Seminar 5: Antoine Picon – “Smart Cities: A Design Perspective”

For our next event in the seminar series, we have invited Professor Antoine Picon from Harvard University to give a historical and design perspective on the smart city. He is the G. Ware Travelstead Professor of the History of Architecture and Technology and Director of Research at the Graduate School of Design in Harvard.

Antoine Picon has written extensively on the history of urban technologies, ranging from the impact of the Enlightenment through to the digital and computational revolution in architecture. We hope that this event will appeal to a broad audience of urban geographers, architects and planners, historians, and all with an interest in the history of design and technology.

We are looking forward to welcoming you on Wednesday 17th May from 3pm to 5pm for this talk in Room 2.31, Iontas Building, at Maynooth University.

Smart Cities have been envisaged in recent years from a technological standpoint or from a social sciences perspective. In order to understand better what is at stake with their rise, this lecture will propose two additional approaches. The first will be historical. What can we learn about smart cities by placing their emergence within the broader framework of the evolution of the relations between cities, technologies and societies since the dawn of the industrial revolution?
Smart cities could very well represent a new “paradigm”, to use Thomas Kuhn’s concept, which is about to replace the networked city inherited from the 19th century. A second approach will be in terms of design, for smart cities raise all kinds of challenges for engineers and architects in charge of the conception of infrastructures and buildings. There again, what is taking place looks like a drastic departure from an established conception of projects.


A special thanks to Gareth Young for his input into this poster. All queries can be directed to or

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