McLuhan explains why the rise of urban middle classes are more effective to defeat dictatorships than embargos or weapons, why revolts come from cities, and why cities are are where social and political changes are baked. In this sense, cities are also liberating tools or, as McLuhan puts it “the work of cities is the translation of people to a more suitable form than of his ancestors “.
The book by William Mitchell “E-topia. Urban life, Jim – but not as we know it” was one of the first works containing the concept of Smart Cities. Mitchell, who was the Dean of the M.I.T. School of Architecture and Planning from 1992 until his death in 2010, analyzes the changes that sensors, software, mobile devices, computing and telecommunications bring to our daily life, social behavior and economics.
Jane Jacobs’s “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”, her main book published in 1961, still remains a surprising source of ideas covering a multitude of aspects that guide life in cities: the economy, security, habitat, traffic, governance, planning, participation…
“The art of city making”, by Charles Landry, is a brilliant attempt to understand cities with the declared and simple objective of making them better. In its pages, the reader should not expect to find a step-by-step recipe of how to make cities from scratch, but a detailed narrative of how cities can be permanently reconfigured to find its unique spot while keeping its essence.