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Volume 71, issue 2
Geogr. Helv., 71, 67-75, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/gh-71-67-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: Power and space in the drone age

Geogr. Helv., 71, 67-75, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/gh-71-67-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Standard article 15 Apr 2016

Standard article | 15 Apr 2016

Drone city – power, design and aerial mobility in the age of “smart cities”

Ole B. Jensen Ole B. Jensen
  • Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology, Aalborg University, Aalborg 9000, Denmark

Abstract. This paper address the phenomenon of drones and their potential relationship with the city from the point of view of the so-called “mobilities turn”. This is done in such a way that turns attention to a recent re-development of the “turn” towards design; so the emerging perspective of “mobilities design” will be used as a background perspective to reflect upon the future of drones in cities. The other perspective used to frame the phenomenon is the emerging discourse of the “smart city”. A city of proliferating digital information and data communication may be termed a smart city as shorthand for a new urban condition where cities are networked and connected (as well as disconnected) from the local block to global digital spheres. In the midst of many of the well-known data-creating devices (e.g. Bluetooth, radio-frequency identification (RFID), GPS, smartphone applications) there is a “new kid on the block” that will potentially be a game-changer for urban governance, economics and everyday life. Here we are thinking of the unmanned aerial vehicle or drone as the popular term has it. Therefore, the paper asks how life in “drone city” may play out. Drones may alter the notion of surveillance by means of being mobile, as well as profoundly altering the process and perspective of data collection and feedback to governments, businesses and citizens.

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