This contribution unpacks the notion of ‘real-time’ and explores
‘asynchronicity’ as a way to explore temporality in the nexus of urban
dashboards. It is argued that attempts to annihilate time as a constraining
factor in mapping the urban metabolism bypass the creative and oftentimes
messy role of ‘smart citizens’ in shaping their own living conditions.
Real-time, in fact, may be at odds with smartness and city life. Notions of
asynchronicity can sensitise us to the hidden assumptions and potential
fallacies in the rhetoric about real-time, and help to evoke a more engaging
role of citizens as ‘city hackers’ with a sense of collective ‘ownership’.
Evaluation of recent investigations of urban dashboards is followed by an
analysis of the term real-time, building on Barbara Adam’s typology of time.
The chapter concludes with some reflections on the implications of the
real-time trope, and how asynchronicity provides an alternative heuristic of
the real-time smart city.
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