The Image of the Smart City
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  • Release Date: 2022-04-15
  • Smart City
  • Image of the City
  • City
  • Urban Geography
  • Urban Planning
  • Regional Planning
Video Introduction

This video is adapted from 10.3390/urbansci6010005

The image of the city was first introduced by Kevin Lynch in 1960, and referred to the ways in which urban space is perceived by their users. Paths, nodes, edges, districts, and landmarks are the categories in which urban space is perceived by their users according to Lynch. The physical form of the city, therefore, could evoke images in citizens and city users, defined as “imageability”, allowing the formation of security and intensity in the relations among the people and the city itself. 

The digital revolution, particularly the more recent one coming out from the widespread development of ICT-affected urban environments, contributed to new suggestions and opportunities for a change in the images of the city, and on the ways to evaluate and interpret it, thanks to the widespread use of social networks and media, as well as mobile phones and related apps. Talking about the Smart City, an often underestimated question could be: what is the image of the city, and how can we represent it?

The techno-digital revolution, similar to the electric revolution, has led to a wide availability of devices, data connections, and the opportunity to connect them together, developing applications with high added value: able, on the one hand, to improve the quality of urban life, but also to interfere in privacy and personal spaces. In fact, with the increase in life expectancy, especially that in Italian metropolitan cities, there has not been an equally increasing individual and collective quality of life. Will the new technologies save the cities of the future? Also, it is worth mentioning 5G and artificial intelligence founded by Big-Data. In this sense, Big-Data emerges as a great contribution towards sustainability: they are necessary, but not sufficient for the cities of the future, which are now designed as large hyper-connected ecosystems, equipped with sensors and other devices capable of collecting and processing large amounts of data.

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Borruso, G.; Balletto, G.; Balletto, G. The Image of the Smart City. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 04 October 2023).
Borruso G, Balletto G, Balletto G. The Image of the Smart City. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed October 04, 2023.
Borruso, Giuseppe, Ginevra Balletto, Ginevra Balletto. "The Image of the Smart City" Encyclopedia, (accessed October 04, 2023).
Borruso, G., Balletto, G., & Balletto, G.(2022, April 15). The Image of the Smart City. In Encyclopedia.
Borruso, Giuseppe, et al. "The Image of the Smart City." Encyclopedia. Web. 15 April, 2022.