Smart Sustainable After Work – Resource Man

MID4S (through Elina) and CESC and FMS (through Josefin Wangel) are inviting you all to participate in the first Smart Sustainable After Work seminar. We hope this will be a recurring series of critical discussions on smart technology over a cold beverage!


Welcome to Smart Sustainable After Work!

The idea of a Smart Sustainable After Work originated from the wish to bring together people working on smart sustainable solutions, to share experiences and perspectives, and to create a forum for a critical discourse on smart everything agendas. We understand smart as being a synonym to ICT-enabled, and sustainable as the intended contribution of such solutions.

Resource Man

The theme of this first Smart Sustainable After Work is “Resource Man”; what is the archetype that smart energy solutions are designed for? What can we say about ideators’, designers’ and developers’ underlying assumptions by looking at the products being designed? Could it be otherwise, and what would that archetype be?

As a preparation participants could read the following paper: Strengers, Y. (2014). Smart energy in everyday life: are you designing for resource man? interactions 21(4): 24-31.

Very welcome!
Elina Eriksson & Josefin Wangel


Drinks and snacks: At the seminar there will be beverages (with and without alcohol) and snacks available. Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided by CESC. Alcoholic beverages will be at your own expense so please bring cash.
When: Monday December 15th 17.30-19
Where: CESC – Centre for Sustainable Communications, Lindstedtsvägen 5, 4th floor. For wheelchair users this location is a bit difficult to get to, but there is a way in without stairs. If you need directions, please let us know.
Sign up: Please let us know that you are coming through signing up here:
Contact: Elina Eriksson ( and Josefin Wangel (

Smart Sustainable After Work is organized by CESC – Centre for Sustainable Communication, MID4S – Media Technology and Interaction Design for Sustainability and fms – the Division of Environmental Strategies Research, all at KTH Royal Institute of Technology.


Smart Cities by Anthony M. Townsend

In my role as a researcher at CESC  in a research project on Smart Sustainable Cities, I have read the book Smart Cities by Anthony Townsend. I have read it with a sustainability lens, but I would argue that the book is relevant to anyone interested in any of the following issues; urbanism, cities, smart things, the future, (urban) planning, big data, civics, and the internet of things. More specifically, the book discusses the real value of ICT in trying to solve problems in our cities in the future. And that it might not be what we think it is.

The book presents first some accounts of smart cities initiatives around the world, for example Rio de Janeiros operating centre and Songdo in South Korea. Both these examples are driven by big corporations and the means for becoming a smart city is what is sometimes called the fourth utility; ICT. But ICT can be designed and implemented in both a top-down and a bottom-up perspective. The previous grand scale efforts are in the book contrasted with many examples of hackathons, tinkerings and guerrilla movements. Although the author is not discouraging the top-down approach throughout, he is definitly vying for the bottom-up, civic approach to a smarter city.

There are many areas this book covers and I will not give a full summary of it here. The author describe many historical and contemporary perspectives on urban planning and ICT, sometimes in unison. The book moves back and forth between centralized formal efforts to informal ad-hoc ventures, just as un-disciplined as a city is. I like the book, and I will give you a future gazing citation to ponder upon:

”The challenge for designers of smart cities will be navigating another transect, the one that connects the physical and the virtual world. To do so effectively they’ll need to cross-train. […] First, they will need to heed Geddes’s admonition to see cities as both scientists and artists. […] Smart-city designers will also need to be transdisciplinary — able to think across disciplines inside their own minds. […] To be effective in getting their designs built, they will need to deeply understand smart systems and their risks and benefits, and be able to explain it all to non expert stakeholders.” (p. 303)

We’re in for a challenge!

Smart Cities by Anthony Townsend
Smart Cities by Anthony Townsend