The complexity of urban challenges obliges us to seek smarter paths for urban development and increase our awareness of urban dynamics in a more holistic manner. Stemming from the discipline of architecture and urban planning, this concept paper outlines an idea of a cybernetic urban management for anticipatory governance of smart cities. A cybernetic system absorbs information from different sources, such as buildings that are aware of their energy efficiency, a city aware of its traffic flows, and citizens who are aware of the affordances of urban life. Defined as context-aware cyber-physical social systems, smart cities of the future are planned and managed with increasing awareness of the manifoldness of physical, experiential, and virtual life. The benefits of a cybernetic urban management could, for instance, be related to dynamic service network planning with a real-time view to service network efficiency. This in turn could lead to better services for citizens, resource efficiency, and better allocation of financial resources. Cybernetic management and smart city production necessitates a shared view of urban processes that is not dedicated only for the eyes of a few experts but is widely accessible and supports information exchange and dialogue among city authorities, decision-makers, and citizens.
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