Defining Urban Tech: A White Paper

This paper is the first output from our ongoing work with the Urban Tech Hub @ Cornell Tech, and identifies key ethical dilemmas shaping the future of networks, sensing, and computation in cities.

This discussion paper explores the emerging territory of urban tech. First, it reviews definitions of urban tech, to develop a consensus view of what the field covers—the who, what, when, and where or urban tech. Second, it attempts to summarize the shared aims of urban tech. This effort is more of a proposition, extrapolating from the stated goals of urban tech practitioners and advocates. Finally, the most speculative part of the paper frames a set of open questions, tensions, and dilemmas dealing with the ethics of urban tech. For while we know technology has always been an essential part of urban success, it has also been a tool of oppression, exclusion, and outright destruction of cities as well. 

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