A novel smart multi electrode array setup was developed in which the electrodes can both engineer the network pattern to adjust to their array geometry and facilitate high resolution and high fidelity extracelular recording and stimulation. The new electrode arrangement consists of molybdenum lines coated at their ends with active sites of dense carbon nanotube mats. The high affinity of cells to the carbon nanotube sites compared with their low affinity to the passivated substrate results in an efficient cell patterning mechanism. Cells plated on these electrodes demonstrate preferred accumulation on the active sites, although no adhesive agents (such as Poly-L-Lysine) were used. After several days in culture neurite links between the active sites were formed, mostly guided in between nearest neigbours. The effect of cell desity on the morphology of the links was also studied. Cyclic voltammetry experiments confirmed the effectiveness of the fabrication scheme to form electrical contact with the CNT mats and demonstrated an improved interface resistance compared with standard electrodes. Our novel approach enables, for the first time, to precisely engineer the geometry as well as the connectivity properties of real neural networks in alignment with superior recording elements.