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
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‘.
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.
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:
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).
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
Liam Heaphy has published a new Progcity working paper (37) – Interfaces and divisions in the Dublin Docklands ‘Smart District’.
The study of physical and social divisions in divided societies has long been an area of study, such as the continued usage of ‘peace walls’ in Belfast, hostile architecture to prevent anti-social behaviour and rough sleeping, and the securitisation of private spaces. In the context of a new drive to create a smart district, this paper looks at the relationship between smart urbanism and planning, and at the spatial and social divisions between a new ‘gentrifying’ and well-educated community in the Dublin Docklands and established communities in the area. The Dublin Docklands redevelopment marks a significant break from a pattern of suburbanisation and inner-city decline and repurposes part of the former port area as a city centre extension. The paper accounts for the reshaping of the Dublin Docklands as a ‘smart district’ in collaboration with the city authorities, based on over thirty semi-structured interviews and participant-observation at consultation events. It argues that reductive definitions of smart cities as networking technologies be reworked into broader considerations on urban technologies and the future of cities, with greater emphasis on the relationship between technologies branded as ‘smart’ and the material and digital manifestation of boundaries in urban form.
Keywords: smart urbanism, smart cities, ports, planning, technology, urban design, interfaces, boundaries
A new paper, ‘The (In)Security of Smart Cities: Vulnerabilities, Risks, Mitigation, and Prevention’ by Rob Kitchin and Martin Dodge, has been published in the Journal of Urban Technology. Download the paper here.
In this paper we examine the current state of play with regards to the security of smart city initiatives. Smart city technologies are promoted as an effective way to counter and manage uncertainty and urban risks through the effective and efficient delivery of services, yet paradoxically they create new vulnerabilities and threats, including making city infrastructure and services insecure, brittle, and open to extended forms of criminal activity. This paradox has largely been ignored or underestimated by commercial and governmental interests or tackled through a technically-mediated mitigation approach. We identify five forms of vulnerabilities with respect to smart city technologies, detail the present extent of cyberattacks on networked infrastructure and services, and present a number of illustrative examples. We then adopt a normative approach to explore existing mitigation strategies, suggesting a wider set of systemic interventions (including security-by-design, remedial security patching and replacement, formation of core security and computer emergency response teams, a change in procurement procedures, and continuing professional development). We discuss how this approach might be enacted and enforced through market-led and regulation/management measures, and then examine a more radical preventative approach to security.
Key words: Crime, cyberattack, mitigation, risk, security, smart cities, urban resilience