Rethinking the Technical Dimension of the Sustainable City: Contributions from an Urban “Mechanology”

Varia 88
By Adrien Gey

In sustainable city projects, technical objects aimed at ecological efficiency are often increasingly present, thereby inducing an urban management policy mainly oriented towards the technical dimension. This technological pre-eminence is often studied through its relations with politics and modes of governance. Hence, the strictly technical question of the extent to which these objects represent progress has largely been neglected. This article focuses on this question by establishing the coherence and validity of a ‘system of urban technical objects, before examining the possibility of considering the city itself as a meta-object integrating this system. This heuristic approach will allow us to evaluate the reality of technical improvement that sustainable city projects, represented here by the Grand Paris proposals, could embrace, through use of the ‘mechanological’ concept of technological progress developed by Gilbert Simondon.

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