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Rethinking Digital Living for Our People and the Planet


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Phil Allmendinger


Bristol U.P. - Policy Press




Phil Allmendinger is Professor of Land Economy and Fellow of Clare College at the University of Cambridge. From 2015 – 2020 he was Head of the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences and Deputy Vice Chancellor. Phil is a chartered planner and surveyor and advises governments around the world on future cities, urban issues and smart city development. He is the author of numerous books - 5 published by Routledge- and papers on these issues.




May 2021

Rights available:

All except China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan



We all want cities, where more than half of the world’s population currently live, to be just, successful, clean, fair, green, sustainable, safe, healthy and affordable. Will ‘smart cities’ help achieve these aspirations or undermine them in the time of COVID-19?

Phil Allmendinger, a world expert on cities, development, and urban governance, takes a critical approach to the role of ‘smart’ in future cities and the relationship with city development. Considering how technology can support active citizenship, he challenges the commercial drivers of big tech and warns that these, not developments for ‘social good’, may dominate.

Focusing on the dangers posed by social media, the platform economy and AI, he sets out what those making decisions on city development need to understand in order to save the planet through active politics and healthy cities.


The City: A Tale of Two Stories

The Smart City Story

Barcelona Is Not for Sale – What Happens When ‘Smart’ Comes to Town

Unholy Alliance – Government, Academia, and Big Tech

Why We’re Part of the Problem

An Alternative Vision

Yesterday’s Cities of the Future

It’s Different This Time

Why Bother Saving the City

Writing a New Story of the City


”Phil Allmendinger is arguably the leading planning theorist of his generation. When he now takes on some of the most burning questions in urban planning and development in a highly accessibly format, this promises to become a book that will be at the centre of international debates on possible responses to the threats and promises of ‘the smart city.”  -Jonathan Metzger, KTH Royal Institute of Technology "A solid foundation on which to build the next chapter of the love affair between the city and technology- the Smart City Post Covid-19."  -Irena Bauman, Bauman Lyons Architects "A vital needed corrective to so much of the unthinking smart cityism out there promising the taming of wicked urban planning problems. Be distracted by this engaging book instead of your mobile phone ...



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