it is I how we manage and how we organise ourselves to do this. I suspect in the next 25 years, there will be a massive push to regulate such technologies in terms of privacy, access to information, and the unfettered use of technologies that are disruptive and invasive. It could be, however, that we will all be run by the Gods at Google, whatever, but such a pessimistic view of the human condition and the future seems to be under ever greater scrutiny and thus may not be the outcome of current development in AI, machine learning, and all this hype. Democratic management of technologies is what I write about a little in the attached piece and this will increasingly, in my view, be where the focus will and should be in terms of our future cities.

Urban Clusters and Agglomeration

A new paper from our group. Click here for the paper and also for the issue of Environment and Planning B .

Abstract: Agglomeration economies are a persistent subject of debate in regional science and city planning. Their definition turns on whether or not larger cities are more efficient than smaller ones. Here, we complement existing discussions on agglomeration economies by providing a sensitivity analysis of estimated externalities to the definitions of urban agglomeration. We regress wages versus population and jobs over thousands of different definitions of cities in France, based on an algorithmic aggregation of spatial units. We also search for evidence of larger inequalities in larger cities. This paper therefore focuses on the spatial and economic complexity of the mechanisms defining agglomeration within and between cities.