1st Edition

Citizens in the 'Smart City' Participation, Co-production, Governance

By Paolo Cardullo Copyright 2021
    174 Pages
    by Routledge

    174 Pages
    by Routledge

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    This book critically examines ‘smart city’ discourse in terms of governance initiatives, citizen participation and policies which place emphasis on the ‘citizen’ as an active recipient and co-producer of technological solutions to urban problems.

    The current hype around smart cities and digital technologies has sparked debates in the fields of citizenship, urban studies and planning surrounding the rights and ethics of participation. It also sparked debates around the forms of governance these technologies actively foster. This book presents new socio-technological systems of governance that monitor citizen power, trust-building strategies, and social capital. It calls for new data economics and digital rights for a city founded on normative ideals rather than neoliberal ones. It adopts a normative approach arguing that a ‘reloaded’ smart city should foster citizenship as a new set of civil and social rights and the ‘citizen’ as a subject vested with active and meaningful forms of participation and political power. Ultimately, the book questions the utility of the ‘smart city’ project for radical municipalism, proposing a technological enough but more democratic city, an ‘intelligent city’ in fact.

    Offering useful contribution to smart city initiatives for the protection of emerging digital citizenship rights and socially accrued benefits, this book will draw the interest of researchers, policymakers, and professionals in the fields of urban studies, urban planning, urban geography, computing and technology studies, urban politics and urban economics.

    Part 1: The Neoliberal City: Reloaded  1. Smart Cities  2. The Neoliberal ‘Smart City’  3. Post-Political Governance and Data Ethics  4. Citizenship and Citizens  5. Living Labs and the City Part 2: Cities on the Move: An Outlook on Policies, Processes, and Practices  6. Provincialising the ‘Smart City’  7. Towards a Public Service Internet?  8. Socio-Technical Capital and Trust Between Urban Commons and Commoning  9. Conclusion: Do We Need the ‘Smart City’ After All?


    Paolo Cardullo is Senior Researcher at IN3 (Internet Interdisciplinary Institute), Universitat Oberta de Catalunya in Barcelona, where he was awarded the Beatriu de Pinós scholarship in 2019. His research interests are in urban geography, smart cities, and urban governance. His previously published titles with Routledge are Gentrification in the Mesh?, 2017 and Sniffing the City, 2014.

    "Through a theoretically rich and empirically grounded account, this book sets out how the technocratic and neoliberal smart city raises serious concerns with respect to citizenship and democracy and importantly how these can be challenged and re-envisioned. A vital read for policy makers and scholars interested in creating fairer, more just and intelligent cities."

    - Rob Kitchin, Professor of Geography, Maynooth University, Ireland


    "This inventive and realistic book transcends the poles of doom or boom that often characterise the smart city debate to offer clear-sighted and thoughtful evidence from experience and research. Paolo Cardullo has wise advice for those thinking about and working on urban technologies."

    - Matthew Fuller, Professor of Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom


    "Smart city thinking proved to be pervasive, invasive, ubiquitous: it is colonising urban debates, it is reshaping utopian and dystopian imaginaries of the cities of tomorrow, and it is changing the way we experience urban life and citizenship. Paolo Cardullo’s book builds a solid counter-narrative, one that challenges conventional and celebrative understandings of smartness and technology, and one that helps in figuring out ‘smart’ alternatives. A definitive read for those searching for critical thinking about technology, politics and the city."

    - Professor Alberto Vanolo, Università degli Studi di Torino, Dipartimento Culture, Politica e Società Department, Italy


    "This is one of those few books on smart cities that critically question hyperbole and fashionable trends whilst managing to propose practical ways forward towards the public good. Whether it is smart 'solutions', or the Living Labs mantra, Cardullo explores agendas and discourses in depth, with a constructive attention to what makes participation meaningful, and co-production of ‘smart’ real and relevant. Through looking at a series of international approaches, and the depth of a European case study, this volume constructively engages with policy-making for smart – or ‘intelligent’ as the author envisages – cities that really work for people."

    - Alessandro Aurigi, Professor of Urban Design, University of Plymouth, United Kingdom


    "Paolo Cardullo's book is the result of several years of research on the complexity of problems posed by the 'smart city'. The book will be of cross-disciplinary interest and will appeal to scholars across the social sciences, Internet and technology studies, and anyone interested in unpacking the 'smart city' framework. Politically engaged, this informative book is recommended also for geography, planning and urban studies students."

    - Cesare Di Feliciantonio, Lecturer in Human Geography, Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom


    "This book makes an important contribution to the growing literature on smart cities, in that it gives critical insight into the cultural and political processes that underpin its policy manifestations. In many ways, it offers an alternative conception of this phenomenon, in that it challenges its inclusivity and seemingly ubiquitous nature, by exposing the political economy that drives many smart city visions. It goes a step further, in offering an alternative vision that imagines technology as a part of urban life, rather than the shaper of it."

    - Nancy Odendaal, Associate Professor in the School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics, University of Cape Town, South Africa


    "The smart city is rapidly emerging as the dominant approach to urban development but it lacks a key ingredient: its citizens. Paolo Cardullo’s book provides a biting critique of the contemporary neo-liberal agenda of urban digitalisation and then proposes the ‘intelligent city’ as an alternative approach to forward democratic principles of social capital, inclusion and trust. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in how cities of the future could and should be governed."

    - Andrew Karvonen, Associate Professor of Sustainable Urban Development, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden


    "This is an outstanding and original essay on the relation between digital technologies, urbanism and democracy. Grounded on years of researching smart cities across the world, Paolo Cardullo does not only present a reliable analysis of the conflictual relation of smart city projects with democracy and social justice. He also builds a rich theoretical, empirically grounded, road map towards a more democratic city, towards the intelligent right of the city. A book that not only understands the city but helps to change it."

    - Ramon Ribera-Fumaz, Director of the Urban Transformation and Global Change Laboratory, Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain



    "‘Citizens in the smart city’ is a brilliant dissection of contemporary data-driven urbanism. Cardullo takes the reader through an impressive journey from the neoliberal smart city, where citizens are reduced to data points, to a truly intelligent city which foregrounds digital rights and technology for the common good. Based on a rich texture of empirical work, this book provides a much needed more-than-critical analysis of the contemporary smart/intelligent city."

    - Professeur Ola Söderström, Institut de Géographie Université de Neuchâtel