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Intelligent Infrastructure

Zip Cars, Invisible Networks, and Urban Transformation
T. F. Tierney, ed.

BUY Ebook · 272 pp. · ISBN 9780813939421 · $35.00 · Feb 2017
BUY Cloth · 272 pp. · 7 × 8 · ISBN 9780813939414 · $70.00 · Feb 2017
BUY Paper · 272 pp. · 7 × 8 · ISBN 9780813939483 · $35.00 · Feb 2017

While many of its traditional elements, such as roads and utilities, do not change, urban infrastructure is undergoing a fascinating and necessary transformation in the wake of new information and communication technologies. This volume brings together many of the most important new voices in the fields impacting modern urban infrastructure to explore this revolutionary change in the city.

Increasingly, it is connective systems rather than built forms that bind a city together. Intelligent infrastructure confers upon a city previously unimagined levels of adaptability, with mobile telephony serving to organize people and events on the move and in real time. Beginning with a consideration of invisible networks—the sociohistorical systems that contribute to and constitute urbanity—the essays collected here examine a variety of actual tools, from handheld devices to autonomous vehicles, within a fully networked built environment: the smart city.

This book argues that knowledge of both the visible and invisible components--information, energy, sustainability, transportation, housing, and social practices--are critical to understanding the urban environment. The dynamic and diverse cast of contributors includes Mitchell Schwarzer, Frederic Stout, Anthony Townsend, Carlo Ratti of the MIT SENSEable City Lab, Mitchell Joachim of Terreform ONE, and many other innovators who are changing the urban landscape.


Intelligent Infrastructure is an excellent contribution to the field of urban studies and related areas of debate. The collected essays carry forward a set of ideas both inspired and articulated by William Mitchell on how a post-carbon landscape could reshape urban transportation practices. Thus, the aims are unabashedly utopian, but in ways that demand our attention and nourish contemporary discussions. This collection is robust, timely, and pertinent.

Nik Luka, McGill University

Intelligent Infrastructure is a keen and timely guide to the sociotechnical currents that inform contemporary urban mobility, from the grittily informal to the giddily utopian—and a first primer to the rhythms of the networked city.

Adam Greenfield, author of Against the Smart City and Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life

There is no denying that collectively the essays are thoroughly researched and academic in tone. But the concepts they are diving deeply into real-world-implications.

Heady and forward looking, Intelligent Infrastructure is a thought provoking tour from a variety of guides analyzing key parts of the future of our urban lives.

Ray Bert · Civil Engineering

About the Author(s): 

T. F. Tierney is Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Director of the URL: Urban Research Lab, and author of The Public Space of Social Media: Connected Cultures of the Network Society.

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