Smart cities "fighting" coronavirus?


Wait a moment….

Smart cities "fighting" coronavirus? /img/smart-cities-surveilled-citizens.jpg

I have been writing about the lack of smartness in the first or default model of “smart city” for some time now. Today, I am sharing some the best point from a nice piece by Tom Westgarth, that you should really read in full, about Smart Cities “versus” pandemics:

‘Smart cities’ technologies have grown in popularity during the coronavirus crisis, and are now being touted as tools of economic recovery - but Coronavirus is an opportunity [to deepen surveillance in and through “Smart cities”]. Populations are going to be extremely worried about not only this virus, but the risks of future public health crises…. Many people will happily offer healthcare information and data in exchange for “security’ from the periphery [and] if contact tracing apps end up being a great success, companies and states will push for further use of these technologies. After all, with the trauma of lockdown, death and economic turmoil… Rather than a return to normal, new norms may be set.

[In general] Smart city rhetoric is already reacting to the pandemic. But it isn’t just data captured, territory is too. There are drones (and robot dogs!) to help enforce social distancing rules, [as well as usage of] “networks of cameras, license plate readers, and radiological sensors” [that] extend far beyond the obviously “criminal”.

Such military-style technologies could be used to quell many forms of protest, on any issue. Some US states have already announced they are using contact tracing to track protestors.

[Last but not least] Tracking your temperature for Covid-19 reasons can lead to a general assessment of your overall health and then the deprivation of many services if workers refuse to engage in tracing or are outside a particular health distribution.

[Besides] Rather than rethinking the world of work or the amount of mental health professionals available to people, mindfulness apps will be the new currency of healthcare provision. Instead of changing the way that housing is provided and property taxed, the smarthome will limit the amount spent on heating.

[Certain] wheels are already in motion, and Covid-19 may well fast-forward such an urban development at break-neck speeds.

(This post was drafted in May 2020, but only put online in August, because… my coronavirus reports, of course

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