As we formed social groups and adapted spaces so that we could inhabit them, we also began to dream of ideal models that could protect and foster human interactions. Idealism, imagination, and the pursuit of better living conditions for ourselves and our tribe would inspire many utopian projects, some of them carried out successfully, others not so much, but which in some way define the many shared objectives we have before us.

Throughout human history, and in practically every culture, we can find these attainable utopias, physical and social environments that because of their beauty, functionality or harmony, set themselves as the role model for a fate that we must fight to obtain: To create something we must first imagine it and then, through persistence and trust, make it come to life. In this section we can find Moore’s Utopia, Bacon’s New Atlantis, or in a mythological plane, the Garden of Eden or the realm of Shambala.

Today, an era in which the paradigm of collectiveness is narrowly tied to urban contexts, the lucidity of these historically-desired lands could be translated as that ample urban notion we know as “intelligent cities”. Without leaving imagination or epic values aside –­–ingredients that propelled the designing of utopias––, collective fantasy today should be directed towards collaboration, sustainability, dexterity and, in sum, social evolution and its inhabitants’ quality of life.

According to Boyd Cohen, author, professor and urban strategy specialist, the elements we should consider when we design or evaluate the intelligence of a city are: mobility, government, economy, environment, ways of living, and people. This basically means thinking of a city as an integral organism ––a “balanceable” city in the sense that all its pieces are correctly tuned. This remits us to different models of new urbanism, for example the urban acupuncture of Finnish architect Marco Casagrande.

If a city is capable of flowing with ease while it is governed by vision and dialoguing harmoniously with the environment and its natural resources, if it can maintain a production rhythm that satisfies its internal economy and offers an improving quality of life to its citizens, who in turn are involved and interested in promoting culture, then we can consider it a truly intelligent city. Once this brand is defined, we can elaborate on this intelligence by adding aspects that lead to its sensitivity  ––among which we could include cleanliness, and rhythm of landscape, the fostering of empathy among its inhabitants and collaboration as the thread that conducts the orchestra.

Currently, the utopian vision should be associated with creating sensitively intelligent cities, shared spaces, which are hyper-functional but organic, productive but even more creative. Once we have reached these, or at least the first stages to attain this goal, then we can continue, surrounded by ideal conditions, to imagine secret gardens and metaphorical palaces. Today, however, utopias are urban, and building them depends on each and every single person of those 3,500 million who live in them.

As we formed social groups and adapted spaces so that we could inhabit them, we also began to dream of ideal models that could protect and foster human interactions. Idealism, imagination, and the pursuit of better living conditions for ourselves and our tribe would inspire many utopian projects, some of them carried out successfully, others not so much, but which in some way define the many shared objectives we have before us.

Throughout human history, and in practically every culture, we can find these attainable utopias, physical and social environments that because of their beauty, functionality or harmony, set themselves as the role model for a fate that we must fight to obtain: To create something we must first imagine it and then, through persistence and trust, make it come to life. In this section we can find Moore’s Utopia, Bacon’s New Atlantis, or in a mythological plane, the Garden of Eden or the realm of Shambala.

Today, an era in which the paradigm of collectiveness is narrowly tied to urban contexts, the lucidity of these historically-desired lands could be translated as that ample urban notion we know as “intelligent cities”. Without leaving imagination or epic values aside –­–ingredients that propelled the designing of utopias––, collective fantasy today should be directed towards collaboration, sustainability, dexterity and, in sum, social evolution and its inhabitants’ quality of life.

According to Boyd Cohen, author, professor and urban strategy specialist, the elements we should consider when we design or evaluate the intelligence of a city are: mobility, government, economy, environment, ways of living, and people. This basically means thinking of a city as an integral organism ––a “balanceable” city in the sense that all its pieces are correctly tuned. This remits us to different models of new urbanism, for example the urban acupuncture of Finnish architect Marco Casagrande.

If a city is capable of flowing with ease while it is governed by vision and dialoguing harmoniously with the environment and its natural resources, if it can maintain a production rhythm that satisfies its internal economy and offers an improving quality of life to its citizens, who in turn are involved and interested in promoting culture, then we can consider it a truly intelligent city. Once this brand is defined, we can elaborate on this intelligence by adding aspects that lead to its sensitivity  ––among which we could include cleanliness, and rhythm of landscape, the fostering of empathy among its inhabitants and collaboration as the thread that conducts the orchestra.

Currently, the utopian vision should be associated with creating sensitively intelligent cities, shared spaces, which are hyper-functional but organic, productive but even more creative. Once we have reached these, or at least the first stages to attain this goal, then we can continue, surrounded by ideal conditions, to imagine secret gardens and metaphorical palaces. Today, however, utopias are urban, and building them depends on each and every single person of those 3,500 million who live in them.

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