Tag Archives: Dublin

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 https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/z2afc
  • 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.

Barcelona, Spain

  • Bria, F (2017) Barcelona digital government: Open, agile and participatory. Barcelona Digital City Blog. Available at: https://ajuntament.barcelona.cat/digital/en/blog/barcelona-digital-government-open-agile-and-participatory
  • Capdevila, I. and Zarlenga, M.I. (2015) Smart city or smart citizens? The Barcelona case. Journal of Strategy and Management 8(3): 266-282.
  • Calzada I. (2018) (Smart) Citizens from Data Providers to Decision-Makers? The Case Study of Barcelona. Sustainability 10(9): 32-52.
  • Charnock, G. March, H. and Ribera-Fumaz, R. (2021) From smart to rebel city? Worlding, provincialising and the Barcelona Model. Urban Studies 58(3): 581-600.
  • Lynch, CR (2020) Contesting digital futures: Urban politics, alternative economies, and the movement for technological sovereignty in Barcelona. Antipode 52(3): 660-680
  • March, H. and Ribera-Fumaz, R. (2016). Barcelona: From corporate smart city to technological sovereignty. In Karvonen, A., Cugurullo, F. and Caprotti, F. (eds) Inside Smart Cities: Place, Politics and Urban Innovation. Routledge. pp.
  • March, H. and Ribera-Fumaz, R. (2016). Smart contradictions: The politics of making Barcelona a self-sufficient city. European Urban and Regional Studies, 23(4): 816-830.
  • Smith, A. & Martín, P.P. (2021) Going Beyond the Smart City? Implementing Technopolitical Platforms for Urban Democracy in Madrid and Barcelona, Journal of Urban Technology 28(1-2): 311-330

Songdo, South Korea

  • Carvalho, L. (2012) Urban competiveness, U-city strategies and the development of technological niches in Songdo, South Korea. In Bulu, M. (ed) City competitiveness and improving urban subsystems. Information Science Reference, Hershey, PA. pp. 197-216.
  • Eireiner, A.V. (2021) Promises of Urbanism: New Songdo City and the Power of Infrastructure. Space and Culture. doi: 10.1177/12063312211038716
  • Halpern, O., LeCavalier, J., Calvillo, N. and Pietsch, W. (2013) Test-Bed Urbanism. Popular Culture 25(2): 272-306.
  • Kim, J.I. (2014) Making cities global: the new city development of Songdo, Yujiapu and Lingang. Planning Perspectives 29(3): 329-356
  • Kim, C. (2010) Place promotion and symbolic characterization of New Songdo City, South Korea. Cities 27(1): 13-19.
  • Shin, H., Park, S.H. and Sonn, J.W. (2015) The emergence of a multiscalar growth regime and scalar tension: the politics of urban development in Songdo New City, South Korea.  Environment and Planning C 33(6): 1618-1638.
  • Shin, H.B. (2017) Envisioned by the state: entrepreneurial urbanism and the making of Songdo City, South Korea. In Datta, A. and Shaban, A. (eds) Mega-urbanization in the Global South: Fast cities and new urban utopias of the postcolonial state. London: Routledge. pp. 83-100.
  • Shin, H.B., Zhao, Y. and Koh, S.Y. (2020): Whither progressive urban futures? City, doi: 10.1080/13604813.2020.1739925
  • Shwayri, S.T. (2013) A model Korean ubiquitous eco-city? The politics of making Songdo. Journal of Urban Technology 20(1): 39-55.

Toronto, Canada

  • Artyushina, A. (2020) Is civic data governance the key to democratic smart cities? The role of the urban data trust in Sidewalk Toronto. Telematics and Informatics 55
  • Carr, C. and Hesse, M. (2020). When Alphabet Inc. Plans Toronto’s Waterfront: New Post-Political Modes of Urban Governance. Urban Planning, 5(1), 69–83.
  • Flynn, A. and Valverde, M. (eds) (2020) Smart Cities in Canada: Digital Dreams, Corporate Designs. Lorimer, Toronto.
  • Goodman, E.P. and Powles, J. (2019) Urbanism under Google: Lessons from Sidewalk Toronto. Fordham Law Review 88(2): 457–498
  • Hodson, M. and McMeekin, A. (2021) Global technology companies and the politics of urban socio-technical imaginaries in the digital age: Processual proxies, Trojan horses and global beachheads. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space. doi: 10.1177/0308518X211002194.
  • Leszczynski, A. and Kong, V. (2022, online first), Gentrification and the an/aesthetics of digital spatial capital in Canadian “platform cities”. The Canadian Geographer
  • Mann, M, Mitchell, P, Foth, M, Anastasiu, I. (2020) #BlockSidewalk to Barcelona: Technological sovereignty and the social license to operate smart cities. Journal of the Association of Information, Science & Technology 71(9): 1103– 1115.
  • Robinson, P. and Coutts, S. (2019) The case of Quayside, Toronto, Canada. In Anthopoulos, L. (ed.) Smart City Emergence: Cases From Around the World. Elsevier, Amsterdam. pp. 333-350.
  • Tenney, M., Garnett, R. and Wylie, B. (2020), A theatre of machines: Automata circuses and digital bread in the smart city of Toronto. The Canadian Geographer 64(3): 388-401.
  • Zwick, A. and Spicer, A. (eds) (2021) The Platform Economy and the Smart City: Technology and the Transformation of Urban Policy. McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal and Kingston.The Platform Economy and the Smart City: Technology and the Transformation of Urban Policy. McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal and Kingston.


  • Allam, Z. (2020) Urban Governance and Smart City Planning: Lessons from Singapore. Emerald, Bingley.
  • Calder, K.E. (2016) Singapore: Smart City, Smart State. Brookings Institute, Washington DC.
  • Chang F., Das D. (2020) Smart Nation Singapore: Developing Policies for a Citizen-Oriented Smart City Initiative. In: Kundu D., Sietchiping R., Kinyanjui M. (eds) Developing National Urban Policies. Springer, Singapore. 425-440
  • Elm, J. and Carvalho, L.C. (2020) Best Practices to Become a Sustainable Smart City: The Case of Singapore.” In Sousa, P.I. and Carvalho, L.C. (eds) Conceptual and Theoretical Approaches to Corporate Social Responsibility, Entrepreneurial Orientation, and Financial Performance. IGI Global: Hershey, PA., pp. 247-265.
  • Ho, E. (2017) ‘Smart subjects for a Smart Nation? Governing (smart)mentalities in Singapore’, Urban Studies, 54(13), pp. 3101–3118.
  • Hoe, S.L. (2016) Defining a smart nation: the case of Singapore. Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society 14(4): 323-333.
  • Kong, L, Woods, O (2018) The ideological alignment of smart urbanism in Singapore: Critical reflections on a political paradox. Urban Studies 55(4): 679–701.
  • Yeo, S.J.I. (2022, online first) Smart urban living in Singapore? Thinking through everyday geographies. Urban Geography
  • Yu-Min Joo (2021, online first) Developmentalist smart cities? The cases of Singapore and Seoul, International Journal of Urban Sciences

Amsterdam, Netherlands

  • Ampatzidou, C., Bouw, M., van de Klundert, F., de Lange, M. and de Waal, M. (2015) The Hackable City: A Research Manifesto and Design Toolkit. Amsterdam Creative Industries Publishing, Amsterdam.
  • Capra, C. F. (2016). The Smart City and its Citizens: Governance and Citizen Participation in Amsterdam Smart City. International Journal of E-Planning Research 5(1): 20-38
  • Fitzgerald, M. (2016) Data-Driven City Management: A Close Look at Amsterdam’s Smart City Initiative. MIT Sloan Management Review 57(4)
  • Shazade, J., Richter, C. and Taylor, L. (2019) People’s strategies for perceived surveillance in Amsterdam Smart City. Urban Geography 40(10): 1467-1484
  • van Winden, W., Oskam, I., van der Buuse, D., Schrama, W. and van Dijck, E-J. (2016) Organising smart city projects: Lessons from Amsterdam. Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. https://research.hva.nl/files/1127414/organising_smart_city_projects_2_.pdf
  • Veenkamp, J., Kresin, F. and Kortlander, M. (2020) Smart citizens in Amsterdam. In Willis, K.S. and Aurigi, A. (eds) The Routledge Companion to Smart Cities. Routledge, London. pp.
  • Zandbergen, D. (2020) The Unfinished Lampposts: The (anti-)politics of the Amsterdam smart lighting project. City & Society 32(1): 135-156.

Boston, USA

  • Bevilacqua, C., Ou, Y., Pizzimenti, P. and Minervino, G. (2020) New Public Institutional Forms and Social Innovation in Urban Governance: Insights from the “Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics” (MONUM) in Boston. Sustainability 12(1): 23. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010023
  • Brown, D. (2018) The Urban Commons: How Data ad Technology Can Rebuild Our Communities. Harvard University Press, Cambridge.
  • Goldsmith, S. and Crawford, S. (2014) The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data-Smart Governance. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.
  • Kitchin, R. and Moore-Cherry, N. (2020, online first) Fragmented governance, the urban data ecosystem and smart cities: the case of Metropolitan Boston. Regional Studies doi: 10.1080/00343404.2020.1735627
  • Peacock S., Harlow J., Gordon E. (2020) Beta Blocks: Inviting Playful Community Exploration of Smart City Technologies in Boston, USA. In: Nijholt A. (eds) Making Smart Cities More Playable. Gaming Media and Social Effects. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-9765-3_7

India smart cities

  • Basu, I. (2019). Elite discourse coalitions and the governance of ‘smart spaces’: Politics, power and privilege in India’s Smart Cities Mission. Political Geography 68: 77-85.
  • Chakrabarty, A (2019) Smart mischief: An attempt to demystify the Smart Cities craze in India. Environment and Urbanization 31(1): 193–208.
  • Das D.K., Sonar S.G. (2020) Exploring Dimensions and Elements for Smart City Development in India. In: Bandyopadhyay S., Pathak C., Dentinho T. (eds) Urbanization and Regional Sustainability in South Asia. Contemporary South Asian Studies. Springer, Cham. pp. 245-259
  • Datta, A. (2015) ‘New urban utopias of postcolonial India: ‘Entrepreneurial urbanization’ in Dholera smart city, Gujarat’, Dialogues in Human Geography, 5(1), pp. 3–22.
  • Datta, A. (2019) Postcolonial urban futures: Imagining and governing India’s smart urban age. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 37(3): 393-410.
  • Datta, A. (2020) The “Smart Safe City”: Gendered Time, Speed, and Violence in the Margins of India’s Urban Age, Annals of the American Association of Geographers
  • Hoelscher, K. (2016) ‘The evolution of the smart cities agenda in India’, International Area Studies Review, 19(1), pp. 28–44.
  • Parida, D. (2021, online first) Fantasy visions, informal urbanization, and local conflict: an evolutionary perspective on smart city governance in India. GeoJournal
  • Praharaj, S. and Han, H. (2019) Building a typology of the 100 smart cities in India. Smart and Sustainable Built Environment 8(5): 400-414.
  • Prasad, D., Alizadeh, T. and Dowling, R. (2021) Multiscalar Smart City Governance in India, Geoforum, 121: 173-180.
  • Prasad, D., Alizadeh, T. and Dowling, R. (2021, online first) Smart city place-based outcomes in India: bubble urbanism and socio-spatial fragmentation. Journal of Urban Design
  • Prasad, D., Alizadeh, T. (2020) What Makes Indian Cities Smart? A Policy Analysis of Smart Cities Mission. Telematics and Informatics 55
  • Willis, K.S. (2019), “Whose Right to the Smart City?”, Cardullo, P., Di Feliciantonio, C. and Kitchin, R. (Ed.) The Right to the Smart City, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 27-41.

Latin American smart cities

  • Amar Flórez, D. (2016) International Case Studies of Smart Cities: Medellin, Colombia. Inter-American Development Bank. https://publications.iadb.org/publications/english/document/International-Case-Studies-of-Smart-Cities-Medellin-Colombia.pdf
  • Gaffney, C. and Robertson, C. (2018) Smarter than Smart: Rio de Janeiro’s Flawed Emergence as a Smart City. Journal of Urban Technology 25(3): 47-64.
  • Irazábal, C. and Jirón, P. (2021) Latin American smart cities: Between worlding infatuation and crawling provincializing. Urban Studies, 58(3), pp. 507–534.
  • Jirón, P., Imilan, W.A., Lange, C. and Mansilla, P. (2021) Placebo urban interventions: Observing Smart City narratives in Santiago de Chile. Urban Studies 58(3): 601–620.
  • Marchetti, D., Oliveira, R. and Figueira, A.R. (2019) Are global north smart city models capable to assess Latin American cities? A model and indicators for a new context. Cities 92: 197-207.
  • Przeybilovicz, E., Cunha, M.A., Macaya, J.F.M. and Porto De Albuquerque, J. (2018) A Tale of two ‘Smart Cities’: Investigating the Echoes of New Public Management and Governance Discourses in Smart City Projects in Brazil. 51st Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322337516_A_Tale_of_two_Smart_Cities_Investigating_the_Echoes_of_New_Public_Management_and_Governance_Discourses_in_Smart_City_Projects_in_Brazil
  • Schreiner, C. (2016) International Case Studies of Smart Cities: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Inter-American Development Bank. https://publications.iadb.org/publications/english/document/International-Case-Studies-of-Smart-Cities-Rio-de-Janeiro-Brazil.pdf
  • Smith, H., Medero, G., Crane De Narváez, S. and Castro Mera, W. (2022, online first) Exploring the relevance of ‘smart city’ approaches to low-income communities in Medellín, Colombia. GeoJournal
  • Talvard, F. (2019) Can urban “miracles” be engineered in laboratories? Turning Medellín into a model city for the Global South. In Coletta, C., Evans, L., Heaphy, L., and Kitchin, R. (eds) Creating Smart Cities. Oxon and New York: Routledge. pp. 62-75.
  • Tironi, M. and Valderrama, M. (2022, online first) Worth-making in a datafied world: Urban cycling, smart urbanism, and technologies of justification in Santiago de Chile. The Information Society

Chinese smart cities

  • Atha, K., Callahan, J., Chen, J., Drun, J., Green, K., Lafferty, B., McReynolds, J., Mulvenon, J., Rosen, B., Walz, E. (2020) China’s Smart Cities Development. SOSi. https://www.uscc.gov/sites/default/files/2020-04/China_Smart_Cities_Development.pdf
  • Caprotti, F., Liu, D. Platform urbanism and the Chinese smart city: the co-production and territorialisation of Hangzhou City Brain. GeoJournal (2020).
  • Cowley, R., Caprotti, F., Ferretti, M. and Zhong, C. (2018) Ordinary Chinese smart cities. In Karvonen, A., Cugurullo, F. and Caprotti, F. (eds) Inside Smart Cities: Place, Politics and Urban Innovation. Routledge, London. pp.
  • Curran, D. and Smart, A. (2021) Data-driven governance, smart urbanism and risk-class inequalities: Security and social credit in China. Urban Studies 58(3): 487-506.
  • Große-Bley, J. and Kostka, G. (2021) Big Data Dreams and Reality in Shenzhen: An Investigation of Smart City Implementation in China. Big Data & Society 8(2): 1-14.
  • Guo, M., Liu, Y., Yu, H., Hu, B. and Sang, Z. (2016) An overview of smart city in China. China Communications 13(5): 203-211.
  • Hu, R. (2019) The State of Smart Cities in China: The Case of Shenzhen. Energies 12(22): 4375. https://doi.org/10.3390/en12224375
  • Qin, B. and Qi, S. (2021) Digital transformation of urban governance in China: The emergence and evolution of smart cities. Digital Law Journal 2(1).
  • Shepard, W. (2015) Ghost Cities of China: The Story of Cities without People in the World’s Most Populated Country. Zed Books, London.
  • Wang, B., Loo, B.P.Y. and Huang, G. (2021, online first) Becoming Smarter through Smart City Pilot Projects: Experiences and Lessons from China since 2013. Journal of Urban Technology
  • Wang, Y., Ren, H., Dong, L., Park, H-P., Zhang, Y. and Xu, Y. (2019) Smart solutions shape for sustainable low-carbon future: A review on smart cities and industrial parks in China, Technological Forecasting and Social Change 144 (July): 103-117.Technological Forecasting and Social Change 144 (July): 103-117.

African smart cities

  • Guma, P. (2021) Rethinking Smart Urbanism: City-Making and the Spread of Digital Infrastructures in Nairobi. Eburon Academic Publishers.
  • Herbert, C. W. and Murray, M. J. (2015) Building from scratch: new cities, privatized urbanism and the spatial restructuring of Johannesburg after Apartheid. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 39(3): 471-494.
  • Murray, M.H. (2017) Frictionless utopias for the contemporary urban age: large-scale, master-planned redevelopment projects in urbanizing Africa. In Datta, A. and Shaban, A. (eds) Mega-urbanization in the Global South: Fast cities and new urban utopias of the postcolonial state. London: Routledge. pp. 31–53.
  • Odendaal, N. (2016) Getting Smart about Smart Cities in Cape Town: Beyond the Rhetoric. In Marvin, S., Luque-Ayala, A. and McFarlane, C. (eds.) Smart Urbanism: Utopian Vision or False dawn? London: Routledge.
  • Watson, V. (2014) African urban fantasies: dreams or nightmares? Environment and Urbanization 26: 215–231.
  • Watson, V. (2017) New African city plans: local urban form and the escalation of urban inequalities. In Datta, A. and Shaban, A. (eds) Mega-urbanization in the Global South: Fast cities and new urban utopias of the postcolonial state. London: Routledge. pp. 54–65.

Rob Kitchin


New paper on collaborative urban infrastructuring

Sung-Yueh Perng has published a new working paper entitled Practices and politics of collaborative urban infrastructuring: Traffic Light Box Artworks in Dublin Streets, as part of the Programmable City Working Paper series.

Paper Abstract
Cities are transformed into sites of experimentation through large-scale smart city initiatives, but the visions and practices of establishing public, private and civic partnerships are often overshadowed by corporate interests, governance convenience and efficiency, with an overemphasis on technological innovations. Instead of relying on these partnerships, civic hacking initiatives seek to develop collaboration between programmers and community members, on the one hand, and government officials and organisations, on the other, for experimenting prototyping processes that foreground community needs. These initiatives are considered as pursuing open, inclusive and collaborative governance and is analysed through the lens of collaborative urban infrastructuring to attend to the dynamics, consequences and implications emerging from the prototyping processes. The analysis of the collaboration between Code for Ireland and Dublin City Council Beta suggests that the spatio-temporal scaling of prototypes lead to the continual and contested scaling of skills, knowledges, capabilities, organisational procedures and socio-technical arrangements. These heterogeneous scaling engenders desirable futures and future problems. The articulation and enactment of the values that attract diverse visions, viewpoints and practices into collaborative experimentation can be challenged by agonistic relationships arising from exploring practical arrangements for the mutual shaping of desirable governance procedures and the organisational expectations, obligations and constraints that are already in place. Furthermore, in the processes of scaling, there are constant dangers of enacting patriarchal stewardships and taking an all-knowing position for caring and evaluating impacts, which makes it critical to also experiment with ways of disclosing urban techno-politics that emerges continuously and in unanticipated ways.

If you are interested, full working paper can be found here: https://osf.io/2xpq7

Ulysses Workshop “Reshaping Cities through Data and Experiments” – Introduction

[This text is the introduction to the Reshaping Cities through Data and Experiments workshop held in Maynooth University, 30th of May, which was the first part of an Ulysses research exchange between researchers from the Centre de Sociologie de l’Innovation (i3-CSI) at the École des Mines in Paris, and the researchers from MUSSI-NIRSA in Maynooth University, Ireland. UPDATE: The videos of the presentations are now available as the following separate posts: session 1, session 2, session 3]

Introduction: Why smart cities, why data and experiments


Our aim is to advance the understanding of the contemporary cities in relation to urban data and experimentation, creating a link between “The Programmable City” (Maynooth) and “City Experiments” (“CitEx”, Paris). In particular, we want to initiate a transdisciplinary discussion on the theoretical, methodological and empirical issues related to experimental and data-driven approaches to urban development and living. This conversation is vital in a time when cities all over the world – from Singapore to San Francisco, Medellin and Dublin, as we shall see – are increasingly turning into public-private testbeds and living labs, where urban development projects merge with the design of cyber-infrastructures to test new services and new forms of engagement for urban innovation and economic development. These new forms of interaction between algorithms, planning practices and governance processes raise crucial questions for researchers on how everyday life, civic engagement and urban change are shaped in contemporary cities. Our approach is to study smart cities as the unstable and uncertain product of ongoing interactions of data and experiments.

There is a pragmatic reason, indeed. In many cases, being responsible for tax payer’s money, city administrations need to spend their budget very carefully while thinking about possible futures. It brings us to a problem of skills, knowledge and expertise: what do the public bodies know about available technologies and state of the art? How to procure them? How to test them? Once procured and tested, how to know that the adoption of a specific technology would work in the actual urban settings? Which knowledge do data allow and shadow? How to maintain the rolled out service in time?

Thus, experimentation and data become a way to engage with new actors, with new kinds of expertise and skills that enter into the public so as to test projects before committing to large scale rolling out.

But the pragmatic reason is deeply connected with a theoretical and methodological one. Sociologists of science and technology use to saying that the laboratory is now the world: it does not mean that the world should be treated as a mere copy of a laboratory. Rather, it is an invite to expand and unfold the idea of laboratory from an organizational, technical and political perspective. In terms of the smart city discourse, it involves at least three intertwined issues. There is a problem related to the organizational processes and rationalities (how data and experiments interact with organizational change), there is a problem related to technological rationalities (data and experiments are not neutral), and there is a problem related to political rationalities (which are the implication for democracy), all combined and making the smart city discourse complex and undetermined.

Experiments represents a unique place of encounter between theory and practice, which allow us to observe smart urbanism in the actual making, looking at the dynamic apparatus of practices, infrastructures, knowledge, narratives, bodies, etc. and to possibly try distinguish between good ways to combine data and experiment and bad ways to combine data and experiments.

This is where our work in Maynooth University and in the Programmable City project on big data assemblages (Kitchin 2014), algorithmic governance (Coletta and Kitchin 2017), smart city development processes (Coletta, Heaphy and Kitchin 2017), hacktivism and civic engagement (Perng and Kitchin 2016) matches the work that David and his colleagues are doing at CSI.


I shall start with a remark: compared to what has been done by colleagues here, at MUSSI-NIRSA in Maynooth, about cities and data, we actually did a very few. Actually, we have been involved in projects on cities and urban settings only recently. As you might know, the CSI is well known in science and technology studies (STS), especially for its contribution to the early laboratory studies. And our CitEx project clearly draws on this background, notably what we consider as two important results.

In Laboratory Life, Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar (1979) examined in minute details scientists working at the bench, performing experiments, discussing results, and writing publications. What is interesting for us here is to consider the laboratory as a peculiar place, both as a controlled environment configured to conduct experiments and to envision their replication and dissemination, and a site designed to elaborate new knowledge and to perform some demonstrations. Yet the laboratory is not the only significant site to be investigated. As Michel Callon and his colleagues (1988) clearly emphasized in La science et ses réseaux, scientific facts would be nothing without the crucial part heterogeneous networks take place in their production and dissemination. What we learned here is the various ways in which the results of experiments are not only tightly linked to economic networks, but also contribute to perform some political orderings. To put it roughly, these are the two main arguments on scientific experiments we started with to elaborate our CitEx project; these are our basics, so to speak.

This being said, some works on city and urban settings have already taken place at the CSI, and they directly inspire our ongoing CitEx project. Obviously, the book Paris, the invisible city (Latour and Hermant 1996), which is focused on the heterogeneous infrastructures that make Paris works and stands as a city on a daily basis, is particularly relevant in this regard. Contemporary experiments in urban settings are based on exiting infrastructures, dedicated to urban mobility or to data processing and storage, or to both — as it is often the case. The study of subway signs in Paris as an immobile informational infrastructure designed and maintained everyday in order to ease riders fluidity is particularly telling: by shaping both some users’ positions and some particular conditions of a public space, subway signs participate in the enactment of a specific political ordering (Denis and Pontille 2010). But some experiments may also be focused on the infrastructure itself. This is what we investigated more recently, examining the introduction a fleet of 50 electric cars as part of a car-sharing system without fixed stations (Laurent and Tironi 2015). Not only sociotechnical instruments were mobilized to explore social and technical uncertainties and to produce public demonstrations, but also what was actually tested eventually changed during the project.

The CitEx project has been elaborated at the crossroad of STS and Urban studies because, we argue, experiments are a stimulating research site. Tightly coupled with the production and use of data, experiments constitute a particular entry point to explore how part of contemporary cities are currently constituted as laboratories to test various new technologies and infrastructures, as well as forms of urban assemblages and modes of government.

This is why we believe the collaboration with Claudio and his colleagues involved in “the programmable city” project will be fruitful and stimulating.

Claudio Coletta and David Pontille


We are grateful to the IRC, Ambassade de France in Ireland and the Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute for their generous support and for making possible this event.


Callon M (1989) La science et ses réseaux: genèse et circulation des faits scientifiques. Éditions La Découverte.

Coletta C and Kitchin R (In press) Algorhythmic governance: Regulating the ‘heartbeat’of a city using the Internet of Things, Big Data and Society, Special Issue on “Algorithms in Culture”. Pre-print available at https://osf.io/bp7c4/

Coletta, C., Heaphy, L. and Kitchin, R. (2017) From the accidental to articulated smart city: The creation and work of ‘Smart Dublin’. Programmable City Working Paper 29 https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/93ga5

Denis J and Pontille D (2010). The Graphical Performation of a Public Space. The Subway Signs and their Scripts, in G. Sonda, C. Coletta, F. Gabbi (eds.) Urban Plots, Organizing Cities. Ashgate, pp. 11-22.

Kitchin R (2014) The data revolution: Big data, open data, data infrastructures and their consequences. Sage.

Laurent B and Tironi M (2015) A field test and its displacements. Accounting for an experimental mode of industrial innovation. CoDesign 11(3–4): 208–221.

Latour B and Woolgar S (1986) Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts. Princeton University Press.

Latour B and Hermant E (1998) Paris: Ville Invisible. Éditions La Découverte.

Perng SY and Kitchin R (2016, online first) Solutions and frictions in civic hacking: Collaboratively designing and building a queuing app for an immigration office. Social and Cultural Geography.

New paper: Living Labs, vacancy, and gentrification

Paolo Cardullo and Rob Kitchin have published a new working paper: ‘Living Labs, vacancy, and gentrification‘ on SocArXiv. It was prepared for the ‘The New Urban Ruins: Vacancy and the Post-Crisis City’ workshop, 1-3 March 2017, Trinity College Dublin.

This paper evaluates smart city (SC) initiatives in the context of re-using vacant property. More specifically, we focus on living labs (LL) and vacancy in general, as well as on their potential role in fostering creative economy-fuelled gentrification. LL utilise Lo-Fi technologies to foster local digital innovation and support community-focused civic hacking, running various kinds of workshops and engaging with local citizens to co-create digital interventions and apps aimed at ‘solving’ local issues. Five approaches to LL are outlined and discussed in relation to vacancy and gentrification: pop-up initiatives, university-led activities, community organised venues/activities, citizen sensing and crowdsourcing, and tech-led regeneration initiatives. Notwithstanding the potential for generating temporary and independent spaces for transferring and fostering digital competences and increasing citizens’ participation in the SC, we argue that LL largely foster a form of participation framed within a model of civic stewardship for ‘smart citizens’. While presented as horizontal, open, and participative, LL and civic hacking are often rooted in pragmatic and paternalistic discourses and practices related to the production of a creative economy and a specific version of SC. As such, by encouraging a particular kind of re-use of vacant space, LL potentially contributes to gentrification pressures within locales by attracting the creative classes and new investment. We discuss these approaches and issues generally and with respect to examples in Dublin, Ireland.

Key words: vacancy, property, gentrification, living labs, civic hacking, creative class, regeneration

Download the paper

New paper in Geoforum – The praxis and politics of building urban dashboards

Rob Kitchin, Sophia Maalsen and Gavin McArdle have a new paper published in Geoforum titled ‘The praxis and politics of building urban dashboards’.  It is open access with this link until early Dec.

Abstract: This paper critically reflects on the building of the Dublin Dashboard – a website built by two of the authors that provides citizens, planners, policy makers and companies with an extensive set of data and interactive visualizations about Dublin City, including real-time information – from the perspective of critical data studies. The analysis draws upon participant observation, ethnography, and an archive of correspondence to unpack the building of the dashboard and the emergent politics of data and design. Our findings reveal four main observations. First, a dashboard is a complex socio-technical assemblage of actors and actants that work materially and discursively within a set of social and economic constraints, existing technologies and systems, and power geometries to assemble, produce and maintain the website. Second, the production and maintenance of a dashboard unfolds contextually, contingently and relationally through transduction. Third, the praxis and politics of creating a dashboard has wider recursive effects: just as building the dashboard was shaped by the wider institutional landscape, producing the system inflected that landscape. Fourth, the data, configuration, tools, and modes of presentation of a dashboard produce a particularised set of spatial knowledges about the city. We conclude that rather than frame dashboard development in purely technical terms, it is important to openly recognize their contested and negotiated politics and praxis.

Working paper – Crafting code: Gender, coding and spatial hybridity in the events of Pyladies Dublin

A working paper by Sophia Maalsen and Sung-Yueh Perng on the subjectivity and spatiality of coding, prepared for Craft Economies: Cultural Economies of the Handmade, edited by Susan Luckman and Nicola Thomas, is available to view.

In the paper, we look at the integration of the digital and the resurgent interest in crafting artefacts. We do this by focusing on the work, relationships and spaces occupied by Pyladies Dublin – a coding group intended for women to learn and ‘craft’ code in the programming language of Python. Pyladies offers an interesting and fruitful case study as it intersects gender, relations of making and places of making, nested firmly within the digital world. The relations of making within the Pyladies group provides salient insight into the production of code, gender and space. Pyladies is predominantly attended by women with the focus to encourage women to become more active members and leaders of the Python community. By producing code in a friendly space, the group also actively works towards producing coding subjectivities and hybrid, mobile spatiality, seeking to produce coding and technology culture that is diverse and gender equitable. We base our ethnographic study to suggest ways in which Pyladies Dublin is consistently engaging in crafting code and crafting coding subjectivity and spatiality.

We thank the generosity of PyLadies Dublin for accommodating us and engaging in very productive conversation in the process.

Sophia and Sung-Yueh