CFP: Smart City, Neighbourhood Change and Spatial Inequality

Call for Papers: Smart City, Neighbourhood Change and Spatial Inequality

35th International Geographical Congress, 24-30 August, Dublin, Ireland

Session Organisers: Mary Kazemi and Rob Kitchin

Smart cities have gained significant attention over the last decade in the rapidly digitalizing world. Although the concept of the smart city promises a utopian perspective of urban living, where using cutting-edge technologies, geospatial data, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and artificial intelligence (AI) improve the quality of life of all citizens, in practice the benefits of these technologies are distributed unevenly among different groups of citizens vis-à-vis their socioeconomic status or geographic location.

Spatial inequality within smart cities manifests in various ways. For instance, implementing smart city initiatives in a neighbourhood attracts investments and professionals, which increases property values and improves amenities and services. Disparities in access to digital infrastructure and services usually reinforce existing spatial inequalities and trigger gentrification. Such disparities raise questions about the right to the smart city and what actions policy makers, urban planners, technology developers, and researchers do to be more sensitive to the potential negative impacts of smart city endeavours.

This session will focus on the neighbourhood effects of smart city developments, their potential role in reproducing spatial inequalities, and how a more just and emancipatory smart city might be created. We are seeking contributions that explore the following or related topics:

  • Smart city spatial effects
  • Neighborhood change
  • Gentrification
  • Spatial inequality
  • Data-driven planning/decision making
  • Digital divide
  • Algorithmic government
  • Smart city and real estate market
  • Policy responses
  • Citizen-centric smart cities
  • The right to the smart city

Submit your abstract through the IGC online submission system by Friday 12 January 2024. For queries email: or

This session is part of the Governance Commission (C15). Instructions for abstract submission can be found at

Digital Timescapes book

Today is the official publication date of ‘Digital Timescapes: Technology, Temporality and Society’, a new book by Rob Kitchin, which is an output from the Progcity project. Ordering details can be found on the Polity Books website.

The back cover blurb

Digital technologies are having a profound effect on the temporalities of individuals, households and organisations. We now expect to be able to instantly source a vast array of information at any time and from anywhere, as well as buy goods with the click of a button and have them delivered within hours, while time management apps and locative media have altered how everyday scheduling and mobility unfolds.

Digital Timescapes makes the case that we have transitioned to an era where the production and experience of time is qualitatively different to the pre-digital era. Rob Kitchin provides a synoptic account of this transition, charting how digital technologies, in a wide range of manifestations, are reconfiguring everyday temporalities. Attention is focused on the temporalities associated with six sets of everyday practices: history and memory; politics and policy; governance and governmentality; mobility and logistics; planning and development; and work and labour. Critically, how to challenge and reorder digitally mediated temporal power is examined through the development of an ethics of temporal care and temporal justice.

Conceptually and empirically rich, Digital Timescapes is an essential guide to our new temporal regime. It will be of interest to students and scholars of Media Studies, Science and Technology Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, Human Geography, and History and Memory Studies, as well as those who are interested in how digital technologies are transforming society.

Here are the table of contents and a flavour of the technologies and temporalities discussed (click to enlarge).


Mastodon geographers

Since the regime change at Twitter there’s been a steady of stream of folks trying out Mastodon as an alternative. Mastodon is Twitter-like but is also very much its own platform, consisting of a federation of interlinked ‘instances’. As a newbie you select and join an ‘instance’, which makes a difference as to what posts (‘toots’) are viewed (there are 3 levels of viewing posts: home, posts by people you follow; local, posts by people in your instance; federated, posts from across the whole network that have link with your instance). Toots appear in chronological order rather than being sorted by algorithm. The instance someone belongs to is identifiable by their username and address (in my case See the Mastodon quick set guide for more info.

Within a couple of days of setting up I was following a couple of hundred folks and had a similar number of followers, many of whom I knew from Twitter. Quite a few of these are geographers, though I’m sure there are many more than this list, which is designed to help folk find each other and start conversations. You can also do that by joining the group and tag your posts with group handle to share there. Also tag your posts with the #geography hashtag. My top tip: having a bio and posting builds your community.

The list is replicated at maintained by and This version allows bulk selection of who to follow (with instructions). To be added to the list ask by tagging me in a post or by following.

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New WP: Urban data power: capitalism, governance, ethics and justice

A new ProgCity working paper (46) – Urban data power: capitalism, governance, ethics and justice – has been published. Download PDF

This working paper is a pre-print of Kitchin, R. (in press) Urban data power: capitalism, governance, ethics and justice. In Söderström, O. and Datta, A. (eds) Data Power in Action: Urban Data Politics in Times of Crisis. Bristol University Press.

Urban big data systems are thoroughly infused with data power and data politics. These systems mobilise data power as a means to deepen the interests of states and their ability to manage urban life, and companies and their capacity to create and capture new markets and accumulate profit. Data power is thus deeply imbricated into the workings and reproduction of political economies, its deployment justified as a necessary means to tackle various urban crises and sustain growth. The paper details how data power is being claimed and exerted through the logics and practices of data capitalism, particularly with respect to urban platforms, and how data-driven systems are shifting the nature of governmentality and governance, enacting new, stronger forms of data power, as well as transferring some aspects of municipal government and service delivery to companies. The final section considers how data power can be resisted and reconfigured through an engagement with the ideas of data ethics, data justice, data sovereignty, and the practices of data activism.

Key words: urban data, smart city, capitalism, governance, governmentality, data ethics, data justice, data sovereignty

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New paper: Conceptualising smart cities

A new paper by Rob Kitchin titled ‘Conceptualising smart cities’ has been published in Urban Research and Practice. It consider how best to define smart cities and asks whether it is time to decentre and move beyond smart urbanism.

Kitchin, R. (2022) Conceptualising smart cities. Urban Research and Practice 15(1): 155-159. doi: 10.1080/17535069.2022.2031143

Smart city cases – reading lists

I have been creating reading lists for case material on individual smart cities, or for countries/global regions, for one of my modules. I’m sharing as I thought they might be useful for others. If you have any suggestions to add to any section, or a set of readings relating to a city or region not included, please do add them in the comments or email them to me.

Dublin, Ireland

  • Cardullo, P. and Kitchin, R. (2019) Being a ‘citizen’ in the smart city: Up and down the scaffold of smart citizen participation in Dublin, Ireland. GeoJournal 84(1): 1-13.
  • Carvalho, L. and Otgaar, A. (2017) Dublinked (Dublin). In Carvalho, L., van der Berg, L., Galal, H. and Teunisse, P. (eds) Delivering Sustainable Competitiveness: Revisiting the Organising Capacity of Cities. Routledge, London.  pp. 41-60.
  • Coletta, C., Heaphy, L. and Kitchin, R. (2019) From the accidental to articulated smart city: The creation and work of ‘Smart Dublin’. European Urban and Regional Studies 26(4): 349–364
  • Coletta, C., Heaphy, L. and Kitchin, R. (2018) Actually-existing Smart Dublin: Exploring smart city development in history and context. In Karvonen, A., Cugurullo, F. and Caprotti, F. (eds) Inside Smart Cities: Place, Politics and Urban Innovation. Routledge. pp. 85-101.
  • Coletta, C. and Kitchin, R. (2017) Algorhythmic governance: Regulating the ‘heartbeat’ of a city using the Internet of Things. Big Data and Society 4: 1-16.
  • Heaphy, L. J. (2018, January 12). Interfaces and divisions in the Dublin Docklands ‘Smart District’. Programmable City Working Paper 37
  • Heaphy, L. and Pétercsák, R. (2018) Building smart city partnerships in the “Silicon Docks”
    In Coletta, C., Evans, L., Heaphy, L., and Kitchin, R. (eds) Creating Smart Cities. Oxon and New York: Routledge. pp. 76-89.
  • Kayanan, C. M., Eichenmüller, C. and Chambers, J. (2018). Silicon slipways and slippery slopes: techno-rationality and the reinvigoration of neoliberal logics in the Dublin Docklands. Space and Polity 22(1), 50–66.

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