The key to a smarter city can be found in a variety of urban initiatives. The Smart Guide to Utopia collects some of the best.
What makes our cities work best, and how can we make them better? To answer these questions, the team at Barcelona-based publishing company Le Cool teamed up with automotive company smart to create a new type of guidebook - one that celebrates the initiatives that have made a positive impact on our urban environment.
The result is the Smart Guide to Utopia, a collection of 111 ideas and enterprises that have made city life more positive or sustainable. From pop-up spaces and urban farms to inspiring collectives, each example shows a different way of invigorating the city and points toward an exciting new urban future.
The Smart Guide to Utopia's editor Kati Krause shared her top 5 smart city ventures with DX.
1. Mehr als Wohnen, Zürich
The name of this building cooperative translates to 'More than Living'. This housing association began as an architectural competition; four architectural firms were selected to create spaces that explored new ways of living and working, taking account issues such as energy, transport, gentrification, social exclusion, private and communal living.
2. Good for Nothing, London
Creating together and doing good is the aim of this community of "thinkers, do-ers, makers and tinkerers". Good for Nothing is a web platform and collaboration tool bringing together talented, motivated people from a variety of disciplines, letting them work together, build networks, explore ideas and enforce positive change.
3. Prinzessinnengarten, Berlin
A 6000 square metre garden in the heart of Berlin, Prinzessinnengarten is a lesson in sustainability and seasonal produce, and an inspiring example of citydwellers reconnecting with agriculture. As a social space, it's also a place for community engagement.
4. Hub Culture Ven, worldwide
Demonstrating how the physical and digital realms can function in parallel, Ven is a virtual currency used by over 20,000 members of the social networking service Hub Culture. Members trade knowledge, goods and services. Ven, says Krause, shows how "it's ever more possible to make up your own rules without the sanction of an official agency."
5. Decorating potholes, Paris
In 2011, artist Juliana Santacruz Herrera brought colour to the grey streets of Paris by adorning its potholes with coloured strips of fabrics. More than just a rainbow-hued diversion, the action was a creative way of claiming public space and showing one's agency within the city.
Find The Smart Guide to Utopia via LeCool.