Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Marc Schuilenburg and Rik Peeters, Smart cities and the architecture of security: pastoral power and the scripted design of public space, City Territory and Architecture (2018) 5, 13


The architecture of security is often thought of in terms of situational crime prevention and defensible space. In this article, we argue that the emergence of smart cities and smart technology compel a broader conceptualisation of the design of security, which has the potential to transform the governance of our urban landscape. Drawing on the case of the city of Eindhoven’s “De-escalate” project—in which sound, smell and lighting programming combined with data analysis is used to reduce violence and aggression in the inner-city entertainment area—we show that the securitisation of urban space can also be pursued by positive triggers for behaviour. The case allows us to rethink the architecture of security in terms of pastoral power—Foucault’s notion of governing individuals and populations through care and protection. In sharp contrast with more hostile forms of situational crime prevention and defensible space, which seek to “design out” unwanted behaviour by closing of spaces, pastoral architecture is inclusive and provides “scripts” for desirable behaviour in public space. Moreover, this architecture is incorporated and designed into the existing built environment, operates through psychological triggers rather than physical ones, and is principally developed by private companies rather than the state.

Keywords: Smart city, Smart technology, Pastoral power, Architecture, Securitisation

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