Big Data, Code and the Discrete City: Shaping Public Realms, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Big Data, Code and the Discrete City

Shaping Public Realms, 1st Edition

By Silvio Carta


222 pages | 58 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138543096
pub: 2019-07-10
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Big Data, Code and the Discrete City explores how digital technologies is gradually changing the way in which the public space is designed by architects, managed by policy-makers, and experienced by individuals. Smart city technologies are superseding the traditional human experience that has characterised the making of the public space until today. This book examines how computers see the public space and the effect of algorithms, artificial intelligences, and automated processes on the human experience in public spaces.


Divided into three parts, the first part of this book examines the notion of discreteness in its origins and applications to computer sciences. The second section presents a dual perspective: it explores the ways in which public spaces are constructed by the computer-driven logic and then translated into control mechanisms, design strategies, and software-aided design. This perspective also describes the way in which individuals perceive this new public space, through its digital logic, and discrete mechanism (from WI-FI coverage to self-tracking). Finally, in the third part, this book scrutinises the discrete logic with which computers operate, and how this is permeating into aspects of city life.


This book is valuable for anyone interested in urban studies and digital technologies, and more specifically in big data, urban informatics, and public space.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Continuity and Discreteness

1. The Idea of Discretisation

2. Discrete Public Space

Part 2: The Discrete City

3. Production of the Discrete City

4. Perception of the Discrete City

Part 3: The New Public Realm

5. The New Public Space – a Spatial Account

6. Built Environment, Big Data and the New Public Life

About the Author

Silvio Carta is Programme Leader Architecture, Chair of the Design Research Group, and Senior Lecturer in the School of Creative Arts, University of Hertfordshire, UK.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Urbanism and the City

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geography