On the one hand, an approach borrowed from information technology aims at increased optimization and efficiency of urban functions. Such an approach facilitates the collection of data from real-life, the datification of urban phenomena. On the other hand, the approach inspired by communication technology allows for greater complexity, nuancing the efficiency-oriented, optimally networked urban landscape by enhancing citizens’ possibilities of participation, hosting negotiation processes and the formation of intelligent collectives.
Contemporary cities face numerous challenges, spanning from urban management at large, to sustainability, to security and control, and approaches focusing on optimization offer a solid contribution to supporting urban resilience. Nevertheless, it is worth bearing in mind that qualities of urbanity are underpinned by urban functional, social and cultural richness and complexity. Furthermore, it is important to ask who benefits from such optimization processes and who is left behind.
Both aforementioned approaches stand in a continuity of past urban models, with historical concepts focusing on functional optimization and, on the other hand, with approaches to the urban that entail an understanding of society as organically communicated and mediated, negotiated and co-created.
Analogously, some social concepts have given functionalist interpretations of society, other social theory approaches focus on conflict perspectives of society, and again, other micro-level of sociological analysis with symbolic interactionist perspectives suggest that the behavior of individuals is shaped and codified by constructed and shared meanings and definitions maintained through interactions with others.