Lessons for smart cities from the Programmable City project

The Programmable City project will come to a close at the end of May 2018. To mark the occasion the project is hosting a final event in the Mansion House, Dublin on May 9th, 10am-2pm. At this we will present the main findings and recommendations from across the sub-projects to stakeholders. The focus will very much be on practical lessons for smart city development.

In total 16 researchers worked on the project at some point during its lifetime, mainly undertaken fieldwork in Dublin and Boston, but also other cities. A diverse range of smart city issues – open and big data, policy formulation, city standards, traffic control, testbeds, smart districts, bike share, smart energy, emergency management response, procurement by challenge, smart lighting, property development, hackathons, citizenship, work practices, governance, and ethical and security considerations – were investigated from a social, cultural, political, economic and ethical perspective through policy analysis, c. 500 interviews, and ethnographic research. In addition, part of the team built the Dublin Dashboard.

A number of team members have progressed to other academic posts around the world (Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Ireland, Taiwan, Wales) but all will be returning to Dublin to join the rest of the team to present their work through quick, snappy talks with time for questions. In addition, there will be a chance to view some of our latest dashboards work, with an AR/VR demo of 3D Dublin planning application.

We invite you to join us at this event to discover what lessons smart city developments might learn from our research.

Timetable:
10.00-10.30     Registration/Coffee
10.30-10.45     Welcome and overview of project
10.45-11.30     Session 1: Open/big data, city dashboards, city standards, work practices
11.30-12.15    Session 2: Emergency management response, smart lighting, procurement by challenge, traffic control room, smart district, property development
12.15-13.00     Session 3: Bike share, smart energy, citizenship, hackathons, governance, ethics
13.00-13.15     Smart Dublin
13.15-14.00     Lunch and AR/VR demos of new Building City Dashboards project

Please register for this free event via Eventbrite here

New working paper: Smart urbanism and smart citizenship: The neoliberal logic of ‘citizen-focused’ smart cities in Europe

Paolo Cardullo and Rob Kitchin have published a new Programmable City working paper (No. 39) via OSF: Smart urbanism and smart citizenship: The neoliberal logic of ‘citizen-focused’ smart cities in Europe

Abstract

This paper examines the neoliberal ideals that underpin participation and citizenship in the smart city and their replication mechanisms at European level. We examine self-proclaimed ‘citizen-focus’ projects funded by or aligned to the European Innovation Partnership for Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC) by way of analysing policy documents and interviews with key stakeholders of smart city initiatives at European level and the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona (SCEWC 2017). We suggest that smart cities as currently conceived enact a blueprint of neoliberal urbanism and promote a form of neoliberal citizenship. Supra-national institutions like the EIP-SCC act at a multi-scalar level, connecting diverse forms of neoliberal urbanism while promoting policy agendas and projects that perform neoliberal citizenship in the spaces of the everyday. Despite attempts to recast the smart city as ‘citizen-focused’, smart urbanism remains rooted in pragmatic, instrumental and paternalistic discourses and practices rather than those of social rights, political citizenship, and the common good. In our view, if smart cities are to become truly ‘citizen-focused’ an alternative conception of smart citizenship needs to be deployed, one that enables an effective shift of power and is rooted in rights, entitlements, community, participation, commons, and ideals beyond the market.

Key words: citizenship, smart cities, smart citizens, neoliberalism, European Union

New paper: Smart urbanism and smart citizenship: The neoliberal logic of ‘citizen-focused’ smart cities in Europe.

Paolo Cardullo and Rob Kitchin have a new working paper (no. 39), Smart urbanism and smart citizenship: The neoliberal logic of ‘citizen-focused’ smart cities in Europe. Available on SocArXiv via Open Science Framework.

Abstract. This paper examines the neoliberal ideals that underpin participation and citizenship in the smart city and their replication mechanisms at European level. We examine self-proclaimed ‘citizen-focus’ projects funded by or aligned to the European Innovation Partnership for Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC) by way of analysing policy documents and interviews with key stakeholders of smart city initiatives at European level and the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona (SCEWC 2017). We suggest that smart cities as currently conceived enact a blueprint of neoliberal urbanism and promote a form of neoliberal citizenship. Supra-national institutions like the EIP-SCC act at a multi-scalar level, connecting diverse forms of neoliberal urbanism while promoting policy agendas and projects that perform neoliberal citizenship in the spaces of the everyday. Despite attempts to recast the smart city as ‘citizen-focused’, smart urbanism remains rooted in pragmatic, instrumental and paternalistic discourses and practices rather than those of social rights, political citizenship, and the common good. In our view, if smart cities are to become truly ‘citizen-focused’ an alternative conception of smart citizenship needs to be deployed, one that enables an effective shift of power and is rooted in rights, entitlements, community, participation, commons, and ideals beyond the market.

Paper DOI: 10.17605/OSF.IO/XUGB5

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International

New paper: Shared technology making in neoliberal ruins

A new Programmable City working paper (No. 38) has been published by Sung-Yueh Perng and is entitled ‘Shared technology making in neoliberal ruins: Rationalities, practices and possibilities of hackathons‘.

Abstract
Shared technology making refers to the practices, spaces and events that bear the hope and belief that collaborative and open ways of designing, making and modifying technology can improve our ways of living. Shared technology making in the context of the smart city reinvigorates explorations of the possibility of free, open and collaborative ways of engineering urban spaces, infrastructures and public life. Open innovation events and civic hacking initiatives often encourage members of local communities, residents, or city administrations to participate so that the problems they face and the knowledge they possess can be leveraged to develop innovations from the working (and failure) of urban everyday life and (non-)expert knowledges. However, the incorporation of shared technology making into urban contexts engender concerns around the right to participate in shared technology- and city-making. This paper addresses this issue by suggesting ways to consider both the neoliberal patterning of shared technology making and the patches and gaps that show the future possibility of shared city making. It explores the ways in which shared technology making are organised using hackathons and other hacking initiatives as an example. By providing a hackathon typology and detailed accounts of the experiences of organisers and participants of related events, the paper reconsiders the neoliberalisation of shared technology making. It attends to the multiple, entangled and conflictual relationships that do not follow corporate logic for considering the possibilities of more open and collaborative ways of technology- and city-making.

Paper download

Special issue: Data-driven Cities? Digital Urbanism and its Proxies | Tecnoscienza

A new issue of Tecnoscienza edited by Claudio Coletta, Liam Heaphy, Sung-Yueh Perng (all of the Progcity project) and Laurie Waller has just been published, titled: “Data-driven Cities? Digital Urbanism and its Proxies”. Contents are:

Introduction

Data-driven Cities? Digital Urbanism and its Proxies: Introduction PDF
Claudio Coletta, Liam Heaphy, Sung-Yueh Perng, Laurie Waller 5-18

Lectures

The Realtimeness of Smart Cities PDF
Rob Kitchin 19-42
Ordinary Smart Cities. How Calculated Users, Professional Citizens, Technology Companies and City Administrations Engage in a More-than-digital Politics PDF
Ignacio Farías, Sarah Widmer 43-60

Essays

The Urban Stack. A Topology for Urban Data Infrastructures PDF
Aaron Shapiro 61-80
Discovering the Data-driven City. Breakdown and Literacy in the Installation of the Elm Sensor Network PDF
Darren J. Reed 81-104
How to Design the Internet of Buildings? An Agile Design Process for Making the Good City PDF
David Hick, Adam Urban, Jörg Rainer Noennig 105-128
DIO: A Surveillance Camera Mapping Game for Mobile Devices PDF
Rafael de Almeida Evangelista, Tiago C. Soares, Sarah Costa Schmidt, Felipe Lavignatti 129-150

Scenarios

Rethinking the Spaces of Standardisation through the Concept of Site PDF
James Merricks White 151-174

Crossing Boundaries

Data Platforms and Cities PDF
Anders Blok, Antoine Courmont, Rolien Hoyng, Clément Marquet, Kelton Minor, Christian Nold, Meg Young 175-220

New paper: Being a ‘citizen’ in the smart city

Paolo Cardullo and Rob Kitchin have a new paper published in GeoJournal – “Being a ‘citizen’ in the smart city: Up and down the scaffold of smart citizen participation in Dublin, Ireland.” The paper is available to view at Springer’s Shareit site (though the PDF to download is behind a paywall).

Abstract

Reacting to critiques that the smart city is overly technocratic and instrumental, companies and cities have reframed their initiatives as ‘citizen-centric’. However, what ‘citizen-centric’ means in practice is rarely articulated. We draw on and extend Sherry Arnstein’s seminal work on participation in planning and renewal programmes to create the ‘Scaffold of Smart Citizen Participation’—a conceptual tool to unpack the diverse ways in which the smart city frames citizens. We use this scaffold to measure smart citizen inclusion, participation, and empower-
ment in smart city initiatives in Dublin, Ireland. Our analysis illustrates how most ‘citizen-centric’ smart city initiatives are rooted in stewardship, civic paternalism, and a neoliberal conception of citizenship that prioritizes consumption choice and individual autonomy within a framework of state and corporate defined constraints that prioritize market-led solutions to urban issues, rather than being grounded in civil, social and political rights and the common good. We conclude that significant normative work is required to rethink ‘smart citizens’ and ‘smart citizenship’ and to remake smart cities if they are to truly become ‘citizen-centric’.

Keywords: Smart city, Citizens, Participation, Engagement, Citizenship, Rights