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
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