The Ubiquity of the new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), confront our society - and our planet - with potential never before available to the Human species, but also with challenges on an unimaginable scale in the last century.
This is well illustrated by the spatial reach achieved by technological leaps, as is the case of the interconnected Human presence, through its Technology. Not only at the scale of our planet, but connected to neighboring celestial bodies. The common thread exemplified by the probes on Venus and Mars, intermediated by a permanent space station in Earth orbit.
We live therefore an Age in which Humanity has at its disposal knowledge and technology, on a scale and nature as no previous generation witnessed, nor could it anticipate. In particular, information and communication technologies, in some cases in unexpected leaps, with their increasingly ubiquitous presence, show how their intrinsic nature favor accessibility, participation, and empowerment, in a comprehensive and equal way.
And yet, instead of decreasing, social inequalities increase and imbalances in society's relationship with nature are accentuated, even putting the sustainability of human life at risk.
Today, we have evidence of more and more serious abuses of this ubiquity, side by side with its benefits (and the covid-19 crisis is no exception). And yet, the path that technology development has followed, dominated by giant private companies, is presented to us as inevitable. As if the abuses were a "small" price to pay for progress, for the advantages offered, and which will be benevolently corrected.
Is that the case? We will not find the answer in opinionated debates. We need Science.
To identify and characterize the potential of the growing Technological Ubiquity, finding the way to its realization; as well as to understand and judge the new challenges and corresponding risks, the emergence of new scientific areas is essential. This is what gave rise to e-Planning, articulating the in-depth study of the technological leap, especially in ICT, with the study of its transversal impact on the whole of Society.
Which brings with it its own challenges - such as that of transdisciplinarity. Because the articulation of these studies, requires combining engineering curricula with that of social and human sciences.
This is the leitmotiv of a Book on e-Planning & Ubiquity.
The structure of this work follows the intent of presenting 5 key sections:
- The Keynote (and its framework) of Prof. Joseph Ferreira Jr., from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Dept. Urban Studies & Planning, and co-founder of the e-Planning scientific area, focusing on a remarkable initiative in the international scientific community: the constitution of a new multi-disciplinary College at MIT, as a result of the recognition of the danger of developing technology without awareness of its impact;
- The Roots and Scientific construction of the e-Planning area, as it is important to support the study and interpretation of the phenomena that stand out today, in what was, and continues to be, a solid research work, by those who were able to foresee the dilemmas we face with the new technologies, when many still denied their relevance.
- The state of the art of research and practice in this field, in this edition focusing on cities and territory, and on inclusion and cohesion;
- The potential of the technological leap to promote cohesion and inclusion in regional spaces that benefit from a common language - in this edition, CPLP (Community of Countries with Portuguese Language);
and last, but not least,
- The Challenges of transdisciplinarity, required to deal fully with the challenges of Technological Ubiquity and its transversal impacts.
As the bilingual title indicates, it is our intention to provide a version of the texts in English, ipso facto the international language of science, in addition to the version in Portuguese.
In this 1st edition, the predominant language is Portuguese, and all articles or interventions in English have either a Portuguese version, or articles whose content is substantially equivalent. The reader can thus choose to read one or the other, without losing information. While english-only readers have fewer articles, those that are present cover the most substantive issues.
In the 2nd edition, in addition to broadening the spectrum to more of the important topics of Technological Ubiquity (such as privacy and new economic models), the predominant language will be English. This sequence is also intended to give current authors time to write good quality English versions of their work.
Here is the call and challenge.